Kids on a Plane

Traveling with kids on an airplane can be challenging or it can be fun. How do some parents make it a fun time? I visited with one seasoned traveling parent and here are some of her suggestions.

As adults we know how to make our ears adjust to taking off or descending. Kids often do not…especially young ones. Have the kids suck on suckers. The constant swallowing helps equalize the air pressure in their ears. If they are too young, a pacifier works or anything that gets them to swallow.

Take things for kids to play with…but not to throw around. Coloring books are good and so are hand held puzzles (with no pieces) or games. Anything to keep them occupied…

Talk to them before you leave for the airport, she also told me. Tell them there are things they can and cannot do. For instance, no kicking the seat in front of you. No screaming…use our inside voice…whisper…pretend we are hiding. As a passenger, I appreciated what she was telling me.

She also said…they use the restrooms immediately before boarding!

Seems like good advice to me.

Last Minute Deals

Looking for last minute travel sites that may offer just the ticket you’re looking for? Recently, I read about some sites I have not yet used.

Some of them listed include: www.airfarewatchdog.com and www.licketytrip.com

Others include: www.us.lastminutetravel.com and www.lastminutetravel.com

Has anyone used any of these sites? If so, what were your experiences?

Caspian Sea

This is the Pacific Ocean…and it’s not landlocked.

Did you know the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest landlocked body of water with about 143,000 square miles of water? The Caspian Sea is so large, it has characteristics common to both lakes and the sea. Many places list it as the world’s largest lake even though it is not a freshwater lake.

Travel Websites

Recently I read an article listing several travel sites that may be helpful when booking your next trip. I have used some of these but not all of them.

The list included:
GetGoing…which allows you to pick two locations
FlyinAway…which requires you to bid
Hipmunk…which allows you to track an airfare by email
Momondo…which may suggest different airlines for each way
Bing Travel…which gives you a tip on whether to buy now or wait a day
Google Flights…which works best on domestic flights, with international ones coming

Have you used any of these? Were you pleased or were they more trouble than they were worth? I know what I like and I know what it takes for me to use or recommend a site.

My recommendations will come later…stay tuned.

Cafe Gourmand

While in Paris, we discovered a little secret on our menus. It’s called café gourmand and it’s an inexpensive way to treat yourself to dessert.
Café Gourmand may have started out as a small macaroon or bite of chocolate with your after lunch espresso, but it has grown in size and in popularity. We noticed café gourmand on almost every bistro, bar, and sidewalk café menu throughout Paris.  
Sometimes, we were served a plate with a mini crème brulee, a tiny chocolate éclair, and a shot glass of raspberry mousse along with our espresso or coffee. Other times, a mini chocolate cookie, a profiterole, and a mini raspberry tart accompanied our espresso.
All the portions are small so you don’t fill up on desserts or calories. They all blend perfectly with the coffee. And you get to sample a variety of desserts. 
This tiny luxury is a perfect way to end your lunch or dinner.

Maps

Maps are important…even though you have a smart phone with everything you’ve ever wanted on it. When flying into a new airport, or needing to pick up a rental car, or wondering how far the international terminal is from the taxi stand, it’s good to have a map of the airport.

Download one before you leave home. You can get some direction of which way to go once you get off the plane.You won’t even have to wait for your phone to find itself and point the way.

Most airports have great signage. Some do not. Maps come in handy.

Traveling With Credit Cards

Traveling with a credit card is an easy way to go. By now, you probably already know the basics of traveling with your credit cards…notifying your card company of your upcoming travel and making sure you have their numbers handy in case something goes wrong or it gets lost.

But, here are a few things you might not know. Some offer travel benefits that others do not. You could get faster check in or a larger room. It would be a good idea to know what your card can do for you and use that one on vacation.

Some card companies offer a discounted rate on medical insurance. Again, a good idea to ask.

Many issuers or card banks will charge a fee for foreign transactions. Do some research to find out if and what that is.

Take more than one card. Not all cards are accepted all over the world. Sometimes perfectly good cards can be declined. And if the credit card company is calling you…be sure they have your cell phone. It really won’t do much good for them to call home if you’re in Germany.