Don’t Let Your Teenage Driver Break Your Budget

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A lot of the time, the big milestones in your own life don’t feel so big. They just feel normal. They’re just a progression of you growing, right? But that all changes when you become a parent and you start seeing your baby reach these milestones wondering, “where the hell did the time go?”


One day it is first words and first steps and the next it is the first day of school, first sports day, first boyfriend or girlfriend. But of all the milestones you’ll bite your bottom lip and wonder how you got here so fast, it is the driving thing that will hit you the hardest. It always does. It’s that sudden realization that independence is theirs and that’s a pretty big deal.


But it isn’t just the impending empty nest thing you need to worry about. It is also the finances. They can slap you silly too, not that this is a surprise given you know just how expensive it is to run your own car. But add a novice driver to the equation and you can find the amount of month left at the end of your money is rather daunting.


With this in mind, we have pulled together a few tip and tricks on how you can stop your teenager from wrecking your budget entirely or – if you are lucky – their budget. The struggle is real, but so are the solutions.


  1. The 401-Drive Plan

Buying your child a car is a lovely thing to do, but it also comes with a few negatives to bear in mind. Think about it for a moment. If you just buy them a car, what lessons are you teaching them? None, other than the fact you are super-generous and loving parents (which is cool). If however, you can, then we recommend you incentivize them somehow, and a great way to do this with a 401-Drive plan. Think of it as a matching plan. If they save up $3000 for a car, you will match that amount. Not only will this help them understand the value of money a bit more, and even learn how savings can help them reach their goals, you will find they are much more careful when it comes to driving because, well, they’ve had to put their own money into it. That’s a powerful incentive to drive steady.


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  1. Flashy Cars Aren’t First Cars

Every teenager has dreams of passing their test and returning home to find a Camaro sat on the driveway with a big red bow tied to the roof (which is mainly thanks to MTV’s Super Sweet 16). However, the realities are somewhat different. Flashy cars are something that we all have to work toward, not just expect, which is where we have a little bit of good news for you: you can pick up cars for much less than $2000, or even $1000. Sure, they may not win any races (good!) and they may not land them a date (also good!), but they will get them from A to B. What’s more, in years to come, your child will look back on their first car – that beat up Mark II VW Golf – with the fondest of memories and wistfully explain how it was the best car they have ever owned. All this said, just make sure the car is safe by taking a mechanic to check it over with you.


  1. Advanced Driving Courses Are Ace

The day your child passes their test is a weird one; they are shaking with excitement and you are paralytic with dread. That’s the way it goes. That is where an advanced driving course could save the day. On the one hand, it will make your child a way better defensive driver, drastically reducing the chances of them getting into an accident and you having to call some legends in the matter of collisions, like Lopez and Humphries. After all, car accidents are the number one cause of death for people between 15 and 24, meaning anything you can do to make them better drivers is a great idea. But even though safety is the absolute priority, there are financial benefits too. First off, crashing is costly. Duh. That’s one of the ways a driving course can help. The other way it can have a positive influence on your bank balance is in terms of your insurance. Someone that has done an advanced driving course is a better driver in the eyes of an insurance broker; it’s as simple as that.


  1. Not All Insurance Was Born Equal

What we are trying to say is, there are ways you can reduce your child’s car insurance costs, and the most effective way of doing this is to shop around. Now we know there are a thousand commercials where companies claim to be the cheapest, but it is impossible to be the cheapest option for everyone. So, the only way to guarantee you have the best deal is to shop around. That isn’t all, though. Things like adding your teenager onto your car insurance policy, bundling your car insurance with your other policies, pay the fee upfront instead of monthly, add safety features to the car, store in a secure place, have a multi-car policy and raise your deductibles. Like we said, insurance is specific to you, which is why you need to find out what you can do to lower the costs. Oh, and thanks to the internet, it’s pretty simple.


  1. Sharing Is Caring

Your teenager probably has no idea how expensive it can be to keep a car. They just see the price tag on the windscreen and that is that. As such, it is your responsibility to play the messenger and go through all the costs – the insurance, the gas, the maintenance, the repairs, the cleaning and all the other little day to day costs. That is where charing the cost can really come in handy, for both of you. Come up with a plan together. Say you will fork out for the car up front if they agree to pay for every else, or agree that you will split everything except gas down the middle (they should have to pay for gas). Whatever suits you.


The Hospital Survival Guide



No one wants to spend a few nights in hospital, but sometimes, it’s the only way we are ever going to get any better. Thankfully, though, a night or two in a hospital are relatively easy to deal with. You just need to grin and bear it! However, when your stay is extended and you have to stay over a week, you might start to find it a little more difficult to bear.


Wish you could just get out of bed and go home? Unfortunately, that might not be possible, and even if you are able to, it won’t be a good idea – it could make you feel a lot worse and set your recovery period back by quite a bit! Still, there are some things you can do to improve your stay in hospital and to try and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Read on to find out more!


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Bring Your Own Toiletries


You will get given some toiletries in your hospital room. You won’t get a huge selection, but the basics will be there, such as shampoo, shower gel, and moisturizer. However, they won’t be that great and they probably won’t be up to your usual standard of products. So, it’s a good idea to pack plenty of toiletries with you when you go into hospital. That way, you will have some home comforts with you, and you won’t have to worry about poor shower gel or shampoo drying out your skin and your hair.




Ask For Anything You Want Or Need


You should never be worried about asking your doctors or nurses for anything. They want to help you be as comfortable as possible while you are in hospital so they will try and meet any of your requests. For instance, if you want a relative to stay with you overnight, you should ask if they can give you a rollaway bed. This will be a lot more comfy for your relative than sleeping in a chair! You might have some requests when it comes to the hospital meals as well, such as getting some gluten-free meals or whether or not it is possible to eat at different times to the usual mealtimes. Don’t forget that there is no such thing as a dumb question, so you should never be embarrassed about asking anything that is on your mind, especially if it is a question that is related to your treatment and medicine!




Take Frequent Walks If Possible


If you have the energy, it’s a good idea to try and take as many walks as possible. Staying mobile is a great way to help your body stay in shape while you are hospital. Even if you aren’t able to walk far, it’s still good to get on your feet and have a quick shuffle around your ward. Going for a walk every couple of hours or so will help you to break up your day, so you won’t end up frustrated by staying in bed all day. Not only that, though, but getting out of bed regularly will help to cut down your chances of suffering from bed sores.




Get Some Good Health Insurance


There is one way to prevent a terrible hospital stay – you just need to get some good health insurance in the first place. Generally speaking, the better and more complete your health insurance policy is, then the more benefits you will get. These will include lots of perks in hospitals as well, such as your very own room. If you take a look at websites such as, you will be able to see what’s on offer with some different examples of health insurance policies. Some policies will also cover you while you are abroad so you will be able to take advantage of all of your perks and benefits even in a foreign hospital.




Keep Plenty Of Notes


It’s a good idea to get one of the cute notebooks at to take with you into hospital. There will be lots of doctors, nurses, and specialists popping into your room to check up on you and making sure you are doing alright. It’s worth taking down some notes of all your conversations so that you don’t forget what somebody says. After all, you might be on some medication that could easily confuse you. Because of this, you should keep track of all your conversations so that you don’t forget anything that the health experts say. It’s also worth making notes of all your medication and any changes that are made to your tablets or dosage. This will also give you something to double check against your hospital bill at the end of your stay. If there are any discrepancies at all, you will be able to check them out with the hospital.


Ask Loved Ones To Stay With You


Spending a week in a hospital will feel like one big drag indeed. You might end up quite lonely, which could start to affect your mental health. So, to try and keep the loneliness at bay, it’s a good idea to ask some of your loved ones to spend the nights with you. You could see if there are a few relatives or friends who are willing to take it in turns so that you don’t have any nights on your own. As I’ve already previously mentioned, some hospitals will be willing to put a rollaway bed in your room for any staying relatives and friends.




Don’t Leave Before You’re Ready


It’s crucial that you don’t leave hospital before you are ready. Unfortunately, though, some nurses try to rush patients out because of bed shortages. If you feel like you are being pushed to leave before you are ready, you should say that you will only leave after getting the all-clear from a doctor or specialist.


Your stay in hospital shouldn’t be uncomfortable – all of the above tips will help ensure that you can have as pleasant a time as is possible.


Beneath the Summer Sun By Kelly Irwin {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


Jennie Troyer knows it’s time to remarry, and with two men pursuing her, she doesn’t have to look far. But after the pain she’s experienced, can she open her heart to love?

It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to shed her grief and remarry for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is it isn’t grief that’s holding her back, but rather a fear of a repeat of her abusive marriage.

Paul Graber has known–and loved–Jennie since they were children, and he’d hoped to court her when they were teenagers. But when he was fourteen, Paul’s father died suddenly in his arms. Ever since he’s been afraid of the searing pain of loss that comes from opening himself up to love. Now Jennie’s free again and he’s fighting to have the courage not to lose her a second time.

Nathan Walker is a Mennonite book salesman who makes it a point to stop by Jennie’s farm as often as he can. He’s grown to care for her, but he knows he has no right to court her unless he resolves his own struggle with his faith. He will have to change everything about his life in order to join the Jamesport Amish community. But would he be embracing a new life or running from his old?

The path isn’t clear for any of them. These three people, drawn together by circumstances and God’s plan, must come to grips with their pasts in order to discern God’s plan for their futures and find peace beneath the summer sun.

My Thoughts!

This is book 2 in the Every Amish Season series, but it stood well on its own. I didn’t feel like I was missing back story since I haven’t yet read book 1. The characters are well developed and relatable. The story line offers a steady pace and really pulls you in.  This powerful story will pull you into a roller coaster of emotions as it deals with abuse, loss, and overcoming obstacles. I love how Irvin approached touchy topics in such a delicate, believable way.  I definitely plan to read more from Irvin after this one!


Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

Oath Of Honor by Lynette Eason {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.


A murdered partner. A missing brother. Will Isabelle’s silence protect those she loves . . . or delay justice?

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. She knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Izzy is determined to discover exactly what happened, and her investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s brother Ryan, a handsome homicide detective, shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

My Thoughts!

This was my first read by Eason and it blew me away. I have no idea how I’ve never read her books before, but she is definitely on my list now.  This is book 1 in the Blue Justice series and it does not disappoint. It’s been a while since I’ve had a book bring me to the edge of my seat and kept me up all night. This one did it for me though. I was glued and couldn’t put it down.  It’s well written, driven, and leaves you guessing. The characters are relatable, full of character, and well developed.  The twists and turns  kept me guessing and were not  predictable at all.  I LOVED this read and highly recommend it to others. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!


Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.


Can You Make A Lot of Money With Cryptocurrency?

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When the news broke that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were worth insane amounts of money and that people who had bought them turned their tiny investments into something massive, loads of people suddenly became very interested in Bitcoin. However, what cryptocurrencies are and how to actually get involved in them can be a little confusing and unclear at face value. Let’s take a look and see if you can make a lot of money with cryptocurrency.


Picking A Cryptocurrency To Invest In


While Bitcoin is the most popular type of cryptocurrency, it is by no means the only one. There are plenty of cryptocurrencies to invest in, and each has their own value and are slightly different from each other in one way or another. You will want to pick a cryptocurrency that is interesting to you, or you might want to spread yourself a few to help minimize your risk. Picking a cryptocurrency to invest in is much like picking a regular investment. You will want to analyse whether you think it will give you the returns that you are after and how much risk is involved. You might pick Ethereum over Bitcoin because you prefer their model or you might invest in Dash because of the anonymity they provide. Take your time researching and don’t rush into a decision.


How To Make An Investment


When it finally comes time for you to make your investment, there are a few ways that you can go about it. Cryptocurrency can be obtained in one of two ways. You can either buy it or you can mine it. Buying is a fairly simple process of just going to a site with that cryptocurrency and purchasing some for your digital wallet. You can even open a Bitcoin IRA account where you transfer your retirement fund into Bitcoins. Mining is a little more complicated. Realistically, you will only want to mine a cryptocurrency if you have a decent, high-level computer. Otherwise you aren’t going to get a lot of your chosen cryptocurrency for the time spent. Mining is where your computer performs complex calculations in and in doing so generates a small amount of your chosen cryptocurrency. The higher the specs on your machine, the faster and more complex the calculations it can perform, and this means that you will make more cryptocurrency.


What Is Their Potential Growth?


The potential growth for cryptocurrency is unknown at the moment. A lot of people will tell you that is expected to continue to grow at a fast rate like it did in 2017, whereas others will tell you the opposite. What is true, though, is that cryptocurrency isn’t going away anytime soon. It is growing in popularity due to the headlines it is making and this is meaning that more and more people are getting involved and making investments. It is a new type of currency and it as of yet untested. The continued and growing interest and investment in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is a good indicator that it will continue to be popular and that growth is definitely an option.


The True Financial Costs of Being Involved with Criminality

Whether you or a loved one of yours becomes involved with criminality, whether at fault or not, the financial costs will rack up and they will be huge. To see just a few of the true costs of criminality, and to see just why it is best to stay as far away from it as possible, make sure to read on.

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The costs of bail

Being arrested and then subsequently becoming incarcerated is not a nice experience, and it is made even worse when you consider how much it costs to buy one’s freedom upon such an event. Yes, the costs of bail are neither nice nor cheap, and they are the first true costs faced when it comes to criminality. They can be set at the states will, so the costs of bail could be cheaper in regards to both place and severity of the crime.

The costs of fighting the case

Everybody who has been accused of criminality is likely to want to fight the case held against them, and the cost of doing so can be, well, very costly. First of all, the cost of getting a good criminal defense attorney that is both proven in the field of case fighting, specifically fighting specific cases, and is tough enough to withstand the onslaught of a judge and accusations, is going to be huge. Why? Well, in life we only get what we pay for, and the more money paid for an attorney the better they will be. Second of all, the costs of having to pay for a failed case, in order to pay for time wasted on the judge’s part, will be huge and prove to be an added blow to an already bad situation.

The costs of having a criminal record

Life after the act of criminality and the subsequent sentencing will continue to prove to be costly, too. It will continue to prove costly simply because of the fact that a criminal record instantly lessens employment opportunities and makes options of employment much harder to come by. You see, those with criminal records are not seen to be trustworthy in the workplace and are not deemed to be ‘the right sort of person’, and thus employers are far more tentative to offer them jobs. And, when jobs are not offered, income can, of course, not be attained.

After reading all of the above, surely you will be doing all you can in the future to both avoid criminality yourself and to help your loved ones to avoid it too, right? And, if you are wondering how to help your children avoid being on the wrong side of the law as they grow and mature into adults, then fear not as comprehensive advice and assistance on the matter — from understanding why your child may commit a crime to the active and physical help out there in regards to it — can be found here.


Coping With Non Uniform Day


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Non Uniform days might seem somewhat trivial, however they can have a significant impact on your child’s social life within school – and many kids (plus parents) feel quite stressed and anxious about deciding what to wear on a non-uniform day; which is a shame, because these days should be a time for self-expression and creativity rather than fear and anxiety.

Whilst we’re on the subject of anxiety, school can be a social minefield that has the ability to really stress out our kids, and it’s important to nip issues in the bud before they grow into colossal weeds that entangle our child’s soul.  There are serious social issues to consider, such as bullying, which is often best dealt with collaboratively alongside school teachers and other support organizations; but there are some issues where a school lawyer might be the best person to receive support from – as an example, certain academic and/or disciplinary issues can benefit from receiving external counsel.

With that in mind, let’s go back to taking the anxiety and fear out of a non-uniform day.  See, the truth is that nobody really likes to wear uniforms but their biggest benefit is that they even out the playing field; meaning that even if you are on a budget, everyone looks the same.

The concept of a uniform, however, goes against our innate need to be an individual, and therefore, when it’s non-uniform day we all want to look our best… to express our individuality and unique sense of self by expressing ourselves in what we wear.

The challenge people tend to face on non-uniform days is that it can be difficult to find the right balance between standing out, in a good way, and standing out – in a bad way.  The overarching principle is to wear clothes that you love… not that other people love, or that you feel you should wear in order to “fit in” – but because you love them… clothes that make you feel like you!

For, if you are being true to yourself in the sense of your own unique tastes, style, and preferences then surely you can’t go wrong… or can you?  Today’s culture where style and fashion is emphasised within movies, magazines and even social media – we are often made to feel like it’s not okay to just be you – it’s as if the world is trying to rattle us, intentionally making us feel insecure, telling us that we are “not enough”… and then positioning a particular clothing line, beauty trend, make-up, or even diet pill as some magic formula to feel better about ourselves.

The truth is, you being you, is “enough”.  When it comes to non-uniform day, therefore, it’s important you express yourself for who you really are.  Here are two fundamental principles to help you tackle with non-uniform days:

  1.  Wear Something Quirky

If you were to wear reasonably plain clothes such as jeans and a nice fitting top but then accessorize with something quirky and colourful such as a scarf, or hat, this is a great way to let your personality shine through in a subtle way without it being too ‘in your face’.

  1.  Wear Something Meaningful

If you have a favourite outfit because, as an example, a relative gave you a particular item before they passed away – or even an accessory such as a piece of jewellery this can be a great way to express yourself in a very personal way; that is less about what others think and more about the association you have with it.

In summary, way too often we are worried about what other people think about us – particularly when it comes to our physical appearance.  The key point is to focus on being comfortable with what you’re wearing and making sure it expresses who you feel you are; not who you feel you should be in order to conform to the status quo.


5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Marriage + FOREVER MY GIRL In Theaters On January 19, 2018!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

I can’t believe my 9 anniversary is right around the corner.  It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished together. It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows though. We’ve  had a lot to overcome, but the end result is absolutely beautiful and was totally worthwhile.  Here are 5 tips  that we have incorporated into our marriage.

Communication is key in any relationship. Learn how to effectively communicate with your partner. This applies not only to any conflicts or wants/needs, but also to every day life. Learn to read your partners body language.  Know when you partner needs a pick me up or time alone. Communication helps you learn each other and how to become one in marriage.

2.Team Work
Team work makes the dream work!   Prepare dinner together, split the household chores,  pay bills, run errands, etc.  This motto applies to a variety of occasions.  It doesn’t have to be boring though! Spice things up and see who can finish their half of the grocery list first. Rotate the household needs,  Invite friends over for game night and have a couples competition, Split homework with the kids.  Help lighten the load on your partner’s shoulders and it won’t go unnoticed!

Every relationship needs a little adventure.  Find something you enjoy to do together and make it part of your routine.  Visit new places, take trips,  take a class together, do a puzzle together,  go camping, go hiking,  get active, etc. This is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. It can be big or small – just something new to experience with your partner.

4. Love Notes
Often times our minds take us to a school girl drawing hearts on a notebook with his name- and sometimes it can feel that way. However, love notes can go along way. Leave a note in  your partners car, add them to lunches, send a thinking of you text while your partner is at work, etc.

5.Date Nights
Spending quality time with each other is imperative to any relationship. Marriage doesn’t mean that dates stop. It’s imperative that you date your spouse.  We make it a goal to have a date night at least once a month. We add in extra date nights when we can, but we strive for monthly at the least.

Speaking of date nights, Forever My Girl is set to release on January 19, 2018 and I can’t wait to see it! This is going to be a great date night movie!

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.  Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.  It releases in theaters on January 19.

Paddington 2 Releases January 12, 2018 + Giveaway!


Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it.  But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.


Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Grant

Sally Hawkins

Brendan Gleeson

Julie Walters

Ben Whishaw


Watch it!

Paddington 2 releases on January 12, 2018!


1 lucky TCMS reader will win a prize pack containing a lovely (and limited) special edition pop-up book, a fun sticker activity book and the movie companion novel. Simply comment below on who you plan to see Paddington 2 with! The winner will be drawn on 1/26/2018.

Keep Your Family Safe And Well Whilst Travelling

When planning a family trip, whether it be a couple of nights away somewhere local to you, or a week on a sunny beach in Spain building sand castles, it can be easy to leave things till the last minute. Everyone has been there – you get so carried away packing your children’s cases that you lay your head down on the pillow the night before you’re due to leave, and realise you haven’t packed your own. Or you get to your destination only to realise you have no idea how you are getting from the airport to your hotel. On top of all this, you have the added pressure of ensuring your family stays safe and you don’t ruin the holiday with a poor choice in street food and a nasty belt of food poisoning to accompany it. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you relax, making sure you and your children stay happy and healthy for the duration of your trip.


Do Your Research

It is a good idea to seek out well-reviewed restaurants, and activity spots to fill your itinerary with before you leave. You may have a rep at your hotel who will be able to advise you on excursions. However, if you are staying in a villa or not travelling with a particular company, you will want to find all this information out in advance. You don’t want to embark on an adventure only to be seeking out or googling “a personal injury lawyer near me” because you made an uninformed choice on which water park to visit. Not only will researching the area prior to visiting ensure you have plenty of safe and enjoyable activities to keep your children entertained, but it will also help you to get the most out of your trip by pre-planning. Thus, cutting down the eternity of time it takes your wife or husband to make a decision on where to eat or visit.


Pack Essentials

As well as clothes, swimming costume, toothbrush etc. you will want to make sure you have a few essentials that will cover any unforeseen circumstances whilst away. Things like paracetamol or Calpol, Dioralyte and Imodium, and a first aid kit should a little one happen to slip by the pool. This will help to reduce stress levels if any case of travellers tummy or dehydration caused by unexpected sunstroke happens to arise. Being prepared will mean you have treatment readily available, rather than trying to use the usually slow accommodation wifi to find the nearest pharmacy to you.


Always Have A Plan In Case Of Separation

It can be very easy to get carried away in the excitement of a new theme park or shopping centre when you are a child and lose sight of mummy and daddy. Picking an obvious place to meet – like the tallest ride or the entrance to the park – will mean if you do unfortunately get separated because your children want to go on separate rides, or the large crowd pulls your family group apart, you can easily meet back up with no breakdowns or tears from you or your child. You can also point out the information desk or the uniform of the employees so that if a little one does get lost, they know where to go or who to ask to be reunited with you quickly.


Hopefully, this has included some helpful tips that will help you to clear your mind of stress and really relax on your holiday – you deserve it.