Family First: Reasons to Spend Time with Family


“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” –Gilbert Chesterton


With your perpetually busy schedule, have you ever stopped and thought of giving even just a fraction of your time to bonding with your family? Despite your best efforts in making a living and providing for them, have you ever truly justified your reason for pushing family time aside to make room for your work tasks and responsibilities?

If you have answered “yes” to both questions there is a likely chance that you are not spending time with your family at all—even in the barest minimum. Each day you decline to spend time with your family, you push them further away. And by the time you will have realized all that you have missed, your children will have grown distant and your spouse cold. Then, you ask yourself: Is it truly worth it? Sure, you might have provided for them more than adequately but none of those could ever compare to the warm and loving presence of a parent or a spouse who is physically there. At the moment, the realization might fail to register but once you are old and grey, you will begin to wonder what else you have missed when you spent all that time at work. When you are old and grey, would the extra time away toiling at the office make up for the ones you have already lost with your family? Spending time with your family is more important than you think. After all, you only have one so you might as well cherish the bond that you have. Form a relationship with your kids and solidify it or you might regret it once you are old and grey and would likely forget to spend time with you as well. Besides, spending time with family can be very beneficial—and not just in forming familial ties.

While strengthening family ties by spending time with your spouse and kids is a given, it has also been shown that there are many more profound benefits. So, if you have been wondering if you should catch up on extra work this weekend, you might want to hold that thought and book a family weekend to Sandbox Alviera or elsewhere.

In any case, here are some of the most compelling reasons why family time is incredibly important:


Builds self esteem

Understandably, children who spend more time with parents tend to be more confident than their less-parented counterparts. After all, by spending quality time with your kids, you are building a relationship with them. By going to their school plays, attending their school activities and presentations, you are showing them that you believe in them. As a result, these kids will develop high-esteem and self-confidence which would ultimately redound to having them build better relationships with others. When you spend time with your family, it shows them that you value them.


Nurtures positive behaviors

One of the best reasons why you should spend time with family is that kids will consequently develop positive behaviors because of this. You have better leverage on what they are influenced by and can gauge how well you are executing your parenting skills. More importantly, you will be able to keep a keen eye on what sort of behaviors your children will develop and correct them if needed. In fact, it has been shown that adolescents who spent more time with their parents tended not to abuse illegal substances and alcohol.


Creates bonds

Of course, spending more time with your family will inevitably lead to forming familial bonds with them—which over time, you can nurture and strengthen. If you and your family members constantly get involved in group activities and enjoy together, you will develop strong relationships and be able to handle stressful situations with ease. Understandably, making time for family can be quite a challenge to do in this perpetually busy age. In fact, time away from work might even be considered as luxury by some parents. However, know that no matter how difficult, always find a compromise and try to spend time with your family—your children more importantly. It teaches your kids valuable lessons which they would prove useful to them later in life.


Creates fond memories

Once you are old and grey, do you really want to look back at your life and reminisce about all the times you had spent time working extra hours at the office? Of course, you would want better memories to cherish and immortalize. By spending time with your family, you will be able to create memorable moments worth reminiscing over and over again. By the time you are grey and old, you will look back at those memories fondly and come to the conclusion that you have indeed lived a rich and full life.


Relieves stress

Spending time with a loved one—no matter how long or short—will always relieve stress. Telling them about your day and what happened at work helps you unwind and relax. More importantly, by allowing you to vent without judgment, you are given a momentary breather from what could have been a potentially taxing week. So reduce your stress, be open about your worries and anxieties. Spend time with your loved ones and watch them do the same for you. Money can always be made but you only have one lifetime to spend with your family.


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Smart Travels: Five Reasons Staying in Hotels Should be Your Last Resort for Accommodations


“Not all those who wander are lost…Unless they are pissed and are trying to find their way back to the hostel” –Author Unknown


There has never been any doubt that accommodations play a pivotal role in determining what kind of vacation you are aiming for.

Those who wish to have a more luxurious and relaxed stay can opt to stay in hotels while those who are on a budget might want to consider the alternatives. Unfortunately, most travelers are not savvy enough to explore their options and are under the impression that they are constrained to staying in hotel accommodations. However, in a world rife with booking apps such as Trivago and Airbnb, this notion is not only preposterous but incredibly archaic as well.

More importantly, those who do not care to explore their options might end up missing out on a lot as well. Besides, when you are out of the country, you would be spending most of your time outside of the room and would probably only get to stay at the hotel between the hours that you sleep at night and wake up at the morning. So, if you are paying a premium each night for your stay, it would not make much sense if you do not get to take advantage of it—even more so when you are on a budget. With this in mind, it always pays to take a look at your options first before going with the obvious route such as a hotel accommodation. Regardless of whether you are traveling domestic and are looking for Pampanga hotels or internationally, here are some of the compelling reasons why choosing to book a hotel for your stay should be your last resort:


Hotels are expensive

Hotel accommodations are pricey. No need to mince words as they really are. Sure, you might get to enjoy the myriad of amenities offered from the pool to the gym, but do you really need those when you would be mostly out and about in the city? More importantly, some of the amenities offered in hotels are offered in some Airbnb rentals as well as a chain of hostels—at a fraction of the price of a hotel room. You are pretty much getting the same service at a significantly reduced rate. So, why not consider the alternative?


The nightlife scene is significantly more interesting than in hotels

If you are a relatively young traveler, you will no doubt be searching for things to do at night. A few of the things you might be considering would be clubbing, hanging out in bars or perhaps capping of the day with a drink or two—all of which you could do at a hotel. However, hotels have a more conservative and reserved clientele given that most of their guests are composed of families or at least esteemed guests. Guests who are within your age range have no business staying in hotels unless they are with family (or are feeling particularly luxurious which is rarely). The nightlife scene in hostels is pretty much like your first year in college all over again. You get to meet people from all over the globe, get to know and hang out with them. Who knows? You might even end up being friends and travel buddies for the rest of your trip?


It is cozier

Hotel alternatives such as hostels and short-term rental homes are far cozier and more personal than hotels. Hotels tend to be a bit more detached and it is quite difficult to feel at home in them. Hostels on the other hand are far more comfortable and homey to stay in. More importantly, you would get better recommendations for cool restaurants and local bars in hostels better as more locals would be hanging around in the lobby. Hotels may give you information about places around as well but it is likely because they are paid to do so rather than an honest reference of the place.


Shared meals

Staying at an Airbnb accommodation means you might get to share meals with your hosts. It is not uncommon to have your hosts stay with you during the length of your stay and interact with you. Apart from giving you good recommendations, they might even share home cooked meals with you! Hostels are also accommodation alternatives wherein the sharing of meals is encouraged.


You will make stronger connections

Hotel guests go out and about without ever interacting with one another. Hostel guests on the other hand are encouraged to meet and greet each other insomuch that they might potentially become travel chums. Hotels tend to be detached whereas hostels are more connected. If you wish to have a more memorable and immersive experience, go for the alternative and stay in a hostel or an Airbnb hosting instead.

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Seeing the World: 6 Unconventional Ways to Explore a City

If you prefer the architectural wonders of a concrete jungle over the diversity of nature, then you should spend time in a city. You can find several things to do once you find the place that makes you dream and yearn more from life. For instance, you can meet people from different backgrounds. You can see art in unexpected places. You can also feel how the progress of technology transforms the spaces between the streets and establishments. The force of energy is powerful and widespread giving off a youthful vibe to the area.

Explore the City Your Way

Whether it’s a city in the Eastern hemisphere or an urban capital in the West, you can find several things to fill your travel schedule. You can pick between the usual touristy stuff or try unconventional activities that would result in extraordinary tales. If you do decide to take a cultural trip that isn’t a common feat for tourists, then you should check out the ways to explore the city listed below.

1. Shop at a weekend farmer’s market

A trip to the farmer’s market is a must for several reasons. First, it helps you eat healthily. You can stock up on fresh produce and prepare yourself some healthy food while traveling. Next, you support the local entrepreneurs. Most of the sellers in a weekend market Manila or laiki agora (λαϊκή αγορά) in Athens are farmers, beekeepers, or gardeners. They sell the foodstuff and plants they grow. Others sell homecooked meals or processed food such as jams and cured meat. The great thing about shopping in these markets is that you can pay a fraction of the cost to get healthy food. It’s because you can get the products directly from the seller. There is no intermediary involved or transfer expenses to settle.

Other reasons why should shop at a weekend market in the city is the opportunity to get a taste of the local products, meet people, and get a chance to observe how locals deal with their kin. The marketplace is the best location to see how other people deal with each other. You can see them haggle over prices and greet acquaintances. Before getting to the market, keep in mind of its schedule. Some markets are open daily, but they relocate. They don’t occupy the busiest parts of the city during the weekday. Thus, you should think of your travel route early before you set out or your day trip.

2. Visit the library

Instead of looking up the must-visit spots on Google or Pinterest, you can use local resources to plan your travel itinerary. Check out the local library to find resources on the best restaurants, sights, and tourist destinations. A visit to the library is also your ticket for scoring fantastic reads. You can discover local literature that can help you paint a picture of the city and its people. You might even find a new friend who is into books the way you are. Most of all, spending time in the library gives you a chance to survey the aesthetic of the city. The design and structure of a public building demonstrate the flavor and influence of the area. Meanwhile, the maintenance of the building is proof of the extent local government provides to care for its services.

3. Hire a bike

Some travels have the luxury to get a cab to go to places. Others prefer the bus or the subway system. All of those are fine especially if you must follow a strict schedule. However, it doesn’t give you the time to take in everything there is to see. The vehicles move swiftly that you miss out the names of the streets and restaurants that might be worth a visit. When traveling, it’s best if you rent a bike. Biking allows you to move at a comfortable pace. You can stop and move as you please. Its size also makes it easy to pass through narrow streets and alleys. Most of all, it doesn’t use fuel. You can save money on gas when you choose a bicycle over a car.

Besides biking, another way to explore the city is by walking. Getting to places by foot gives you a chance to look at shops and establishments up close. It also helps you save more from your travel fund. Most of all, it’s a form of exercise. If you do decide to walk, be sure to bring a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.

4. Get lodging with a host family

One way to get first-hand knowledge about the ins and outs of the city is by staying with a host family. Staying with a family allows you to find out about the household dynamics of locals. At the same time, you get to experience their hospitality while having a guide whenever you need one. You can also sample local homemade dishes without spending much on restaurant orders. Each day is an adventure when you live with a family especially large ones with a lot of kids.

5. Fulfill your scavenger hunt

If you haven’t tried it before, then you should try doing a picture hunt. During downtime, create a list of things you wish to see. It can be as simple as trees to teacups or ice creams. It can be specific sights to random things you find on the street. The list serves as your goal for the day. The city might have the usual stuff, but the picture hunt can make you see differently. It won’t be dull and boring. You end up with an adventure of a lifetime.

6. Set a theme for the day

Try not to act like the ordinary tourist who would only set their eyes on the cities major attractions. Remember, the city offers a myriad of activities and places to visit. You have to comb through them to find which ones are worth your time. If you don’t have time to go through all of them, you can set a theme that would dictate the places you will visit. You can spend a day hunting down cafes or parks. The areas you plan to explore depends on the theme.

These are six of the unconventional ways to explore a city. Though some of these are common in a few countries, most conservative towns and travelers are still aren’t comfortable with the idea. Traveling is a personal experience. You should do what makes you feel relaxed and excited during your trip and not what others tell you.