Introducing children to Europe is a great way to give them an experience of other cultures. But there are a few things you might want to know before packing up your kids for an overseas vacation. We bring you Carol Weston, a writer and advice columnist specializing in girls. (She's also taken her kids to Europe and lived to tell the tale.)
DENISE: So you're thinking about taking your kids to Europe at some point and you need some advice? Hello there I'm Denise Richardson, this is howdini.com and we've got that advice for you from our special guest Carol Weston who's the author of many books including Girl Talk. But here's a fun one, the fiction series starring the young and trepid traveler Melanie Martin. Hello, so parents are saying you know I'd love to take my kids on a big trip, but it's like three kids, two kids, maybe they're eight to twelve or eight to fourteen. Where do you start?
CAROL: Ideally I think it's great if you can think what are your kids interested in. If your kids love Greek myths, go to Greece. If you're kids are learning French, go to France. If your kids love Harry Potter and this is your big chance to let them see England and London, you know I think, unfortunately Europe is expensive, but other than that I think that Europe is a great place for kids. So instead of just going to Disney World and Epcott, see the real thing.
DENISE: So now you've selected the possible place or places. And Traveling 101 with these youngsters. Where do you start with that?
CAROL: It's really about mixing and matchin, for instance when we went to Holland, we love art and we knew that our kids would love art, but they wouldn't love art all day long. You know you have to mix it up with going to the park and maybe taking a carriage ride with the horses. You know doing some of the touristy things that you don't end up doing at home but are really pretty great. Or in Amsterdam visiting Anne Frank's home, taking a paddle boat ride. In Spain seeing a flamenco class, going to a bull fight. These things are very eye-opening for kids and making sure the kids get to pick a little bit of what you're doing. We'll hand them the Frommer's and say we have veto power, but where do you think we should eat tonight?
DENISE: And packing is you know...you don't wear half the stuff you take.
CAROL: Right less is more. You always want to buy a little bit when you get there anyway. And when our kids were little they had designated travel stuffies because once they brought their two favorite stuffed animals and they left them under the bed and that was a disaster. So, you can have certain little stuffed animals and be sure you bring enough on the plane, whether it's fresh underwear that will get them through because yes luggage can get lost and that can be sort of a disaster. If your kids are really little you always want to have crayons in your purse, a ball, a deck of cards. All this stuff doesn't take up any room and it can buy you a whole lot of happiness if you're waiting in line.
DENISE: And that whole education about different kinds of money and putting a value on the money. It really is a mathematical lesson.
CAROL:Right you can give each kid 5 euros or 10 euros and let them blow it themselves rather than feeling like you're always arguing with them about every candy bar or whatever. I also think that if they don't, if they're not old enough to have their cameras, disposable cameras are great because one kid might just one to take 10 pictures of pigeons. And you know what? Let them. Letting your kids enjoy the wonderful places that they go to, so that it's not just you at a breakneck speed. Sometimes less is more. If it's just you and an adult you might just want to get as much covered as possible. With kids you have to give them some down time, but I wouldn't necessarily go back to the hotel. Just in a park and getting a gelato in Italy and watching the Italians.
DENISE: It's interesting that you mentioned that whole food thing because you're eating in a different culture and some kids are really picky eaters. Well I'm not going to eat that, I don't want that, I don't like that. So how do you get them to just taste because that's what you want them to do. Just try it.
CAROL:Well I would say make sure there aren't too many slow, langorous candlelit meals. But once in a while you can even hit a chain because they'll be interested to see how it is different. How, yes it is a Burger King or McDonalds but wow it's so different. But mostly eating on the street if it's a safe place is really fun for kids. Speaking the other languages, having them ask for it, say gelato. Oh mom I can't say that. Try it say gelato. Try it. And then suddenly your kid asks for an ice cream in Italian and feels like they're really learning something.
DENISE: And the best part about travel is the education about so many different kinds of people. Thank you so much for Melanie Martin.
DENISE: And Carol Weston you're an angel thank you for being with us.
CAROL: Thank you Denise.
Howdini is life’s little instruction manual, in HD. We’re all about bringing together the top, most respected experts in their fields to help us be the best we can be at all of the little and not-so-little challenges of our complicated lives. Howdini is the place to be for the know-how you want, when you need it. Or maybe it’s the know-how you need, when you want it. Whatever. We’re here to help. So come in and look around, won’t you?
We think you’ll love finding everything you want to learn about in one convenient place, and as we grow and add more categories and more Howdinis, you’ll be doing less surfing and more learning right here. And unlike television, Howdinis aren’t limited by time—we don’t have to break for commercials, and we’re always on.
Who is Howdini?
People often ask us, is there an actual person who is Howdini? And the answer is, it’s kind of like Lassie. Just as there were many Lassies, there are many individuals who are called Howdini. In fact, each of our experts is a Howdini, and, like all those Lassies, they really know their tricks. (Although so far there is no ‘How to tell your master that Timmy is trapped in the old abandoned mine’ segment)
Our gurus are people you know and trust because you’ve been getting advice from them for years, at places like Good Morning America, The Today Show, Money, Prevention, and Food and Wine (to name just a few). Many are best-selling authors. Others, like our medical experts, are respected leaders in their fields.
The first Howdini was Joanna Breen, who left a comfortable career at ABC’s 20/20 to create a how to video website after one too many frustrating experiences with handymen who weren’t that handy. Joanna had traveled the world reporting with Barbara Walters and others on injustice, outrage, and tragedy, but now it was time to turn her talents to dealing with crises closer to home, like what do you do if you drop your diamond ring down the drain. Joanna is the quintessential can-do girl, so she didn’t find the prospect of launching a gigantic website the least bit daunting. (Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true.)
Joanna convinced an old ABC News buddy, Shelley Lewis, to join her. Shelley had supervised roughly 9.7 million helpful how to segments during a long career executive producing television shows like Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning. A self-described “info-pig” who loves all kinds of information programming, she is never happier than when she’s learning an amazing new tip that she can annoy share with everyone she knows. Needless to say, Howdini was a dream gig for her. A career woman, a wife, a mother, and author of two books, Shelley considers herself equally challenged by all the facets of her life.
Joanna and Shelley were introduced to marketing executive Alison Provost by a mutual friend who knew that Alison had what they needed - entrepreneurial experience, patience, and a checkbook that still had checks in it. Joanna and Shelley could see right away that Alison should join Howdini. They figured that they would take care of the programming, and Alison would bring trustworthy sponsors to help pay the bills. It took Alison significantly longer to be convinced, maybe because she was crazy busy running a marketing firm called PowerPact, which she continues to oversee while serving as the biggest of big cheeses at Howdini. But whether it’s playing Suduko or launching a new business in a field she knows little about, Alison loves the challenge of a good puzzle, It wasn’t long before she began dropping obscure internet terms like “user-interface” and “googlebot” into casual conversation.
What’s Next for Howdini?
Our goals are modest. Complete and total domination of the internet, crushing Google, Microsoft, and any other punks who get in our way. (Hey, it’s a just a goal.) But until then, we will content ourselves making the best, most professional, most credible how to videos you can find anywhere. We want to help you solve your career issues, your parenting problems, your money troubles. We want you to be more glamorous, healthier, and less stressed out. We want you to check Howdini every day for fun, interesting, useful advice from experts you know and trust.
We want to make Howdini the community you love to be part of every day, To do that, we need to hear from you. Please share your suggestions, rate and comment on the Howdini videos, and the blog, (The Howdini blog). Tell us what you’d like us to create for you.
And then, when we’ve achieved that, it’s back to working on complete and total domination of the internet.