Traveling With Twins: Getting Airport Security Alive

Traveling with twins, especially infant twins or twinfants as they are sometimes called, can be a logistical challenge.  A friend calls it a choose your own adventure.  Do you a) attempt to wear the babies through security hoping that a TSA agent doesn’t make you unwrap what is sure to be a sleeping infant when you get to the X-ray machine or do you b) attempt what is sure to be a nightmarish experience with a double stroller, babies and baby accessories through security.  Choose wisely my friend because there is little as difficult as trying to get through airport security with twins as other passengers are admiring them, glaring at you or trying to cut you off and your flight is boarding.

Airplane Travel With Twins 250x140 Traveling With Twins: Getting Airport Security Alive

We lost our twin airport security virginity when the girls were 9 weeks old.  I read suggestion after suggestion from other twin parents and finally decided that we would go the stroller route – I couldn’t cut the cord from the stroller.   As we approached airport security I felt as though we were the opening scene for a new reality TV show: Survivor: Twinfants.  Between the oohs and ahhs we got from vacationers to the icy stares we got from weary business travelers I dreaded the inevitable snaking line leading up to security.

As we walked up to the line we were waved into the VIP, more miles than you can ever dream of and crew security line. HURRAY!  It turns out that taking the double wide stroller means that TSA doesn’t want you standing in line with everyone else either.

IDs and boarding passes checked, we were politely assisted by a TSA agent who gave us the 4-1-1 on how we could most efficiently travel through the Xray process.

1. Shoes and toiletries first (duh)

2. All car seats must go through the Xray, so wake that sleeping baby up and wrap them to your chest. We went through the machine with ergo baby carriers with no problem.  Turn the car seats upside down through the Xray machine, there is less to get caught on the machine.

3. Send the stroller through, if possible.  Double wides usually don’t fit, but front/back strollers do.  Sending the stroller through the machine is must faster than waiting to be wanded.

4. Let TSA know if you are sending through breastmilk/formula.  You may take more than 3 oz through, but our experience with how it is tested/verified varied greatly.  Some places put the milk containers in a tester, others poured out a small bit to test, others didn’t seem to bother even looking at it (maybe they felt bad for us!)

Special Notes: If you carry a baby through the Xray machine, your hands will need to be tested.  When your twins are walking, walk them through right in front of you – then no one needs to be tested.

 

After almost a year and a half, our kids are true frequent fliers and we often get through security faster than families with one baby or even older kids.  It’s all about being prepared and practicing!

Turning a trip into an Indefinite Travel Lifestyle: Antonio & Amanda’s Story

Editors Note:  There are many people out there traveling – individuals, couples and families.  From time to time we like to bring you their stories to serve as inspiration!

head3 1 of 1 239x250 Turning a trip into an Indefinite Travel Lifestyle: Antonio & Amandas Story

For over a year we meticulously planned a bicycle touring trip that would take us from California to Spain in 4 years. A month into our grand journey we admitted to each other that we no longer wanted to do the trip.

The truth was we both wanted something much more. The freedom of the open road, the ability to change plans on a whim and the sense of independence was powerful. We had become addicted to the unknown and our well laid out trip had become a burden.

It was simple, we wanted a lifestyle that would allow us to travel…indefinitely. We wanted a life of adventure. So we through the plans out the window and slowly turned our dream trip into a dream life.

So how do we do it, travel indefinitely? Some people think that we are wealthy or that our parents regularly restock our bank accounts. That’s certainly not the case.

Bicycle touring had taught us a lot about living simply. This is the main reason why we can maintain this lifestyle.

14134022049 a4a82f2fc6 z 250x140 Turning a trip into an Indefinite Travel Lifestyle: Antonio & Amandas StoryOn average, we live on less than $10 a day per person.  It’s not very difficult, traveling by bicycle is much cheaper than backpacking. Obviously there are no bus tickets to buy but more importantly, it opens doors. Invitations to stay the night in peoples houses or offers for dinner are a regular occurrence while we are on the road. Of course we do not rely on roadside hospitality, we carry a tent and stove which allows us to camp and cook our own meals.

Along with our simple lifestyle we also work regularly. A few years ago we started to scuba dive. When we decided to turn our trip into a lifestyle we thought what better way to support ourselves than to find jobs doing something we love. So we spent the last year investing in our scuba diving training, completing our divemaster course in Belize and instructor course in Honduras.

Not only is it a job that allows us to dive for in some of the most beautiful dive sites, it is something that we can do all over the world.

Currently we are living in Panama, in a small town called Santa Catalina where we are working as scuba diving instructors. These short breaks to work are a great way to get to know a place, not just pass through it. It’s a pause that most travelers we meet either couldn’t afford or simply don’t have the time because they have to get back to work.14137640393 a41373ae5e z 250x153 Turning a trip into an Indefinite Travel Lifestyle: Antonio & Amandas Story

An infinite travel lifestyle isn’t for everyone. We dont have a house, secure jobs, car or huge bank account. Most days we don’t even know where we are going to sleep at night. What we do have is freedom, something we value more than anything.

 

You can follow Amanda and Antonio’s adventures at : http://www.cyclingelmundo.com/.

How to combine work with travel? Karolina and Patryk’s story

We perpetually get a lot of questions about how to combine work and travel, or how to fund travel while traveling.  There are many different ways of funding your travels, so when we have the opportunity to highlight how someone else does it, we’re all too happy to oblige.  Here’s Karolina and Patryk’s story in their own words. – Jillian

We are Karolina and Patryk, young couple from Poland. We met only 3 years ago and we totally felt in love with each other!

We were normal students, planning to have descent job in the future. Both of us were a little crazy and adventurous but we never have enough courage to fulfill our dreams. Until we met…

Only after half a year, we decided to quit our colleges, start a company and explore the world!

We’ve always dream about travelling but there was one problem- money.

picture of us in the plane to Asia 250x166 How to combine work with travel? Karolina and Patryk’s story
Karolina and Patryk on the plane to Asia.

We knew that the only thing we can do is making business online. The biggest profit can be made from selling. So we needed to find good product and customer who will buy from us.  It was really difficult at the beginning. We didn’t have money, we just had dreams. We worked very hard to make our e-shop and attract customers.

But we did it!

Right now our store is profitable and we only need few hours a day to work. The rest of our time we spend on having fun, travelling and writing our blog.

Our first big trip was to Asia: Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s almost impossible to describe how excited we were when we get to the plane to Bangkok! We felt that after a year of hardworking, we finally have our reward.

Of course, our company was profitable until few month but we spend it on travelling in Europe. Asia was a continent that we’ve always dreamt about. And we’ve managed to buy cheap plane tickets so… Everything was perfect!

And it’s really perfect until now! We are young, happy and full of dreams. We will never forget the day when we decided to do something with our lives.

We were scared the hell out of these changes but we knew that as long as we are together, everything will be just fine.This year, we’ve been in Asia and North America. In one month we are going to Middle America exploring Caribbean. In 2015 we want to move to China to learn Chinese.

the best day of our travels 250x166 How to combine work with travel? Karolina and Patryk’s story
Karolina and Patryk on the best day of their travels so far.

The more we see, the bigger our hunger for travelling is. It’s magic but beautiful!

We want to encourage every single one of you to fulfill your dreams. It’s really worth it! You have one life and you need to enjoy it. Live it fully. When you will be old you shouldn’t regret anything that you could have done and you were not brave enough to do it.

It doesn’t matter what your dreams are- it may be scuba diving with sharks in Egypt, cooking with Mexicans or play with tigers in Thailand. Just do it! Think about your dream life and do everything to have it.

Budget-Friendly Ways for Families to Travel Europe

If you have big travel dreams with a pocket size bank account, you may think that Europe is out of your reach. Fortunately, you and your family can take in the sights and sounds of traveling abroad without spending a great deal of money.

Frequent Flyer Miles: Planning a European vacation with your family can seem like an unrealistic adventure, especially if you’re drowning in a sea of expenses. However, switching to a credit card such as United Airlines MileagePlus that offers frequent flyer miles for your chargeable living expenses can help your travel dreams become a reality explains an expert at MileCards.com. If you plan your trip ahead of time, you can save substantially and have enough miles for the entire family to get overseas and back. You can also check family-friendly travel sites for competitive pricing on flights. International airlines also offer discounts for children between the ages of two and 11, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

Europe Skyline 250x173 Budget Friendly Ways for Families to Travel Europe
Flexible Schedule: Popular times of the year can be more expensive than others. If you have a flexible schedule, you can save a substantial amount of money during the off season. While you may not want to travel during the winter months, you could still enjoy the attractions of Europe and take in some amazing weather before and after the peak months.

Lodging: After the flight, one of the costliest parts of a trip abroad is the lodging and accommodations for your family. The big hotel chains can be significantly higher than a bed-and-breakfast or home of your own. If you’re looking to lower your costs when making your way through Europe, you can take advantage of the many budget-friendly hotels. Here you can find clean, simple and no-frill accommodations in some of the most popular destinations. For travelers looking to experience what life is really like in Europe, you can choose to stay in a B&B. Many of the places in Europe offer family-friendly rates, especially if you stay for more than one night. Since your breakfast typically comes with an overnight stay, you can save on family meals. For European vacations that are scheduled for longer than a week, you may be able to save even more money by renting an apartment or home of your own for the duration of your trip. In addition to saving money by being able to cook your own meals, your children will get to enjoy a larger setting where they can run and play. Farm stays are another inexpensive and popular way to enjoy Europe. For approximately $100 per night, you can make your home at a working horse ranch or farm. European House 250x180 Budget Friendly Ways for Families to Travel Europe

Transportation: Getting around Europe can be another costly way to take in the rich history of the city you’re visiting. While a train and bus can be a convenient way to get cross country, you may find a car rental to be a more economical way to go. With insurance, gas, and the cost of the rental vehicle, you can set your own pace and travel at your leisure. You’ll find a number of American sites where you can compare prices and take advantage of discounts.

Family Discounts: Between museums, art exhibits and famous attractions, you can spend an exorbitant amount of money while traveling abroad. Fortunately, many of the most popular European exhibits and museums offer family discounts. Before you set out for you daily excursion, you can check with your hotel or local travel bureau for deals and concessions. If you can’t find any discounts listed, you can always ask if they offer any deals for families. In Paris, you’ll find most of the monuments and museums are free to individuals under 18. You can also experience the many free exhibits offered throughout Europe. From festivals and vendors to street performers and free concerts, you can soak in the cultures of the region without spending money.

Meals: No matter where you travel with your family, you’ll want to budget enough money for food and meals. The local markets are great for stocking up on fresh foods such as fruit, vegetables and meats. This is especially helpful if you have a place where you can prepare and store your own groceries. Lunch menus are also always cheaper than the dinner time meals. If you have a large family to feed, you can make your mid-day meal the primary one. You also get bigger portions than those served at dinner. Street food vendors are typically plentiful when traveling abroad. You can make your own picnic out of the foods the vendors sell such as sandwiches, breads, lunch meats, gelato and pizza.

Staples from Home: Your children may have their own favorite foods and snacks that they want to bring from home. Breakfast bars, coffee, oatmeal and fruit snacks can be safely stored in your luggage and enjoyed throughout the duration of your trip.

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The language of travel

Are you a code talker?  A few weeks ago I caught the end of a great discussion on NPR about code switching.  Code switching in linguistics is the use of two or more languages or dialects in the context of one conversation.  As humans, we do it all the time.  We may use a slang word picked up from somewhere else in a new context with a friend, or create an entirely new set of definitions for common words or phrases.

Aloha The language of travel

I sat down the other day to write an email to a friend who is just about to have a baby.  In my email I detailed the “code” words new mom’s use to describe baby behaviors.  Such as, “Does your baby transfer?”  In mommy language this means can you take your napping kid out of the car and “transfer” them into the crib while keeping them asleep.  (As if that happens a lot in my world.)

Anyway this got me thinking about how travelers use language.  Seemingly travelers are always code switching.  Even if you speak the language, let’s say Spanish, you are constantly using, inserting and learning new definitions to common words as you cross political or even physical land boarders.   Living in South Florida, I hear many different dialects of Spanish throughout the day and more often than not I can get information about the speaker just by the words they use.  Because we never heard THAT word used THAT way in Peru, only in Central America or vice versa.  Although it’s been several years since I’ve been in a Commonwealth country, I still find myself using terms like “brilliant” to describe something that I think is pretty interesting or unique, or “university” to describe the education I received as an undergraduate.  These are simply not American terms, and yet I use them regularly and they identify me as someone who has perhaps explored the boundaries of the world in more than one way.

Code switching is perhaps the most fundamental example of the power of travel.  Language allows us to communicate with each other, to explore our own world and that of someone else.  There’s a reason why Inuit languages have dozens of words for snow while indigenous languages spoken near the equator have dozens of words for heat or the sun- because language tells our secrets and tells others all about us.

How do you speak the language of travel? Are you a code switcher? Do you bring new codes back as souvenirs on your travels?

And oh yea, if you figure out how to transfer a baby let me know.  I’d like to learn how to do it myself.