Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Beautiful Table Mountain at Cape Town, South Africa

On a recent visit to Cape Town, booked through, I had the privilege of taking a cruise in the famous Table Bay. This is the bay where Dutch commander, Jan van Riebeeck arrived on the 6th of April 1652, founding the nation that is South Africa today. Since 1488 when Bartholomew Diaz set eyes upon Table Mountain for the first time, sailors have been captivated by the natural beauty and splendour of this magnificent mountain. I was also captivated by this beautiful natural wonder and went up the cable way that gives one the opportunity to travel to the top of the mountain.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Tips on Travelling with a Toddler

Travel Advice for Parents travelling with young kids

Many parents put off their dream overseas holiday until their children are older under the impression that travelling with young children might spoil an expensive overseas holiday. I’ve decided to explore this opinion a bit further, having travelled with small kids to exciting destinations myself.
Holiday travel is big business these days with lots of operators offering varied travel packages for all kinds of travel groups, from 75 year old’s to the independent traveller. Family travel has also entered this spectrum with travel companies locking onto the void in the market.

So why must you as a parent be concerned in travelling with your youngsters to far off lands? I can speak from my own experience and the concerns I had before I took my small children to Egypt in 2010. My boys were 3 and 5 years old at the time.
Some of the concerns I had were the following:
  • ·         What if my children become ill on the trip?
  • ·         Will we as a family be safe?
  • ·         What if my children become rowdy and unmanageable affecting other travellers?
  • ·         What if they become bored spoiling my experience?
  • ·         Will there be enough kid’s related entertainment?
  • ·         Will it be a lot more expensive to travel with the kids?
  • ·         Will my kids remember their experiences if they are so young?

Kids Travel advice for Parents
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

So I had quite a lot of concerns to deal with. To make things even more interesting in my situation was that I also included the grand parents in my travel plans. This added further strain as I also had to ensure travel insurance for over 75 year old’s were taken out. Let me however focus on the kids for now. (I will include travelling with the aged in a later post.)
I had to make a well informed decision to proceed with the travel plans or to stay at home. I worked through each concern, looking at the probability of any of it occurring.
·         What if my children become ill on the trip?
o   There is 50/50 chance that something like this can happen. One however has to plan correctly to limit kids getting ill. So what can one do?
§  Never travel to extremely cold destinations with young kids. Remember that if you travel to a different hemisphere the seasons are swopped. Best Seasons to travel to certain popular countries are the following:
·         Europe – Summer, early Autumn
·         Middle East / Egypt – Autumn, Winter
·         Australia, New Zealand – Summer
·         South Africa – Spring, Summer
·         Tropics Africa, South America, Asia – Winter (Dry season – less risk of malaria)
·         United States, Canada – Spring, Summer
§  Ensure that you take preventative inoculations where required.
§  Take the necessary cold, flu and diarrhoea medicine with you.
§  Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance for those unfortunate situations where you need a doctor or a hospital.
·         Will we as a family be safe?
o   Ensure that you are well aware of world politics and international safety notices. Don’t take your kids into dangerous territories. You also need to be aware that kids are not always allowed on adventure sports, so if you plan this, remember you will require a baby sitter.
·         What if my children become rowdy and unmanageable affecting other travellers?
o   This you will have to manage as it happens and believe me, there is a very good chance that your children will act up. Kids will be kids.
·         What if they become bored spoiling my experience?
o   Here you will have to go through the necessary planning to organize a well-balanced itinerary that will have the necessary aspects that will make it interesting for the kids.
·         Will there be enough kid’s related entertainment?
o   As mentioned in the previous item, you need to ensure you have a balanced itinerary with enough activities for the kids included.
·         Will it be a lot more expensive to travel with the kids?
o   This is one of the biggest misconceptions that parents have. Travelling with kids does not add massive extra expenses to the trip budget. There are usually big discounts tied to kids travelling.
·         Will my kids remember their experiences if they are so young?
o   This is where you as the parent needs to play a big role in ensuring you keep the memories alive. Take as many videos and photos during your holiday. It will ensure the memories stay fresh in the minds of your kids.

Overall I feel that you should not exclude your children from the magic of travel. Every trip is an adventure with new discoveries for you and your kids. Family travel is fantastic to make families grow closer as a unit. Enjoy the time with your kids before they go off to college.

Image of Parthenon:Photo by Steve Swayne.License: CC-BY-SA 2.0

Monday, 30 January 2017

Is Egypt still safe as a Holiday Tourist destination in 2017?

Felucca on the Nile
I've visited Egypt a couple of times and has an intense love affair with this country that has bestowed the world with a wealth of mystery and suspense. Travelling in Egypt is an adventure on its own. I did not backpack in Egypt and possibly wouldn't advise that, in the current political situation. I however don't see any problem with booking a place on an organised tour. The tour operators are up to date with the current situation on the ground in Egypt and they will advise of any risks.
Security Alert: You can also go to my Egypt specific page on this blog, where I have links to the United States and United Kingdom Travel alerts, as well as fantastic advice relating to travel in Egypt.

News: Egypt Tourism figures at a 20 year low.

My last trip to Egypt started in Cairo and included a train trip down to southern Egypt from where we took a Nile cruiser up north again from Aswan to Luxor. We visited all the famous sites, including the pyramids up north at Giza and the Valley of the Kings in the south at Luxor.

Please see below a small subset of photos of my last trip. Enjoy.
Statue of Female Pharaoh Hatshepshut

Dusk in Luxor - with the Aten clearly visible
- that is to say if you were the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten

Pyramids at Giza

Rams at Karnak in Luxor