Category Archives: Travel

Driving abroad this Summer? What you need to know…

Regal Rentals offer some useful advice if you’re planning on driving abroad over the coming months.

If you are hiring a vehicle, choose one you feel comfortable with. Consider driving an automatic car – rather than a manual – which will give you one less thing to think about or a smaller car which can be easier to manoeuvre and park.
Pack an up-to-date map in the car and consider using a GPS to help prevent you getting lost.
Get the right insurance cover. If you’re driving in another country, you need to let your insurance company know and check if your policy covers you.
Check to see if you have European breakdown cover with you policy and upgrade it if you don’t.
Remember to take your driving licence. You can use your UK driving licence to drive within the EU/EEA but you will need an International Driving Permit if you want to drive outside of these countries. Ask your local Post Office for details.
Check what sort of fuel the vehicle requires.
Be aware that compulsory items to be carried in the vehicle and speed limits may vary by country and drivers should check in advance. Such things as Warning Triangles, Hi Visibility Vests for each passenger, First Aid Kits and replacement bulbs are the responsibility of the driver/hirer of the vehicle.
Before you set off, it can be helpful to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website for safety advice www.fco.gov.co.uk
Consider taking out an Excess Reduction Policy. This is optional and the cost varies depending on the length of hire but it can give added peace of mind.
Give yourself plenty of time to get used to driving a different car. When you’re sitting on the opposite side to what you’re used to it can feel strange. Check where all the controls are so you can familiarise yourself with the layout.
Do some research before you travel. For example, it’s useful to be aware of the different speed limits in the country you are visiting.
Relax. Don’t feel that you have to leave the airport car park and drive straight on to the fast lane of the motorway or dual carriageway. Take your time to get used to the car, the roads and driving on the opposite side.
Don’t overdo the driving. Build in regular stops so you can get out of the car, stretch and refuel. Try not to drive when you are tired or children are fractious.

About Regal Rentals

Independent vehicle rental company, Regal Rentals works with private, business and corporate customers across the UK from its network of 12 branches and head office in Mollington, Chester.

(guest post)

MiFold, the revolutionary new car seat which is smaller than an iPad

We were super-excited to hear about the launch of the mifold car booster seat – which you’ll be able to buy in John Lewis stores from December – which is set to change the way we view 4-12 year old car travel.

The seat – which folds down to handbag size (or indeed, your child’s rucksack) – means never having to illegally perch your child on your knee in a cab, never worrying about having to lug a carseat on a long haul flight and having the flexibility to pick up extra friends after school without having to rearrange your back seat.

mifold’s team of top designers, engineers and industry experts have together changed the way that a traditional booster seat works. Regular booster seats lift a child to be in the position of an adult, whereas mifold does the exact opposite by holding the seatbelt down. It’s that simple! With 3 belt guides, mifold adjusts the lap belt and shoulder strap to fit the child and accurately holds the seat belt on the hip bones and shoulder, offering the correct amount of restraint in case of impact. Taking less than 30 seconds to fit per child, mifold is safe, foldable and portable enabling parents and caregivers to use it in situations that current car seats on the market today are unable to accommodate.

With approval according to the European regulation R44.4, mifold meets the highest legal standards for child restraint systems, so parents can rest assured that their child will never have to travel without a car restraint again.

mifold will be available in the UK from John Lewis for £49.95 from the beginning of December 2016.

#BritaxChildSafetyWeek Q&A

If you missed the online Q&A hosted by Britax and ‘s Louise Nicoll last night (our excuse: vintage AbFab on Netflix) then you’ll have missed their insight into car seat safety as part of Child Safety Week.

If your own safety know-how extends to strapping ’em in and ignoring any pleas from the back seat to drive like Lightning McQueen, then a quick skim through @BritaxUK twitter feed might shed light on a few subjects… Such as the rules about car seats on the front seat, whether you should take your own on a coach journey – and there are a few tips thrown in about passing the time on long car journeys.

We’re actually especially impressed with the Britax range for older children – including the Kidfix models which come in a whole host of bright colours and really don’t look like ‘baby seats’ at all. Possibly a solution if (like many) you moved your child into a booster seat before the law changed and now need to cajole them back into a full car seat again…

View Britax car seats online here.

 

 

Summer holiday booking tips from Momondo

Starting to think about Summer holidays? Booking for a family is obviously fraught with its own issues (will there be a travel cot, will we struggle with the buggy up a billion stairs? etc) but being stung for un-necessary costs need not be one of them.

The nice people at momondo have put together a few tips based on their extensive research of travel stats. According to them, “The price of a hotel room always goes up and down. Seasons, popular events in a destination and the time of booking are all essential factors to bear in mind, which influence price. Costs of hotels can vary dramatically and there is potentially a lot of cash to save by paying attention to a few aspects that are essential to hoteliers, when they set their rates.”

And they’ve also put together a handy chart showing peak times in key cities.

And momondo have a few tips on getting the best flight deals too:

  • Book your trip 53 days in advance to get the cheapest tickets – and you can achieve average savings of 26%
  • Tickets are generally most expensive on the day of departure
  • Evening departures between the hours of 6pm and 12am typically offer the cheapest fares
  • It is usually more expensive to fly in the morning and midday, before 3pm
  • A Tuesday is generally the cheapest day to fly
  • Saturday is routinely the most expensive day of the week to fly

Get more advice and compare rates at momondo.

momondo.co.uk is a free, independent and global travel search site that compares billions of prices on flights, hotels, car hire and holiday rental.

Stroller days out: Blists Hill at Play

Show the kids a playtime of a bygone era at Victorian town Blists Hill this holiday.

Partake in Victorian Track Events including skipping, sack races and egg & spoon and on certain days enjoy a game of football on the Green. Join in children’s activities, try your hand at Croquet and see the Prince Albert Players performing ‘Victorian Classics; Edward Lear’.

Or you can chat to the Townsfolk in their shops and cottages, find out about curious remedies in the Pharmacy, see traditional skills in action at the printers, candle makers and decorative plasterers and join in the sing-a-long in the New Inn Pub.

more info here

Run free with the Bugaboo Runner

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We featured our pick of jogging strollers recently (from the gentle jog to the coffee shop to the more energetic all-terrain yomp) but then this new one from Bugaboo came onto our radar, so we thought we should share…

Compact and lightweight but with a precision engineered suspension system and air filled tyres – not to mention enhanced steering and braking – you and your little one won’t feel those bumps and the handlebar can be adjusted for the most comfortable position for your running stride.

Already have a Bugaboo? Well you simply need to get the Jogging Extension and you can convert what you have simply by swapping your seat over and clipping it to the new chassis.

Or buy the Bugaboo Runner as a complete stroller in a stylish choice of colours and tell yourself that the £583 price tag is cheaper than a gym membership plus you’ll be getting fresh air and bonding time to boot.

For more info or to order click here.

Travelzoo urge us to be informed and #FighttheParentTrap

Got children in State schools? Well, you’ll be familiar with the injustice of what TravelZoo are calling ‘The Parent Trap’ then – namely the fact that you have to pay a fine for taking your child out of school before the end of term means that holiday companies and airlines have a license to print money as far as holiday and flight costs go.

But the logic of the fine still seems a bit woolly to most parents. Sure, education is important and (as teachers will be quick to say) ‘rules are rules’ but the benefits of traveling abroad, learning to ask for an ice cream in a foreign language or playing ‘tag’ in a faraway playground, seeing a waterfall close up, learning about customs (and how to be patient going through Customs!) – not to mention the extra contact time spent with a slightly less frazzled Mummy and Daddy (maybe even somewhere so remote that they don’t have the internet to check emails) are not to be denied either. Or how about Great Uncle Albert’s 80th birthday? He can hardly change the date it falls on…

So, do you tell a little fib to get your child out of the classroom and only the plane? And do you justify it by telling yourself you’ll teach them more on vacation than their teacher would be doing anyhow?

TravelZoo recently conducted a survey and the results are eye-opening:

  • One in five parents have already lied to their children’s school in order to avoid fines for taking them out of school for a cheaper holiday.
  • Over half of UK parents said they were prepared to lie in the coming months.
  • Two thirds of parents are also willing to ask their children to continue the deceit and pretend to their teacher that the reason for absence was not a family holiday.
  • Over 60 per cent of teachers admitted pupils will mostly be playing games and 50 per cent said they will be watching films and cartoons on the last few days of summer term in both primary and secondary state schools.

So what’s the answer? Not to sit quietly and accept the situation, we think! One solution would be for Headteachers in different counties to slide terms by a few weeks (maybe Devon takes their holidays a fortnight before Yorkshire) and this would make the season longer for tour operators, thus hopefully pushing the price of holidays down.

Taking action to petition for Headteachers to once more have the power to grant discretionary days-off would also make a difference.

Holidays are a luxury, but the rewards and benefits they can bring to a family are un-quantifiable. For lots more information courtesy of TravelZoo go here.

Get informed. Let’s fight the parent trap.

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How to… Do festivals with kids

If you’re thinking three days in a muddy field looks like something that might appeal to your little rascals, here are our quick tips:

Get ConTENTED: don’t make a festival situation the first time the children have been away in a tent. Start with the garden, pop one up to play in a park, take an overnight break at a nearby campsite. Some festivals have child-friendly camping fields; even if they don’t, think about the fact that you might need to leave in a hurry rather than having a pitch closest to the stage! A good tent is a must, we love the colourful range of bell tents from Boutique Camping.

Pack safe and savvy: think about camping kit you’ll need and how child friendly it is. Ensure items such as camping knives, stoves, sterilising tablets etc can be locked away. Try and pack for the whole family in something large and squashable like a Northface Kitbag, rather than letting children bring their own luggage and Trunkis – you’ll be thankful for the simplicity and it will double up as something to sit on.

Think about the loos: and the showers for that matter. And the lack of changing facilities. We’ve raved about BEABA’s folding camping bath before – and worth grabbing some of the Becky Mantin disposable Nappy Grab Bags for easy changing alfresco. Hairwashing won’t be an option but stock up on L’Oreal Kids detangling spray and lots of hair bands (like Rock and Rose’s jewelled bobby pins)  if you have a little Rapunzel, or a visor hat if you have a curly mop to content with.

Get some ear protectors: there are plenty of these around these days and well worth having, not only to defend from harmful noise if your child isn’t a little monster of rawk, but also great to block out noise on planes. We love these Baby Banz ones from Precious Little One.

Stock up on snacks: festival food is often really expensive, might be something outside of the kids’ comfort zone and (sadly) might also lead to an attack of the runs. Pop some non-perishable snacks in your bag – like Natur Boutique’s freeze dried Papaya which comes in space age packaging – and throw in a tube of O.R.S Hydration tablets just in case! (And if your child accidentally finds something at a festival that they shouldn’t swallow, make sure you read the NHS guide to poisoning, but stay calm, it’s rarer than you’d think!)

And finally, go cutesy with some fun festival fashion!

We adore Hunter’s contrast sole wellies for kids and this floral waterproof jacket from JoJoMamanBebe