Expectations of Traveling With Kids – Striving for Perfection Or Just Plain Fun?

Traveling solo is easy.  I have traveled thousands of miles around the globe solo, and aside from some home sickness and anxiety from traveling through a couple of hostile neighborhoods in foreign countries, I was always in control of my own actions, responsible for my own comfort, safety, flights, organization, etc.  For those of you who have traveled solo during life before kids, you will find that there are a few changes that come along with raising and traveling with your little ones.I often refer to traveling with kids as being somewhat similar to herding cats.  They seem to scatter this way and that when they are young, causing Mommy and Daddy to panic and jump into emergency mode.  Some folks simply put off traveling until the kids are older and able to respond to simple directions, stand in long lines at the airport, or keep themselves entertained on long road trips.  But like everything in life, there is a trick to overcoming the difficulties of traveling even when traveling with young children, babies, and toddlers.  I am not one to wait for the right moment in life before taking a trip.  Life is short and kids grow up too fast, so seize the moment when you can.I have spoke to some parents of young kids who have decided to wait until they are old and gray with their children grown up and out of the house before they take a trip somewhere exciting.  They suffer from such a deep level of frustration, anxiety and fear of all the things that can go wrong, that they would rather avoid traveling with their kids altogether.  How sad that would be to have to put off seeing all the gifts this world has to offer with our children because of the difficulties of simply traveling with them.  If we can learn to humble our expectations and take the struggles with all the wonderful joys that traveling brings us as a family, then traveling with young children can be a fantastic experience chocked full of life long memories. Knowledge, preparation, and a positive attitude are your keys to successful travel with the kids.  You do not have to bring every item you own on your trip, but start by making a list of important items you will need.  Start with items that will distract, entertain, and organize.  Preparation in advance will increase your odds of a successful travel experience ten fold.  You can even make practice runs locally to test out your lists before taking on some serious international travel.  Not only are you able to test out your items list this way, but you will be training your kids how to be excellent travelers.  Trust me, they will thank you for it when they are all grown up.Once you have your tried and tested lists on what to pack, how to pack, how to entertain, how to organize your travel entertainment, and so on, you are ready for the world.  The trick to becoming an expert traveler is repeated successful journeys with your children.   There are many travel checklists available online including my own personal checklists that are available to you on my blog. Please feel free to take advantage of them to help you travel easier with your family.Don’t wait for the kids to be grown and out of the house. Your best travel experiences are waiting for you to make them happen, with your little ones staring up at you at your feet. Seize the day and see the world with your family.Happy Travels!

5 Tips For Traveling to Canada

Canada can be a great vacation destination, with its beautiful vistas, wild animals, gorgeous winding roads, and cosmopolitan cities. Even if you travel to Canada on a regular basis, the out this list of five travel tips to Canada.Tip #1: Bring a Good Travel Guide to CanadaWhen you travel to any new place, it’s important to carry a good travel guide. Canada is no exception. You can print out a travel guide on line, or you can purchase a well-know travel guide for Canada, such as Lonely Planet.A good travel guide will give you insight into where to stay, shop, eat, and drive. Plus, it will give you lots of tips about things to do, great night life, and activities that are fun for the whole family. Invest in a good travel guide for Canada, and you won’t be sorry.Tip #2: Think About the ClimateBefore you pack for your travel to Canada, don’t forget to consider the weather. If you’re going to the Maritime Provinces, remember that they tend to be a bit more humid than the provinces in the west. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, you can expect weather that hovers around freezing in winter and is temperate in the summer.If you are traveling to Canada and staying the mountain areas, you can expect to see a lot of variation in temperature. Layering clothing is helpful in these regions. Conversely, the areas of Vancouver and Victoria are much more temperate and don’t often see freezing temperatures.Tip # 3: Plan for the Border CrossingTravel to Canada has gotten a lot more complicated in recent years, as new restrictions on border entry have been imposed. The documentation requirements for travel to Canada are in a constant state of change, so it’s important to check into these requirements before you leave.For the most up-to-date information on travel to Canada from the US, go to the US Department of State Website.Tip #4: Understand the CurrencyOne of the most important travel tips for Canada is the importance of understanding the currency before you go. Canada uses the Canadian dollar, although many border locations will accept American dollars as well. It’s wise to carry traveler’s checks in the Canadian dollar, since they are accepted almost everywhere.The best exchange rate for currency and traveler’s checks is at the Canadian chartered banks. There are also many ATMs in Canada.Tip #4: Don’t Forget About the Sales TaxLike the US, the Canadian government has a sales tax for goods and services. Don’t forget about this tax when planning expenses when you travel to Canada.Sales tax rates depend on the province. Current sales tax rates for the provinces are as follows:* No sales tax in Alberta, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, or the Yukon* 5% sales tax in Saskatchewan* 7% sales tax in Manitoba and British Columbia* 7.5% sales tax in Quebec* 8% sales tax in Ontario* 10% sales tax on Prince Edward Island* 13% harmonized sales tax in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova ScotiaTip #5: Tips On TippingAnother important tip about Travel Guide to Canada [http://www.travel-guide-canada.ca] is to understand the way Canadians handle gratuities. Tips are not usually included in restaurant bills. Standard practice is to tip 12% to 15% for good service.For travel guides in Canada, as well as for tour bus drivers, an acceptable tip is $1 to $2 per day for each person.

Social Traffic Marketing – 3 Essential Free Tools

Social traffic marketing is one of the hottest trends at present. Using the web 2.0 technology that’s currently available it’s possible to build a community of loyal followers around almost any topic that you choose. And in many cases it is then possible to market your goods and services to these people…providing you know how to do it properly.So I want to look at three of the best sites that you can use for social traffic marketing and how they can be used to generate significant amounts of targeted traffic for your website.Number One: YouTubeIf you haven’t heard of YouTube, where have you been for the last three years? YouTube is now owned by Google and is the biggest video hosting network in the world and one of the biggest websites on the internet.Every day tens of millions of people from all over the world visit YouTube to watch the latest videos on all manner of subjects that have been uploaded by other users.Just sign up for free, create your video (using either a video camera or screen capture software such as Camtasia) and upload your video. Once you upload your videos you have the opportunity to add your personal signature information, such as your website address. You can also upload a brief description of each video and a selection of subject tags to help people find your video.For added promotion, it’s also a good idea to mention your website and put a screen caption showing your website address on your video. This will help to attract a slow trickle of highly targeted and motivated visitors who have taken the time to type in your website address that was displayed on your video.Once your video appears on YouTube, it’s possible to link to it from any of your sites or even use the code provided to embed the video on your own website or blog.Once you start thinking about what type of video to create, you begin to see the massive potential of video syndication to achieve almost any aim, whether it’s publicity, brand recognition, education, personal promotion or even sales.So get creative. Work out how you can stand out from the crowd. Anything that’s funny, shocking, controversial or extremely inventive will get the most viewers. In many cases videos become viral. People see your video and like it so much they send it to their friends and family who may also want to see it.The benefits of creating a video that captures the attention of your market or even the mainstream media can be substantial. Your video could be seen by several million people within a short space of time. You couldn’t buy that type of advertising.Number Two: SquidooSquidoo allows you to build attractive looking web pages (or lenses) which incorporates a wide variety of interactive features and widgets without having to know anything about website construction or programming. It’s just a case using their sophisticated drag and drop “What you see is what you get” interface. You can write articles, add videos, audio, photo galleries, RSS feeds, Amazon feeds etc. You can also include your photo and a short bio to help promote yourself as an expert on your chosen subject.But that’s just the start. Squidoo is popular with the search engines, including Google, which means that linking to your sites will help to improve your search engine rankings. Just make sure that the links are relevant to the topic of the lens you have created and appear as naturally as possible within the text. Squidoo lenses that look like blatant ads have a nasty habit of being deleted by the Squidoo team.And then there’s the social aspect. As Squidoo wants their site to contain quality content, there is a rating system which allows the whole Squidoo community to vote on the quality of all lenses. Popular lenses that receive more traffic become more visible within the category pages and Squidoo search results. They also have a group of editors who have the power to reward good content by making it more prominent within the site.So if you fill your lenses with good quality information and link to your website, you will be rewarded with both direct visitors and a boost to your search engine rankings. At achieve the best results you can create multiple lenses on different topics which will help to multiple the benefits received from Squidoo.For added variety, take a look at HubPages. The basic idea is very similar to Squidoo with one significant difference. Any links that you create on your HubPages will only pass link juice once your page has achieved a certain quality score as voted by other member of the community. So if you want your links from HubPages to help your search engine ranking, make sure you produce good quality content.Number Three: WordPressWordpress.com allows you to set up your own external blog (hosted on their server) that is quick, simple and free. Thanks to the use of open source code, developers from all round the world have been able to create plugins and other amazing tools that can be used to supercharge the power of your WordPress blog.Using a selection of the best plugins to enhance popular blog features such as commenting, RSS feeds, content rating, social bookmarking, avatars etc it’s possible to turn your blog into a highly social community which will allow you to develop a large group of people who visit and interact with your blog on a regular basis.Using a WordPress.com blog it also a good source of links back to your main site or blog. Just make sure that you post good content that will inform and educate your readers. If you can provide your visitors with the best content in your niche at the same time as developing a social community around your work, your online empire will become extremely popular and profitable.If you like the idea of using external blogs to promote your content, Blogger is another alternative to consider. The good news is that Blogger is now owned by Google, so if you fill your blog with useful information, it can provide quality links back to your main site.Whatever option you choose, just make sure that you continue to update your blog on a regular basis otherwise it will be impossible to attract repeat visitors to your blog which is the first step towards developing a social community build around your chosen subject.