There is nothing that makes me happier than getting a bargain or a deal.  I love 70% discounts, getting a service for half price, buy one get one free deals, free items thrown in.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I save even a few dollars. I have always enjoyed a bargain but since having children, this need has become more desperate. In fact since my fourth child was born, it has become more of an obsession.  My husband, however is even worse than me when it comes to spending or should I say not spending money.  He will drag the whole family across the city searching for a bargain or spend endless hours trolling the internet for the cheapest bit of computer software which will apparently revolutionise his life (but only if it costs next to nothing). He calls it being financially astute whereas I call it simply being cheap. I blame his frugality on his English genes and his British upbringing.  He was raised believing that spending no money is the best deal ever.  I am more of a realist in the family and as the chief cook, shopper and holiday planner, I do accept that money does need to change hands every now and then.

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My kids are always hungry.  They have an insatiable appetite and eat all the time.  During school holidays, they eat from dawn until dusk. Fortunately, when they are at school, they can only eat their provided morning tea and lunch. But when they get home from school, the frenzy begins.  After demolishing copious amounts of fruit, drink and whatever else is provided, one would think their appetite for dinner would be gone or at the very least, diminished.  But to my amazement, they are able to eat their dinner with as much gusto.  When we visit friends, I am often embarrassed because I am sure the hosts think that I don’t feed my children.  Despite warning my children in advance to restrain themselves when they are out, they never seem to hold back.  I think their tummies overrule their brains.  They have a primeval instinct to eat.

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I know Trip Advisor has been around for a long time and I have used it on ocassion. What many people don’t realise is that Trip Advisor offers more than just reviews on accommodation. On our most recent trip to Thailand, my family and I (well to be honest, my teenage son) discovered the benefits of using Trip Advisor for choosing local restaurants and cafes.  On our first night in Thailand, my son, (who by the way has his mobile phone permanently attached to his hand and thinks there is nothing better in life than free wii-fii), announced that the restaurant literally across the road from our resort had been rated highly on Trip Advisor.  I am constantly surprised by how unpredictable teenagers are. They can be so helpful at times when you least expect it.  Most times, they walk around in a haze pretending to be useless and incompetent on the off chance you might ask them to do something. Whatever possessed my son to google best restaurants in Kata on Trip Advisor, I’ll never know.  What I did know was that it was a no-brainer where to eat that night, especially as we were all a bit tired from the flight and hadn’t gotten our bearings yet.  

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It had been 13 years since I told my hubby that I wanted to go to Thailand.  We were living in London at the time and were contemplating a move to Australia.  We were writing our list of pros and cons to help us make a decision.  There were many pros such as beaches, weather, lifestyle and cons such as the cost, moving away from our families (well to be honest, there were some family members we were happy to get away from but that is another story).  The one thing that swayed me was when my hubby said, “Just think of holidays in Thailand.  It will be so easy to go from Australia.” Well that was it.  Although I didn’t say it at the time, I had made up my mind at that moment. The mere thought of being able to go to Thailand was enough for me to uproot myself, our toddler and baby and move to Brisbane, Queensland. 

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India may be the world’s largest democracy but is also the world’s largest bureaucracy. Applying for an Indian visa online is a prime example of its bureaucratic stranglehold.  It is a difficult and frustrating process and tests your patience and stamina before you even set foot on Indian soil.

The following steps and hints will help you fill out India’s online visa application and navigate your way around this difficult process:

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