Lifestyle Design For Children – Through the Eyes of Travel!

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

More and more, parents are seeking new ways to support and enhance their child’s education, beyond what goes on in the classroom at school.  One of the most powerful ways to do this is through educational travel. Student educational travel, when done right, can be a profound and life-changing experience for a young person, one that can leave them with a greater understanding of the world and their role as a global citizen.  For parents who have already put a great deal of time, energy, and money toward a child’s education, there is no better way to maximize the investment than to augment classroom learning with an educational travel experience.

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 Learning in the field, engaging with inspiring people (scientists, community organizers, artists), and incredible places (from tropical rainforests to medieval palaces to rural villages), magnifies what students have learned in the classroom and gives them the chance to make meaningful connections that go beyond a mere textbook.   The chance to actively engage, ask questions, try, and learn, can inspire students and introduce them to new passions, ultimately influencing what they choose to study, and often what they choose as a future career. At a formative time in a child’s life, educational travel is an incredible opportunity to grow and gain self-confidence. Learning new skills (from surfing to building a campfire or orienteering in the mountains), conquering fears (of heights, bugs, or meeting new people), and meeting challenges (completing a hike, trying new foods, communicating in a foreign language) are cornerstones of experiential travel that result in significant growth in self confidence for young adults.

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Student educational travel helps young adults grow into better global citizens by expanding a child’s horizon like no other experience. It,enables a student to become more conscious of their place in the world and how they are connected to everything around them. The opportunity to travel as a student is a fantastic  life-long gift from parents that leaves an indelible impact on a child’s life and education for years to come.

Crawford Hill is the owner and director of Chill Expeditions, an educational travel company focused on cultural immersion. An expedition leader, former biology teacher, and educational innovator, Hill has been guiding students and adults on wilderness adventures since 1974. Over the years, Hill has led thousands of students and families on experiential learning trips to Costa Rica, Belize, the Galapagos Islands, Peru and Spain. Hill revels in the opportunity to be able to work with students and families across the country with the world as his classroom.

Popular Casinos in the Philippines

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Gambling is a popular pastime in the Philippines and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Run by PAGCOR, the local gambling corporation, casinos and high class slot machine clubs are located all across the three main geographical regions of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. Should you be fortunate enough to visit the Philippines and explore some of its 7,100 or so islands, then you should take the opportunity of visiting some of the more popular casinos; here are some suggestions.

The Resorts World Manila is probably the most popular Philippine casino. It opened its doors in March 2009 and since then it has more than doubled the total casino revenues generated in the country. Many visitors to the Philippines are attracted to the country primarily by the casino and there are always large numbers of Asian high rollers playing there. It is also popular with more casual casino visitors. The bars, restaurants and entertainments are some of the best you will find on the islands.

It could be that the dominance of the Resorts World Manila will be challenged by a new-comer to the block. As it opened its doors in March 2013 it has yet to establish itself. The Manila mega-casino complex will cost between $4 billion and $5 billion dollars to complete and the first phase represents a $1.2 billion investment. The complex will be called entertainment city and it is being build on reclaimed land. Already thousands of visitors are flocking to the casino which is intended by the investors to eventually challenge the casino dominance of Macau.

The casino games that you will find in these casinos are very much the same as the kind of games you would expect to find in any international casino. Poker is always popular here, as are classics such as roulette and blackjack. There are plenty of high roller baccarat games too; often these take place in private rooms. Bingo is mostly available and can be taken rather seriously too. Often there are local game variants, so make sure you know the rules.

5 Family Friendly Destinations in Europe Worth Saving For

So you want to take the family to Europe, right? But Europe is expensive and you’re worried you can’t afford it. Well I’m here to tell you that you can afford to see and enjoy pretty much anywhere in Europe with your family. You just need to plan ahead, prioritize, and get saving. Europe is so vast and so beautiful that it’s worth using an ISA for.

Here are some ideas for great European destinations that the whole family will enjoy…

France

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Ah, France. Never a boring place to go. You could stroll through the Fontainebleau Forest and castle, guaranteed to be a wonder both for children and adults alike, or Disneyland Paris for a more child-exciting atmosphere. For a more tourist atmosphere, go to the Notre Dame de Paris. Most of the places that are tourist and family bonding spots are in Paris and are all family friendly.

Spain

Spain is often a huge surprise to families expecting a fight for towel space on the beaches. One of it’s best attractions is the legendary Alhambra, constructed in the 14th century by Nasrid sultans. If you want a taste of incredible, the Cuenca is a medieval city straight from your dreams. A lot of the hanging houses there are built right up the cliff edge, making it quite a spectacle. For a cultural experience and a taste of the exotic, Spain will satisfy your family.

Italy

It’s not just the vast and gorgeous coastline of Italy that’s special, but the people you meet are all unique and are one of the things Italy is famous for. Because of the romantic atmosphere, it is a hot tourist spot for couples. But it doesn’t stop there, families are also satisfied because of culture that empowers the atmosphere and memories of Italy. Try going through all of Italy with your family and a guaranteed cultural blast is imminent.

United Kingdom

If you want a trip where your eyes would hurt from being so wide, the UK is something you would want to try. Riding the big wheel in London is not an experience your family would forget anytime soon. Or you could stroll through the magnificent hallways of the Edinburgh Castle, watching architecture as old as the hills look better than ever. Or maybe you’d want to see something mysterious? Stonehenge is one of the best known tourist attractions in the world. Coupled with the knowledge that each rock weighs 25-50 tons, trips to United Kingdom are not something a family would want to miss.

Turkey

Want your family to visit a place you’ll remember forever? Why not stroll through the Hagia Sophia? The place is actually a church looted by the Fourth Crusaders in 1204. To all who want a crash course in something exotic, Turkey is a place as family-friendly as a Disney movie. Not all families go to Turkey due to the assumption that the place is barren. But trust me, you’ll instantly reconsider that assumption when you get there.

Family South African Safari Guide

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One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the experience of travel. It broadens the mind and teaches lessons way beyond the walls of the classroom. Imagine how incredible it would be to take your family on a South African safari, discovering wild animals together under the big skies in their natural habitat.

Safaris have come a long way, and it’s now possible to take your family on a safe journey that is exciting, educational, inspirational and even opulentDon’t miss the precious opportunity to take an adventure together with your children. Not only could the experience influence the rest of their lives, but it could also become your greatest shared memory.

After taking your flights to Johannesburg, you will find a number of suitable malaria-free game reserves that are perfect for families. If your children are tolerant of car journeys they can be reached in just a few hours, taking in the stunning landscape on the way. The parks can also be reached by a short internal flight, which may be more suitable for those with young children.

Why Take a Family Safari to South Africa?

Taking your family on safari gets your children out of their daily routine. It takes them (and you!) away from televisions, mobile phones, emails and games consoles, and into the wild where the air is fresh and pure. It’s a chance to make time for each other without distractions from work, school and friends.

Many of the lodges and camps welcome families and offer plenty to keep your little ones occupied in between safaris. Downtime is a perfect opportunity to learn tracking skills from the park guides and find out about local wildlife as well as regional traditions. Being outdoors is also the perfect opportunity to learn about ecological issues and how reliant our planet is on a natural balance.

The family friendly lodges are surrounded by fences to keep the wildlife out and your children in, and there is a wide range of accommodation to choose from suitable for families with young children or teenagers.

There will be plenty of opportunities for you all to kick back and enjoy the sunshine during your safari holiday, as many lodges have swimming pools and other outdoor leisure activities. If you want to build in more relaxation time you could consider combining your family safari with an Indian Ocean beach break.

The breathtaking experiences waiting for your family on safari are endless, from finding a pride of lions dozing in the afternoon sun to seeing a giraffe stretch to eat leaves off the tallest of trees. But the experiences of a family safari go way beyond the animals and spectacular national parks – share a story over a roaring campfire while tucking into a BBQ, look up at the blackest sky and see thousands more stars than you ever dreamed possible, enjoy the feeling of being out together in the wilderness where the here and now is all that matters…Going on a family safari will provide you with priceless moments that you will treasure forever.

 

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Gold Coast, Queensland’s Mecca for Theme Parks

The gold Coast in Queensland is an idyllic spot with a lot of beaches, great weather, and a huge amount of theme parks to keep the entire family happy, for a long time. Below are the top 5 attractions you should check out.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

This is where you get up close and personal with Australia’s unique animals. Yes, you can pat a koala, play with the kangaroos, wombats, hold one of Australia’s many many snakes, and other animals as well. The sanctuary has been set up to not only be a showcase of the many different types of animals and birdlife, but also to offer hands on experiences as well as a lot of information about these creatures. The Green Challenge high ropes adventure course offers an ‘amazing race’ experience with some 64 obstacles to conquer.

Dream World

Dream World is a haven for ridiculously scary rides. The Pandemonium even has two queues for the ‘not-so-crazy’ queue to the ‘seriously crazy’ queue. Other rides include The Claw and Australia’s first motorcycle rollercoaster where you actually ride an actual sized 500cc motorbike. All ages are catered for, with many family oriented rides like – Shockwave where you attempt to survive an underground sea mission that starts off calmly enough but … There are many other rides as well. The children’s rides capitalise on the success of the Wiggles so children can drive the ‘red car’, interact with Dorothy the Dinosaur and many more.

Movie World

Is based on movie themes and has not only rides, but sideshows, street performances and arena entertainment. Batman, the Green hornet, and Ice Age 4D not to mention Screamer. Again, there is so much more to do than rides and you can see your favourite stars wandering the streets.

Sea World

Sea World has a large amount of displays, shows, and opportunities to meet and greet the animals. They have various worlds that are well worth seeing. Snorkel in a tropical reef; be a palaeontologist at Dinosaur Island; meet dolphins, seals, and polar bears in their different worlds.

Australian Outback Spectacular

Get to know more about the Australian outback and the huge influence and importance of the horse in droving and mustering, to the great racehorse Phar Lap. This is a full on show which involves the audience in cheering for the stockmen against the stockwomen. The entire show is accompanied by Australian music as well as informative commentary. Wear your Australian stockmen’s hat, which you will be given as part of your purchase price. This also includes a full on Australian dinner delivered to you by the stockmen and women in a race against the clock! You will see what I’m talking about.

There are many attractive packages to visit multiple parks and shows, which represent better value for money as opposed to buying them fat each venue.

On your recuperation days, head to one of the many beaches and chill out. The Gold Coast is an excellent holiday destination.

Photo by lindys_pics on Flickr

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The Working Farm Holiday

This is a surprisingly great holiday for not just the kids, but also for the parents. A working farm is a terrific way, particularly for urban families, to experience a working farm. The kids get to see cows being milk, sheep being shorn, collecting the eggs and many other activities. There are so many to choose from in all continents of the world, that the destination will be a hard choice. These are just a few worth looking at in various countries.

Australia

Hanericka Farmstay, in the south of NSW is a full on farm holiday. Farm holidays have become one of the most popular holiday destinations for both adult groups and families with children. There are opportunities to chop wood, bag wheat from a silo, wash out pigpens, fence, and sweep out farm sheds, collect eggs, catch yabbies, mark lambs, and ride on the back of a ute or horse. If you are excited as parents, imagine your kids collecting your breakfast to be cooked.  This farm serves up the big old hearty cooked breakfast as well as scones during the day.  If you get a little tired from your chores, you can always have a dip in the pool or play tennis.

USA

Bonanza Ranch in Montana has been in operation since the 1870’s and runs some 1,500 head of cattle. This is a full on horse riding farm stay with simply miles of country to explore. You can choose to be involved in the cattle work, which means riding for up to 6 hours a day. You will be involved in herding and penning the cattle. You will see where the bears and the antelopes roam. You will be mighty hungry after this and the food will certainly be enjoyed. Both you and the kids will sleep very well at night.

Thailand

Thung Dong Farm is located near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The farm is all about the animals and tending to them. Here you will see cattle, ducks, guinea fowl, pigs, dogs, and horses – all are there to restore and rejuvenate you. It is a very peaceful existence in a beautiful area of Thailand. You and the children will become very attached to the animals and will be pleased to know that none are ever used as source of food on the farm or ever knowingly sold for slaughter. All meat and fish that you do eat at the farm is obtained from local markets.  The owners use all proceeds from their guests to put back into caring for the animals. The food served at Thung Dong Farm is good, healthy, authentic typical northern Thai country fare. The added bonus is that the villagers cook the meals and they welcome yours and your children’s help. The Thai people love children, full stop.

A farm holiday is a very good idea for a family, as it covers many experiences not typical in the normal lives of most people. It is a chance for everyone to come away with a newfound perspective.

Photo by 22670857@N03 on Flickr

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How To Pack For A Family Adventure

An adventurous family trip is always an exciting prospect for the kids. True, it can be tough to get away for a vacation in today’s busy world, but it’s absolutely worth the time and effort.

To make sure your family adventure runs smoothly, proper planning and arrangements are required. One aspect you want to make sure you get right is packing. Do this correctly and you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and stress during the trip.

The following list will help you prepare better for your family adventure holidays:

Keep yourself well covered

Always take clothes that are easy to wash and dry off quickly. No matter the weather forecast, it’s wise to be prepared for the worst climatic conditions in the region you’ll be traveling through on your adventure. Appropriate clothing should always be kept handy. For example, high ankle shoes are best to avoid insect bites, even if you’d rather be stepping light with some breezy flip flops.

Whatever you do, resist the urge to carry designer clothes or accessories. You’re aiming for adventure, remember? Dress practical.

Carry adequate shelter

Such things as camping tents, travel pillows and inflatable mattresses are very useful while on adventure. Mosquito nets are also a godsend as they save you from mosquito bites and help you get a good night’s sleep. Quality sleeping bags can protect you from intense weather and insects at the same time.

Avoid taking heavy blankets as they consume a lot of space.

Be ready for untimely snack requests

Now-a-days, portable mini stoves are cheap and easy to acquire. One of these can come in very handy for long trips. If you’re a big food lover, then a portable barbeque stove might be worth bringing along. Just make sure you can justify the space required to carry such a thing.

Don’t forget to take simple kitchenware like foldable spoons, forks, plates, bowls and mugs with you. Always carry a hydration bag which will avoid loss of fluids from your body during long trips.

I’d advise against taking along foldable tables and chairs. These really aren’t necessary.

Protect your family in hostile conditions

A medicine kit — consisting of band aids, anti-inflammatory creams, mosquito repellents, reptile bite sprays, snake bite sprays, etc. — should always be kept handy. Your first aid kit should also include medicines for headaches, upset stomach, food poisoning, vomiting, cold and cough, etc.

Don’t worry, medicines don’t take up a lot of space. A good first aid kit need not be any bigger than a typical lunch box. Oh, and avoid taking syrups if possible, as they can spill and cause a lot of mess.

Keep your electronics easily accessible

If you tend to use electronic items (camera, cell phone, chargers, laptop, iPad, etc.), keep them in a bag or compartment where they are easily accessible.Also, protect such items from bad weather conditions by using water-proof covers for each of them.

Another handy tip: Avoid carrying a separate charger for each device. Instead, invest in and carry multi-purpose and multi-device chargers.

Other travel accessories

Do keep items such as your passport, tickets, maps, cash, cards, and toiletries in a safe place but one where you can also reach them quickly and easily.

Other things to avoid bringing on a long family trip: heavy jewellery, designer make up kits, and stuffed toys.

What are your best packing tips?

I’m sure you can come up with a few tips of your own that I’ve failed to mention above. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Top Travel Tips From 5 Adventuring Families

Traveling can be taken as a source of adventure for different families, especially those with children and would like to show them the world so that they can explore it for themselves.

Traveling as a family is one of the best activities to unite a family. You can take your children on different travel styles such as luxury hotels and this generally covers the relaxed and active destinations. It gives kids a holiday away from books and home. It’s also advisable to have a budget for your trip so that you may not overspend.

For your family travel inspiration, here are five adventuring families who show that it is indeed possible to travel the world with kids in tow…

1. The Zapp Family

Leaving in dreams can change your destiny. Take into consideration the Zapp family with their four kids who have been traveling around the world in their own car for the past 11 years.

Their irrepressible travel dreams have led them to travel all over Argentina, USA, Alaska, Canada and Oceania. As of this writing, they are currently located in Asia and their dream is never over. They still have plans of moving around the whole world in their car.

They claim that dreams can make you change your thinking capability about traveling. Father Herman dreamed of traveling when he was as young as ten years old (he is now forty-two). Herman inspires us by telling us that we should follow our dreams. He readily claims that he is not worried about his children since they learn new things regularly and also travel all over with him. His wife is a good teacher to them, and they always seem to enjoy the family adventures. Herman tells us that having children can never be a hindrance to travel and enjoy oneself.

2. Jon’s Family

A good example of a loving family who followed Herman’s advice about following their dreams. Herman gave them a good does of inspiration and told them they could succeed in whatever they wanted most. This made Jon’s family want to start immediately on their travel dream.

They also believe in faith and actions. This gives them the psych to move on with life strongly while enjoying everything along the way. This is evident when Jon pats his wife’s back and smiles telling her that having faith is what it takes to start a long journey of leisure and traveling.

3. Morgan’s Family

Morgan’s family claim that their trip with their kids was the greatest since they followed their dreams and succeeded. Morgan has moved around the world with his twin brother and their families.

4. Bob’s Family

Bob and his family were driven crazy with restlessness when it came to thoughts of the travel adventures they could have. Eventually they packed their bags and toured the world with their three-year-old and enjoyed their life as one non-stop adventure.

5. Cam’s Family

Cam was a reluctant traveler who usually talked about trips with his friends. But he built his hopes, overcame his fears, and began traveling around the world together with his kids. He’s only grown more adventurous over the years.

Do you know of another traveling family?

Please go ahead and share their inspirational story in the comments.

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Fall Family Fun at a Pumpkin Patch

With fall now in full swing, it’s time to get the family out of the house to enjoy some time together before the cold of winter sets in. One favorite fall activity that the whole family is sure to enjoy is a trip to one of the many pumpkin patches that can be found all across the U.S.A.

What’s a Pumpkin Patch

When some hear “pumpkin patch” a name brand of children’s clothes comes to mind. But in the U.S. a pumpkin patch is an area of land on which pumpkins are grown. Pumpkin patches are seasonal, usually starting in late September and lasting until the end of October or the beginning of November. Pumpkin patches are found in the more agricultural areas of the United States and are usually accompanied by corn mazes with the farm offering other fun activities to take part in. The most enjoyable thing about a pumpkin patch is that you get to pick out a pumpkin, be it big or weirdly shaped, to take home to use as decoration.

A Pumpkin Patch and a Great Big Corn Maze

To find some great big pumpkins and have loads of fun head out to the Cool Patch Pumpkins farm in Dixon California. This farm which hosts a large variety of different pumpkins also offers you the chance to wander thru one of the longest corn mazes in the world. The corn maze is laid out over 45+ acres and has won a title in the Guinness Book of World Records. For your younger kids you can rent some pedal carts and tricycles so they can enjoy riding thru some of the mini mazes and around the pumpkin patch. The corn maze costs $10 for tickets with kids 5 and under going free and you can purchase a pumpkin from the patch at various prices depending on size.

PEANUTS™ and Pumpkins and a Train Ride to Boot

For a truly memorable and exciting pumpkin patch trip, take your family aboard a train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This beautiful excursion which can be found in western North Carolina takes you on the PEANUTS™ Pumpkin Patch Express to a pumpkin patch themed after “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. This ride is available all throughout October and as you travel along soaking up all the beautiful scenery of North Carolina you can listen to a voiced narration of this famous Charlie Brown story written by Charles Schulz. At the pumpkin patch you will enjoy more than an hour of fun activities including a hay ride and live music. The train excursion is a bit pricey at around $55 for adults and $31 for 2-12 year olds but for the price you get an unforgettable experience that will give you lots of memories to cherish.

Caution! Low Flying Pumpkins

At Craven Farm in Snohomish, Washington, on top of being a sweet 20 acre pumpkin patch worth visiting, there are also some other cool activities to take part in. Entrance to the farm is free and you pay only for the activities that you take part in. One of the most enjoyable activities on the farm is the weekend pumpkin slinging. For just one dollar you can sling 3 mini pumpkins at targets with the slingshots built specially for the occasion. Other activities include a hay ride and corn maze and while you are there you can purchase some tasty snacks and some fresh produce grown right on the farm.

Find a Patch Near You

It is understandable that you may not be able to make it to one of the amazing pumpkin patches mentioned above if you do not live nearby. But, if this is the case, you can always look in your local area for a pumpkin patch near you. There are literally hundreds cool pumpkin patches all across the United States from New York to Illinois and all the way up in Oregon. Check in your local paper and online and you might be surprised at what you find.

A trip to a pumpkin patch offers you a great chance to get out and enjoy some quality time together as a family as you enjoy all the wonderful beauty and colors of fall.

Photo by kams_world on Flickr

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Top Winter Escapades for Families

With winter just around the corner, many people are already longing for the warm days of summer past. For families winter can be a fun time filled with hot chocolate and snowmen but every once in a while it is nice to take a sunny break away from all that cold weather. For those looking to get away and a warm their chilling bones, there are many great destinations around the world that offer you a beautiful time filled with lots of sun and warmth.

Explore the Bermudas

With average temperatures ranging from 60sF to 80sF, the island of Bermuda makes a great winter travel destination although at some times it may seem rather chilly. Bermuda, which is actually made up of over a hundred different islands, is a British territory just off the east coast of the U.S. On your visit here you will discover much natural beauty and fun to be had. The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum of Bermuda Art, and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse are among some of the favorite attractions to visit in the various parishes on the islands. For some extra fun there are also several great beaches and golf courses where you can enjoy a beautiful day in the sun. Whenever you choose to visit the Islands you are sure to have plenty of adventurous moments together as a family.

Go Where the Sun Is Always Shining

The Maldives in the Indian Ocean is yet another great destination for families looking to escape the cold. The islands that make up the Maldives in southern Asia offer your family a wonderful stay in a tropical climate. Many popular resorts can be found in the Capital of Male which provide you with everything you need to enjoy a fun filled and relaxing time. Seafood makes up the main part of Maldivian food and you will find many restaurants on the islands serving some of the best Maldivian cuisine. For fun you will find plenty of adventurous water sports to take part in as well as many other activities.

Experience a Nice Warm Break

There is no nicer place to visit then Nice, France in the French Riviera when it comes to escaping the cold of winter. There are many amazing attractions and activities in this beautiful city for the whole family to enjoy. For a starter you should check out Castle Hill where you will get a great view of the city. Be sure to take your camera so you can snap a few shots. Along with all the beautiful scenery in and around Nice, you will also find several beautiful beaches and points of interest. There are plenty of accommodation options for your family around the city and some great restaurants serving local and foreign cuisines.

Enjoy Many Fun Filled Adventures

A trip to the state of Goa in India is a great place to go for a unique adventure offering you much more than just beaches and water sports. The Portuguese have had a great affect on the history of Goa giving them a culture unique from that of India as a whole. The state of Goa has many beautiful beaches that are worth your visit but there is plenty of fun to be had farther away from the beach as well. There are many different cities in the state that offer many activities such as paintball and shopping. Museums and other historical attractions to visit can also be found in Goa.

If you are looking for a chance to run away from the cold of winter, be sure and check out all the beautiful destinations mentioned above.

Photo by wendypiersall on Flickr