- Choose a weekend, or week, for your getaway. Consider how you will be traveling there. Will you be driving? If so, plan enough time for travel and still keep enough time at your destination to enjoy it. For instance, if it will take you a whole day to drive there and you only have three days off, you will only get to spend one day in the Poconos.
- Decide on a hotel or resort to stay at. The Pocono region is quite large, so choose the location of your hotel according to the sights you want to see, or activities you want to pursue. Look online for photographs of the hotels and resorts. Some may offer Romance packages as well. Choose one that suits you and your partner. Consider not only location and offerings, but price as well. Reserve your room beforehand so you are certain to have a place to sleep once you get there.
- Plan the itinerary you may want to follow. Do you want to take a nice horseback ride through the beautiful trails? Or, do you want to hike up and see the magnificent Bushkill falls? Don’t forget to plan a day trip to Jim Thorpe, an old, eccentric town full of stories and sights.
- Pack some romantic items to make the trip special. Candles, rose petals, candy and massage oil are all good ideas.
- Plan a surprise for your partner. This is a great time for give her that special gift, or take her somewhere spectacular. If you can, bring a video camera to capture any special moments.
Porte de Montmartre
- Formula 1 has a location in the north side of Paris in the neighborhood of Montmartre. The hotel offers guests a choice of a two or three person room with bathrooms and showers located in the hallways. The Basilica du Sacre Coeur is located in Montmartre, which is a famous Roman Catholic church.
Porte de Montmartre
29 Rue du Docteur Babinski
Paris, France 75018
Porte de Montreuil
- The Formula 1 location in the east side of Paris is close to the famous Bastille monument. The hotel offers rooms for two or three guests with showers and toilets in the hallway. Breakfast is available for an additional fee.
Porte de Montreuil
290-302 Rue Etienne Marcel
ZAC Eugène Barlain
Bagnolet, France 93170
Porte de Châtillon
- A Formula 1 hotel is also located in the south side of Paris. This hotel has 354 rooms available for guests. There is wireless internet available for an additional fee in certain areas of the hotel. The Châtillon Formula 1 offers the standard conveniences of the Formula 1 brand of hotel, including breakfast for an additional fee.
Porte de Châtillon
23 Ave de la Porte de Châtillon
Paris, France 75014
- Discuss vacation options as a group, with all parties involved. Have a webcam conference or a conference phone call, so everyone can have a say in the destination — if you can’t meet in person. Vote on the vacation and go where everyone — or the majority — want to go. The family can rent a large cabin in the mountains, take a cruise, stay at a bed-and-breakfast along the coast or stop by the nation’s capital for an educational visit.
- Plan a location or destination that offers activities for young children, if grandchildren are involved. Multi-generational vacations provide an opportunity for the entire family to bond, especially if you don’t live near one another.
- Lay out who is paying for what. Some adult children may expect Mom and Dad to foot the bill, which could create a family feud instead of a bonding, relaxing vacation.
- Make specific travel plans, such as who will rent the car and drive, or if the family will meet at a central airport — or the final destination. For example, the entire family could fly into a central airport, then catch the same connecting flight to the final destination, so you all arrive together.
- Leave some free time in the vacation schedule to allow the parents and adult children to participate in activities they enjoy, but the others might not. Having together- and separate-time planned out, allows everyone to fully enjoy their vacation; as well as time with the family.
- Find a destination. Depending on where you are, a great beach trip could be within driving distance. If your plan is to go local, do a quick search of what’s available in the surrounding areas (official tourism sites are great for this), then begin narrowing it down according to how far you want to drive and any other specific items on your wish list. While the economy has made vacationing close to home more attractive, your daydreams of a lounging on the beach may involve a more distant destination. If you are considering leaving the country, there are some factors to definitely consider when choosing your locale. Do you want saltwater or freshwater? A large or small beach? A nude beach? A private beach? Again, official tourism sites will be very helpful.
- Agree on a place with your boyfriend. This is probably not a time for surprises, unless you’re picking a place you’ve both talked about wanting to visit. It won’t be romantic if he hates the area.
- Check the weather. It doesn’t matter if it’s an hour’s drive away or a 12-hour flight, check the weather for the time when you will be there. It’s also important to remember that, while it might be summer here, it is winter in some parts of the world (Australia, for example). This can actually be a good thing for travelers hoping to escape the cold winter months.
- Read the news. Has your destination seen a crime wave recently? Has the area been devastated by tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes? Is the air quality or pollution bad? Has your local government issued a travel advisory against traveling to that country? It might seem overwhelming, but it’s better to know in advance and steer clear of any trouble. Always search for news or check for government travel advisories before visiting an area.
- Obtain a passport. Passports are generally required for travel outside of the country, particularly if you are traveling by airplane. Some areas see a quick turnaround on applications for passports, but it’s best to be apply several months in advance. This is important for a couple reasons. The first is that you will probably get your passport in more than enough time, eliminating any stress about canceling your trip due to missing identification. Another reason why it is better to apply well in advance is that many people attempt to apply for a passport, only to discover that they are missing key documentation (birth certificate, Social Security card and so on). By planning ahead, you will have time to request those items and still apply for a passport before your trip.
- Get vaccinated. Some travelers mistakenly assume that the vaccinations they received growing up are adequate to protect them, regardless of where they are. This is not true. Different regions have different diseases, therefore, the best way to determine which immunizations are required is to visit your family doctor or a travel clinic. It is very important to start the process at least four-to-six weeks before your trip, since many vaccinations require a follow-up dose a couple weeks after the initial injection.
- Insure yourself. Anything can happen — even during a dream vacation. Therefore, it is wise to make sure you have some sort of health insurance before leaving the country. Check with your own insurance, which may offer travel coverage. If it doesn’t, ask if it can refer you to a travel insurance agency or do a quick search on the Internet.
- Book your hotel. There are a few things to consider when picking the right place to stay. Some travelers assume that hotels in warm areas are automatically situated close to the beach, and they are disappointed when they discover they have booked a property in the middle of the downtown core. On the flip side, being in the city is exactly what some travelers want. Therefore, it’s important to decide in advance — how close do you want to be to the beach?
It is also a good idea to decide which amenities are most important to you, then search for properties that offer what you want. Many couples enjoy resorts that have a spa on the premises (a couple’s massage can be very romantic), and most want to share at least a queen-sized bed, so make sure the rate isn’t for two doubles.
Travel packages are a great way to go, especially if you are flying to your destination. The packages can include flights and hotel accommodations, but you can also find all-inclusives that will put all of your costs into a single price.
- Pack the right clothing. While it might seem like a no-brainer, it is actually a good idea to do some research when choosing clothing. Determining the weather is the first step to packing the right items. Some areas are extremely hot in the daytime, but drop to surprisingly cool temperatures when the sun sets. Therefore, it’s probably smart to take that jean jacket or cardigan and a pair of long pants just in case.
- Exchange some money. Many banks will exchange your money for foreign currency if you give them enough time. If not, check out currency exchange agencies in your local area or ask your credit card company if it offers traveler’s checks. It’s always important to have money in case you lose your credit card.
Also, while most places will accept Visa, MasterCard or any of the major credit cards, small vendors, like the ones you find along the beach, are likely not equipped for such transactions and will only take currency.
- Determine the number of people that will be joining you on your trip to the beach. It’s possible to find rental homes in many different sizes. Also, get a feel for the different age groups in your party, as some owners may choose not to rent to a group of college kids or families with lots of small children.
- Draw up a budget for your beach vacation, and decide how much of that budget will be used to rent a house. Your accommodations will probably be the biggest expense on your trip.
- Choose between renting a home from a private owner or renting through an agency. You may be able to negotiate a better deal by renting a home directly from the owner, though you’ll have a greater selection of homes from which to choose if you go through a rental agency.
- Contact the local visitors’ center for any advice they may have regarding local beach house rentals. They may also have some money-saving advice to help you get the most out of your vacation.
- Read local newspapers to get an idea of the types of homes available for rent and the different price ranges. Familiarize yourself with the different beaches and the pros and cons of each one.
- Negotiate a price to rent the beach house you’ve selected. Depending on the time of year and the number of guests, the price may fluctuate. Be prepared to pony up a deposit if the homeowner requests one.
- Make reservations as early as possible. This is especially important if you’re planning to book a vacation during the months that are most popular with tourists.
- Observe all the homeowner’s rules while you stay in his beach house. There may be restrictions on smoking and noise. If you violate the rules of the house and cause damage, you may forfeit your deposit and risk a lawsuit.
- Clean the home before you leave. Get rid of your trash and strip the sheets off all the beds in which your group has slept. While an individual homeowner may contract a janitorial company to clean the home between guest stays, you should still do your part to clean up after yourself.
For years, travelers have used Internet sites like Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity and Orbitz to find low prices and competitive deals on hotel rooms, flights and rental cars. After years of allowing these middle men to make a substantial amount off of their services, the hospitality industry is saying that they’ve had enough. Hotels are starting to fight back.
At the beginning of August, hotels protested against a proposed merger that would have made Expedia and Orbitz a unified giant discount travel service. This group of hotels argued that allowing these two sites to combine forces would establish a monopoly on the industry. With no word from regulators on the ultimate decision, hotels are not waiting around to find out. Instead, they’ve taken matters into their own hands.
Previously, these online sites cost hotels a substantial amount in commissions. Making the decision to cut out the middle men will not only save on commissions, but it moves the hospitality industry back into direct communication with guests. Large conglomerates like Hyatt and Hilton are offering various incentives to customers on the condition that they book through the hotels directly. Some of these incentives include: Wi-Fi, digital check-in, free meals and the ability to choose a specific room.
For those who book directly, Hilton now offers the option of digital check-in via an app; this app has already being used by over one million people each month. In addition, guests can now choose the exact room they wish to stay in by going over the plan of each floor and clicking on the desired room.
Loyalty programs have also proved to be effective. Customers are encouraged to book directly with the hotels with reward points and “elite” level benefits; such as, upgrades, free meals and concierge lounges. Some hotel companies have even begun reminding their reward members who book with third-party sites that they will not get points for their stays if they do not book directly through them.
According to The New York Times, these efforts are definitely working in the interest of the hotels. “The travel marketing firm MMGY Global’s 2015 survey of nearly 3,000 leisure travelers found that while third-party sites remained popular for comparing vacation hotels and prices, there was a noticeable drop compared to 2014 in how often respondents actually booked rooms through the sites.”
With the hotel industry and other travel related industries in high demand, and in light of the competitive atmosphere, now is a great time to seize the opportunity to expand the way a hotel accepts payment from its customers. By securing hotel credit card processing from a trusted high risk provider like
Key Lime Cottage
- White Sand’s Key Lime Cottage is the largest available unit and features six bedrooms and four baths. This cottage includes three king, two queen, two double and four twin beds and can comfortably sleep up to 18 people. Several balconies overlook the nearby sights, and the cottage is fitted with wireless Internet access. A private swimming pool and golf cart are included with the rental, and each room features a television. A gas grill is also available for guests’ convenience.
White Sand Vacation Rentals
94 Cobia St.
Destin, FL 32541
- The Cashmere Coconut features four bedrooms and three baths located across the street from the Terra Cotta Terrace Community Center. The community center is available for guest use and features a swimming pool, sauna and several outdoor activities such as volleyball and tennis. This cottage comfortably sleeps 11 adults and includes wireless Internet access. A private swimming pool, gas grill and DVD player are additional amenities guests can expect. A television is provided in each room with many also featuring DVD players. The Cashmere Coconut is located one block from the beach.
White Sand Vacation Rentals
94 Cobia St.
Destin, FL 32541
Destin Beach House
- This four-bedroom, two-bath cottage is located a block off the beach and features a private pool, large backyard and gas grill. A private patio is attached the house, and the entire unit features central air conditioning. Each room includes a television, and wireless Internet is provided throughout the house. A large community pool is located five houses from this cottage, and residents at the Destin Beach House are welcome.
White Sand Vacation Rentals
94 Cobia St.
Destin, FL 32541
- This large home features five bedrooms and three and a half baths spread over 3,000 square feet. Located less than two blocks from the ocean, the Blue Marlin enjoys easy access to the Gulf of Mexico’s scenic beaches. The house sleeps up to 16 adults and features parking for recreational vehicles and boat trailers. Central air conditioning and wireless Internet access are provided at the cottage, and the unit features a private swimming pool, balconies and intercom system.
White Sand Vacation Rentals
94 Cobia St.
Destin, FL 32541
- (Secret ingredient: Anticipation)
Every three months, sit down with your mate and open your calendars. Identify at least one weekend per month that you’ll reserve just for the two of you and schedule it — no work, no cell phones, no intrusions. If you have kids, arrange for their care, perhaps by trading child care weekends with another couple. Schedule an entire quarter in one sitting.
Start a file of ideas for places to visit and things to do. Since a weekend doesn’t allow much travel time, cruise the travel aisle of a bookstore or library and grab books about your area for ideas. Go online together (try the sites below) for more regional options.
Go on a Quest
- (Secret ingredient: Discovery)
Have a secret passion for caves, antiques, whales, good wine, rock and roll memorabilia? Go on a quest together. Psychology Today reports, “Couples who share exciting experiences report more relationship satisfaction, as well as more romance, than do couples with more mundane habits.” Take a class to learn more about your obsession, and, if necessary, physically train for your quest in advance. Seeking and discovering together creates excitement, unity and a lot to talk about afterward.
- (Secret ingredient: Laughter)
Think beyond the obvious and try something fun and different. Cuddle in a sleeping bag for two under the night sky the second week of August and watch the Perseid meteor showers. Re-create the season you met, complete with food, fashions, music, and, if you have them, old love letters. Stay somewhere off-beat — such as a weekend in a caboose, complete with hot tub and sumptuous breakfast, at the Featherbed Railroad Company (www.featherbedrailroad.com).
Stick to the Budget
- (Secret ingredient: Sensory bliss)
If your budget limits travel or tickets, make your romantic getaway a stay-at-home vacation for the spirit and senses. Locate the best sunset in your area and watch the sun sink together as you savor wine and chocolates. Go to a private park, beach or mountaintop and absorb the beauty together with a specially created soundtrack of romantic songs (see below) for the occasion. Lounge on a luxurious blanket for a fireplace picnic and share a delectable treat or two. No fireplace? Turn out the lights and display a virtual “fire” or “aquarium” on your TV (www.fogware.com).
- (Secret ingredient: Luxury)
Celebrate special occasions — not just your anniversary, but perhaps the first day of autumn, or to honor an achievement or to express gratitude for surviving a challenging time. For these weekends, go for broke with deluxe accommodations and indulgences. The fact that it’s only for a weekend will help contain costs while providing memorable moments to cherish. Check out the romance packages at luxury hotels and resorts and splurge for upgraded rooms, champagne and strawberries, massages for two, front row tickets or a private gourmet dinner on your balcony.
But what about the weekends you can’t get away? Do your chores. Volunteer. Go to the soccer game. Put the kids to bed. Then cuddle with your mate to relive the memories and dream about the next romantic getaway weekend.
What Lies Beneath
- As you descend the 130 steps into the remaining public area of the mass burial grounds known as the catacombs, you will likely begin to feel a slight chill. Beginning in 1786, the city began transferring remains from its overflowing cemeteries to the abandoned quarries beneath the Paris streets. Stacked according to body part, walls of skulls and bones line the passage as you enter beneath the sign that translates to “Halt! This is the realm of Death.” The catacombs may be for neither the claustrophobic nor for young children, but they provide good photo opportunities, and there’s a charming gift shop when you finally climb out. If you really dig the underground scene, take a tour of the sewer system used by Nazis as air-raid shelters and by Resistance fighters as hideouts during World War II. It’s a little smelly, but the history lesson and artifacts make it worthwhile.
- Paris is even more spectacular in winter when the lights stay on all night and ice rinks pop up everywhere from the Trocadero Christmas market to the Hotel de Ville. Perhaps the coolest rink is the one on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Admission is included in your tower ticket, but you can also just pay to climb the steps to the rink. You’re not allowed to bring your own skates, but the rink provides blades as well as skate trolleys for beginners and children. The festive atmosphere is enhanced by a light show and an ice cream stand.
Horsing Around Paris
- Carousels are a big part of Parisian life. You can ride on an extinct dodo bird or a dinosaur at the Jardin des Plantes or head for the Musée des Arts Forains to spin around on one of 14 antique carousels, including one that you activate by pedaling. The oldest merry-go-round is in the Jardin du Luxembourg, where riders can still spear metal rings like jousting knights of old. Perhaps the most elegant is the Montmartre two-story carousel, with its sleek steeds, fanciful boats and gilded trim.
Look! Up in the Sky!
- Paris is lovely in the spring, and a memorable way to see its wonders is from a slow-moving dirigible. Airship Paris provides an unforgettable journey in a 12-passenger cabin suspended beneath a modern-day blimp. Unlike an airplane, the zeppelin has panoramic windows, and passengers are encouraged to stand or walk about the cabin to get an even better view. Bring your camera to record the experience so friends back home can see just how cool you are and how cool Paris is. Reservations are taken at the first of the year, and flights take place from spring through summer.
Hôtel de Crillon and Ritz Paris
- Countless kings, queens, emperors, sheiks, dictators and celebrities from all walks of life have left their marks on both the Hôtel de Crillon and the Ritz Paris. Fans eagerly anticipate the 2015 conclusion of two-year long renovations taking place simultaneously at the crown jewels in Paris’ hotel scene. Overlooking Place de la Concorde, where Marie Antoinette lost her head, the architecturally splendid 18th century Crillon is the newest star of American-managed Rosewood Hotels. A brand new spa and two grand suites designed by Karl Lagerfeld are still under wraps. Four blocks away, the legendary Ritz was once the home of Coco Chanel, located beside the posh jewelry boutiques of fashionable Place Vendôme. Housing the celebrated Ritz Escoffier cooking school, other unique features are an underground swimming pool and spa, a tunnel for discreet access to the garage and the Hemingway Bar decorated with photographs taken by the author. The Imperial Suite, which has national monument status, was charging $20,000 per night in 2012 when renovations began. Updated room tariffs at both the Crillon and the Ritz are certain to be among Europe’s costliest.
Mandarin Oriental Paris
- Following its 2011 opening on the pricey shopping street, Rue Saint-Honoré, the Mandarin Oriental collection of awards grew quickly. Noted for its contemporary and spacious rooms in a city where traditional and small is common, the hotel’s distinctive restaurant, Sur Mesure, contributed by achieving a two-star Michelin award in its debut year. As of 2014, the website shows double rooms beginning at $1,750 per night, with an outlay of $20,000 to book one night in the second-largest suite. Or, spend more for the even larger triplex penthouse suite. A private elevator whisks guests to its rooftop gardens featuring views of the Eiffel Tower. At 4,381 square feet, this is now considered Paris’ most spectacular and most expensive suite. Feeling hungry? Plan on $550 for two to dine on Sur Mesure’s nine-course tasting menu, exclusive of wine.
Four Seasons George V
- Located just off the elegant Champs Elysées, three blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, the George V has been a stalwart among luxury hotel in Paris since its opening in 1928. Beautifully renovated in 2000, the hotel is no longer creating the stir it did at the time of that $125 million renovation, due to lots of activity in Paris’ five-star arena. Nonetheless, single occupancy for best price available on a web search for late 2014 dates begins at $1,600 per night. Based on demand, hotels give themselves flexibility to change the price on suites, so published prices can be elusive. As a benchmark, two Royal Suites of 2,630 square feet each, benefiting from private terraces but without city views, were selling at $24,550 a night in 2012.
- The Belle Etoile Royal Suite and Presidential Apartment compete with one another for top accolades at this member of the Dorchester Collection. For guests drawn to commanding views, the attention-getting seventh floor suite puts 360-degree quintessential Paris into your camera frame. See sightseeing boats on the River Seine pass Notre Dame, the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. Turn the other way for a look at the Opera House, Arc de Triomphe and the white domes of Sacré Coeur. Alternatively, contact Le Meurice to discuss pricing for three stately suites interconnected to create privacy in a first floor Presidential Apartment of 3,875 square feet. Bloomberg News reported that Eminem was charged $19,000 per night years ago, but that was probably after negotiations. Not to be missed is one of the world’s most beautiful dining rooms with the acclaimed king of cuisine, Alain Ducasse, as head chef. Many reports rank this three Michelin-starred restaurant as the world’s most expensive, with a three-course meal (served weeknights only) set at $510 per person — without wine.
- Be a tourist in your own town. Make a list of the attractions near home that you don’t visit in your day-to-day life. Put together a tour itinerary and visit local playhouses, museums, parks, sporting events and gardens. Take tours of historical buildings and visit farmers markets or unusual boutiques. Attend local events at your library or make a scavenger hunt. Plan your vacation around a local festival or fair and spend the day there. Create a passport for each of your family members that you can stamp as you visit each locale. Make it a multi-day vacation and let everyone camp out in the living room. Stay up late and read local stories out loud to each other.
- Be an exchange tourist. Arrange with a family in another state to trade homes for a week. Prepare an agenda for them of local attractions they can visit and leave a welcoming basket for them. Stay in their home for a week and visit the attractions near their home. Choose inexpensive but memorable attractions such as state parks, historical monuments, beaches or caves. Be sure to leave their home clean and in at least as good of shape as you found it.
- Go camping. Buy used camping supplies at yard sales and visit a state or national park. Spend your days hiking, bird watching, riding bikes or swimming. Gather the family around a campfire in the evening and tell ghost stories, find constellations in the sky or listen for night animals.
- Visit friends and family. Plan a car trip in which you spend a day or two with out-of-town family members you rarely see. Bring batches of cookies or homemade bread as hospitality gifts. Instead of dining out, suggest the family cook a meal together with everyone contributing a dish, even the young kids. Play family games, yard sports or cards and take lots of pictures.
- Take advantage of museum reciprocation programs. Buy memberships at your local museums and find out whether that membership will give you discounted access to museums in other cities. Visit those museums throughout the year.
- Instead of spending your family vacation in a pricey, and often not particularly kid-friendly, hotel, explore the great outdoors. Camping trips are a highly economical vacation option, as you don’t have to pay a premium for lodging, and you can cook most of your meals on an open flame instead of buying them from an expensive restaurant. As you plan your next family vacation, explore the parks in your immediate area, looking for one that offers camping sites. Reserve one of these sites, outfit your family with some tents, pack up some cookware and food, and test your outdoor skills.
- Don’t allow yourself to get nickeled and dimed your entire vacation. Instead, select an all-inclusive option. Many resorts or cruise ships offer all-inclusive vacations. On an all-inclusive getaway, all of your needs, from accommodations to food costs and sometimes even activities, are rolled into the cost of your trip package. By selecting an all-inclusive getaway, you can know upfront exactly how much the trip is going to cost you, and budget accordingly.
- While some families feel that they can’t afford much more than a weekend getaway, week-long rentals often prove more affordable than you would think. Often, if you rent a cabin or condo for a week you receive a discounted rate on the lodging. Also, many of the places available for week-long rental have in-house cooking facilities, allowing you to craft your own family meals instead of buying food out. Select a week-long rental in an area that offers an assortment of cheap or free activities, such as the beach where children can frolic in the surf or a remote wilderness area where the family can explore the woods.
Tours of History
- Hitting the historical sites on your vacation is an easy, and low-cost, way to get your kids interested in history. To plan your history-themed trip, gather information on historical sites in your area or in neighboring states. Create a plan for hitting these major historical landmarks.
Those looking for the safest Caribbean island vacations will be happy to know there are several vacation packages available to them, which are safe, time-tested ways to explore the Caribbean. If you want to be handled every step of the way, then look no further than the wealth of cruise and resort options which will ensure a safe stay in the Caribbean.
- Royal Caribbean cruises is a top choice for going on a safe family vacation in the Caribbean. On a Royal Caribbean cruise your family will enjoy excellent dining, comfortable accommodations, the fun-filled Adventure Ocean youth program and Broadway-style theatrical entertainment. The Adventure Ocean youth program aims to engage and educate kids of all ages with ocean-related activities. Teenagers can hang out at the “teens only” Fuel Nightclub and Living Room. Royal Caribbean offers family-friendly suites for up to sixteen people. And when it comes to dining, even the pickiest family members will find something they love—from Johnny Rocket’s burgers to ethnic cuisine. Royal Caribbean cruises visit many island destinations in the Caribbean, with shore excursions that can include safe, guided tours and fun activities such as snorkeling and swimming with dolphins.Royalcaribbean.com
- The always fun Disney company hosts an array of Disney-themed cruise vacation in the Caribbean. You will find an endless amount of fun activities that are safe for families including on-board Broadway-caliber musicals to deck parties featuring some of Disney’s favorite characters, and guided tours of Caribbean islands. Disney Cruise Line offer three themed restaurants complete with children’s menus and sure to delight any guest. Two pools are available on every ship—and there is one with a twisting slide. Disney also offers guided walking tours of each island, including Barbados and Martinique, as well as snorkeling and Disney-themed beach activities.disneycruise.disney.go.com
- Sandals offers all-inclusive Caribbean resort deals that are certainly safe, affordable, fun. Not only do they offer many packages at locations throughout the Caribbean, such as the Bahamas, Antigua, and St. Lucia, but they also offer luxurious safe and secure resort options in each of these places. Sandals also offers spa deals, which include facial, massages and even a tropical nail bar. They can offer wedding and honeymoon packages with resort specialists available to ensure your stay is memorable.Sandals.com
- When planning your romantic getaway to Fredericksburg, you have many options for accommodations. However, selecting one of the many romantic bed and breakfast establishments is a sure way to impress your spouse or partner.
Consider reserving one of the three rooms at A Place in Time Bed and Breakfast. This historic home is located three miles from Main Street and offers gourmet breakfasts, beautiful gardens, private entrances and a wrap around porch. If you prefer optimal privacy then 2 Wee Cottages has two cottages that each have their own screened porch and private hot tubs. Breakfast and an afternoon snack are just some of the personalized pampering you will receive at this establishment.
A Place in Time
614 S. Washington Street
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
2 Wee Cottages Bed and Breakfast
108 East Morse Street
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
- Fredericksburg is filled with wonderful shopping that includes more than 200 stores and the “widest Main Street in Texas,” according to fredericksburg-texas.com. Plan a romantic day of shopping for art, antiques or other one-of-a kind items that are of special interest to both of you.
Be sure to visit the General Store for a step back in time experience where you can find souvenirs, collectibles, toys, candy, nostalgic items and locally-made products. Another “must see” is Linens-N-More, where you can find more than 600 heirloom quilts for sale.
Fredericksburg General Store
143 E. Main Street
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
302 E. Main St.
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
- According to fredericksburg-texas.com, there are approximately 60 restaurants and clubs in Fredericksburg, so you can easily find the ideal spot for a romantic meal. In addition to the German offerings that Fredericksburg is known for, you can also find Asian, European, South American and Southwestern cuisine.
August E’s offers nouveau Texas cuisine in a contemporary setting with traditional continental menus featured at lunch and dinner along with artfully crafted sushi. Another local favorite is Friedhelm’s, which offers authentic Bavarian cuisine and steaks served in genuine “Gasthaus” dining rooms.
203 E. San Antonio
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn, Restaurant and Bar
905 W. Main Street
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
- When many people think of Texas, they do not consider it wine country. However, Texas is the fifth-leading wine-producing state in the United States with more than half of the wineries in Texas located in the Hill Country, according to Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce.
Two wineries that are the closest to downtown Fredericksburg are Chisholm Trail Winery and Fredericksburg Winery. The Chisholm Trail Winery is located nine miles west of Fredericksburg and offers wine tasting while overlooking Spring Creek Vineyards in addition to a picnicking area. And the Fredericksburg Winery located on Main Street makes wines on-site. It also offers tastings and was named one of the top three producers in Texas by USA Today.
Chisholm Trail Winery
2367 Usener Road
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
247 W. Main Street
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Old Turner Inn, Catalina Island
- Catalina Island is located off the coast of Southern California near Long Beach, and it’s long been respected as a romantic getaway destination. The island features numerous choices for accommodation, but the most romantic may be the bed and breakfast known as the Old Turner Inn. Each of the five rooms features its own bathroom; four have working fireplaces. A full warm breakfast is served every morning. While visiting Catalina Island, you can encounter both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, go horseback or bicycle riding together and dine on the beachfront.
Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs
- Consciously styled like a Mediterranean pensione, this destination provides not just a bed to sleep in but an immersive experience. From breakfast in the courtyard and Moroccan tea service in the afternoon to pool and spa diversions to complimentary bicycles with which to explore the desert oasis of Palm Springs, everything you need for a romantic retreat is provided. No wonder the resort proclaims itself one of the sexiest hotels in America. For all this indulgence, however, prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Hideaway Cottages, Napa
- Rent one of these private and picturesque cottages in the heart of California wine country. The management provides a continental breakfast tote each morning, so you can choose to dine in your room or take a romantic breakfast-time stroll together through two acres of garden landscapes instead. While you’re strolling, hit up the hot tubs or mineral springs. You can also visit nearby wineries for a tour. The cottages have no landline phone, so if you want to experience true romantic seclusion, turn off your cell phone and leave the laptop at home.
La Jolla Inn, La Jolla
- La Jolla is located right outside San Diego, and the La Jolla Inn is located right on the Pacific coast. Choose from 23 rooms, some with ocean views. The rooms feature charming handmade quilts on the bed and — importantly — air conditioning. The La Jolla Inn will also assist you in renting bikes, snorkels and boogie boards. Or just borrow a free beach towel and chair and take in the sun together.
Treebones Resort, Big Sur
- Big Sur contains some of the most dramatic landscapes in all of California, and that’s saying something. This central California region is rugged and more than a little removed from civilization, and local residents like it that way. Treebones Resort exemplifies the area’s spirit. Its accommodations consist entirely of a set of luxury yurts — fabric tents built upon wooden frames. Yurts are open to the starry night sky and feature a full pinewood plank floor and space heater plus a cozy double bed. Treebones likes to say that it specializes in “glamping” — a portmanteau of “glamor” and “camping.” In other words, you get a fascinating and definitely romantic combination of outdoorsy and luxurious in your amenities — shared bathrooms, exposure to the elements and lack of soundproofing, balanced with nearby amenities, including two-person hot tubs, a pool with a view, even a sushi bar. It’s a one-of-a-kind retreat for sure.
- The most obvious places to visit in Las Vegas are its numerous casinos, most of which are located on the Las Vegas strip. Besides the obligatory gaming rooms, these casinos also include hotel rooms, restaurants and shows. One of the most popular casinos is The Paris Las Vegas Hotel Casino, a re-creation of Paris boasting built-to-scale versions of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Another popular spot is The Mandalay Bay Hotel which has a beach and a tropical bay. The newest casino, The Los Angeles-themed Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino opened in 2007.
The Paris Las Vegas Hotel Casino
3655 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89104
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- The Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex is located just outside of Las Vegas. In March, NASCAR holds its Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series here, and the Las Vegas 350 truck race takes place in September. If speed is your thing, every Friday the Speedway permits non-professionals to drag race in what is known as the Midnight Mayhem series. Created to provide an alternative to illegal street racing, the series is quite popular with locals.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N.
Las Vegas, NV 89115
- Another activity for adrenaline junkies is the Stratosphere Tower, part of the Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Standing at 1,149 feet, it is the nation’s tallest observation tower. However, the tower is also home to a few rides that will thrill even the most daring. The X-Scream is a teeter-totter that hangs guests 866 feet above the ground. The Big Shot shoots guests upwards at 45 miles per hour until they are 1,081 feet high. Lastly, Insanity-The Ride takes the form of a mechanized arm that extends 64 feet from the Tower and twists riders 900 feet above the ground.
Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89104
- Scour the Internet for discounts or deals specific to Disneyland Paris. Websites dedicated to Disney-related vacations often list information about discount tickets or room packages, some of which may not be available offline. For example, MouseSavers.com and DLRPMagic.com frequently list discounts and tips for saving money while you are at the theme park. Search especially for websites that update regularly to improve your chances of finding a discount matching your needs, as many discounts are time-sensitive.
Prices are often listed in euros or British pounds, so use an online converter to quickly convert the fees to United States dollars. Some discounts are limited to residents of France or the United Kingdom; always check the restrictions listed before booking a package.
- Book the park tickets before you go. Disneyland Paris usually offers tickets at a reduced price when purchased in advance. You can also search other ticket resellers who often try to undercut the prices of competing sites for a last-minute deal.
- Call travel agents who specialize in or frequently book Disney vacations, especially international vacations to Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney. Travel agencies often have insight or tips about savings that aren’t public knowledge. Even if you don’t book a package directly through them, the agent should be able to list the latest applicable discounts or discuss cheaper international air travel options.
- Contact non-Disney hotels close to the theme park to see if they’re offering a special discount to visitors. Hotels that are independent of the Disney chain will sometimes offer a special room and ticket package or a deeper discount to lure tourists away from the more expensive hotels on Disney property. For example, Marriott’s Village d’lle-de-France (marriott.com) frequently offers discounts; a discount at the time of publication included 30 percent off the normal price for a room and tickets to the park. Thomas Cook Explorers’ Hotel (explorershotels.com) provides free shuttle service to and from the park and discounts for staying three nights or more or arriving on a Sunday.
- Visit the park during off-peak times. Prices increase during holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but you should also keep an eye on prices during French national holidays, such as Bastille Day on July 14 and Armistice Day on November 11, and school breaks. Conversely, weekdays that are not part of a holiday are often much quieter than weekends, and you may find a price drop to encourage visitors during these times.
- Book park tickets before you go. DisneylandParis.com usually offers tickets at a reduced price when you purchase in advance, as well as running special promotions periodically for visitors who choose to stay at a Disney or Disney-partnered hotel. As of the time of publication, when you purchase an adult hotel and ticket package, children under 7 receive the same package for free. If you book for a minimum of four days/three nights, you can stay five days/four nights.
- Decide on where to go for your vacation. Look at different locations and resorts. There are many all-inclusive resorts at different cities in Mexico so you’ll want to know which city you’d like to visit. Some of the more popular cities are Cancun, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta. Most major cities will have resorts that have all-inclusive resorts. You can also call a travel agent if you decide you want to leave it up to someone else.
- Once you find the resorts that offer all-inclusive packages, do a little comparison-shopping. First find out what each resort has to offer in terms of price, accommodations and entertainment. You’ll also want to find out what the all-inclusive prices entails. For instance, does it provide three meals per day? Are drinks included? These are all things you should look at before you pick a place based on cost alone. Entertainment is another thing you will want to check on. Some places have water parks and tours that you’ll want to see if there is an extra cost involved.
- Travel times can be the difference between your vacation being expensive or less expensive. There are times of the year that can be more affordable, usually being the less busy times of the year when people vacation. You can ask the resort when their cheaper rates are and see if it is within your travel period.
- Travel cost added to your budget can increase it by tenfold. Check with the resort to see if they add travel costs to the inclusive package. Some resorts do have the option of including your travel plans within the cost of the package so check to see which is more affordable for you. If you are flying, you will need to add that cost into your budget as well.
- Booking your inclusive package in Mexico will require you to put down a deposit. You should make sure that you have enough funds now to put down this deposit to ensure that your booking is being held for you. Most places will let you pay on the booking throughout the year as long as it is paid in full by the time of your vacation.
- Once you’ve found an all-inclusive resort that you like and can afford, go ahead and place your booking. This will guarantee that you spot won’t be given to someone else.
- Your choice of lodging affects the overall cost of your vacation no matter where you go. While some destinations are typically more expensive for hotel rooms, you can still get deals on your stay with a little planning. Travel during the off-season in the destination. For example, travelers are more likely to book a stay on a tropical island during the winter months to escape the cold. Visiting during the summer likely means lower rates.
Another option is to look beyond the typical hotel rooms for lodging. Try camping or renting a cabin near the destination. Check into vacation home rentals and split the cost with another family. Swapping homes is another option. HomeExchange.com and GoSwap.org are examples of sites that help you connect with other families who want to swap homes. You stay in the other family’s home in another destination for free while they stay in yours.
- The typical family destinations like Orlando typically cost more for everything from accommodations to entertainment and food. Instead of hitting major tourist destinations, try a less commercial area. A trip to a national park or other nature area gives the family a chance to get dirty while exploring the natural setting.
A farm stay is another affordable option that strays from the typical family vacation. Visitors stay on actual working farms while participating in farm life. The vacation accommodations and entertainment are wrapped into one cost for overall savings.
A local road trip allows you to explore your region without the costs of plane tickets. You can also make the trip shorter since you aren’t going as far from home. Pull out a map and look for cities or destinations that are within a day’s drive.
Board a train for a different approach to a family vacation. An Amtrak ticket is generally less expensive than a plane ticket, and the kids get the experience of crossing the countryside on a train. The trains offer sleeping cars if you plan a long trip.
- Take advantage of free activities in your destination. Check with the hotel, resort or campground where you’re staying to see if they offer free activities or tours. Look for tour companies in the area to explore their tour stops. Instead of paying for the tour, walk or drive around the city to see the spots on your own. Many cities offer discount tickets for attractions in the area. Look for racks of brochures and coupons in restaurants or shopping centers. You may also be able to buy discount cards or combination tickets for two or three local attractions at a reduced rate. If you vacation with other families, check out group discounts for various attractions.
- Plan your family trip in advance for the best savings options. You have longer to look for deals and plan your itinerary for greater savings. Packing your own snacks saves money no matter how you get to your destination. If possible, stay in a hotel room with a refrigerator so you can buy groceries for some of your meals. Carrying your own drinks also saves money since tourist destinations often inflate the cost of beverages.
- Research vacation options that offer plenty of teen-friendly options. Your teenager may act less resistant to the family vacation if she knows there are activities that will appeal or even cater specifically to her interests. Large family resort destinations often offer attractions and activities specifically for teens. For example, many of the Club Med Resorts, located all over the world, have a teen club space where teens can hang out on their own, dance or engage in games and other activities. Most major cruise lines also offer state-of-the-art areas for teens only that include a party or nightclub space, video game lounges, private sun decks and teen-friendly sport activities, such as wave simulators and rock climbing walls.
- Ask your teen for input on where to go. Taking your teen’s desires into consideration can make all the difference in his attitude toward the family vacation. You don’t have to do exactly what he wants, but if he really hates the cold and loves the beach, announcing a ski vacation isn’t likely to earn you any cool points. Once you have agreed upon a destination, encourage your teen to do some research on activities and restaurants in the area that might appeal to him so you can make time for it.
- Negotiate family time with your teen. Family time likely is not as important to your teen as it is to you, so compromise is the name of the game. Offer incentives for your teen to suck it up and at least try to have fun with her siblings. If your teen is willing to take the younger kids to the kiddie pool for a couple of hours, tell her she can stay up late at the resort’s teen club until it closes. If she agrees to go with the family on the “boring” sky tram cable car up a mountain, offer to go ziplining with her afterwards. Don’t be surprised if your teen actually starts to have fun engaging in family activities, however — even if she won’t admit it.
- Allow a friend to come along, if possible. Yes, it’s a family vacation, but if your teen is an only child, or your other kids are much younger, it can be tough for him to have fun without someone close to his age with similar interests. Have your teen choose a close friend whose parents you have a relationship with, and ask them well in advance so you can address logistics and any concerns they may have. You also want to factor the friend into the decision on where to vacation, as the additional person will add significantly to your budget. It may be best to invite friends along only for budget-friendly trips that are just a few hours away, unless the friend’s parents are willing to pay for their teen’s expenses.