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:
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.
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.Read More
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 TravelRead More
Meet 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.Read More
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.
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 JunketteRead More
A lot can go wrong when you travel. Banks will strike just when you want to get your travel money out. ATM’s will fail. Your money will be stolen, or lost. You will take sick or take ill in your destination. All these things have one thing in common, they will keep you from your much needed money, or they will cost money.
It’s said cash is king in business. It’s the lifeblood that keeps the business machine chugging along. And needless to say, its also the oil that greases your travel experiences. Run out of it when traveling and you are in deep sh*t. So then, how do you handle your travel money? What is the best way to carry it, access it and use it? We’ve got some tried and tested tips for you. Read along and share yours too.
The Travel Money Tips
1) Always Carry Cash With You
You will never go wrong with cash. The best is to carry one of the major currencies. Especially the dollar. Most people have a rough idea of the dollar’s value at any given time. You can easily use dollars to pay for most things across countries. It is also easy to find exchange bureaus for the dollar compared to some other currencies.
Also in case of emergencies or failure by banks and ATM’s, you are well covered.
2) Separate Your Travel Money
Don’t put all your travel money in one pocket or bag. Separate it. Carry small amounts in each pocket. Also separate your credit and debit cards. This creates multiple backups in case you lose a bag, or you are pick-pocketed or other alternatives fail. Keep some smaller bills in an easy to reach place for sudden expenses. It’s better to keep the bulk of your money on body storage, such as bra pouches, long johnny boxers. This is especially handy in risky or shared spaces such as hostels.
3) Beware of Exchange Rates
Converting currency costs money. Sometimes you can lose as much as 8% of your money during exchanges. Keep exchanges to a minimum. Calculate the cash you might need locally and exchange that amount at once. Here are some fast rules of thumb regarding currency exchanges:-
- Stick to reputable exchanges such as regulated bureaus and banks
- Don’t change your money from street vendors. It’s a recipe for a rip-off
- Exchange the bulk of your cash at the local travel destination. You get a better late than at your home bank.
- Avoid exchanging money at the airports. The rates are awful. They know you are desperate.
- Be aware of the local currency value in relation to your currency. Some vendors will try to rip you off.
- Get a feel for the local currency. Study the coins and notes. Keep a vague mental value of the currency in relation to your currency. And count your money before you leave the counter.
4) Credit & Debit Cards
Most times, credit and debit cards are a reliable way of carrying and spending travel money. They are easy and convenient to carry. They can be safely used in most countries. However, most developing countries aren’t yet reliably hooked to the global card system. If traveling to those countries, cash will serve you right. For debit and credit cards, keep the following in mind:-
- Store your cards safely
- Inform your bank before you travel such that your card isn’t blocked for fraud when you use it abroad.
- Study the foreign use fees charged by banks on your card. If the charges are too high, seek other alternatives.
- Carry multiple cards in case others fail to work for any reason
- Don’t let your cards out of sight, ever. Credit card fraud schemes have started when a cashier spent a lot longer time with your card.
- Store emergency help line numbers for your cards handy in cases of theft or loss.
- Put the larger purchases on your debit/credit card. This include airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals etc
5) The Local Currency Advantage
Use the local currency for your transactions. Most vendors will rip you off and add a huge markup price if you produce foreign currency. Their supposed exchange rates for their products is also awful. Using local currency, you can compare your purchases to that of the locals or even ask for their help with prices and understanding the currency. Regular, ordinary folks tend to be really helpful and genuine.
# The Bonus Tips
- Local coins are worthless once you leave a country. Spend them on small purchases, change them for bills or give them away.
- Exchange all your money back to dollars when you leave. See Tip #1
- The traveler’s check is fast becoming obsolete in favor of ATM’s. Leave yours at home.
- If all else fails. Have someone back home wire you the money through Western Union etc.
Carrying travel money abroad can be a hassle. There is always the risk losing the cash. As pointed out though, there are various safe ways to carry and spend your money. Research the various alternatives and chose the best for the destination you are traveling to. Money may be the oil that greases your travel adventures, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Instead, your focus should be on enjoying yourself.
How do you keep your money safe while traveling? Let’s us know in the comments below.Read More