And when we dragged ourselves through the doors of our Kathmandu hotel, I knew we had made it. We did it. A 28-hour journey between airports, lost luggage, security checks, visas, and one shower. I was so proud of the kids and I…

It’s true that when you cross borders with your family, there’s a feeling that the only aspects worth preparing for involve immigration control, visas, and flight confirmations. But this time, I don’t mean those kinds of details. This time, I’m talking about limits of a different sort, those who have nothing to do with the word “visa.” What about the inner limits? The emotional, mental, and physical limits we all have? Surely, they are just as important.

Before this latest journey to Kathmandu, I was under extreme stress. I had no idea how I was going to manage the impending challenge. How could I possibly handle a journey that starts in Israel, continues to Jordan, and then onward to India, where we will have to wait 12 hours without any visa for the flight to Nepal? Alone, the journey would be arduous enough, but traveling with three kids poses an entirely new set of challenges. I knew the process would take well over 24 hours, and I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to sleep. I also knew that I had no Indian visa, and that the immigration officers would probably create a nightmare for us because of that problem. My close friends and family reassured me. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine,” they coaxed, although these empty reassurances only made me more anxious. Of course you can say “It’ll be fine!” if you don’t have to go through it! Had I gone too far this time? Had I taken a chance that would prove to be a huge mistake? Had I finally embarked on a journey that I could not safely enjoy with my children? What exactly was I capable of as a mother?

After successfully navigating over 7 years of traveling, I can say with certainty that one of the most important parameters to consider is exactly that: know your limits, whether they are emotional, mental, or physical. In a strange country, with its own laws, language, and unique culture, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Ever. Here are some ideas to think about before you embark on international family travel:


1. Do your homework!

Before settling on where you’re going to go, check the weather, health hazards, available healthcare, altitude, sanitation, and most especially the water quality for your top destination choices. How do you and your loved ones fare in cold weather? Humidity? Are there health conditions to be considered? Any germaphobes? Everyone needs to understand and be prepared to accept the differences in cleanliness standards from your home country versus your destination. Preparing for these aspects of travel will expand your hygiene limits!


2. Check personal safety levels.

Can you walk around without having to worry about being pick-pocketed or assaulted in other ways? What are the tourist crime rates like? Is there an organized tourist police association? Do you have proper insurance? Make sure you have fall-back plans in case your valuables are stolen, and then at least you can rest easy if you experience crime. Give everyone a copy of emergency phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Mentally prepare yourselves and your children for these contingencies.


3. Think about transportation options.

What is the best way for your family to travel? Do your young children need carseats? Do you need a personal driver? Are the kids old enough to handle long, cross-country, bumpy bus rides with unreliable bathroom breaks? What do you need for your brood to be most comfortable during these journeys? Don’t sign up for a bus journey when a flight would quell the concerns of some anxious travelers, and don’t book a flight when a bus ride will keep you within your limited budget. Balance your priorities.


4. Communicate with locals.

How many people speak English in the areas you would like your family to visit? Can you or your children learn language basics for your trip to make the visit more seamless? What areas of your destination country offer English speakers? It’s always critical to be able to communicate in some way, especially if you are in need of directions, a restaurant suggestion, or directions to a bathroom. Know what you need to be able to communicate once you arrive.


5. Seek advice.

Take advantage of those who have already visited your country of choice! Even if you know someone who has traveled in the country solo or as a couple, he or she certainly has advice or answers regarding your upcoming visit. Does anyone know people where you are going who might welcome guests (have them write down phone numbers!)? Where are the best hidden spots? Places to avoid? Bargain eateries? Even ask those “stupid” questions–don’t be shy! Ask about aspects you are concerned about and see how best to address these issues.


6. Ensure a comfortable landing!

Book lodging online at a decent, well-known hotel for the first night or two. That way you can get a first impression of the country from a cozy vantage point and make plans based on what you hear from hotel staff or fellow travelers. In addition, your family will be able to recover from jet-lag and get some good rest before setting into your international venture. Don’t push your limits even more after a tough journey to your destination!


7. Be flexible.

Stay flexible emotionally, mentally, and physically. Don’t worry if things don’t go exactly according to plan! Give it a minute, breathe, and check what your best options are. It’s almost never catastrophic, just a part of the trip that you have to get through. Invite a sense of adventure into your traveling, as plans will inevitably change. Celebrate a delayed train with an extra ice-cream run, and calm upset stomachs with another night in a comfy hotel. Take small steps. And even try to have a bit of fun!  I cannot stress this enough: F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. That’s the key to pushing through the boundaries you thought you had!


8. Choose appropriate activities.

So one kid wants to bungee jump, another wants to take a cooking class, and another is battling an upset stomach. Anticipate the differences in your children’s preferences and prepare for disagreements about how to spend time abroad. No matter what, don’t put yourself or your family in situations that make you feel unsafe. Does your bungee guide seem out of it? Does your driver seem knowledgeable? Don’t rush to remote villages if it terrifies you, and don’t climb high mountains unless you’re sure you are confident to handle any problem that occurs on the way. Don’t put yourself in places where your own insecurity has you cornered. Know yourself and keep your strengths close to your heart, all the while accepting your weaknesses as part of the package. Remember all the reasons you decided to travel with your family in the first place. Then decide your true limits!


Having been ‘on the road’, as they say, with my three children since 2010, I know a thing or two about doing it cheaply. And no matter how experienced a traveler you become, there’s always more you can learn. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 budget-friendly essential tips when traveling with children:

1. Plan Sensibly

When planning a trip to multiple destinations, always begin budgeting for the cheapest place.This allows you to manage your budget, spend as much as you need in the cheap places and know exactly how much you have left to spend on the expensive ones. Include in your budget planning the ‘invisible’ extras, such as renting a safety car seat for your little ones or an extra bed at the hotel. If you plan for those in advance they cease to be ‘additional costs’, instead becoming a budgeted expense.

2. Limit Luggage

If the kids are old enough, you should limit them to a bag or suitcase each, and tell them that’s all they’re allowed to bring back. Not only will this help save money on the holiday itself, as it will mean you can’t shop for unnecessary items, it will also prevent confusion at the airport and on every other form of transportation.

One piece of luggage per person

3. Embrace the Flight

Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually no need to bring special games for the kids as most planes have a “children’s kit” which includes things like a coloring book and games that can keep them entertained for hours.

4. Location, Location, Location

Book a hotel that is close to public transportation, grocery shops and small restaurants. Many big hotels and resorts are very isolated, so you have no choice but to eat in their overpriced restaurant and take an expensive taxi if you ever want to go somewhere else in the area. A few months ago, when we went to Bangkok (which is considered to be one of the more expensive destinations in Southeast Asia), we found a homestay in a local neighborhood. With easy access to all the local restaurants, market, grocery stores, sky train station and even a laundromat (not to mention the cheap traditional Thai massage!), we managed to spend $50 a day for all four of us.

5. Handy Hotel Essentials

We always carry some basic kitchen equipment with us, such as a knife, peeler and chopping board so we can buy our own fruits and vegetables in the market and not pay the ridiculous restaurant prices for a fruit salad.

Cut your own fruit salad

Tip: If you are a coffee lover (like me :-)), I strongly recommend you to pack your own coffee maker. It will make your life sooo much better, and even save you few bucks every day. I like my French Press Coffee Maker, because all you need for a great coffee break is hot water. But this Portable Espresso Maker looks very good, too. 

6. SIM City

Always buy local SIM cards. It saves a fortune on communications as you can always call each other cheaply. It is also advisable to get the local data pack to save on internet, too.

7. Attractions and Local Information

Always go to the local Tourist Information Center before deciding which attractions you’re going to partake in, as they’re always well-informed and can tell you which ones, are worth the visit and which are not. The free maps are always a plus, and you might even get lucky with a discount ticket or package deal! Let each family member choose one attraction that they really want to go to, and after that see if you have the budget for more. Anything left after that is a bonus.

Choose the attractions with your head

8. Fun with Food

Ignite the kids’ curiosity about the local cuisine and snacks as it will always be cheaper and, in most cases, much healthier and tastier. It is, after all, what the locals know how to make best! Mix and match between eating at cheap, local places most of the time and treating yourself to more expensive, “fun” restaurants every couple of days. You could even take the main course to go from the more expensive restaurant, and all the drinks and side dishes from much cheaper places, and eat it all in your room. A top-notch meal for half the cost and in your pajamas? What could be better?!

try the local cuisine

9. Save on Souvenirs

It’s always nice to bring gifts of local products back home, but never buy them at the tourist gift shops as they are extremely overpriced. Instead, go to the local market for gifts and, if at all possible, take a local friend with you to help barter down the price!

Tip: I don’t know anyone who is not worried about losing his valuables during his vacation. It can be your camera, your cell phone, your wallet/passports or even your whole suitcase. If you want to make sure that this doesn’t happen, just attach these stickers to anything of value, and you will be able to locate it in minutes.

10. Say Cheese

Ok, now for the cheesy bit. In my personal experience, the best budget essential for family travel is just having the kids! You’ll find that everyone is much friendlier, more welcoming and will even let your kids try a bit of everything for free. Teach your kids a few words in the local language (hello, thank you, goodbye), and you’ll be amazed at the doors they open which both lower the cost of your trip and enrich it tenfold.

Bring your kids

Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!

This article originally appeared on Skyscanner

For cheap flights try also this link

A family trip to China is never going to be dull: the simple act of ordering a meal or crossing the road can be a white-knuckle experience in the big cities. But adventurous families looking for adrenaline-packed thrills and spills can rest assured that there are plenty of extreme activities in China that will step up the insanity levels a notch or 10. The only question is, are you brave enough to tackle them?


The Ultimate Skywalk: Coiling Dragon Cliff Walkway

A head for heights is going to be essential for some of China’s most extreme attractions! You don’t need to be in perfect shape or be above a certain height to experience this daredevil attraction on Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan. A glass walkway stretches for 100 meters around the mountain, clinging perilously to a cliff edge 1,400 meters high, while offering mind-blowing mountain views for anybody calm enough to appreciate them. The 1.5-meter-wide walkway is open to anybody game enough to step out onto the heart-stopping skywalk. Opened in 2016, it’s the longest and most dramatic of three similar walks in the Tianmen Mountain Scenic Area, and looks out over Tongtian Avenue, which makes 99 dramatic turns as it snakes up the mountain.



Take a Walk Across the World’s Highest and Longest Glass Bridge

Hunan is establishing itself as quite the destination for thrill-seeking visitors to China! In addition to the hair-raising, cliff-clinging skywalk, iit also hosts the world’s highest and longest glass bridge. At a height of more than 300 meters, the bridge stretches 430 meters over the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, and visitors can add extra spice to the experience by bungee jumping or ziplining over the abyss.

? Tip: Don’t try to wing it with this one–there’s some advance planning needed. The bridge can hold a maximum of 600 people at any one time, and entrance (from around $18 USD for bridge only) needs to be reserved in advance for a specific time slot. A Chinese ID card is required to book on the official site, so families on holiday in China would be well advised to book with a tour agency.   

⛷ Boxout: Even taking a trip to Walmart can be an adventure in China! Expect to see whole sharks, turtles and crocodiles on ice, and even live, hopping frogs. Being brave enough to cook and eat one is a further step up the adventure ladder.



Tackle the World’s Biggest Skate Park

If heaven is a half pipe, then the SMP Skate Park, on the outskirts of Shanghai, is Paradise itself. This is the world’s largest skate park, hosting seven concrete bowls, a 40-meter half pipe, rails and a mock street-scene, all set out in a somewhat spooky lunar-esque landscape. Built by skate specialists Convic at a cost of around $25 million, it’s the ultimate place to showcase your mad skills (or just watch the offspring showcase theirs). Entrance to the park is around $10 USDThe park has bleachers seating several thousand spectators, and gets busy at weekends for major skating events. During the week things are quiet – somewhat eerily so, allowing visitors to hone their skills without onlookers.


Brave this Terrifying Cliff Swing 

Ahhh, swinging through the air, so relaxing…except when you’re being pushed off a cliff edge into misty nothingness over a 300-meter sheer drop! Few parents are going to willingly watch their kids be strapped into this vertigo-inducing swing at Wansheng Ordovician Park. The highest mountain swing in the country comes complete with safety harness, but this might be one that’s strictly for the grownups. In addition to the swing, there’s a daredevil footbridge over a canyon to reach a lookout point, and the world’s longest and highest cantilevered walkway, which juts out in an A-formation for more than 80 meters from a sheer cliff edge. White water rafting, climbing and canyoning are other activities in the park.


Keep Cool with Whitewater Rafting

Daredevil families in Shanghai can escape the city swelter and get an adrenaline rush with white water rafting trips out remote locations such as Xinan Jiang, near Huangshan, and Bairma Tan, Anqin. Against an impossibly scenic backdrop, visitors will navigate Class III and Class IV rapids (on a 1-6 scale, 6 being near impossible). Dragon Adventures offers trips that can be tailored to meet families’ individual needs, and younger visitors can simply splash in calm pools.

You can also try our route for nature-loving families going to China.


Vietnam is a relatively easy place to travel with kids. The people are welcoming (and most speak English), the services are of a higher level than those in most of Southeast Asia, and yet the prices are just as affordable; however, from noisy hotels to hidden commission fees, a couple parts of Vietnamese travel may present some difficulty. Make sure you follow these tips make your family trip in Vietnam easier and more enjoyable!

1. Find a quiet hotel.

Make sure to book a hotel in an alley off the main streets. The big cities in Vietnam never sleep, and the noise can be very annoying at all hours of day and night. But never fear! It seems the cities were planned to help you deal with this problem, and every large street has a few quiet alleys connected to it, each boasting of more hotels than you’d imagine possible. If booking online make sure you look at the map so the hotel is indeed in an alley. If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay to recover from that jet lag, check out our recommendations here.

2. Use the right ATM.

Use Citibank ATM machines. Most ATMs in Vietnam will only allow you to withdraw up to 2 million(!!!) VND (Vietnamese Dong) and charge quite a large commission, but Citibank allows you to withdraw anywhere from 5-8.5 million VND (depending on location) with a lower commission. And yes, I really did mean millions. that’s because $1 USD= about 22,000 VND. The average coffee on the street costs about 10,000 VND, or a little less than a dollar. In Vietnam, we’re all millionaires!

3Avoid commission fees.

Never ever book bus or train tickets through the hotel or a travel agent. Ticketing commissions in Vietnam tend to be high, and can often cost more than the tickets themselves. It’s always better to go straight to the transportation company offices (which are easy to find, as each bus has the company name written on it), and buy directly from them. The difference is even bigger when you’re buying tickets for the whole family, so be sure to avoid those unnecessary fees!

4. Enjoy the reliable WiFi.

A big plus about Vietnam is that there’s free WiFi everywhere. Even in places that seem too small or local, there will always be WiFi. And it’s fast too! Can download at up to 20mbps! A VPN might be necessary at times.

5. Fruit for vegetarians!

A warning for vegetarians: in Vietnam, everything contains meat or seafood. It’s very hard to find local vegetarian dishes, and many of those are bland (imagine fried rice with carrot and green beans). However, to make up for it, Vietnam has some of the world’s best fruits. I especially enjoy the dragon Fruit and pineapple. Plus, they’re all dirt cheap: a whole meal of fruits will set you back less than $3 USD.

The short guide: Bangkok on $50 a day, Singapore on a lot less, and every other destination you dream of.

Croissant in Paris, ice-cream in Florence, sushi In Tokyo, padthai in Bangkok. Yes, India is nice, but sometimes we want to go overboard. Relax in those places whose tempting pictures just pop out whenever we open Facebook… even though we really don’t have enough money to go there.

But maybe we do?

I travel on a very low budget. $60 a day is a lot for me. And usually it doesn’t even get that high.
But sometimes I feel like I had enough of remote villages, local busses and pictures of Gali milking a buffalo with her little hands. No matter how much I love it.
So how do I manage to sneak the padthai in there, without going overboard?

Not a problem.

Here is the short guide on how to travel in places we simply can’t afford:

1. Those destinations aren’t in the plan. They come in when possible. When it fits. Not on purpose.

2. Flight: the best way to sneak them in “without meaning to” is to squeeze them between two cheap destinations. Either coming or going.
For example:

A. A flight from Vietnam to the Philippines costs the same whether it’s direct, or with a layover in Singapore. And three days in Singapore are a must. Here is an example:

A flight from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, to Cebu, Philippines:


On the other hand, a flight from Saigon to Singapore:


And from Singapore to Cebu:


Meaning a direct flight costs $142 (and it’s not a good flight, meaning we’re likely to choose a better one that costs $231). Compared with a great flight, with a layover in Singapore, the whole way, Vietnam-Singapore-Cebu, costing a grand total of $123.

B. A flight from the Philippines to Hong-Kong or Japan, round trip, is sometimes so cheap that it hurts missing the opportunity. Keep your finger on the trigger, because for every destination there is one ‘best friend’ destination, and the flights there are very cheap.

C. Bangkok, for example, is a central destination, where a lot of flights stop anyway, you can split the flight to your comfort, book a flight to Bangkok, spend 3-4 days there and continue to your final destination, with a local ‘lowcost’ airliner. There’s even a chance the whole thing will cost less than a direct flight. .

D. Another example- from Israel to Vienna, three sweet days in Vienna, and from there a train to Italy. I’ve done it. It was wonderful. Even brought my dog.

Always check what might be on your way. What can happen if you looked, without raising the costs of the flight and in the most practical, efficient, and adventurous way. Be creative.

3. The amount of time in that destination we can’t afford needs to be very limited. 3-4 days max.

4. Accommodation: after neutralizing the cost of flights, we need to take care of accommodation costs. Example:

A. here is what I do. I never pay for accommodation in an expensive destination. Zero is the new sum total.

B. hospitality clubs- search now in google: write down the name of your specific destination followed by hospitality club. These are clubs that offer free hosting, even for families. Here is one such website.

C. Homestay- same principle, only for a symbolic payment. And it’s not just a place to sleep, you also get guidance and advice from a local (read below what fun we had in Bangkok). Here is one website, and here is another (there’s tons).

D. frequent traveler points- many of the clubs have not only flights but also discounts and packages on hotels. That is the time to use them.

5. Food: easiest and cheapest solution is to not eat for a few days.

But if you really have to, or if the kids insist…

I always eat at the most local places I can find. With the host’s help I can find the most authentic restaurants in the local prices. Don’t let the eye popping lists confuse you “10 best restaurants in Barcelona” don’t interest me, in fact, I don’t look for or waste my time on those lists.

You don’t have to visit the expensive restaurants just to fill a checklist of the destination. The opposite. Go eat with the locals, and see what ‘check’ you’ll feel you did…

and when you come back home and they’ll ask you if you ate at the famous ‘Sultana’, you’ll have a fascinating story about the small restaurant you found where they greeted you so nicely because they’re not used to tourists and they let you taste from this and from that and showed you how that red drink turns purple when you add lemon and when they saw you excited that made you they gave you a taste from that drink whose name, despite every good intention, you just can’t remember but they make it on the spot from some really pretty flower and in the end they didn’t even want to take any money for the meal because Gali is so sweet and reminds them of their daughter when she was her age but of course you paid… and they asked you come tomorrow also and they’ll make something really special, and bring the older kids too, so we can get to know them… 🙂 ~true story

In addition, because I often stay in fully furnished apartments, I prefer to cook at home something tasty and nutritious, and buying the ingredients at the local supermarket is for me an experience into itself.

6. Attractions and luxuries:

Alright, since we managed to eliminate the costs of flight, accommodation, and half of food expenses- you can treat yourself to some attractions, that good ice-cream, and maybe even some shopping.

Also- it’s always worth your time to google your destination together with “free” and “things to do for free” you’ll be surprised how many results you’ll get.

And to close, a recent example:

The plan was to get from Nepal to Vietnam. We split that in two: Nepal-Bangkok, stay three days in Bangkok, and then fly Bangkok-Vietnam.

Accommodation: I booked homestay rooms through Airbnb with the Thai man O. the price was $40 a night for two rooms, but as I said, I didn’t pay for them at all.

Food: we only ate in local restaurants that our host took us to. The food was amazing, the price was about 150-200 baht a meal ($5-6)

We did laundry in the neighborhood for 20 baht per load, $0.5.

Transportation: we took taxis or the sky train (42 baht for the most expensive ticket). The taxis in Bangkok aren’t expensive, especially for a family.

Experiences: we went with our charming host to tours in the city, including Chinatown, the floating market, the palace, and more. In the evening he took the teenager with him to the local pub, to watch the season finale of a popular that gameshow, meet his friends and see the real lives of the locals.

I and my older daughter went on a shopping journey…

Of course we went to have real Thai massage, every evening, in the small neighborhood parlor. I paid 450 baht for me and my two daughters for an hour ($13 altogether)

We got 3 amazing days that left us with new friends, exciting experiences, and lots of new knowledge, great stories, and a good taste.

I paid less than $50 a day, on average.

As you can see, it is possible to travel large on a small budget, even as a family. Please click and download my new ebook “How to travel with kids for 1400$ a month (or less)”.

And you can always try this airline which I usually find very cheap.

Have a kid that likes taking selfies?


I have one too:-).

And another one on her way to selfie land.

I like to go along with what interests my children. I think that listening to them, but really listening, every day, is a very important personal example to set. It teaches them two vital things, in my opinion:

1. That they’re worth the same as everyone else, as they are. That what interests them is equal to what interests me, and it doesn’t matter if it’s selfies (for my girls) or Greek philosophers (for me, because I’m really intelligent. Well, not really…). No one is judging and criticizing and not giving grades. What ‘counts’ for more and what ‘counts’ for less. Anything is good.

2. That that is the way to act towards anyone. There’s no other way to meet a person, other the one respecting him (or her), accepting each person for what’s inside, in appreciation, equality, love.

For example, if the girl likes shoes (she didn’t get it from me…) I’ll cooperate with her and point out every cute shoe we see in the Main Market in Ladakh. The weird traditional shoes, the woolen slippers, the shoes made from Marmot skin, the shiny heels, and more.

If my little one likes animals, I’ll travel with her and explore the world with her through that field of interest.

Because you can meet the world in a million ways. And not only the way all the guidebooks tell us. Or how we think we ‘need’.

The truth is, when I listen to them, I notice they’re also more open to listen to me. And so we meet the world

together, from all sorts of different angles and perspectives.

So if the girl likes selfies, work with her.
Remind her to take selfies in especially beautiful or interesting places, challenge her to take selfies with interesting people you meet along the way, under signs of places you’ve been, collect and keep them all, and at the end of the trip- you could make a collection of all the pictures, and that can really be exciting.

#DontForgetToJoinTheSelfieYourselfSometime :-).

Before a trip to Europe with kids there are no fears. Even before a trip to America you have a clear head. But most other places make us, the parents, to hesitate, rethink.

How can I decide if I’ve never been there? Is it safe enough to travel with the kids in India?

That doesn’t have just one answer. The decision has to depend first and foremost on your personality, your limits, and your style of education. The fact that your neighbors just returned from a family vacation in India and had no problems at all shouldn’t matter to you in the least. All you need to do in order to make your decision is to go over the different issues involved in a trip like that and see where you stand in comparison to them:

Low sanitation conditions- in most places in India the sanitation conditions are much lower than what they are in western countries. And there’s nothing to be done about it. Filthy toilets. Filthy kitchens. Stained sheets. Rats. Mice. Monkeys. Cows. And of course Cow shit… that’s India and that’s a part of the experience. If you’re going to try to travel in India without seeing the dirt you shouldn’t even bother going… on the other hand- you can take steps that help in dealing with it.

∴ Bring sheets from home.

∴ Sanitize the toilets and showers yourself.

∴ Apply hand-sanitizer before eating.

∴ Take your shoes off before going in the room.

If you find it hard to deal with filth, and you don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy a trip where it’s not always pleasant going to the bathroom or seeing the kitchen where your food was cooked, don’t go.

Exposure to diseases– especially stomach illnesses and Mosquito transferred diseases. If your children’s health is a sore point for you, think hard before going to India with kids. It’ll be a shame if you’ll be constantly scared throughout the whole trip. And yet, once again, you can take measures to (mostly) help you relax.

∴ keep to the rules of safe eating in Southeast Asia. No half-assing it.

∴ Protect yourselves from Mosquitoes- put on Mosquito repellents, wear long clothes (even of thin material), spray your room.

∴ Mosquito transferred diseases aren’t common in all of India. You can limit your trip only to ‘safe’ places. Basically, you can say that in the north there’ll be less Mosquitoes, starting from Manali and higher. (North India is the perfect destination for a summer vacation).

Driving and transportation– in India they drive differently. In my opinion, the truth is, their way is much better and more considerate than other places, but westerners that land right inside the mess of India will take a while to see the logic behind it. In addition- the roads themselves are sometimes extremely frightening. The drives in India take hours and sometimes days. In most vehicles you won’t find a seat belt…

Beggars and homeless children– the sights of India leave you speechless. People missing limbs, thrown in the street, stinking and covered with flies. Wild haired, rag wearing street children running wild. Tin shacks. Skinny mothers of soft babies sleeping in the temple door.

Chaos and masses– in some cities there are huge masses, noise, honks, and chaos. When you’re travelling with kids, and especially with little kids, that is something that anyone might be scared of, and rightly so. Too many people in one place, that requires maximum attention on the kids. Take that under consideration.

Faraway isolated places– in the other side of the scales stand the isolated spots, the little villages you sometimes find yourself in during a trip to India. You should think about those too, and prepare yourselves to the challenges that places like that might set.

To travel in India without letting it go really deep into you is a waste. True, it doesn’t make it easy. It overflows the senses in every possible way. But if, after you take everything under consideration you’ll decide to go- go with all your heart. And let the kids be there with everything it means.

Need help planning your trip? Send me an email and we’ll coordinate a call where I’ll answer all your questions, fears, and queries. And tell you all the little things you need to know before setting out.

For almost a month now we’re enjoying ourselves on a private beach that sits in the middle of a small bay on a beautiful* island in the Philippines.
We drink fresh Coconut milk, and eat pineapples and watch the Starfish. The water is clear and warm and we swim every day.
We’re in an area that lies outside the tourist road, and so we get the local Filipino experience in all its glory.
Meeting the village people, going fishing with them, play basketball with them, go out for some barbecue in the tiny local restaurant, that also fixes bicycles.
In the local market they offer fresh cocoa beans just like that, in baskets. And all sorts of fruits and vegetables and pastries we’ve never even seen before. Actually… today on the way to the ATM I saw in a small bakery store the little sweet pastries we loved so much in Vietnam. Where they sell it very cheaply in carts. Immediately I bought some for the kids. How fun it is to remember something we loved to eat in another country.

Click here to get a month’s worth of food filled adventure in the Philippines.

“Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and it’s fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment”.~Paul Fussell, Abroad.

I feel that this experience, like many others we’ve had, both for me and for the kids, is incredibly enriching. Just as is, natural and wild and real and pure. Without make-up. But in comfort and with all the luxuries (we actually have a tv after all…).
The combination of the beautiful waters, of passively watching the tides, the effects of the moon and the weather. Walks on the beach and seeing dozens of living creatures, the refreshing swim. Playing with the village children. And so much more.
From time to time the owner of the house we stay in comes to visit. She stays a few days. In those days she takes us on a journey deep inside the Filipino culture. She teaches us to cook Filipino dishes, explains to us about the oceans life and the creatures in the ocean. Opens the door to experiences like fishing at night using a flashlight, coconut peeling and explaining everything you can do with coconuts. She explains about the leafs they put in the soup and why they’re very healthy, and why in all the gardens around people cover their plants in empty eggshells.
Today she told me exactly where I can see dolphins. And how to get there.
For me the stay here is the peak of the good life. Sun, ocean, soft sand, and fresh coconuts. You don’t really need anything more. Just let me lie in the hammock and look at all that blue.
And if I can write to you a bit more personally, I feel like this place is drawing me deep into myself. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s the quiet. Maybe it’s the dream coming true in living here. One dream of many :-). Both for me and for the kids there is a sort of understanding, realizations that pop up, and a type of maturing. Of sharpening.
And the love I hold for life and the world bursts out in joy.
♦ So how did we get here?
We make friends fast, fall in love fast, stay very open, brave and free. All those create non-internet-opportunities that express themselves in exceptional and exciting friendships and experiences. When you start your own journey pull your nose outside of the internet. From the guides. Give the road a chance. Don’t be scared. Come to it with your love, and you’ll see how it rewards you. There’s a whole world outside. An exciting world full of love.
♦ Ok ok. So bottom line: how much does it cost me?
◊ The whole house, all three rooms, the amazing gallery, the handmade furniture, the balconies, the accessorized kitchen, the barbecue station in the yard, the fertile coconut trees and all their coconuts, the banana trees, the privaaaaaate beeeeeeeeeeaaaaach.
◊ Laundry.
◊ And transportation (cause a girl need to go on the back of a motorbike from time to time)
All that costs me 15$ a day.

*the island is called Bohol and it’s one of the better known and more touristic islands in the Philippines. It’s a beautiful island but its tourist centers are very small and focus in very specific areas. the rest of the (pretty big) island is tourist free.

You can watch the girls talk about this experience here.

Travelling in southeast Asia, even with kids, doesn’t mean being banished to the land of the wild things.

I write this post following a number of inquiries I got on the subject. The fear that becomes bigger the closer your flight is, that you’ll have to sacrifice your soft skin, not to mention those killer selfies, in return for the dust of the roads and adventures, probably lurks in every woman’s head.
(ok maybe it skipped me, after all, I ooze sexiness naturally).

So here are a few tips I learned from my five years of experience:

♦ Southeast Asia is a cosmetic heaven. It only looks scary from the outside. Once you get here, once you stick your head to the first store in India, you’ll see that a lot of your fears were empty. But really empty. A wide range of amazing companies (and every ‘Himalaya’ product you can dream of), tons of natural products, oils, soaps, creams, scrubs. In short: pack light.

♦ Just never forget to check the expiry date before buying anything.

♦ One of the more important parameters is the weather. The main principle in taking care of your face is matching the cream to the weather.

♦ Invest in a night cream, something that gets the job done. And during the day find something appropriate for the weather.

♦ When we made our way by night bus from Beijing to the Mongolian border, I slept on a bunk when underneath me was a beautiful young Mongol woman. at some stage, before she went to sleep, she shamelessly pulled out her toiletries bag, and during the drive, in front of everyone, took cotton swabs and tonic, cleaned her face, put cream, oiled her hands and went to bed. Since then I take her with me everywhere. 40 days and 40 nights of staying in the Mongolian wilds (you thought I was kidding with the title?!), no matter how tired or lazy I felt. Cotton, tonic, face cream. In darkness, cold, heat, rain, in the good, the bad. No half assing.

♦ Keep those in a place that’s easy to reach.

♦ Make sure to wash your face in clear water (even a river, waterfall, lake… whatever) at least once a day.

♦ Have a scarf in your bag. The local women use it to cover their faces and protect them from the road’s dirt whenever they find themselves on a bus/bike. I don’t do it but I’m just lazy.

♦ Watch what you eat. In southeast Asia it’s easy to take care of your face’s skin using fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, different kinds of tea, fruit juice. Pay attention and don’t go wild with the junkfood.

♦ Even if you’re trekking or adventuring in remote places- eat fresh cooked food (over instant for example)- what the locals cook for themselves, drink water or tea (not chemical juice), snack on nuts and dried fruits. Sweeten with honey.

♦ Beauty salons are everywhere. But everywhere. Waxing, eyebrows, moustache. And maybe some face treatments, haircut, color. You can maintain everything even during a trek. Just ask the locals. And there’s a chance you’ll earn a conversation with a fascinating local woman and maybe even learn a few new techniques.

♦ Invest in a hat that looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g on you. You’ll be surprised how useful it can be…

♦ Don’t let pimples erupt. For that there’s a small narrow tube containing a colorless jell for focused treatment (In every other shop in southeast Asia) that neutralizes them within hours.

Make-up: personally I’d recommend one core principle when it comes to make-up: keep your face skin soft and pretty, so you’ll need the minimum and the minimum.

◊ Now, depending on the season but southeast Asia can get reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally humiiiiiiiid. No make-up is equal to this kind of weather. For this reason, I wouldn’t use much powder, mascara, or black pencil and all its variations.

◊ If anything, it’ll be in the locals stores that you’ll have a chance of finding the super eye-liners that you you could fly to the moon and back with without a single smudge. And it’ll probably cost 20 rupees.

Hair: same thing here. Keep it shiny and healthy. Not so hard in southeast Asia because the range of hair products is simply never-ending. Asian women take care of their hair obsessively.

◊  And of course all the gadgets and stuffs and things for your hair. Everything is dirt cheap and the range is unbelievable.

◊ And let’s say you went on a trek and didn’t wash your hair for a few days- baby talc will absorb the extra oil and give off a nice smell. I heard there’s also “dry shampoo”.

Skin and body care: depends on where you’re traveling. In Vietnam for example there are amazing (and cheap) spas. In India there are hot springs and natural oils, in Nepal there are amazing organic products, in short… go and discover. One of the pleasures or traveling this way is entering a cosmetics store or try out a new massage. I can tell you that the mud bath I did with my daughter, and the swim in a mineral water pool, and the other experiences we had in that area will not be soon forgotten :-).

◊ I use salt as cleaning-disinfecting pilling mask to the skin, preferably natural Himalayan salt (sometimes mix it with a bit of some oil) and honey as massage/cleaning face mask. But that’s only because I am too lazy to carry too much with me. I buy a small amounts and if anything is left I leave it behind.

Nails– mani and padi there’s everywhere. I don’t see a problem. All the other decorations for nails I also saw almost everywhere.

♦ Yoga- it balances you both inside and out.

♦ It’s likely that travelling and the freedom and that feeling of letting go will also express themselves in how you take care of yourself. Don’t be surprised if you want to make rainbow stripes in your hair. Or if your whole definition of beauty completely turned on its head.

♦ And it’s also likely that your adventures, passion, love, adrenaline, and pleasure will all show themselves in the spark in your eyes, the flash of your cheeks and the light in your eyes. Spread out all the love within you.

♦ And then there are places that make you feel like the hottest woman in the world. Let them.

And a few nice links on the subject:

 Packing Secrets from Travel Pros
 Travel Beauty Tips! What to Bring with you on Vacation/Holiday!
 18 Travel Beauty Tips — to Go
 35 travel bloggers reveal their-top beauty tips and tricks
 Stay Sexy on the Road: 6 Beauty Blogger Tips

BTW- you don’t have to be skinny to look hot. here is an awesome link for plus size hotness.

And no, it has nothing to do with volunteer work. It’s really a regular trip with hotels or apartments or rooms. Just for free.

do you know this website ( www.airbnb.com) ?

It’s one of the biggest and best website there are for finding accommodation at prices that fit everyone.

Not long ago i got an email from Yossi (i swear that’s his name), he asked me for a recommendation for cheap accommodation in Florence. And me, what do i know. I don’t remember where we booked that apartment we stayed at 3 years ago in Tuscany, and anyway we became friends with the owners and from the three weeks we stayed there,  we only payed full price for the first one..

So i went to this website, and I did some research for Yossi. I searched ‘Florence’  without high expectations. Florence, after all, is an e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e city.  Truth be told, i was surprised to discover it’s possible to find beautiful apartments for very  low prices.

So i sent Yossi there.

The reason i searched in this specific website, is that just a few days beforehand i searched for myself cheap accommodation on the beach in Vietnam. And when i typed ‘mui ne rentals’  this is the website that gave me most cheapest, most diverse options. And when i entered this website, and i saw it’s name,  i suddenly remembered that a few years ago a friend of mine told me she only books accommodation there.  And i remember trying to remember the  name of the website, and i even asked her about it a few times, because she travels a lot, this friend, she knows what she’s talking about, she was even in the Brazilian jungles. So of course i could trust her.

And after recommending it to Yossi i thought why not write about it in my website?

So i went and did a bit of research for you too.  First i typed ‘Italy’.  I found a lot of results for surprising prices, starting from a room for 10$ and through to a whole house on lake Garda, with a swimming pool (!) for 42$ a night. I moved on, and saw another house with a swimming pool on lake Garda for 61$ a night. Ok. But this is Italy, supposedly, i don’t know, something is going on with  the economy.. The prices are low.






Then i checked the mother of all expensive destinations and typed ‘Tokyo’ just to see what I’ll get. I Found an apartment with park view, Internet and everything, for 422$ a week. Meaning less than 61$ a night.



I continued to Paris. Actually had me interested. Because living in Paris for a few weeks is a dream of mine. It was a bit more difficult there but i tried to be ‘large’ and searched for whole apartments, big ones,  with a kitchen and everything. The price per night (even in the good quarters) was 100$-250$.

Why am I telling you all this? First of all- because if you’re looking now to travel anywhere in the world, and it doesn’t matter where or for how long- you should check the offers on this website. If you book through the link in my website you’ll automatically get 35$ free to book with.

But more importantly: this website has an amazing ‘referrals’ plan. According to it, the more friends you send to use this website, and the more people book through you- the more money you’ll earn. 35$ per booking,  65$ for anyone that offers his property for rent.

So it’s not really cash but more of coupons you can use on the website. And that’s why the title says ‘how to travel the world without paying for accommodation’. Because that’s exactly what you can do!

Think about it: say you’re planning a family trip to Italy in the summer. Or in Christmas. Or any holiday. It doesn’t matter. If you register now to the referrals plan, and make sure to tell everyone,  within a few months you could earn enough to pay for all your accommodation! Or at least lower them drastically. Worth it isn’t it?

*by the way, if you have a property you can rent out you can even make some real profit. Jusy saying.

What do i need to do?

Enter the website.

You’ll get a small window where you’ll need to fill email and password or login directly through Facebook. And that’s it.

Email confirmation will be sent within seconds and once you confirm your registration you’re signed up.

After registering you’ll automatically see your namw on the top right cpenre of the page.  Scroll down until you see “travel credit”.

Click on it. You’ll get many different ways to refer your friends- through their email, through your email, through Facebook,  Twitter, or through your personal link.

And that’s it.

You don’t need to book through the website or even know it to be it’s ‘referrals’. All you need is what I wrote here.

It’s all so very simple it’s really a shame to pass up the option to make your trip so much cheaper.

We have been saving hundreds of dollars using this program. Just recently we stayed at Singapore, Vietnam, and Bangkok for few nights at a time, absolutely free!

My new ebook is now available on amazon. click here, and find out how to travel the world with your kids for less then 1400$ a month (while staying at nice hotels, eating great food and forgetting all about laundry :-)).