Sunday, October 22, 2017

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How To Survive An Airplane Journey With A Small Child

Taking children on an airplane journey can be a nightmare – particularly if it’s long haul – for both you, the parent, and any fellow passengers. Children are easily bored, and when the novelty of being in the air wears off, you will most likely find yourself with an overly energetic child trapped in a confined space.

It’s a nightmare start to a holiday, and the disgruntled moans of other travelers won’t help the situation or your mood. So here’s some essential tips to surviving an airplane journey with a small child:

- Use a variety of distractions

If you were just planning the journey for adults, a simple book or magazine would be plenty to occupy your attention for the entire flight. Unfortunately, children have notoriously short attention spans, so you need to vary the things you take in your on-board baggage.

Books and magazines are a good idea if your child is so inclined, but also take small travel games such as chess or Connect 4. Coloring books are also a good idea, and a plain sheet of white paper and some crayons also work well. Having a variety of options for keeping your child stimulated should help the situation immensely.

- Don’t let your child get close to a tantrum.

If a child is becoming bored and / or moody, you’ll be able to sense it coming. In a small space like on board an air craft, it’s important you don’t let their mood develop in to a full-on tantrum. Distract them immediately with the above items, or strike up a conversation about the things you’re going to do on holiday – whatever it takes to keep their spirits high, and yourself sane!

The Con of ‘Discounted Attraction Tickets’

When you visit a new city or country, there tends to be a thousand and one things you want to see, try and do. The adventures to be had in somewhere new and unknown are seemingly never-ending; from museums and art galleries, right through to theme parks and thrill-seeking attractions, every day can be a new experience when you are traveling

If some of the places and attractions you intend to visit are ticketed, one way to make the day even more special is to look for discounted tickets. We all like to save a bit of money, get something for nothing or enjoy a substantial discount – and we don’t leave that desire at home when we go on holiday. If we can visit the sights and sounds of our vacation place without paying full dollar for them, we probably will.

This is where the problems can begin for the bargain-hunting tourist. In a scam that is becoming more popular by the day, ‘discount ticket agents’ have set themselves up on the streets of some of the world’s biggest cities. Usually armed with official-looking ID and sometimes even a uniform, they will tell tourists who happen to meet them of a fantastic promotion to visit an attraction, museum or other form of entertainment.

The ‘promotion’ is usually some kind of discount; money off, kids go free or something similar. Thinking they’ve found a bargain, the tourist buys the reduced-price ticket for the attraction and happily goes on their way – only to discover that the museum or art gallery is free to enter! It’s a clever scam with little payback for the street sellers, who of course will be gone should you return to confront them.

Thankfully, avoiding the scam is simple: don’t buy tickets from street sellers, no matter how good the deal looks or how official they appear.

Is Travel Insurance Really An Essential?

Any holiday website, hotel reservations website or travel agent will be quick to tell you that travel insurance is an essential for any trip either abroad or in the same country. This ‘advice’ usually accompanies a hard sell for their in-house insurance, which many people purchase without even thinking about it.

However, those stuck in Europe following the Iceland volcanic eruption that closed European airspace for six days, discovered to their cost that travel insurance is not always what it’s made out to be. Many discovered that even with insurance, not all of their costs were covered, begging the question: is travel insurance really essential?

Firstly, in the vast majority of cases, any travel insurance that is bought through a travel agent or when booking a holiday is likely to be overpriced. While the cover may be good, these companies capitalize on your spur of the moment decision, and the premiums can be double what the same cover with an independent company may be. So if you do decide to purchase travel insurance, make sure you shop around.

When doing so, read the small print. This really cannot be stressed enough. Think of the various situations in which you might need to make a claim on your insurance; lost property, cancellation of flights, or even more extreme situations like airspace being closed. Find out exactly how covered you are, and if there is a time limit you are covered for should you need emergency accommodation.

Then, do your sums. You may find it would be cheaper, when you factor in excess, just to set money aside to use in case of emergency rather than buying travel insurance. Only when you know the insurance would save you money in the event of a problem should you purchase it.

The Pick Pocketing Problem

Pick pocketing is one of the biggest crimes for tourists to suffer. The reasons for this are simple; tourists are more likely than regular citizens to be carrying their valuable belongings with them, making them a prime target for pick pocketers.

The risk of pick pocketing is higher if you are in a big city, and particularly a crowded area. Also be wary when visiting a foreign market; while the cultural thrill is immense, these markets are also prime locations for pick pocketers to target.

To minimize the risk of being pick pocketed – and to make it less damaging if it does happen – follow the steps below:

- Distribute your money.

Do not carry cash and credit cards in one single wallet when out and about on holiday. Distribute cash and cards in different areas, pockets, bags and preferably among different people in your group. That way, if a thief does get their hands on something of yours, you’ve not lost everything.

- Don’t want a fanny pack / bum bag.

Fanny packs (also known as bum bags) make you a target. You’re essentially strapping something around your waist that says: here is where I’m keeping my valuable items! Instead, use a money belt which can be hidden beneath clothes if you don’t want to actively be carrying a bag in your hands. If you must wear a fanny pack, only store items you can afford to lose in it.

- Don’t display items.

Thieves can often see the outline of what it is someone’s pocket – this is particularly true for wallets. Don’t store items in your back pockets wherever possible, and if you do need to, push them tightly inside so they can’t be removed easily.

Tourism and Crime: An Unavoidable Link

No matter what country in the world you visit, there is a perennial problem when visiting big cities. Any city that is synonymous with tourism also has another unfortunate association; a criminal association. As cities are prime preying ground for the less scrupulous of society, tourists are among the most likely people to be a victim of crime – and particularly, theft.

The problem is not specific to any one country, nor any one city. It is just, unfortunately, something that goes with the territory. Tourists are a target for criminals because tourists are out of their comfort zone; away from their home, perhaps not aware of the way things are done in a different country, and – most importantly – more likely than regular citizens to be carrying their valuables with them.

Tourists are a target for theft based crimes; theft of both property – such as wallets, money and jewelery – and also identity theft, such as passports being stolen. The statistics more than double when you look at the plight of tourists in big cities such as London, New York and Paris. Thieves rely on tourists to be disorientated and unfamiliar with their whereabouts, and the crowded locations make pick-pocketing an easy day’s work for many a criminal.

While you should not let the possibility of crime ruin your holiday, so allow it to take part in your holiday preparations. Try and book hotels that are well-recommended on travel review websites, and preferably that have safes in each room. Consider a money belt to conceal cash and credit cards while out, and wherever possibly, don’t take your passport out in to a city you are visiting.