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Guest: Feasting on Bugs and Grubs
father walking with child on beach

Taking the Kids—10 Tips for Dads Traveling Solo with Kids
Happy Father's Day!
Story and photo by Eileen Ogintz

Meet Our Guest Writer

Eileen Ogintz is a leading national family travel expert known for her syndicated column Taking the Kids which appears on major websites like MSNBC and Smarter Travel and in newspapers across the country. She is the creator of www.takingthekids.com. Her series of Taking the Kids family travel guides to the Northwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Northern and Southern California have just been updated and are available for NOOK and Kindle. Readers can also buy excerpts for as little as 99 cents! Eileen, a former national reporter for The Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, has traveled all over the world with her kids and others, interviewing families wherever she goes.

hese days, many dads live far from their kids and are getting ready for their annual Summer Vacation Visit. Many count on vacations together to make up for all the time apart. Other dads plan just-me-and-the-kids getaways camping, hitting ball parks or fishing. This all adds up to a lot of dads traveling solo with their kids.

Such trips can help build happy memories and strengthen family bonds. Just don’t expect one perfect moment after another. The kids may get homesick—or plain sick. They may think what you’ve planned is totally lame.

Here’s how to organize a trip that will be fun for all of you—and help you keep your sanity.

1. Let the kids help decide where to go and what to do when you get t here. Consider their interests- theater, dinosaurs, baseball or fashion. Spend some time giving back to the environment working on a trail, for example on vacation and you’ll get an especially good deal at a RockResort.

2. Invite the kids to help navigate along the way. You’re a team and that makes it more fun.

3. Introduce the kids to something you love—theater, a certain ball park, snorkeling, Let them show you their passion-of-the-moment too. Ready to learn to skateboard? Surf?

4. Encourage the kids to call or email their other parent. Don’t get angry if they get homesick. It’s normal.

5. Be prepared if someone gets sick, it rains, the hotel isn’t w hat you expected. Got the pediatrician’s phone number? Keep your cool, no matter what happens. Remember, the kids will take their cues from you. If you get angry and upset, they will too.

6. Join Forces with extended family or friends. You’ll have some adult company and can share expenses at a vacation condo. (Look for deals from places like Sterling Resorts along Florida’s northern Gulf Coast, for example, Homeaway, the Wyndham Resort in Orlando or ResortQuest. Just make sure the kids will get along!

7. Opt for something that will be a new challenge for all of you. Learn to scuba dive, hike up a mountain, go rafting or navigate a new city.

8. Consider a cruise. You’ll meet lots of other parents and kids. There are organized activities for the kids and teens so you get a break AND you know w hat you’re paying up front. European cruises can be a good way to introduce the kids to Great Sites.

9. If your kids and you love the outdoors, consider a white water raft trip with companies like OARS or ROW You will be with like-minded parents and kids and can relax while the guides do all the work—and help entertain the kids.

10. Relax! You don’t need to be doing something every second. Build in down time wherever you are. There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing on vacation!

To find out more, click onto Taking the Kids, call Eileen Ogintz at 203-227-9180 ) or contact her by email (eileen@takingthekids.com).

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FEEDBACK FOR PATTI

I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK

FEEDBACK FOR JULIO

The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.

Julio

* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!

Julio

FEEDBACK FOR WENDY

For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!

Cheers

--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in responding...you had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy

FEEDBACK FOR NINO

I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA

FEEDBACK FOR RUSH & CHUCK

Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA



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