Nothing may quite be as scary and stressful for traveling parents as the idea of flying with their kids on an airplane. After all, what could be more taxing than going to the airport with a number of bags and kids in tow, then having to keep them seated, happy and quiet for hours and hours on end? Allow us to give you great travel tips that will help make your life a little bit easier. We can’t guarantee that your kids won’t have a meltdown at some point, but these tips will at least help keep everyone in a better mood throughout the trip:
Taking a cruise is something many people dream of doing someday. What stops most people is the old ideas that going on a cruise is only for those that have a lot of money. The simple truth is, cruises can be very affordable vacation options for many different budgets and in most cases, there are customization options for your particular budget. If you are dreaming of sailing away on a cruise, here are some tips on how to take a cruise on a budget.
There is nothing more fun and stressful than taking a trip to a theme park with kids in tow. There is so much excitement for the day from both kids and adults that it can lead to meltdowns and more money spent than you intended. If you are looking for a way to save your sanity and your wallet, here are some theme park tips to save you time and money.
If you are headed to Florida for a quick trip or a long vacation you are in for a treat. The weather is fantastic year round ( except maybe sometimes through hurricane season), it is home to amazing beaches, lots of theme parks, fishing, and endless other activities. So whatever part of Florida you visit you will not find a shortage of beautiful views or of fun filled locations. Check out my list of 25 Must See Places in Florida before you plan your vacation, some are specific places and others are entire towns that deserve a visit!
Do you have a family road trip planned? How would you like to go on a road trip with your family without having to break the bank? Here are some great tips to remember when preparing for a road trip that can save you some bucks:
My family and I are fortunate to live in the Florida Panhandle where we are within driving distance of so many fun and exciting things to do. There are lots of attractions along the Emerald Coast in Destin and Fort Walton Beach for kids, families and adults – with so many options you’re sure to find something that you love to do and activities that will make the whole family happy.
One of my absolute favorite places to stay and frankly my personal top ranked Destin vacation rental is the Emerald Grande at Harborwalk Village. Located right on the Destin Harbor the condo rentals are fabulous, very comfortable rooms with kitchens and every amenity including beautiful views in every room, like the one above from our balcony. The resort has a ferry (shown above) that will take you to a private beach where you’ll find beach chairs, umbrellas and towels and you can even order room service right from your chaise.
The Harborwalk Village adjoins the property and boasts all sorts of wonderful restaurants, retail shops, entertainment and water recreation activities like the Buccaneer Pirate Ship, snorkeling, fishing, dolphin cruises, parasailing, jet skis and glass bottom boats. There are also quite a few bars and night clubs available for a little adult entertainment in the evenings.
Lulu’s restaurant is one of the absolute best places along the Emerald Coast for seafood. You’ll find fun food, boat dockage, live music and activities for the kids plus they have an extensive allergy menu for those who are gluten free or have nut, shellfish or other allergies.
For a little fantasy underwater family adventure I highly recommend a visit to Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill. The walls have hand painted murals of underwater scenes, all sorts of fish hang from the ceilings and all of the bowling ball returns feature sea life like shark, octopus and alligator. The whole place is amazing and the food is pretty darn good too!
There are so many fun things to do at Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone that you may want to plan on spending a few hours there. Available activities include the T.Rex Island Adventure Golf Course, Ptero Jump, Tree Top Challenge (shown above), Spin-O-Saurus Coaster, Inflatable Zone, Boat Battles, and the Redemption Arcade in addition to my favorite 4-D Movie Experience. Grab some pizza, wings and frozen yogurt while you’re there!
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is also a must see while you’re in the area, especially if you’ve brought the kids along. Located right on the white sands of Fort Walton Beach, the Gulfarium is home to a multitude of marine life including dolphins, alligators, turtles, penguins, stingrays and sea lions.
I spent last weekend at the Brandcation conference in Destin, Florida getting to know many of the local attractions and businesses and bonding with my blogger friends. We stayed at the beautiful Emerald Grande at Harbor Walk Village and there was so much to see and do there that we rarely rested.
The rooms were gorgeous and had incredible views of the beach and the pool. There was a perfect spot for weddings or celebrations overlooking the beach and lighthouse shown above and we even witnessed two weddings during the weekend while we were there. So many restaurants are located in the Harbor Walk Village that you're sure to find any type of food you're in the mood for. We ate at the Grande Vista inside the hotel a couple times for breakfast and lunch, had an Italian family style dinner at La Famiglia, lunch one day at Harry T's,
and dinner with music and dancing at the Cantina at Crab Island. The food was scrumptious everywhere we went and I was thrilled to have fresh local seafood for several meals.
In addition to lounging around by the pool or on the beach, there are many activities to choose from. We enjoyed the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise one night with dinner catered by Jim and Nicks Catering and Restaurant. We went snorkeling and snuba diving with Destin Snorkel, cruised around Noriega point to a private beach for sunbathing, shopped at some terrific stores along the harbor and even played laser tag one afternoon when the weather kept us from visiting Big Kahuna's water park.
The entire trip was so much fun that I can't wait to go back and take the whole family with me. Almost everything was within walking distance, including a couple of nightclubs that several of us ladies visited. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming everywhere we went and we never lacked for exciting activities and fun stuff to do. This trip proved that it's not just about the journey, it's the DESTINation!
Have you ever been shocked by the number of hidden fees that your hotel is charging you upon checking out? You’re not the only one who has been a victim of these extra fees! Here are some common hidden hotel fees you should learn to watch out for:
1) High-speed internet
Almost all hotels include high-speed internet in their list of amenities. Unfortunately, many hotels charge for internet use on a daily basis. Check to see if Wi-Fi is free at the hotel lobby and check your email there instead.
2) Telephone charges
The telephone in your room may look like just another hotel feature, but don’t make any calls just yet. Check with the front desk to see if there are any phone charges and what they are. Many hotels even charge for local calls—so forget about making long distance calls if you’re on a limited budget.
3) Room service
Ordering from room service can be fun, but it can also be costly. Not only does your food cost more, the room service bill at most hotels will also automatically include a delivery charge and a service charge. Plus you’ll be expected to tip the person who delivers the food. Eat at the hotel restaurant or better yet, go somewhere off premises when possible.
4) Airport shuttle
Remember that airport shuttle that picked you up at the airport and took you to the hotel? Shuttle services are often free—but some hotels do charge for the use of their shuttles. Find out in advance before you get on one. If the charge is per person and you’re with a group of people, it may be cheaper to take a taxi.
5) Snacks and bottled water.
Those snacks and bottled water that the hotel left on the table may seem tempting, but are they free? The hotel usually leaves a small sign by the snacks that say whether or not they are complimentary. When in doubt, call the front desk to check. If the food is from the mini-bar, however, keep in mind that you will definitely be paying an inflated price.
Be a smart traveler and familiarize yourself with these fees so you can properly avoid them the next time you’re booked at a hotel. A little precaution will save you some extra bucks later on.
Photo Credit: iClipart
Just in time for summer vacations you can grab this great deal on a 3 Piece Hard Side Wheeled Luggage Set! Last summer I bought a hard sided carry-on case that I absolutely love, but this three piece set is a steal – it regularly retails for $780 but you can get it now for only $159.99 plus free shipping. Available in your choice of three colors – red, dark gray and silver.
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We recently took the kids over to the Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama and spent the day exploring the USS Alabama, their large aircraft museum, and the USS Drum submarine. They had a blast getting to climb all over the Battleship, sit in the gun turrets, and take a “nap” in the bunk beds. The kids are already asking when they can go back and I’m sure after the Battleship movie comes out this weekend they’ll be really anxious to get back over there again. Check out my guest post at the HotelCoupons.com blog today to get all the details and see more pictures!