This is EXCLUSIVE content from our book, How To Travel With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)
After traveling the world as a family of three for 9 months straight, we had to cover three daily meals and snacks, all on the road. Eating out can get pretty costly, and it can be difficult to stay on budget, especially when visiting different countries. We found ways to keep our food costs in check, that you can use for a vacation of any length.
Once upon a time, you used to travel together. Romantic
weekend getaways, relaxing summer vacations. Then you started a family, and
ran out of time to do absolutely nothing. “One day, when the kids are older,”
you say, thinking about when you can travel again. To that, we say, “Go now!”
We loved to travel, too, and when Aarav was born, we made the decision
to keep on traveling while he was young. He’s traveled as an infant on
long-haul flights. He’s seen 41 countries before he turned 4. While we learned
a lot about traveling with a young child (read: What We Learned
on Our Sabbatical (And What it Means for Your Vacation)), we also discovered there are perks adults get to enjoy
when traveling with young children.
We cannot rave enough about Shanghai! Actually, we rank Shanghai one of our top five cities in the world. After visiting the more traditional and old-school Beijing, Shanghai was such a change of scenery. The city is very cosmopolitan, like New York City, Mumbai or Tokyo, and incredibly organized. This is a city that wants to be the financial capital of modern Asia and that goal is pretty evident in everything they do.
With a desire to be an international business city comes people from all around the world and from all over China. This means the food in Shanghai is to die for, coming from all the regions of China, as well as around the world! We had some of the best foods we have ever eaten while here. From its beautiful harbor, the energy of the city and its people, the illuminated skyscrapers and, again, the food (we seriously cannot say enough about it), Shanghai should be on everyone’s travel list. This is a city you do not want to miss. Go, now. We mean it!
When you take a vacation, it can be easy to overindulge and put on a few pounds. Cruises are notorious for all-you-can-eat buffets and lots of fruity alcoholic drinks, with passengers gaining an average of 5 to 10 pounds during the duration of one cruise. To take a 9-month trip around the world, however, we knew we couldn’t eat our way around the globe — although we definitely wanted to sample the local foods. We made a commitment before we embarked on our journey to do it in a healthy way. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t come back from our trip in worse shape than when we left. And we didn’t!
We know it’s tough to maintain your health on the road, so we’re sharing our tips on how we stayed healthy.
The best way to get your bearings in a new city is to join a walking tour. In practically every city we traveled, we took a walking tour to learn our way around and get insights from a local. But even more than suggesting everyone take a walking tour in a new place, we suggest a free walking tour. Yes, we understand the obvious reason, but there are many more!
It’s historical, a culture all its own, and, oh yes, the food is off the charts! Beijing is where the Ming and Qing Dynasties thrived with imperial families ruling for centuries. You’ll find palaces, temples, gorgeous parks, and, of course, various entries to the Great Wall of China. Not only is Beijing’s culture unique in how the country celebrates its spiritual beliefs — they once considered themselves between Heaven and Earth — it is also the center of communism in China and provides travelers with another unique perspective on the world.
Yes, although the language can be a barrier, we also found the people of Beijing to be extremely friendly to families, going out of their way to take care of children. It really is a magical city that everyone should visit.
Note: This is the ninth and final article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what the 2nd E in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
We are big fans of technology. (Then again, we are both software engineers, so we may have a slight bias.) Technology begins with using tools like TripAdvisor and Google Translate to help you with your trip. Planning a trip requires some research, and there are many websites that can help you find your routes, seek out accommodations, and book your trip. When in a foreign location, having apps and resources to help you find your way, decipher a different language, or make alternative plans when weather suddenly changes is imperative.
Note: This is the eight article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what the 2nd L in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
As parents, we make mistakes all the time, and most of the time — if we are honest — we don’t really know what we are doing (even when we act like we do!). We are imperfect, but we continue to learn as parents.
As one of our top three places in the world, we find China to be one most unique cultural experiences we’ve had as well as an incredible food experience. The Chinese love children and are extremely family-friendly, and at every turn, you will be surrounded by ancient history. We just cannot stress enough that your family should visit China.
But before you visit, you will need to prepare. While China is technologically advanced, it can feel as if you are in a time warp — very few people speak English, you cannot just call a taxi, and all the social media tools, apps and email you typically use, including Uber, are not available to you in China.
From the basics you’ll need to enter the country, which has stricter visa requirements, to some things may be unusual for your family to encounter, here’s how you can prepare for your trip to China.
Note: This is the seventh article in our series around our travel philosophy, Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. In this article, we breakdown what I in Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. stands for. If you want to first get an overview on Be F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E. itself, please click here.
You can help wipe out a lot of anxiety you may have about traveling with a young child by preparing yourself mentally before a trip, as well as being prepared as a family during a trip. AJ is more the free spirit when it comes to travel; he can go with the flow without skipping a beat. Natasha? Well, she worries about what could go wrong and wants to be prepared for the worst.