resources and travel tips: The Family Sabbatical Handbook

After writing The Family Sabbatical Handbook, I put together a list of my favorite travel tips and resources.  Enjoy and get traveling!


Travel Catalogues and Magazines

International Living • This is a magazine geared primarily for people interested in purchasing property and living/retiring abroad, but it has some good general information about interesting places to check out.

Magellan’s • phone: 800-962-4943. Travel store and catalog offering clothing, luggage, safety items, and more.

Transitions Abroad Magazine • Excellent resource for teaching, employment opportunities, language learning, health insurance, and much more. The July/August 2005 issue is devoted to family travel and has one of the most complete resource guides I’ve seen.

TravelSmith • phone: 800-950-1600. Fun travel catalog with lots of expensive but cool clothes and gadgets.

Walkabout Travel Gear • phone: 800-852-7085. This is a fantastic product catalog as well as a source of critical travel information. Get the catalog even if you don’t plan to order anything because the catalog itself is a wealth of well-researched nuts and bolts info about safety, electrical needs, computer stuff, and so on, presented on a country-by-country basis along with highly useful tips on travel, health insurance, time zones, and such. A great (FREE!) resource. Check out their website too.


Internet Guidebooks, Message Boards and General Information • This site provides timely information on family-friendly destinations around the world and includes ideas for dealing with different cultures, family friendly activities and reasonably priced hotels. • Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide website with many links and articles for expats. • Bookstore offering many travel books, among other interesting topics. • Great website covering lots of travel topics & concerns. • Offers discount tickets to destinations abroad. • U.S. Customs information. • Has articles and links for those looking to live, work, and invest overseas. • A great website for expats to exchange information on everything from how to move to politics, schooling, etc. • This site has many links and resources as well as a message board. • This features a job board for international jobs and an expat forum. • This site offers an extensive resource directory and a discussion board. • Provides useful and relevant information for women either living in Dubai or contemplating a move there. • This subscription service provides chat boards, travel advice, articles of interest, great links and custom trip planning with an emphasis on traveling with children.  Definitely worth checking out. • The Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, Inc. is an international network of independent groups that support American women living and working abroad. Has a very good links page. • Useful site for general information and products such as electronic adapters, passport info, insurance, travel bargains, etc. • Intercultural Press is a publisher offering a wide range of books related to living overseas. • The Lonely Planet folks have an interactive website with travelers’ comments, which can provide a useful personal perspective on different aspects of travel. • This site hosts many excellent discussion groups for everything to do with living in or visiting Mexico and other Latin American countries. A terrific resource. • A vast range of articles about legal issues, emergency and security tips for overseas travel, finances, moving, insurance, and much more about overseas life. • Tales from a Small Planet website offering firsthand articles and discussion on expat life in cities worldwide, plus a comprehensive list of international schools and other information. •  This website is written by parents and chock full of tips for traveling with children on both short and long trips.


Other Useful Internet Sites (listed alphabetically by topic)


Accommodations • Links to overseas house-finding and moving services and other information on finding housing abroad. • • International Home Exchange Network • Intervac is one of the largest home exchange organizations in the world. • Where academics worldwide exchange their homes while on sabbaticals since 2000. • Vanpac International is a relocation specialist with information on moving services, pet shipping, rates, and links to other moving sites.


Currency/Finances • Tax forms for U.S. citizens living abroad. (Get IRS Publication 54: “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens Abroad.”) • Excellent currency converter and source for current exchange rates. • Offers a currency calculator.


Electronics, Communication Equipment, and Computer-Use Information • Highly detailed guide to voltage, television systems, telephone, and electric requirements world-wide. Excellent resource. • An online store offering appliances and adapters for living overseas.  An online store offering laptop mobility products and advice. • Website geared toward international business travelers offering products such as telephone and appliance adapters, modems, and an assortment of other communication equipment. • Thorough discussion of computer and electronic products, adapters, and conversion requirements in countries around the world. Phone: 800-247-6900. • Highly detailed guide to international electricity and electronic requirements and source for adapters, converters, and transformers. Excellent resource.


Employment Abroad • Website of the International Employment Gazette, with links to international job openings. • The website for the Living Abroad International Resource Center features information and resources about visas, work permits, housing, insurance, schools, etc. • Site of Transitions Abroad magazine. Phone: 802-442-4827.


Health and Safety •  Site that provides information about American Medical Centers that operate in Eastern and Central Europe. • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get updated information about recommended vaccines and health precautions. Phone: 877-394-8747 for the Traveler’s Health Hotline. • International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers provides information about health warnings and concerns worldwide and helps travelers locate English-speaking doctors and hospitals overseas. • U.S. State Department website detailing hotspots, safety concerns, and warnings around the globe. Click on “international travel” and then “travel brochures” to check out “A Safe Trip Abroad” for some good basic traveling tips. The site includes links to the web pages of each embassy or consular office. Phone: 888-407-4747; from abroad: 202-501-4444.


Homeschooling • This is the website for Practical Homeschooling magazine. • National Home Education Research Institute. Phone: 503-364-1490. • United States Distance Learning Association


Language Learning/Schooling Abroad • Website offering language tapes and courses in many different languages. Links to foreign language books and other resources as well. • U.S. overseas schools by region. Email address is The site is hosted by the U.S. State Department. •  Travlang’s Foreign Language for Travelers includes translations, dictionaries, and pronunciation guides.


Legal Forms

For creating a do-it-yourself will • A software program that is a bit easier to navigate than WillMaker (see below). However, it does not include programs for living wills or power of attorney. •  Offers a variety of legal documents, including wills, which you can fill out and have LegalZoom staffers review. Will prices range from $69 to $119. • Offers the Quicken WillMaker Plus software programs. Nolo Press has been creating do-it-yourself wills since 1985 and offers excellent, inexpensive, and comprehensive programs.


For leasing your home:


Passports and Visas • Website of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, which issues passports. Phone: 877-487-2778. • Passport Canada, which issues Canadian passports. • This is the website of the Embassy Network, with information about how to contact the embassies of any country in the world. • This is a passport expediter. It will provide a passport in as little as one day for a steep price. •Specific visa information on every country in the world. • A travel document specialist and expediting service.


Travel Health Insurance • ASA Inc. offers health insurance worldwide. Phone: 888-ASA-8288, 480-753-1333; fax 480-753-1330; email • One of the largest overseas healthcare insurers. • Insurance broker with easy-to-read comparisons among multiple insurance companies. • Traveler Emergency Network (TEN). Subscription service to emergency medical care around the world. Phone: 800-275-4836. • Lets you compare prices from multiple insurance companies.


VoIP and Telephone Callback Services • Offers PC to PC, PC to phone, and phone to PC services. • AT&T’s VoIP service. • Extensive listing of callback services of every stripe. • Phone: 800-516-9992 in the U.S. or +206-479-8600 overseas. • Offers VoIP software, international calling cards, and PC-to-phone calling plans. • A service similar to VoIP except it sticks to the Internet and doesn’t use regular phone lines. •  Verizon’s VoIP service. • Bills itself as the #1 U.S. provider of VoIP service.


A Family Year Abroad: How to Live Outside the Borders by Chris Westphal. (Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, 2001). This book discusses a family’s year of living in the Czech Republic. It offers some good information regarding living abroad with children as well as about sending children abroad on intercultural exchanges that involve living with native families.

A Journey of One’s Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler, 3rd edition, by Thalia Zepatos. (Portland, OR: The Eighth Mountain Press, 2003). Engaging account of spending time abroad sprinkled with bits of wisdom that apply to any sort of travel — solo, family, or otherwise.

A Moveable Marriage — Relocate Your Relationship Without Breaking It by Robin Pascoe. (North Vancouver, BC: Expatriate Press, 2003). Advice for couples and families regarding the psychological challenges of relocating abroad.

Adventuring With Children: An Inspirational Guide to World Travel and the Outdoors by Nan Jeffreys. (Ashland, OR: Avalon House Publishing, 1996). Primarily focused on adventure travel with children and roaming in out-of-the-way areas.

Choose Mexico: Travel, Investment, and Living Opportunities for Every Budget, 8th edition, by John Howells and Don Merwin. (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2003). General guide to retiring in Mexico with good information for those interested in living in Mexico long-term. Not specifically geared for families but includes bits of advice on every subject of expat life in our neighbor to the south.

Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad: A Parent’s Guide by Robin Pascoe. (Portland, OR: Times Editions, 1993). Good solid information about parenting children somewhere other than home.

Family Travel: The Farther You Go, the Closer You Get by Laura Manske. (San Francisco: Travelers’ Tales Guides, 1999). An inspiring travelogue about traveling with kids for shorter adventures. A good book to read before taking any day trips with your kids.

Gutsy Mamas: Travel Tips and Wisdom for Mothers on the Road by Marybeth Bond. (San Francisco: Travelers’ Tales Guides, 1997). Basic information on health and keeping children entertained and parents sane while on the road.

Have Kid, Will Travel by Claire and Lucille Tristram. (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997). Aimed at parents traveling with babies and young children.

Living Simply With Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide for Moms, Dads, and Kids Who Want to Reclaim the

Bliss of Childhood and the Joy of Parenting by Marie Sherlock. (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2003). The title says it all. Well worth reading before and again after any family sabbatical.

Lonely Planet Travel With Children, 4th edition, by Cathy Lanigan. (Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet Publications, 2002). Concise nuts and bolts information about traveling with kids (especially young ones), including packing suggestions, medical advice, transportation, finding short-term lodging, and keeping children entertained. The book also includes brief travelogues written by Lonely Planet employees detailing their adventures of traveling abroad (to rather exotic locales) with their children.

Mexico Health and Safety Travel Guide by Robert H. Page, M.D. and Curtis P. Page, M.D. (Tempe, AZ: MedToGo, 2005). Guide to the Mexican health system and a detailed directory of English-speaking doctors and hospitals in cities throughout Mexico. Informative website as well.

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey With Our Children by David Elliot Cohen. (San Francisco: Travelers’ Tales, 2001). This relates the author’s year spent traveling with his wife, a nanny, and three small children. It’s a compilation of email correspondence that details this family’s many experiences during their 12-month, 7-country odyssey. Entertaining and can spur some discussion about a special adventure or two you might want to take with your kids.

Spanish – Live It and Learn It! by Martha Racine Taylor. (Fort Bragg, CA: Cypress House, 2006). This is a city-by-city guide to Spanish-language immersion schools in Mexico. It has detailed information on programs, prices, locations, and contact information for the many schools listed. Aimed at adults and older children.

Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America, 5th edition, by Dirk Schroeder. (Emeryville, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2000). Specific health information related to travel in more remote areas or places where access to Western medicine is limited.

Take Your Kids to Europe, 7th edition, by Cynthia Harriman. (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2005). Detailed guide to traveling with kids in Europe. Includes sightseeing, accommodations, budgeting, and much more. An excellent resource if you’re going to be living in Europe.

The Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad, Moving, Living, Thriving by Melissa Brayer Hess and Patricia Linderman. (London: Nicholas Brealey Intercultural, 2002). Aimed at business people relocating abroad with their families. The emphasis is on working abroad and how to help achieve a smooth transition from working life here to working life there. Worth reading and it has an excellent bibliography.

The Family Travel Guide: An Inspiring Collection of Family-Friendly Vacations, edited by Carole Terwilliger Meyers. (Berkeley, CA: Carousel Press, 1995). First-hand family travel accounts.

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Running Away from Home by Rosanne Knorr. (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1998). Excellent and detailed information for retirees interested in chucking it all and living outside the United States. Although not specifically geared for families with children, it includes invaluable advice regarding packing and preparations for leaving the States, specific costs of living abroad in different countries, how to pay for your life abroad, dealing with pets abroad, cutting costs, handling finances, obtaining visas, and so on. Excellent resource.

The People’s Guide to Mexico, 13th edition, by Carl Franz and Lorena Havens. (Emeryville, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006). The definitive travelers’ guide to Mexico. A must-get if you’re going to be traveling anywhere south of the border (or anywhere for that matter) with advice that runs the gamut from treating scorpion bites and camping with your kids to staying healthy while sampling the local cuisine. Worth the price just for the last chapter, “For More Information,” which includes an extensive bibliography, a list of maps, and a well-researched guide to Internet resources for travelers abroad.

The Pocket Doctor: A Passport to Healthy Travel, 3rd edition, by Stephen Bezruchka, M.D. (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 2005). A good medical reference book.

The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace by Edward Hasbrouck. (Emeryville, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2001). Useful book on how to use the Web to research travel destinations, buy tickets, find housing, keep connected, work over the Net, and much more.

Work Your Way Around the World, 12th edition, by Susan Griffith. (Oxford, UK: Vacation Work Publications, 2005). This is the bible on how to find temporary work in nearly every country in the world.

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. (London: Penguin Books, 1999). A step-by-step guide to taking control of money rather than letting it control you. This book offers concrete advice about how to achieve financial independence and make your dreams a reality. A great resource for putting your work and home life into perspective and giving you a way to see options when it seems that there may not be any.

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