8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Children are curious by nature. Less cautious and more open-minded than us adults, they are able to transcend language barriers and make friends when presented with the opportunity to. Over the course of our travels with kids, we have witnessed how they are able to socialize easily with other children and adults, regardless of nationality.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

So, what are some ways you can help your children to make friends while on vacation?

1. Stay in family-run accommodation

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

With platforms like AirBnb and HomeAway, travellers can now stay with hosts in a vacation rental rather than in hotels. When we stayed at a family-run hostel in Otaru and their family, our boys helped “babysit” the hostel owner’s 1 year old son, who bounced around behind our boys throughout the hostel. He was so happy to have other kids coming to play with him!

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

The owner of the farmhouse that we stayed at in Kyoto also bought little toys for the boys which he picked up from the local supermarket while doing his grocery shopping.

2. Find a hotel with a Kids Club

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you are not comfortable with staying in vacation rentals, no worries.  Many hotels and resorts these days have a Kids Club for children to gather and mingle during their stay.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you stay long enough in the hotel or resort, pretty soon your children would be friends with the other children at the Kids Club – and also the staff!

3. Dine in a local home

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you like the idea of visiting a local home, but you’re not comfortable with staying under the same roof as the host, no worries. What if I told you that you could still visit a local home where you will be treated to a home-cooked meal by your host? BonAppetour links travelers to carefully curated hosts who will serve you a delicious meal and wonderful memories.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Send a message to hosts in the city you are visiting to find out if they are able to host your family with children, and where available, pick out hosts who have children of their own. They will be more than happy to have your children over as playmates for their own children! When we were in Phuket, the boys not only made friends with our host’s daughter, they ended up having their own kids-only ice-cream party in the room!

4. Go on a cruise

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

When you are moving from city to city on a single cruise ship for a few days, you can’t help but make friends with fellow passengers on the same ship. Many cruise ships have organised activities for children on board, and your kids will get to interact with children from all over the world through playgroups (for babies and toddlers) and adventure clubs (for older children).

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Chances are that they would even make friends with the friendly waiter who serves you dinner every evening!

5. Join a class for children

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Before visiting a city, google around for classes for children. Enrol your child in a kids cooking class like a macaron-making class in France or pizza and pasta-making class in Singapore. If you’re visiting a ski resort in winter, send your kids to the ski school.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

These are perfect opportunities for children to not only make friends, but to learn something new!

6. Visit a local festival

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

A local festival is where everyone lets loose, and locals and travellers alike gather at a common place to mingle. When we were visiting the Hokkaido Shrine Festival, we took a seat along a stream together with the locals to enjoy the food we bought, and our boys went to make friends with the Japanese boy sitting next to them.

Despite the language barrier, they even traded some of their candy floss for the boy’s crackers!

7. Visit a playground

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Many kids-friendly attractions around the world have dedicated playgrounds for children. For example, the Singapore Zoo in Singapore and Zoorasia in Yokohama have wonderful playgrounds! If the attraction you are visiting has a playground, allocate ample time for the visit to allow your children to play at the playgrounds.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

They will have a great time mingling with other children, and will be much happier than if they were rushed from point to point to check off the attractions you have on your list (admit it, you have that list).

8. Queue up

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

I know many people complain about the long queues at attractions like Tokyo Disneyland and Kidzania.  But being stuck in the queue – with other kids – is one of the best time for (bored) kids to make friends.

Ditch the smartphone and force your child to try to entertain himself or herself while in line. Chances are, your child will start making friends with the people in front or behind you. Try it!

Over to you

We hope that these tips will enhance your travels by creating opportunities for your children to interact with people from around the world and learn more about the country you are visiting. However, always exercise due vigilance, and keep your children under close supervision at all times.

While it is great to socialize, continue to be alert to possible dangers, and teach your children to be cautious and never follow their newfound friends anywhere without you.


Eat Like A Local In Venice: 5 Places Without Tourist Traps

One of most common things that will happen when you are travelling is that you end up in a ridiculously expensive restaurant after being ushered in by an overly enthusiastic waiter. Experienced travelers will tell you to avoid such tourist traps with menus that are in more than 3 languages and with blatant picture displays. But where do you find best non touristy places to eat like a true Venice local?

While some of the Venetian restaurants might have accumulated a bad reputation for themselves as having exorbitant prices, we want to introduce to you some of the places where locals eat to get a taste of good, authentic local food without burning a hole in your pocket (or falling into a tourist trap!).

1. Trattoria Alla Rampa

Castello, 1135, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy (Via Garibaldi)

Telephone: +39 041 528 5365

Lunch only, closed on Sunday

Located in a working-class neighbourhood, Trattoria Alla Rampa is a popular lunch spot for the residents who live in this neighborhood. Their wallet-friendly “worker’s menu”, which consists of pasta, main course, wine and coffee, is excellent value for €13. And it probably explains why they are always packed with locals for lunch. At 1pm, the menu switches to offering home-styled Venetian dishes. Dishes can include veal scaloppini (similar to a veal cutlet),  risi e bisi (Venetian rice and peas) and squid ink pasta. Pasta costs €10 and main dishes around €14.

2. Venetian fish cooked by a true Venice seaman, Massimo

The reviews on his page to book speak for themselves and you cannot get more local than enjoy a freshly cooked fish in a Venetian’s own home. Venice’s widely popular home-chef and seaman Massimo offers the freshest seafood cuisine and guarantees a taste of the 7 seas with his meal in an ancient home in central Venice. Feel free to check him out here.

3.Osteria Al Portego

Castello San Lio, 6014, 30122 Venezia, Italy

+39 041 522 9038

When you are in venice, you definitely need to try out their cichetti, which are small snacks or side dishes typically served in bacari or also know as cichetti bars in Venice. Osteria Al Portego has a wide selection of cichetti such as fried stuffed zucchini flowers and bread with baccalà (dried salted cod). If you are in for a drink, join them for their happy hour and choose from their large selection of wines.

4. Ristorante Dalla Marisa

Cannaregio, 652, 30171 Venezia, Italy

+39 041 720211

Given its appearance, this restaurant might not attract your attention but it sure did catch the eyes of editors at Jamie Oliver’s travel magazine. This intimate, cozy restaurant does not have an a la carte menu but instead offer dishes that change daily, depending on what ingredients are available. If you are up for good seafood and would happily go where locals would go, then you are at the right place.

5. Osteria da Alberto


Calle Giacinto Gallina – Cannaregio, 5401, 30121 Venezia, Italy
+39 041 523 8153

Located between Campo San Giovanni e Paolo and the Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Osteria da Alberto is a local’s favourite, especially around lunchtime. They serve authentic and classic Venetian cuisines such as risotto and spaghetti with squid ink. Their daily specials menu is ever changing based on the season and what the chef can find in the local seafood market, so you can be sure that everything is fresh. Go in, grab a table and let them surprise you.

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Eating like a local in Helsinki

Eating like a local in Helsinki

As a visitor to Helsinki, it is all too easy to head to the eatery nearest to you when you need a meal. But such eateries may be yet another tourist trap, especially if you are in a vicinity populated with tourists. Many of us crave authentic dining experiences when we travel so when you are in Helsinki, why not dine like the locals do?

Here are some eateries frequented by the locals!

1. Karl Fazer Cafe

Karl Fazer is a brand of Finnish chocolate and in this self-service cafe, you can certainly expect to find plenty of chocolate and other sweet treats such as cakes and pastries. But that is not all this cafe has to offer – open sandwiches, salads and coffee are also served here. This cafe is a favourite brunch spot with locals and the crowds you see is proof of the high quality of food it serves. You just need to have the patience to queue. 

2. Cafe Bar 9

With a cosy and laidback atmosphere as well as delectable salads and pasta dishes, it is perhaps no surprise that Cafe Bar 9 is a favourite with the locals. Some of the cafe's signature dishes include its Pollo Limonello and Classic Coriander. Food served at this cafe is affordable for Helsinki standards so if you wish to keep your spending in check, be sure to drop by for a meal!

3. Gottland Deli and Cafe

Situated in a tranquil area of Helsinki, this small cafe is a favourite with locals looking to spend a leisurely afternoon sipping coffee and nibbling on a slice of cake. Apart from cake, this cafe also serves fresh sandwiches and cinnamon rolls and all the food served here is prepared with organic ingredients. Seating may be limited to two tables but the takeaway option is always available. Whether you need a sugar rush or a quick meal on the go, this cafe has something to offer you. 

4. Unicafe

Like what the name suggests, this cafe is owned by the universities in Helsinki and is catered to students but non-students are welcomed too! While non-students like most of us will have to pay a little more, it is still far less than what is charged at most other eateries. For the comparatively small amount paid, you can get a hot main dish, salad and bread. There are also vegetarian and vegan dining options offered so anyone on a budget can dine here. The food here may not be Michelin-standard, but it is of decent quality for the price you pay

5. BLINit Russian Restaurant

BLINIt Russian Restaurant is a favourite among pancake-loving locals. In case you are wondering, a blini is a thin Russian pancake and can come with sweet or savoury fillings. Apart from pancakes, other dishes such as dumplings and soups are served at this small Russian eatery. The dishes served at BLINIt are not only tasty, but also affordably priced, which keeps locals coming back for more.

6. Home-dining Experience

The locals do not dine out all the time and there will always be a group that prefers dining in. So why not dine with a local during your visit to Helsinki? Chris, our BonAppetour host in Helsinki, is a passionate cook and will prepare three-course meal for you! Should you have any dietary needs or preferences, feel free to bring them up and the meal can be customised just for you! 

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Eat Like a Local in Prague

Eat Like a Local in Prague

Eating like a local in Prague is not a difficult affair, as long as you avoid restaurants and eateries targeting the tourist crowds, for these places tend to be overpriced. Make time to check out food haunts frequented by the locals, and get a taste of the flavoure that they love. Places to wine and dine at are not limited to restaurants and dining outlets – if you are feeling adventurous during your sojourns, why not make your way to the homes of the local for an authentic, home-made meal? 

1. Havelská Koruna

Travellers keen on trying out Czech cuisine in a central area of Prague will find Havelská Koruna to be a restaurant worth patronising. You will find a wide array of items on the extensive menu, and the dishes are changed on a day-to-day basis. The long queues snaking outside the restaurant are a testament to the popularity and quality of the food offered, but the prompt service means that you will not have to endure a painfully long wait.


2. Lokál U Bílé kuželky 

Lokál U Bílé kuželky may be situated close to the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, but it is not one of the overpriced, touristy restaurants lining the streets of Prague's city center. Boasting a quaint pub-like setting, the restaurant dishes up a slew of traditional Czech cuisine at affordable prices. Do not leave without downing a pint (or more) of homemade beer!

3. Kavárna Pražírna

After a fun-filled day excursion, take a well-deserved break at the cosy and welcoming Kavárna Pražírna. Spend a leisurely afternoon sipping an aromatic cup of coffee, nibbling on buttery baked treats or savouring bites of a rich cheesecake. A selection of sandwiches are also available for travellers keen on tucking into a meal here. The cafe's quiet and laidback atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for holidaymakers seeking to escape the lively buzz of the city centre. 

4. Street Food Stalls

You have not really discovered the cuisines and tastes of the locals unless you have tried the street food of a particular destination. Here in Prague, keep a lookout for vendors in Wencelas Square. Once you are within close proximity to these stalls, you will discern an irresistible aroma wafting in the air – one which reminds you of decadent cheese and savoury sausages.

Step closer, and you will see throngs of locals sinking their teeth into soft bread rolls filled with sausage, or an indulgent fried cheese sandwich. This is a snack often consumed by the locals when they need to eat on the go, so grab one of these hot dog rolls if you need a quick bite during your travels.

 5. Cafe Bar Propaganda

Prague's myriad pubs and watering holes makes it a haven for beer fanatics. If you want to drink as the locals do, make your way to Cafe Bar Propaganda. With a quirky setting and well-priced beers, it comes as no surprise that this is a fond favourite among the locals. Teetotallers in the group can opt from a selection of non-alcoholic beverages on the drinks menu. 

6. Home-dining Experience

If you find yourself missing a heartwarming, homecooked meal during your sojourns, quell your cravings by trying out a home dining experience. Beer aficionados will be eager to start a spread of Czech cuisine and beer feast with Jana, while travellers with a curious palate may want to sample an array of Czech Indian fusion food with Shruti

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