How To Survive A Road Trip With Kids In Tow

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Road trips are one of the most common choices for family vacations. Of course, that involves spending more than a few hours in close quarters with your kids. Before you hit the road with your children, take a moment to plan out how to get to your destination without losing your mind along the way.

It might not be the way you first imagine a road trip with the kids – your thoughts probably turn to backseat shenanigans and endless questions along the lines of “are we there yet” – but it’s entirely possible to leave the stress behind when you take your children on a road trip. The secret to smooth sailing on a family road trip is to keep your expectations reasonable and do as much advanced planning as possible. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Confirm Your Vehicle’s Readiness

Suffering a breakdown on the road is always irritating, but it can turn into a real disaster when you have a pair of rambunctious toddlers in the backseat. Pay a visit to your favorite car mechanic before you hit the road. Have him check the air pressure and condition of all of your tires, including the spare, as well as check your mechanical systems (including the air conditioner and / or heater, and fluid levels) in advance, too.

Consider Signing Up For Roadside Assistance

AAA is still the gold standard when it comes to nationwide roadside assistance services, but there are other options in the same vein as well. If you aren’t already a member of a similar service, you should strongly consider signing up before your trip. It may be handy to download an app like EmergenSee, too. This turns your smartphone into a live recording device (capturing video, audio, and GPS data) and sends it to chosen contacts or law enforcement officials when you’re in trouble. Also, check with your car insurance to see if they offer roadside assistance.

Make Your Kids Safe

Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the car and/or booster seats your kids need before you set off. Confirm they’re installed properly. You can find a local authority for this service by visiting SeatCheck.org. Alternatively, just inquire with your nearest fire station – most of them handle this safety check for free.

Bear in mind that the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to use rear-facing car seats for children under the age of two. Kids should always be strapped in when the car is moving. If your children need a break from their seats, plan these kind of stops into your travel plans to give everyone a break from the car.

Always Have A First Aid Kit

Bring along all the usual items you might need to deal with minor ailments: Band-Aids, antiseptic, fever reducers, medications used by your family members, and perhaps even a little extra toilet paper for unplanned bathroom breaks.

Schedule Your Departure Wisely

If your kids are experienced backseat sleepers, think about kicking your trip off at either bedtime or in the early morning. Feel free to leave them in their PJs and enjoy a restful, quiet start to your road trip. Also, consider travel plans of others. Are you traveling during a busy holiday time? You may want to avoid heavy traffic by leaving at a time when you’ll hit big cities at their least busy times. Sitting in a traffic jam while on a road trip with kids is NOT fun!

Comfort Is A Priority

Make sure your children are dressed in clothes they like for the trip. Wearing PJs or other comfy clothes is always recommended. Shoes that are easy for your child to get on and off by themselves is another good tip. This makes stops easier on mom and dad. You should also bring along any familiar items that will help the kids feel at home (stuffed animals, blankets, and even favorite pillows) to encourage sleeping in the car.

Assign Seating

If you’re hauling a large family in a large vehicle, keep your family dynamics in mind when placing people in their seats. Break up fractious siblings by putting them into separate rows. This will be appreciated by both the youngsters and the adults who are driving. You’ll also want to consider keeping smaller children who frequently need help close to the front or near someone capable of helping the younger passengers.

Pack Snacks

Bring along as many healthy snacks as you can comfortably manage. Stay away from sugary, high-energy foods; your kids don’t need any surplus pep for a long car trip. Perfect road trip foods include raisins, bananas, rice cakes, Cheerios, and crackers. Try to avoid snacks that are messy or crumbly and that don’t require utensils to eat. But be prepared for messes, pack wipes and a small car trash can.

Plan Some Welcome Surprises

Kids love a surprise, and a road trip gives you ample opportunities to cook up some unexpected delights. Look for fun stops your family can make on your way to your destination. If you can spring something like a trip to a candy store or a water park on your kids they’re less likely to get bored and grumpy afterward.

Visit the dollar store to buy up a supply of small toys and treats. To keep everybody amused on the trip, let each child pick out something new for each hour you spend on the road. This stash of goodies also makes a great incentive and encourages good behavior! If you’ve got enough time, try wrapping up the treats in advance to make each pick more exciting – and time-consuming – for your kids.

Bring As Much Entertainment As Possible

While too much screen time is a bad thing for your kids, that rule goes out the window when you’ve got a long road trip to get through. Feel free to bring along smartphones, tablets, and portable DVD players to keep the children amused. Make sure you load your devices up with apps, songs, and videos you know your kids will enjoy. And bring headphones for each person!

Don’t Challenge Your Kids’ Endurance

The grownups might be ready to handle six hours of uninterrupted drive time, but that’s not going to fly with youngsters. Plan on stopping at least every two hours, if not more frequently. A clean rest stop can be a life-saver – the first time you pull into one. After the first half-dozen, your family is going to get bored. Plan out stops at local parks (the sort with slides, swings, and other kid-friendly equipment) as a refreshing alternative.

Preserve Bedtime Rituals

Although you’ll probably be tempted to jump right into bed after a long day on the road, try to keep up as many of your standard bedtime routines as you can. Bathe, read, nurse, and do whatever else you normally do at home to get your kids ready for a good night’s sleep. Bring the pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals in from the car to make the kids’ vacation room feel as homelike as possible.

Follow these simple tips to get your family vacation off to the right start!

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Help Kids Discover What They Want to Become in the Future through these 4 Extracurricular Activities
Help Kids Discover What They Want to Become in the Future through these 4 Extracurricular Activities
Haad Kaew Resort Staycation
Haad Kaew Resort Staycation

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Haad Kaew Resort Staycation

Hot and sunny Haadkaew Resort is comfortably situated a few meters away from the main road Singha Nakhon (highway 408). Overlooking the gulf of Thailand, this seaside resort has an idyllic, powdery, white sand. The long, vast stretch of this semi-secluded beach together with the aquamarine seawater in front is great for beach volleyball, wedding event and even a football match.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the city , one can comfortably relax.

Having a kids’ pool was the ultimate decider.  Although the staycation was for my husband and I to unwind before going back to work, our kids enjoyment was of utmost importance too. Besides we surely won’t be able to relax if they start acting up. Right?

So what do they have in store for us?

Well, since I have already mentioned the kids pool, let me talk about the pool then.  The resort got two pools; one for adults, and a smaller kids pool which is only around 2 to 3ft deep.  It is definitely safe for toddlers. Both are clean and tidy; and the management is pretty strict about wearing pool attire even for kids. Our kids hung around the pool most of the time.  They love it and wanted to stay longer.

And then, we spent our early  evenings chilling out by the beach. The kids enjoyed the single rope swings hanging from the pine trees.  The sand felt warm  on our feet as we walked along the beach with the cool sea breeze gently touching our skin.

Next are the bungalows.  They have got the main hotel building and bungalows to choose from.  We chose the bungalows, and the main reason is we have got noisy kids.  Anyway, the bungalows which are auspiciously located overlooking the sea are attractive and colorful.  The one we stayed in was clean but it would have been perfect had the floor under the bed was dusted.  Cleanliness is next to godliness as they say.  It is essential especially for asthmatics like my family.  Aside from this, everything else is a OK.

Other amenities include, a huge cable T.V with English channels and an HDMI in case you want to connect your laptop to view your photos taken during the day or to watch movies in the evening.  They also have free WIFI, a tiny fridge with complimentary bottled water, the customary toiletry freebies, and a free breakfast.  The free breakfast was only good for two, but they let the kids eat without questions.  I love them for this. This is an example of little things that could make a family come back again and again.

It was a great stay.  It is a bonus that one of the staff could fairly communicate in English and that they were courteous and friendly.

If you’d like to see more of Haad Kaew, CLICK HERE.

Haadkaew Resort Information

  • Bungalows and the standard hotel rooms are a bit over a thousand baht (ours was 1,028.00 baht).
  • You can book them online with many modes of payment to choose from – paypal, credit card, LINE, international wire bank transfer, or book now pay later.
  • Email:  info@haddkaewsonghla.com
  • Tel. #:  0 7433 1058-66
  • Fax:  07433 1220
  • Address:  163 Moo 1 Tambon Chingko, amphur Singha Nakhon, Songkhla 90280
  • Website:  www.haddkaewsongkhla.com (the last time I checked it came back as error)

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Bathe In The Sun At....
Bathe In The Sun At….
4 Reasons Why Traveling by Car Is the Best if You Have Kids
4 Reasons Why Traveling by Car Is the Best if You Have Kids

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Total Solar Eclipse: Thailand

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Solar Eclipse, Thailand March 9, 2016 Photo by Ryan D.

With the sky so cloudy, the spectators did not really get to see the moon move into the path and cover the entire disks of the sun revealing the corona. The sky cleared up though as the shadow of the moon was moving slowly away from the sun.

It was, nevertheless, a good experience for kids whose experiencing it for the first time. They got to use the filters issued by the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand.  They got curious about the sun and the moon; and ask many questions like. Why do we have to use this? Why is it not good to look directly at the sun? Why is the sun’s color different in this photo? Why couldn’t I see the moon?

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For me though, this solar eclipse is not as thrilling as the 1995 total solar eclipse in Davao City Philippines.  It was fascinating.  It happened on a broad daylight, so there was a few minutes of total darkness, some roosters even crowed.

There are 4 kinds of solar eclipses( total, annular, partial, and hybrid ), which of these have you already observed?

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Our Family’s Precious Weekend 2

Krathong Making

Here are the materials needed in making a krathong.

  • Banana trunk
  • Leaves
  • Pins
  • Flowers

Procedure:

  1. Cut banana trunk into 2 to 3 inches chunks.

    2
    chunk of banana trunk wrapped in leaves
  2. Wrap it with leaves. It could be banana or some other kind will do. You may also fold strips of banana leaves into triangular shapes resembling a lotus to cover the chunk of banana trunk with.
  3. Use pins to secure the decoration into the banana trunk base.
  4. Decorate it with different kinds of flowers.
  5. Finally, stick in a candle and incense sticks.

 

Thai people add in the krathong lock of their hair and pieces of trimmed nails.  This is to symbolize that they are want to drive off misfortune and bad things in the past.

 

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Dok Mai Thot
Bougainvillea and Santan Flowers for Snack

 

 

DONT’ MESS WITH THE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS

11 Tips When Traveling in a Car with Your Children

traveling with kids
11 Tips When traveling in a Car With Your Children

1. Bring a small, handy bin or barf bags

I don’t agree with giving kids drugs like Benadryl to sedate them when traveling. The risk is just too high.  I don’t want to jeopardize my kids health over my own comfort. When traveling in a car there is a possibility that kids get seasick…carsick ^_^.  So, we always have this bag in the car. It saves us the hassle of cleaning and then travelling with those pukey-after smell, that’s left even after cleaning.

2. Keep spares inside the car

To save you from stopping and getting supplies from the trunk every time they are needed, keep spares inside the car like clothes, milk and snacks.

3. Load your iPad or Tablet with educational apps

Nowadays kids are into this stuff.  They love it more than any other toys. So to make time fly by, let them play educational games on your iPad or tablet.

4. Extra toys

Kids attention span is quite short. They easily get bored. Bring some extra toys, puzzles, and other handy board games to keep them distracted.

5.  A camera will keep them preoccupied

Give them a point and shoot camera. Children love taking photos (mine do) ^_^. It is also a good way to start them in photography.

6. Never forget the medicine

It pays to be prepared at all times. When travelling we are exposed to all kinds of elements. Kids and adults alike could get sick during the travel. Bring the basics like paracetamol, cough and cold reliever, itch and insect bite cream, allergy meds, and any prescribed meds for your kids.

7.  Baby wipes…baby wipes

Your little tots bum is best clean with soap and water. But there are times when you just don’t have access to flowing water, this is when wipes come in handy.  Aside from this, wipes can be very helpful when cleaning your kiddos food-smeared face and hands. You could also use this to wipe toilet seats, restaurant table, and any other public utilities you’re going to use.

8.  Protect yourself from the sun

Bring hats and sunscreen to protect your skin from all that walk under the heat of the sun. In the same way, car blinds can be a comfort-bringer during the time of the day when the sun is just so cruelly bright.

9. Always keep your hands clean

Keep bacteria and viruses away, wash hands with hand sanitizers or even alcohol (isopropryl).

10. Car broom and dustpan

After long hours of travel whether we like it or not, the car gets messy and dirty. So, you might want to do a bit of cleaning in one of your stops. This would be really helpful especially if you’re traveling in some hot, dusty countryside wherein shoes bring dusts and these accumulate from all of the “going in and out” of the car. I especially take note of this, as my husband and kids are all asthmatic. It would also be great if there are a tiny vacuum cleaners solely made for cars. Are there any? If you have some information, please let me know ^_^.

11.  Keep the trunk orderly

If you can avoid it, never stack your things in the trunk. This would mean lugging baggage every time you want to get things. Arrange the bags and boxes side by side with the right side up for easy access.
Traveling in a car with your children would be a breeze if you take not of these tips.  Happy Journey!
If you have other tips, please do share on the comment section below.

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4 Reasons Why Traveling by Car Is the Best if You Have Kids

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Interstate travel especially with toddlers is best by car.  We have tried traveling both by public transport and recently by our own car.  So, we were able to compare and decided that by car is the way to travel with our young kids.  We live in Thailand, which is one vast country where states are connected by land.  Traveling cross country like Malaysia, Singapore is also possible by car as these countries are connected by bridges.  For archipelagic countries like the Philippines, the Bahamas, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, traveling by car can be a challenge and needs different kinds of preparation.  For expatriate babies traveling overseas for the first time also entails a different preparation. Check out the link for some help on peculiar situations you might encounter.

 

Here are 4 reasons why traveling by car is the best if you have young kids.

 

You have the time on you own hand.

This is something you have no control over if you are in a public transport.  Buses have designated bus stops. The length of time for the stop over is also limited.  But if you are in your own car, you can stop at any gas station and Seven 11s to change nappies, stretch muscles, breathe some fresh air, or simply rest for a while.  You can even stop to take a photo of great sceneries or take selfies with a marvelous sunset as a background. Sometimes you can drive a bit slow to let the kids take in the beauty of the surroundings.  They would definitely love it.  It is something new from what they usually see everyday. Public commute runs like hell that the surroundings outside pass by in blur.

 

Privacy

Don’t we just love privacy.  Long travels could be a bore for kids. That’s why moms have ready things like colorful, noisy toys, some tiny board games, and packed snacks.  Songs are also effective distractions to make the time fly by.  Now, while we are pulling all these distractions other people together with us in a public transport might find these distracting and or annoying.  Although there are some understanding souls, you can’t still help seeing glares and smirks from misopedists.  But traveling in your own car however, would have you think of just one thing that is to make the ride enjoyable for all. This means packing the necessary things to make the long ride comfortable.  You can check my post about 11 tips to think of when traveling in a car with your children.

 

Hassle free

Sight-seeing, moving from one tourist spot to another by bus or van could get insanely tiring.  Picture this, you bringing your big handbag full of necessities like nappies, milk bottles, wipes, spare outfits for everyone, and snacks; and towing your herd up and down the bus every time. This is even worst if you have to walk to a taxi stop every time you have to go to your next destination.  That short walk could already be like eternity with your big bag and kids in tow.  With a car, you could find a good parking space, walk around and enjoy the scenery leaving your baggage safe inside.

 

Economical

Before traveling to Bangkok, we compared the travel expenses.  Having to pay even for the kids would mean bigger expenses on fare, than paying for the gas.  So, the most economical choice for us is to travel by car.

 

 

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Unbeautiful Side of Being an Expatriate

life of an expat
Unbeautiful Side of Being An Expatriate

 

Being an expat has both beautiful and unbeautiful sides to it.

One of these is, we get to enjoy special occasions of loved ones like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, reunions, and weddings on photos and videos.  Although there are real time videos like skype, this could never replace personal, physical interactions.

Second, what’s in and new back home, we only get to know these from photos and news feeds.  We’d have to wait for a vacation to actually see, feel, and experience these changes.

Third, we can’t help but long for some things that we love dearly – like our favorite snacks and our preferred soap and moisturizer. We once tried shipping them directly from the Philippines, but we stopped because the cost is just insanely expensive. However, I found a better, cheaper, and easier way. I found them, from this site.

 

What do you miss about your country?

 

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The Secret Hotel

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A Hotel With No Name – Would You Do It?

If someone said to you ‘hey, come and stay in this hotel but I can’t tell you the name of it’ you probably wouldn’t accept. After all, who wants to splash their cash on something when they don’t even know what they are buying! We work hard for our money so it stands to reason that we are going to want to make sure that when we spend it, it is something that we actually want!

That is why many people are put off by the secret hotel concept at first glance. After all, if you have to pay to stay somewhere then you want to make sure that you know what you are getting for your money. When you first read about booking into a hotel with no name it can seem like such a bad idea however it doesn’t have to be all that scary.

The Real Secret Hotel Concept

Actually when you log onto a website to book a secret hotel you do get more information than just the chance to book into a random hotel. For starters you get the location of the hotel, the star rating, a review and of course details of amenities that the hotel can offer you during your booking (here’s an example). When you look at all of the details you do get before you actually book a secret hotel room and the fact that it is usually priced at 50% off it suddenly becomes all the more tempting.

Making Life Even Easier For You

If you want even more information on a hotel before you book then you’ll be glad to know that there are websites that can help. If you log onto a website then you could be left crying ‘found an additional description of the hotel at Secret Hotelier but not the name, arggghh!’ but at least you’ll have more information than you did before!

Of course you also have the back up that these hotels want you to come back and book with them. They certainly don’t want your hotel stay to be a bad one, after all their reputation is at stakes! When you consider all of the details and the massive amount of money you would be saving, why wouldn’t you book into a hotel with no name?

 

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My Asia Travel Bucket List

Funny Road Sign

When traveling in Thailand, one must have the wisdom to discern what this road sign means.  Otherwise…..

 

 

aa

 

you’d end up all confused and take the wrong lane. ^_^

So what do you think this road sign means?

Leave your comments ^_^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bougainvillea and Santan Flowers for Snack

Would you care for some Bougainvillea and Santan Snacks?

That’s right.

 

SantanIxora coccinea. 

san

 

 

BougainvilleaBougainvillea spectabilis. bou

 

These flowers are abundant in Asia.  They make places like parks, schools, offices, and residences fresh and beautiful.  In the Philippines, they are used in one or two of the following events.

  • Flores de Mayo
  • All Saint’s Day
  • All Soul’s Day
  • Flowers for flower Girls in Weddings

 

But NEVER were they used as food.

 

In Southern Thailand, on the other hand, they are food.  Yes, totally amazing.  The snack is called “Dok Mai Thot”, which mean fried flowers.  Fried Bougainvillea and Santan taste like just like any other crisps.  It was an amazing experience.  I could not believe I was eating Bougainvillea and Santan flowers.

For you to be able to empathize with me, here it is.

 

Ingredients

Bougainvillea flowers ( as many as you want)

Santan flowers (as many as you want)

Flour

 

Procedure

1.  For the bougainvillea, take out the core and only use the petals. For the  Santan flower, take out  the filament at the center of the flower.

2.  Wash them in a colander for sanitary purposes.

3.  Mix a cup of flour and water in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt if preferred, without it is totally fine.

4.  Dip the flowers into the batter.

5.  Deep fry the flowers.

6.  Serve with tomato sauce or any of your favorite dipping.

 

aaaaaaaa

 

Although cooking oil is use here, I still think that this snack is healthier compared to any processed snacks in the groceries.  Flowers are full of fibers and other nutrients that are not found in processed snacks.

 

Do you know of any exotic snacks the world has not heard of?  Do share with us.

 

 

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