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The Many Joys Of Holiday Travel With Kids

Traveling with children, especially during the holidays, can be exhausting. And some things are just inevitably going to happen. 

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Raising children, no matter how many you have, what gender they, or what age they, will always be stressful. There are plenty of tricks and tips out there you can use to make it as easy as possible, but in the end, there’s only so much you can do. And there are plenty of things that are just plain unavoidable.

But traveling with kids? Now that’s a whole different beast in and of itself! There are so many different things that can come up or happen that you will not be prepared for. And there is plenty of stuff you’ll just inevitably do because, heck, what choice do you have?! So let’s go through some of these inevitable things so you can be prepared as possible the next time you travel with your kids during the holidays.

SAY GOODBYE TO ANY SCREEN TIME RULES

Screen time rules are an important part of raising children in today’s day and age. With TVs and computers and tablets, there are so many options of things your kids could watch. So you have to be careful to not let them spend too much time staring at a screen. It’s just plain bad for them! That’s why screen time rules are key.

But when it comes to traveling with your kids, especially during the holidays, those screen time rules pretty much disappear. For most of any vacation, just avoiding a temper tantrum and maintaining your sanity is all that matters. So don’t feel bad about letting your kid watch a few more cartoons than usual. It will keep everyone happy and you can go back to the normal rules as soon as you’re home.

SAY GOODBYE TO ANY SUGAR RULES AS WELL

Just like with your screen time rules, any rules about how much sugar your kids can eat in a day are pretty much going right out the window. Breaking these rules will similarly keep your children happy and keep you sane. But there’s also a lot of unknown factors on a holiday vacation like grandma making too many cookies. We can’t just let those cookies go to waste now, can we?!

YOU’LL MAKE THE HOLIDAYS SPECIAL IF IT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO

All that stress can certainly go to your head. But you’re putting yourself through all of it for one reason and one reason only: to make a special holiday memory for your family! And damn it, you’re gonna do it! So everyone better stop complaining and better start having a wonderful time! OK?! OK.

This can materialize in all sorts of ways. Matching sweaters, Santa hats, too many gifts, perfectly wrapped gifts, and everything in between. Your kids may look at you like you’re crazy while you’re doing it. But they’ll finally appreciate you and your efforts once they’re a little older!

YOU WILL FORGET SOMETHING IMPORTANT

There is literally nothing more inevitable when it comes to holiday travel with the whole family. You will forget something. It will be important. There’s no point in trying to fight it, people! It’s going to happen. Have you ever even seen Home Alone?? But you’re smart, you can problem solve, and you’ll figure it out.

YOU WILL FEEL GUILTY ABOUT SOMETHING

This is a tough one, but unfortunately, it is very likely that you will end up feeling guilty. Everyone will be so stressed out and so exhausted that eventually, someone will complain. And no matter how much you try to tell yourself they’re just tired and they don’t mean, you will still end up feeling guilty for “forcing” them to do whatever family activity they claim they don’t want to do or present they claim they don’t like.

It’s a really difficult part of parenting, but it’s sadly all too common. Just try to not let it get to you any more than it should or affect any further decision making. It will pass. And you’ll feel better before you know it.

YOU’LL REMEMBER WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT

In the end, despite all of the stress and guilt and frustration, I promise you something will happen that will make you remember why you do it. What Christmas is all about. It could be as simple as everyone laughing at the same joke or spilled plate of food, but it will be special and it will make you want to cry. Because Christmas is all about coming together as a family, being thankful for what you have, and showing each other how much you love each other. And that perfect little moment will make it all worth it.

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Destinations

A Must See Desert Oasis In Southern California

Think of the desert and your mind conjures up images of dry dusty lands full of cactus and crawly things. But there is a desert oasis in Southern California that will completely transform your vision of what a desert setting looks like. At Whitewater Preserve you will find…

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Think of the desert and your mind conjures up images of dry dusty lands full of cactus and crawly things. But there is a desert oasis in Southern California that will completely transform your vision of what a desert setting looks like. At Whitewater Preserve you will find 2,851 acres of streams loaded with trout, untouched wilderness and winding trails leading you into the mountains. Just north of Palm Springs and surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness this is one desert destination that you will want to add to your bucket list. The rich habitat hosts the endangered Southwest willow flycatcher and Bell’s vireo, and provides the opportunity to see migrating summer tanagers and vermilion flycatchers. The canyon, an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, has a robust wildlife population. 

 

 

This desert oasis is a perfect place for a nature adventure, whether by yourself or with the family. The Whitewater Trout Farm’s historic building has been transformed into a Ranger Station and Visitor Facility. This is the best place to start your adventure. Here you can get a trail map and checklists to help identify local flora and fauna. Although there are many hiking trails, some are not always safe to access. The Ranger Station will have information on any trails that have limited access. After you have spent some time exploring, enjoy the refreshing water at the shaded picnic area. 

 

 

Visitor facilities include individual and group picnic areas and camp grounds that sit in the shadow of steep cliffs where bighorn sheep are often spotted. Fishing is available, but limited to organized catch and release programs for children, in which all the equipment is supplied. There are a variety of hiking trails at Whitewater Preserve, you will find something for everyone. There are paver paths around the pond, perfect for the elderly, and a trailhead leading to the Pacific Crest Trail for the more experienced hiker. No matter what trail you take you will be out in the sun so make sure to bring a hat and use your sunscreen.

 

 

Whitewater Preserve is open daily year round from 8 am to 5 pm, closing only on certain holidays or in the event of dangerous weather conditions. Permits for camping, backcountry trip parking and after hour hiking are available at the Ranger Station during open hours. 

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Travel

World’s Best Secret Beaches… Shhh Don’t Tell

Secret Beaches The modern world doesn’t have many secrets anymore, especially in today’s digital age. These closely guarded secrets have remained that way due to people actively hiding them. I’m here to spill the beans and let the world know about these amazing clandestine spots. Whether it’s been kept under wraps because of its exclusivity […]

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Secret Beaches

The modern world doesn’t have many secrets anymore, especially in today’s digital age. These closely guarded secrets have remained that way due to people actively hiding them. I’m here to spill the beans and let the world know about these amazing clandestine spots. Whether it’s been kept under wraps because of its exclusivity or it’s physically difficult to reach, these beaches are wonderfully untouched.

I’m letting you know about these not so you can ruin them by overpopulating them, but to educate you about the vast beauty still left on our developed planet. The world is moving and change at such a fast pace that it’s actually remarkable that so many untouched marvels still exist on our wonderful world.

Money hungry developers or hoteliers haven’t ruined these secret beaches; instead the locals have preserved their innocence and unspoiled beauty.

 http://www.australia.com/en/places/nsw/nsw-lord-howe-island.html

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Possibly the most exclusive of all secret beaches, Lord Howe Island is a real paradise lost type of place. The island is home to around 300 locals and the number of tourists are capped at 400 at any time.   Talk about exclusive, only 700 people are allowed on the island and the locals aren’t budging.   The islands beauty is only matched by its secretiveness.

 

Cayucos, California

A secret beach in California, the mega populated golden state, that doesn’t sound possible. Well, it is and it’s a secret that deserves telling. As locals refer to it, Cayucos-by-the-sea is a cozy beach town 200 miles north of Los Angeles. The central coast in general is a well-kept secret with the super popular southern California beaches getting all the attention.   The Cayucos pier is popular among fisherman and the town is home to local artists and surfers. You’ll love the old California charm that has been eroded from most of the overdeveloped state.

 

Polihale Beach, Kauai

The end of the island, literally. The island of Kauai, known as the garden state, is Hawaii’s least populated of the four main islands. Polihale beach is only accessible by a bumpy dirt road and is considered Hawaii’s most remote. The secret beach is nestled next to the Na Pali Coastline, a rugged and unreachable by car region, most notably known for the beginning scene of Jurassic Park. The pure majesty of the Na Pali Coast jagged and steep cliffs matched with the massive secluded beach make Polihale a magical secret.

 

Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

Seychelles has long been known as one of the most exclusive vacation destinations and Anse Source d’Argent is no exception. A pure unspoiled archipelago, this island is one of the closets things you’ll get to a deserted island. No resorts in sight and only a few bungalows to rent, this secret is well kept. The perfect weather, pink sand beaches and crystal clear waters await only the select few travelers.   The offshore reef makes swimming divine and the on shore giant tortoise population will make you forget the modern world altogether.

 

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Anyone can tell you that Southeast Asia has the best secret beaches, but will they tell you about Phu Quoc Island? Probably not, since Phu Quoc is seriously a secret. It’s much closer to Cambodia than mainland Vietnam, Phu Quoc is a pristine wonderland. The popular 12-mile beach Bai Truong is villa lined and desolate. The palm trees are a perfect buffer to the lush jungles just inland. Feel like there is no one left on Earth on this secluded beach.

 

Find your paradise, but don’t tell anyone, let us keep it a secret.

 

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Travel

Don’t Ride Elephants on Vacation!

We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready…

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We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready to be ridden.   These majestic creatures are beaten and abused just so tourists can ride them.  AN elephant doesn’t have the rights a human does, so we have to speak up for them.

Don’t feel bad for wanting to ride an elephant, shoot; it’s been a dream of mine for years. I had no clue as to the widespread abuse these poor creatures endured, instead, the incredible photos and videos captivated me. Just picture yourself sitting upon these gargantuan beasts as they trudge through picturesque jungles and wade through uncultivated rivers. Thailand is a land of mystery and undiscovered beauty, so why not ride an elephant to top off the trip? You shouldn’t because it’s only proliferating these animals abuse and neglect.

The elephant is notorious for never forgetting, so why would you want to be apart of a smart animals’ demise.

The Asian elephant is an endangered species as there are less than 2,000 living in the wild in the jungles of Thailand. Many are being displaced due to rampant deforestation and illegal poaching. The elephant tourism industry is responsible for the illegal capture and trade of these endangered animals. These wild elephants, many are captured as babies must then be trained for foreign tourist to ride them. This training is considered torture as violent techniques are employed.

 

Baby elephants are tortured so they will allow people to ride them, which is quite unnatural to them. The process of taming these baby elephants is called “Phajaan” or “the crush.” This process involves stealing the babies away from their mothers and licked in very small cages, where they are beaten into submission using clubs and sticks with sharp hooks on the ends. These barbaric techniques aren’t subject to any regulations, as the Thai government simply looks the other way.

These poor baby elephants are continuously tortured until their spirits are broken and sometimes they die in the process.

An elephant’s spine isn’t strong enough to properly support the weight of a human. Years of being ridden create extreme pain in these animals and often when they stop performing, they are put down. Many organizations try to save these ill-fated creatures before they are killed.

Most travelers have no idea of the rampant torment involved in elephant tourism. An excellent organization is trying to change that, the Elephant Nature Park. Located in the jungles of Northern Thailand, the ENP is involved in the protection and care of mistreated elephants as well as educating tourists.   Over 30 elephants are being cared for on the 250-acre park. Tourists are brought in to learn and care for these regal animals in the proper ways. Here, you can walk the animals; feed them and even help them bathe in a river.

The park offers visitors the chance to make a difference in an elephant’s life and stay connected long after their trip receiving progress reports and updates. Also, the park is registered as a non-profit foundation; so all proceeds go to help the elephants.

Elephant training has been going on in Thailand for hundreds of years, but now their sole purpose is tourism. Before they were used in the timber industry and even in the Thai military.

I won’t think poorly of you if you have ridden an elephant in the past. However, if you chose to ride them knowing what torture then endure, I’ll know how you feel. Sure, the experience would be memorable, but the poor elephants won’t soon forget either. Can you handle being part of hurting these beautiful creatures… I know I can’t.

If you’d like to donate to the Elephant Nature Park (ENP), here is a link. Travel with your heart and let’s stop the torture of these magnificent animals for good.

 

 Photos courtesy of TheGuardian, YouTube, elephant-world, speak up for the voiceless, Kaleenaskaleidiscope 

Read the full article over at the ExpertVagabond 

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