We are a family of four who love to travel, but when travelling with young kids there are many things you need to consider to ensure you have an easy and enjoyable stay. Things to think about – is your accommodation family friendly? Are there plenty of kid suitable activities available in the destination you are visiting? How much travel time will you have? This past spring, we decided to visit Germany and with lots of places on our list of what we hoped to see, we decided to split the trip between Berlin and Frankfurt. Our two kids (ages 5 and 8) are seasoned travellers, so luckily, they travel well (for the most part!). Here is a rundown of what we did, where we stayed, what we ate and what we saw during our fantastic trip to Germany!

Berlin

Germany

Where to Stay

Our first stop was Berlin and getting there was very easy. We flew direct from Stansted Airport and arrived in just 2 hours! The flights were very cheap as well! We chose to stay in Capri by Fraser Berlin – the Frasers hotel chain is a common favourite of ours as their serviced apartments give our family plenty of space and are the perfect blend of enjoying hotel amenities while feeling like you are in a home away from home.

Where to Eat

During our trip, we found some excellent restaurants that were well suited for kids and adults. A few favourites of ours included Alois S. in Prenzlauer Berg where we enjoyed a delicious brunch. With a selection of tasty tapas options, there was something to suit all our taste buds. We enjoyed potato omelettes with chorizo, smoked cheese and ham croquettes to name a few. At Alois S. they also have a lovely terrace which we sat out on while the kids played in the sandpit and enjoyed the ping-pong table. We had another couple of great meals at Restaurant Kneipe Giraffe and Restaurant Jolly.

What to See and Do

We were surprised to find there were lots to do as a family in Berlin and our itinerary quickly filled up. We had a memorable day out at the Berlin Zoo which is the oldest zoo in Germany since it opened in 1844. The zoo is home one of the largest collections of species in the world which is made up of over 20,000 animals including the Asian Elephant, Chimpanzees, Gorillas and there is even an aquarium! With plenty for all ages and a selection of eating options, you are sure to have a great day out!

As well as taking part in family-friendly activities, we also made sure we did a spot of sightseeing to keep our trip somewhat educational. We visited the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate as well as the beautiful Reichstag Parliament building. There is also a wide range of excellent museums such as Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) and Legoland Discovery Centre.

Frankfurt

Germany

After five days in Berlin, we decided to embark on a journey across Germany to Frankfurt. We took the train which took around four hours and was fairly simple. It quickly appeared that we had left a historic type city with lots of momentous buildings and were now somewhere far more modern with a skyscraper filled sky. However, this was refreshing and of course, it was exciting to see different parts of the country.

Where to Stay

Luckily for us, we were able to book into Capri by Fraser Frankfurt – another reliable and stylish choice for accommodation that lets us sprawl out with all our stuff in their spacious apartments. This hotel was also situated in a convenient and central location which made walking to places really easy.

Where to Eat

For a quick and easy meal that everyone will enjoy, Jamy’s Burger is a great recommendation. From beef burgers to chicken burgers and even vegan options, this place will please all tastes. For a fun meal, visit Kabuki. This teppanyaki style restaurant will provide a great time for the whole family. Sit around the grill and watch your food being cooked right before you! This is an excellent way to spend the evening in Frankfurt and the food was delicious!

What to See and Do

There is also a zoo in Frankfurt, but since we had just been to the zoo in Berlin we thought we would spend our time more wisely and visit other sights. The Junges Museum makes for an exciting day out! The museum has lot of hands-on displays, workshops and craft activities. The exhibitions are made especially for children based on historical and local events.

Make sure you pay a visit to Main Tower and enjoy the incredible city views from the observation deck. This is a fantastic way to see Frankfurt from a totally different perspective. After that, head over to the city forest where you can escape the hustle and bustle and get in touch with nature. This unique area within to the city is full of lush trees, nature trails and thrilling playgrounds for the kids. The playground at Scheerwald houses a large revolving sprinkler which is great for cooling off during the warmer days. Here you will also find a mini-golf course, roller-skating rink, ping-pong tables, a play area, football area and a basketball court. So, pack a picnic and enjoy a fun-filled day in the forest!

City breaks are not just for adults and can be thoroughly enjoyed by families and kids of all ages. With plenty to see and do, you won’t be disappointed on your family trip to Berlin, Frankfurt or why not visit both!

 

 

 

Mummy in a Tutu

Money is tight for so many individuals and families at the moment. Every season brings its own expenditure items and many of us are thinking about our Summer holiday right now.

holiday

My dad was a very wise man. One of his key bits of life advice was that you should always take a summer holiday no matter how much money you have in the bank. He knew that holidays turn into memories that can sustain us in the most challenging of times. Now I am older, I will share my advice which is life for all of us is a series of ups and downs so we need everything to get us through the harder periods. Holidays help a lot not just at the time but in the coming weeks, months and years.

Here are my top tips for saving money whilst still ensuring a happy Summer holiday.

Travel

Consider different ways of getting to your destination. Which is the most-effective? Why just go ahead and use your usual mode of transport without checking fuel prices, fares and even things like car sharing schemes? Are you happy to go for no frills flights or rail journeys to save money? Can you book well in advance which often means cheaper tickets? Is it worth considering an indirect flight? Be travel savvy!

Accommodation

You can make magical memories anywhere so don’t rule out things like a camping or caravan break. Youth hostels are also an option which too many people think is only for the young. If you are looking for hotel accommodation, check out some striking deals.

Food and drink

It is all too easy to over-spend on food and drink on holidays. Research can help particularly if you are going overseas. Find out whether you will be better off self-catering some or all of the time. Eating out in Europe and other destinations can be much cheaper than in the UK in my experience. Rather than worry about it all on holiday, get food and drink savvy before you go. Also remember that you can make great memories with a simple picnic.

Negotiate and shop around

There are some great money savers out there who negotiate on every transaction. Sometimes companies even expect this so it is worth a try particularly if you are booking late as many travel and accommodation providers will offer reduced prices rather than make no money at all.

Shop around because you might find that really can save you a lot of money. Falling for the first clever marketing offer is not the way to go when planning a holiday. Look at the slick words and images and then shop around to see if you can get something the same or markedly similar for a cheaper price elsewhere.

Prepare for emergencies

We all hope we won’t encounter an emergency on holiday. Make sure you have appropriate insurances in place just in case. Have some contingency money set aside. Ensure you know the basic driving and other relevant laws in the country you are visiting to avoid costly fines.

My Dad always used to research our holidays in detail and as I have got older, I realise that is because he was money savvy. He would always choose a hotel one street back from the beach rather than pay a premium for a sea view knowing we could walk to see the sea easily enough. It really is about checking every item of expenditure (including cash point withdrawals and mobile phone costs) in advance and working out how to cut costs.

Happy holidays and please do leave a comment with your top money-saving tips when it comes to Summer holidays.

Top Tips For Saving Money On Your Summer Holiday

 

 

ethannevelyn.com
My Random Musings
3 Little Buttons

Liverpool is a city with a strong history and a great culture. I used to visit the city with my Dad when he was working there and also once with a female friend who lived in nearby Chester. Later, I had to go to deliver training sessions in my own career.

However, it is one of those cities where I feel I have not really got to know it as well as I would like.

So for my next visit to the North West, I am going to research what to do in Liverpool One and have actually already made a start. The challenge is that there are so many fascinating events that I may need to keep going back for more.

Storytelling

As a writer I love anything that celebrates the power of the written word. Liverpool are putting  on a great event including book swaps, celebrity appearances. book reviews and competitions. Magic will be created with the reading trees so this is something that will appeal to all the family.

Accessible exercise

Our family is not the most sporty one in the world so exercise needs to be fun and easy to do. Greenbank Sports Academy is a centre of excellence in physical education, sport and recreation that is owned and run by disabled people. They are putting on special table tennis sessions and I reckon ever I could manage this fun way to add some movement to our Liverpool trip.

Art

I have always loved visiting art galleries. It is one of those things that somehow has disappeared from my life since becoming a parent. I want to get back to this lovely pastime and to take my daughter who is such an artist herself. The Tate Liverpool is on the Albert Dock so in a lovely location as well as giving us a chance to stop and stare at the works of famous artists.

Going crazy!

I have always loved crazy golf and it equally popular with all my family. I have so many fond memories of games by the sea and at Butlins. So I will head to Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf. It sounds superb with promises of a jungle swamp and a live volcano!

Food and drink

I love finding quirky eateries and Liverpool has so many to choose from. I plan for my trips to be active ones so we will need regular refuelling. I really fancy trying some Japanese food at Yo! Sushi where there is a conveyor belt allowing you to pick what you fancy. The restaurant chain is also the only one in the UK to serve Japanese Seabass.

Have you visited Liverpool? What did you enjoy most about the city?

 

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The Pramshed

Lookers, Motability dealers, have created just what us busy parents are looking for. They have devised some fun and creative ideas to maximise magical memory-making during your car journey. I’m all for anything that makes family car journeys less stressful.

As a child, I am sure I always behaved well in the car. In fact, I remember being shocked at the behaviour of my friends in the car when I travelled with their parents to events. I just don’t see the need to be bouncing around. Perhaps I was a boring child or maybe my Dad as a former police officer had made it clear to me what could go wrong when drivers are distracted

With my own children sibling quarrels are the worst thing at home or in the car. Apart from that they are pretty good and especially now they are that bit older.

As technology is so big a part of our lives today, it always good to have some traditional alternatives at the ready for trips in the car. Perhaps the below may be of use for you to use throughout your next family journey/

Hungry child?

Nobody is happy when they’re hungry and a young tot can panic when those hunger pangs strike. To preventing a tantrum wrecking your day out, keep a cool box in the front seat and pack this with a range of delicious, potentially healthy snacks, with a mix of drinks and treats. This is always a good way to keep the kids happy and if you inject new treats for them, that is also a great distraction technique.

Pack Wisely.

A good way of keeping your children occupied, is by keeping a bag full of all of their favourite things. This may include a range of items, such as books, colouring in items, pens and cuddly toys. With endless possibilities, your children will be spoilt for choice of what they can do!

Fancy a good read?

An audio book can entertain children of different ages and yourself. We used to do this a lot and should get back to the habit. It’s an easy way to learn without realising it and to stimulate children’s imaginations.

Preparing games!

When driving, there are an endless range of games to play with your children… One of which could potentially be “Yellow car”, in which you find as many yellow cars as possible. Why not switch this up and do it with your favourite colour? ‘Back seat bingo’ is also a popular one, in which you draw a grid for each player before setting off, and fill the squares with sites that you must tick off. So if you have a big drive planned, do some research of retro games that have stood the test of time.

I hope I’ve given you some tips to beat boredom during drives with your children.

How do you currently entertain your children on car journeys?

Cuddle Fairy

The ABTA Holiday Habits report 2017 stated that the number of people travelling abroad on holiday increased from 55% to a high of 57%. As travelling becomes more of a lifestyle necessity than a luxury, we’ve teamed up with TRUE Solicitors LLP, accident at work claims specialists, to investigate whether Brits are taking out insurance before jetting off, what their insurance actually covers and how certain aspects of their behaviors can actually invalidate their claims.

Are people insuring themselves before they board the plane?

According to ABTA, in the 12 months leading up to May 2017, a total of 25% of holidaymakers weren’t insured on their trip, up by 3% on May 2016’s results. However, this differed between age ranges but was commonly problematic among young people travelling abroad.

Results from May 2016 found that 31% of 18-24-year-olds weren’t insured when they went abroad. This figure increased by 9% in the following year. 25-34-year-olds were also guilty of this risky move, with 31% of jet-setters not insured in 2016 — growing to 38% in 2017.

The only age bracket to show a positive decrease from 2016 to 2017 was 35-44-year-olds. However, this drop was marginal, down to 25% from 26%. For people aged 45-54, 20% of travelers weren’t insured for their trip in 2016, a figure that grew by 3% in 2017. Those aged 55 and over remained the same over the two years, with just 14% not taking out insurance before their trip.

For those who travelled without insurance, 36% said that they didn’t think that they needed it. Although refusing to buy insurance will have short-term financial benefits, the savings made don’t compare to the detrimental financial situation you could be in if something was to go wrong abroad. Despite this, 22% said that it was a risk they were willing to take.

Lots of people wrongly assume that when they’re travelling in Europe, they don’t need insurance because they have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, this is not the case, as EHIC is only valid for medical necessities within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) in state hospitals. It has been advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that all people wishing to travel outside of their country should also have comprehensive travel insurance as this will likely cover repatriation in the case of a medical emergency.

With Britain soon set to leave the European Union after the Brexit vote, it is unclear what will happen in terms of the EHIC. What we do know is that those who are officially living abroad — whether this is to work or study on the day the UK officially leaves the EU — their card will continue to prove eligibility for the same state-funded healthcare as the citizens of the country receive.

What you should know about travel insurance

Insurance is all about covering the unpredictable events that may occur before your holiday or when you finally reach your destination. It’s important that you purchase your insurance as soon as you book your holiday, as it can cover potential cancellations and pre-trip illnesses — it’s a small financial decision that can save you a fortune in the long run.

It’s important that you analyse the policies that come with any travel insurance you purchase, as different companies will offer different levels of coverage. It is unlikely that they will cover high-risk activities. It’s important to consider what type of holiday you’re going on — if it’s active like skiing, you must inform your insurer to get the best cover.

Pay attention to the small print too. For example, if you’ve consumed alcohol and need medical attention some insurance companies will reject your claim — in extreme cases, they could seek out court rulings and will supply the court with medical records that say you had alcohol in your blood. It’s important to remember that in hot countries, your body will absorb alcohol more easily too.

If you have something stolen from you when you’re abroad, you must have substantial evidence that will back your claims. So once reported to the police, you must ensure that you receive a copy of the police report so that can prove your loss — within 24 hours too. Many companies will reject your claim if the items that have been stolen are left unattended in your room and you haven’t used the hotel’s safe.

Another worrying factor that you should be aware of before travelling is that if your travel company was to go out of business, you would not be covered. However, when it comes to the airline going out of business, you may be covered but could be required to pay an extra premium.

Only in exceptional circumstances may insurance companies waiver the decision to cover terrorism or natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and lightning strikes.

Most common injuries to occur abroad

Research has suggested that 74-80% deaths abroad are caused from natural circumstances like heart attacks. However, the same source found that 18-24% occur due to accidents and 2% from infectious diseases. Two thirds of holidaymakers worry about getting sick when they’re away, but it’s inevitable when results show that one in 20 trips can include sickness or injury.Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common causes of injuries when holidaying abroad and this is sometimes caused by uneven carpets or flooring that has not been properly maintained. Take note of signs to ensure you’re not at risk of injury through slippery or uneven floors.

As we drive on the left here in the UK, facing foreign roads can sometimes be a challenge and leave us confused at times. You might be trying to follow directions or the GPS on your phone — but you must stay alert and not get distracted to avoid any type of road traffic accident.

Of course, you want to have fun when you’re on holiday and you don’t want to miss out on any sport excursions. If you have concerns, you must ask the organisers as high risk activities can invalidate any insurance policies if you’re not properly protected.

The cost of such injuries can be excessive too, with the average medical claim costing £914. However, for 65-74-year olds, this cost increases to £971.63. One example provided by the FCO stated that one stomach bug infection that was treated in a Californian hospital cost £100,000, including return flights back home.

48% of people don’t realise that without travel insurance, they’d have to pay for their own medical bills when they’re abroad. 78% said that they wouldn’t be able to pay just £10,000 to cover the costs that could present themselves.

All in all, it’s vital for people to take out the right insurance policy for their needs when they travel abroad and fully understand what they are and aren’t covered for. With Brexit just around the corner, and the fate of the EHIC unknown, will we see an increase in the number of people taking out insurance?

Sources:

https://www.worldwideinsure.com/travel-blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Travel_insurance_facts_infographic_9267747559.jpg

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/travel/2017/06/16-things-about-travel-insurance-they-dont-tell-you

https://betravelwise.com/10-interesting-maybe-random-travel-safety-statistics/

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/15/travel-insurance-holiday-europe

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/advice/alcohol-consumption-invalidate-travel-insurance/

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/671569/Skiing-British-skiers-drunk-alcohol-apres-ski-accident-serious-injury-risk

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/articles/traveltrends/2016

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4596054/Could-slash-cost-summer-holiday.html

https://abta.com/about-us/press/two-in-five-millennials-travelling-abroad-uninsured

https://abta.com/assets/uploads/general/Holiday_Habits_Report_2017.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-41125931

https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/lifestyle/the-five-most-common-types-of-accidents-on-holiday-and-how-to-avoid-them/

 

Cuddle Fairy