Sorry. Not the best title, is it? But I thought it was time I did a round up of some interesting travel-related things I’ve been sent lately by various PRs so here it is.
Dorling Kindersley (or DK as I believe they are now more jauntily known) have launched some new family travel guides to London, Paris, Washington and New York. Most travel guides like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides do tend to have a small section devoted to families, but one with children in mind throughout is much easier and obviously more comprehensive. As well as featuring all the usual sites any guidebook would probably feature, a nice touch is the “kids corner” sections which add some random facts about the area or attraction which are likely to appeal to children, things they can look out for or even a little activity to do. The guides are colourful, informative and easy to use, although personally I’d have liked to see more suggestions of places to eat.
I’m including this next one – the Contactspod – because, as a contact lense wearer it intrigues me and I still can’t really work out whether it is an utterly brilliant idea or a total waste of time. Basically it’s a contact lense pot which has been prefilled with liquid and sealed to be hygienic. It’s billed as being perfect for use when flying – which it is – although equally you could take along your usual contact lense pod which you have prefilled yourself as I tend to do on planes. I guess this is a good product to have it you have a few in your bag as a matter of course so you don’t get caught out, or it would useful if airlines sold them on board (or in places like spas and swimming pools) for people who have forgotten their own pot. They cost £3.49 – so not nothing, but hardly going to break the bank either and in some situations could be a real life-saver (or eye-saver at least.)
Like the Contactspod, I was intrigued by this Mu plug. Basically, it’s a plug which folds really flat, the idea being that you can take it with you and plug in your USB lead wherever you are to charge whatever needs charging. I wasn’t sure whether there was much point to this but having actually seen it, I’m converted. It comes in sleek packaging which looks like it’s a tiny and expensive box of chocolates and is so small and flat you could put it in your pocket which, in these days of cabin-bag-size restrictions, is pretty useful. It only comes in a UK plug version so far, hopefully they’ll bring our a European version that I can use soon.
And lastly I wanted to include this new book from Alastair Sawday, French Chateaux and Hotels, just because France is a beautiful country, it’s a beautiful book and coincidentally it includes my friend Katie’s chateau in Camon near here. While chateaux might not seem the obvious place to stay as a family, many (although by no means all – it is important to check) are very family friendly and can work well. Another hotel included in the book is the Relais Royale in Mirepoix, again close to here where we often go for its bargain 20 euro lunch. They are so welcoming to children there that they have devised a special tasting menu for them, so don’t assume a chateau isn’t for you just because you’ve got the kids in tow.