My New Favorite Travel Apps – Guest Post

 

 

Making time for a getaway with the girlfriends can sometimes feel like planning for a trip to climb Mount Everest. You have to plan months in advance, prepare work ahead of time, and then there’s a need for new attire (or at least an excuse to buy that new dress).
But my recent venture to the Windy City with my girlfriends was worth all the prep. Planning ahead—and tackling all those spur-of-the-moment problems while on the trip—was much easier thanks to tech gadgets and a great batch of apps and online resources.

Prior to the trip we planned the basics–hotels, general itinerary, whose car got the honor of toting our suitcases. Finding where we were staying was likely the toughest call, mainly because the options abound. We obviously wanted to find something that would meet our budget and our standards for cleanliness and safety. TripAdvisor.com is a great place to start with reviews. It also connects with your Facebook account to show you the reviews your friends have made. Choose Chicago became a great resource with its online site and app that helped connect us to the best Chicago hotels. It also came in handy when we got to planning the good stuff, especially when paired with TripAdvisor’s forums and tourism page. Both provided great ideas for the best museums, shopping, entertainment and restaurants.


When we hit the open road, the long stretches of highway never felt like the desolate Wild West thanks to the AroundMe app. Whether we needed a gas station, ATM, or a place to get a quick bite, AroundMe told us where our nearest options were so we didn’t have to waste time wandering. Even better, it meant we weren’t confined to making quick decisions on bathroom breaks based solely on what we could see from the interstate.

As we hit the city, Waze gave us the scoop on traffic jams and important detours to know about. Parking was also made a little easier with iCarPark. Losing your car in a concrete jungle doesn’t have to happen with this handy app that helps you mark its location.

Chicago is a public transit city, so when we didn’t want to break the car out of its safe resting place, we turned to the CTA to get a true Chicago travel experience. Several apps exist to help you keep track of your transit options, including Buster for the bus and Arrivals for the train.

Inside our hotel room, finalizing plans for the day were simple with Choose Chicago, which kept us posted on events during the span of our trip and even provided sample itineraries. When wanting to get a true taste of Chicago, we often used the LocalEats app to find the unique culinary options the city has to offer.

Spending time with the girlfriends in the big city was a delight, especially with all the on-the-go apps that helped us make the most of our trip!

About the Author: Danielle enjoys visiting The Windy City and staying in Chicago hotels with her girlfriends whenever her hectic schedule allows a weekend away from home. She gets less than excited about riding on The L while she is there.

Venturing Abroad with your Grandchildren – Guest Post

 

 

 

 

If you consider yourself a globe trotter whose adventures aren’t diminished by age, consider adding a new element to your trip the next time you head out on a trek – your grandchildren. By traveling with your grandchildren, you can reap the benefits of ample bonding time and allow them to get to know you better, as traveling fosters relationship development. If you elect to brave this adventure, put some thought into your travel planning to ensure that all goes off as well as possible.

Talk About the Trip

The prospect of heading off on any trip is often exciting to children. The idea of venturing abroad with grandma is likely even more thrilling than the norm. Put some effort into preparing your grandchildren for what they will encounter by talking to them about the trip well in advance of departure. Show them pictures of the land they will visit and tell them stories about times you may have visited in the past. If they will encounter a culture decidedly different from the one to which they are accustomed, explain how the way of life is different so they are better prepared to acclimate themselves to the culturally distinctive practices of people who live in that country.


Organize Insurance

As a responsible grandmother, you know the importance of covering all the bases. While you certainly hope that neither you nor your grandchildren will fall ill while traveling, you should prepare for this possibility to be on the safe side. As you plan your trip, research and purchase medical insurance that will cover you and your grandchildren abroad. Buy a policy tailored to youngsters for your grandchildren and a travel medical insurance policy for seniors to ensure you’re properly covered. To further prepare for any medical issues you may encounter, ask your child to compose a letter permitting you to make healthcare decisions for your grandchildren while on this trip, and have this document notorized. This will ensure that, should something happen, you can make potentially important decisions without delay.

Prepare an Itinerary

Planning is essential to ensuring that your grandma/grandchildren trip goes off without a hitch. Instead of allowing the wind to take you where it will, decide upon a set itinerary for your travel well in advance of your departure. Leave copies of this itinerary with your son or daughter so he or she can keep track of where you will be taking his or her child as you travel around a foreign country. If you deviate substantially from the itinerary, let someone know to ensure that no one panics unnecessarily should you not arrive at a planned destination as listed on your pre-trip travel plan.

Be a Strict Hand-Holder

From traversing the walkways of busy airports to navigating the city streets of whatever foreign metropolis you decide to visit, there will be ample occasion during your travel for you to lose track of your grandchildren. The easiest way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is for you to be insistent that your grandchildren hold your hand constantly. Any time you are not safely in a hotel room or buckled, as a group, into a plane or train seat, require that these rambunctious and easily distracted youngsters hold tight to your hand, eliminating the possibility that they get distracted and wander off.

Be Ready for Homesickness

Regardless of how close a relationship you have with your grandchildren, there will almost certainly come a time in your trip overseas where they long for home. Don’t allow this to catch you off guard. Instead, be prepared. Pack a little toy that you can give to your homesick travel companion when he mentions his desire to get back home. This small kind gesture will likely make a major difference for your grandchild, as it will give him something positive upon which to focus the energy he was previously dedicating to missing mom and dad.

With some planning and preparation, as well as precautions while you are traveling, you can turn your next vacation into a relationship-building escape with your grandchildren. By stepping up to the plate and taking on this challenge, you will have the chance to create a closer relationship than might previously have seemed possible with these oh-so-important-to-you tots.

Danielle always thought that travel medical insurance for seniors wasn’t important until her grandmother got into a life-threatening car crash while in Germany. She survived, thanks to the immediate care she received at the hospital while overseas, and has since returned with her grandchildren nine times.