Post Date Oct 24

Keepin’ it Clean



Taking a trip is always exciting, but sometimes you get so caught up in where you’re going that you forget to take care of important details at home. The better you prepare for your vacation or family trip, the more you’ll be free to enjoy yourself. You don’t want to find yourself on the plane suddenly remembering that you forgot to pack some essential item or that you left the heat on. Before a trip is the perfect time to do some straightening up and cleaning around the house relying on household products to get the job done. Wouldn’t you rather return to a nice clean house rather than a mess? Here are a few suggestions.

De-clutter and Clean Up

This is a good time to throw out some items you don’t need. For items that are in decent condition you could either sell them or donate them. If you’ve been thinking about rearranging some furniture or doing some redecorating, you might want to make a few changes before leaving for your trip. You don’t have to go overboard, but if you make the changes now you can view your home with a fresh perspective when you return. Then you can decide if you prefer the new arrangement or the way it was.

Once you’ve straightened up, you might want to do some environmentally friendly cleaning. That way, your home will look and smell nice and fresh when you get home. White vinegar is great for removing odors and stains. Another inexpensive household cleaner is baking soda. This is especially good for deodorizing the refrigerator while you’re way. Lemon juice can also be great for cleaning and leaving everything smelling fresh.

Packing Tips

If you make a list well in advance of your trip, there’s less of a chance you will forget anything. Whether you write it down in a notebook or on an app on your smartphone, you can start the list a couple of weeks ahead of time and add to it at your leisure. The only danger to this approach is that you’ll end up making the list too big. This brings us to another principle of stress free travel -packing light.

Most people tend to over pack. Before you pack your entire wardrobe, try to be realistic and consider what you are likely to need on your trip. If you plan to do any clothes shopping on your trip, this will also reduce the amount that you need to take with you.

Prepare Well So You Can Relax During Your Trip

By making the necessary preparations ahead of time, you can make it more likely that things will proceed smoothly on the day you embark on your journey. Leaving everything till the last minute, on the other hand, almost guarantees that you’ll feel stressed out and end up forgetting something.

Post Date Sep 16

Umbrella Strollers, Diapers and Bottles: Packing for a Baby

file000727293127Deciding to go traveling with a baby can be a big decision in itself. There are so many things to worry about such as where to go, whether to fly or drive and whether you will even enjoy traveling with a baby. Once you have sorted all this out, there is still the question of what you need to take. The answer – quite a lot!

Here are some of the items I suggest packing when you are traveling with a baby.

  1. Stroller

The biggest question parents of babies ask themselves is whether to take a stroller or not. In general, I recommend that you do. However, this is definitely the time to leave your bigger, bulkier strollers at home and to do some research into the best umbrella stroller to take with you. A lightweight option that still lies back so that your baby can sleep on the move is the best choice.

  1. Diapers

There is no need to take a thousand diapers with you unless you are traveling far off the beaten track. Diapers are generally easy to find in cities anywhere. I suggest you take enough for the first couple of days so you do not need to worry about it as soon as you arrive at your destination.

  1. Bottles and Formula

If your baby is bottle fed, then you need to take a few bottles, formula and cleaning equipment. If you are traveling domestically then you do not need to take much formula as you can buy it as you go. However, if you are traveling internationally, I suggest taking enough formula for your entire trip. Formula quality varies, and if your baby has a favourite one then they may not be happy having to switch to something else. I also like to travel with this bottle warmer. If your baby expects warm formula, then you will need something to warm it on the go.

  1. Portable Crib

A portable crib is invaluable when traveling. Although many hotels may have a crib available, many will not. Even if the hotel has cribs, they often can’t guarantee that it will be available when you arrive. For this reason, I always travel with my own. For road trips, I have a cheap portable. When flying, there are some great lightweight travel cribs that you can take with you. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Lots and lots of clothes

As you would already know, babies get dirty. Always travel with lots of spare changes of clothes. Take several changes on board flights with you as well and always be prepared for the worst.

There is no reason that you can’t still have a relaxing vacation with your baby. The best way to ensure this happens is to be prepared! Hopefully by taking the items above, you will have an easy and fun vacation.

Post Date Sep 5

Creative Games to Play While On Vacation


Family vacations are something everyone looks forward to. Traveling with kids, however, can be challenging and expensive. Setting up a savings account is a great way to ensure all your tracks are covered before setting out on an adventure with the whole family. Looking into options like a market linked gic will help gain you the most funds while protecting your initial investment. If they’re not happy everyone feels stressed out, especially on long car trips. It doesn’t have to be that way! Planning ahead and bringing some simple, basic items along on the trip makes getting to your destination fun and memorable!

Image Source: orangebrompton

Great Entertainment Items to Bring 
Items you bring to keep everyone entertained don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Pencils and pens
  • Washable markers
  • Loose-leaf paper or tablets
  • Small maps you’ve printed before the trip
  • A printed listing of car brands and styles
  • Yarn or other string
  • Laptop desks

With these materials, you can play traditional games like hangman, connect the dots or tic-tac-toe. You can also use printed maps to play the license plate game. Look for license plates from each state. When you see a plate, color in the state or make a check mark for each state. The person who finds license plates from the most states in a limited time wins.

Another fun game is searching for different models of cars and checking them off as they’re found. I Spy is another fun game, where you find things along the way and have others guess what you’ve found. Kids love these games. They help increase awareness of surroundings and help to improve skills like memory. With yarn, older kids may enjoy crocheting or knitting. Younger children love using yarn for homemade lace-up cards.

Games To Play With No Supplies

If you’re looking for games that require no accessories, here are some to try:

A game where one person whispers a story and the next person whispers it to his seatmate and so forth until everyone has heard it. The last person repeats the story out loud. This causes laughs because the story is usually different from the original.

The Alphabet Game
Find items that begin with letters of the alphabet, or search for alphabet letters on signs or license plates. Go from A to Z and the first person to spell the alphabet wins.

Restaurant Game
Everyone thinks of their favorite restaurant like McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell. Search for signs, billboards or radio commercial advertisements. The one who finds their restaurant name the most times is the winner.

Post Date Aug 29

More Than a Beach with Babes: Brazil is a World

Oh sure, there is Rio with the beaches of beautiful boys playing foot-volleyball and impeccable bikini clad girls. The city lets its hair down for Carnival and shakes everything a little harder to a Samba beat like no where else. What the World Cup in 2014 should have highlight for everyone is there is far more to the country that Rio. It is a big place and not everything is about the beach, football maybe, but it is more than a beach.

Rio Beaches

Photo Credit: andybullock77

There is the lung of the world, the Amazon basin rainforest. The cultural centers like Salvador. The economic engine of Sao Paulo. The natural wonder of Iquazu Falls. Even the beaches that stretch along its nearly 7500 km of coastline give a few more options than planting a chair in the sand at Rio. There is a whole diverse world to check out here and you aren’t getting there by sitting on your couch.

Couch Potato

Photo Credit: LAIntern

You aren’t going to get anywhere fast in Brazil without hitting the skies either. This is a big place. Did a mention it was a whole world. Nope, you are going to be winging around if you are going to see anything. Don’t you worry either, flying in Brazil doesn’t require getting on some chicken bus equivalent airline. This is the real world here, not some bad 1960’s movie. TAM, the biggest airline in Brazil, is a full bells and whistle deal. Full reclining business class, executive lounge, cover the whole country kind of happiness experience.

TAM Airplane

Photo Credit: Aero Icarus

Some crazy people may tell you that you aren’t going to really get to know the country by flying. Sitting on a bus for 30 hours is the only way “really” meet people. Last time I checked the people next me on an airplane were just as real as the people on the bus. I just happened to have an extra day enjoying my destination instead of trying to sleep sitting up while my whole world bounced up, down and side to side. That extra day of being jostled on the bus isn’t really meeting people any more than having a pleasant conversation at 30,000 feet.

Explore Brazil beyond the beaches or at least explore more beaches but get out there and sample the world.

White as sand

Photo Credit: stefanedberg

Post Date Aug 28

Romantic Things To Do In Australia



Photo Credit: Wojtek Gurak

If you’re in love and looking for a romantic adventure, you don’t have to look too far to find several ordinary activities that can be transformed into something extraordinary.

It’ doesn’t matter whether you’re strolling along a beach hand-in-hand, visiting a restaurant, or just admiring a city’s architecture – everything is that much more magical and has a crazy rose-tinted glow to it when you’re in love.

Some people prefer grand gestures as a way of showing their love, while others prefer to demonstrate their adoration for another person in more subtle and consistent ways. Whatever route you choose to take, there’s no doubt that there’s a little bit of a romantic in all of us.

If you’re looking for some romance and happen to live in Australia (or you’re traveling there and looking for some romantic spots), check out a few recommended romantic spots and activities for you and your lover.

Whitsunday Islands
Picture white sandy beaches and crystal blue water. This is what lies in store when you visit the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. It’s a popular yachting destination, so you could cruise around on the waters while soaking up the sun, or take a walk along the sand, kayak, sail, and even pitch a tent overnight. If you’d prefer more luxurious overnight accommodation, there’s a resort where you and your partner can relax and enjoy the various activities on offer.

Great barrier reef – safari snorkel in the middle of the ocean
Snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef and witness the stunning marine life and array of coral types. Board a vessel at Cape Tribulation beach and head out into the waters to snorkel the immaculate areas of the Reef. There’s nothing quite like the combination of nature, sun, sand and ocean to help you reconnect with serenity and make you appreciate the beauty of life a bit more.

Fraser island – island made of sand
Located in Queensland, Fraser Island is a World Heritage site, and is the largest sand island in the world. The island also consists of rainforests and swamps and sand dunes. More of an adventure than anything else, you and your partner can venture through the fresh water lakes, the rainforest and experience the assorted wildlife.

Surfers paradise
Known by some as the “Miami of Australia”, Surfers Paradise is a suburb that serves as the hot-spot of entertainment and tourism in the Gold Coast. Expect to see fancy cars and palm trees, and to ride the waves, play frisbee, picnic on the beach or relax on the soft sands. There are tons of restaurants and cafes to choose from, and there are also spas that you can visit to rejuvenate after a long day of surfing and sun.

Balloon trip in the outback with champagne
For the ultimate way to relax, float with the clouds in a hot air balloon as you sip on champagne and take in the spectacular scenery. Spot a red kangaroo, and take aerial photographs of the stunning sights below.

A drive along the gold coast
This coastal city has so much on offer, it’s ridiculous. You can enjoy the vibrant nightlife on offer, and party until you drop. If you’re traveling in a car, you and your partner can stop off at Broadbeach, snorkel, and end the day off with a romantic picnic accompanied by wine or champagne.

Walk up Sydney harbour bridge
Get your gear on and prep yourself for the climb ahead. Ascend the arches and take in the gorgeous view of Sydney. When you eventually reach the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you’ll have an amazing 360 degree view of the harbour, the city and all the surroundings.

Have a fancy dinner at Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex
Stay overnight at the 5-star hotel, enjoy the water features, go shopping at various luxury brand stores, and gamble at the casino after dinner casino. Like the games at Euro Palace, Crown Casino has a massive game offering, including slots and popular table games like blackjack and roulette.