Posts Tagged ‘ travel tips ’

Travel Advice from the Kids

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

I don’t know about your kids, but my 11-year-old has very strong opinions about our family vacations. It also amazes me what has stuck with her the most from her trips over the years—for instance, she still talks about the hotel in Orlando we stayed at several years ago that gives out rubber-band bracelets for free ice cream. According to this cool infographic, 66% of kids help plan daily vacation activities and 63% of parents say their children has influenced their vacation decision. Has yours?

 

Why We Loved Our Disney Cruise
Why We Loved Our Disney Cruise
Why We Loved Our Disney Cruise

Add a Comment

Brooke Burke-Charvet: “We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family.”

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One celebrity mom who knows a thing or two about travel: Brooke Burke-Charvet. The Dancing with the Stars champ and mom of four has ventured all over with her family, from the states to Europe, even Africa. It makes perfect sense then that the TV personality recently teamed up with Embassy Suites Hotels to host a panel with her daughter Rain, 7, and son Shaya, 6, on the “Pretty Great Family Debate,” a discussion on tackling common family disputes like homework, bedtime and yes, vacation planning. Parents got the scoop on how Brooke keeps her cool while traveling and what she can’t wait to do with her kids this summer.

P: So your family likes to plan vacations together. What helps you all make decisions without butting heads?

B: I’m all for a family meeting, but it’s really tough. I have four very opinionated children. The little ones, Rain and Shaya, kind of go with the flow but my teenage daughters Neriah, 14, and Sierra, 12, always have their own plans in mind. We try to do one big family vacation a year, so what we do is we’ll sit down and agree on a destination. More so, it’s about them deciding how we want to spend the time once we’re there. I try to let everybody choose one thing that they want to do. You want to make sure that family travel is enjoyable for every member, so it’s not just all about the kids or all about the parents.

P: In your travels, what places have your kids found cool?

B: We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family. My children love to be on an island; they love the water. This summer, we’re going to try scuba diving for the very first time now that the kids are old enough. We’re going on a family cruise too, which I’m really excited about. They even like to go to Europe and discover history. I’ve always felt like we make every destination family-friendly. We teach them how to conduct themselves in any environment.

P: How do you keep your children entertained on longer trips?

B: I really feel like that depends on the energy and nature of the parent. I mean, I took Shaya and Rain to Africa when they were 2 and 3, even though every other mother thought I was insane. It’s just a matter of trying to go with the sun rather than staying on your own time zone. Be flexible as a parent and try not to travel as Americans. Get into the mindset of the local people wherever you are. When you go into a trip expecting to have exactly what you have at home, you’re just going to be disappointed. And I’ve found red-eye flights can be really great for long trips because everybody can just shut down and go to sleep.

P: What go-to items are with you all the time on vacation?

B: Books! I’m a big believer of less is more, and I like to encourage my children to read. It’s a great way to wind down on the plane. I limit tech, but everybody likes to have some iPad time. They’ll play with a mix of educational and pure entertainment games. I also like arts and crafts that are containable, like everyone’s into these bracelet-making projects right now. The things that take up a small amount of space but are cute and nifty are great for me.

P: Family fights are never fun! How do you handle meltdowns during a trip?

B: With more kids, it’s bound to happen. There’s always one child not happy. I just think you have to nip it in the butt really quickly. I don’t tolerate a lot of family fighting.

P: With summer on its way, what activities are you most excited to do with your kids?

B: My two teenagers are into paddle boarding, and I also just started doing Soul Cycle with my oldest, Neriah. We have a trampoline in the backyard; that’s great exercise and super fun. Shaya is honestly determined to teach me how to do a back flip. God help me! We also like to be outdoors and go on hikes.

P: I’m sure you’ll have more free time this summer with your children out of school. What helps you unwind in your spare time?

B: For me, it’s really my workouts. That’s totally my only hour in the day that’s me-time where I really don’t have to think about anything else. It’s not just a physical benefit; it’s also great for mind, body, and soul. And I love to cook. I find that it’s really relaxing. It’s a huge bonus because my family loves to eat and there’s a lot of people to feed.

Planning a family roadtrip? Use these tips for a smooth ride!

Add a Comment

Save Time and Money on Holiday Travel

Friday, December 20th, 2013

With Christmas on its way and New Year’s soon after, we bet there’s one thing you’re in for this season: travel. We had the chance to learn some expert tips from Bob Diener, president of GetARoom.com. Whether you’re flying or driving in the weeks to come, these strategies will help make your journey hassle-free now and for the future.

1. When in doubt, over-plan.

Making stops along the way might be necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to stock up on supplies beforehand. “Shop for food in advance at your local store. You can get much better prices than trying to pick things up at a convenient store,” Diener says. His trick to avoid paying $3 for water? Pack empty sports bottles to fill up at airports or rest stops.

 2. Search for unconventional options.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the traditional hotel. “People gravitate toward big name chains, but those have more demand and higher prices,” Diener says. You can book vacation rentals for almost the same as a hotel with the bonus of having a kitchen and extra space. Though independent hotels may not seem as glamorous, reading customer reviews can help you find one just as nice as the usual.

3. Take advantage of surprise offers.

Flash sales also exist on travel sites and can offer rates 10 to 60 percent lower. The trick is booking within the sale window, anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. “Most people take a week to make plans, but flash sales require you to make a decision right away because the rate is so good,” Diener says. GetARoom.com also has unpublished rates from 30,000 participating hotels; just give them a call to find deals 20 to 60 percent less than what’s listed.

4. Be on the lookout for free stuff.

It’s important to consider amenities in your overall cost. Hotels or resort packages that include breakfast or internet can go a long way in saving . One low-cost way to keep kids entertained: Find a place to stay with a pool. “After a rough day of activities, you can take them there for hours,” Diener says.

5. Keep things sane with technology.

Yes, adding movies to your tablets prior to leaving guarantees entertainment. But it’s also good to download apps that will make your journey smoother. Diener uses the app of his preferred airport to keep track of delays and store boarding passes. His other favorite, Kayak, allows users to search multiple vendors at once to find deals on-the-go. Plus, you’ll need a weather app to know when rain or snow might dampen your day, or give you a white Christmas.

Add a Comment

Google Street View: Take a Virtual Tour of Family Vacation Spots

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Legoland California Google Street ViewThinking about  a quick getaway for Memorial Day weekend? Before you finalize your plans, explore family-friendly places by using Google Maps Street View.  If you’re not familiar with this free tool, it gives you a 360-degree street level look at popular U.S. and world destinations (zoos, amusement parks, public parks, landmarks, museums, etc.).  From the comfort of your own home computer or smartphone, preview places to determine if you want to visit them in person.

Get a panoramic look at these following U.S. destinations:

For bigger family vacations, you can take a road trip to different U.S. landmarks, discover historic Italy, or even set sail down the Amazon River.

Plus, if you or someone you know manages a unique destination, request a Street View team to visit the location through the Street View Partner Program.

Happy planning!

Add a Comment

Avoid Toddlers Falling from Hotel Balconies By Childproofing Your Room

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler and need to stay for a few nights at a hotel, always look into childproofing the room.

A 16-month-old girl, Jah-Nea Myles, fell from the fourth floor balcony of a hotel in Orlando yesterday before being caught by Helen Beard, a 44-year-old woman visiting from England.  Jah-Nea’s mother had left her in the care of friends who didn’t notice when the toddler left the room and then managed to slip through the balcony rails. 

MyFox Orlando reported hat Beard saw the child dangling from the balcony and ran to a location underneath the child before she fell.  The toddler struck the third floor balcony before being caught by Beard.  The child still slipped through Beard’s arms and landed on the ground, but didn’t suffer any injuries.  The local hospital determined the child to be in good health and the sheriff’s captain deemed Jah-Nea’s rescue to be miraculous.

When taking a trip with your child, Parents suggests calling the hotel beforehand to ask questions and determine if it’s kid-friendly location.  Ask about  renting a crib or stroller, the hotel’s crib safety requirements, and any available child-friendly activities, pools, and playgrounds. Most hotels also offer free childproofing kits or will childproof the room for you upon request.  Just make sure to ask.  Once you’re at the hotel, look for any possible dangers such as open balconies, stairs, and railings, uncovered outlets, sharp furniture, fragile objects, loose curtain or electrical cords, and unlocked cabinets. Above all, keep your child safe no matter where you stay.

Read more about childproofing your hotel room:

Add a Comment