Five Strategies for Stress-Free Travel with Children

Travelling with kids always seems like a great way to spend your holidays, but then the day of the flight comes. You have to seemingly fight them every step of the way, and the whole time you can feel your stress levels rising. If this sounds all too familiar, taking a look at these 5 strategies will change your life.

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Basic Preparations for International Business Travel

Travel Collage

Traveling abroad for business can be beneficial, productive and exciting for your company. It can produce new business and networking opportunities, but it can also be hard on you. Especially if you are a business-travel novice.

Stay Connected
One of your most important considerations, especially for international business travel, is staying connected— to your office, to your contacts overseas and to anyone in the States who you rely on to conduct business. Start by managing your technology to preserve your ability to communicate en route: put your laptop, tablet, digital camera and anything else electronic in your carry-on luggage, rather than in your checked luggage. To make sure you have access to smartphone technology while traveling abroad, your best bet will be Internet-based solutions, which depend on data instead of cell technology. Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) applications like Skype let you make free calls to other users of these apps and very inexpensive calls to land lines and mobile phones— anywhere in the world. For text messaging, use free services like Google Voice.

Send Things Ahead
Sending materials ahead of time if you’ll be presenting at a conference may be a necessity or simply a convenience. Either way, one of the most important steps in the shipping process is international address verification. The last thing you want to worry about is undelivered mail.

Take Care of You
Jetlag is a common problem for business travelers. Drink plenty of water in the days before your trip, and cut back on alcohol and caffeine. If you’re going to a destination that requires more than 12 hours of air travel, stopping in a city en route for a night or a few hours or arriving early at your destination can help to break up your trip and allow your body to adjust to the time differences. Try to sleep and eat according to your new time zone, not the one you’re coming from.

To protect your data, files and presentation materials while traveling, Microsoft recommends these precautions:

  • Don’t carry your laptop in a designated computer bag— it’s a dead giveaway that you’re carrying a laptop. Instead, consider a suitcase or a padded briefcase.
  • Create strong passwords with capital letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t carry them anywhere near your laptop.
  • Encrypt your files.
  • Use a screen guard to make it difficult or impossible for anyone to see what you’re looking at on your computer.

Familiarize yourself of common cultural practices through books and videos before your trip. Take note of idioms (whether or not you speak the language of the country) and customs. You can even pass the time on the plane by reading up on the culture of your destination. If you can do this, you and the people you meet will all feel much more relaxed.

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Summer Holiday Locations

Summer is the ideal time to go away on holiday. The school holidays coincide with the summer, so this is usually the time that families with children pack their leisure wear and head for somewhere exciting. Even young couples or singles take to the road at this time as the weather is generally great and places look their best.

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New Orleans Summertime Blues? Try These Vacation Destinations

Summertime is full of barbecues, shorts and river walks. New Orleans is an exciting city this time of year. Everyone seems to have summer fever and is out and about. The only problem is that hot, sticky New Orleans summer weather! You might enjoy this year’s steamy months a little better if you took a break. A cost-conscious, fun-filled vacation is just the ticket if you want a month, week or even a long weekend away from The Big Easy.

The Everglades

Enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, eating and drinking in one of the most unique locations. Stay in Florida City’s Everglades International Hostel and enjoy breezy accommodations at great rates: dorm beds are $28 per person, and a group of six can book a private room with bathroom for $168, according to They can set you up with tours for any time of day. Prepare to share space with gators the size of tanks and heavy-artillery mosquitoes … it’s all part of the fun!


Photo by Bogeskov via Flickr


Although it might seem like an ambitious goal, seeing 10 or even 20 countries in a summer is completely doable, as long as you know where the deals are. A Eurail pass for up to 3 months starts at $494, according to Save by staying in hostels and eating cheaply at markets and street stalls instead of restaurants. One of the best sites to check the cheapest flight deals is Round-trip flights from New Orleans to the U.K. start around $1300.

Eiffel Tower

Photo by Terrazzo via Flickr

Charlotte, North Carolina

So you can’t be Katniss Everdeen, but you can at least travel to the state where much of “The Hunger Games” was filmed. Take a day trip to the ghost town of Henry River, where several District 12 scenes were set or catch a show at the Knight Theater, also a filming location, according to Looking for adrenaline boosters? Check out the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Photo by James Willamor via Flickr

Carnival Dream Cruise

Set sail on the high seas with a cruise through Carnival Dream. Their all-inclusive packages include 24-hour room service and multiple dining options, among them a coffee bar, steakhouse, chef’s table and tasting bar. Entertainment doesn’t lack, either. Packages come with a comedy brunch, access to the art gallery, “dive-in” movies, concerts and an Internet café. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget the candy shop. And when you’re done there, head to a yoga or Pilates classes to work off the extra calories before hitting the pool. Depending on your room choice, cruises can cost as little as $40 per night, according to There are cruises departing from the Port of New Orleans year-round.

Carnival Cruise

Photo by El coleccionista de instantes

A quick word of advice: When traveling a lot, protect your identity with security measures while dealing with money or personal information. According to Lifelock, in 2011 there were more than 11 million victims of identity fraud. According to, must-dos include keeping receipts or tearing them up, shielding your PIN with your hand while at ATMS and storing personal information in a safe place.

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Global Humanitarian Experiences for Philanthropic Travelers


As long as you have a spirit to serve and passion for volunteering, you have what it takes to be a humanitarian.

“Whether you’re an accomplished physician, a student in nursing school, or someone with zero medical training, there are plenty of organizations (religious and otherwise) looking for volunteers,” explains the travel blog of HCCMIS. You can help treat and improve the living conditions of third-world nations by learning more about the following organizations and embarking on the trip of a lifetime. 

Project Hope

Medical volunteers for HOPE participate in ship-based care in partnership with the U.S. Navy. HOPE volunteers also participate in land-based projects that provide medical assistance to needy people worldwide, including major disaster relief efforts. In 2004, volunteers helped mitigate the Tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia. HOPE volunteers provided aid to Katrina victims in Gulf States during 2005. Five years later, HOPE relief workers assisted Haitian earthquake victims.

Volunteers in Latin America, West Africa and Oceania also participated in health education and humanitarian assistance missions. The goal: remediate disasters and improve the quality of life for people throughout the globe by executing educational and health care services.

Embark of any of the current HOPE opportunities: 

  • Nurse Educators (Shanghai): Qualified graduate-level nurses will teach undergraduate nursing students.

  • Physical & Occupational Therapists (Haiti): Volunteers will train and mentor local techs specializing in PT and OT.


  • Physician Faculty and ESL Teachers (Shanghai): Qualified recruits will teach students about basic medicine, physical sciences and comprehensive English.


  • Various Volunteers (South Africa): Recruits will carry out the HOPE Centre chronic disease project.


  • Health of Women and Children Program (Dominican Republic): Team of diverse volunteers will promote global health program.


  • Physician Specialists (Haiti): Physician Specialists will assist with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and the health system. 

Global Crossroad: Nepal & Other Destinations

The Himalayan country of Nepal suffers from severe poverty and sickness. Global Crossroad offers life-changing Nepali experiences for volunteers who want to embark on an adventure as well as help heal the sick or make a difference in an orphanage.

Nepal volunteer programs include:

  • Teaching English to Buddhist Monks

  • Working in an orphanage

  • Volunteering in nature conservation or medical/health care

  • Becoming a photojournalist

  • Impacting the lives of underprivileged children through Mini-Venture Nepal programs 

  • Discovering the beauty of Nepal through Summer Escapes program, including community work   

Volunteers will participate in a language and cultural immersion orientation program in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. During two phases, you’ll learn about the county’s history and the negative wear-and-tear effects of the modern world. Volunteers become submerged in Nepali culture and way of life for a more rewarding experience. 

Fees include meal plans and accommodations for projects and traveling. You’ll receive three meals a day full of local ingredients and traditional cuisine. also explains that international volunteers will stay in a permanent residence called a “home base, either with a host family or in a project hostel." 

Individuals with a passion for traveling, new experiences and humanitarian service can also venture to an array of worldwide destinations through Global Crossroad services. Help disadvantaged and at-risk children in Argentina. Care for individuals in Kenya who are infected with HIV/AIDS. Support Thailand locals as they strive to achieve economic opportunity by generating projects, such as a fish farm and animal husbandry. Other countries include Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uganda and more.

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Cruising 101: The Caribbean

Venturing to far-off places, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, extraordinary cuisine and first-class treatment is what cruising is all about. You’ve researched and found amazing Caribbean cruises, but now what? Taking a cruise is definitely not a last-minute vacation. You need the proper paperwork, current passports and up-to-date vaccinations, depending on your location. Below are things to consider before exploring the sights and culture of the Caribbean:


Your cruise can be denied for the simplest of reasons, like misplacing your passport. Your passport can’t need to be renewed in less than six months. A valid passport is essential when traveling so if it needs to be renewed, do it now.


Visas are required, depending on your location. This generally doesn’t include the Caribbean but does in Europe, Central and South Americas.

Sea Travel

For voyages that begin and end in the same U.S. Port, U.S. citizens may travel with both a Government-issued birth certificate and Government-issued picture ID card, preferably your driver’s license.

Luggage Tags

Make sure every piece of your luggage (including carry-on and purses) have luggage tags. That way it will be very clear which ship you’re sailing on, the dates you’re going and the stateroom you’re occupying. With easy-to-read luggage tags you decrease the change your luggage will be lost or stolen. When checking in to your first port, generally there will be a porter to take your luggage and an attendee to give you luggage tags and tell you your stateroom number.


Make sure the name on the cruise reservation is exactly as it is stated on the passport or other citizenship document. If your name has changed for any reason, it is required that the documentation be updated with the new name. If you do not, you could run into delay or possible denial of boarding.


Be up-to-date on all your vaccines, especially when traveling out of the country. If you think you might be due for a vaccine, contact your doctor’s office of your cruise line on recommendations.

Special Health Concerns

If you or anyone you know is traveling with disabilities, you need to notify the cruise line so proper measures can be taken. Services that require advanced notice include raised toilet seat, large print material, shower stool, service animal relief area, oxygen and dialysis supply and medical refrigerator.


Payment for your cruise should be made during your booking process online and sent to your travel agent or cruise line. Final payment is due 75 days prior to sailing for standard and holiday departures and other select departures require final payment 90 days prior to sailing date, according to
Guests who do not bring the proper documentation with them may be prevented from boarding their flight or ship or from disembarking or entering a country and may be subject to fines and will not be reimbursed any amount of money. So before you book those Celebrity Caribbean cruises, make sure you have all the required documentation.

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Choose Dallas: 4 Types of Trips to Take in the Big D

Choose Dallas- 4 Types of Trips to Take in the Big D

Going away on business or planning a couples retreat? Either way, Dallas has something for everyone. If you’re heading to the land of big hair, big egos and big guns, here’s a few ideas of where (and how) to spend time.

For a Relaxing Retreat:

If wouldn’t be Texas without rustic beauty, hunting and luxurious amenities. Nestled on 11,000 acres in the foothills of Texas Hill Country, Rough Creek Lodge and Resort is equipped with 57-guest rooms and suites with exclusive cabins and guest houses. The resort is equipped with fine dining, a spa and facilities for shooting, fishing, golf, horseback riding and more. The lodge resort is located about 70 miles (90 minutes) from Dallas, but Toyota rental cars are available around the city and airport.

If traveling outside of the city isn’t what you have in mind, look to stay closer to the heart of Dallas by reserving a room at the Maple Manor Hotel. It’s rated the ’#1 romantic hotel in Dallas,’ and with all the weddings held there, the five-suite bed and breakfast oasis is sure to be conducive to love.

For Those Away on Business:

One of the most recognizable landmarks and unofficial symbols of Dallas, Reunion Tower offers sight-seers a 360-degree view of Dallas and the surrounding areas. The tower stands 561-feet tall, according to, a global provider of building information, and houses an observation deck and revolving restaurant Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. Though it should be noted, the tower opens at 5:30 PM and is only available for those to participate in the (rather expensive) lounge and dining experience, while taking in the view.

For Relationship Training:

If a relaxing retreat isn’t enough and it often isn’t enjoy Dallas while helping your relationship heal at a couples counseling camp. According to, director Jim Carroll designed the program to help couples work through issues using games, drills, competitions and skits. Focusing on application instead of lecture, the purpose of the intense four-day camp is to help couples solve root problems and decide “whether to stay and heal or make peace with the outcome,” according to the site.

*In 2013, Marriage Boot Camp will be held in Dallas on the following dates: Jan 23-26, March 6-9, April 10-13, June 12-15, July 17-20, Sept 11-13 and Nov. 13-16.

For History Buffs:

Housed in the building where the (in)famous shots were fired, the Sixth Floor Museum is a historic exhibition of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The museum is located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building, formerly the Texas School Book Depository. Using footage, audio clips and eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the tragic event, museum-goers can get a good idea of what happened the day of, and even see the exact window Lee Harvey Oswald opened fire upon the motorcade. If you have doubts about Oswald being the true shooter don’t worry, a travel review guide, Lonely Planet, noted the museum doesn’t shy away from conspiracy theories. Open daily except for Thanksgiving and Xmas day, adult admission is $16 with discounts for seniors, youth and children.

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