Family Vacation Spots Recommendations: A Look at Some of the Best, Family-Friendly Destinations

Family vacations can be some of the most fun, happiest times in anyone’s life. They offer lifelong memories that will stick with both the parents and kids for the rest of their lives. A lot of family vacation spots are great for grandparents as well.

Where should you take your family this year? What kinds of activities are everyone looking forward to?

Here is an overview of some of the top destinations for family trips:

Disney World

Disney has always been, and probably always will be, the number one getaway spot for families. It’s known for its parades, rides, performances, and overall experience. Everyone should visit Disney World at least once in their lives. If you haven’t yet taken your kids there, it’s never too late to do so.

Grand Canyon

This large, infamous national park is an admired family destination. There is plenty to do here – it’s not just about sightseeing. You can go rafting, hiking, kayaking, and take a trip on the Railway. If possible, don’t go during the summer, as you will have to deal with crowds.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? Located NW of Glen Rose in Texas, this park covers over 1,500 acres. It offers a wide variety of outdoor opportunities for family activities. Take the kids through the area and check out the best preserved dinosaur tracks. This is not only a fun vacation, but a highly educational one as well.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

This is the place to go if you want to see beautiful scenery along California’s coastline. It showcases local wildlife and sea creatures. The tank design makes it so that kids can get close to the sea turtles, bat rays and even sharks! There are plenty of fun activities as well, such as humpback whale spotting and penguin feeding shows. Stay at one of the many affordable family-friendly hotels in the area.

Gatlinburg, TN

There is plenty of family fun to be found in Gatlinburg. In this historic southern town, you can play mini-golf, go skiing, enjoy rides at an amusement park, visit museums and aquariums, check out Ripley’s Believe it Or Not: Odditorium, and more.

London, England

London is among the best family vacation spots in Europe. There are no language barriers and plenty to discover and experience. Even though the city is known for high price tags, there are still budget lodging options at chain hotels and small inns.

Family-Friendly Cruise

Why not enjoy yourselves on a cruise ship? There are fun activities available for parents and kids of all ages. You can also easily arrange for family-oriented excursions in port cities. In addition to the Disney Cruise Line, there are some Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival cruises that cater to families. Look over the itineraries and select one that you think everyone will enjoy. Visit several family vacation spots in 7 – 10 days on a cruise ship!

Cheap Vacation Destinations – 6 Affordable Places Around the World to Visit and Stay

Whether you’re planning an epic vacation on the other side of the world or a simple weekend getaway at the nearest big city, there are plenty of cheap vacation destinations to choose from. Just do your research beforehand and compare prices. Be sure to make reservations through a trustworthy online site. You can plan your entire itinerary online and get organized very easily.

If you need some suggestions for cheap vacation destinations, here are a few to get you started:

Malaysia

There are several US airports that offer flights to Malaysia, including Denver, Portland, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, NYC, and others. With the price of one meal in the US, all three of your daily meals will be covered in Malaysia. Spend some time in Langkawi, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur. It’s a beautiful country all around and cheap accommodation can be obtained in every city.

Slovenia

If you’re going to be traveling to Southern Europe, Slovenia offers the same scenery and hospitality of more popular countries, yet at a fraction of the price. The country is often treated as just “drive through” or “fly over” country, which is a shame. There are some VERY inexpensive rooms available in Ljubljana, Bovec, and Piran. You might also want to visit the nice lake town of Bled.

Estonia

While on the subject of cheap vacation destinations in Europe, Estonia is another must-see destination. This Baltic country looks like a medieval kingdom with 21st century conveniences and technology. You’ll see it all: castles, beautiful landscape, pretty houses, palaces, etc. Not only is accommodation and food affordable, there are plenty of fun, free activities like walking tours and museums.

Philadelphia, PA USA

If you don’t want to go all the way to Europe, consider cheap vacation destinations in the US. For starters, head to Philly. It’s a less expensive alternative to NYC. Getting around is cheap too since the Southern PA Transportation Authority offers a low-cost, one-day pass for subways, trolleys, and buses.

New Orleans, LA USA

Most hotels in New Orleans are reasonably-priced for a southern city, but not the cheapest. Everything balances out though when you consider all of the free entertainment the city has to offer. You can experience hundreds of years of history on a New Orleans vacation. It’s a lot cheaper to stay during the summer, although you’ll want to stay in shady areas since the average temperature is in the 90s. If you really want to have a good time, visit during Mardi Gras season, which is usually occurs sometime between January and March.

Ottawa, Canada

Looking for cheap vacation destinations in Canada? Start with Ottawa, where the hotel prices are extremely low, and there are dozens of them to choose from. Airfare from most North American airports is pretty affordable as well – including the smaller ones. There are plenty of neat things to do, like visiting the Canadian Museum of History and walking along the Rideau Canal.

6 Travel Mistakes to Avoid

We are well into the summer season which means many people are traveling or preparing to travel. There are so many things to consider before traveling, especially abroad. There are also a lot of costs to involved, too. You will probably be tempted to cut corners in one way or another.

However, here are a few things you should not cut corners on while traveling to be sure you are not spending unnecessary money or getting scammed.

Misleading Hotel Descriptions

When searching for a hotel it is important to look at multiple sources. Photoshop and false advertisement can be very deceiving, so do not fall into that trap.

Hidden Fees

The cheapest flight or hotel price is not always the best deal. Most time the lowest prices for places come with quite a few hidden fees such as checked bags, resort or hotel fees, etc which could put you over budget.

Not Buying Travel Insurance

Many people opt out of buying even the most affordable travel insurance because they think that nothing will happen to them or overall, it is just not worth it. But, travel insurance can protect your luggage in case it is lost which happens more than you think. It can also pay for lost hotel reservations or even medical expenses you may endure.

Third-Party Discount Scams

Third party scammers typically push you to book using their services by tempting consumers with one-time only deals. Usually, these scammers take your money and do not follow through with services promised. One way to avoid this is to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Or just avoid third-party companies all together.

Currency Exchange Fee

Make sure to only go to credible currency exchange places and not some corner shop. Although

Free Vacation Offers

Scams on the internet and over the phone are extremely common, just remember that unless you enter some sort of credible sweepstakes there is no such thing as a free vacation in exchange for your credit card information. So, protect yourself from scammers as one of the red flags to look out for is a free vacation offer.

Safety Tips to Protect Yourself From a Car Accident During Summer Travel in Michigan

As summer travel plans commence, Michigan automobile and traffic safety is a concern with the numerous road construction projects in progress.

As your family travels to and from popular Great Lake and Northern Michigan vacation destinations, they need to be aware of numerous road construction projects in progress.

To stay safe and protect yourself from a Michigan car accident this summer, the Michigan Department of Transportation provided the following information about Michigan construction projects:

– I-69 reconstruction extends 10 miles from M-15 to M-24. Watch out for concrete pavement, shoulder work, guardrail/drainage improvements, and bridge rehabilitation. In 2010, 1-69 westbound traffic is shifted to eastbound lanes, with one lane in each direction open to motorists.

– Major bridge rehabilitation and concrete pavement repair affects I-75 and I-275 in Monroe County. A split-merge traffic system will keep at least three lanes open.

– I-75 freeway reconstruction at 9 Mile in Oakland County will keep all four lanes of I-75 South and three lanes of I-75 North open. Take caution as there will be some nighttime closures of I-75 due to bridgework.

– Corridor improvements on I-94 in Jackson County will include single-lane closures during off-peak times. Two lanes will be maintained in each direction during weekdays. There are no expected lane closures on holidays, but allow some extra time for traffic.

Driving through work zones can be dangerous, especially as traffic increases on the weekends.
Keep these traveling tips in mind to avoid a Michigan auto accident:

– Slow down, pay attention to signs and drive the posted speed in work zones, to keep workers safe and avoid doubled traffic violation fines.

-Avoid distractions like cell phones and eating. Obey the law prohibiting texting while driving. Distracted driving is a significant cause of Michigan auto accidents. Don’t put your family at risk.

– Plan for all possible problems – fill up your gas tank and stock coolers with drinks and food in case of long delays to avoid fatigue and automobile breakdowns.

– Drive at a safe distance from trucks to give them more time and room to stop or change lanes. They often need extra space to navigate narrow construction zone lanes. By giving them twice the normal amount, you may be able to avoid an auto accident.

Sometimes accidents are unavoidable – nearly 2 million non-fatal, but disabling, injuries occur in auto accidents every year. Victims of auto accidents in work zones especially need to protect their legal rights. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to an auto accident, contact an experienced Michigan car accident attorney immediately.

The Bernstein Law Firm wishes all Michigan drivers safe and pleasant travels to and from their summer destinations.

2008 Summer Travel Hot Spots You Won’t Want To Miss

2008 SUMMER HOT SPOTS SURVEY ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) announced the results of its survey conducted on the most popular domestic and international destinations being booked for Summer Travel in 2008.

For the Sixth year in a row Orlando, Las Vegas and New York City remain the most popular summer destinations booked by travel agents.

Orlando came out on top with a 21 percent share of responses.

Las Vegas maintained the second spot, with 19.1 percent of the votes.

New York City maintained its place in the top three, posting an 11.8 percent share.

The top 10 domestic hot spots are Orlando, Las Vegas, New York City, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Top international hot spots are London, Rome, Cancun, Paris, Jamaica, Punta Cana (DR), Florence, Puerto Vallarta, Venice and Frankfurt.

Western European destinations are the most popular overall with six cities in the top 10. Destinations in the Caribbean are the other major category in the international top 10.

Coastal vacations along the beach shores are becoming a very popular getaways as you can see from the results, most of the top destinations have beach front access and safe parks for the kids to play at.

Travelers can find the best rates, when they use the web, or even better rates when they book through wholesale travel clubs or organizations.

Remember that resorts in the Summer, start to fill up and book in the Spring. Don’t wait till the last minute, or you’ll end up at Mom and Pop’s Roadside Roadkill Inn!

Family Vacation Ideas for Summer Travel to Banff – Great Family Fun

It’s that time again. Time to plan the annual family vacation. Summer Travel to Banff Canada has so much to offer families looking for a unique experience. Let’s remember, holidays are for everyone. Mom and Dad need some down time as well.

When traveling to Banff and area, you’ll be visiting a World Heritage Site with incredible nature all around you. It’s time to get away from all those electrical devices; the televisions, the cell phones, and the game boys. It’s time for some family bonding.

The climate for your summer travel to Banff will be low in humidity during July and August. We have warm temperatures averaging between 21 – 22 C or 70 – 72 degrees. So it doesn’t get too hot for the kids. Lots of hours of light in the evenings.

Banff has some great parks. Ideal for picnics, throwing a football or kicking a soccer ball around. There are eight playgrounds in town. The playground in Central Park offers a climbing experience like no other. Banff has a skate board park for the “boarder” in the family. The air is so clean and fresh. Good to get the kids outside in the sunshine.

Do you like tennis? There are three outdoor venues. Maybe you want to teach the kids how to play or get your skill level up. The Banff Springs Hotel has five courts and a clubhouse. Imagine a game of tennis surrounded by mountains…might be difficult to concentrate on your technique!

Cascade Ponds is a small man-made lake, with islands and a nice sandy beach. Around the pond are great walking trails, barbeques and picnic tables. Maybe pack a picnic, it’s a great way to spend the day. It located off the Minnewanka Loop near Johnson Lake, a 15 minute drive from Banff.

You could take an interpretive boat tour of Lake Minnewanka. It’s an hour and a half cruise. The area is rich in history, native folklore and geologically-significant sites. The high light of the cruise is exploring Devil’s Gap….it’s a glacial path carved through the lake from the foot hills of the Rockies.

There are so many summer activities for the kids. Mountain biking or touring, great walking trails, wildlife spotting, canoeing, kayaking and for the more adventurous white water rafting!

The Most Popular Summer Travel Destinations

In wintertime, in countries where it’s cold, there’s nothing like a tropical holiday to put the snow and ice out of mind, but what about when it’s hot out? Where do people go during the summer? While everyone probably has their own travel idiosyncrasies and pet destinations, a pattern emerges. Generally people like going to places that have seen moments of great historical significance. These are frequently old cities, and as such they are usually beautiful and full of their own unique charms. They look for fun activities to do, beautiful things to see, and of course, delicious food to eat! No talk about summer travel is complete without mentioning Europe.

Think Italy: the vineyards of the countryside, the wonderful food and the beauty of the sun-washed roofs of Tuscany are unlike anywhere else. The museums house truly one-of-a-kind art you can’t see in person any other way (Think Michelangelo’s David!) There are biking tours available where you can travel through vineyard country in a new and interesting way. You can take a short train anywhere in Italy and end up in a bustling city like Rome, where you can walk around the Palatine hill and feel the old splendour of Rome, or go to a place like Cinque Terra, where the hiking is gorgeous and you can eat a pesto-topped pizza by the water in the village where pesto was invented!

If it’s mountains or extreme sports you want, go to Switzerland. They have all levels of hiking, from professionally guided glacier climbing excursions to super-casual mountain walking trails that you can simply embark on without paying a fee or hiring a guide. But there’s a host of extreme sports there too: hang gliding, sky-diving, canyoning, and more. There’s hardly a more dramatic landscape than Switzerland’s to experience an adrenalin charge in the great outdoors!

If it’s history you want, all European countries are loaded! Perhaps the three best cities where simply walking around gives you the feel of history are London, Berlin, and Paris. Go to Churchill’s underground bunker and see where World War II was won, or for older history go to the Tower of London. In Paris there seems to be the rich feeling of history lingering in the air, and you can’t walk by the Seine without feeling it. Meanwhile in Berlin, the Nazi history isn’t even the most recent world-changing event to take place there, as that distinction goes to the Berlin Wall. As you walk around in downtown Berlin, you’ll notice yourself crossing back and forth over a kilometre-long strip of inlaid bricks in the road: this connotes where the Berlin wall used to be!

Summer Travel to Los Angeles Beaches

If you are planning summer travel to the Los Angeles area, there are almost too many great options for fun. They include Hollywood, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain, shopping, dining, museums, the Zoo, Griffith Park and the many ethnic neighborhoods to be explored. But don’t forget that some of the best beaches in Southern California can be found in Los Angeles County. Here, then, is a brief introduction to the numerous beach communities awaiting you.

We begin at the south, in Long Beach, home of the Queen Mary floating museum. The Queen Mary is a magnificent cruise ship that retired in 1967 and was purchased by the good city of Long Beach and turned it into one of the most talked about tourist destinations in California. It lies in Long Beach Harbor, on a peninsula out from the downtown area. There are hotels, restaurants, watercraft and boat rentals and many other activities here; the harbor keeps Long Beach from being a great surfing beach, but with charming communities like Belmont Shores and Naples (with real canals and gondoliers waiting to show you around) you can easily spend a day of your summer travel in Long Beach.

Moving north on Pacific Coast Highway, or Route 1 (aka PCH to locals) past the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, we come to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and its rocky cliffs. There are a couple of great parks and viewpoints of the ocean along the perimeter drive, but not many beach opportunities.

The next community with serious beach action is Redondo Beach. Esplanade Street runs along a nice section of sandy Redondo Beach State Park, and at the north end of town is the Redondo Beach Pier and surrounding King Harbor water sports and entertainment activities. Fisherman’s Wharf and the Seaside Lagoon are there as well.

Continuing north along PCH we arrive in Hermosa Beach. This is a very respected beach community and actually is particularly well known for its beach volleyball facilities. There is fishing from the Hermosa Beach Pier, midway along The Strand beach promenade. You will find plenty of shopping and restaurant action along with the great beach; you could fill a day of summer travel in and around this town and its neighbors.

Next is Manhattan Beach, which also has its own pier and Manhattan State Beach park. Take Manhattan Beach Blvd west from the I-405 freeway and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of things.

To the north of Manhattan Beach are some industrial areas and the LAX Airport complex. Dockweiler State Beach runs parallel to the airport frontage and above that is the marina del Rey small boat harbor (and many multi-story, ocean-view residential buildings along with some good restaurants).

Just north of Marina del Rey is the funky town of Venice. It’s hard to describe Venice Beach, except to say that a good percentage of the most eccentric folks tend to gravitate here, especially on summer weekend afternoons. The beach is nice, though, and this town is worth trying to fit into your summer travel plans.

Santa Monica has its pier and amusement center along Santa Monica State Beach. Downtown Santa Monica is just at the top of the bluffs; look for shopping and a variety of dining options on and around Montana Avenue.

The Price of Gas Rains on the Summer Travel Parade

So what does summer travel for leisure mean to you – driving with the top down to a beach resort? A nice hotel room, fun restaurants, shopping for beach wear and surf gear? Well, perhaps it’s time you woke up to the oil shock of 2011. At a time when pumping gas costs between $4 and $5 a gallon depending on where you live, don’t be surprised if half of the money you counted on for your summer travel fun disappears at the gas station as you fill that bottomless pit of 30-gallon gas tank up.

So how much does the average family spend on gas? In the typical American home, a full 10% of the family budget gets spent on gas today. It used to just be 6%. That’s quite a bite out of the family budget. That is what families would have saved up and spent on fun stuff like summer travel for the family together. With about $500 a month spent on gas, families are apparently spending more on it than entertainment or clothes. In some cases, in families with no children, modest-sized motorcycles are replacing cars for fuel savings.

People traveling for their Memorial Day holidays take to the road on their motorcycles and just eat bags of chips at the gas station rather than go to a restaurant. In some cases, family summer travel has been put off altogether. People these days actually keep a mental note the whole month of how much gas they have left in the tank. They hate the feeling of how when they are driving, they run through gallon after gallon of gas. The American dream of taking to the open road whenever one feels like it, is beginning to sputter like a car running out of juice. What are people supposed to do when they don’t get raises and the price of gas sends everything up (including the price of gas)?

Gas prices can be a funny thing. They can be like electricity bills. You know that every little thing that you do through the day, you’re running through something that could cost you a lot in a little while. Energy costs make people feel psychologically poorer than they actually are. For summer travel this year, it is estimated that the average American family will spend $700. That’s $100 down from what it used to be just a year ago. People this year went on shorter Memorial Day trips and Independence Day trips than they used to.

Summer Travel Tips

Put aside your woolen attires, switch-off your heaters; its time to lock your home and go for a summer travel. Enlisted below are some smart travel tips and suggestions, which will help you sweep away your sleepy mood.

Tourist Destination: Collect a summer travel guide and decide your place of interest. Hill-stations like Ooty, Shillong, Haridwar, Shimla etc are worth traveling destinations.

Prior Reservation: Content travel agents and book your travel ticket as well as, the place of stay. Advance booking may secure you with the comfortable travel dates and may also provide you special offers.

Preparing Travel license: Sightseeing tour to most of the places in India demands legal documents like valid passport/PAN card etc. Before you plan to travel anywhere within the country or abroad, collect all necessary documents. In case, you are planning to drive your own car, do collect a driving license of your own. Also, collect the contact number of your well-wishers, with whom you can contact in case of emergency.

Shed Extra and Pack Smart: Avoid carrying unnecessary stuffs and pack things that have multiple uses. Consider climatic condition of the place you are about to visit and reload luggage accordingly. Traveling during summer calls for careful preparation. Carry an umbrella, sun-glasses and comfy cotton clothes. Your skin may get expose to the scorching sun-rays and hence tanning your outer epidermis with quality sun-screen lotion add to the travel tips

Pack Healthy Eatables: Summer days are fag and food-stuffs get rotten easily. Do not plan to carry cooked food. Its good to store some packets of dry-fruits, while traveling. Opt cold drinks and crispy cuisines from hygienic hotels. Drink liters of water as the change in weather season may cause health problem like dehydration. Carry first-aid kit filled with medicines prescribed by a registered doctors.