How I Say, “Thank you!”

When I wrote about our trip to visit my family as a vacation, I told you that I would eventually write about the “Thank you” gift I left for all of our different hosts. Well, I finally got around to writing about it.

If we are going to be around family, I take pictures of their kids, or my kids, and order them from Walgreens on the computer. My husband will go pick them up and get a few frames for me to put them in. Before we leave, I give them our and explain how blessed we have been by their hospitality. How can you do this if you are far away from home and in a pinch for time? Well, you have to be a tad bit sneaky, own a digital camera, and internet connection or a phone book. Here are the steps to follow in order to leave a wonderful, personal memory for your amazing host with the most.

1. Use your digital camera to take a cool picture of a person or a place that your host would appreciate. If you are like me, you take it in RAW and Photoshop it until it looks amazing. If not, you can skip the Photoshopping and take your memory card right to your place of printing.

2. Look up your nearest photo printing place online or in a phone book (you know, that big yellow thing you use as a make shift booster seat).

3. Sneak off for some mystery travel or grocery item (as far as your host is concerned) and get the pictures printed. If you go somewhere like Walgreens (where I usually go) you can even pick up a frame at the same place. You can also submit your pictures online to many places so you don’t have to wait for your photos to be processed once you get there. Just make sure you click the “Pick Up In Store” option instead of the shipping option.

4. Buy a frame.

5. Place picture in frame.

6. Gift wrap if you want. And you can also write a nice note to leave. I usually just hand them the picture. I love to see the look on their face.

7. Sneak back in and wait until the perfect moment to present your host with their personalized thank you gift.

If you really want to wow them, you can also carry a pack of “Thank You” cards around for use at your discretion.

And if you still have any questions about being an awesome guest, check out my Best Guest series.

Happy Travels!!


P.S. My next post will probably be from our flat back in Greece. Goodbye California, I’ll miss you!

Why Good Manners Matter While Traveling

Each family has different rules and dynamics, and ultimately each parent has to choose what they think is important to teach their children. This idea also carries over into to traveling.

Manners can smooth over most awkward situations.

A few days ago we were in the mall and this cute little girl was playing with Kati and Ksena. Then, when her mother told her it was time to go find her father, she took off. Her mother could be heard screaming at her, and seen chasing her around the store. I have my own personal convictions about discipline, and I am not going to attempt to stand on any kind of platitude and tell you that you should do the same thing I do (which wouldn’t be true anyway because every family and every child is different), but I will say that a well behaved child makes traveling easier. Of course, all of our children get pushed past the limit of common sense and good behavior when they don’t get enough rest, are sick, and so on. I would never discipline my children for misbehaving when I have put them in a situation where they are past that limit. But I do expect my children to behave a certain way, and because my husband and I are consistent in training them (which is NOT easy at all, and takes a lot of effort), they generally listen.

One of the reasons we are so adamant about them obeying is for safety. We are constantly in new environments with strangers around us. Our kids know that if they are out of the stroller, they are to hold our hands. This is a non negotiable rule in our family. And we have explained the reasoning behind this to each of our girls. Remember, your 2 year old can understand a lot of things if you strip it down to the most basic level of explanation. They know it is dangerous for them to run off. Read more