Travel Tips for Your Family

Having children does not mean you have to stop traveling. Although there are still many families waiting for the children to be of a certain age, or leaving them with other relatives to take long trips, the tendency to take the children with them is on the rise. A great news if we take into account that Spain has always been in line in Europe in terms of family trips abroad. Until now, a large majority still preferred Spanish coasts or camps to enjoy the summer. And, although both plans are very respectable, it is not the children who cut our wings to travel the world.

Find a destination that suits the little ones

Travel with your family

There are many countries that have great attractions for children. Water parks, attractions, themed, with animals, hotels where there are activities for them or places frequented by other families where our children can meet more children. Try to find common activities according to their age and call their attention. For example, in Asia a good idea is to introduce them to the snorkel and enjoy the seabed. In the jungle you can see different types of animals, zip line or play sports.

Choose direct routes

If you travel by plane, avoid flights have scales. If they have them, then they are not very long. Try, in addition, that the schedules are good for the children and that they do not break their biorhythm. During the trip, feel them near the windows, so you can go contemplating the landscape and have a further distraction. If the flight is at night, be sure to ask the stewardess for a blanket and pillow. The more rested they reach the destination the better they will feel. If the trip is long, we recommend that you bring them some entertainment. Some companies have sheets and paintings to distract you, also with coloring drawings and magazines where you can take advantage of the maps of the last pages to show them geography.

Includes the essential

Depending on the country you are traveling to, it will be convenient to carry everything your children need. It is better not to leave anything to improvisation, especially in medicines. Always carry a first-aid kit by hand. You never know if you can find medicines easily or at what price.

Do not be afraid

Many families acknowledge not taking their children with them for fear of something happening. However, there are many countries that are safer than ours. If traveling alone or as a couple, no mishap occurs, why would it happen to our children? What’s more, taking the children with us will open doors for us. In some countries in Asia or Africa, families tend to be very numerous, so they will be happy to help you, meet you and possibly your children will end up playing with ours.

Slow down

Although during the day they seem unstoppable and have more energy than us, children usually get tired before. Avoid long journeys full of visits, museums, meals composed by something quick and wanting to squeeze the trip to the top. Learn to enjoy a relaxed pace, with longer breaks so that children have time to eat and rest. The days will end sooner and you may have seen fewer things, but you will have enjoyed them longer.

Adapt to your schedules

Depending on the age, the child will have pre-established habits. Even if you are in the other part of the world and have the feeling that time does not exist, it is best not to alter them. Try that the different meals are at the same hours, that you sleep as necessary or that you are in bed at the established times. This will avoid that fatigue will lead to tantrums and that in the end it will be an uncomfortable situation for everyone.

Simplify

Depending on the age you will need more or less things. If your child does not walk, then here the question arises: Baby carrier or backpack? The only answer is destiny. If you are going to travel to a city where the streets are paved and it is easy to get around them, then you can afford to take the chair. If what you have planned is to do some hiking in the mountains, visit old villages or do outdoor activities, then the most comfortable thing is a baby carrier. During the trip you will see that many parents have also chosen this option. Forget about cribs, changing tables or other items. Many hotels already count on it.

10 Ways to Travel "Green"

1. Unplug Appliances. Even when appliances are off, they generate electricity. It is what makes the red signal on some televisions signifying the television is off. By unplugging home appliances, like televisions, microwaves, and coffee pots, before you leave home on trips can reduce the amount of electricity running through your home.

2. Stop the Newspaper. Are you really going to read those newspapers you got while you were gone? Probably not. So stop the newspaper before you leave for your trip. Most newspaper companies will allow you to give them the dates you will be gone. That way on your first day back you will have your newspaper again without making a call.

3. Research your Destination. Many vacation destinations around the world have environmental concerns. These concerns can range from endangered animals, protected wetlands, or plant life essential to the areas environment. By researching your destination ahead of time, you can be better informed on the local environment and how to not to disturb it. Plus, it might save you a fine or two.

4. Find “Green” Lodging. Popular tourist states are looking into ways to be more “green”. One way is to certify hotels that meet specific “green” criteria. You can check websites of the state you are visiting and find any “green” hotels and where they are located. By getting your information from a state department website, you will know that the hotel has been through rigorous screening to become more environmental conscious.

5. Research local trolley and bus schedules. While public transportation does not seem like the ideal way to ride in style, it can certainly reduce your carbon footprint. Vacation areas usually have a system of trolleys and buses ready and waiting to take guests from hotels to restaurants, airports, malls, museums, and other attractions. If you do decide to rent a vehicle, rent a compact car or a hybrid.

6. Bring Reusable Bottles. Bringing your own reusable water bottles on travels can save you money and the environment. There will be less waste and trash. Also, you can reuse your toiletry bottles like shampoo and conditioner. Buy small bottles and when you go on trips fill them up with your favorite toiletries. Avoid using the hotels toiletries.

7. Wait to Wash the Sheets and Towels. Do you wash your sheets and towels every day at home? Probably not, so why do it on vacation. Many hotels have cards or door hangers that ask guests if they would like to conserve water and reuse their sheets and towels. Take advantage of this opportunity. If the hotel does not offer the service, ask the front desk about it. They probably would welcome the option not to wash more laundry.

8. Turn Off Lights and A/C. Turning off the lights sounds like an easy one to remember. But, you would be surprised how many hotel guests leave lights on when they leave their rooms. Same thing goes for the air and heat. With the in room thermostats, guests can set the room to whatever temperature they please. Sometimes that means running it constantly. Even on vacation, you should be conscious of the amount of energy you use and conserve it.

9. Shop Locally. By shopping locally, you are exposed to more of the culture of the area. You can buy handmade souvenirs or fresh food made in the area. Also, it helps the economy of the destination and does not require shipping from outside vendors. No shipping means less gas used and less polluting of the air.

10. Give Feedback. Let the hotel know how well you think they did on being environmental conscious. If they offered programs, let them know how you appreciated it. If not, let management know how much you would like to see them go “green” in the future.

My Experience Paying a Bill in an Italian Village During the Corona Virus / COVID-19 Crisis

It was February 21 when I unknowingly relocated to the Italian countryside to hideout from the Corona Virus. At the time, this hadn’t been my plan because I was engaged in other activities. I had spoken with some friends and students about the likelihood that the Corona Virus would slowly travel across Italy. Although I had questioned whether the virus could impact Italian exportation of cheese and comestibles negatively, it was clear that I and others didn’t really believe the virus would leave much of a mark.

That same day, I heard there had been an outbreak in the Lombardy region, sixteen confirmed cases! Yet, most people thought it could be contained. There was no way that the Corona Virus would reach the Piedmont region, I thought. Most people dismissed this possibility, and many even went both to work and to school with cold and flu-like symptoms that resembled COVID-19. I was suspicious, telling myself that it must have been all in my head.

Then Piero told me I would be better off not taking the usual train to Borgomanero because infections were rising and it would be a little risky. Thinking that I was better safe than sorry, I agreed to travel with him by car. Little did I know that I would only return once to Novara to pick up the items that were necessary to get through the month! From then onward, I would be glued to the TV news in addition to the Internet news, which would arrive from sources across the world as I was interested in a wide variety of viewpoints.

Not long afterward, everyone in Italy would be required to stay home so as not to infect others or catch the virus. People could only go out to buy necessary food, to visit the pharmacy, to pay a bill, or to eat and drink at a local coffee shop or bar. Villagers in Gattico-Veruno began to get out for countryside walks in pairs if they resided together in the same homes. For a brief period, it was nice to see people out and about, returning to nature rather than travelling to neighboring towns for entertainment. As we saw the gloomy news about the victims of Corona Virus, we stopped going outside, and soon the government required everyone to produce an ‘auto-certification’, stating their exact reasons for exiting their homes or leaving their yards.

Despite my angst, the day eventually arrived to venture outdoors again, just to pay rent in America. I had called the proprietor to get an extension, but the operator who answered was clueless about all that had been happening in Italy. They needed that rent money immediately, not knowing that the virus would soon arrive in the States, too. It seemed like I existed in a sci-fi film, and my article about why people loved zombie movies became more relevant to my state of mind.

Armed with an ‘auto-certification’, hand sanitizer, and respirator masks, we hazarded out into the sunny open air. Few people were around. First, I tried to get money from the bank that was closed. Then I tried two ATM machines that weren’t working. Still hopeful, Piero and I went to the local post office in Gattico-Veruno where a kind young man, possibly in his forties, came out to help me use the ATM machine that was still refusing to accept my card. Next, I wanted to load an Italian debit card inside the post office.

There was another masked woman in line who feared contamination. We were the only ones waiting, following the national decree to keep space between one another. One of the clerks in his late fifties to mid-sixties seemed grumpy, probably because it was unfair that he had to work when most others were at home. It was certainly risky for him to be there. Both of the clerks said that the internet was not working correctly, and there was no telling how long we would have to wait. They recommended that we go to another post office.

Discouraged once again, Piero and I went to the neighboring village of Bogogno, a cute little town that reminded me of a painting by de Chirico because there wasn’t a soul around. I couldn’t help think about how I would like to stay there for an extended period. Too bad it was that the virus had invaded the country, making it impossible for tourists to enjoy such magnificent beauty! How could it be that such a small village could be exposed to a harmful virus? I asked myself. If only God, who is represented in countless churches across Italy, heard our prayers!

Inside the Bogogno post office, I found a gracious woman in her mid-sixties who was wise enough to wear latex gloves to handle money. She was working behind a glass partition with a little hole at the bottom through which cash, debit cards, and papers could be passed back and forth. Maybe she was relieved that I, too, was wearing gloves and a mask. She efficiently took care of the transaction while carrying on a delightful conversation with me. I was amazed by the way she could provide excellent, friendly service while not wasting time. I didn’t forget to wish her health and safety although one hesitates to say such things that might be understood by some Italians to bring bad luck.

As I exited the post office, a stranger was about to enter. He was moving so fast, without a mask, that I jumped back for fear of contagion. When he realized that we had to keep a distance, he also distanced himself. Piero was waiting for me outdoors in the distance as was required by law. Hastily, Piero and I made our way back to the car, me thinking what a shame it was not to be able to enjoy such a delightful village.

We did not stop anywhere that I can recall on our way back to Gattico-Veruno. I just took a deep breath and looked for police that might question us. It seemed spring had begun as there were plenty of flowers adorning the houses and gardens. The landscape looked serene while the dark, heinous Corona Virus lurked somewhere out there, unbeknownst to us.