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5 Top Tips For Travelling Abroad

Here are 5 tips to help your holiday flow more easily. I have ben lucky enough in my life to travel to many far off destinations. It could be that this is your first foreign trip, and you want it to go smoothly so you don’t waste any time once you get there. Here are my 5 top tips to help you on your way.

Tip 1

Money: Make sure you have some currency and some travellers cheques, you may also need space on your credit card if you are not taking all of your spending money.

Do not take a high value of currency though – in most countries you can cash in travellers cheques anywhere for the local currency. As traveller’s cheques are insured, if you lose them, or they get stolen you get some if not all of your money back. Currency on the other hand is not! Lose it and its gone for good! Bear in mind that you may need change, so do what you can on arriving at the airport to get some change from a large note. This will stand you in good stead should you need to tip a baggage handler or bell hop (you do not want to be giving away large value notes)

I got caught out once in America – I came out of the airport in my lovely hire car straight onto a toll road. I got to the first toll booth and need a quarter. All I had was a $10 bill, which obviously would not go into the payment machine. I was very embarrassed when the alarms went off and I had to pull of to the office and explain myself!!!!

Tip 2

Research: Do your research before you go. You know yourself and your family and you know what you would like to be doing on your holiday – buy the guide books, or research on the internet. You don’t need an exact itinerary of your trip, but you can gain an idea of what you would like to do or see during your trip! You may want to plan a day of activities followed by a day of rest on the beach, but if you have a rough idea before you go, then it saves you spending the first day or so of your expensive holiday, deciding what to do and where to go.

Its great fun to sit around as a family and have the discussion about what you would all like to do, because everyone is different and has different ideas it makes life easier to have any arguments or heated discussions before you are away.

On all my forays abroad, I have done this, and it makes life so much easier. Theme parks one day, followed by something interesting like a museum or art gallery the next, then a day at the beach or sight seeing… everybody is happy as they have their day. It is also useful to find out how much things cost, in order to plan your finances as well as possible – especially given today’s economic climate.

Tip 3

Language: If there is likely to be a language barrier then also purchase a phrase book. The ability to say “yes” and “no”, “please” and “thankyou”, “hello” and “goodbye” in a foreign language (at least) will stand you in good stead with the locals! If you can order food, drinks and understand menus and signs, even better – this will serve two purposes, getting you respect from locals and allowing you to take a foreign holiday confident that you will not get ripped off because you cannot understand what people are saying.

If you learn the language and can ask “how much” and people claim not to understand, then walk away. I had this with a taxi driver in the Czech Republic. I had researched the cost of taxis, and approached a driver for a price. He claimed not to understand my question and proceeded to ask for 3 times the going rate. I walked away. Had I not done my research and learnt the language then I would have been ripped off big time. I also recommend that you take the phrase book with you.

Tip 4

Children: If travelling with children then make sure you have something to keep them entertained. You do not need something just for the flight, but also for the evenings when you are at base. Children are easily bored, and foreign TV (especially if in a none English speaking country) is not fun for children as the only English shows they have are news channels. You will maybe need a few toys (electronic ones are best – batteries are universal and electronic chargers can be used via adaptors you buy before you go away). And they do not take up a lot of luggage space as they can be carried in hand luggage. Also take paper and pencils to allow some time spent drawing.

Tip 5

Survival Kit: Put together a “survival kit” before you go away. Medical attention in a foreign country can be expensive, and if there is no English spoken, your experience could be worse. Include creams (antiseptic), plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, anti bacterial gel, electrical adaptors, sewing bits, tweezers, etc. These items can be costly if purchased abroad, and also if you have not followed Tip 3, you may have difficulty obtaining them at all!

Other than this, make sure that your mobile will work in the country you are going to as you may need it and don’t forget your chargers for electrical items such as mobile cell phones, hand held gamers, shavers, etc.

Follow these 5 tips and you will be assured of a safe and happy holiday.

Travelers on The Orphan Train


The words abandoned, abused, and orphaned do not sound sweet upon the ear. They are heartbreaking when the word children follows them. New York City was a magnate for European immigrants to America. Many never got beyond that city, which grew to accommodate them. As their resources dwindled, the impoverished immigrants inhabited the baser parts of the city, known as the slums. So many people from so many places massed together, created a breeding ground for pestilence, which laid waste to many families. By the 1850s, the slums became the unhappy home of legions of orphans, whose parents had died or abandoned them. As the great War Between the States fired up in the early 1860s, this matter was made worse when so many men of immigrant families were compelled to enlist to fight a war in order to get money to feed their families. Many of those men were killed or maimed beyond repair. More orphans were spawned to roam the slums in search of scraps of food. Survival was the daily trial of an orphan.

An Angel

Philanthropist Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in 1853 in that city. A minister by trade, he channeled his beliefs and his energy into gathering resources from those who had means and a conscience and swooped up as many orphans as he could catch. But, the task was overwhelming. The orphanages filled with them. He realized that those places were people storage for kids, and not the way to replace a loving family that each kid had lost. He got an idea: Get the orphans out of New York City!

The Orphan Train

Europeans heard the unhappy news of the plight of so many unfortunate immigrants to America. Many of those who followed them were able to plan and prepare to get past the Eastern cities and their slums. Especially, European farm families, blew past the coastal nuclei of humanity by organizing themselves into traveling caravans that moved west. First, they settled the midwestern valleys, and later, they went as far west as they could on the storied wagon trains. Yet, they too suffered the tragedy of death. Brace heard stories of midwestern farm families who had lost children and of those who were barren of children. Desperate for the joy of children in their lives, and willing hands to make the farms work, they turned to their pastors, parsons, and priests. Prayer led to practicality, and to Charles Loring Brace. Again, he turned to the city’s wealthy, and with their help, he spawned the first orphan train.

A Child’s Point of View

Many of the orphaned children were born in the city slums, and had not seen the world beyond that slum and the orphanage. The idea of going west, on a train, something that they also had never seen, was heady stuff. They would go along with their friends. Their caretakers filled them with hope as they prepared them to look presentable and placed them on the train. The journey was long, weeks long. They ate and slept on the train. Then, something for which they had not prepared happened. The train stopped at a midwestern town. All of the children disembarked to stand in a line on the loading dock. Throngs of people were there, nearly all of the inhabitants of the town. Pastors, parsons, and priests were there, and then magic happened. A farmer’s wife said to one of the children, “Darling, there is something about you that makes my heart sing. Can I be your mother?” The poignant moments were very individual, and not all of them were so touching. Older children might be selected for their capability to do farm labor, while the younger ones might be picked to mend the broken heart of a barren wife. With each passing stop of the train, the ritual repeated. Those children who were not selected became fewer in number and more anxious. An unspoken thought passed among those who were left. “Does nobody want me? Will I be returned, alone?” Brothers, sisters, and best friends, were sometimes split up, never to be reunited.

A Legacy

So many stories came from Brace’s orphan trains. Most of those stores were untold. Some of them were unhappy stories. But, the majority were uplifting tales of children who were orphans no more. One of the former orphans was Charles William Paddock. In 1919, he was known as “the fastest man alive”. Readers may recall this, for he was the American that British runners aspired to race at the 1920 Olympics, illustrated in the book and film called Chariots of Fire. John Green Brady, three-time Governor of Alaska, told then Governor, and later President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt how Teddy’s own father had been one of the financiers of the orphan train that took Brady out of the slums of New York City. This and so many stories of young lives salvaged, were the result of the ideas and actions of a world shaper, Charles Loring Brady.

Watch Live TV On Your Computer – The Best Of Both Worlds

How does this idea sound: you can watch live TV on your computer. Not only can you watch all your favorite channels, but much more, like some live sports channels and world latest news channels. If you like the idea, this article is for you.

At the heart of the idea is the Internet, of course. Internet now provides satellite TV services that counter all the problems that regular cable TV subscribers face. It is no wonder that many people prefer Internet satellite connection.

Many people still think that installing a dish is the only option. Some people try to do the installation themselves, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully, and end up paying much more than they expected to on equipment. If you can get the dish installed, you will have to pay every month, and this will turn out to be a whopping amount in the end.

To top it, you keep missing your favorite programs. Every time your favorite sports are on, it seems like you have to work overtime or travel. At times, the signals are interrupted because of bad weather, ruining your favorite shows. If you choose to watch live TV on your computer, these unfortunate incidents won’t happen anymore.

No matter where you are, as long as you have access to the Internet, you can watch live TV on your computer, whether you are away on a trip, or even in your own office. You get access to more channels than you do with a regular satellite connection, as long as you are connected to the Net.

You have a couple of options. You can directly access streaming TV, a service provided online by some TV channels. You can access and watch some channels for free, while with others you might have to pay a low fee. This option is good for you if you are not a heavy user, and do not want a wider selection of channels.

Then, there is software available online, that can be downloaded at the cost of about $50, which will let you watch live TV on your computer. You do not need to install any hardware for this. This software lets you search for the channels and programs you like, and once you find them, you can bookmark them. A good Internet connection can make this an easy and convenient option.

This last option takes care of all the problems you have with your existing satellite TV. You will have a huge range of channels to choose from, and once you pay the fee to download the software, you will not have to pay for anything. You can watch live TV on your computer, and save money while doing so.