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Travel EATinerary: Five Excellent Tips for Staying Healthy While Eating on the Road

vacation-eating

“I am kind of obsessed with food. I like to eat. When I tour, it is like, well, life a food tour as much as a comedy tour.”-Aziz Ansari

 

It has been said that the best way to know more about a country is to eat your way through it. Resultantly, the concept of food tours was introduced. After all, according to Paul Prudhomme, one does not require a silver fork to eat good food. This sentiment alone tells us that excellent food can be found and enjoyed almost anywhere in a foreign city, from luxurious and sophisticated restaurants to obscure and relatively unknown eateries.

In fact, the very idea of food tourism capitalizes on showcasing tourists and locals the best of what the city can offer in terms of culinary treats while simultaneously exploring the locale. After all, food tourism is about the adventure as much as it is about the food. Unfortunately, while you are guaranteed to a smorgasbord of scrumptious treats at every stop, no one can vouch for the quality of food you are going to ingest—regardless of whether you are dining at a restaurant or in a food tour. The consumption of food may be a visceral experience, albeit enjoyable on a whole but that does not excuse our blithe attitude in terms of checking its quality before consumption. Getting sick in the middle of a trip can truly put a damper on your plans and deter you from trying out more local foods which is why we need to be a little more vigilant about the food we are about to ingest—most especially when we are on the road and in areas where comfort rooms are rather scarce. However, this article is not meant to deprive you of enjoyment associated with trying out new hole-in-the-wall restaurants and street food fares.

It does, however, caution you to be a little mindful of the basic sanitary practices that went into the preparation of your food. You can still approach eating with reckless abandon, but at the very least try to follow basic sanitary guidelines regardless of whether you are eating at a five-star restaurant or with some food buddies in a food trip in Pampanga. In any case, here are some of the ways you can have an authentic dining experience while you mitigate the risks of getting ill:

 

Wash your hands often

There is no substitute for washing your hands with soap and water. Alternatives such as hand sanitizers, alcohol, and hand creams just do not cut it. Before partaking in a meal, always ALWAYS wash your hands. In fact, wash them whenever you can and then, wash them again. Not to promote obsessive-compulsiveness but washing your hands is a good habit to develop. In this regard, wash your hands before and after a meal and anytime you can think of it.

Beware of fruit shakes in drink stands with no access to purified water

Sure, they look tempting enough on the stands and what’s more is that they are reasonably priced as well. However, before you try every flavor available and go on a fruit shake bingefest, be a hundred percent sure that the water they have been using (and the ice for that matter) has been purified. Of course, this is not to say you should deprive yourself of the inexpensive pleasure of drinking beverages made from a drink stand. But, if it does not have access to potable water and has questionable sanitary practices, you might want to skip this treat.

Choose cooked over fresh food

While food freshness is key, if you are uncertain about the hygiene and sanitary practices of a particular restaurant or eatery, it would make more sense to opt for food that is properly cooked. Anything that has been cooked in high temperature will kill residual germs and bacteria that might have been sitting on the food. Keep in mind that though a food might be fresh, if it was improperly handled, there is still a likely chance it would give you the stomach flu. So, when you are in doubt, go for anything that is fried, boiled or baked instead.

Take it easy on the meat

Meat can turn potentially rancid in a significantly shorter time that vegetables ever will. More importantly, it is a lot meaner on your body when ingested. If you are unsure about how your meat is handled (or how long it stood), go easy on it and choose vegetables instead. As much as possible, reserve your meat-eating exploits within the confines of formal restaurants and eateries where it is guaranteed to have refrigeration.

Look for high turnover and low fly-count

If you are feeling a bit adventurous and would want to try the flavors of the street, look for stalls that have a high turnover of food. More importantly, scout for food stalls that do not have flies atop their food. Flies are vectors of disease and if they have sitting atop food for a while, there is a likely chance that the food would already be contaminated with bacteria and germs.

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13 Outdoor Activities to Entertain House Guests

picnic in the park with guests and friends

It’s rare to have visitors come to your home. On the occasions you have guests drop by your house at Vermosa, you always end up going out. You head to the expensive restaurant in the town center. If not, you stay at home and catch up. But, there’s only so much you can talk about in one seating. You run out of ideas and news to share eventually. You’re lucky if they visit you for a few hours. What are your plans if you have them as guests for a week?

When that happens, you’ll need a diversion. You must have a few activities in mind for the restless kids and adults who are looking for adventure. That way, you can separate your unruly visitors from those who want to take some time off. Outdoor activities are a great way to take your guests around town. It’s also one way to get quality time. Use the activities below to come up with activities to entertain guests. You can also do them with your family if you’re feeling stuffy indoors.

  1. Go to a dog park

Bring your guests to a dog park nearby to watch the different pets do tricks and play with their owners. If you have a furry friend, you can take turns walking, and playing fetch. While at it, use your time at the park to talk with other dog owners to get insider tips on how to take care of your pet.

  1. Visit the playground

Don’t let your kids play with tablets or gaming consoles the whole day. Take them to the playground. Most playgrounds are free and open to all. The adults can get their caffeine fix while the kids run around the place. If the playground isn’t available, you can go to an open court. Don’t forget to bring a ball that you will use.

  1. See the animals

You can visit a sanctuary or a preservation area to see some animals. You can look at different species of animals and see how they act when in their natural habitat. It’ll make you appreciate how unique each animal is. You can also visit aquariums and oceanariums if you’re into underwater creatures.

  1. Volunteer at a shelter

Use your spare time to do something good. You can visit a rescued animal center or a place for the homeless. Their families and owners often abandon the people in these shelters. Show your love and care for others by bringing some food or showering them with affection.

  1. Watch the town’s Christmas tree lighting

Most towns come up with different ploys to make their Christmas tree lighting eventful. You should drive to your town center to watch the big tree come to life. You’ll feel twice the excitement for the holidays when you have other people looking forward to the same thing as you are.

  1. Try ice skating

Having to entertain guests gives you an excuse to try out new things. If you haven’t gone ice skating, then you should bring everyone to the ice rink. You won’t feel ashamed of slipping and falling on your butt when everyone is also out of balance.

  1. See a historic site

Don’t be a stranger to your hometown. Know what makes the place unique. Going to different historic sites don’t only help you get you cultured. It also makes you appreciate what your hometown has to offer. Most of all, knowing the story or little details about each place preserves its history.

  1. Build a snowman and have snowball fights

Don’t think that the only thing you can do during winter is to stay holed up in your home. You can still have fun even when it’s freezing. Relive your childhood days and build a snowman. Complete the look with a scarf, top hat, and a witch’s broom. If that’s not your thing, you can divide yourselves into groups for a snowball fight. Be sure to wear thick coats, gloves, and knit hats to protect yourselves from the cold.

  1. Have a picnic in the park

Prepare your favorite sandwiches, snacks, and salads ahead of time. Pack a cooler with a variety of frozen drinks so you won’t have to pack ice. You bring foldable chairs and tables, or you can spread some sheets to sit on the grass. Before heading out, you should check the weather forecast. You don’t want to pack up in the middle of your meal.

  1. Go on a hike

Those who love going out and taking a sweat are sure to enjoy hiking. If you don’t have experience in hiking, you start with beginner trails. That way, it won’t be difficult on your way up.

  1. Fly a kite

Flying a kite requires skill which a lot of people don’t possess. You should invite your family and friends to try kite flying. It’s a great outdoor activity that allows you to de-stress and breathe some fresh air.

Before you invite your guests to outdoor activities, you should be clear about the expenses. Some of the things on the list are free while others require you to spend on materials and entrance fees. Talk to your guests first if they are open to a few expenses before you go over your itinerary.

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Outdoor Adventures: Four Common Mistakes First-Time ATV Riders Make

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“If happiness is the goal—and it should be, then adventures should be your top priority.” –Richard Branson

 

The Philippines is no stranger to All-Terrain Vehicle Rides (ATV for brevity). In fact, ATV in the Philippines has been considered a popular outdoor activity insomuch that many tourist places would offer it as an attraction. In this regard, many locals have expressed their desire to try out this ride at least once during the summer season or whenever they can.

However, while riding an ATV can look seemingly easy and straightforward, it is actually a lot more complicated than it presents. Many riders, particularly novices, make the mistake of underestimating the skill and dexterity it takes to ride an ATV. After all, how can it be any different than taking your regular 4-wheel car for a ride around the block, right?

Well, in some aspects you are right. Indeed, ATV quad cars are easier to manage over their two-wheeled counterparts. Furthermore, the chances of crashing would be mitigated given that it is easier to learn. Unfortunately, just because it is easy to learn does not automatically mean that it would be easy on a whole. More often than not, beginners make the mistake of overlooking the skills required to execute some techniques that would often result in crashes, rollovers and even injury. These would all have been avoided had they been given adequate instruction from the get-go. So, if you are planning on trying your hand on ATV riding and get into the sport, it might be helpful to know what mistakes you ought to avoid that had been committed by most first-time ATV riders. In doing so, you are better prepared for what you are getting into:

 

Failing to learn about the new terrain

Much of what makes an ATV ride so enjoyable is the terrain itself. In this regard, it is best if you not only knew of the terrain but learned it as well. Apart from guaranteeing you a more enjoyable ride, learning about the terrain would also prevent accidents and injuries. Taking off without testing the terrain first would lead to more rollovers.

Failure to install nerf bars

Nerf bars are what you would call the foot pegs of your ATV. They are important as they give your feet a place to rest. Be sure to get the bigger ones and not the traditional foot pegs that tend to make your feet slip off more than usual. Remember, foot pegs are installed to avoid the possibility of you dragging your feet while you are riding—a sure recipe for serious injury. Nerf bars do not only keep you safe by stabilizing your feet but would also allow you to have maximum control over the ATV.

Rolling Over

Because an ATV is bulky and heavy, many riders would think it unlikely to roll over unless one is incredibly inept at handling it. However, it is fairly easy to roll one over and once it does, you would not want to be at the bottom of the equation. Most riders end up underneath of an ATV sandwich by looping out which is typically done with hitting the gas and having little to absolutely no experience with the power of an ATV. From there, the front would spike up and would throw you onto your back and pinned underneath the vehicle. Another way to do this is when you underestimate the terrain conditions and continuously slide in mud and other slick conditions. Remember, the tires are there to grip the ground and if it is slippery to begin with, your vehicle’s wheels will have nothing to grip onto. With both of these in mind, do not step on the gas as if you intend to floor it, ease on it and gradually pick up speed and avoid speeding on slick terrains as well to avoid rolling over.

False sense of security

Many riders have developed this false sense of security that because it is fun and enjoyable to do, they overlook wearing the proper protective equipment which is an absolute no-no. An ATV does not have any seatbelts installed so you are likely to need protective gear and some extra precautions. For a safe and enjoyable ride, wear a helmet, a pair of goggles, gloves and riding boots—and this is just for the minimum. If you wish to ride and take on more difficult terrains, your protective gear should also include chest protectors, knee brace and the like.

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Staycation Ideas: 14 Activities You Can Do in Your Backyard

outdoor activities for the family

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It almost sem break! Most students are already making plans with their closest friends and best mates. They’re planning a beach trip, elaborate sleepovers playing video games and bingeing Netflix and out of town excursions. They look forward to their time off homework, tests, and projects.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be with their friends to do these things. Some students have to stay at Nuvali home to watch over their siblings while their parents are at work. Others have to guard their house and babysit their dog. Still, other kids want to stay at home with their parents. It’s not a bad thing to spend time with the ‘rents. But if you wish to have a great time during your break from school, here are 14 outdoor activities to do in your yard.

1. Create a theater out of vines and tree stumps

It’s a simple yet fun activity to do with younger siblings. Gather twigs, thick branches, and vines to make a roof. The tree stumps can be your platform or stage to showcase magic tricks and handmade puppets. Use old curtains or sheets as curtains.

2. Transform the shed into a den

If you don’t want your parents hounding you for always bringing your friends in your Cavite townhouse, you can use the shed as your hideout. Bring in some chairs or your old sofa. Install some shelves on the wall if floor space is limited. Use the shelves to store your stereo, books, and other stuff that keeps you and your friends entertained.

3. Have a drive-in movie night

Gather some cardboard boxes and paint over them. You can also allow the children to design their car for the movie night. Get a projector, a white sheet, and prepare a booth for the snacks to resemble a real-life drive-by.

4. Play Twister

You don’t have to purchase the game. You can spray paint circles on your lawn. Then, make your version of the spinning wheel using a bottle and printing out a copy or painting it on the grass.

5. Grow a moss graffiti

Do you want to do something crafty but still be out in the sun? You can write your favorite quote using moss. Moss is fairly easy to grow. It’s also safer to use than spray paint. You can use it on concrete walls, rocks or bricks.

6. Initiate a game of beer pong battleship

Carve out ships using styrofoam. Every time a boat sinks, the player takes a shot. You can use fruit juices instead of beer. That way, kids can join the fun.

7. Create a mini golf course

It’s a shame not to put your yard to good use. Another game that requires a bit of creativity and strategic planning is mini golf. Think of different ways how you can come up with a funky hole. You can create a ramp or use everyday items like plastic cups, books, and soup cans for your backyard golf.

8. Use plants to make a secret passageway

If you have a hedge, you can carve out a passage that is highly useful when you play hide and seek. If you don’t, you can always wait for it to grow until it’s thick enough to trim down.

9. Build an outdoor reading nook

Use leftover wood from a previous project to build a mini fort or a shelter. Make sure it the right size to fit a comfortable seating and a shelf to hold your favorite books. It’s sure to become your favorite place especially when the heat indoors becomes unbearable.

10. Blow out some bubbles

Everyone loves bubbles. Little kids will enjoy running in the yard to catch them. If you want big, long-lasting bubbles, you can add a teaspoon of glycerin for every tablespoon of soap and glass of water. The kids will be amazed to find out they won’t pop out too soon.

11. Play with ropes

If you have a few thick cables and cords, you can use them for making a zip line, a rope bridge or a rope course. It will not only force your body to move. It also tests your knot tying skills. You have to be sure that you tie them, so you don’t come across accidents during activities.

12. Raise some sunflowers to create a fort

Form a circle on the ground. Mark it by adding some soil over the seeds. Diligently watch over them so they would grow healthy. Practice your green thumb and see them turn into healthy plants.

13. Play water balloon pinatas

The game is simple. You need to fill the balloons with water and hang them on branches. Look for a long rod or a baseball bat you can use to hit the hanging balloons. Don’t forget to remind players to wear board shorts or their swimsuits.

14. Attract butterflies

Fill your bird feeder or outdoor fountain with overripe fruit. Butterflies are sure to catch the scent and stick around for days.

Getting bored is not an option even if you are staying at home. There are several things you can do even when you are just hanging at home. Try these 14 backyard activities with your parents, friends or little siblings so you won’t feel the blue during your break.

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Memorable Vacations: Three Excellent Tips for Picking a Good Hotel Online

 

how-to-choose-a-hotel-website-development-company

“The gladdest moment in human life, I think, is a departure into unknown lands”-Sir Richard Burton

 

Hotels can make or break your vacation.

However, much of this depends on the kind of travel you are looking for: a comfortable and luxurious one that allows you to relax or one that pushes you out of your comfort zone and enables you to rough it. Depending on the kind of traveler you are, you might consider overlooking the accommodation aspect in your vacation given that you will be spending more time experiencing the city rather than within the confines of your room. However, while much of your vacation is spent exploring the city, a comfortable night at a hotel would significantly contribute to a better experience.

Sure, you might not be spending the majority of your time inside your hotel room, but an excellent hotel does more than just provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep and stay. It ensures your personal safety, almost guarantees that your belongings are safe from being stolen and prompt quality service would be rendered to you should you need it. Furthermore, the hotel concierge would be able to give you a myriad of sightseeing suggestions which you can add to your travel itinerary. On the whole, a good hotel can elevate your trip and make it all the more immersive and memorable. However, booking a hotel is best done in advance to ensure that there are available rooms for occupancy and the only way you can do that is to either book at their website or over the phone (which can cost you a lot in long-distance toll fees).

Considering that your accommodation quarters is paramount to your comfort and convenience for the entire duration of your trip, it is best to pick a hotel you deem most appropriate for your kind of travel. Unfortunately, singling one hotel among innumerable others can be quite the challenge to do and figuring out what you want may prove to be even harder—especially as all this is done online. Unless you are traveling to an obscure and incredibly remote place, the information you need about your hotel can all be found online regardless of whether you are selecting from a slew of hotels in Pampanga or elsewhere. So, use this to your advantage.

In any case, here are some of the indispensable tips to keep in mind in finding the best hotel for your trip online:

 

1.) Determine what is important to you

Selecting the best hotel for you starts with determining what is most important to you. In this regard, it is best to start your search with a list in hand. This list should include all the things that would make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. The contents of this list can range from anything to having free breakfast along with the room to fast Wi-Fi. Identify the aspects that are most important to you and come up with a realistic price range for your accommodation. Remember, more often than not, your hotel would be one of the costliest aspects in your trip, but it is not the only thing you would be spending for. Know what your priorities are and then choose from there.

2.) Make sure your hotel is equipped with the holy grail of amenities

Before deciding on a hotel, ensure that the amenities pivotal to your stay are offered by it. It might vary depending on the kind of traveler you are, but it would typically consist of an excellent air-conditioning unit, free Wi-Fi, adequate parking space, and breakfast. If all of these are offered, then well and good but you should also take the extra step of checking whether the hotel would charge you extra for these perks. A hotel that comes with Wi-Fi and prepares breakfast does not make these as perfunctory additions to your room. It could be that they would charge patrons extra for both. Incidentally, try to read the hotel reviews and see if any of these aspects were cited as a complaint to ensure that you get the best deal out of your buck.

3.) Check the hotel’s website

While most third-party booking apps would offer you comprehensive and exhaustive reviews (sometimes detailing what the guest liked and did not like), it would be to your advantage to be a little more thorough in your research. In this regard, your research should extend beyond what TripAdvisor and Agoda reviews say and take time to check the hotel’s official website as well. Although third-party booking apps would ensure they offer accurate information, hotels may change their policies, have additional fees and the like that would take third-party apps a little time to update. With this in mind, it is always better to check the official website as well. To be entirely sure, you can always opt to call the hotel.

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Food Tourism: Three Questions to Ask in Picking the Perfect Food Tour in

couscous-and-tajine-choices

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote time to eating.” –Luciano Pavarotti

It has been said that to get to know a foreign country truly, one must eat their way through it.

Sightseeing tours can only get you so far, but to consume ethnic cuisine is to partake and immerse yourself in a new culture and custom. Eating has been known to be a very personal and visceral experience insomuch that sampling a foreign country’s epicurean offerings can be synonymous with experiencing it as a whole. After all, much of what is to be discovered about a foreign place can be found in their food. So, in this regard, going on a gastronomic journey in a new place should be one of the primary things included in one’s travel itinerary.

As much of a city’s culture is reflected on its cuisine and seeing as food is one of the main highlights of a trip (not to mention one of the most important considerations in a vacation), tours dedicated to food and its consumption have been conducted all over the world. In this regard, food connoisseurs and food enthusiasts from all over the world can converge and share their unique passion and love for the consumption of food. Going on a food tour is an excellent way to explore a city. Furthermore, these tours are also known to be incredibly diverse, and you are guaranteed to find something to suit your discriminating palate and food preferences. However, how do you pick the perfect food tour for you? After all, a food tour is so much more different than an ordinary food trip in Pampanga or elsewhere. It is immersive with food curated only from the best restaurateurs. Moreover, the various selections of food included in these tours have been deemed to be absolute “must-trys” not only by the organizers but the locals themselves. At times, the food included in the food tour menu would only be available in that place alone or is a definitive food staple in the country. So, if you are preparing for your next overseas food trip, here are the ways to choose the appropriate food tour:

 

1.) What neighborhood is the food tour in?

More often than not, a food tour is more than just a simple sampling of various local food offerings; it can be an avenue to explore the city as well. For this reason, many food tours would be on foot and conducted in a particular neighborhood so as to prevent tourists from getting worn down by all the eating and walking. In this regard, consider going on food tours as hitting two birds with one stone wherein you would not only get to eat a variety of local food but go sightseeing as well. With this in mind, choose a neighborhood that sounds interesting to you. Check the description and see where the food tour would be held which can either be in the center of town or a less frequented place. Both have their respective benefits with the former providing you quick access to famous landmarks and monuments while the latter would give you an insider’s look at the place’s particular lifestyle. Select whichever appeals to you best.

2.) What are the food offerings included in the tour?

Before going on a food tour, it is always a good idea to do your research first. Read up on the tour description to have an overview of the kind of food included in the tour. Undoubtedly, this would be of paramount consideration to you seeing as you are mainly participating in this tour for the food. Unfortunately, making a judgment can be quite the challenge seeing as there might be food items you are not familiar with. If you are an adventurous eater, go for the exotic and unusual food offerings. However, if you do not wish to venture out of your traditional tastes, be sure to ask the organizer what the food offerings will be and try to see if the majority of what is offered would sit well with you and your palate.

3.) How many tastings are on the food tour?

To ensure you are getting the most out of your buck, go for the tour that includes the most stops or the best restaurants. On the surface, it might look like you are getting a better deal on a tour that has ten stops than one that has five. However, remember that both are equally enjoyable and you would be getting roughly the same quantity of food. A food tour with more stops usually serves smaller portions than tours with fewer stops. Regardless of these, your criteria for choosing a food tour should primarily be based on what food you would like to try and what city you would like to city rather than solely the number of stops alone.

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Family Getaways: Have a Hassle-Free Weekend at the Adventure Park with These Five Tips

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“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”-Lovelle Drachman

 

No doubt, one of the best ways to bond with your family and children is to take them on holiday trips with you. For those who cannot take an extended leave of absence away from work, you might elect to take on an abbreviated form of a lengthy trip—such as a weekend visit to an adventure park like Sandbox, Pampanga.

While this might seem like a sound and fun idea for the entire family to enjoy, it is not exactly easy to plan and may be a little more challenging to execute than had it been just you and your spouse on the trip. Ensuring that everything goes according to plan or simply just drafting out an itinerary for that day alone can be a little overwhelming. There is a myriad of things to consider, and getting to the adventure park would take a significant time (or a road trip at the very least), what would have been a fun getaway could easily devolve into pandemonium. After all, kids have rather short attention spans—particularly if they are quite young. In this regard, you would need to think of ingenious and creative ways to keep them occupied.

Although stringing along your kids with you on family adventure trips might prove to be a daunting endeavor, it is in by no means impossible. However, you do need to do some prior planning so that you can mitigate the projected burden you will inevitably face during the day. However, it needs a little extra time and patience on your part to effect. In any case, if you are planning an adventure trip, here are some tips that would make your adventure smoother and better:

 

Do not tell your kids about the trip ahead of time

Once you make the plans of visiting an adventure or amusement park, it can be pretty hard to keep the news from the kids—most especially when the trip is planned and designed with them in mind. However, know that keeping the news from them would be worth it. Psyching them up way too early would mean they would get far too enthusiastic.  Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, some of them might even lose sleep the night before because they could not contain their excitement. Of course, this is not something you would want as they would not be able to fully enjoy the adventure park during the day and might even end up getting cranky. Just surprise them on the day itself and achieve better results.

 

Buy tickets online

Whenever possible, try to buy your tickets online. In doing so, you would not only guarantee passes for you and your family but you might even score discount deals, most especially if you purchased them ahead of time. Great deals and discounts can also be found if you just do a little bit of research online. With that in mind, do not get duped into paying the full price when you can find so many cheaper alternatives online.

 

Come up with a day itinerary

To avoid long stretches of time wherein you and your family are still trying to figure out what to do next or which attraction to see, come up with an itinerary. Apart from ensuring that you have a seamless way to go about your day, it also mitigates the chances of your kids getting restless because you are still figuring out what to do. A week or even days before your scheduled getaway, research the activities that can be done in the adventure park and assign time slots for them. In this way, you will have a much more cohesive plan that would ensure that you can make the most out of your visit.

 

Print a map

Before leaving the online website, be sure that you download their map and keep it close to you. Furthermore, while you are already on the website, it is best to check which rides are worth trying and which ones would be appropriate for your kids. In this regard, creating a schedule would be so much easier as you would already have an idea how much walking you would be doing in between rides and how long you would have to wait before you got on each one. Mapping out your day would definitely reduce the possibility of tantrums, whininess, and crankiness.

 

Dress accordingly

You would be doing a lot of walking in between rides and possibly a lot of waiting as well. With this in mind, dress yourself and your kids in season-appropriate clothes. Similarly, it is best to color coordinate the colors of your shirts (make sure they are in bright colors!) so that you can easily pick out a family member or your kids from the crowd of people when they start jostling for the ride queues.

 

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