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Growing World Citizens through travel is one way to create an Uncommon Childhood.  Read on for ideas and inspiration for traveling with kids, within your home country and abroad.

Five fun, frugal activities for kids in NYC, from

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jul 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Travel

Everyone enjoys taking a good vacation with their kids. However, vacationers who think outside the box always look forward to activities that are unique, enjoyable and, most of all, memorable. Of course, you can have a bucket of fun without emptying your pocketbook. And, yes, this is possible while vacationing with your kids in New York. It is simply a matter of finding out beforehand what places are available and deciding what to do once you get there. When the kids know what to expect, they will be ready for adventurous times that call for little or no spending and you can start with a reasonably priced New York City Hotel there are a few that are family friendly on such as the Royal Park Hotel. To get you started here are five children’s activities that can last a lifetime.

A Thousand-Word Friendship

Naturally, children are very sociable creatures. They also enjoy outdoor activities like playground fun. Once they arrive at the site, unlike many adults, they join in the playtime and share smiles and laughter with their newly-found friends. The idea is to take them to a playground such as Bleecker, Pier 51 or Downing Street. Equipped in advance with their own inexpensive camera, have them take snapshots with their buddies. Once the friendship has been established, with parental consent, they can exchange ways to stay in contact: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Play Dough Liberty-for-All Outing

Few people will go to New York without taking in the view of the Statue of Liberty. Of course, a long wait is usually unavoidable. The waiting time is a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy an cheap sit-down picnic at a nearby playground. While there, they can draw sketches of the statue and surrounding areas. Following the viewing they can re-construct the scene using play dough on hard cardboard.

Hook, Line and Sinker Adventure

Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are in abundance in New York. So, there is no shortage of fishing opportunities. Instead of getting dressed up and attending an expensive activity, get dressed down, pack a basket and head on out to catch your choice of coldwater, saltwater or warmwater fish of all kinds. Recreational fishing is a memorable time for kids when they have their own equipment and are allowed to experiment for themselves. Children under age sixteen do not need a fishing license.

Sunrise and Sunset Watch

New York sunrise and sunset are gorgeous and fascinating. Watching them is a free activity that the kids will enjoy. Not only will they bask in the glow of the suns’ magnificent radiance, but it will broaden their perspective of nature. Wherever and whenever they behold another similar sight, they will be able to compare and contrast. With their personal inexpensive cameras, they can capture the sun’s brilliance in print.

Tree Rubbing – The Central Park Highlight

Visiting Central Park is one of the main highlights of vacationing in New York. Prior to taking a trip to this historical location, the kids should be taught how to do a tree rubbing. During their walk, let them select a tree of their choice to do the rub. To conclude this fabulous experience of nature, they can frame the finished product to keep as a souvenir.

When it comes to kids having fun, even if it’s on a budget, it does not take much to please them. Likewise, when taking them on vacation to New York, it does not have to take too much money either. As long as the activities are kids-appropriate, they will love the experience. The important thing is to plan in advance. The preparation will pay off because they will have the tools needed for the individual experiences that will last them for years to come.


3 Ideas for how to make your spring (or winter!) break unforgettable!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jan 25th, 2013 | Filed under: Travel

Mid-winter I often start to get itchy feet, especially if I’m housebound in the northern cold. I start to dream of warm places and adventures outside my four walls. For years, before we started traveling full time, we’d plan a mid-February escape, an early spring break of sorts, to break up the long winter’s night.

Where to go and what to do? 

Here are three ideas for how to take your winter or spring break beyond the boring beach resort and make it something truly uncommon and unforgettable: Click to read more…

5 reasons why learning English is important, whatever your age

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jan 15th, 2013 | Filed under: Education, Travel

As the language of everything from Shakespeare to international business, English is one of the world’s most important methods of communication. While many have the chance to acquire it during their school years, adult learners shouldn’t be put off by its inherent quirkiness and large vocabulary. As can be seen below, the benefits far outweigh any effort required to learn it.

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Those who like to travel will find that the ability to speak English makes the experience far more rewarding. Not just in terms of being able to speak to locals, but for interactions with other travellers too.

According to the British Council, English has special or official status in more than 75 countries. It’s spoken as a first language by 375 million people and as a second language by approximately 375 million people. Estimates suggest that one in every four people is able to speak a little English, with numbers increasing year-on-year.


English is the primary language of books and newspapers around the world. The ability to read and understand English also opens up the possibility of enjoying the historical achievements of English literature. Dickens, Milton, Bronte, Locke, Blake, Hardy and Coleridge are all far more enjoyable when read in their original language.


Approximately 75% of the world’s mail is written in English. The internet, too, is a hotbed of English communication. Estimates suggest that 36% of the internet’s 200 million users communicate in English – a number that is growing daily as more and more people get online.

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In the West, English continues to be the favoured language for popular music. While young people tend to use the lyrics of songs to help them learn the language, older learners do better by enrolling on dedicated courses, such as those offered by Skola.


The ability to speak English increases an individual’s employability – which is a big plus in these economically gloomy times. The language is vital in a range of professions, for example, more than two-thirds of the world’s scientists read in English. With this in mind, there are numerous specialist English courses for adults providing tailor-made instruction for particular careers.

A mastery of the language provides job opportunities outside of English-speaking countries, as well as in them. Multinational corporations employ English-speakers in offices around the world. English is also the first language of organisations such as the European Union, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and NATO.

Get more from your family holiday: Five Spanish cities where you can learn the language

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jan 4th, 2013 | Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized

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Few other countries in the world offer such a vibrant and flamboyant culture as Spain. Visitors to the country can enjoy a whirlwind of delicious tapas, vibrant flamenco, incredible scenery and artistic wonders.

Learning Spanish is a valuable life skill and a great focal point for any family holiday. Naturally some locations are more suitable than others and here is a look at five of the best.


Nestled on the shores of the stunning Costa Blanca, a family getaway to Alicante is a beach getaway like no other. The seaside location boasts beautiful Mediterranean weather and stunning sandy beaches. At its core Alicante is a peaceful and friendly port city, with a renowned university and charming, rustic Old Town.

As the second largest town in the Valencia region, it strikes just the right balance between lively and safe, cosmopolitan and approachable. When you’re not hitting the books studying, there are also plenty of bookstores, ice cream stands, museums and nightlife to keep every member of the family entertained.



The perfect family trip to Spain should really showcase the best of Spanish culture. In Granada you will discover the wonders of flamenco, the taste of true tapas and the sounds of classical Spanish guitar.

The hub of authentic local culture is also surrounded by some of the country’s most stunning natural scenery. Beaches, mountainsides and woodlands combine to make Granada an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The student population means the city also contains a real buzz and passion, the perfect environment for learning a new language.

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If you prefer a smaller, more intimate experience of Spanish life, Córdoba is a small Andalucía city that’s the perfect size for a family visit. The stunning World Heritage Site offers a blend of fascinating history, architecture and customs.

The surrounding scenery is also some of the most beautiful in the country, with views over the Sierra Morena mountains and the Guadalquivir River.



Another university city that bursts with culture and excitement, Salamanca is the ideal location for language travel or themed holidays.

Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, the stunning old-world architectural elegance features sandstone facades and Renaissance design. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the culture here feels anything but stale. There are cafes and tapas bars in abundance, and the city winds its way around the beautiful Tormes River.



Time spent in Seville will help to educate your family on far more than the wonders of the Spanish language. The city is a melting pot of fascinating history, customs and traditions, the perfect place to immerse yours family in the local way of life.

The iconic orange trees are scattered throughout the architecturally rich churches and plazas. The city is also home to countless festivals, events and exhibitions that celebrate the rich local culture of present and past.

Seville is also the fourth largest city in the country, which may or may not appeal to some families more than others. If you’re unsure what sort of location is right for you, it’s always best to speak to the industry experts.


ESL Language Studies Abroad specialise in placing families in the ideal location for mastering the language, as well as truly immersing themselves in the fascinating culture.



Bangkok With Kids: 5 Things Not To Miss

Written by Jennifer Miller on Dec 18th, 2012 | Filed under: Travel

If you happen to be entering Southeast Asia on holiday with your family, there’s a fair chance that you’ll be doing so through Bangkok. It’s tempting to just blow off a big city and head out of town and south for the beach, or up north into the culture rich northern region. May I encourage you not to do that? Take a couple of days, sleep off your jet lag, and explore Bangkok a bit with your kids.

Bangkok is brimming with accommodation options, from the seedy backpacker hostels on Koh San Road to the five star executive class hotels downtown. If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to search for family suitable Bangkok hotels, probably somewhere between those two extremes.  I recommend looking for something with a pool (Bangkok can be very hot!) and something located very close to the train, as public transport in Bangkok is fantastic, but getting to and from it can be challenging and cabs aren’t always cheap. Click to read more…

Adventure for Christmas: A Gift That Cannot Be Wrapped

Written by Keri Wellman on Dec 6th, 2012 | Filed under: Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

The stockings were stored in the basement with care, while the family absconded and took to the air. 

After feeling somewhat bescrooged after last Christmas, I slunk into 2012 with the idea that next Christmas would be different.

I wanted a family experience.

I wanted adventure.

I wanted to run away from the ball of Christmas tree lights in my basement.

Thus, this year, instead of buying illuminated penguins and piling up haphazardly wrapped presents, our family will spend the holiday on the shores of the Red Sea, and if all goes well, we will explore the ancient Nabatean ruins of Petra.

There is no box in which this gift can fit.  Click to read more…

Make Travel Journaling Fun!

Written by FamilyontheLoose on Dec 4th, 2012 | Filed under: Education, Travel

Most travel journals have one or two tedious full-day entries, a few more scattered attempts at daily documentation, and then … blank pages.  Why?

Because writing down everything you do every day is deadly dull. 

If your idea is that “travel journaling is educational so I will sit my kids down every day of this trip and make them write down what we did,” what you might actually be teaching your kids is that writing is extremely boring.  Instead, help your kids add zip to their journals and maybe they’ll enjoy writing.

Following are ideas to make the journal more fun to write and more fun to read later.  As a bonus, if you try a bunch of these ideas, your child will explore an enormous diversity of writing and communication styles (even math!).

Click to read more…

Flying With Young Children: Fortune Favours The Prepared!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Sep 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Travel

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My kids have been traveling since they were tiny.

I remember the nervousness I felt flying with Hannah for the first time when she was just a few months old. I was all thumbs and was sure everyone could tell that I had no clue what I was doing. I nearly dropped her out of her carrier contraption in my frantic efforts to meet her needs before she made them known with loud screaming.

I’ll never forget being thoroughly searched by the TSA and being mortified and annoyed as the agent needed a full explanation of what my breast pump was and how it worked as he swabbed it for explosives and my three little children asked a million questions including, “Mama, why we gotta take our shoes off?” and I worked around my large pregnant belly to try to get six small pairs of shoes back on so we could run for our flight.

It’s those experiences that prompt me, as the mother of teens, to offer assistance to young moms in airports, carry crayons in my purse, long after my kids have cared about them, and encourage my big kids to stuff a couple of tiny toys in their carry-ons in case they’re seated next to a mom who’s feeling as harried as I was when they were tiny.

Airlines (and airline passengers) are becoming notoriously intolerant of children and parents are becoming increasingly gun shy.

I’ve even heard that some take Starbucks gift cards to pass out to passengers nearby as an “advance apology” for any inconvenience their child causes. I’m sorry, but that any parent needs to add that concern to their already too long to-do list before a trip with young children is ridiculous. We the public, need to get a grip and remember what it was like to be a kid on a hard day, or a new parent in uncharted waters.

If you’re that parent, anxiously anticipating your first flight with your kids, or dreading the next one because the last one went badly, I have a few suggestions for you of things you can do to ease the process, and perhaps even make it fun, for you and your child. Click to read more…

Travel With Kids: Why Thailand Should Be On Your List

Written by Jennifer Miller on Aug 25th, 2012 | Filed under: Travel

Summer holidays are over and the school year is underway. Kids are left dreaming of their adventures and parents are diving into the new routines. The next big opportunity most families will have to travel with their kids will be over the winter break. The best time to plan that trip? Now!

We’re  lobbying hard for several friends to join us in Thailand over their winter breaks. Why? Because December is the middle of a gorgeous high season in Thailand: there’s no rain, the temperature and beaches are perfect and it’s a very family friendly destination.

Interested? Here are a few places you could visit: Click to read more…

Wandering Educators: An Interview With Jessie Voigts

Written by Jennifer Miller on Aug 7th, 2012 | Filed under: Education, Travel

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Jessie Voigts is the brains behind the website Wandering Educators. We’ve long been followers of her work and supporters of her vision for education and travel for all children.

This past spring our daughter took part in her Travel Blogging Mentorship program and we were impressed beyond measure.

I wanted to take the time to present Jessie and her vision to all of you as well. If you have teenagers who would benefit from the mentorship program that she offers (completely for free) don’t hesitate for a second!

Without further ado: Jessie, in her own words: Click to read more…

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