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Traveling with Kids Made Simple

by Lux Joseph 30. July 2014

Trying to get that last minute family vacation in before kids return to school? Family vacations can create long-lasting memories and fun learning experiences for parents and children alike. But traveling with children can sometimes be a test of preparedness- and of patience. We have created a list of suggestions to help make the sometimes daunting task of preparing for a trip with the kids manageable and fun for the entire family.

We suggest the following tips when traveling with children:

BEFORE LEAVING:  

Build excitement. Start a countdown calendar with perhaps a photo or illustration of the destination. Let kids pack their own bags. Decide what type of clothing (preferably loose and comfortable), but allow them to choose their favorites and to pack a special toy. In a carry-on bag, pack some hard candies and gum, hand wipes, tissues, books, paper, markers in a small, tightly sealed plastic bag and perhaps a surprise toy for each child.

Protect yourself. Update immunizations for the entire family. If traveling abroad, check with public health authorities for advisable additional vaccines.

TRAVELING BY AIR 

At the airport:

Allow for extra time. Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and in between connecting flights. Be sure to have a safety plan in case anyone gets separated at the airport. Discuss where to meet and what to do.

Make a flight plan. Review screening procedures with children before entering security checkpoints so they will not be frightened by the process. Also, all child-related equipment must go through the X-ray machine. To speed the process along, remove children from their strollers/infant carriers and collapse/fold the equipment so it may be examined or put through the machine.

On the flight:

Take a seat. Bring a child/infant seat on board that meets current safety standards and is not more than 16 inches wide. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that children weighing less than 40 pounds be placed in child/infant seats.

Get assigned. Getting your seat assignment in advance can help ensure families are seated together. If a flight is full and you cannot obtain seat assignments in advance, advise the airline personnel at the airport. The airline may need to ask other passengers to change seats so children are not seated apart from parents.

Bring Entertainment. With new rules and regulations, an iPad or tablet no longer needs to be turned off for take off and landing as long as it is in airplane mode. Bringing one of these that is pre-loaded with movies, educational applications, and engaging activities will keep your children from getting board.

TRAVELING BY CAR 

Get comfy. Bring pillows and blankets. Stop frequently at rest stops to stretch and make use of restrooms. Play games and make sure the car is stocked with plenty of engaging toys and their favorite tapes or CDs. Most importantly, keep children involved in the vacation process. Save everything collected on vacation - brochures, napkins, ticket stubs - and have children paste them into a scrapbook.

Do your homework. Plan ahead with the rental company to make sure they offer car seats and installation. If not, you'll have to bring your own in addition to a collapsible stroller.

ONCE THERE 

Plan for down time. Have a daily schedule planned with some flexible, free time for the family.

Safety first. Bring outlet protectors and make a sweep of balconies and bathrooms for any potential dangers. Hide small objects, accessible medications and cleaners children could get their hands on. Familiarize yourself with the hotel's fire and emergency evacuation routes and procedures.

Tipping Etiquette Around the World

by Lux Joseph 21. February 2014

In the USA, tipping those individuals who work in the service industry is automatic. When you have dinner at a restaurant, you tip the waiter for their service. When our medical escorts utilize the wheelchair porters in the airport to assist their patient, the medical escorts tip them appropriately. Restaurant servers, taxi drivers, hair stylists, hotel porters, and wheelchair porters all expect to receive a tip for a job well done. Typically in the USA service based tips are between 15-20% depending on the level of service. The following are some guidelines to follow in the USA:

·         Waiter/Waitress: 15-20%

·         Bartender: 15-20%

·         Coatroom Attendant: $1 per coat

·         Parking Valet: $2

·         Taxi Driver: 15%, an extra $1 or $2 for luggage

·         Food Deliver: 10% of the bill

·         Spa Service: 15-20%

·         SkyCap at Airport: $1 per bag

·         Hotel Doorman: $1 per bag

·         Hotel Bellhop: $1 per bag

·         Hotel Housekeeper: $2-$5 per night

 

 But what do you tip when you travel abroad? Are the individuals expecting the same or nothing at all?

Whenever you are traveling abroad to another country it is important to understand the culture and how things are done. Everywhere you travel is different and learning about your destination is important so that you do not feel out of place or lost in a country unfamiliar to you. This blog today is going to help you become more familiar with tipping etiquette around the world. When you travel, you will be able to tip appropriately so that you are respectful of the culture.

Canada is identical to the USA. Just like the United States, it is custom to tip between 15-20% depending on the level of service which you believe you received. If you are having dinner at a luxurious restaurant or private country club, look closely at the bill because a standard gratuity may already be added. In most cases it will not be unless you are with a party greater than six people. As we begin to travel east, tipping etiquette changes slightly. The United Kingdom and Germany standard tip is between 10-15%. In most parts throughout the United Kingdom a service fee is already included, but you need to carefully read the invoice. There may be an “optional charge” that is considered a tip. If you accept it, there is no need to pay anything additional. Adding a tip to your restaurant or pub charge in Germany is standard, but in the UK tipping at the pub is not required nor is it expected.

As you travel to other parts of Europe tipping changes slightly. In Turkey, Italy, and France a standard tip of 10% is custom. In Turkey they will only accept cash (including the Euro, Dollar, and Lira). On the canals in Italy a tip to the gondolier is not expected and no more than 10% tip should be left. While France may have a standard 10% tip, it is important to know that it is in addition to the service charge added. Visitors are not expected to tip.

Travel throughout Asia gives you an opportunity to save your pennies. Tipping in China, Japan, and South Korea is standard for no tip. They are non-tipping societies and it is wise that travelers follow this principle. Hotel porters in South Korea will accept the standard $1.00 per bag, but we recommend that you adhere to the no tipping policy. It will not cause any offense to the Asian cultures if you leave a tip, but it may create confusion especially if you do not speak the language.

Tipping at restaurants and hotels while visiting South America is not expected in most cases like Brazil, but if you travel further south to Argentina a 10% tip is greatly appreciated.  The Spanish word for tip is 'propina' - a synonym of 'reward'- and derivative from the Latin word "propinare" meaning to give something (http://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk/briefing-dossier/Tipping.aspx).

Of course, these are just some guidelines for tipping while traveling abroad. We recommend always doing research on your destination prior to leaving the USA. This will help you know what to pack, how to dress, the type of money you will need, and how to blend in with the locals. When traveling it is important that you do everything possible to ensure a safe journey to your destination and back home.

Below is an infographic regarding tipping etiquette around the world (all data is from Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Trip Advisor). This is provided by Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/tipping-around-the-world_n_3779911.html).

 

 

 


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