7 Ways to Save for Your Next Family Vacation

Family vacations are a fun, much-needed time for families to have together. It allows them to get out of the normal routines and just create new experiences in a new destination. The only problem is, depending on the size of your family, going on vacation can be expensive, causing some families to miss out altogether. The good news is there are some ways that you can pull more savings so that you can book that much-needed trip this year. Check them out below:

1.  Don’t Eat Out

Eating out is a ton of fun, but also comes at a hefty price. If you’re going to increase your vacation savings you’re going to want to cut back on eating out. If you’re used to eating out 3 times a week, cut back to once per week and put the money you would have spent on the other days into a savings account.

2.  Keep the Change

A penny saved is a penny earned. When it comes to saving loose change, it can add up pretty quickly. When paying for things, use cash and never give exact change. When the cashier gives you the change, place it into a piggy bank or jar. When the jar fills up, take it to your local bank and have it added to your savings account. You can do this every month until you’re ready to book the trip.

3.  Switch Energy Services

Some of the highest bills in the house are the mortgage and the energy bill. If you’re dealing with a higher energy bill, you may want to look into ways to cut those costs. Aside from taking actions like reducing your energy consumption, you can also check online resources to find out how to switch to a more affordable energy provider.
(more…)

Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts in Punta Cana

When it comes to family vacations, the bar is always being raised. Let’s face it: families want something that’s quite a step above camping in the backyard for their getaways. This time of year, most of us are craving warm temps, sunny skies, and lots of opportunities for a swim. Exotic and different are icing on the cake. That’s why Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) is sure to inspire memories that last forever. I was happy to be hosted to experience it.

dominican resorts

The resort’s luxurious accommodation includes the Swank Swim-Up Suite. Imagine a private, VIP-style wrap-around terrace that’s adjacent to the pool, along with sunbathing beds. You’ll feel like the resort’s all your own. There are other configurations and sizes of swim-up rooms as well, to suit different needs and family sizes.

resorts punta cana

You’ll find the décor bright and cheery, but with simple, modern lines to feel more relaxed – rather than formal and uptight. Kid friendly, but still chic.

spongebob pineapple house

The ultimate in luxe accommodations, and still able to fit a larger family is The Pineapple, inspired by SpongeBob Square Pants’ home under the sea. Two bedrooms and three bedrooms in a loft configuration are looked after by your own personal butler. Special activities can be booked for guests staying here, such as a moonlight beach dinner prepared by a world-class chef, wine tasting, an in-suite afternoon tea party, pizza party, or pajama party.

dominican republic resort

So, if you crave more water than swimming in the pool, they have the beautiful Uvero Alto Beach available and just steps away. There are plenty of lounge chairs and even beach beds available for guests to use, you won’t need to scramble for them or search around in vain. The beach is lovely, quiet, and very clean. You will want to spend quite a lot of time there, if you are like me. You can order drinks while on the beach as well, which makes staying longer even more appealing. Other outdoor games and activities, such as tennis, are found at the resort, along with playrooms for the kids and the opportunity to run into – and take photos with – your favorite Nickelodeon characters, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Indoor activities include the fitness and dance studio.
(more…)

Six Tips for Cruising with Kids

Going on holiday with the kids is as equally rewarding as it can be frustrating. This is especially true if you are trying to travel to a range of different destinations. Corralling little ones onto flights can be tricky at the best of times and this is only exacerbated when you have multiple transfers and connecting flights to make. Fortunately, there’s one way to simplify the process and let the whole family travel to various places with ease – by taking a cruise.

By opting for a family cruise holiday, you just travel to the departure point, get comfy in your cabin and let the world come to you from the comfort of a luxury cruise liner. No longer the preserve of wealthy pensioners, cruise holidays are available to anyone. Whether you fancy touring the Mediterranean, The Caribbean, or even chillier climes – it’s up to you.

Don’t worry if you’ve never cruised before. It’s easy! And to make it even easier we’ve compiled a short list of tips for getting the most out of a cruise with kids. Read on.

Feel free to take the kitchen sink

It is received wisdom these days that it’s best to pack light when traveling. And usually this is the case. However, on a cruise you have the luxury of your cabin as a base of operations throughout the holiday. You don’t have to pack and repack (beyond a day bag for excursions). Combine this with the fact that there are not lots of shopping options on the seven seas, you don’t want to get caught short by forgetting any necessities. So, don’t worry about packing your suitcases a little fuller.
(more…)

New York’s Lake Placid Holiday Stroll

If you are seeking a great place to get into the holiday spirit, you need look no further then Lake Placid, in upstate New York.   During one magical weekend a year, the area holds a “Holiday Stroll” where the entire town celebrates Christmas with a wide array of activities and festivals, many of which are free, and almost all are family friendly.

dec 16 020

The Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll is amazing for the holiday season- you will find yourself  in an Adirondack Winter Wonderland. The volunteer run committee plans a wonderful weekend of art, music, gourmet foods, and boutique shopping. It’s a fun and festive alternative to  big box store options, and the intimate setting makes the Village Stroll appealing to couples and families (not to mention you gift the local flavor as well- take home a bit of the Adirondacks and give a taste to your friends and family).

There is much to see and to in the area, well known for winter activities and sports, as well as formerly hosting the Olympics. Families will love the ice skating party and Holiday Story Time at the Mirror Lake Inn. Couples will enjoy the wine tastings and art displays. Children will delight in the matinee showing of the Polar Express, the craft workshops and breakfast with Santa at participating hotels on Sunday morning.
(more…)

Portable travel bed for your toddler – critical tips for choosing the best

Any parent that decided to remain active after they world has been turned upside down when they brought a child into the world knows the struggle.

The struggle of trying to balance between the needs and wants of your child and Sisyphean efforts to keep doing what you love doing. Traveling, hiking, whatever it is, chances are your schedule has suffered.

But when the moment comes and you can finally start bringing your toddler on trips, it’s crucial that you know what you’re doing when preparing for the trip.

So, instead of learning from your mistakes, in this guide will address one of the most important aspects to plan – SLEEP.

sleeping while traveling

It’s hard enough getting them to sleep as is, let alone in strange new place on a different bed.

But if you play your cards right, they might end up liking the new bed more then they like the one at home.

So, let’s dive right in and talk about the one thing that can make or break your trip – the choice of travel bed for your kid.

We’ll be analyzing the pros and cons of three main styles of travel beds for toddlers:

  1. Air mattresses

  2. Foam folding travel beds

  3. Cots for toddlers

So, let’s dive right in, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Airbeds for kids

One of the most popular options, mainly because of its convenience, is a toddler air mattress or a blow-up bed as you might hear people calling it.

blow up mattress

Three main fortes of this choice include:

  • Easy to use, practical and pack small – they usually come with a pump that also deflates the bed, so they pretty much pack to the original size. They pack neatly and can easily be carried in a suitcase, which makes them convenient for air travel.

  • Safety – when we say safety here, we refer to two aspects. The first one comes from the fact that airbeds for kids usually come with side rails (see the image above) and that keeps even the restless sleepers from rolling over during the night. The other safety aspect is the concern about the chemicals – the industry of inflatable furniture has changed a lot during the last few decades and no hazardous substances are used in the production (the bed in the image above – Shrunks Tuckaire toddler is an extreme example of that – it is eco-friendly and chemical-free and it comes with an optional sleeping bag).

  • Easy to clean, doesn’t hold smell – if your little one is still prone to accidents, an air mattress without a flocked top but with a fitted cover (Aerobed usually makes this type of inflatables) is your best bet. That way, if a wet mishap happens, you can just throw the cover into the washing machine and clean the smooth surface of the PVC (something you can’t do with the two other styles we’ll talk about in a minute).

Potential negatives:

  • Plastic smell – not a big issue per se, you can resolve it by airing the bed out for a few hours ( a day in extreme cases) until the smell of plastic is gone. But it can be worrisome if you don’t know the facts, the plastic smell will be there (it’s PVC after all), but what’s important is to pick a product that explicitly says that it is free of phthalates and BPAs (the mentioned Shrunks Tuckaire is a good example of that)

    (more…)

Orlando Vacations Off the Beaten Path

Millions of tourists flock to Orlando, Florida every year with one of several popular vacation destinations in mind. While a trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth” is certainly a draw for couples and families alike, if you’re looking for a totally different experience, there’s plenty to find in the area. Next time you visit the city, opt for one of many Orlando vacation rentals and venture out to one of these off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Bask in Nature at Harry P. Leu Gardens

If you have an affinity for nature and for history, you won’t want to miss the Harry P. Leu Gardens. The estate sprawls across 50 acres of land, with beautiful trees and colorful flowers. The purpose of Leu Gardens is to educate visitors about the plants through interactive experiences. Local residents can learn even more by signing up for classes or by participating in one of the many events onsite. Located on the grounds is a historic 19th-century home that’s been fully restored, where visitors can get a taste of how people lived in the 1800s.

Explore at the Orlando Science Center

Planets, kinetics, and dinos, oh my! Take a trip to the Orlando Science Center and inspire learning and discover the continents in a new way. There are plenty of attractions for children and adults, to keep you busy throughout the entire day. Participate in hands-on exhibits to keep the kids busy, take in a laser light show or watch one of several movies on giant screens.
(more…)

A Sweet and Spooky Halloween in Hershey, PA

hershey park halloween

Halloween isn’t quite the way it was years ago, but in some ways — in some places — it’s better! Today, when it comes to the little ones, parents are hesitant to let them wander throughout the neighborhood at night. City dwellers and those who live in remote areas can’t trick or treat. As for older kids – and these days, they’re growing up faster and faster – the holiday should be celebrated on a larger, more exciting and engaging level. What more memorable way for the whole family to get into the spirit (!) than a stay in Hershey, PA. Hersheypark After Dark is the epicenter of all the festivities.

hotel hershey park

Accommodations: There are two different excellent choices to stay, adding to your immersion in the Hershey experience. For that super comfy, homey feeling, there’s Hershey Lodge. High wood beams, warm candy ambient fragrance as you enter, a crackling fire to welcome you and relaxing environment adds to home away from home feeling. The brand new indoor pool complex has two interactive indoor pools, Twizzlers Twists Slides, Reese’s Water Walk, water play structures and the Cocoa Cabana dining location with a full bar. To that end, complimentary shuttle service to all Hershey attractions, the spa and dining spots takes away the stress of driving.

hershey park rides

For an elegant and sophisticated experience, The Hotel Hershey is considered a world-class resort. The tints and hues of the hotel’s “soft goods” harken back to the colors of fine chocolates and caramels. Inside the main building is a shopping arcade that has everything from candies, souvenirs, as well as chic clothing and luxury items. Different themes can be seen in the interior, reflecting upon different aspects of Milton Hershey’s life. An indoor courtyard with recessed bar, lounging areas, Moorish architecture, warm lighting and plants hint at old Spain and the Havana, Cuba to which the Hersheys traveled and conducted business. The hotel has daily activities for both children and adults, incorporating chocolate tastings, making things and other fun past times. Complimentary transportation to all Hershey attractions and local destinations is easy to arrange.
(more…)

Save On Your New York Vacation With The New York Pass

museum of natural history

New York is definitely a spot that should be on your vacation bucket list – and great things are coming to New York! With a newly updated New York Pass, the City’s largest attraction pass card – the first of which is the inclusion of a free double-decker bus tour with every New York Pass purchased (thanks to a new partnership with the Big Bus New York) – now is the time to start planning that New York vacation you have always talked about.  With the New York pass it will make your Big Apple visit fast and easy as your ride along on the double-decker bus and enjoy the sights and sounds.

visit new york

Not only will you get to ride the double decker bus and tour the Big Apple, but you also get admission and discounts to over 90 must-see New York attractions. You can hop-on or hop-off at any attraction or sight that catches your eye, and then be back on your way in a matter of minutes to a new and wonderful destination of your choosing. With the New York pass, you will get more bang for your buck by saving up to 70% all while skipping the lines at several of the busiest attractions in the Big Apple area.
(more…)