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Terrorism and Travel

Tourists from the Garden of Mont des Arts

The recent attack in Brussels shook the world and made everyone feel very hesitant to travel abroad. I have few clients changed their minds in traveling to Europe since the Paris attack and a lot asked me if it is still safe to travel. I am no expert in safety nor an expert to know what is going to happen next. BUT I do know that there is no “safe” place anymore in this world and we can’t be hiding.

The Paris and Brussels terror attacks are just two out of the many attacks that have happened around the world. Joining them, there were attacks in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jakarta, Afghanistan, Somalia and a lot of other lesser reported ones. YES, we are living in dangerous times and if you call yourself a Christian and you believe in the Bible then this should not surprise you at all- “the last days” as it says. It sure does scares everyone including myself. But I keep my faith and lived life one day at a time.

The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels where every tourists and locals hang out.

The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels where every tourists and locals hang out.

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African Safari with Children

One of the oldest elephants in Kruger National Park

You might be one of those parents who really want go on an African Safari but you have young kids and wonder if it’s the right time to tag them along for many reasons. Well, here’s my take on this issue.

An African Safari is probably on your bucket list and it SHOULD be because it is a very thrilling and exciting journey. Most parents concerns are over the safety of their children and yes, it should be any parent’s priority but honestly, the biggest threat is not brute force injury from the big animals or violent people… it’s the diseases spread by the likes of mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. So, gear yourself up with knowledge on to how to protect your family. Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about your travel plan to help you determine what vaccines or medications you need before your trip and call a travel professional for latest updates and travel advisories on the issue. For now, my suggestion is to go to a safer region like the South Africa’s Eastern Cape (www.healthmap.orgwww.healthmap.org which is a good source to see the alerts for any disease).

Cape Town is your best option.

The most iconic land mark in South Africa, Table Mountain

 The most iconic landmark in South Africa, Table Mountain

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Reflecting on 2015

LIFE is what you make it!!!

2015 was an awesome year for my family. We accomplished so many things as a family together and individually. As the year ended, we all tend to reflect on those precious moments we’ve had either by ourselves or with family, friends and even strangers.

To me, 2015 was a long personal journey; much of the focus was on self-improvement and self-development. As many people know, I have been a stay at home mom for 7 years and by far it has been the best decision I have ever took as a mother. But time has passed by so quick and my kids are growing up and they are starting to love going to school more than staying home with me. Well… it’s time to let go of them …. just a little bit:) I finally found some free time and made 2015 pretty much about ME and my goals :)

But before I even mentioned those personal “aha!” moments and those self-accomplishments; I wanted to give a special shout out to my dear husband, Paul. I couldn’t have done all the things I have accomplished without his support. He was there cheering me on every step of the way. Thank you, Babe, I promise 2016 will be another awesome year… even better than the last.

My husband showing the kids the view... Main Tower, Frankfurt Germany

My husband showing the kids the view… Main Tower, Frankfurt Germany

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My Kids favorite European City – BRUSSELS

SUch an amazing sight!!!

In the past days the news flash on our Amazon Echo has been talking about Brussels. The city is at the highest terror alert after the attacks in Paris. People were advised to stay away from train/bus stations, airports and not to gather around public places. Metro service and underground streetcar services have been interrupted. Last Saturday, the city was nearly empty since stores, bars and cafes closed down after 6 p.m.

The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels

The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels

This is the Grand Place in Brussels on a typical night. Can you imagine what’s it was like last weekend?

Lately, we have been bombarded with awful news around the world; Paris attack is just one of them… a long list for terrorist attacks happened this year. It is unimaginable for people who happened to be in those areas and it is heart breaking to hear their stories.

As a traveler and someone who encourages family travel, I had to pause and wonder as to what this means to people who love to travel. Would these incidents change their perspective towards travel? Is it still safe to travel or is their such a thing as safe anymore? I honestly can’t answer these questions for you but if you ask me, I’d say that my family will continue to travel the world. My hopes and plans for my children haven’t changed a bit. I still wanted them to explore the world – to learn, to have fun and discover the unknown.

Let no fear change the way you live! Read More

HomeTravelTravel Tips

Fall in Arkansas

"Peak" fall colors!!! the peak of color occurs around two or three weeks after color changes begin.

Two years ago we discovered the beautiful state of Arkansas. It was summer time when my husband told me that he read an article in an airline magazine about Arkansas during the Fall. I am not just a sucker for colorful foliage but to new destinations and adventures as well. Thus, I immediately started researching about the place – when is the best time to go and where to stay. The Arkansas Fall foliage drives and destinations webpage is a great place to help you plan your trip. If you’re reading this in September or October you might be too late to plan for this season, but it is the perfect time to make a reservation for your next year’s travel. Seriously, there are limited camps, lodges, cabins, vacation rentals and rooms and people already start booking a year ahead of time. I swear, in August I probably called over 20 properties and they were all booked. We were lucky to get a booking with The Arkansas House that time since they had a last minute cancellation.

Our kids were only 3 and 2-year-old when we went so we didn’t do many activities; we went hiking, took pictures, watched some wild animals and we enjoyed every minute spent with the whole family. Here are some of the pictures we took during our stay. Hope this article will convince you to visit this state which rivals even those “foliage” states further up North.

We Love Arkansas!!!

Overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks

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Summer in Arkansas

Rafting at the White River is a MUST

My family and  friends spent the last Labor day weekend in Mountain View, AR, it is located deep in the Ozarks surrounded by mountains and rivers which offers an exciting outdoor adventure for the whole family. We had an amazing time and it’s one of those trips that you just don’t want to end; half way back home the kids were still asking when were we going back to the house on the mountain.

My girl jumping for joy at Blanchard Springs

My girl jumping for joy at Blanchard Springs

During this recent trip, we stayed at Overlook Lodge. It is perfect for a big family who wants to get out of the city, to relax and enjoy nature. The lodge sits on forty acres atop a mountain overlooking the Ozarks National Forest and White River. It’s Gorgeous!!! Plus, nothing to worry because it’s a gated property with security access and got cameras in the surrounding grounds.

Tip: Hummingbirds are our frequent visitors so  bring table sugar or something they prefer to eat to make them happy and they’ll sing for you all day long:)

Our view every morning!

Spectacular view from the terrace

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End of Summer Vacation

One peaceful morning at Sonestra Resort

One peaceful morning at Sonesta Resort

There is no secret on when is the best time to travel; timing and information are the keys. We all know peak season is the summer months. Most families with school-going kids are planning getaways in summer and all are looking at the same destinations. Many families in this situation will feel their choices are limited and the best advice is try book your vacation far in advance and hope everyone will have a great time.

The beach is a popular destination during summer and as expected you will be looking at crowded beaches, theme parks, restaurants with unfortunately costly accommodation, plane tickets, transfers and tours. However, if you have the option to delay the vacation to the shoulder seasons (typically when school is out in your state but other states not) you might be in for a good treat. We did!!!

My family decided to spend few days at the beach end of August this year. We got a cheap flight from DFW to ATL, we met some of our friends on the night we arrived. The next day we drove to Hilton Head Island, SC.

We stayed at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island and we had an awesome experience. The resort is beautiful, well- maintained and has direct access to the beach. They have gorgeous pool and a shallow entry pool which is great for kids. They have spa, golf, yoga, restaurants, kid’s club, and  rental for bikes and beach chairs- they got it all covered.

Morning  stroll around SOnestra Resort with my boy

Morning stroll around Sonesta Resort with my boy

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Family Beach Vacations

We love beach vacations!!!

We love the beach!!!  Who doesn’t?!?

Beach vacations are perfect for the family. Perhaps the best type you can get especially if you have kids aged between 1 to 5 years – a great learning experience for the little ones and the big ones.

I totally understand that some parents get too discouraged to go on vacation with the kids. It’s hard – they are energizer bunnies that run around and can’t stay focused, they’re picky with their food, but they eat anything off the ground… I mean anything… and the hardest part is that they get sick so easy. However, you can’t be a hermit – not me at least. You have 2 options – 1) leave the kids with grandparents/friends/nanny 2) have them tag along and do something fun for everyone. Believe me it’s NOT that hard as you imagine it to be.

My family love the beach!!!

My family love the beach!!!

A family beach vacation is easy for novice travelers and here are few things to keep in mind. Read More

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Venice with Kids: Know Before You Go

Magical View from Rialto bridge at night:) And lots of pier all around the canal...

My husband recently had a conversation with a coworker who is going to Venice with his family.  He had a flashback of our unforgettable experience last 2011. Then, he asked me to write a blog about it since Venice is such a beautiful city and families who are planning to go shouldn’t hesitate tagging along their kids. Proper planning is needed.

Flashback… Venice -February 2011 while I was 6+ months pregnant together with our 14-month old boy. Imagine that!

It was our 1st international flight with our son and I was pretty confident that I got everything covered. However, travel is often full of surprises and its part of the whole experience. Our journey started bad – 1st flight delayed so we missed our connection from Heathrow to Venice, leading to an unexpected reroute with a bus transfer to Gatwick with 1 bag already lost.

We stayed Venice for a few days and it was magical as expected. Actually, it was more meaningful since we shared it with our little boy.

We made lasting memories in Venice with our boy...

We made lasting memories in Venice with our boy…

So, here is a list of few things to consider when traveling to Venice with kids. This is a Must-Do-Check-List.

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Top 5 Charming Villages in Madeira

My kids spending quality time with Avô  (grandpa)

Madeira Island is an exciting destination for all types of travelers. For the venturers who want to discover the unknown, for the dependables who require travel with comfort and for the centrics who can either go for a good challenging adventure or go for anything fun and comfortable. Madeira offers varied activities for everyone. Well, as I mentioned in my previous blog, one of my favorite things to do in Madeira is to go around the island. So many things to see and do… and heeeey…. you can tour the entire island for a day or 2.

Here are my top 5 charming villages in Madeira:

São Vicente

Located north of the island lies this cute little village of São Vicente. You will find the chapel bridge (Capela da Ponte) or saint chapel (Capela do Santo) down the valley by the sea. Built in 1694 constructed right on the very spot where it is believed that Saint Vicente appeared.

Teixeira family - background view is the Sao Vicente chapel by the bridge

Teixeira family – background view is the Sao Vicente chapel by the bridge

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