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How Many Cheeseburgers Does Your Next Vacation Cost?

How Many Cheeseburgers Does Your Next Vacation Cost?

How would you feel if we told you that, by just setting aside the cost of one cheeseburger every time you dined out, you could finance a fab vacation in pretty much no time at all? CheapAir.com has sourced some delectable, wallet-friendly weekend getaways with a focus on good food. We’ve put together five great mini vacations** that promise to keep an eye on your bottom line while offering some fascinating eats along the way.

Still skeptical? About half of all Americans eat out twice a week for lunch, with fast food being the typical meal of choice. We’ve taken a classic of American cuisine — the cheeseburger* — to show you exactly how many cheeseburger meals these trips will cost. Do the math and you’ll realize that a weekend away this spring is not only doable, but downright easy. Just bank the cost of a cheeseburger each time you partake of a workday lunch out and you’ll be ready for your next great adventure before you know it!

Salt Lake City, UT — 44 burgers ($150/pp)

What’s there for a foodie to do in Salt Lake City? While the city is best known for its proximity to some of the best skiing in the States, there’s been an influx of brew culture in recent years that’s giving some of the coffee old guard destinations a run for their beans. There’s been a scene for coffee aficionados in the city for decades, but the farm-to-table movement has really given SLC’s offerings a shot in the arm. Try NoBrow Coffee Werks or the Charming Beard for the best in light, sustainably roasted brews. Pairing that ski weekend with some après ski coffee? Sounds like heaven.

Tucson, AZ — 55 burgers ($187/pp)

Most folks think of Tucson as a dusty little college town rather than a culinary destination, but the chef/owners who’ve been transforming the city would beg to differ. There are quite a few heavy hitters who’ve set up shop in the last couple of years, not least of whom is legendary pizza guru Chris Bianco. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix is often at the top of Best Pizza lists in the country, and late last year, Bianco opened his Tucson outpost in the funky Congress section of town. There are more authentic Mexican restaurants than you can shake a stick at — try Café Poca Cosa for an upscale riff on the classics or go the purist route and dine at the original El Charro Café, in business since 1922. It’s wise to expect a wait at the Cup Café in the Hotel Congress. The breakfast there is one of the best in town, and the build-your-own-Bloody Mary option is a genius accompaniment to a weekend lie-in.

Vancouver, Canada — 60 burgers ($204/pp)

Vancouver’s food scene is multifaceted — a United Nations of options at every price point and style — from the humble food truck to the most upscale of dining establishments. Indulge us a bit while we shine a light on one weird and wonderful ingredient not to be missed while you’re in Vancouver: the gooseneck barnacle. This oddball cross between a lobster and a clam is harvested in very few locales around the world —the coast of Vancouver Island being one of those places. You might find yourself on a bit of a scavenger hunt around town, but why not? Some of Vancouver’s best restaurants have them on the menu from time to time. Try the Farmer’s Apprentice or the Secret Location ‘Concept’ Store Tasting Room, where you can sample a 10- or five-course tasting menu in an adventurous and whimsical setting. Perhaps the elusive gooseneck barnacle will make an appearance. Or maybe not. Either way, you’re in for a showstopper of a dining experience.

Vail, Colorado — 10 burgers ($100/pp via Denver)

Let’s face it — you can’t talk about the Vail food world without mentioning the drinking scene. After all, this is a ski town filled with ski bums from all walks of life who work up an appetite on the daily. It’s the kind of place where every establishment feels welcoming and warm, so you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy a full-bodied microbrew after a long day on the slopes. Some of the best in town can be found at the South Park Brewing Company in Fairplay. We like the Poblano Pepper Amber, which has it’s a seasonal kick. And then, after a night out at one of Vail’s many drinking establishments, plan for breakfast at the Westside Café. They boast a 10 item menu of “the world’s best benes” alongside the Dirty Elvis French Toast — a woozy concoction that includes bananas, chocolate, bacon, peanut butter and honey! Standard breakfast fare is on offer as well, for those less adventurous/scandalous souls in your party.

Las Vegas, NV — 30 cheeseburgers ($102/pp)

Vegas has really come up in the culinary world. It even boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant (Robuchon at the MGM Grand). Jöel Robuchon’s namesake may be the best restaurant in the country, and arguably the world. To our mind, however, the best thing Sin City has to offer the dining public is the sensory overload of options. It’s like everything else in Vegas: You’re never more than a few steps from dining like a high roller, crashing with budget eats, and everything in between. For a fanciful twist on the Vegas buffet, check out the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan. Dinner for two at Robuchon will set you back in the ballpark of a cool thousand, but if you can spare the cash, it’s a bucket list dining destination par excellence. As far as cheap eats go, every cocktail waitress will have a good recommendation. The happy hour menu at Emeril’s New Orleans’ Fish House in the MGM Grand is an all-time favorite where you can throw back oysters for just $1.85 each.

This is just a short list of destinations to whet your whistle. A few simple tweaks to your dining out routine will open up possibilities for a weekend trip this year. Happy travels!

*Average price of an In-N-Out Double Double Cheeseburger in Los Angeles in 2015 ($3.40)

**All fares calculated using gateways from Los Angeles (LAX, BUR, ONT) for travel dates in April 2015. Other gateways/metro areas will return different and/or higher prices.


How Much Does It Cost for Kids to Go on a Cruise?

If you have kids, planning any type of vacation takes on a whole different dimension, and there are lots of needs and desires to take into consideration. Cruises are no exception. One of the first things you’ll likely be asking yourself is how much extra it will cost to take the whole family.

Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Things like the number of people in the cabin and the ages of your children may be factors, depending on the cruise line. To help you figure it out, let’s dive in.

(Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)


AGES 1-3 Feeling Finicky

Daily Calorie Needs 1,000 - 1,400

Remember that baby of yours who happily ate chicken, squash, and most anything else that landed on his high chair tray? He&aposs been replaced𠅋y someone a lot less agreeable at mealtime. After your baby&aposs first year, growth slows down and so may appetite. Infants need to eat about 35 to 50 calories per pound, while toddlers require roughly 35 to 40 calories per pound, according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine. How do you know if you&aposre hitting that target?

  • Trust toddler instincts. It&aposs natural for a 2-year-old&aposs appetite to be erratic from day to day. Yet according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, up to 85 percent of parents say they push their kids to eat more, giving them rewards and praise for having a couple more bites. Believe your child when she pushes her plate away or tells you she&aposs full. Otherwise, she&aposll eventually start to eat when she&aposs not hungry𠅊nd that&aposs a slippery slope. A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that many overweight and obese 5- to 12-year-olds have lost touch with their own hunger cues. "Keeping a child aware of her hunger and fullness may go a long way to help prevent obesity," says study author Tanja Kral, Ph.D. Kids are just too busy to eat�ter a few bites, they&aposre hopping down from the table to play. It&aposs okay to have healthy munchies (such as bite-size veggies, fruit, cheese, and whole-grain crackers) within arm&aposs reach during playtime, but serve most meals and snacks at the table so eating there becomes a habit, says Dina Rose, Ph.D., a sociologist in Hoboken, New Jersey, who specializes in children&aposs eating habits.
  • Stick to a schedule. Serve meals and snacks about three hours apart. "This helps keep your child at a healthy weight by &aposnormalizing&apos hunger," says Jill Castle, R.D., author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters From High Chair to High School. A child who&aposs always nibbling will never feel hungry. Plus, if your child skimps at one meal, you&aposll both know there&aposs another opportunity to eat in a few hours.
  • Avoid food bribes. Yes, you&aposll get the short-term gain of a few bites of peas or chicken, but you&aposre telling your child to eat more than she wants—which can set her up for a pattern of overeating. You&aposre also sending the wrong message about food. "If kids think that vegetables are just the yucky stuff you have to eat to get to the good stuff, they&aposll never learn to really like them," says Rose.

AGES 1-3 Sample Menu

Toddlers should have a maximum of two cups of whole milk a day switch to water if your child is still thirsty. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that low fat or reduced-fat milk not be started before 2 years of age unless suggested by a doctor. Have water or 100 percent juice at snack time. Don&apost exceed 4 ounces of juice daily.

Oatmeal (1/2 cup mixed with 1 tsp. brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon)

Bean-and-cheese quesadilla (1 6" whole-wheat tortilla with 1 tbsp. fat-free refried beans and sprinkled with 2 tbsp. shredded cheese)

1/4 cup chunky salsa for dipping

1/2 cup roasted sweet potatoes

1/2 cup steamed broccoli (toss with 1/4 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. Parmesan cheese)

1/2 cup low-fat flavored yogurt with 1 whole-grain waffle cut into strips 1/2 apple, sliced, with a piece of string cheese


Cooking on vacation

For breakfast: fruit, yogurt & granola bar scromelette (scrambled omelette - easy to cook) bagels & cream cheese.

For lunch/dinner: I love @olwyngdh's idea for the taco bar slow-cooker chili (with add-ons like onions, cheese, sour cream, etc.) sandwich bar (meats, cheese, veggies, condiments) baked potato bar pasta bar (you can have meats, veggies, tomato sauce, cream sauce, parmesan, and butter for the kids that just like plain pasta with butter)

DisneyHardin

DIS Veteran

Claire&TheBoys

The Queen of the Castle!

Tasha99

DIS Veteran

Eegulz

Earning My Ears

Eegulz

Earning My Ears

TwoMisfits

DIS Veteran

Okay, that helps - so you always need a meatless "substantial" option. and you can't be carb heavy, but need a balance of carb/protein/fat as much as possible (or at least some way the diabetic can make it happen).

My ideas in the next post.

MrsPete

DIS Veteran

I'd start by assigning each family a couple meals for the week: I'm responsible for breakfast on Monday and dinner on Wednesday . you're doing lunch on Tuesday and dinner on Friday. This divides the responsibility between all the adults, which is fair.

Set aside a couple days for eating out.

If I were making meals for a big group, I'd do all my prep work in my own kitchen (with my own knives, etc.) and I'd bring it to the vacation spot frozen. Assuming, of course, I were driving.

That'd be an easy choice, but it's just as expensive as eating out.

If you're going that way, look into what you can pick up /bring to the house -- bringing food home saves the cost of drinks and tips:
- Buy a couple pounds of BBQ from a local restaurant, provide your own buns and sides (from the grocery deli counter). That's a nice half-and-half that gets you a good meal AND keeps the cost reasonable.
- Olive Garden and Pizza Hut both sell family-sized trays. Consider a "sub tray" from Subway or another sandwich joint -- you add your own chips and sides. Lots of other restaurants sell "family meals".
- Look into Publix or other grocery stores' delis. You can pick up a chicken-and-sides dinner for a reasonable price.

Taco bar is a winner with just about everyone.

A good last-night-of-vacation meal: Make a baked potato for everyone. Pull out EVERYTHING left in the 'fridge and chop it up small /top the potatoes. You'd need some cheese too.

TwoMisfits

DIS Veteran

1. Grilled "Burger" night - buy one pack of veg burgers (the one the vegetarian likes) and then just plain hamburger patties and take to a grill at the resort - if they don't have a grill, pull out the pan and do it in the room (that's worse, though, b/c you can't make everyone's at once). For the diabetic, have lettuce that can act as a wrap (romaine?), and then regular buns for everyone else. Have cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, (avocado - makes a veg burger great, and diabetic may want it), ketchup, mustard, mayo. Serve the burgers with sliced strawberries, and for those who want them, some potato chips.

2. Chili meets all-beef hot dogs night - https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegetarian-black-bean-chili-230632 You can doctor this by adding whatever extra veg or bean you like, and even extra spices, but it's a good "base" and a fast and cheap cook. Have some sour cream and avocado for anyone having it as a bowl of chili, and have some cheese and onion for anyone putting it on a hot dog (you can microwave or boil the dogs tonight, b/c I'm having them for the kids, and they won't care). serve this with sliced watermelon and be done.

3. Deconstructed to Reconstructed Cobb or Whatever Salad night (with the kids eating the components) - Buy some rotisserie chickens, cook or buy hardboiled eggs, have some cheese, some nuts for topping (whatever non-sweetened type the adults like) and tons of vegetables and lettuces. Buy carrots shredded, buy celery diced, buy jarred roasted peppers, buy grape tomatoes, and a bag of croutons for those who love them. Rather than buying 10 different dressings, buy a single low sugar balsamic vinaigrette, and then, if someone doesn't like it, make a sweetened mustard dressing with your condo sweetener, your condo oil, and your hot dog mustard. Serve with some sliced apples, which could also go on the salad.

I've got more, but these are my top 3 that are cheap, work for 1-88, and meet everyone's needs. I would also do a baked salmon night (with a baked portbello mushroom cap for the veg), but that gets pricier.


Final Word

I’m away from home at least once per month, usually for trips considerably less elaborate than journeys to Portugal and Thailand. But in a typical month, I eat at least a dozen meals outside my home county.

I’ve developed two parallel systems for staying fed away from home: one for flying vacations and another for driving vacations. The former involves street food galore, while the latter features lots of (healthy) snacks and (less healthy) fast food.

Similarly, you can mix and match these strategies based on your needs, whether that’s the type of travel or even a life circumstance. For example, if you have specific dietary restrictions or food allergies, you can lean heavily on some tactics and avoid others. As long as you can stay well-fed without breaking the bank, you’ll come out ahead.


Tips for the Best Travel Insurance

Traveling – regardless of how far or at what age – is a life-changing experience that is likely to change the way you look at things. However, before setting off on the ultimate adventurous journey through new countries and exciting cultures, you should buy your travel insurance. Read on for tips for purchasing the best travel insurance for you!

What Is Travel Insurance?

Maybe you’ve never used travel insurance before, or you’ve just purchased a plan, but scrolling through the policy is like trying to read a foreign language. So what exactly IS travel insurance?

In a nutshell, like auto, home, or even health insurance, travel insurance is a plan that protects you from certain financial risks and losses that can occur while traveling. These losses can be minor, like a delayed suitcase, or significant, like last-minute trip cancellation or a medical emergency overseas. In addition to financial coverage, travel insurance also offers insured access to assistance services. While benefits vary according to the plan, the peace of mind offered is more often than not worth the price.

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Purchasing Travel Insurance removes stress as you Track Finances on Your Travels. Image via Pixabay

With so many unknowns when traveling from viruses to broken bones to major medical complications, an annual travel insurance policy isn’t just for jet-setters or even business travelers. It’s for families too, and perhaps most importantly!

Not doing so creates additional risks for you and your family and can end up costing a lot of money, especially if something happens while you are abroad! Of course, you should pick the policy that best fits your needs, but there are some considerations you should not overlook!

What Countries Does Your Travel Insurance Cover?

Dreaming of your next family vacation? Here are pre-planning tips on how to plan a beach vacation. Photo: Canva

Some not-so-expert travelers might assume that all destinations are covered in the insurance you have picked. This is not always the case, and it might not be a suitable choice for multi-country trips and travels. The price of insurance can depend on where you are from, how long you are traveling, and which countries you will be visiting.

If you are from Europe, for example, visiting specific destinations such as the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean can increase your policy’s price. Many factors contribute to an increase in price. However, this often relates to the cost of medical care in those countries. If you are unsure, read the policy and get in touch with your insurer.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

The reason behind the endless number of different policy types on the market is that they don’t all work in the same way. Some will cover some emergencies, while others won’t. For example, one of the questions you should ask before committing to a specific policy is whether you will be getting 24-hour support. When dealing with sudden illness or accidents, you might not be able to wait for them to ring your back later!

Additionally, you should check that the policy covers emergencies, conflicts while abroad, and medical care. In the case of injuries, you should not only make sure that your travel insurance will take care of it, but you should also always keep the number of a professional at hand.

Experts such as Rosenfeld injury lawyers can help you navigate the procedures in a moment when you need help the most.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Electronics?

Traveling with kids? Perhaps one of the top air travel tips is to bring your own entertainment.

Undoubtedly, the most important thing that your travel insurance policy should cover is the cost of medical care – in case you need it. However, electronics represent one of the most significant assets we bring with us on our travels, and we often rely on most of them.

Stolen electronics can lead to a substantial loss for most families, especially if you had brought your laptop and phones with you. Some areas of the world might involve a higher risk of damages and loss, but you should always ensure that your electronics are covered.

Financial Protection In Case of Cancellations

Save money by using a travel agent for your next vacation. Image via Pixabay

It is not as unlikely as you think that the company you had books your flights, hotel, or tours with goes bankrupt as are just setting off on your trip. Ensuring that such cancellations or accidents are covered offer you peace of mind you would not achieve in other ways. And you can enjoy your holiday without having to worry about losing money!


Additional Ways to Trim Costs

There are plenty of other ways to keep your family reunion affordable, including the following.

  • Save on Photos. Instead of hiring a photographer, ask a family member to fill this role. Consider waiving their attendance fee, or even giving them a digital camera, if they agree to photograph the event and organize the photos afterward.
  • Save on Music. If your reunion will be at a large banquet hall, ask a musically inclined family member to play DJ. Again, as an incentive, offer to waive their family’s fees for the event.
  • Save on Accommodations. Consider renting several vacation houses at a fun destination, such as the beach or in the mountains, and having each family divide the cost equally. You’ll all be able to cook at home, which can cut 30% or more off your reunion costs, and you’ll have plenty of dinner tables to gather around and talk.
  • Save on Food. Food is a huge expense at reunions. Keep it simple by setting up a bar and letting everyone fix their own meals. For example, you can set up a hot dog bar with every creative topping you can imagine. A nacho bar, a hamburger bar, a taco bar, and an ice cream bar are also sure to be hits.

The 8 Worst Travel Decisions You Can Make on Vacation

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of IndependentTraveler.com. Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

You&rsquove done hours of research, polished your travel itinerary, and put together a comprehensive packing list, but your trip could still go wrong&mdashvery wrong. Don&rsquot let any of the following bad travel decisions ruin your next vacation.


1. Consider Your Kids’ Ages

I’ve wanted to take my boys abroad for years, but I was forced to put my impatience aside & wait for them to be ready for the demands of travel before we would even attempt such a trip. I knew it was in the best interest of everyone. Each year I watched for certain signs of physical & emotional maturity. Some three year olds can handle leaving their toys & home behind some six year olds can sit on a plane for long hours maybe some two year olds can sleep in a hotel night after night, & eat foreign foods day after day – but not all.

While some of our boys were ready younger than others, it wasn’t until they reached the ages of 11, 8, & 7 that everyone was capable of taking a trip abroad (our travel included 5 flights, 2 red eyes, 1 border crossing, long walks, long drives, & 21 nights in hotels).

2. Consider Your Kids’ Personalities

I always say that every person has a unique travel style. Some people enjoy being catered to in five star hotels, others would rather strap on a backpack & explore. Some want to relax on a beach while others prefer the streets of a busy city. There’s no right or wrong way to travel but when traveling abroad with kids you might want to consider catering your trip to their personalities.

Knowing that our boys are active little athletes, we wanted to take them somewhere that would compliment their energy levels and allow them the freedom they need to move their busy bodies.

After much consideration we decided that the adventurous countries of Costa Rica & Nicaragua would be the perfect match. I begged my husband to bring our boys on our last trip to Japan. We were ready to bring them abroad and I knew the boys were ready. I am grateful my husband knew better. Looking back, they would have struggled with the food options (they love ramen, but meal after meal, day after day? No way.) The miles & miles of walking each day would have drained their little bodies, & the packed subways & endless amounts of public transportation would have been too much.

3. Connect Your Kids

Now this step takes time, but it is worth it. The idea of traveling abroad with kids is exciting, but it can also provoke worry especially, for the little ones.

To minimize any of your kids’ concerns & maximize the excitement I recommend connecting your kids with your destination prior to take off. Just don’t give away too many details! It’s always fun to keep some surprises for the actual trip. Take time to research the language, cultures, food, & location of the place you plan to visit. Then share what you learn with your kids.

To prepare for our trip we studied Spanish individually and incorporated Spanish into our daily life. We located Costa Rica & Nicaragua on a world map & discussed our air travel routes. We printed off a map of each country we were going to visit, mapped out where we were going and how we would get from place to place. I didn’t want to spoil every surprise so I didn’t share too many of the details about what we would be doing at each location (They were pretty excited to find out the itineraries of each location as we got there. I don’t think they could have handled the emotions of volcano boarding, monkey hikes, soccer games, horseback riding, zip lining & a crocodile excursion all at one time.)

4. Research Your Airline

Most international airlines make the flight abroad as comfortable as can be. Not all. Research what entertainment & food options will be available on your flight. You may not need to pack as much as you think.

Prior to our flight I checked with our airlines & discovered that we would be served two meals, each traveler would receive a small pillow & blanket to use during the flight, & we would have t.v.’s at each seat full of in-flight games & movies. Knowing this, I minimized what my boys carried in their backpacks to allow more foot room on the plane & more packing space for souvenirs.

5. Consider your Accommodations

Traveling abroad with kids is tricky. You can help minimize the stress by booking a hotel & transportation that will be the best fit for your kids. Taking a train ride through the alps may sound tempting, but is it something your kids can handle? Do you really want to navigate the Tokyo train system with three kids in tow? Does your daughter need a bathtub for her nightly bedtime routine?

I always look for hotels that have pools & complimentary breakfasts. I know that if I can fuel my kids with a hearty breakfast & give them a refreshing place to cool off, they can handle most anything. Oh, and a car is a must. We aren’t quite ready to handle massive amounts of public transportation as a family. Having a place to store our things while we are on the go & the convenience to stop as needed is invaluable.

6. Don’t Front Every Bill

Traveling abroad with kids allows for so many unique parenting lessons. A vacation is a gift, it’s not a free ride. I know it’s tempting to pay for every little thing. It feels so good to give! But when you allow your child the opportunity to take ownership over a piece of the vacation you are giving so much more than anything you could pay for with cash. Providing your kids with financial responsibilities allows for some great finance discussions.

My husband & I cover the majority of the costs but we do let our boys pay for their own souvenirs. Before we leave, they plan the amount of money they are willing to spend & how much money they want to bring. When my boys took charge of their own spending money they asked for less, they wanted less, they were motivated to speak Spanish to ask for prices and negotiate deals, and they were more careful with the items they did buy. Plus, we didn’t hear pleads to stop at every gift shop!

7. Connect with the Community

Meeting new people, in an unfamiliar place, and speaking a new language can be intimidating. But so rewarding! Don’t be afraid to get to know the locals wherever you go & encourage your kids to do the same. Check to see if there are any events going on during your stay, search out markets, look for a nearby church, or just stop by the neighborhood park.

Some of my boys’ favorite moments were playing pick up soccer at beaches & pueblos along our journey, running around the playground at a local fast food restaurant, chatting with the sellers at the various markets we visited, & attending a small town carnival. We took cooking classes & art classes, we rode the chicken bus, and stopped by more parks than I can count. My heart burst every time I heard them use their limited Spanish to connect with new people. They may not remember every beach we visited, but the feelings of these moments will stick with them. They even gained a few new Fortnite friends to connect with from home!

8. Serve

One of the best ways to connect with people is through giving. In our travels we always try to find a way to help those we are visiting. I say try because, this doesn’t always work. Some destinations don’t have readily available service opportunities & occasionally time limits stand in the way. Service provides lasting memories, deep connections, & greater gratitude all the feelings we strive for in travel.

Prior to our trip to Central America I did some research I wanted to find a way to give back that my boys could connect with. I made contact with a sponsor of a local youth soccer league. He expressed a great need for soccer gear. Through the generous donations of friends & teammates we were able to outfit three teams with cleats, jerseys, goalie gear, and coaches apparel. We were able to meet with the league to drop off our donations. It was an experience I don’t think my boys will forget anytime soon. It was very humbling for my boys to see the conditions that these Nicaraguan children play in. They realized they don’t need the newest Messi cleats or a soft, clean field, or reputable coaches. As long as they have friends, a ball, & space to run they’ve got everything they need.

9. Keep it Kid-Friendly

Sure, roaming the streets of Paris stopping in every museum & boutique may sounds dreamy to me but my boys would be miserable. Remember, you are traveling abroad with kids. Your trip doesn’t need to cater completely to your kids but it should be kid-friendly. I try to keep 75% of the activities we do & restaurants we eat at kid-friendly. When kids have appropriate outlets for their energy & places to look forward to they are much more pleasant when adults request calm bodies at a four star restaurant or an hour in a store.

We checked every thing off our boys’ Central America bucket list (except for ancient ruins-we’ll be returning for a stop in Guatemala one day!). We went to so many parks, so many pools, so many beaches, we zip lined, & rode horses, & slid down volcanoes, & ate at every churro spot we passed. And in exchange, they quietly tolerated a few shops, some long car drives, more seafood than they would have preferred, & all the colonial architecture we could squeeze in.

10. Squeeze in Some Kid-Free Time

Wait? Did I really just say that a key to a kid-friendly trip is taking time away from your kids? Yes, I did. The whole point of traveling abroad with kids is to experience all the things together, right? Well, kind of. It takes balance.

If you are running on empty because you’ve been in parent-mode every second of every day chances are you aren’t going to be the most pleasant person to be around. Carve some time away from the kids. Most hotels offer babysitting services book a sitter & soak up that museum you’ve been eyeing or stop by those shops with all the delicate handicrafts. If a sitter isn’t an option take the kids to a nearby park & let them play while you soak in a little quiet, or at the very minimum, let the kids experience some foreign cartoons while you embrace a long bath in the hotel. Find time to recharge!

Growing up on the beach our boys are pretty comfortable in the ocean. Most of our trip was spent near the coast. If I needed a little break or some quality time with my husband I could lay my towel on the sand & let my boys get their energy out on the waves while I watched & rested close by. Also, with a larger family most hotels required that we book two-room suites or neighboring bungalows. While this wasn’t ideal financially, the space & separation proved invaluable for our family.

Traveling abroad with kids is life changing. Both for the kids & the parents. Travel broadens horizons, creates lasting lifetime memories, strengthens relationships, provides real-life education, fosters creativity, improves communication skills, enhances tolerance, & boosts happiness. The only question is, which country are you visiting first?

For more tips on how to successfully travel with your kiddos, check out these great ideas!


They can be! Any time you cook your own meals at home, you have control over the amount of sodium you're adding. You can choose seasoning blends with low salt. I like to use low sodium Better Than Bouillon when I cook.

Avoid buying processed ground turkey&ndashlike packages with marinades/spices already added. While it takes more time, making your own meatballs rather than buying frozen prepared meatballs will guarantee lower sodium ground turkey meals.


Question 5

When asked about the huge markup on Ray-Ban and other luxury sunglasses, Andrea Guerra, then CEO of Luxottica Group (which owns Ray-Ban and 80% of the US eyewear market) said, “Everything is worth what people are ready to pay for it.”

So the question to ask is — Is the cost for using your chatbot-powered product or service less than the perceived value. By cost I don’t mean just the monetary value but instead the effort, attention, time and (perhaps) money it will require of users?

About 2 years back, I tried to convince my wife to switch from handwritten grocery lists to an app so we can be in sync and always up to date when either one of us goes shopping. I couldn’t. The reason? Most of the times, when she’d realize we ran out of milk or eggs, she’d be in the kitchen. But not all of those times she’d have the phone with her. For her, the convenience of pen and paper by the refrigerator was much higher than finding her phone which might be in the bedroom or on the couch. Not to mention, after you get the phone you need to unlock it, find the app etc. Too much effort (high cost) to just add eggs to the list.

Last year, I bought an Amazon Echo. Within the first week, my wife happily switched from handwritten lists to Echo. Of all the things Echo does, one of the most common use cases for us is “Alexa add Item X to the list”.

What happened? Both the shopping list app and Echo came with the advantage of having an always available, synced up list (value). However, the cost (effort and time) of using Echo was much less than the cost of using her phone or paper.

If your prospective users are convinced the value your chatbot brings is significantly higher than the cost, you have cracked it! Celebrate! But then get back to work, you have a chatbot to build.