Transportation Tips

Flying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport  (AMS) is a good place start your trip to Europe or connect to the far corners of the earth. Flying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from the US to Europe gives you plenty of good flight options. You get good flying times  and good connections.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (merged with Air France) resulting in another major hub in Europe which is Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Delta Airlines (merged with Northwest Airlines)  partners with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to provide most of the US side of the connections to Europe. Major hubs such as Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport (MSP) makes connections to Europe a breeze.  For an example an easy connection from Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport to either Minneapolis or Atlanta and then non-stop to Amsterdam.

AAmsterdam Schiphol Airport

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Once you get into Amsterdam, you can connect to pretty much anywhere in the world. There is even a non-stop flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL KLIA1 or KLIA2 Malaysia), which then connects you to pretty much anywhere in the Asia Pacific region.

 Amsterdam Schiphol Railway Station

Amsterdam Schiphol Railway Station

Amsterdam Schiphol Train Station is the place to start your train connections. You can even connect to Belgium right from Schiphol Airport Train Station.

Amsterdam Centraal Train Station Netherlands

Amsterdam Centraal Train Station Netherlands

Amsterdam is only like 20 minutes away from Schiphol Airport. Take a train to Amsterdam Centraal Train Station from which you can get on a train to pretty much anywhere in Europe.

 

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Dubai International Airport

The world has become a much smaller place. Most flights to the Pacific Rim are usually via the US West Coast.  Of course you could fly from Chicago, USA via the North Pole over China to say Hong Kong. Do consider another way to get to the Pacific Rim via Dubai. You would have then circumvented the globe by going over Europe, Turkey, Iraq and the Persian Gulf to get to Asia or Australia. Qantas and Emirates have partnered to offer codeshare flights. Transiting via Dubai Airport to the Pacific Rim was easy. There is no need to leave the airport. Just relax and take a break and you will be on your next flight to your final destination.

New York to Dubai

Flying Emirates Airline New York (JFK), USA to Dubai (DXB), UAE and beyond

The new Dubai (DXB) Terminal 3 is a beauty. Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.  Flying Emirates Airlines is an experience. Food was great and the planes were new. The flight attendants were multi cultural and fluent in multiple languages. Most of them looked like models. Emirates passengers can eat at their lounges. The buffet was good and complimentary.

You will find both Western and Asian toilets at the Dubai International Airport. You can get all the modern conveniences of shopping in Dubai. This airport is like a huge mall with many places to both eat and shop. While you wait to board your next flight you will have plenty to do. You can get around the airport and everyone serving you was able to speak English.

You can also people watch. East meets West.  You can hear languages from all over the world. Shops are staffed by mostly foreigners from outside of United Arab Emirates. You can find the whole world transiting through this airport. A sampling of people groups, for an example Americans, Europeans, Africans, Asians, Middle-Easterners,  Central Asians, Russians, Indians, Indonesians and Australians. Watch people with different ethnic clothing headed to different destinations, for an example some dressed for pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

There are also spas, health centers, medical facilities and hotels within the airport. Dubai International Hotel is located in Terminal 3. So the airport is pretty much a “city” of its own.


Making the Road Trip More Entertaining for the Family

How many more miles?  How much longer?  I’m BORED!

Sound familiar, parents?

One great solution that our family loves during our longer road trips is to listen to Adventures in Odyssey.  It’s a radio show done by Focus on the Family ministries.  Don’t confuse it with an audio book.  I’m sure that some of those can be nice, too, but these are dramas, with actors’ varying voices, sound effects, etc.  Just when everyone is getting on each other’s nerves, it’s great to stop and listen to a show together, laugh together, and enjoy each other’s company again.

There are a variety of collections available.  You start off with just a single CD if you’re not sure if your family will enjoy them or not.  For example, Amazon has this one:

 

One thing that we like about these CDs is that the whole family listens and enjoys them together.  It’s all part of a shared fun family memory, instead of each child being busy on their own device.

If you find that your kids enjoy them as much as ours do, and honestly we adults enjoy them, too, here are a few collections that are great.

Here’s our favorite collection (so far!):

In The Ultimate Road Trip, you’ll find that every story has a theme of some kind of vacation or road trip adventure.  For our family, these were the first we listened to on our first trip from the middle of the country to the East coast, so they have become classics that we go back and listen to again.  In fact, we also listened to the same stories on our trip to the West coast, and many other road trips as well.

Another good option for a starter CD would be this one, to explain all the main characters for those not familiar with the radio show:

If you would like to work on character development as well as entertain, there are themed collections, such as this one that includes different stories that highlight the importance of being honest:

 

These are just a few suggestions.  The main thing is to make sure to keep the road trip a fun family adventure, and these CDs help you all listen to the same thing, rather than each child listening to their own device on headphones.  You can laugh and enjoy the shows together.

 


River Thames Cruise London United Kingdom

Thames London United Kingdom

Thames London United Kingdom

London Thames Clippers

London Thames Clippers

 

I had very little time in London on one of my trips but sure made the most of it. It was raining but I got into a Thames Clipper (fast river boat), stayed warm and dry while watching one landmark after another go by. You can really see a lot by just taking a ride in one of these beautiful Thames Clippers.

London River Cruise

London Tower Bridge – River Cruise

I started from the Emirates Air Line (which is a cable line that goes across the Thames River), with an aerial view of London. It is a beautiful view if you don’t mind the heights. I then took a Thames Clipper to London Eye. Worth every penny spent! Once you get off at the London Eye, you can walk across the Westminster Bridge to Big Ben. You can take all the photos from the Westminster Bridge with the Big Ben and the Parliament buildings in the background. Walk a little further and visit the Westminster Abbey. It is gorgeous. There is an Underground Tube station (Subway Train)  nearby that will hustle you to your next destination.

Westminster Tube Station London

Westminster Tube Underground Subway Station London United Kingdom


Schiphol International Airport Amsterdam Netherlands

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

Schiphol Train Hub Amsterdam

An amazing airport where you can shop, dine, sleep, shower, check into a hotel and it is all integrated with a sophisticated transportation hub. It is also beautifully designed to make you feel like you have room to rest and relax! You can pretty much fly from anywhere to every where. They have places where you can securely lock your luggage and leave the airport for a trip into Amsterdam or connect to major European cities by train. The airport is clean and green (eco friendly). Most locals speak good English, friendly and helpful to travelers. The security screening process is also efficient and fast given the number of passengers that are routed from this airport.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

Schiphol is the hub for the KLM (Royal Dutch) Airlines. Many other Premium and Low Cost Carriers fly via Schiphol Amsterdam. There is no need to drive or take a train to get to your low cost airlines if that is your choice.  This makes the airport a great hub to start your journey into Europe or other continents.

Schiphol International Airport Netherlands

 


Hong Kong International Airport China

Hong Kong International Airport China

Hong Kong International Airport China

This is a major transportation hub in the Pacific Rim. You can get from pretty much anywhere in Asia to the USA from Hong Kong. We flew Cathay Pacific. You can get all the Western food and tasty Chinese food at the airport. Our kids got their McDonald’s. The bathrooms are clean and the airport is run efficiently. The airport is a huge mall.  It is a great place for a break after the long journey across the Pacific Ocean from the United States.

Hong Kong International Airport China

Hong Kong International Airport China


Keukenhof Gardens in Netherlands

 

Keukenhof Flower Gardens is the most beautiful flower garden I have ever visited. During a long layover between flights during Spring at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (a fantastic transportation hub integrated with bus/train depots) , I took a bus to Keukenhof Gardens.  People are friendly and helpful in Amsterdam and they speak good English. The bus driver was a joy. Once you get to the gardens which is open only in Spring, you will see millions of bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and more.  Not to mention about all the flower displays at the pavilions and fun Spring events. You can even take a boat ride in the Garden Canals from the Dutch Wind Mill. You can also grab a bite to eat and enjoy free WiFi at the same time! Pictures cannot describe the beauty of this place. You just have to get out and walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery and breathe the clean Spring air. It helped break my jetlag and made a tired layover into a memorable fun trip.