The Best Airlines for Travel with Kids

As a mother who frequently travels the globe with her two children, I have had the fortune (and in some cases, misfortune) of flying on many of the world’s major carriers.  Over the years, I have certainly made my picks for best airlines to travel on with kids and do my best to book tickets on those airlines, particularly for long journeys.

A couple of notes before we start:

Duration Matters:

For flights under three hours, I will usually just go with the cheapest, most reliable airline with most convenient flying times. It’s over three hours that service starts to matter.

Status Helps:

Due to my husband’s work travels, we are Star Alliance Gold members which makes it hugely convenient because we can check in extra bags for free, use the lounge, and check in at the business class counter even when traveling economy. In today’s world of zero customer service on airlines, it’s nice to have an airline be nice to you.

The Best Airlines for Travel with Kids:

(In no particular order):

Singapore Airlines:  Singapore Airlines understands that children are part of our society and that it’s in everyone’s interest to make them comfortable on a flight. SQ traditionally has been a leader, flying the newest and swankiest planes, which means that the kids get the best pick of movies and video games, in addition to toys, coloring, and other activities.  Their Yummy! Meals service is exclusive to kids and allows them to choose from a range of popular favorite and healthy dishes.

The customer service is excellent too. They once damaged my stoller and the reimbursement process was absolutely painless. There is much to be said for an airline that is not trying to short change its customers. With the Kris Flyer program, kids can start earning precious miles at 2 years of age.

Emirates Airways: The Young Flyers section on the Emirates website will show you just how important kids are to them. Emirates is know for its state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, their child-friendly customer service, and their loaner strollers at Dubai Airport. Always a pleasant journey.  Skysurfers can earn miles and get special privileges like preferred seating.

Lufthansa Airlines: German carrier Luftansa goes above and beyond for families. I was once traveling when I was pregnant and the stewardess made it a point to check on my frequently and to give me a large bottle of water to ensure I stay hydrated. Lufthansa’s website details tips for families, including specific travel regulations by country, which I have not seen elsewhere.

Etihad Airlines: Etihaad’s “Flying Nanny” service puts it a notch above the rest, showing parents that this airline understands their needs for rest and comfort too. Kids are also treated to an entertainment pack, tons of movie and games options, and nutritious meals. Etihad’s miles program, Etihad Guest, was designed with families in mind, letting families’ pool together all their miles for anyone’s use. Makes you wonder why all mileage programs aren’t structured like that.

So the next time you are traveling with kids and have the opportunity to fly any of the above airlines, take it! You’ll see how it makes a world of a difference!

Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is the founder of Momaboard.com, a website that specializes in family travel.

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Credit Card Myths Debunked (#ThrowBack Thursday)

There are many different credit card myths that convince people to avoid lines of credit like the plague. Discovering the truth may convince you that a credit card can actually be beneficial in some circumstances.

Credit Card Company Owners are Crooks

This credit card myth is just plain senseless. It’s impossible to lump all credit card companies and executives into a single category. The revelation that one credit card company was using dishonest practices to abuse customers does not mean that all credit card companies are engaged in similar practices. Credit card companies come in many different shapes, sizes, and methods of operation.

Your job is to do your research, compare and then decide on which credit card company you’d trust before signing up with any of them.

Credit Cards Always Create Financial Disaster

Credit cards do not always spell financial ruin for customers. The ruin comes from misusing a credit card, failing to make payments on time, or accumulating a sum of debt that is simply too large to be paid back effectively. If credit cards are used responsibly and sparingly, they can actually be quite beneficial to a person’s financial outlook.

Credit cards can improve one’s credit score, spread payments for large items over several months, and offer a solution in the event of an emergency. To enjoy the benefits though, ensure that you pay your balance in full at the end of every month. This will shield you from compounding interest rates on the card as well as late repayment charges.

Beware that credit card interest rates are higher compared to other forms of debt such as mortgages, car loans etc.

Credit Card Interest Rates are Always Too High

There are credit cards with shockingly high interest rates, but these credit cards are not the norm. Interest rates are determined by industry standards, and labeling these rates as “too high,” is failing to take into account the globally accepted industry practices.

Credit Card Perks are Worthless

One common credit card myth that needs to be discussed is the myth that credit card perks are really just worthless incentives used to convince ignorant customers to choose a specific credit card. Of course, there are some credit card perk programs that fail to offer anything of real value to the customer.

This isn’t the case with most perk programs, however. For example, credit cards that work with airlines to offer the accumulation of airline miles are actually offering something quite valuable to the consumer. Capital One is one of the most well-known credit cards with airline benefits.

With this card, you can accumulate miles through regular use of the card, and then you are able to use those miles whenever and however you wish.

Conclusion

The credit card industry is plagued by myths and false accusations. It’s important for a consumer to make his or her own decisions about the credit card industry before deciding to never open a line of credit. And at the end of the day, its you who is solely responsible for the use of that credit card. You determine whether it will be for your good or if it will lead to debt.

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Weekly Roundup – How To Avoid Credit Card Debt

Credit card are considered evils of our society, things that should be avoided at all costs. Why? Because they can lead to serious debt. Quite a number of people struggle under a load of Credit Card Debts. This is because they keep on purchasing goods and services without realizing that they are over spending thus they end up accumulating huge debts which mostly they struggle to pay. There are some steps you can follow to make sure you don’t get into credit card debt.

Charge only what you can afford

Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford. This might sound obvious, though it is a common trap that many fall in to. If you wouldn’t spend cash on something, why buy it with a credit card? After all, the day will come when you need to spend that cash to pay off your card, so always think twice before charging a large purchase.

Have an emergency fund

Set aside emergency fund to cater for unplanned emergencies that may arise rather than using credit card that might accumulate huge debt.

Create your own budget

Come up with your own budget based on the amount you posses and strictly adhere to the budget. Let every purchase you make with your credit card not forgetting their hidden charges be within your budget.

Pay on time

Pay your balance each month. If you can pay off the balance of your credit card statement each month, you will avoid paying interest charges. Interest and fees are really where credit cards get expensive, so avoiding paying interest at all costs.

Use Prepaid cards

Use a prepaid card whenever you’re shopping. By using prepaid cards, you get a particular amount of money to spend and you don’t have to worry about overreaching your credit limit.

Leave your credit card at home

Leave your card at home when you go shopping. Unless you know for certain thing you’re going to buy using the card, there is no need to take it with you. This will completely take the temptation of using the card for a spur of the moment purchase completely out of the equation.

Avoid cash advances

Avoid using credit cards for cash advances as they attract higher interest transaction fee and you don’t get a grace period.

What is your approach in avoiding credit card debts? Let’s us know in the comments below.

Amazing Reads of the Week

Life After Debt: Planning Ahead For Our Debt Free Future – Disease Called Debt

Top 10 Summer Memories – Financially Blonde

The Four Stages of Financial Independence – The Simple Dollar

If You’re Going To Succeed, You Have To Have a Plan! – Enemy of Debt

Defined Contribution Plans: Why Opting Out Shouldn’t Be An Option – Boomer and Echo

Luzern and a Novel Approach to History Interpretation – Elizabeth M. Covart

Challenges of A Traveling College Student – Twenty-something Travel

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Travel Blogger Interview – Round The World in 30 Days

Round The World in 30 DaysMeet Jenny McIver the founder and the author at Round The World in 30 Days blog sharing with us her travel experience around the globe. Her first RTW trip was love at first flight and quickly turned into an annual event once she realized that it wasn’t that hard to plan,it wasn’t as expensive as she thought it might be and it was unbelievably, life-alteringly, amazing!. You can follow her blog on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Jenny McIver. Atlanta-based road warrior, globetrotter and author of “The Grown-Up’s Guide to Globetrotting.” Ten years ago while on a business trip, I came across a newspaper article about a man who took a year-long trip around the world on a single airline ticket. I don’t know why but the idea just struck me like a ton of bricks. I’d never heard of “RTW” tickets but I started looking into them the next day and discovered that I had more than enough miles to book one through Delta’s Skyteam Alliance. I couldn’t take a year without sacrificing my career but I decided to do a month. Exactly one year later I departed on my first 30-day trip around the world and this year I’m planning my 10th for January 2015. To date, I’ve visited and written about more than 155 countries on all 7 continents.

What gave you the inspiration to start your blog?

I started blogging long before I actually realized that’s what it was called. With my first round-the-world trip in 2006, I used a site called MyTripJournal.com to keep an online journal of my travels, mainly just so I could share photos with family and friends, keep them updated on my location and have something to help me remember all the little details of the trip. (Remember, this was back before the whole world was on Facebook.) When I decided to do the trip again the following year, I again used the MyTripJournal site but by Round the World #3, I knew this was going to be an annual event so I decided it was time to transition to my own site. Thus, RTWin30days.com was born in 2008 and I’ve been blogging about my travels there ever since.

What is it about travel that has you so obsessed about it?

It’s funny, the more of the world I see, the more I want to see. You don’t realize just how big the world is until you get out there and start exploring it. And travel (especially round-the-world travel) has definitely become a passion for me. In 2009 I realized one 30-day trip a year just wasn’t enough anymore so I started a mid-year edition. Not a RTW, but a month-long trip focused on a certain region of the world. That summer was “Europe in 30 Days” I’ve also done Central America, the Himalayas and the Balkans in 30 days each on subsequent summers.

What have been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?

My all-time favorite is Antarctica and I can’t imagine that any place will ever surpass it. It’s the closest you can get to visiting another planet and it was just a uniquely special and surreal experience. My other favorites are Easter Island and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. I also love the Maldives, Laos, the Greek Islands and just about everywhere in Thailand.

I noticed you mentioned travel isn’t expensive, how to you fund your travels?

My round-the-world trips are primarily funded by my business travel-accrued airline miles and hotel points. I use my Delta miles for a business-class RTW ticket each year and my accumulated hotel points cover about half of the hotel costs. That helps a lot. That said, you don’t need miles to do a RTW trip affordably. RTW tickets are an incredible value for anyone and I’ve seen them on sites like Airtreks.com and Bootsnall.com for as little as $2,000 (which is almost what I paid just for my coach flight to China last summer). Choosing inexpensive destinations is a great cost saver, too. In South America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, your money will stretch a lot farther than at home. South Africa is a deal right now, too, thanks to the rand’s drop against the dollar. I was just there last month and I was shocked at how much cheaper it was than on my first visit in 2006.

What are the most effective ways you limit costs when traveling?

Miles and hotel points are the biggest thing. But I also spend a good amount of time figuring out the least expensive order to visit several countries in a region – where are the cheap direct flights? Or inexpensive train routes, for example. Each big trip is like putting together a puzzle. You have to find the least expensive way to make the pieces fit. I also love taking advantage of low-cost carriers around the world and have done dozens of flights for less than $50 in various countries. Buses and trains aren’t always the cheapest form of transportation!

Are there any budget travel strategies that you tried but decided weren’t for you?

Hostels aren’t for me. Budget airlines, yes. But hostels, no. I do love a nice bargain hotel, though. With budget airlines like Easy Jet and Air Asia, I always pay the extra money for early boarding and assigned seats when available. It makes me feel like I’m flying a full-service airline even when I’m on a super cheap fare.

What do you mean by “being on the road for business”?

I own an event management business and travel frequently to manage large conventions and trade shows. My primary client, however, is a major sports television network and I travel weekly for them during college football season. Overall, I travel for business more than half the year.

Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

Absolutely! I’m an Atlanta-based frequent flier so Delta is my program. I have two Delta Skymiles American Express cards, one business and one personal. Those cards help me earn miles for my RTW tickets. I also carry the Chase Sapphire card and I’ve used their Ultimate Rewards program to book flights on airlines all over the world.

What places are still on your bucket list?

The Arctic to see the Northern Lights. Visiting all 50 US states (believe it or not, I’m still about 6 short). The Marquesas, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya…so many places! And there are dozens of places I can’t wait to return to someday.

Of all the places you traveled to, what was your favorite?

Antarctica, hands down. Mykonos, Greece is also a very special place to me, it was the first place I visited overseas and I loved it so much I’ve been back 7 times. I like to think it was that little island that first inspired my wanderlust.

Do you have any major travel regrets?

Not starting when I was younger! While some of my peers were taking gap years to travel, I was building a career. I didn’t get my first passport until I was 26 for that trip to Greece. I don’t necessarily regret the choice because it got me to where I am today but I think I would have loved backpacking around Europe as a 20-year-old. What an incredible learning experience it would have been.

Aside from traveling, what’s the best general advice you want to pass to people?

Don’t assume you’re going to have the time or money “someday” to travel. Travel NOW. You never know what will happen down the road. People always say they want to travel but most never really do. They take the traditional, single destination vacation each year and wonder why they’re not making any progress on their Bucket List. Change the way you think about travel. Take that two weeks and go around the world! It’s easier and more affordable than you think.

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Weekly Roundup – 4 Challenges Faced By Travelers

Are you traveling to Paris to celebrate a marriage anniversary, a vacation at Maasai Mara in Kenya or visiting friends in London. You are really anticipating the trip and praying against all odds for the trip to be. As much as you anticipate all these, here are a few challenges that you can face as a traveler and are beyond your wit.

1. Flight Delay

Nothing frustrates a traveler like a delayed flight. this can be caused by poor weather, flight cancellations, maintenance problems with aircrafts, fueling, air glitels congestion in air crafts, security issues, late arrival of the aircraft to be used for the flight from a previous flight among other reasons. A delayed flight can be very costly to the traveler as they are forced to adjust their personal schedules.

2. Airport Security

Going through security check at the airport can be very cumbersome to the traveler.
this is because of delays and adjustments in protocols such that it can be hard for the travelers to keep up with changing tide.

3. Losing your Luggage

Losing a luggage can be attributed to various factors like the attendance typing the wrong destination code, forgetting to pick your luggage, routing label gets damaged, your bag is loaded on the wrong plane among other reasons. To avoid loosing your luggage always; double check if the routing information on your bag is accurate before being sent down the conveyor belt, make yourself known by placing various ID cards in various pockets and poaches, by sharing your itinerary so that the airline workers will be able to route your bag in case the find it and cannot trace you among other advisable measures.

Prescription medication emergencies

It is easier to forget to take a prescription, loosing or running out of medications. It’s even disastrous if your are away from your usual pharmacy, you are in the country the brand name is different or liquid quantities prohibited by airlines.

Conclusion

If you face either of the above challenges, don’t be discouraged, Always remember “There is a solution to every problem. Face the challenge like the brave person you are and definitely your trip will be and you will enjoy to the maximum or achieve your set goals.

Have a Safe Journey, wont you!

How do you face challenges while traveling? Let’s us know in the comments below.

Amazing Reads of the Week

Financial Wisdom From My Younger Self – Disease Called Debt

9 Unexpected Ways Your Budget Leaks Cash – Your Personal Finance Pro

How to Get the Best Rates With Mortgage Brokers – Money Mini Blog

Helpful Social Security References – Oblivious Investor

3 Step For Getting More Out Of Educational Conferences – Advisor Websites Blog

A Flight Attendant Paid to Travel – Travel Junkette

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