Spending the Holidays in New York City

The holidays are one of New York City’s busiest seasons of the year — with an estimated 5.2 million visitors expected to stay in the city during the 2015 holiday season. According to NewYork.com, now is the best time to book your trip to the Big Apple to ensure you get the best rates and availability on hotels, attractions and Broadway shows.

Also, many of NYC’s tour companies offer seasonal versions of their tours, like the popular Gray Line City Sightseeing Holiday Lights Tour and the Hornblower Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cruise, that generally go on sale 2–3 months before the holidays.

NewYork.com has compiled lists of the best hotels, attractions and Broadway shows of the holiday season that are most likely to sell out over the holiday and/or are offering early access pricing:

Top Hotels

  • The New York Palace goes all out for holidays, stringing up more than 68,000 lights and hanging 32,000 ornaments on the looming Christmas tree that presides over the elegant courtyard, and is one of the most sought-after hotels over the holiday season.
  • Centrally located near Central Park and the city’s most iconic stores, from Tiffany’s to Bergdorf Goodman, and holiday window displays, AKA Central Park gets snapped up quickly.
  • This playful midtown hotel, Le Parker Meridien, is one of the city’s most coveted holiday hotels with its annual Gingerbread Extravaganza fundraiser, where local bakeries craft gingerbread houses in the shapes of New York landmarks.

 

Top Attractions

  • Top Of The Rock Observation Desk often reaches visitor capacity during the holiday season, so book now to guarantee entry on the day of your choice. For those who want to skate at Rockefeller Center ice rink after, it’s important to book tickets at the rink in advance as there are limited tickets available.
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Log Cabin Rentals for Family Vacations

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So many mountain cabins, so little time, might be a response to searching the web. Mountain ranges across the country have vacation attractions with many cost-level choices. Desperation to get away often makes any cabin look good. Many are pet friendly, too.

PLAN AHEAD

Crazy, busy times are often predictable, and having a planned trip all tied up in a bow is good motivation for hanging on through it all. Unforeseen crazy times are not hopeless, either, since trips can be arranged quickly and as close to home as possible if time is a factor. Sometimes, moms have to “just do it.”

MID-AMERICA

The Ozarks serve midwestern and southern areas of the USA. Eureka Springs has a host of rental cabins with hot tubs on the deck and many with mountain scenes and Jacuzzi tubs in the bathroom. The rest of the family can fend for themselves, in these venues, darn-it. Shopping and dining are easily found in downtown Eureka Springs, and festivals are scheduled for every weekend in September. The farmers market in Pine Mountain Village on East Van Buren in Eureka Springs is open April-November. There is also a zipline.

WEST SIDE

Big Bear Lake, a couple of hours east of Los Angeles, has snow skiing in winter and water activities in summer. Cabins here start at about $75 per night, so don’t despair. Others are nearly $1,000 per night, and amenities vary. Views are key. The village has dining and shopping, and yes, there is a spa. Those who go for strenuous, outdoor adventure can take advantage of hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and swimming. A Jeep off-road “experience” is also available for drivers who want to use that 4 x 4. A new brewery with brick ovens for pizza is now open. What else matters?
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Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Travel

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There are some children that love everything about traveling. You can tell that as they grow up they’ll want to visit everything this world has to offer. They’re constantly asking when the next vacation trip is. They want to know everything about different countries. They’re the kind of kids who take a Gap Year and ending up backpacking for the foreseeable future. These children are so incredibly inquisitive and want to see as much of the world as possible. So, what do you buy for them when it comes to birthdays and Christmas? If you can’t afford to take them abroad every special occasion, here are some great gift ideas.

A Globe

Of course, your child has to have a globe in their room! It will fuel their desire to learn more about the world we live in. You can buy ones that open up and can be used as storage, for their bucket list. You can buy antique looking ones, glow in the dark ones. There are so many different types out there, find the one your kid will like the most. If you’re struggling to find the perfect one, take a look on Pinterest. You can see a whole range of styles and even learn how to make one yourself.
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8 Kid Friendly Summer Tours in New York City

School is out for the summer and that means three full months of entertaining the kids. Need some ideas to help you fill those long summer days? Think New York City. Since the city can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike, we have mapped out 8 family tours that will keep the kids entertained. Read about them here and then find them and book them on NewYork.com.

The Beast

If your kids (40 inches or taller) are into thrillers, make sure to check out this 30 minute jet powered boat ride down the Hudson River. The crew is energetic and the captain is known to swerve around the river while passing by the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center. DETAILS:  Daily during the season  (get tickets!) ; departs from Pier 83, W. 42nd Street and 12th Avenue

Superhero Tour of New York

Are you kids obsessed with superhero movies? This 90 minute tour will take you to some of the most famous locations seen on screen such as Spider-Man’s Daily Bugle office located inside the flatiron building, and the United Nations where Batman and Robin saved the Security Council. DETAILS:  Fri.-Sun. 2pm; from $37 pp; 32 E. 32nd St; thecelebrityplanet.com

High Line Tour

A mile long park built on an elevated platform that used to be a rail line makes for the perfect kid-friendly tour. There are observation decks allowing you to peer down onto the street and ice pop vendors along the way. Twice a week there are tours led by volunteers who explain the process of redeveloping the High Line and the history behind the platform. DETAILS:  Tue. 6:30pm, Sat. 10am (arrive 15 minutes early, tours are capped at 20 people per docent); meet on the west side of the 14th Street Passage, on the High Line, just south of the elevator door; thehighline.org
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Crowdfunding Private Flying: It Can Actually Reduce Travel Costs

The following is a guest post.
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Flying can be a travel necessity for some people, but it can also be a costly thing to do. The price of flying continues to go up, making it harder for people to find the funds to travel.

For those people and those businesses that do a lot of flying, sometimes investing in your own private jet is the best option. Eventually, the cost of owning a plane will pay for itself, and you’ll have access to your own private plane whenever you need it.

Even if you opt to buy a plane, though, it will still cost you a significant amount of money. The price will vary significantly based on the type of plane, the age of the plane, and a variety of other factors. If you’re interested in owning a plane, then you’ll need to do your research to not only see what you can afford, but to also see what you need.

There are three main ways that you can buy your own private jet.

Cash

Obviously, if you have the capital to spend on buying a plane outright, then this is a great option. You’ll end up spending exactly what you want to spend, as you won’t have to pay interest on a loan. Plus, many sellers will often give you a nice discount if they’ll receive cash for the sale. This is something you’ll need to take some time to consider, as it will be a nice chunk of money. Talk with your accountant or other financial advisor to see if it’s a good idea for you to make.
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Summer road trip tips to keep you (and the kids) happy

With the cold days of winter long behind us and spring turning into summer, so marks the beginning of another highly anticipated season-road trip season! A road trip with the family may not seem as exciting as a lazy week on the beach, but with the right prep and attitude, you and the kids can make a truly memorable experience-no sand required.

So what can you do if you’ve got a week or two going spare during your summer time and need to get out of the house? Read along for some tips on taking the greatest road trip of your life.

1 Have a plan but don’t let it control you

Sometimes it makes sense to plan every tiny detail of a vacation, but being in charge of your own transportation (and skipping out on the stress of flying with kids) means that you can relax a bit more knowing that what really matters is that the tank is full and you can locate the nearest highway on-ramp! So instead of knowing where you’ll be hour by hour, leave some space in your itinerary for spontaneity. Aim to see or do one or two big things a day-maybe have a lunch venue in mind as well as the museum you most want to see-but leave everything else up to your whims. This way you won’t miss out on the stuff that’s most important to you, but you’ll still see things you had never planned on. This also leaves a buffer for nap times and grumpy moods, and means you won’t have to miss out on huge chunks of your planned day. A loose plan is a good plan, in this case.

2. Service the car pre-trip

Don’t make the mistake of finding out your engine is on its last leg when you’re three hours into Day One. Whether you should finally get around to buying the needed spare parts for your groovy vintage Volkswagen or you have a family-friendly SUV or van at your disposal, make sure you’ve checked the oil and your trunk is full of any on-the-go emergency pieces you may need, like a spare tire and a first aid kit.

3. Fun and games for everyone.

Podcasts, kid-friendly audio books, and playlists of everyone’s favorite singalong jams will help while away the hours on the road. Still need help? You can search for the list of the greatest road trip songs of all time (Spotify would be great for this) or you can always make your own. Have the kids get involved and let everyone choose what goes on the radio for an hour of your drive. Fair shares all around and a nice rotation for your ears. Everybody wins!

4. Snacks snacks snacks

Yes, there’s always the gas station, but that gets expensive very, very quickly. Instead, bring your own cooler filled with food and drink and save your change for much more interesting adventures. Good ideas for cooler fare could include pb+j, trail mix, string cheese, bananas, and a refillable water bottle.
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Top 10 Lesser Known European Destinations for Less

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European cities can be costly, especially if you’re traveling with the family. However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to navigate lesser known destinations, you’re sure to find the following places to visit an adventure.

Prague

You may think that all child-friendly destinations are out your monetary reach when it comes to showing your family Europe. However, lesser known places such as Prague are just as entertaining. Fortunately, you won’t break the bank if you want to explore this enchanted land. Whether you venture there in the freezing cold or wait until the thaw, you’ll find the attractions, meals and lodging an inexpensive way to navigate the globe.

Valencia

Valencia is an easy to reach location that sits near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The vibrancy of the city boasts a number of things to see and do such as festivals, museums, sandy beaches, parks and gardens. The actual perk when visiting Valencia is that the prices are significantly lower than what you would find in other coastal cities throughout Europe. If you’re looking to plan your next adventure, Image Tours has been around for years, and they can help put together your next excursion.

Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the hippest cities to visit. Guests to the region will find a variety of daytime attractions to tour such as markets, museums and churches. If you’re looking for night life, the area holds an assortment of entertaining venues. While Barcelona’s popularity has caused the prices to increase over the years, it’s still considerably lower than the other better known regions throughout Europe.
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6 ideas for a pleasant family weekend in Bergamo

Bergamo is an ancient city in Lombardy, located on the picturesque foothills of the Alps. It can offer both rich and diverse architecture, variety of exciting activities, sincere and open people, surprisingly clean and fresh air. In a nutshell, Bergamo has all those things that make the city a perfect destination for holiday with kids!

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The article will help you to briefly get acquainted with the most interesting attractions in Bergamo that will please you and your kids.

Bergamo is one of four Italian cities with their centers completely surrounded by ancient walls.  In fact, Bergamo is split into two parts. The upper part is the ancient city (Bergamo Alta) located on the top of the hill; the lower part is the modern city (Bergamo Bassa) that doesn’t represent anything interesting for tourists. You can reach the ancient city either by car or public transport, but there is much more interesting way – funicular railway.

Funicular railway

Trip in the funicular car is a little adventure for small kids and also a great opportunity to enjoy nice views of the city. The lower station is located on Viale delle Muraand the upper one is in literally two steps from the famous Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The funicular can fit up to 50 people, so don’t let slip your turn, otherwise you’ll have to wait another car.

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It’s interesting to know that tight orange cars of the Bergamo funicular have been operating since 1888 and originally they were drawn by horses. Funicular railway connecting upper and lower parts of Bergamo isn’t the only one in the city. In fact, there is another car able to take you from the Bergamo Alta to the very top of the hill.

Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle

It’s a scientific base of the University of Milan that is engaged in the problem of preserving grey parrots. Thus, apart from the usual walks among aviaries, Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle can offer the quite serious several hours excursion with a lot of fascinating stories about virtually every animal in the park.

Although the zoo isn’t very big, still it’s a real pleasure to spend time here. This tiny zoo has managed to gather various kinds of animals from guinea pigs to cheetahs. It has many cafes and restaurants as well as picnic areas equipped with tables and benches. So, if don’t want to spend the extra money on visiting cafe, you can simply bring some snacks with you and arrange little lunch in the open air.

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You should acknowledge beforehand that it’s a really tough task to get to Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle from Milan without your own car. Even from Bergamo itself, the park is located in about 11 km.  On the other hand, the park has a convenient parking zone, where you can safely leave your car.
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