Guest Post - Choosing A Family Car

~ Posted on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 8:43 AM ~

Looking for a new vehicle can be an intimidating purchase, and if you're looking for something family friendly it can be even tougher. Choosing a family car requires a lot of thought, as there are several things to take into consideration including safety, style, kid-friendly features, and more. However, picking out a family vehicle doesn't have to be difficult.

First, you need to determine the type of vehicle you need. Sedans may be a practical choice, but an SUV or a minivan will likely offer you the most room and comfort. In recent years, automobile makers have really stepped up their accommodation to better fit growing families. The Jeep Patriot, for example, offers plenty of passenger room in the back while still possessing a stylish design. After you determine the style of vehicle you want, you'll need to check out the safety features and interior options (more information available http://www.carsales.com.au/car/jeep/patriot/)

Safety features should be your main concern. Make sure there's a seat belt to accommodate everyone. If you'll be using booster seats or car seats, make sure there's a latch feature, which will make the children seats more secure. Most cars come standard with a latch feature. Also take in to consideration how many air bags the vehicle has, and where they are exactly. A lot of new cars now provide side impact air bags as well as the ones in the front of the vehicle.

If you're traveling with a family, chances are you have a lot of accessories and things with you. Make sure the car you eye has at least a decent amount of storage room. Storage room in your vehicle is very convenient, especially for road trips, as you'll want to bring a long plenty of things to occupy the kids. Cars with DVD players are pretty convenient as well.

Make sure you test drive any vehicle you consider purchasing, as there are several factors to take in to consideration. For example, you'll want to bring the kids a long for a test drive to not only make sure they're comfortable, but if car seats are easily accessible and easily inserted and removed from the seats.

As always, the 'little things' can make your purchase a lot easier. For example, remote keyless entry is a great feature for any parent who seems to always be carrying a child, a diaper bag, or anything else. Safety locks on the rear door and windows with child-lock are very necessary as well. Also, children can be pretty messy - You'll want to make sure the interior fabric is easy to clean and that there are cup holders easily accessible for the kids.

It can be pretty hard to find a car for your family. You need to make sure it has all the proper features and equipment, while still remaining inside your budget. However hard the search may seem, there will be a vehicle that has everything you want, from looks to safety to engine power. A vehicle is a pretty big purchase, so make you don't settle for anything less than what you want.


Guest Post: Daydreams - Life in the Middle East

~ Posted on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM ~

Life as a full-time mummy is busy and chaotic, particularly in ensuring my home-schooling continues to be efficient and I am providing my kids with all of the things they need. However, there’s no harm in a bit of daydreaming from time to time, and I’ve recently been wondering what it would be like if we spent a year or so living in a different country, for example Oman! Although this may never become reality – and would certainly make a dent in the savings account – I decided to carry out a bit of research and also think about what families require in order to be happy in their country of choice. For me, Oman is like a dream land of Arabian Seas, hills rising into the sunset and beautiful white stone architecture – a place where adventures begin.


Visa Applications   
Let’s begin with the basics. Generally if you want to live for any length of time overseas you will require a visa. In Oman, it seems that it is advisable to search for a job and a company willing to sponsor you before moving out there, in order to obtain an employment visa. This also means that the company will fill out most of the paperwork, but it will be relatively tricky to change jobs once you arrive. Common industries include teaching, oil, construction and engineering, medicine and project management, so you do need to come with skills.

My first priority is my family and I would never consider moving anywhere without them. Family residence visas are available ensuring that we could all move together, meaning we wouldn’t have to spend any time apart during the moving process. Alternatively if my husband were to move first he could apply on our behalf.


Housing
Having a lovely home in Malaysia is very important to my family and this principle probably applies to most mums around the world. It is a place where memories are made and a secure property where we can all feel safe. Studies have revealed that Malaysia is an up-and-coming area for investment in property, so I would be reluctant to give up our place here. However, if we were to think about it, Oman has a range of properties available, but usually it is only possible to rent rather than buy. Employers tend to be responsible for finding accommodation, and if you prefer freedom of choice, moving overseas is not necessarily for you. It is not uncommon for housing needs to be accommodated on a compound where other expats live too, which probably would make the cultural adjustments easier. I think our happiness depends to a certain extent on living in a good area, travelling to work with ease and having enough space so that we are not on top of each other 24/7. 


Banking
Having easy access to a family savings account and available funds would be a primary concern for me – I want to invest money for our future stability. There are many internationally renowned banks in Oman, which allow standard facilities, plus global ATMS where cash can be withdrawn from accounts in your home country. This would make the lifestyle relatively easy in terms of accessibility to money, a primary concern when you have kids to consider!

Overall, quality of life with a family is dependent upon many factors, and I would definitely want to ensure that we would be happy not only in our work and home conditions but also our leisure time. Oman would have to provide plenty of activities and access to the countryside so that we could enjoy residency there.

Guest Post - Saving Money on Days Out With Children

~ Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:28 PM ~

If you are stuck for things to do it can often be a great idea to check out the local attractions which are available to you, depending on the age of your child you have an array of opportunities awaiting such as museums, theme parks, exhibitions and aquariums. However the problem with this tends to be the ever increasing costs of everything involved in a day out from the entrance fee to the cost of the snacks and souvenirs.

When planning a day out check out the events schedule of the attraction, you may find many child friendly activities available which are free of charge and give you the opportunity to fill your day with even more fun experiences. A museum for instance may not seem suitable for the very young children but lots do run lots of child friendly activities such as arts and crafts afternoons so everyone can get involved.

Admission fees will probably be your main expense and getting discounts on the tickets is one of the most popular ways the thrifty look to save money. Booking in advance or printing off coupons can result in a discount of up to 20% and for the larger groups these discounts can soon add up.

Lots of attractions offer free admissions to young children so this might help sway your decision when choosing between two different attractions. In addition there are some attractions that offer completely free admission for everyone!

Lunch and snacks at visitor attractions can also often be very expensive, so why not plan in advance and take your own food, drink and snacks. Plan ahead and bake your own homemade cookies to take with you. Theme parks and zoos for instance have lots of picnic areas where you can sit down and eat your own food.

These are easy steps which can quickly add up to big potential savings that can be made.