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Family travel for solo parents, how to charter a cruise and more

Chicago Tribune

Most tour offerings for families assume two parents and one or more kids. But we all know there are plenty of single-parent families, or both parents may not be able to travel. That’s why the adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has come up with six new trips designed for solo parents and their kids. The modestly priced trips are offered in Costa Rica, Thailand, Northern India, Egypt, Vietnam and Morocco. These destinations were chosen to make it easier for solo parents who might feel intimidated to travel to these countries alone with their children. The 10-day Northern India Family Holiday, for example, is just $1,080 per person, with all kids 17 and under getting a 10 percent discount. This is a classic Golden Triangle tour of India, visiting cities such as Delhi, Jaipur and Agra and its Taj Mahal, as well as Ranthambore National Park for the chance to see Bengal tigers. Transportation on this trip ranges from bus to cycle rickshaw to train, and some days entail long rides. Some meals are included, and international air is extra. Details on this trip and the other solo-parent trips are at https://www.intrepidtravel.com/us/theme/family/single-parent.

Guten Tag, Josie

Munich Airport and Lufthansa are trying out a humanoid robot named Josie Pepper to assist passengers by answering questions and offering directions in Terminal 2. Josie speaks English and is in a testing phase to see how passengers will react. Using artificial intelligence, Josie will learn from passenger questions, and her answers will become more precise the more she gets grilled. You can see Josie at http://tinyurl.com/y7mpptet.

Charter a cruise

Families or groups of friends who like to vacation together may be looking for something different than a trip to Disney World, Vegas or Gatlinburg, Tenn. Pandaw, a pioneer in small-ship cruising in Southeast Asia, offers an interesting option: charters. The company has 16 ships that range in size from the five-cabin RV Kalay Pandaw, which will sleep up to 10 guests, to the 30-cabin RV Orient Pandaw and RV Indochina Pandaw, sleeping up to 60. Pandaw operates in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China and has set itineraries or can do custom trips. Wining and dining and shore excursions are the same as on a typical cruise, but there are no other passengers. The cost of a charter varies, of course, depending on the size of the vessel, number of passengers, cruise length, dates and more. But, a seven-night Myanmar (Burma) charter on one of Pandaw's regular itineraries aboard a small ship, like the five-cabin Kalay Pandaw, might run about $35,000. Considering 10 passengers could be aboard, that's not a bad per-person price. That's also not a set quote, but Pandaw can be contacted at 844-361-6281 for specifics. Take a look at its ships and itineraries at www.pandaw.com.

Phil Marty is a freelance reporter.

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