Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vacation with kids and grandparents to make memories

Through the years, my family has taken several road trips with kids and grandparents. Our longest experience stretched from East Tennessee to Phoenix, Arizona and then to San Antonio, Texas before arriving back home. On this vacation, and others, I learned a few tips on how to take a long road trip with kids and grandparents in tow. The tips below kept me sane and gave my children lifelong vacation memories '" some of the road trip memories were even positive!

Your sanity may depend on choosing a road trip destination wisely. A theme park vacation may appeal to kids. Everyone will be miserable if the grandparents aren't up to it. For us, involving all parties in selecting the vacation destination helped the road trip go well.

Sometimes even wide open Texas spaces are too small for three generations on vacation in the same minivan. Compromise is the word when it comes to a kids and grandparents on a road trip. Take a few minutes to analyze when a compromise might be needed. Tackling these issues before hitting the open road gets the vacation off on the right foot.

Talk about possible issues ahead of time
One of the issues we tackled was adult manipulation. Kids learn early that on vacation a no from Mom can get a yes from Grandmom.

Addressing this issue head on was the first step to a successful road trip that includes both grandparents and kids. While planning for the vacation my grandmother and I discussed everything from boundaries to discipline and medication schedule before leaving. In addition to deciding on tactics it opened the door for good communication.

Talk with the kids
Once the details were hammered out we presented our plan to the kids together. It's important for them to know that all adults were on the same page and what the boundaries would be. This gave them an opportunity to ask questions and feel like they had more control.

Different schedules.
On our road trip, the differences in schedules of kids and grandparents quickly became an issue. Giving each other permission to take care of persona needs helped make the vacation a success. This sometimes meant that Grandmother slept while I took the kids to the pool on vacation. Or, like at the Alamo, when one child tired quickly an adult went back to the car while the other adult and child continued the tour.

Giving each other space on the road trip also gave the kids one-on-one time with each adult different points of the trip. It helped each child develop special memories of the vacation. Giving each other space when needed was possibly the most important lesson we learned on the road trip with grandparents and the kids.

Take different snacks for each age group.
Another issue that came up pretty quickly was snacks. Grandparents often have a different snacking routine than kids do. The one snack that everyone agreed on was party mix. Our road trip compromise included adding foods that the kids would normally not touch.
All other food was up for negotiation on vacation. Dry cereal was substituted for some chips, bottled water was supplemented with juice and pudding replaced Jello on the road trip. Everyone tried something new and everyone compromised. Objections were vocal at times but we all lived through the road trip, none of us starved and we had a great vacation.

Every road trip with grandparents and kids will involve complaints at some point. This is human nature. Plan for it and act decisively. Kids tire easily when being in the car on a long road trip. Stopping at the next rest area to let them run can solve the problem.
Similarly, when grandparents become grumpy it may be because of hunger or the need to stretch the legs. Whatever the cause of the groaning on the road it is important to get to the root of the problem. This is one of the keys to a happy vacation.

It's amazing how music can help on a road trip. One important tip to remember is that grandparents don't adapt to different types of music as easily as children. In this case, it's wise to favor the grandparents.

We found that songs like, Twist and Shout and Happy Days can appeal to grandparents and children. Soothing songs with natural sounds can ease tensions. When heading out on vacation, bring songs that can calm moods and lead to great family sing-a-longs.

Taking a vacation with kids and grandparents takes planning. The lifelong memories to be made on the road trip are worth the preparation.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Travel with Mesothelioma or other chronic disease

Previously on Yahoo Voices... With advance planning, travel with mesothelioma or for other medical reasons or vacation may be possible. If you haven't already done so it's important to find out all you can about the illness. WebMD describes mesothelioma as a disease where the cancer cells attack the lining of the chest or abdomen.

Per WebMD Some of the Mesothelioma symptoms include:

Shortness of breath
Lumps in the abdomen
Pain under the rib cage
Unexplained weight loss

I've found that advance planning and flexibility crucial for anyone who is going to travel with a chronic disease. Everyone on the trip should expect there to be adjustments to plans for both small and large activities. It can greatly relieve the stress to keep a loose schedule instead of having to strictly adhere to a packed itinerary.

It is normal for anyone who is going to travel with mesothelioma, copd, asthma or other health challenges to tire more easily than other family members. Frequent rest breaks should be factored into any vacation plans. Breaks should include bathroom facilities and a place to walk for a few minutes.

Trip planning should begin with a the doctor, ask for suggestions on the ctivities that can safely be undertaken and for vacation destination ideas. People who have the disease probably should not plan to travel alone. Having friends and family along can not add to the fun, but the can be invaluable in the event of an emergency. A care plan should be developed and shared with others on the trip.

 Depending on the stage of progression, some people with mesothelioma may be restricted to car travel. Use of a scooter or wheelchair on excursions may be suggested. A doctor can provide a prescription or help make arrangements for any equipment that may be needed while on vacation.

Plan to get handwritten copies of any prescriptions and get information on any restrictions that are to be followed. It may also be helpful to get a letter from the doctor for travel with mesothelioma that includes the current treatment plan, medications and contact information for the practice.

It may be helpful to apply for a special parking permit for your vehicle. Be sure to bring any needed paperwork with you. If you are traveling for medical reasons a list of mesothelioma travel and lodging sites may be helpful.

The writer of this article has experience in traveling with chronic illness for medial and pleasure trips. However, I am not in the health care field.

Always consult with your doctor before you travel with mesothelioma or any health challenge. He or she is the person who is the most qualified to give the best advice on any vacation or getaway.

Once armed with this information you can now plan your destination. Travel with mesothelioma, for pleasure or medical reasons can often be done successfully if you take a relaxed pace and plan accordingly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Indian Boundary Campground: Serenity on the Cherohala Skyway

Indian Boundary Campground is more than the name implies. My family stopped there while we were on our Tennessee road trip and enjoyed it. The campground recreational area offers a lake front swimming beach, hiking trails and other amenities. It's a good road trip stop for families, couples or individuals.

Indian Boundary Campground
Indian Boundary Campground is located in Monroe County, Tennessee is about 30 minutes from the entrance to the skyway. Get there by going to the visitor center in Tellico Plains and follow the signs to the Cherohala Skyway. You will see the signs for Indian Boundary Campground just after entering the skyway.

A well shaded picnic area at the campground afforded us with the opportunity to stretch our legs and enjoy the Cherokee National Forest. This a quiet spot is away from the Cherohala Skyway just enough that passing cars cannot be heard.

From our very first visit, what we found at Indian Boundary Campground put it on our list of favorite places. Camp sites are limited to two vehicles and five people. All spaces have electrical hookups but water is placed at every other camping spot. Indian Boundary Campground sites are paved, flat and well shaded.

One of the things that we liked about the Indian Boundary Campground was the family atmosphere. It is a lively place. Kids were out in force and seemed to be having a good time. Almost everyone waved as we went through.

Cherohala Skyway
Indian Boundary Campground looks to be very well maintained. The bathhouse is modern and each camping spot had a picnic table, grill and hanging hooks. Being able to make reservations online helps add to our attraction.

There are bears in the Cherokee National Forest. Signs at the entrance urged campers to maintain bear proof food storage and put all rubbish in the bear proof bins. Noncompliance attracts bears and may result in a stiff fine.

The campground offers both a ranger station and camp store. You can pick up firewood or other items from the store. Please note that the Indian Boundary Campground is under a firewood quarantine. Firewood must be picked up at the store, off the ground or locally. If you have any questions, ask any ranger for help.

The quarantine is an attempt to prevent the spread of the Aisan Longhorned Beetle and other insects. These non-native species are sometimes carried from forest to forest through the transport of firewood. Despite their tiny size the beetles can devastate a forest. Please don't contribute to the problem by bringing outside firewood into the Cherokee National Forest.

Indian Boundary Campground is an enchanting place to stay and offers many recreational activities. Camp sites are well shaded and spacious. The loops offer a good place to walk or ride bikes. Bring the ingredients along to roast smores over and evening campfire.

The popular swimming beach is only a couple minutes away by car. In addition to other trails, hikers enjoy the trail that winds around the water's edge. The night sky fills with stars on clear evenings.  Indian Boundary Campground is not within walking distance. Getting there by car takes only a minute or two. The whole recreation area is ideal for taking photos.

The lake covers almost 100 acres. Several people were there with fishing poles in hand. A Tennessee fishing license is required. The Indian Boundary Campground store may have information on licenses. A boat dock is available there and the lake is surrounded by a walking trail.

Signs at the Indian Boundary Campground indicate that the road accommodates vehicles up to 26 feet long. Vehicles that are longer than that probably won't be able to get through. There are some close turns that would make large RV navigation difficult to impossible.

Fees are charged at the campground for the space and for the electrical hookup. There is also a fee at the recreational area. Some discounts are available. Prices and hours of operation change without notice and are seasonal.

Visitors are told not to call the Indian Boundary Outpost with questions about reservations or the campground. Instead, visitors are directed to contact the Tellico Plains Ranger Station for information on fees, directions or other details.

Stopping at the Indian Boundary Campground added to our Cherohala Skyway experience. It's location within the scenic beauty of the Cherokee National Forest, recreation area and amenities makes us want to come back for more.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to choose a honeymoon destination

Links to this post
Knowing how to choose a honeymoon destination is just as important as finding the right cake or wedding venue. Destinations that are as unique as the bride and groom, or traditional spots like sandy beaches, are popular choices. Here are some ideas on how to choose a honeymoon destination that will have newlyweds packing in no time.

Kingston, Tennessee
Although some couples ask wedding guests to pitch in on the cost, there is no way to know who will help (or how much). A realistic budget can alleviate the planning stress when looking at how to choose a honeymoon destination. Remember, it’s easier to expand a budget at the last minute, than to reduce it.

Sand, water or mountain air?
Think in general terms before choosing a specific locale. What speaks to you? Do warm sandy shores appeal or are you a couple that likes high rolling action? Make a list of cities or geographic regions that offer the honeymoon destination possibilities that you like. Leave plenty of space on the paper to scribble in additional notes.

What attractions do you enjoy?
Next, consider the specific activities and attractions that you both enjoy. Do you like to shop, visit theme parks or stroll through gardens? Mark or highlight the potential destinations that can provide your top choices.

Getting around.
Don’t just think about how you will get there, think about how you will get around after arriving. Will you rent a car, take a tour or catch a tourism shuttle? When looking at how to choose a honeymoon destination, transportation is sometimes an afterthought. Don't make that mistake. Circle the remaining cities on your list that provide the transportation you want.

Check the weather.
Unless you don’t mind hitting your dream destination during monsoon or avalanche season, check the weather forecast during the planning stages. Check travel and tourism websites for the information.

Deal breakers
Take a close look at your list. Are there any obvious deal breakers that stand out? If so, cross those cities off of your list.

Final decision
By now, your honeymoon destination decision should be in sight. All that you have to do now is make your reservations, pack your bags and get ready for the big day!