Posts Tagged ‘multi-generational travel’

June 17, 2016

5 Airport Security Tips

DSC_0342

Make getting here that much easier. Photo taken in Turkey.

One of the most stressful and annoying parts of traveling is going through security. Is it necessary? Yes. Are we happy that it’s part of the drill? Yes. But that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. There is nothing worse than hitting traffic and running through the airport with your multi-generational family to make your flight only to find yourself stuck in what seems to be a never ending line that won’t move. Well, the good news is that there are a few things that you and your family can do to make sure that your family vacation starts off right with a no hassle and speedy trip from the car to the airplane. Here are 5 airport security tips to get you started.

Have Things you need on Hand

We all know too well how easy it is to misplace something— like a passport or a boarding pass. Don’t be the person searching through a hand bag, back pack, or every jacket pocket to get the documents you need to proceed. Make sure that your kids have theirs ready too, if you’re holding them, place each person’s boarding pass within the pages of their passport so that everything matches up for the TSA agent.

Dress for the Part

You know exactly what you need to do to get through security. You’ll have to pass all metals and electronics through the x-ray machine and take off your shoes. Make sure everyone is wearing shoes that are easy enough to slip on and slip off (also wear socks, no one wants to walk barefoot in an airport!). Here’s a pro tip, place jewelry, belts, watches, and the like in a jacket pocket so it all goes through the x-ray machine together and you won’t have to scramble after you get your bin back.

Pay Attention

Sometimes the shortest line isn’t always the fastest line. Look ahead to find any travelers you think may take a long time. If you see a family, try for another line (unless they’ve read this article and breeze through security like you will) because unfortunately, families do tend to take a bit longer to make their way through.

Look into Security Programs

There are airlines that offer First Class passengers the opportunity to go through a fast line in security. This could be worth it if you’re traveling around the holiday season when airport traffic is busiest.  There is also the TSA Pre Check program which is available in over 160 airports with 16 airlines participating. Another program that is great for international travel is the Global Entry Program. Participants that join this program get to skip an extra step going through customs.  Finally, CLEAR is a program that will let you skip security all together in participating airports in the US.

Be Patient and Polite

We can’t stress this enough. Being polite, not complaining, and having a smile on your face will work wonders for your family. Remember, TSA can screen upwards of a million people a day, many of which won’t be polite, and they’ll be a bit stressed. Try not to add to it!



January 26, 2016

Costa Rica: The Perfect Destination for the Whole Family

It can be difficult to find a place for your family vacation that everyone can get on board with. Your older kids may not want to do what your younger kids want to do. Or you might be looking for a bit more action and adventure for yourself and one of your kids, but not the other. Maybe you’re a grandparent or traveling with a grandparent and you’re worried about finding an active trip that you can also have fun with. Look no further, Costa Rica is the place you need to go. Costa Rica is an incredible country that has a little bit of something for everyone.

Kids

The wildlife in Costa Rica is enough to get anyone excited about a vacation. Younger kids get especially excited by the wildlife. Costa Rica is home to over half a million different wildlife species. As you leisurely kayak through mangroves or hike through jungles, your youngsters are sure to see monkeys hanging out on tree limbs, colorful toucans and bright red scarlet macaws flying through the air, and iguanas lying in the sun. These encounters will get them excited and they’ll never forget it!

TFA Trip 3-22-14 Costa Rica-204

Teens and Older Kids

We know it can be hard to convince a teenager what cool and fun is, but we’ve never had a problem getting approval for the adventures in Costa Rica. Some of the more exhilarating activities you can do in Costa Rica range from zip-lining high in the sky to white-water rafting on the rivers below. These activities are an adrenaline rush, but also very safe. It isn’t only teens that will have fun with this either, parents and grandparents also think it’s a blast!

Parents

Parents, we know you can hang on the zip-lines and paddle around in the kayaks. But sometimes isn’t it nice to just relax? One thing that our parents love is the eco-thermal hot springs. The Eco Termales hot springs are the only true natural hot springs in Arenal. The fun and relaxed atmosphere is wildly beautiful among green gardens and steamy cascades. It’s your family vacation; you should get some time to relax!

Grandparents

Chris Gamel 2

The one constant thing that we here from grandparent travelers is how thrilling it was for them to show their grandkids the world. Costa Rica is a place where grandparents can be with the family and see colorful and animated wildlife, fly through the treetops, and make memories that will last forever. Nothing compares to exploring a place with the entire family where everyone can have fun.



November 10, 2015

Why Panama is Perfect for a Family Vacation

Of all of the places that we like to send our families to, Panama is at the top of the list! Panama is a top destination for kids, parents, and grandparents. While the most famous attraction in Panama is the canal, it isn’t the only thing to see. What many people don’t realize is everything else that Panama has to offer from an amazing tropical jungle to indigenous tribes and exhilarating adventures!

panama family vacation under a waterfall

Panama is Hassel-free

Being so close to the U.S., the flights to Panama aren’t too expensive or too long! Panama has also adopted the American dollar as an accepted form of currency. This means you don’t have to worry about losing out on the exchange rate, changing your cash, and makes budgeting much easier. Panama is also very flexible, making it the perfect destination for last minute travel!

Landscapes, Wildlife, and Adventure

Panama is a great place to discover incredible views of cloud forests, rainforest canopies, and rolling hills. You can see all of these during an exhilarating zip-line or rafting adventure. The jungles of Panama are filled with soaring frigate birds, lounging lizards, and capuchin monkeys. You can also find bright and colorful combinations of orchids as you explore the jungle by foot and boat. Panama also has beautiful white sand beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that offer extraordinary locales for snorkeling and surfing.

rafting on a family vacation in panama

Cultural Connections

No trip to Panama is truly complete without taking a trip to visit the indigenous Embera tribe. This is one of six indigenous groups in the country that maintain their culture and tradition, much as they did centuries ago. Travel up the Chagres River in a dugout canoe deep into the rainforest to meet members of an Embera Village tribe. You’ll learn about the history of the tribe, traditional songs and dance, food, crafts, and even have the chance to get a traditional tattoo— it’s made from vegetable dye, completely safe, and only lasts for about a week! This is also the place where your kids will get to meet and play with Embera children, a fun experience you’ll never forget!

Jungle Boat Ride Through the Canal

Monkeys-along-the-Panama-Ca

One of the best ways to get fully immersed in a Panama family vacation is to take a boat ride through the canal and into the jungle. It’s one thing to watch the canal as boats pass through, it’s another to be on a boat as it passes through the canal. It may sound trivial, but this is an eye-opening experience. You’ll be alongside massive cargo and passenger ships that are guaranteed to make you marvel at their size. This is only part of the adventure; continue on into the jungle for an incredible wildlife viewing experience.



August 18, 2015

20 Reasons Not to Go to Peru

Peru is obviously a terrible place to take a family vacation and we don’t know what good things to say about it, if there are any.

1. There’s nothing beautiful or magical about Machu Picchu

beautiful Machu Picchu - a perfect family vacation destination

2. Really, there isn’t anything worth seeing

Machu Picchu

3. Everything is old, who likes finding ancient Incan ruins anyway?

Incan Ruins

4. Llamas aren’t cool or fun animals at all

Llamas in Peru

5. And why would you ever want to meet one?

up close with llamas on a family vacation to peru

6. The weaving isn’t colorful or artistic

Peruvian art

7. There isn’t anything good to buy in the markets

shopping at the markets while on a Peru family vacation

8. The fruit doesn’t look appetizing either

delicious looking fruit at a market in Peru

9. San Blas seems like a drag and unoriginal

San Blas

10. All of the cities seem pretty bland

Peru City

11. The churches aren’t beautiful by any means

a church in Peru

12. Or unique

Peru churches

13. Nothing exciting, fun, or different ever happens

a performance in Peru

14. No one ever has fun river rafting

a family river rafting while vacationing in Peru

15. Or taking mountain valley train rides

riding the train while on a family vacation in Peru

16. All of the birds are boring

Colorful birds in Peru

17. And who would want to see this?

Peruvian reed boats

18. Or hike here?

hiking in Peru

19. Or sleep next to this terrible view?

a family camping in Peru

20. There is also no way your family has fun

family having fun while on vacation in Peru

Check out these Peru itineraries to see what you won’t be missing out on!



October 11, 2012

Five Things to Think About Before You Book Online

Oh, China!

Do you wonder why experts say you should book an international adventure through a professional based in your home country? Maybe you think you will save by going direct to someone ‘at the source’? After all, the internet gives us access to millions of options. Too many! But when you travel to exotic locales it really makes a difference to plan with someone who understands your own ‘native culture’, as well as the place you are traveling to. Think about:

5) Oh the misunderstandings you can encounter! A Five Star hotel in another country is not necessarily a Five Star hotel to our North American standards. Even ‘clean and comfortable’ can mean something very different in another culture. In fact, many countries cannot even rate their hotels on any standardized system we know. (And believe me, peanut butter there is nothing like peanut butter here.)

4) Different cultures have different expectations, rules, and customs. Sometimes you don’t mind winging it, to see what you’ll find. It’s part of the adventure, especially when you are young, single and carefree. But when you’re with the kids it’s comforting to have a solid interpretation of what you are heading into – and a local guide with enough experience to manage your expectations appropriately.

3) Maybe you have a food allergy, a sleep disorder, an aversion to bugs in your room. You’ll fully appreciate discussing your concerns with a friendly expert who speaks your language and understands your sensibilities, someone who will give you straight answers and solid advice – not gloss over the particular challenges of your destination.

2) The currency, the packing list, the information on charging your iPod…don’t you want that from someone who understands what you expect and need? Don’t guess at what it will be like, or spend hours researching online. Just refer to the complete predeparture booklet we’ll send you!

1) Internet Advice? Fun to search for late at night, but does it really pertain to you? Remember, you don’t know who is reporting, what they value, and whether their comments accurately address your needs. It is so much more useful to have a conversation in your native language with a professional who has been where you’re going. Someone who can listen to your needs and interests, and deliver the right things to you.

How much risk do you want to take? You probably (hopefully) wouldn’t hand over your savings to something you read about in a Yahoo forum (no offense, Yahoo). Likewise, be sure you invest your valuable vacation dollars and time so you can get the best return available. Look for an expert who has been there. And always ask for references!



August 20, 2012

10 Things Kids Bring Home from a Family Trip

Jessie, Ed, and Lillie in their front yard.

Thanks to Jessie Voigts, our special Guest Blogger for this excellent perspective on family travel:

You spend a lot of time planning family trips – and coordinating said trips! Between teens off with their ipods to dealing with toddlers and diapers, how do you KNOW that these family trips are worth it? But wait – your kids bring home a lot more from family trips than you think. Take a look…

1) Memories. Of course! But it might not be the memories you suspect – of whitewater rafting, or seeing the Eiffel Tower, or hanging with their cousins. It might be the cute squirrels at the local park, the best meal ever, discovering a new food they love, or learning something new.

2) Photos. Be sure to give your kids a camera to take photos. You will be surprised at both the angles (closer to the ground? Or super high, if you’ve got a teen taller than you are!), and the subject matter. Our daughter takes a little stuffed ugly with her, and photographs it wherever we go. Little Ugly has been in a lot of strange places.

3) Humanity. Whether your kids are upset about the stray or mistreated dogs in Nepal, Barbados, or Bahrain; or visibly learn about animal and human rights wherever you are (we’ve all fielded the homeless question), travel is a great chance to teach about humanity. By learning that others are less fortunate than we are, and trying to act on such knowledge, they are on their way to becoming good global citizens.

4) Funny stories. Nothing brings a family together more than camaraderie, which is, in turn, fostered by going through experiences together. From the funny assistant at the airport, to ordering a meal in a foreign language (mostly via sign language), to finding out that people in a certain country just LOVE babies and will hold them for hours and parade them around like a rock star, travel is packed with experiences that will provide great stories…for life.

5) A desire for peace. Our daughter, when seeing cultural differences up close, has gained a strong desire for peace and people to get along. She thinks that intercultural differences are fascinating, and has pledged to learn more about different people and cultures around the world, firsthand.

6) New Experiences, new friends. Whether it’s ziplining, scuba diving, hiking, camping, snorkeling with turtles, or viewing great art, new experiences bring people together and can foster a lifelong fascination or hobby. As well, you can make new friends from group travel, or through meeting locals. These can become friends for life.

7) Learning more about your family. You can learn a lot about people from being in close proximity to each other for an extended period of time. You can also learn about how people react in any situation – often surprising us, how well they can deal with a crisis. By learning more about your family, everyone becomes closer due to these shared experiences. Your teen might ask you to read and talk together about a book about a place you’ve visited, or your 5 year old might surprise you by painting, from memory, a piece of art they saw in an art museum on your travels. You might surprise your kids and husband by jumping first off the cliff into the deep water below, or your father might show unexpected depths while riding a chicken bus.

8) New cultures. Our daughter’s best friend, when asked this question, noted that in Hawaii, she was amazed to learn of the Hawaiian culture. She loved the luaus, the colorful fabrics, and how they utilized the hibiscus flowers in welcoming people. Our daughter loved watching kids tv shows in Ireland – she learned some Gaelic, as well as how kids learn and play in a different country.

9) Love of new foods. It might be roasted tarantula (doubt it), Thai food, boiled peanuts in the south, new jams and pickles, or recipes. Wherever you go, I’m sure you’re eating locally – and shopping at the grocery store whenever possible! You’ll find new foods you love (and probably new foods you dislike). Bring them home, and incorporate these new foods into your meals and snacks!

10) A desire to travel more. Long after the sand has disappeared from your swimsuits and suitcases, and the special candy you brought back is digested, you’ll find something not so surprising. Your whole family will have a desire to travel more – to learn and play and experience the world together. And that’s what family travel is all about – having new experiences, and discovering new cultures and people – together.

Jessie Voigts is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids (it’s never too young to start!). She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She founded the Family Travel Bloggers Association, and the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She’s published two books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can usually find her family by water – anywhere in the world.



March 18, 2011

Killer Kayaking @ Beautiful Balandra Bay

Thursday: (Sorry I am out of date – just too much to do here to spend time on the computer!)

Balandra Bay is a thing of beauty. Clear blue water, and shallow enough to walk forever (thankfully our guides told us how to shuffle our feet so we would not be stung by sting rays; others were not so lucky) Kayaking here is easy on the smooth water, and the kayaks are steady. Though if you fell out you’d just stand up and climb back in. I think the boys did that a couple of times. We took off for a nice paddle around the bay and down into narrow lanes of mangroves – such awesome and peaceful beauty with egrets and herons gracing the shoreline. Our lunch spot was on top of a steep dune (can you guess how many times the kids ran and rolled up and down it??) overlooking the bay. We could see the tide going out – and in fact ended up having to pull rather than paddle the kayaks for the last 20 feet to ‘shore’. In no time the bay became the perfect field for an impromptu game of soccer….. then the ride back to Todos Santos became the perfect opportunity for a bit of a snooze!



January 15, 2011

Calling Out to the Grandest of Adventurers

Everyone loves the zip line!

You know what? The only person we’ve ever had to ask to get down from the zip line for misbehavior was 80 years old. He was having so much fun he was just acting too goofy!

Do your children have children? Then probably by now you’re a wiser and more relaxed parent. You are still active and adventurous, and you have lots more patience for the young ones than when your own children were young. Right?

Have you thought about a multi-generational trip? It’s becoming quite a family tradition for many, and for good reason too. Taking your children’s children on an adventure is not just a gift to them, but to you as well. Even when you see something familiar, sharing it with a child or teen seeing it for the first time is a unique opportunity. The new perspective, the view through the eyes of a child is such a WOW moment!

Over the years we’ve made experiences like these possible to almost all of our destinations, by providing the right mix of age-appropriate activities for ages 6 to infinity. Or from age zero on a private, custom adventure! Finding someone with the experience to handle all of the logistics, all of the issues, all of the planning – there is nothing left but for you to relax and have fun. And enjoy that zip line!

For instance, check out our Egypt Valley of the Nile, Galapagos Islands and Inca Ruins, Tanzania Family Safari and our Peru: Land of the Ancient Incas These are just a few of our opportunities to learn about new landscapes, fascinating wildlife, ancient history, and different cultures. If you’re after that zip line, try Costa Rica, Panama, or Belize

Whether it’s for just you and one child, or for three or four generations of your family, we have the expertise and understanding to create your adventure of a lifetime. Give us a call and we can talk about what adventure might be best for you.