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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. Things to Do with Kids in Spain

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    Spain is just perfect for kids! After all, there is so much to do and see here for the whole family. The added advantage is that the distances are short between cities and it’s easy to spot how the culture changes from region to region. In fact, there is a mix of Islamic, Roman and European culture. The cities are incredibly welcoming and very child-friendly. The weather is great, and the people are also welcoming and warm. The atmosphere is always buzzing, and there is no shortage of fun-filled and interesting events in Spain. All you need to do is start making plans and browse for Spanish vacation rentals to look for a comfortable and affordable place to stay whilst exploring this fantastic country with your family. Those vacation rentals are close to the local coffee shops and grocery stores and offer a more authentic living experience in Spain. You are about to enter a remarkably diverse country that is known for its fascinating history and culture as well as being full of spectacular natural beauty.  Oh, and its great food, of course!

    Things to Do with Kids in Spain - barcelona beach

    You can easily spend a couple of weeks travelling around Spain and exploring its beautiful cities such as Sevilla, Valencia, Madrid, Granada, and Barcelona. These are some of the most famous spots and places that have comfortable neighborhoods for families and plenty of things to do and see. You can look forward to creating some lifetime memories and enjoy lots of family bonding time. Why not try out a Segway Tour while visiting a city – it’s highly recommended for families with old enough kids. Children would love touring the city on Segway and would happily lead the way, instead of complaining about walking all day long! The family can even split up and see different parts of the town, and the added advantage is that each parent gets one-on-one time with each child. One can stroll along beaches, ride horses, learn the art of pottery making or even take flamenco lessons to make for an unforgettable trip.

    There are so many flavours, colours, and aromas in the different cities and regions of Spain that are simply irresistible for the adults as well as the kids:

    • Madrid remains the capital of Spain, and it is really fun exploring it with your children. One can visit Museo del Prado and the Palacio Real, go boating in the park or even walk along the wide promenades at twilight. Spanish horses have been legendary, and it is exciting to see famous figures on horseback around Madrid. Discover some amazing neighborhoods on foot on the Metro system. Enjoy looking at the tiled street plaques with beautifully illustrated street names such as Calle de Leon, Calle de la Sal, Plaza de la Villa and more.  If the kids get puckish, there are several cafes and local snack carts selling delights such as “chocolate con churros”.
    • Barcelona is another favourite city for families with kids who simply love the playful spirit of the city. The architectural creations of Gaudi reflect the timeless marvels of imagination. The blue Mediterranean is always there close by, no matter wherever you go in Barcelona.  Enjoy lunch on the beach or stop to soak up the sun in-between touring this great city.     Children simply love looking at the stuffed animals of the Parc Guell dragon, miniature mosaic houses and the beautiful mosaics and tiles in a Gaudi house. Ride Barcelona metro system to get around at a quicker pace, which is excellent. There are plenty of gourmet food shops to explore in Barcelona, whatever your preference.

    Things to Do with Kids in Spain - barcelona gaudi

    • Castile and Leon is a region of northwestern Spain which has always been famous for its Gothic cathedrals, medieval cities, and universities. The kids would have a fun-filled day as they explore the vast walled cities in this central region of Spain. Visit Segovia to see the massive Roman aqueduct and you can always pick the hop on hop off bus at the Plaza de la Artilleria. Have a look at the fort from the 13th –16th centuries, the Alcazar, which is indeed a dream of a fortified castle for a kid. Avila is the highest city in Spain, and here you can take a tour of the Medieval, Renaissance, Romanesque palaces. Several churches and cathedrals are worth seeing. Salamanca city is known as the central spots of learning in Spain and boasts of the oldest universities in Europe. Explore Plaza Mayor and stroll the city and get entertained by students playing love music as you sit in a cafe and relax. Go biking around Burgos with your kids and enjoy looking at the beauty of a graceful medieval town.
    • Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain is filled with farms and lands with vineyards. The picturesque landscape is dotted with several beautiful villages.  As you pass through La Mancha, do visit the fantastic windmills of La Mancha. Take a tour of the interior of a windmill and show the gears, wheels and grinding stones from close to the kids. They can use their imagination to conjure up images of Don Quixote riding full tilt at a windmill!
    • Andalusia in southern Spain is the name of the Moorish kingdom and has always been a great center of learning over the centuries. It is here where one finds the most cultured in Europe. As you travel through Andalusia, you can show your kids those beautiful fortresses, palaces, and mosques built in Islamic style architecture. Explore Plaza de las Tendillas, and let the kids cool off by running in and out of the water jets.  Another popular spot is Costa del Sol, which is famous as a beach resort and summer holiday destination for many of us Brits. Let the kids build their sand forts and splash about in the sea.  Families can relax on the sand and spend a lazy day together.

     

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  2. Keep Up to Date Anywhere in the World

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    When on your travels, be it for a holiday or work, you still want to keep as up to date as possible with all of the goings on back home. While the internet has given us the opportunity to stay connected no matter where we might be, you don’t want to be the person who spends so much time on their phone that they miss all the wonders that the planet has to offer.

    But you may still want to know what’s happening, especially if it is something of significant importance. It can be challenging to watch your friends and families and even your community deal with problems, only for you to feel helpless as you watch it all unfold from the other side of the screen.

    And you don’t have to be on your phone twenty-four seven to keep up with whatever is happening back home. But you can still use the internet to this advantage to stay informed and ready to offer some help or contribution whenever you can, no matter where you are.

    A black phone in a red vintage phone box

    SNAIL MAIL

    For the world traveller, it can be a challenge to keep on top of credit card bills and other essential payments or mail that will no doubt flutter through your letterbox while you are away. If you don’t want to be caught out by missing these payments, regardless of online banking or not, then you can consider investing in a mail forwarding address in the UK, which will act as an online mailbox to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

    This saves you trusting that your post will reach you at your home abroad, instead of getting lost in transit. Furthermore, you will be able to keep an online record to save on your computer or tablet so that you will be able to keep organised and keep track of anything that needs paying off along the way while you enjoy the sights and sounds unfamiliar countries.  

    NEWS UPDATES

    We want to keep up with the news from home as much as possible, and while some places in Europe and the US will provide national papers from home, other countries a bit farther-flung might make this impossible.

    But keeping up with the news has never been easier. Downloading free news apps, such anything from BBC News to The Guardian, or whatever other news organisation suits your fancy will ensure that you are constantly kept up to date on all the happenings back home.

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    Everyone is on social media now, and while some people might be abandoning Facebook, platforms such as Snapchat and WhatsApp are being used more than ever. These, along with keeping a blog of your experiences, are perfect for keeping in touch with both friends and family through group chats where you don’t even need to contribute if you don’t have the time.

    The group chat eliminates much of the homesickness that many travellers encounter when they feel like they are missing out on the fun back home, regardless of how much fun they are having wherever they are. It gives you the chance to keep up with in-jokes, relationship developments and any juicy gossip that might have occurred back home.

    Additionally, using the video chat services with these platforms, as well as Skype, gives you both the chance to remember what each other looks like and allows for a more natural conversation that can last for hours if need be. This works better than simply showing pictures of where you are, and can help introduce them to anyone you might have met and hung out with along the way.

    EMAIL

    Social media isn't for everyone, even though it seems the whole world and it's eife are on it, but some people prefer a more private conversation.  This is where email is the better option for long private letters or quick updates between you and just one other person, without what feels like the whole world reading your updates!

    OLD-FASHIONED

    If you want to go back to the old days, then sending a postcard wherever you go is an excellent and personal way to keep your friends and family up to date with what you are doing. Not only will this allow those back home to get a little souvenir from your travels, it means so much more than a mere message telling them how much fun you are having.

    Knowing that you are thinking of them enough to take the time to send a postcard in between all the fun you are no doubt having shows that you haven’t forgotten about them despite whoever else you may have met along the way.

    UP TO DATE

    There are many different and also unique ways of staying up to date on whatever seems to be happening on the other side of the world. Whether it be engagements, birthdays, elections, or just having a chat with your friends and family, you will be able to stay in touch while you galavant around exotic islands and cities while also ensuring that you don’t miss a thing along the way.

     

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  3. Top tips for saving money on your 2018 summer holiday

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    If the cold winter days and dark mornings have got you dreaming of warmer climates, you’re probably already thinking ahead to your summer holiday this year. Although a summer holiday is on the wish list for most of us, expensive trips and far flung destinations can be tough on our wallets. Prepaid Mastercard® providers, icount, have put together their top tips to help you make your summer holiday a little more affordable this year. Take a look below to find out more!

    top tips for saving money on your 2018 summer holiday

    Pick your dates carefully

    Being flexible on your holiday dates can help you to find the best deals and picking your dates carefully can result in an even bigger discount. Friday flights generally tend to be more expensive than those earlier in the week, and booking an uncommon number of nights (such as going away for 15 days rather than 14) can work out cheaper.

    Book your holiday in advance

    Although it’s tempting to leave your holiday booking to the very last minute to get the best deals, booking well in advance is more likely to help you find a bargain. Search for holidays at least 8 weeks in advance to help you save, or if you’re a real early bird, holidays booked between January and April can prove to be even cheaper.

    Learn to haggle

    Shopping around is always a great idea when booking flights or hotels online. Once you’ve checked comparison websites and deals available online, speak to your local travel agent who may be able to discount the price you’ve found even further!

    Pre-book as much as you can

    Booking ahead doesn’t just save you money on your hotel and flights. Pre-booking hotel transfers, excursions and activities can also help you to cut down costs and make your summer holiday a little more affordable, without missing out on any of the fun!

    Take public transport

    Taxi drivers can often take advantage of tourists, hiking up fares and taking the longest routes to your destination. Many cities across the world have great public transport systems, which are fast, efficient and affordable. Take a look at day passes or season tickets to see how much you could save!

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  4. Why A Skiing Holiday Could be the Perfect Family Adventure

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    Skiing looks fantastic. It's a great way to see more of the world, to get some exercise and to try something completely different. Yet the idea of taking children skiing can be a worry. The idea of your young children whizzing down mountains can seem absurd, especially if you don't know how to ski yourself. Who will look after them? How will they cope with something that you might struggle with?

    Well, if you have ever been on one of the best ski runs in Meribel, you’d have seen very young local children zooming along on their skis without a care in the world. Skiing might just be the perfect family break, here's a look at why.

     Why A Skiing Holiday Could be the Perfect Family Adventure

    Your Children Won't Be Scared

    Children, especially young ones have almost no fear. They'll throw themselves into anything quite happily, filled with excitement and adrenaline. So, this could be the perfect time to take them on a skiing holiday. Let them lead you for a change. Follow them and their desire to try something new. Leave it until they are older, and you'll have to calm them down or persuade them to go.

    It's Incredible Value for Money

    Holidays are expensive. Especially if you have a school-aged child and you are tied to school holidays. But, ski holidays can be excellent value for money. On a beach break, you literally get your flights and accommodation, maybe a few hotel meals. But, for a similar price on a ski trip, you can get flights, accommodation, lift passes, equipment, and lessons on the slopes.

    There is also spending money to consider. Even if you go on an all-inclusive beach holiday, you'll need spending money for any days out that you want to go on. When you're on a ski break, you'll spend most of your time on the slopes, so you won't need to take as much cash with you.

    It's a Great Bonding Experience

    Kids love doing things that they are better at, or that you've never tried either. They love getting the chance to see you struggle, or even being better than you at something. Children can take to skiing much more naturally and tend to have better balance than adults. Learning to ski together is a fantastic chance to bond. You'll spend time together, having fun, away from the distractions of everyday life. Learning to do something that's totally new. This is an experience that you will share. You won't be showing them; you'll be learning together. It's a beautiful chance to grow closer to your children, and you'll always have this new hobby in common.

    It's Fun

    Going on holiday with kids of any age is tough. When they are little, you are always worried about keeping them happy and safe, about finding things for them to do. Then, when they are teenagers they worry about you embarrassing them, and they'd prefer to be away with their friends. But, when you go on a ski holiday there is none of this. You're all so happy having a wonderful time that you don't need to worry about pleasing the kids. They're having fun, just like you.

     

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  5. Why Croatia Should Be On Your Travel Wishlist

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    Looking for somewhere incredible to go on your travels this year? Why not consider Croatia? Croatia is a beautiful country with stunning landscapes, fascinating culture and so many things to see and do.

    Why Croatia Should Be On Your Travel Wishlist

    If you’re planning the ideal summer escape, take a look at some of the reasons why Croatia should be on your travel wishlist.

    The climate

    Croatia’s coastline is in the Adriatic Sea, which offers similar qualities to the Mediterranean. As a result, Croatian summers tend to be long and hot and is one of the sunniest countries in Europe. It only takes a couple of hours to fly there too, so you could be soaking up the sun in no time!

    The food

    Croatia is known for its amazing food offering, and while you might not expect a coastal country to have much of a vegetarian offering, there are some amazing places for vegetarians to discover in Croatia. Enjoy a bit of al fresco dining with some incredible restaurants and kick back with a glass of wine or a cocktail for absolute holiday bliss.

    It’s where Game of Thrones is filmed!

    If you’re a GoT fan, you’ll already know that Croatia is one of the principal locations for the series. Both King’s Landing and Essos are heavily featured in the programme, and you’ll spot many familiar sights. If you’re heading to Dubrovnik, make sure you book yourself on a Game of Thrones tour.

    Dubrovnik is a must

    Described as ‘the pearl of the Adriatic,’ Dubrovnik is one of those cities that everyone should try to visit in their lifetime. It has some striking architecture as well as a fantastic nightlife. You should also aim to visit the capital, Zagreb during your visit.

    The sea

    One of the most popular ways to explore Croatia is by boat. Whether you jump on a sailing excursion for the day or you book a trip through a yacht charter Croatia specialist, you can be sure of an incredible adventure when you take to the Adriatic Sea. A sailing holiday offers a unique touch to your summer escape and can work out as an affordable way to travel too.

    The sights

    You’ll discover some fascinating sights in Croatia, including the amazing Roman ruins that were Diocletian’s Palace in Split. You can take the time to explore some mesmerising locations, while you can also discover the modern culture that has taken over.

    It’s affordable

    Croatia is becoming a more popular travel destination, but it still has the affordability factor. While it is an EU country, it has retained its own currency (the Kunar), so you can pick up some good exchange rates compared to the Euro when looking for a summer deal.

     

    The number of reasons to visit Croatia is endless, and if you’re in need of travel inspiration, spend some time looking at photographs of those crystal blue waters. As a short-haul destination with plenty to offer, you should definitely consider Croatia for your summer break.

     

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