5 Tips for Easy Air Travel with Kids

Travel with Children Naomi Mc Laughlan

I have been a frequent flyer my entire life, nationally and internationally, and as I have become a mother early, I can say that for the past 19 years, I have been able to gather some positive and negative experiences when traveling with my three children. Oh boy…like running out of nappies at the airport, because the luggage was already checked in and my baby girl had diarrhea… or having to live in the same cloth for days in a sh** airport hotel, because my luggage got left behind and I had to wait for it to arrive before being able to travel on in West Africa…but also the great ones, for example when my kids enjoyed watching planes take off or meeting highly interesting, lovely people along the journey.

There’s no denying that it has become more and more difficult to fly without running into snags or problems with the airport or the airlines. Enduring the line at the security check point in some airports is enough to put some passengers in a bad mood, especially the little ones ;-).

However, despite all of the inconveniences that come with flying, it is a necessity. There are several things that can be done to make flying easier and more hassle free, and all that is involved is a little bit of common sense and planning.

1. Get to the Airport Early 

Arriving at the airport early is a no-brainer, especially when the airlines tell passengers to arrive at least two hours prior to a flight’s departure time. However, there are many people who refuse to heed this request, and arrive at the airport just several minutes before a flight is scheduled to leave. If there is a line at the check-in counter or at security, this can create a very stressful situation. Not only may the flight be missed, but a new flight must be booked, and the passengers will probably have to travel stand-by on a later flight with no guarantee of a seat until the very last minute.

2. Take a Morning Flight

Leaving on an early flight does not necessarily mean a 4 a.m. flight must be chosen. However, flights that leave first thing in the morning are less likely to be running late, and they are less likely to be affected by weather problems across the country and/or other planes that may be delayed at other airports. Also, if for some reason the first flight of the day is cancelled or delayed, there will probably be several other flights throughout the day that, if necessary, can be taken instead.

3. Try Not to Fly During “Rush Hour” 

Airports, like highways, have rush hours. Typically, rush hour in the morning is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These are the hours when airports are the most crowded with people waiting for flights. Crowds mean longer lines at the security check points, more people in the restrooms, more people waiting in restaurant lines, and more people taking up seats in the waiting areas. Flying at a NON-rush hour time of day can alleviate the need to stand in lines and sit with crowds.

4. Try to Take Non-Stop Flights 

Obviously, when a non-stop flight is taken, there is less risk of being delayed. Taking off and landing both take quite a bit of time, so avoiding having to do this twice is recommended. There will always be destinations when a non-stop flight is not available, but there are plenty of cities where non-stop flights are just as common as those that stop. It may even be worth a few extra dollars to book a non-stop flight to avoid an unneeded hassle and the possibility of being delayed.

5. Book Connections with Enough Time 

If a non-stop flight is not available to a desired destination, make sure to schedule enough time in between flights. When airlines book flights, they often have a layover requirement of 30 or 45 minutes between connections. However, this is often not enough time if the original flight arrives late. In order to avoid this stress, try to schedule connecting flights with at least an hour to spare between the arrival time of the first flight and the departure time of the connecting flight.

Lastly, do not forget to pack as light as possible, because depending where you are heading towards; you will be able to buy most items at your destination, so there is no need to ‘perform heavy lifting’ to get it there.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

📣 P.S.:



Wright Brothers Day – Connecting the World – 31 Day Challenge / Day 17

Wright Brothers Day  Naomi Mc Laughlan

Isn’t it incredible how Wilbur and Orville Wright, two persistent American inventors who build and flew the first aircraft named ‘Flyer’ lifted up for 12 seconds and 120 feet on December 17, 1903. Today around the site remembers the ‘Wright Brothers National Memorial’ of this historic event at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

I regularly fly from one continent to another without thinking about it much, but today is the annual ‘Wright Brothers Day’, which is observed nationally in the USA since 1963 to honor the brothers Wright and I am just grateful that I can visit far destinations in a matter of hours, due to their invention and tenacity.

Lisbon Airport Portugal Naomi Mc Laughlan

In the US there are nationwide ceremonies and activities, as well as at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina and in Dayton, Ohio, where the brothers were born, including observations, the annual Wright Brothers dinner where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is awarded in Washington DC.

The Wright brothers were the first to build a successful airplane with aircraft controls that enabled them to steer the plane.

A great lesson and thought-provoking statement, I believe, is what Orville Wright said…

“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.”

What can you discover, improve, invent, dream up or change?

Let me know what you think.

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: I took the selfie on my most recent trip last month at the Lisbon Airport Portugal where I and my kids had our over-night transit, hence the empty seats and quiet scene behind me. I must say it was really a Family Airport, as the staff was really nice and they had vending machines with healthy options, such as yogurt, jelly, fruit pots and organic milk.

Finish 2015 Strong! – 31 Day Challenge

31 Day Challenge NaomiMcLaughlan

What goals and aims did you plan for 2015, but haven’t had time to get to them yet?

Goals NaomiMcLaughlanI, for example, have planned to blog on a regular, weekly basis, I planned to work out every day, to sort through the clutter in our house, to visit friends and family I haven’d seen for a while, to spend more quality time with the kids, to sell all the unwanted items in our home, to finish writing another book I started, to practice French and Twi,…but some of the things just didn’t happen yet, because I was so busy (or too lazy ;-)).

So I challenge you and myself, not to hustle in this festive season, but to create a list of things you ‘Do’ want to get to, in the next 31 days!

You may want to characterise your list into the following sections:

  • Family
  • Health
  • Friends & Extended Family
  • Home
  • Work
  • Hobbies

I will post an update and some ideas for you on a daily basis for the next 31 days, that on of my commitments. What is yours? Are you up for the challenge?

Get Ready – Set – Go!

All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,


P.S.: By the way, this is by all means not an attempt to make you feel unaccomplished!

This is however, an attempt to encourage you to do the things you want without the feeling that ‘It is too late’ for whatever it may be.

Plus, I believe 31 days are a perfect time frame to conclude this year in a positive spirit!

Münster #1 Germany’s Bicycle City Fitness & Family friendly Holiday

Muenster NaomiMcLaughlan.com 1aDid you know where I was born? Good guess!  Yes, in Münster  #1 Germany’s Bicycle City, in the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Despite leaving good old Germany 4 years ago to travel the world, I still love going back each year not only to meet family and friends, but also to explore the city by bike.NaomiMcLaughlan.com Bike Pic a



Germany is bicycle friendly, but Münster is exceptionally equipped with cycle tracks, special traffic light systems that give priority to pedestrians and riders, and even covering rural areas outside town centre with safe paths.  A highlight is the bike indoor parking station with space for 3.500 bikes (located at the main train station, see pic) where you can leave yours in secure storage, get it professionally cleaned or repaired and rent a bike for as little as $11 / £6.50  a day.

Muenster NaomiMcLaughlan.com 3a

5 Quirky Things about Münster & Bikes

1. “Masematte” is a regional sociolect, well documented since 1870 and still spoken in Münster  (yes, I peak it too ;-))

2. “Leeze” is the Masematte word for Bike

3. In the “Jugendverkehrsschule” also known as “Verkehrskindergarten” children, as little as 3, learn and practise to ride a bike in a miniature outdoor road traffic school

4. The Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, was a series of peace treaties (between the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of Spain) signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster

5. You can ride or walk around the whole town centre taking the safe late medieval ‘promenade’ (see pic)Muenster Promenade NaomiMcLaughlan.com a


My favourite places in Münster :

  • The fresh fruit & veg market in town on Saturdays and Wednesdays mornings
  • The huge St. Lambert’s Church (see pic) in town, which is a great place to explore history
  • The Aa Lake, where you can take a pedal boat tour – my kids favourite
  • Take a carriage ride (see pic)

Muenster NaomiMcLaughlan.com 2 a


So whether you are planning to increase your historic IQ, your fitness or just want to eat a Curry- Bratwurst (German grilled sausage with curry powder) along with a cold ‘Altbierbowle mit Erdbeeren’  (top-fermented dark beer mixed with strawberries),

I highly recommend visiting my home town, if you ever plan to travel to Germany! Find out more about Münster here.

Please Like& Share

All the Best,


Valentine’s Day 2015

Valentines Love by NaomiMcLaughlan

Did you know that the 14th February was declared by Pope Gelasius to be named Valentine’s Day as an honour to St. Valentine? St. Valentine was sentenced to death (for marrying young couples), by Claudius Gothicus II, a Roman Emperor, because he banned marriage due to his believe that unmarried men make better soldiers. The festival originated from the ancient fertility festival Lupercalia, which was later Christianised by the Catholic Church. From 1300 the Valentine’s Day was associated with love and romance.

Today Valentines is the most famous holiday in the US, 62 % Americans celebrate it each year, and spend an average of $130 per person on cards and gifts for their loved ones. 6 million people pop the question ‘Will you marry me?’ on Valentine’s Day!

The Top 4 Valentine Gifts are:

1. Chocolate

2. Flowers

3. Jewellery

4. Dinner

Even though sugar candy, gifts, and short breaks make nice surprises; the more personalised the gift – the better. Preparing a dinner for two with all ingredients cut into hearts, handmade chocolate or your most favourite picture transformed into a puzzle might do the trick to show your love to your ‘Valentine’.

Quirky Valentine Gifts include: decorating the floor with rose pedals, sticky notes with small messages, filling your partners car with balloons, French breakfast in bed, or a handwritten poem.

Single at Valentine’s Day?

Treat yourself to something nice too! Here are 7 ideas which might inspire you;Will you be my Valentine by NaomiMcLaughlan

1. Day Spa; swimming, sauna, massage…

2. A new book; something that makes you smile…

3. A new Outfit; from underwear to accessories…

4. Chocolate;  from your local chocolatier

5. A big bunch of Flowers; wrapped in glossy paper

6. A new Haircut; with head massage

7. Night out; Dress up, take a taxi and you might even meet someone…

Have you ever been given a funny or quirky gift?

I would love to hear from you, please leave your comments below.

All the Best,

Naomi x

Why the East of France has become My Soul Candy 20 Years Ago

When I was 13 years of age, I dreadfully agreed take part in a camping trip with my local scout group, during the autumn holidays. The destination was the east of France, Taize to be exact.  The coach ride was long and uncomfortable and when we arrived it rained cats and dogs. The camping site was waterlogged, and after a day or two all my spare clothes and sleeping bag were soaking wet. No TV!

I just wanted to go home… little did I know that I would return back over and over again and since my first child was born I would return on a two year basis ever since. Today all my three kids love it too!

Taize by naomimclaughlan.com

Taize is an ecumenical monastic order and community of international brothers founded by Brother Roger Schulz in 1940, in the country side in the east of France. Frère Roger, as he was known by in France was born on the 12th May, 1915 in Provence, Vaud, Switzerland  and died age 90, on the 16th August, 2005 in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire. Since the death of Frère Roger, Brother Alois is the prior of the Community.

Every year more than 100,000 young people as well as families from around the world travel to Taize to spend a week with the brothers. At the arrival each person is asked to make a small donation toward the cost of food and accommodation for the stay and everyone is asked to volunteer some of their time to help in a group to organise the daily routines of the community, like; cooking, cleaning, night guarding, children’s activities etc.

The life and accommodation are simple, but over the years several developments have taken place; developed and modern sleeping facilities, the installation of new bathrooms, several professional outdoor kitchen islands and telephone and internet booths and play areas, to name just a few (still no TV 😉 ).

Taize by naomimclaughlan.com

Guests are invited to join the brothers to take part in three prayers a day, while babies and small children (during the Easter and Summer Holidays only) are looked after by volunteers in a Kindergarten room opposite the main building.

Famous for Taize is the large bell tower on the campus, which gives the signal to all to come to the prayers.

During the prayers, everyone including the bothers, sit on the floor or kneel on special benches. The prayers start with a short talk, followed by each brother reading a line from the bible in his own language. Typical for Taize are the songs with lyrics from the bible accompanied by the organ and sometimes by other instruments, which are rhythmic and lovely to listen to or to join in.

Between praying and organising there is enough time to make international friends, and to discover the beautiful countryside and small villages, like for example Cluny – a small village 20 km northwest from Macon, in the Saône-et-Loire department which is well known for its Abbey and picture perfect town centre.

What I like most about Taize is the simplicity and the opportunity it allows me and my family to rejuvenate ourselves through the relaxing scenery, the community and the stress free friendly atmosphere.

Taize by naomimclaughlan.com

What my kids say about Taize:

Little J, age 5 “Seeing the horses, ponies and cows.”

Medium J, age 11 “Eating French food.”

Teen J, age 16 “Playing games with my friends in the youth groups.”

If you want to find out more about Taize and international meetings, please click here: http://www.taize.fr/en

Have you ever been to Taize or have you attended a Taize meeting in your area? How did you like it?

Please Like & Share

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

Vegan X-Mas Desert Inspiration

Vegan Apple Banana Pie naomimclaughlanWhy vegan, some of you might think, well in my personal case I have a daughter who suffers from multiple extreme food allergies, plus the fact that we are against animal cruelty. But they really taste nice too!!! The following recipe ideas are easy, quick, non-complicated and fun to prepare with your kids!Vegan Prune Rock Buns naomimclaughlan

I have used wheat flour, but you can substitute wheat flour with gluten free soy flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour or a mix with potato starch.

Vegan Strawberry and banana kebeb naomimclaughlan

Another reason you might like them for, is that sometimes you naturally just run out of ingredients, like milk or eggs which are usually required when making any type of mainstream desert.

Candy Apples naomimclaughlan.com

Maple Syrup Cookies naomimclaughlan

I hope you like them as much as I and my family do!

Enjoy & Let me know what you think!

All the Best!!!

Naomi xxx