AUGUST 4, 2008
(MALAYA) SUMMER has officially ended, classes have begun - and so have the rains. Nothing can be as comfortable as being "snug as a bug in a rug," all curled up in bed while the rain lashes out of the window. That is, unless you also fancy being warm and cozy inside a bus in the pouring rain, while looking out from your seat window. And to make it more enjoyable, why not bring the kids along?

A family trip, in fact, could be a great way to create fond memories for you and your loved ones; but it could also be very daunting. Though it begins with the intention of bonding together, it could also end up in a fed among siblings, or worse, a cold war between you and your children! But don't despair. Victory Liner, the bus company that's been plying the northern route for over 62 years, shares the following tips to reduce travel stress - despite the rainy season.

1 Involve the kids. Unless the trip is a surprise for them, be sure to include your kids in the planning stage. This way, they will feel more cooperative in making the whole adventure a fun time for everyone. It can also be a wonderful opportunity for you to introduce lessons in social studies and geography - but in a fun way. Along the way, ask them to join you in a game. Explain which towns come after the other, indicators of town boundary markets, and then ask them to count all kilometer posts (these are usually 3 ft. tall cement posts, in yellow paint, and with numbers indicating distance in kilometers) they''' see along the way. This way, they'll learn how many kilometers they have traveled from Manila to your destination, and back.

2.Plan ahead. Otherwise, get to the bus station early so that your bus seats will be right next to each other. Also, decide early who sits with whom so there'll be no more discussion about this once you're at the terminal already. This not only ensures minimum fuss, it also helps keep track of all members of your family.

3. Better yet, but tickets in advance. Buying tickets is now just a simple phone call away with Victory Liner's advanced ticket reservations. Just give the ticket seller your preferred date of departure, time, and the number of passengers. Leave your name and contact number, then the ticket seller will assign for you a seat number. Just be sure to claim you tickets at least 2 hours prior your desired trip date. Otherwise, your reservation gets forfeited.

4. Invest in waterproof jackets and shoes. It is impractical to bring umbrellas along with you as you travel, jackets are more sensible. Just be sure that the jackets have hoods and that there's a way to keep them up despite the wind. This is especially important for the little ones. Also, opt for rubber sandals that won't be destroyed at the slightest contact with water. If this is the case, keep a roll of paper towels handy for wiping the feet off.

5. Keep a running commentary of places through which your bus is traveling so your children get the most benefit out of your trip. Of course, researching in advance on the places you will pass along the way will help you here. Look for places of historical or religious significance, or those that have recently been in the news.

6. Count, count, count! Always keep in mind how many pieces of luggage you have. Include everything, even the carry-ons. Before leaving any place, count to make sure you have everything. As soon as you get to a bus stop and before leaving one, count again to ensure nothing was picked up by someone else, accidentally or otherwise. When getting off at the bus at the terminal, count again to be sure everything - and everyone as well - is present.

7. Time your trip so that you arrive at your destination during the day. Why complicated matters even more with a night time arrival? And for those who like to travel in style, Victory Liner now has de uxe buses with restroom so you can reach your destination without stops. It also offers comfortable seats with ample legroom, and a friendly bus stewardess who can assist in every passenger's need to ensure that the trop is a lot more convenient.

8. Relax! This is supposed to be a fun trip, remember? Of course, there's bound to be a few glitches in the system, but that's the part of what makes it all fun. Don't expect everything to run on clockwork - especially not with the kids.

Finally, choose a reliable bus company with a history and reputation for dependable service, like Victory Liner. Since its inception in 1945, Victory Liner has since aggressively pursued superiority in its service. For example, the company pioneered the use of television and video facilities in its buses. Also, Victory Liner has an uncompromising training program for its driver, conductors, and mechanics on proper road safety, customer service, and bus maintenance.

But travel during the rainy season (even with kids!) need not be raucous or messy. In fact, it can be fun. For bus reservations, visit any Victory Liner terminal. For chartered trips, log on to www.victoryliner.com

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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