Friday, October 29, 2010

Tots on Trips

The most common question that I get from my readers is the concern of travelling with kids. Majority of young parents tell me they love to travel, but at the same time they dread doing so with their young kids. Their experience with going grocery shopping or attending events with their kids has left a lasting stressful impression on them that they dare not think of going on a trip with the kids.

I am hopeful that some of my suggestions will relieve you of your fears, so let's dive into it...

Get your Kids Excited Before you Go: To get your kids excited about the upcoming vacation you are planning as a family, you must get them involved with the planning. You can give them about 3 different vacation spots and have them pick a place for the family. Look at maps together and do some research together. Pick your area of interest together and get them hyped about the trip. They must look forward to it!

Equip Them: Before you embark on your trip, provide some fun tools to keep your kids engaged and busy during the duration of your trip. Get them a disposable camera or a simple point and shoot camera. Have them take pictures of things they find interesting. Get them some coloring books, reading materials, and puzzles. Provide them with things that interest them.

Play Games: You can play all manner of games with your kids on the flight or on the road trip to keep them entertained. Remember that kids become restless and impatient when they become bored, so your whole goal is to keep them well entertained.

Plan Activities: As a family travelling with kids, the biggest mistake you can ever make is not having all your activities planned out. You need to have your ducks in a row when it comes to that aspect of your travelling. Key thing is preventing boredom! You don't want your kids asking what are we doing today and you having no definite answer. Engage in interactive learning activities as well as pure fun events.

Event Timing: Plan activities around your kids natural normal schedule. Fix educative events for mornings when they are most likely to learn and concentrate. Let them observe nap time and have afternoon activities very playful and fun. Ensure toilet time is observed whenever you see one.

Mode of Travelling: If you have infants and kids under 5, it may be better choosing a road trip over flying long distance. You may also choose destinations with short flying time. With road trips, you can stop as you please, walk around, relax, stretch, change baby, sightsee if on a scenic route, and stop at interesting places along the way.

Avoid Rushing: You know ample time on your hands can be your best friend when dealing with kids. With that in mind, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and check in. When making your ticket reservation, consider how much time you have between flights if connecting and make sure it is sufficient. Don't plan on rushing because that will be a trial of your patience.  

What other ideas have you incorporated into travelling with your kids that proved successful? Share with us in your comment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Houston Area Happenings In a Nut Shell - By Vanessa Quinones

Are you thinking about doing something fun this month and don't know what? Our guest blogger has something for everyone on things going on in Houston and surrounding cities this month.  Since the weather is so nice you may want to make plans  and head out to one of these!!!

Location: Houston

Event Date: October 7 –October 10, 2010
The Original Greek Festival
Come and join The Original Greek Festival, now in its 44th year, and be Greek for a day! Growing attendance over the years continues to create excitement as the word gets around, so bring your family, friends and co-workers to enjoy the festive atmosphere and our new expanded festival site. Facilities, children's activities, Athenian playground & seating capacity have also been expanded. OPA!!
Phone: 713.526.5377

Location: Conroe
Event Date: October 08 - October 10, 2010
Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival
Features live music, Cajun food, arts & crafts, wine tasting, catfish contest, exhibits and more. Downtown Square.
Phone: 936-539-6009

Location: Austin (this is one definitely worth going to)
Event Date: October 08 - October 10, 2010
Austin City Limits Music Festival
More than 130 local and nationally-known music acts descend on eight stages for this three-day music festival. This year's headliners include The Eagles, Muse, Phish, The Strokes, M.I.A. and Th Flaming Lips. Zilker Park.

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09 - October 10, 2010
Bayou City Shrimp Festival
The shrimp festival is back with food and cold brews set to live music. Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge.
Phone: 281-890-5500

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09 - October 10, 2010
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
Juried fine-art show offers paintings, sculptures, jewelry and music and a kids zone. Hermann Square and Tranquility Park.

Location: Katy
Event Date: October 9 – October 10, 2010
Katy Rice Harvest Festival
The annual Katy Rice Harvest Festival is two big days of excitement and family fun with two stages of continuous live entertainment, craft and food booths, carnival and more.
Phone: 281.391.KATY (5289)

Location: Plantersville
Event Date: October 09 - November 28, 2010
2010 Texas Renaissance Festival
Phone: 800-458-3435 X-237
Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09
Fire Fest
Includes live firefighting and rescue demonstrations, kids zone, fire truck show, food and music. 8030 Braniff.
Phone: 713-524-2526

Location: Houston—Discovery Green
Event Date: October 13
Discovery Green: Zumba
Join Oscar Sajche as he leads hundreds of health-conscious Houstonians for Zumba in the park. Be sure to bring a towel and plenty of water.
Tel: 713.400.7336

Location: Houston
Event Date: Oct 15-Oct 17
Festa Italiana
On the grounds of the University of st Thomas on the Campus Life Mall

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 16-17th
Enjoy Delicious Turkish Foods and Pastries, Take a sip of Turkish coffee and have your Fortune read from your coffee grounds, Learn about Traditional Turkish Arts & Crafts (Displays & Workshops) and roll-up your sleeves and get involved with Caferaga workshop., Listen Turkey from an expert, Nilg√ľn Kural. Presentations ranging from cultural tourism and biblical sites to exciting information about dozens of locations around Turkey.
Tel: n/a

Location: Kemah Boardwalk
Event Date: October 1 – October 31, 2010
The month of October at the boardwalk is frightening sight to see! Enjoy our Haunted House, the Dungeon of Doom haunted house, and plenty of spooky fun. Compete in a pumpkin decorating contest or enter your little one in the costume competition. Festivities run through October 31st.
Tel: 877-at-kemah

Location: Galveston
Event Date: October 22 - October 23, 2010
Island Oktoberfest
Enjoy music by The Band Haywire and Alpenfest Band, authentic German food and drinks, games, children's activities, an auction and more. At 24th and Winnie streets.
Phone: 409-762-8477

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 23 - October 24, 2010
Wings over Houston Airshow
Modern and historic aircraft perform in gravity-defying demonstrations. Includes interactive displays, kids fun zone, heroes autograph tent and vendors. Ellington Airport.
Phone: 713-266-4492

Location: The NASA/Johnson Space Center site--$10 per car
Event date: 10/29 - 10/31, 2010
REmax Ballunar Liftoff Festival
NASA/Johnson Space Center, Saturn Blvd.
The NASA/Johnson Space Center site transforms into the location of the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival. It is a one-of-a-kind tribute to human flight - from the beauty of mass hot air balloon ascensions to the high-tech world of modern space flight.
Phone: (281) 488-7676

Remember your comments are always appreciated. Contact us if you would like to be a guest blogger at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eccentric Hotels

There is something about the human nature that always craves something out of the ordinary to invent, create, or experience. I am no different and neither are the creators of these hotels:

Lumilinna Snow Castle Hotel, Kemi Finland

Ice hotels are temporary hotels made out of snow coupled with some steel frames. They are available for a period of time in the winter before they melt away after the cold season is gone. Quite a few people are familiar with the world largest ice hotel in Sweden, but the spotlight is on the Snow castle Hotel in Finland.With each winter season comes new architectural design for this hotel and that in itself is an art worth seeing. SnowCastle 2011 will open on January 29th through April 8th weather permitting. The temperature in the rooms is set at -5 degrees Celcius (23 degrees Fahrenheit. You are advised to bring very warm clothing. There are no showers in the hotel, but other provisions are made for taking a shower offsite.

Courtesy Lumilinna SnowCastle

Courtesy Lumilinna SnowCastle

Restaurant. Source Lumilinna SnowCastle

Source Lumilinna SnowCastle

Hotel De Sal,  Bolivia

Salar De Uyuni is the world's largest salt lake located in Bolivia. This is a very popular destination for people visiting Bolivia. The Salt lake covers approximately 4,000 square miles and located there is the very uncoventional Salt Hotel that is made almost entirely out of Salt blocks. In this hotel, the restaurant never runs out of salt and the guests always have salt everywhere, so the food is always tasty! The tables, chairs, and even beds are made out of salt. The saltiness of this hotel earns it a prime spot on world's unusual hotels.

Courtesy National Geographics

Courtesy hotelchatter

Courtesy Ruphus_8

Heap of Salt.

Gamirasu Cave Hotel, Cappadocia Turkey

Gamirasu is one of the best unique hotels in Turkey. It is a 30 room cave hotel that was opened in 1999. The hotel is located in a restored thousand-year-old Byzantine monastic retreat. 




Outdoor dinner sitting. Source

Dasparkhotel, Austria

This Drain Pipe hotel is constructed from repurposed drain pipes. They are available from May through October. I am visualizing this as camping in style. The restrooms  and showers are not inside the drain pipes, but are supplied by the surrounding public infastructures. You are assigned a personal lock code for your room on arrival. A stay at this hotel costs you just as much as you are willing to spend. Thanks to their generous "Pay as you wish" system.

Source Dasparkhotel

Source Dasparkhotel

Source Dasparkhotel

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