How to Plan a Romantic Getaway to the Poconos

Romance in a marriage is essential for a long lasting relationship. The Pocono Mountains, located in Eastern Pennsylvania, are known for their romantic destinations. Beauty is bountiful there, and many resorts have begun catering to couples, whether on their honeymoon or just looking for a romantic getaway. There are many things to see and do in the Poconos, including shopping, horseback riding, white water rafting, skiing in the winter and hiking up beautiful trails to see the sights.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pack some romantic items to make the trip special. Candles, rose petals, candy and massage oil are all good ideas.
  5. 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.

Formula 1 Hotels in Paris

There are many attractions for visitors in the city of Paris.

Formula 1 hotels are located in many countries including France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and more. They offer inexpensive accommodations for travelers with room for two to four people to sleep per room. Pets are allowed in some locations for an additional fee. Formula 1 hotels offers guests breakfasts for a set price that varies depending on the location.

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Montmartre

    29 Rue du Docteur Babinski

    Paris, France 75018

    +33 891705350

    hotelformule1.com

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Montreuil

    290-302 Rue Etienne Marcel

    ZAC Eugène Barlain

    Bagnolet, France 93170

    +33 891705349

    hotelformule1.com

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Châtillon

    23 Ave de la Porte de Châtillon

    Paris, France 75014

    +33 891705229

    hotelformule1.com

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Enjoy a family vacation with your adult children to reconnect with them.
Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

How to Go on a Romantic Beach Vacation With a Boyfriend

How to Go on a Romantic Beach Vacation With a Boyfriend
Beach vacations are a great way to get some alone time with your boyfriend and take a break from the daily grind. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easier than ever to find the perfect getaway (and possible spot for your future destination wedding). Planning ahead is worth the effort, so that all you have to worry about when you get to your dream locale is slathering on the sunscreen and sliding on your shades!

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

  9. 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.
  10. 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.

How to Rent a Beach House

If you’re tired of staying at impersonal hotels, you may choose to rent a beach house on your next vacation. A rental home can be an attractive alternative if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

4 Reasons to Travel to Europe While You’re in College

Europe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Plus, it is the most varied. Not only do you have the chilly metropolises of the north, you also have the rustic countrysides of the south. When you are in college, traveling to Europe is a must. You will really get to experience life independently and you will get to connect with other young college students. When you come back, you will truly be enlightened and you will have a brand new perspective on life. Indeed, traveling in college will not only break up the monotony of college and it will prepare you for life after graduation. Not only that, but when you do graduate, you won’t have much time to traipse off to Europe, so it is better to travel while you can. Here are four reasons to travel to Europe while you’re in college.

  1. You Won’t Have the Same Freedom After You Graduate

After you are done with school, whether you went to Maryville University or USC, you will be focused on your career. You will be going to interviews and meeting with various businesses to try and secure an entry-level position. You will certainly not have the time or energy to travel to Europe. This is why you want to travel while you in college – when you have the freedom to do so.

  1. It is More Affordable to Travel When You areYounger

Indeed, when you are in college, not only will you have the freedom to travel, you will also be able to get away with spending less money. Later in life, if you want to go to Europe, you may have to spend more money for the creature comforts, like a hotel room. If you have kids or a partner, you will have to pay for their trip as well. In college, you may be able to travel as part of your tuition and curriculum. Also, you probably won’t mind staying in a small hostel.

  1. Traveling Will Help Open Up Opportunities

If you are interested in a particular career, traveling to Europe may open up opportunities for networking. You may meet someone who runs a business that you want to work for. You may also want to intern at a particular company. Whatever the case is, you will meet a lot of people – not only in the business sector – but also in the social sector. When you travel to Europe, you will meet people from all over the world that may become lifelong friends.

  1. You Will beAble to Gain Invaluable Experience

On top of everything, traveling to Europe will give you a lot of experience. You will earn experience dealing with different cultural customs, you will learn all of the intricacies of European life and you will learn how to live more independently. If you stick around your hometown or your college’s community, you may not be able to see the grander picture. It is truly inspiring to be able to experience other cultures and it will make you a much stronger person.

Why You Should Avoid Traveling After College

Traveling can change a person – it can make them see the world in a different way, it can change your perspectives and you may pick up a few words in a different language. However, when you have just graduated from college, traveling should not be in the cards. Indeed, the best time to travel is before college – usually during the summer – or during college. When you are in college, you can take advantage of the university’s travel abroad program. Most colleges, like USC, have these types of programs. Yet, when you graduate, it is time to kick your life into a new gear and you may not have all the resources you need to travel. Of course, these are only a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t travel after college. Here are some other reasons why you should avoid traveling after college.

You May Have a Limited Budget

When you travel after the college, you may have the weight of knowing that you have tuition to pay back. If you took out a big loan, you have to remain focused on getting a job and making a dent in that debt. If you have the money to take a big trip, you may want to make your creditors happy before you make yourself happy.

It is Time to Move Out of the Dorm

After you graduate, you may be busy moving out of your dorm. The last thing you want is to lose all your stuff because you were out of town for too long. If you went to Marylhurst Online, you may want to think about moving out of your college apartment. Once you graduate, it is really time to move on to bigger and greener pastures.

You May Be Busy Filling Out Applications

Another reason why you want to avoid traveling after college is because you will be busy filling out job applications. If you got your degree in a specific subject, you’ll want to start making inroads in that field. Ideally, you want to find job coaches and job fairs to increase your chances. If you are out of town, it may make it really difficult to actually nail something down.

An Opportunity May Come Knocking

If you are out of town, what happens if you get a phone call from an employer? In most cases, you will have a message. However, if you are out of the country, you may not get that message for a week or more. When you do get home, it may be too late and the job position may have been filled. It is much smarter to stick around – just in case you get that call.

You’ll Want to Get Your Bearings

On top of everything, when you graduate from college, you’ll really want to start getting your bearings. Once you are out in the world, you’ll want to know that your degree is secured and that you have everything it takes to start meeting with employers. In the end, traveling can actually complicate things and it make it a lot easier to continue a disorganized life – post-graduate life is all about organizing.

Culture, Comedy and Good Times in Kampala

Kampala has shown many faces to the outside world, but today it is overwhelmingly one of good times and a future-facing outlook. With a strong cultural calendar, a vibrant arts scene and plenty of dancing and good times, Kampala is a terrific place to stop for a party before heading off on a safari or trek.

traffic

Image Credit

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda with a population of 2.5 million people. Once famous for being the home of Idi Amin, this unique capital has completely turned its repressive past around and now enjoys the good things in life.

Visual Arts and Performance

The arts scene in Kampala is booming, especially when it comes to contemporary and visual art. Galleries such as Under Ground help celebrate the area’s homegrown talent. The Uganda National Theatre features a full calendar of dance, drama, music and film events. Those who want to enjoy the scene without spending money can pop by the outdoor open stage area, where jam sessions are free to enjoy. The Ndere Centre is the home of traditional music and dance.

Comedy

Comedy is also a booming scene in Kampala and can be enjoyed on the open stage at the National Theatre or in many other venues in the city. The female comedian Anne Kansiime is trailblazing a path for others to follow in an area of performance that has been largely underrepresented by women in East Africa until now.

Dancing and Drinking

Kampala is quickly becoming known as another world city that never sleeps, with plenty to do until dawn breaks. Popular nightclubs include Club Silk, Club Guvnor and Club Venom, all of which play a unique blend of east African, Nigerian and Western Pop Music. If you’re just after a drink or two, you can choose from Irish pubs such as Yasigi, hit one of the country’s first microbreweries, or head to a number of trendy bars including Iguana and Plot54.

Whether you are planning on a Uganda gorilla trekking trip with an established company such as http://www.steppestravel.co.uk/uganda, or heading off for some adrenalin sports, Kampala should certainly feature at the beginning or end of any trip.

This ever-changing city is today a place of happiness, cheer and culture with plenty to celebrate.

Rwanda may surprise you: here’s why

Over time, everyone with a past has the chance to shake off prior expectations and emerge with a surprising new persona. Rwanda manages to do just this with a range of positive changes that benefit all arms of society.

1

Image Credit

Despite being one of the world’s smallest nations, Rwanda continues to make an impact on travellers from across the world: here’s how.

National language has become English

The language Rwandans use to communicate with each other is called Kinyarwanda; however, as part of a bid to boost its ties with neighbouring English-speaking countries, Rwanda changed its national language to English from French in 2008. By becoming an English-speaking nation, Rwanda also strengthened its trade and business relationships with other countries that use English as their main native tongue.

Some older Rwandans still speak French, however, and it is worth knowing some key phrases. When visiting, make sure that you ask your travel representative, such as http://www.steppestravel.co.uk, which is likely to be the most common language in the area.

Plastic bag ban

You will be warned before crossing a Rwandan border that any plastic bags will be confiscated; in fact, Rwanda was the first country to introduce a ban on plastic bags and the result is quite striking. The landscape is remarkably clean and litter-free, avoiding the plastic bag-ridden countryside often associated with developing countries.

Community volunteer days

Once a month, all Rwandans complete a day of voluntary service to work on a range of public projects, such as home builds and school renovations. The day is referred to as ‘umaganda’, which means ‘contribution’ in Kinyarwanda. In addition to bettering the lives of a broad range of society, this remarkable occasion sets Rwanda apart as a driving force in bringing communities together.

Haven for mountain gorillas

Rwanda is home to many mountain gorillas, making it a favoured destination for gorilla trekking to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. Rwanda takes great pride in its conservation of these creatures and has a dedicated day when it invites nationals and international guests to take part in a naming ceremony for baby gorillas born in the previous year.

Rwanda is definitely a developing country of which the rest of the world should be taking note, from its eco-friendly attitude to its volunteer work.

Board a Taxi to Reach Your Destination in Quick Manner

Summary: the following article provides you detail information about a leading transportation service provider who is dedicated for quality services along with maximum comfort.

After the web got to be extended voyaging has turned into a great deal simpler as the vehicle business has thought of numerous approaches to make your travel a ton speedier and less demanding utilizing their sites. Presently, while you’re in your flight you would have the capacity to book an airplane terminal taxi service with a specific end goal to take you to your last travel destination and on top of everything; you’d have the capacity to locate the best taxi as far as service and additionally to estimate.

Beyond what many would consider possible before you travel, you ought to discover an ideal opportunity to lead a touch of examination online and investigate your taxi choices for when you arrive at your destination. There will be a lot of various services, and it’s hard to pick one, once you’ve come to the air terminal. There are a lot of things that you would have the capacity to do so as to help you spare cash with regards to an airplane terminal taxi service.

The principal thing that you ought to do is discover regardless of whether your destination lodging gives you free or perhaps paid pickup services. If they do, it would be savvy to utilize their services rather than an airplane terminal taxi service. A large portion of the best inns ensures that they offer pickup services as this enhances their business since individuals are continually searching for this component when they book a lodging nowadays.

Nowadays you’d have the capacity to discover coupons for almost anything. Hence, in case you’re searching for a shabby service that is likewise excellent, you might need to pay special mind to coupons on your most loved coupon destinations. The greater part of the Zurich airport transfer offer you rebates if you book online as when you do this current, it’s more probable that their services would utilize.

If they don’t offer you rebates online you might rather hold up to book them on the ground; at the same time, when you do this current, there’s a probability that you might pick another service. It is the reason on why the greater part of them offers you substantial rebates when you book their services on the web. There are individuals who arrive on the ground, investigate the best likely outcomes and after that instead of drawing nearer the Zurich airport transfer service; they book it online despite the fact that their only a couple feet far from the booking office – now that is shrewd! We are spending significant time in giving cutting edge extravagance chauffeured air terminal limo auto service at extremely sensible rates.

 

 

 

 

GenevaAirport Guide

There are numerous Geneva airport transfer companies that offer reliable and cheap transportation services so that you can reach your hotel, motel or resort as fast and as safe as possible.

Here are three of the transfer companies that you can choose from:

Cham-Van

Cham-Van offers transport from Geneva airport to Chamonix. You will have to fill a booking form before your arrival in Geneva and to enter the arrival time of your flight. If you also want transfer from the hotel or resort to the airport you also have to enter your departure time. The company’sdriver will wait for you with a Cham-Van welcome board in the Swiss side arrivals area of the GenevaAirport.

It will take less than 1 and a half hours to get toChamonix or to Les Houches/Servoz and 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to Argentiniere, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

Shuttle Direct

Shuttle Direct is another Geneva airport transfer company that can transport you into the city, your hotel or a ski resort. The transportation services offered by this company are reliable, affordable and easy. Shuttle Direct provides its customers with everything they need from private transfers, private taxis or buses to hotels and resorts such as Valmorel or Champery. Whether you’re visiting Geneva for pleasure or business, you can always rely on Shuttle Direct to get from the airport to your destination.

Happy Bus

Happy Bus offers transportation services from Geneva airport to the Swiss, Italian or French Alps, for small and large groups. You can choose from luxury or sporting airport transfers, with a Mercedes 4WD, Mercedes saloon, 16 seaterSprinter or 50 seater buses. You can travel to Geneva, Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg, Lyon and Milan. All drivers are D1 qualified professionals and all buses are equipped with tachographs so that you can have a safe trip and the highest level of comfort.

The cars can be fitted with baby and child seats for free and they carry snowboards and skis free of charge. Happy Buss offers transport for one person or for 60, in modern and safe vehicles.

No matter what Geneva airport transfer company you choose, make sure you carefully read and understand their terms and conditions and ask all the questions you need before you decide to accept their services. Always ask the phone number of your direct agent in case you cannot find your driver.

Discover Best of Europe at cheap business class fares

iflyfirstclassIt is always said that if there is heaven on earth, it’s Europe. It is almost every couples dream to have a romantic gateway to some part of Europe to enjoy the serene and picturesque beauty of the continent. Europe is one of the best destinations to plan a holiday ad they have a blend of best beaches, rich cultural heritage, summer festivals, flea markets, islands, resorts, etc. The most visited cities in Europe include France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. Let’s see what each of them has to offer.

France is currently the most visited country in the European continent. Paris which is the capital of France is the most visited city in the whole world. Paris is world famous due to its ancient and large museums including the Louvre where the Mona Lisa is kept. Paris is also well known for few of their most renowned monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Cathedral of the Notra Dam.

Where it comes to tourism in Germany, there are many famous tourist attractions but Berlin is the most famous city in Germany to visit. Berlin is the capital of the Germany and has various interesting tourist spots such as the Berlin wall, Branderburger, Potsdamer Platz, Tor and various other ancient monuments. You can take the first class flight to Frankfurt and enjoy the attractions.

Italy, as we all know, is extremely famous for its cuisine, fashion, awesome coast and beautiful mountains. Few major cities in Italy which tourists usually visit are Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence.

Spain the second most visited country in the world after Paris. Spain has a number of ancient cities and town and the major cities usually visited are Madrid and Barcelona. Spain has a lot of world heritage sites and they also organize various festivals and carnivals annually, the Tomatina festival being the most famous out of them.

London in the most visited city in the United Kingdom. As the other European countries, London also has a lot of ancient museums and monuments to offer. Along with cultural heritage, London is known to be women’s paradise as it is very well known for shopping too.

So, it’s time to bag your bags and plan a trip to your dream holiday in Europe. Many travel portals offer cheap business class to Europe packages and offers as per your convenience.

Well, if Europe doesn’t excite you, then Asia as a continent also has various countries which has a lot to offer. Few of the most visited countries in Asia include Hong Kong, China, India, Singapore and Thailand. Online portals now make it extremely easy to book tickets to these destinations from across the globe.

Contact:
980 N Michigan Ave #1587,
Chicago,
IL
60611
888 347 7817

facebooktwittergoogleplus

The Battle between the Hospitality Industry and Booking Websites Continues

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 eMerchantBroker.com, a hotelier can double or triple their profits. Take advantage of the changes in the hospitality industry by expanding your hotel’s payment options, while also enjoying the peace of mind that your hotel merchant account is being monitored 24 hours a day.

Beachfront Cottages in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

Fort Walton is home to several beaches.
Located less than three miles east of Fort Walton Beach, White Sand Vacation Rentals features nine uniquely decorated cottages, each offering a private pool and access to street-legal golf cart rentals. All cottages are located within one or two blocks of the Gulf of Mexico’s beaches. Popular activities located within walking distance of the cottages include swimming in the ocean, fishing and access to restaurants, bars and shops.

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
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Cashmere Coconut

  • 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
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

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
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Blue Marlin

  • 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
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Romantic Ideas for a Weekend Getaway

How did you and your mate spend the last weekend? Doing chores? Mowing the lawn? Rushing from the kids’ soccer game to a fast-food restaurant to the next obligation? Or did you steal away for a little fun and romance? Smart couples realize that if you want a strong relationship, it’s vital to schedule time together — and weekends provide the perfect opportunity for romance. Stoke the flames with these weekend getaway strategies.

Plan Ahead

  • (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.

Quirky Fun

  • (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).

Celebrate

  • (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.

Cool Stuff Around Paris

There is more to Paris than just the average tourist attractions.

The reputation of Paris is that of one of the most sophisticated and cultured cities on the planet, but it is also remarkably cool. Let your inner hipster be your guide as you ramble the streets in search of the unusual, the elegant, the well-hidden and the downright weird stuff that can be found in the City of Light.

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.

Winter Wonderland

  • 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.

The Most Expensive Hotels in Paris

Place Vendôme at twilight with the Ritz Paris on the left.
To appreciate the sublime beauty of Paris, a bulging wallet isn’t mandatory. In fact, many of the city’s loveliest sights won’t require reaching for even one euro. However, when it comes to hotels in palatial settings, complete with butler service and all the luxury bells and whistles that money can buy, it’s certainly not difficult to splurge in Paris. Some of the world’s most expensive hotels are among the City of Light’s options in the luxury category.

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.

Le Meurice

  • 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.

How to Take A Vacation With Little Or No Money

Explore the great outdoors for a vacation that won't break your budget.

Vacations build memories, strengthen family bonds and relieve the stress of everyday life. While luxury vacations may be the stuff that dreams are made of, financial reality often dictates that vacations be planned with budgets that make pup tents look palatial. Having little to no money to spend on a vacation doesn’t mean the fun has to be minimized. Fire up your creativity to make a low-budget vacation memorable and delightful for you and your family.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Great Family Vacations on a Budget

Getting away with your family doesn't have to break the bank.

When time comes to hit the road on a vacation with your family, consider some cost-effective options. Instead of emptying your wallet on one budget-busting vacation a year, plan several smaller and more budget-friendly getaways. Many of the less costly vacation options prove just as enticing to children and selecting one may mean that you and your family can afford to spend more down-time together throughout the year.

Camping Trips

  • 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.

All-Inclusive Options

  • 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.

Week-Long Rental

  • 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.

The Safest Caribbean Island Vacations

Caribbean beach

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

  • 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

Disney Cruises

  • 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

  • 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

Romantic Getaways in Fredericksburg, Texas

Add to the romance by staying in a quaint bed and breakfast.
The Texas Hill country is known for its beauty and charm. That is one reason why planning a trip to Fredericksburg, Texas makes it the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Founded by German families more than 150 years ago, Fredericksburg is about 70 miles west of the Texas state capitol in Austin. It is a city filled with a mix of old-world charm, delightful dining and modern conveniences

Accommodations

  • 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
    877-493-7132
    aplaceintimebandb.com

    2 Wee Cottages Bed and Breakfast
    108 East Morse Street
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    877-437-7739
    2weecottages.com

Shopping

  • 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
    830-990-4100
    fbgeneralstore.com

    Linens-N-More
    302 E. Main St.
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    800- 990-0775
    linens-n-more.com

Dining

  • 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.

    August E’s
    203 E. San Antonio
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    830-997-1585
    august-es.com

    Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn, Restaurant and Bar
    905 W. Main Street
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    830-997-6300
    friedhelmsbavarianinn.com

Wineries

  • 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
    877-990-2675
    chisholmtrailwinery.com

    Fredericksburg Winery
    247 W. Main Street
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    830-990-8747
    fbgwinery.com

Cheap Romantic Weekend Getaways in California

Catalina Island bills itself as the Island of Romance.

In general, California is not known as a budget travel destination. Still, when the urge strikes to take a weekend to get away from it all — whether to rekindle romance with your long-term partner or to indulge your senses with a new flame — with a little patience and research, you can find a romantic retreat to fit any budget. Look past the big cities Instead, opt for beaches off the beaten path, cabins amidst the redwoods or desert hideaways.

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.

How to Find the Best Deal for Disneyland Paris

In the heart of eastern France, Disneyland Paris (us.disneylandparis.com) hosts international visitors year-round; the park welcomes English-speaking tourists. The strength of the euro may seem a daunting obstacle for visitors outside the Eurozone who wish to explore the theme park, but you can take steps to ensure your trip is as cost-effective as it is enjoyable.

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

How to Book a Cheap All Inclusive Vacation in Mexico

All inclusive resorts are the way to go if you look at cost of staying at a non-inclusive resort. The average family will spend up to $60 per day on food and drinks alone. When you add in the additional money for your lodging the cost can be quite high.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Fun Family Vacations on a Budget

Alternative lodging options often save money.
A limited budget doesn’t mean you have to skip your vacation. A trip to a luxury resort or a dream Disney vacation may not fall within your budget, but several other affordable options may work just as well for creating family memories. Start by considering destinations close to home to save on transportation costs so you have more money for entertainment.

Lodging

  • 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.

Trip Ideas

  • 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.

Activities

  • 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.

Tips

  • 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.

How to Enjoy a Family Vacation With a Teen

Encourage your teen to connect with younger siblings during the family vacation.
For many teens, the thought of a family vacation — spending 24/7 with lame parents and annoying siblings — is akin to torture. Others like the idea of a vacation, but worry you’ll pick boring places and activities. If you’ve decided that your family is going on vacation no matter how resistant your teen is, it’s important that you consider his needs and wants so he won’t sulk the entire time. Getting your teenager’s input on where to go, ensuring there are plenty of teen-friendly activities and being flexible with family time just may turn his reluctance into excitement for the vacation.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Enjoy a family vacation with your adult children to reconnect with them.

Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Enjoy a family vacation with your adult children to reconnect with them.
Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Romantic Wedding Anniversary Vacations in Virginia Beach, VA

Write love letters in the sands of Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach comes alive during the warm months, when thousands of visitors stroll the three-mile-long boardwalk and throng the tourist attractions. If sun and sand spell romance for you and your partner, plan a summer visit. In the off-season, things quiet down and some shops close, but you’ll have more privacy. Rent a two-person surrey for a private tour of the boardwalk, stop at one of the open-air stages for free musical entertainment or hold hands under the table at the boardwalk Dairy Queen.

Exotic Adventures

  • Paddle your way around the flat water or ocean in a two-person kayak or canoe from Ocean Rentals. Contact them in advance and they’ll deliver the boat to your hotel. If you’re not comfortable with creating your own expedition, Adventure Kayak Tours will arrange a private tour, or you can paddle under the stars on their two-hour twilight adventure. Air America Parasail lets you sail above the waves at Virginia Beach with your partner at your side. A thousand feet of line tethers you to a speedboat as you sit suspended from a parasail. Back Bay Getaways provides a memorably “untethered” experience, offering surfing lessons away from the crowds on a remote beach.

Romantic Touches

  • Despite its decidedly unromantic name, Knuckles ‘N’ Knots day spa offers couples massage in a number of therapies as well as salon and aesthetic services. You and your partner can also get couples Swedish and deep tissue treatments lasting up to two hours at Tru Massage. Add-ons include facial massages, Reiki and aromatherapy. For a sunset cruise with an opportunity for dolphin watching, head to Dockside Seafood and Fishing Center. Budget-friendly 90-minute cruises depart Tuesday through Saturday during the warm months. If you’re the dining-and-dancing types, drive 25 miles to Norfolk for an evening on the Spirit of Norfolk cruise.

Candlelit Dining

  • Appetizers and main courses at Fire and Vine are pricey, but the restaurant also serves wood-fired pizza that those on a budget can enjoy. Share a dessert of molten chocolate cake, or sample one of the fine whiskeys. Steinhilber’s, in business since 1939, has an extensive wine list that includes a dozen Champagnes and sparkling wines. The menu leans heavily on seafood, with Oysters Rockefeller and jumbo lobster tails, but meat eaters can order a steak and baked potato. If you’re an oenophile, raise a glass at the more casual Lubo Wine Bar and Café, which carries more than 150 wines and nearly 50 beers. Enjoy your meal from their patio, loft or fireplace bistro.

Accommodating the Amorous

  • Two-room suites at the oceanfront Newcastle Motel have a whirlpool tub, private balcony and full kitchen. If you don’t need a kitchen, book one of their specialty king deluxe rooms with a private balcony, Jacuzzi, microwave oven and refrigerator. The Key West-themed Turtle Cay Resort offers rooms and suites with gas fireplaces, private balconies and full kitchens. Just off the boardwalk, the resort has two outdoor swimming pools, a nine-foot waterfall and two hot tubs. Away from the crowded beach, Church Point Manor, in an upscale residential neighborhood, has 11 rooms furnished with antiques. The fine dining restaurant in this bed and breakfast establishment adds Southern touches to French country fare.

How to Rent a Party House for a Day in Los Angeles

Sprawling estate
With its great weather and prime real estate, Los Angeles is the perfect city for home rentals. These rentals don’t necessarily just have to take the form of vacation homes, however, as many television-watchers can attest to the number of LA-area homes that gain media coverage and attention simply because they were used in a commercial or for a corporate-sponsored party. Though the idea of renting out a home for a party may sound like a great idea, some homework does need to be done. You should know exactly what the terms of the rental will be and, in exchange, the owner should know exactly how you plan on using the house.

Instructions

  1. Check Craiglist to see if any properties are available for as little as one day. These Los Angeles-area homes are usually listed under “Sublets/Temporary” or “Vacation Rentals.”
  2. Skim through the classified sections of the local papers, including the “Los Angeles Times,” “LA Weekly” and the “Los Angeles Daily News.” Many owners and real estate brokers will list properties that are available for rental. Many properties are mostly available for filming. However, if contacted directly you have a fair chance of being able to convince the owner that it would monetarily be worth it for him to receive a hefty fee for only one day’s use for a private party.
  3. Check the real estate sections of neighborhoods that are notorious for filming locations, reality television homes, and other concerts and parties that you come across on television. Malibu, Hollywood Hills and Harvard Heights are some of the most popular locations that often rent out large homes, beach front estates and private residences nestled into the hillside.
  4. Visit the iRent2U website. Register for the site and skim through the many listings of vacation homes that are for rent. The good thing about this site is that it covers a wide range of the city. You can start your search in Los Angeles and expand it out as far as you would like.
  5. Contact BEB World, an online rental agency that specializes in renting out homes to both film crews and individuals who want to rent a home for as little as one day or as much as a few months.
  6. Visit VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and select the city that you are looking to throw your event in. Skim the listings and contact the owners directly to inquire about the property. The good thing about this site is that it provides the exact properties, their locations, amenities and fees all on the site. This eliminates a lot of the back and forth that you would typically have to engage in with an owner or broker.
  7. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $500 to $4,000 for just the one-day rental. Realize, too, that your “one-day” may actually mean more like six to eight hours. You will likely not be able to occupy the residence over night. You may also have to leave a significant deposit to protect the homeowner from any damage his home incurs during your event. The deposit is usually dependent on the term’s of your contract.

Oceanfront Rentals in Bethany Beach

Rent a seaside room with a view in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Enjoy the view of breaking waves and the scent of seaside breezes in Bethany Beach, Delaware, from the porch of a cozy bed-and-breakfast or the private balcony of a hotel suite. If you’re bringing a large group or want your own kitchen, rent a furnished oceanfront home in this coastal Delaware resort town, which faces the Atlantic Ocean.

Rooms by the Sea

  • Addy Sea Bed & Breakfast, located just a few steps from the beach, has Victorian-style décor in a refurbished oceanfront mansion. In addition to a hot breakfast each day, this bed-and-breakfast offers afternoon tea with baked treats. Guests can borrow beach chairs and towels. Most one-bed and two-bed rooms have full or partial views of the ocean. Built in 2014, Bethany Beach Ocean Suites has one-bed and two-bed suites with private balconies. Larger suites have separate bedrooms. Choose a room with a direct or partial ocean view. This waterfront hotel property has an indoor restaurant with an outdoor dining terrace. The property has a swimming pool, on-site fitness center, full-service spa and business center.

Near the Beach

  • Meris Gardens Bethany is a bed-and-breakfast located four blocks from the beach. Guests are provided a free breakfast and happy hour snacks each day. Each of the one- and two-bed rooms has a private bathrooms, mini-fridge and microwave oven. The inn lends bikes to guests to ride to the beach. One mile from the beach, Holiday Inn Express Bethany Beach has one- and two-bed hotel rooms. Some are equipped with kitchenettes. A pool and fitness center are on the property. This hotel offers free continental breakfasts.

Real Estate Firm Rentals

  • Four real estate companies with offices in the Bethany Beach area rent vacation condos and houses. Long & Foster Real Estate rentals include a six-bedroom oceanfront home with a full-size kitchen and washer and dryer. Among properties for rent by Coldwell Banker are condominiums with one to three bedrooms at the oceanfront Sea Colony resort. Guests have access to the property’s swimming pools and tennis courts. Among the vacation rentals offered by Wilgus Associates is a three-level four-bedroom beach house with wraparound balconies. Some homes rented by Crowley Real Estate Associates are a block from the beach.

Vacation Rental Websites

  • Individual home and condominium owners also list vacation rentals with companies that operate the by-owner websites Flipkey.com, VRBO.com and HomeAway.com. To use VRBO, for example, the company recommends entering the desired destination and travel dates, and then narrowing your search with website filters. For example you can search by the number of bedrooms and proximity to the beach. The company suggests inquiring about three or more properties “to increase your chances of booking” a property for your desired dates.

Cheap Romantic Getaways in Florida

The Florida Keys stretch southward from the mainland.

A cheap, romantic getaway needn’t feel low-budget in Florida. Free night life and inexpensive lodging aren’t difficult to find if you look in the right places. You can camp in a remote corner of a national forest for free, or kick up your heels in the state’s most glamorous city. Miles and miles of sandy beaches on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico tempt visitors to fine-tune their tans. If you plan your trip for the off-season, you’ll typically see lower prices on accommodations, attractions and tours.

Get Away From it All

  • Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles from Florida’s Key West, is reached only by boat or seaplane. Sandy beaches, clear blue water, shipwrecks and coral reefs invite visitors to swim or snorkel year-round. Visitors can take a guided tour of Fort Jefferson, the spot where Samuel Mudd was imprisoned for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, or simply tour the fort and island on their own. Ferry boats have room for kayaks, so bring your boat for a romantic paddle to one of the more remote islands. Just south of the fort, a camping area has spots with views of the sunset and the starry night sky.

Solitude

  • While it’s only about an hour’s drive north of the hustle and bustle of Disney World in Orlando, Hontoon Island State Park is a quiet retreat on the St. Johns River. Hiking trails meander through the park past picnic areas, spots to launch canoes and kayaks and signs of early Native American presence. The park has a campground and boat camping spaces, but consider one of the reasonably-priced cabins for a bit more privacy. Cabins don’t have televisions or telephones, and visitors use a common bathhouse. Both canoe and bicycle rentals are available at Hontoon Island.

Up a Lazy River

  • The Steinhatchee River empties into the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s Big Bend region. During the July through September scallop season, visitors in search of the briny aphrodisiac don snorkels and fins and wade into the shallow Gulf waters. Around Valentine’s Day, locals celebrate fiddler crabs with a festival that includes music, tours of the river and a cook-off. Budget-friendly suites at the Steinhatchee River Inn come with Wi-Fi, cable television and, in some cases, full kitchens. Keep in mind that room rates in the Steinhatchee River area go up during the warm months.

Miami on the Cheap

  • Miami, from its art deco architecture to its sunny beaches, is a sexy city, but it can also be an expensive place for a getaway. While a room at the Biltmore doesn’t qualify as cheap, you can tour the hotel on Sunday afternoons for free as storytellers regale you and your sweetie with tales of the hotel’s celebrity guests. Head to the Little Havana section of the city for flamenco dancing at Casa Panza, or plan to visit the area on Cultural Fridays for an art and music festival. Freehand Miami is a contemporary hostel with private rooms and suites as well as a dorm. The owners make an effort to connect visitors with the city.

How to Plan a Surprise Romantic Getaway

Whisk your sweetheart away on a surprise romantic getaway. Plan time to reconnect and enjoy quiet time together away from the daily run around. A surprise getaway can be as simple as a long weekend or a full week escapade. Plan all the details well to make the surprise come to life.

How to Plan a Surprise Romantic Getaway

Whisk your sweetheart away on a surprise romantic getaway. Plan time to reconnect and enjoy quiet time together away from the daily run around. A surprise getaway can be as simple as a long weekend or a full week escapade. Plan all the details well to make the surprise come to life.

Other People Are Reading

  • How to Plan a Romantic Night With Your Husband
  • Making Clues for a Birthday Surprise Getaway

Instructions

  1. Plan getaway dates and times. Make plans to go away for a long weekend or schedule a longer quest. Be sure to plan around your schedule as well as your sweetie’s.
  2. Decide if you want to go somewhere exotic and far away or if you want to stay close to home. Create a travel plan that explores a new place or a special and memorable hideaway spot. Choose a special place that has significance to you and your partner, like where you first met, or where you had your first kiss. Maybe there is there a place that your sweetheart has always wanted to go.
  3. Make reservations. Call ahead to make travel and hotel reservations. Look for a quaint bed and breakfast, secluded cottage or cabin or if you want a more extravagant getaway, look into staying at a full resort and spa.
  4. Make arrangements with friends or family to care for children while you are away.
  5. Make arrangements for commitments. If you or your honey are committed to something during your time away such as school, church or work, be sure to contact someone to cover for you while you are away. Remember this is a surprise so cover your tracks so that your partner doesn’t know what you are up to.
  6. Research a few romantic activities you can do together while you are away. Plan for sites to see, horse back riding, a romantic picnic, massages or time by the pool or beach. Try to plan things that you may both enjoy and that you can spend time doing together.
  7. Plan a special time to reveal the surprise to your sweetheart. Take them out for a special dinner or lunch and give them the surprise in a creative and romantic way.

Cheap Romantic Getaways in Illinois

Rock Cut State Park has a rustic, romantic cabin.

Venture into Illinois’ verdant plains or to the banks of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for budget-friendly food and lodging prices. The state’s scenic byways and historic sites lend themselves to a romantic itinerary, but if your heart is set on a weekend in an urban area, you can woo your partner on a budget in the country’s third largest city. Even the Windy City can be an inexpensive romantic destination.

Roughing It Easy

  • If you and your partner are outdoors enthusiasts, take advantage of the budget-friendly Rent-A-Camps operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at 20 state parks. The rustic cabins come with beds, a table and chairs and a fire ring. Some cabins have electricity, and bathhouses are nearby. You supply the bedding, food and utensils. Paddle out to the middle of one of the lakes in Chain O’Lakes State Park in the northeastern part of the state to watch the sunset. Laze on the sandy beach at Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area in South-Central Illinois, or head west to hike hand-in-hand on the trails at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area.

Chicago on the Cheap

  • Chicago doesn’t have to be an expensive romantic getaway, and keeping costs down doesn’t require staying at a cheesy motel in the suburbs. Airbnb lists many properties under $100 a night, including places with lake views and private cottages close to transportation. Restaurants have happy hours and rooftop buffets, and a slice of pizza can be found on almost any corner. Time a romantic picnic in Millennium Park with one of their free events. Call ahead to Pastoral, a specialty wine and cheese shop, for a reasonably-priced picnic basket. Chicago SummerDance is a summer-long event held in Grant Park with live bands and free dance lessons.

Tour the Vineyards

  • Vineyards scattered across Illinois offer wine tastings, tours of the wineries and romantic spots for a quiet meal. Seven wine trails meander across the state. Blue Sky Vineyard, at the end of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, has two reasonably-priced suites furnished with antiques, including the Tuscany Romance suite with two balconies and one overlooking the wine bar. Guests can have a glass of the vineyard’s wine by a waterfall or tour the 12-acre property. Oxbow Bed and Breakfast near Pinckneyville is a good base of operations for touring the wine trails in the southern region of Illinois. The Oxbow Barn apartment serves as the bed and breakfast’s honeymoon suite.

Put the Top Down

  • Some find the lure of the open road irresistibly romantic, and following an itinerary along Route 66 adds layers of history and glamour. The route stretches from Chicago in the northeast to the Mississippi River in the southwest of Illinois. Make the historic Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington your base for exploring the Mother Road. When the huge Italianate home, built in 1869, was sold in 1873, the house had 17 rooms. The new owners added 18 more. A nearby section of Route 66 has been restored to its former glory with Burma Shave signs and classic billboards.

Cheap Weekend Romantic Getaways in New England

Enjoy an affordable romantic getaway in New England with your sweetheart.
Romanticism does not come on a price tag, it comes from the experience you share with your partner. To that end, there is no reason to spend thousands of your hard-earned dollars to make the other person happy; your presence should do just fine. The trick to finding cheaper prices for hotels and activities is to go when other people do not. Steer clear of school vacations and ultra-high seasons—such as the two weeks when the leaves are the brightest in New England—and the following suggestions will help create affordable lifelong memories.

Acadia National Park: Bluenose Inn & Spa

  • Toward the end of the summer, when public schools are back in session, make the winding trip up Route 1 in Maine to Acadia National Park. Here, you will find unparalleled natural beauty both in the mountainous forests and the cliff-ridden ocean. If you feel adventurous and aren’t the type of couple to just sit and relax for enjoyment, try belaying down the rocks with professional guidance and climbing back up. You will literally be supporting each other, exercising and experiencing something outside the norm, a combination for a great weekend. The Bluenose Inn & Spa in Bar Harbor, Maine, is the perfect accommodation for a weekend trip of this kind. They have a pool, the price is right and you cannot beat their 360-degree views atop the island.

    The Bluenose Inn & Spa
    90 Eden St.
    Bar Harbor, ME 04609
    207-288-3348
    800-445-4077 (toll free)
    barharborhotel.com

Rockport: Yankee Clipper Inn

  • Only an hour outside Boston you will find Rockport, Massachusetts. One city past Gloucester, Rockport is a quaint village with art galleries, restaurants and natural beauty. Take the trip in May—mid-week if you want absolute privacy—to kick off the summer in a romantic and memorable way. The Yankee Clipper Inn is directly on a cliff overlooking the ocean—perfect for dinner or brunch at one of their tables in the yard. Listen to the waves crash against the boulders lining the ocean at night and stroll around town during the day. For more active lifestyles, ask the concierge about kayaking, scuba diving and biking in the area.

    Yankee Clipper Inn
    127 Granite St.
    Rockport, MA 01966-1245
    978-546-0001
    800-545-3699 (toll free)
    yankeeclipperinn.com

Mount Washington Resort

  • Instead of heading to Vermont during foliage season when prices are at a peak, consider going to New Hampshire for the same colors but less crowds. Keep an eye on foliage reports and go during the first weekend before most people realize that they should be doing what you already are. At the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods you can rent a condo for much less than in Vermont and enjoy their world-class spa, outdoor whirlpool looking up at the mountains and dinner in nearby North Conway. Take a hike through the woods to see the changing leaves during sunrise before enjoying a brunch with your partner.

    Mount Washington Resort
    Route 302
    Bretton Woods, New Hampshire 03575
    603-278-1000
    brettonwoods.com

How to Plan a Romantic Getaway to Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island
Romance is better on a tropical island and Sanibel Island Florida will set the mood for love!

Getting There

  1. Select a flight which puts you on the island well before dark. The drive over the causeway is spectacular and you want to take advantage of every island sunset. (There is a toll; be in the center or right-hand lane). If you like, grab a few basic groceries on your way out (i.e. coffee, OJ, breakfast stuff, soft drinks, fruit, snacks) if you’re going to have a fridge. There are 3 groceries on Sanibel Island if you want to get onto the island as quickly as possible).
    The Happy Lane:  inbound!
  2. Drive onto the island and the beaches are straight ahead. Almost all the groceries, rental agencies, restaurants and bike rental places are to your right, however, on Periwinkle Way. It’s fun to have 2 bicycles, and both Billy’s and Finnimore’s will deliver right to your hotel or condo.
    Sanibel's bike path
  3. Hit the beach as soon as possible, to set the mood for romance. The sooner you get sand on your toes, the sooner you leave the real world behind…sunset is spectacular, especially from the west end of the island.
    Sunset on the islands
  4. Drive to Captiva Island late one day (15 minutes north, across a little bridge) that island faces due west and sunset is a nightly spectacular. But on Sanibel, you’ll get plenty of gorgeous color in the sky and reflecting on the sea. It’s all good……..and oh, so relaxing and romantic. Hear the gentle surf rolling into the beach, and receding……..and rolling in……….and……..
  5. Rent a car if you’re staying on Sanibel Island. You’ll want it to explore the island, as it’s over 12 miles long.

Where to Stay

  1. Use a rental agency if you want to rent a private home or condo. The advantages of this are a kitchen, more space and privacy. Homes on Sanibel have a one-month minimum, but condos can be rented by the week or possibly less. The island has several small inns and cottages, many of which have recently been redone and are very quaint. Most are concentrated on the island’s east and west ends; ask for a second floor room, if you’re in a two-story building, and you’ll be happier. If you want more amenities and a pool bar, opt for a condo-hotel room, which offers access to a pool and sometimes a pool bar. Or opt for full resort amenities, including tennis courts, recreation programs and on-site dining. A few resorts on Sanibel offer all this.
    The beach always beckons
  2. Use a helpful local message board to see what other visitors liked and didn’t like about where they stayed when they were on Sanibel. You can compare reviews, ask questions and get answers, and see lots of photos of the various properties around the islands. The web site which hosts the message board also has a Romance category, with more great ideas. www.bestofsanibelcaptiva.com/forum
    A helpful message board is here
  3. Remember to just focus on each other. Don’t over-plan and don’t come with expectations. Let the time together just unfold and you will have a wonderful, romantic island getaway.
  4. Choose a stand-alone cottage or an end unit for more privacy and less noise. Little children on their way to the beach are often excited and can be very noisy early in the morning! Ask for a room far from the elevator so you can sleep in if you want.
  5. Consider a place with at least a mini-kitchen so you can stock up on a few breakfast items and snack foods; this will let you lounge about in the morning and have a bite to eat in your room, without going out. Consider buying a rose or two, and delivering breakfast in bed to your special someone.

Romantic Dining

  1. Ask a local where to have dinner. They won’t steer you wrong. Linger as long as you like, and ask for a wine recommendation if you like vino.
  2. Have at least one dinner with a view of the Gulf, the most romantic setting. Don’t rush your dinner; take time to relax, and enjoy the view and each other.
  3. Pack a picnic for the beach; pick a spot away from others. Get some gourmet takeout from a deli on Periwinkle Way or Palm Ridge Road; select mouth-watering goodies you might not normally splurge on.
  4. Ask locals where you can have both great food and live music. Go for a spin on the dance floor before, during and after dinner, then linger with an after-dinner drink.
  5. Order a big plate of oysters at a local raw bar place and see if they are indeed aphrodisiacs!
  6. Enjoy an iced coffee or some ice cream atter a long bike ride. The island has more than one place to find both.
    The Bean coffee shop

Romantic Activities

  1. Book some time for her (or both of you) at a day spa. His-and-hers massages are always a good idea. Of course, any service will make your lady feel pampered. (Note: sandy beaches are hard on toenail polish but having buffed feet is always a good idea on a beach holiday)
    Chilling on the beach is hard to beat
  2. Bicycle Built for Two? Why not? Where else can you do something so silly, and so memorable? Plus island scenery is gorgeous.
  3. Of course, this goes without saying, but taking a nice long beach walk, hand in hand, is what’s it all about. Sanibel Island is world-renowned for its seashell-covered beaches
  4. Book a sunset sail. Departing from Captiva Island, sailboats go out nightly, headed for the Gulf of Mexico as the sun sets in the distance. The bow of the boat is the perfect place to propose.
  5. A local photographer will capture your special moments with a romantic beach portrait. Nothing says “romantic holiday” like a portrait taken at sunset – a keepsake you’ll both enjoy for years to come. There are several photography companies which will send a pro to you, and provide digital proofs.
  6. Buy her a special piece of jewelry to remind her of this trip. There are several wonderful island jewelers, and you’ll also find lots of really pretty (affordable) jewelry at little boutiques across the island. Treat her to something that catches her eye.

How to Plan a Romantic Getaway to the Poconos

Romance in a marriage is essential for a long lasting relationship. The Pocono Mountains, located in Eastern Pennsylvania, are known for their romantic destinations. Beauty is bountiful there, and many resorts have begun catering to couples, whether on their honeymoon or just looking for a romantic getaway. There are many things to see and do in the Poconos, including shopping, horseback riding, white water rafting, skiing in the winter and hiking up beautiful trails to see the sights.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pack some romantic items to make the trip special. Candles, rose petals, candy and massage oil are all good ideas.
  5. 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.

How to Watch the Bastille Day Parade in Paris

The magical city of Paris sparkles throughout the winter months.

Paris is known as the City of Light and each winter, the banks of the River Seine and the wondrous architecture that overlooks it is illuminated, transforming the hub into a city of fairy lights. This beautiful setting gives birth to an array of annual attractions made all the more pleasurable by Paris’ relatively dry and mild winter months.

Go Ice Skating

  • The front of the City Hall, Patinoire de L’Hotel de Ville, hosts Paris’ most popular open-air ice rink each winter. “A symbol of Christmas in Paris,” according to Time Out Magazine, the 15,000-square-foot rink sports smaller sections for those less steady on their skates. The Christmas market on the Champs-Elysees provides an outdoor ice rink along with rides and slides for the kids. Also on that street, the Grand Palais sports a rink beneath its stunning glass roof. Fun fact, according to Peter Smith Roofing, glass roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to its green effects on the home. Its 2014 rink is the largest constructed in France, measuring just under 20,000 square feet.

Visit Disneyland

  • Festive celebrations at Disneyland Paris run from November to January. The theme park is packed with magical mayhem sure to put a Christmas smile on kids’ faces. As of 2014, an sugar-and-spice float joins the massive annual parade hosted by Santa, Mickey and their Disney pals, all in the shade of a giant illuminated Christmas tree. Additional features include fireworks, the chance to meet Disney stars such as Minnie and Jack Skellington, and be photographed on Santa Claus’ knee.

See in the New Year

  • The Eiffel Tower is the world’s most visited paid monument and for the 41 years following its completion in 1889, was the tallest man-made structure on Earth. Its 1,060-foot frame shrinks up to 6 inches during the colder winter months. Twenty-thousand light bulbs adorn the tower and each night, they illuminate into a stunning, sparkling display, backed each New Year’s Eve by a special light show. Further New Year celebrations around the city include boat parties along the River Seine and champagne-filled street parties throughout the Champs-Elysees.

Experience the Christmas Markets

  • The first Christmas market stalls originated in 15th-century France in the region of Alsace and soon spread to other cities. From mid-November until early January, France’s grandest Christmas market graces Paris’ Champs-Elysees. In 2012, the stalls welcomed 16 million visitors over six weeks. Expect to find craft trade products, gifts and a range of regional produce. The Christmas Market at Place des Abbesses is famed for its handmade goods including jewelery, knitwear and wooden toys. Also on offer is a range of the finest regional French food. Additional winter markets include the historic Marche de Noel Place de la Republique and the 107,000-square-foot Marche de Noel de La Defense with 350 stalls.

How to Watch the Bastille Day Parade in Paris

How to Get a Free Breakfast at Las Vegas Hotels

A late-night, early morning, really, breakfast is a Vegas tradition for the Sin City party set. There are few better ways to recharge after a late night of partying or gambling. If you need to refuel for a new day, there are a number of ways to obtain a free breakfast at Las Vegas hotels.

Instructions

  1. Sign up for a players club card. Casinos use this card to track your gambling play and offer you complimentary items such as free meals, rooms or show tickets after you gamble enough. Be sure to present your card to the dealers when you sit down to gamble.
  2. Use your card whenever you play a game. If you prefer slots, insert the card into the reader on the machine to receive points for each spin of the reels. When you play a table game hand your card to the dealer. The casino will track how much you are gambling to give you complimentary, or comp, credit.
  3. Ask for a comp. This is important, because casinos generally do not give freebies unless you ask. Before you leave the table ask the pit boss if you have enough play on your card to receive a free breakfast. He will either give you the comp or tell you about how much more gambling you need before you are eligible. If you are a slot player, check at the players club desk and they can write you the comp if you have enough credit.
  4. Look for coupons. An alternative method of finding a free breakfast in Las Vegas is to search the local guides for discounts. Buy one, get one free coupons are fairly common in the city. Such publications are common in hotel lobbies and often contain coupons.
  5. Stay at a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast. Chain hotels such as Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn often offer free continental breakfasts as part of your stay.

Formula 1 Hotels in Paris

There are many attractions for visitors in the city of Paris.

Formula 1 hotels are located in many countries including France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and more. They offer inexpensive accommodations for travelers with room for two to four people to sleep per room. Pets are allowed in some locations for an additional fee. Formula 1 hotels offers guests breakfasts for a set price that varies depending on the location.

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Montmartre

    29 Rue du Docteur Babinski

    Paris, France 75018

    +33 891705350

    hotelformule1.com

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Montreuil

    290-302 Rue Etienne Marcel

    ZAC Eugène Barlain

    Bagnolet, France 93170

    +33 891705349

    hotelformule1.com

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.

    hotelF1 Paris

    Porte de Châtillon

    23 Ave de la Porte de Châtillon

    Paris, France 75014

    +33 891705229

    hotelformule1.com

How to Plan a Disney Vacation for a Large Family

Disney Castle
Disney theme parks are a vacation children dream of and parents want to give. There are many locations to choose from and you can personalize the trip to suit your needs and your budget. Disney package deals can be found and for less than you might think. Here are some tips on how to plan a Disney vacation for a large family, so you can enjoy as much of Disney as possible without sending you to the poor house. Disney is a wonderful place to take your family on vacation. Plan ahead and search around for the best deals.

Instructions

  1. Ask yourself if you want a relaxing getaway or do you want the excitement and thrills. It is quite possible you may want some of both.
  2. Decide who and how many are going with you. If you and your significant other are going, your itinerary will be vastly different from that of parents with a preschooler.
  3. Decide if you will use a travel agent or booking service. Many travel agents are able to secure lower airfares, hotel rates and attraction tickets at a reduced price from what the general public might play. You certainly can book all the arrangements yourself, but you may be missing out on some great packages or vacation deals.
  4. Plan your traveling arrangements. A large family will be costly, if you decide to fly. Of course, the rise in gas prices can be hard on a large family as well. Decide which means of travel is best suited for your family.
  5. Be aware that if you book a flight over 21 days in advance, you will get a substantially lower rate than if you book the week before you leave. To save some extra cash, try to find a flight that leaves on Tuesday or Wednesday. These are often the cheaper days to fly. If your children are older, you might also consider a red eye flight. Many times these flights can save you another 30 percent off a regular daytime airline ticket.
  6. Try to find a hotel located on a Disney property. There are some very substantial benefits to staying there. You will be provided transportation. The park has transportation to and from the hotels. Disney also has the Magic Express, which will take your bags from the airport to your room. It might, however, take up to four hours for you to receive them. A great bonus to a Disney property is how you can have your souvenirs delivered to your hotel room. This is a great way to keep from carrying toys and such from your children all over the park.
  7. Consider purchasing the Park Hopper Pass. You can enter all the parks, and some of the water ones, too. You can go from park to park at your leisure. If you buy the complete Disney pass, you will find your park passes, room keys, and credit card can be in one Disney card. It is a great way to keep from losing something.
  8. Check out additional special offers. Disney has many special offers. Extra Magic Hours allow a Disney hotel guest to enter the park after it is closed. This is great fun because you may not experience any lines for the rides. Dining plans are also available and usually will pay for themselves after the first meal.

Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

Not all vacations need to break the bank.

If you’re planning a trip for you and your family, chances are you’re working with a budget. If you haven’t been saving up and putting money aside for this trip, you’ll likely want to plan an affordable vacation that will remain memorable, as well. Take into consideration how far you’re willing to travel for your trip and what the weather will be like.

Road Trip

  • Take your family on a road trip. You don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel or worry about hotel amenities. In fact, your family won’t be thinking about the hotel at all. Plan a few key destinations–landmarks, famous natural wonders, or quirky sites (like the world’s biggest rubber band ball)—to keep your family engaged.

Rent a Cabin

  • Find an affordable cabin to rent for your family. You won’t have to worry about things to do—being so close to the outdoors will be enough. On your vacation you and your family can visit local parks, rent bikes or use your own to enjoy off-road trails, and enjoy barbecue for dinner and nights by the fireplace with s’mores. This trip will be an opportunity for you all to take a break from technology, television and connect with nature and the outdoors.

Dominican Republic

  • Known for being one of the cheapest Caribbean locations to travel to, the Dominican Republic has beautiful beaches and has plenty of all inclusive resorts to choose from. Look for some cheap vacation packages for your family to an all inclusive resort. Most resorts include amenities like windsurfing or sailing lessons, organized nightly events and open bars for the adults. Check in with the concierge desk when you arrive and ask about tours around the island—resorts will usually provide discounts on local tours and shuttles.

Theme Park

  • Take your family on a theme park vacation. If you decide to visit Disney, resist the temptation to stay in one of the extravagant resorts. There are many hotels located a few miles from the theme parks that will save you a ton of money. These hotels usually provide scheduled shuttles to and from the parks, as well. If Disney isn’t your style, plan a two day trip to a water park or roller coaster park. Some options include a Six Flags location, Dorney Park, and Busch Gardens. By splitting your park visit into two days, you won’t have to rush and you can enjoy the parks stress free.

How to Budget for a Family Vacation With Low Income

Budget for a Family Vacation With Low Income
While the money may be tight or traveling expenses can be high, it is possible to take vacations on a low budget. By traveling off season, staying at low cost hotels with continental breakfasts, or visiting national parks where you can take trails, your family can still spend quality and enjoyable time together. If the family works together by saving change, doing odd jobs and cutting back, a vacation can be planned in your family’s future.

Instructions

  1. Study your family’s income and budget. Find areas where you can cut back on such as extra clothing purchases, dining out, or haircuts.
  2. Save each dime, penny, nickel, or quarters that you get. Purchase or find a big glass jar where all of the family’s change can go. Drop all of your change into the jar each time you have it. Every penny will add up.
  3. Have your children chip in by doing chores or other small jobs around the neighborhood such as mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, walking dogs, and babysitting. If the children can help, they will feel like they are part of the project as well.
  4. Clip all the coupons and shop at all of the sales that you can find. Try coupon matching at your local retail store that offers it too. Try to save money on all grocery purchases. Create a weekly dinner menu and purchase only the items needed to prepare meals without buying a bunch of extra food and snacks.
  5. Look through vacation booklets and brochures. Study the places that you and your family would like to go. Plan for low cost hotel stays, eating out, and family activites and try visiting areas that have national parks where it is low costing or free to attend. Stay at hotels that offer continental breakfasts. Plan your family’s vacation onto paper and determine the exact costs of everything so your family will know how much is needed to be saved.

The Best All Inclusive Resorts for Children

A family vacation should add up to rest and relaxation for everyone, but with children’s endless energy supply, it can sometimes mean more commotion than real life. That’s why there are resorts that cater to children’s needs while making room for a little (quiet) grown-up time. The good ones have kids’ clubs. The best ones have great bars.

Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, Jamaica

  • Though there are Beaches resorts elsewhere in Jamaica and in Turks and Caicos, the Boscobel property is notable for its access to the Pirates Island waterpark and a majestic golf club. While you’re hitting the green for the day, or even getting the full Red Lane spa experience, leave your children at the supervised kids camp, where youngsters of all ages are kept very busy with water activities, cruises, karaoke, dance parties, tennis lessons and probably a visit by Sesame Street characters. The resort also features an Xbox 360 Games Garage, Microsoft’s answer to the arcade. The space has Xbox 360 systems each hooked up to flat-screen TVs. Golf clinics and scuba lessons are also available for kids. At the end of a busy day, families have five gourmet restaurants to choose from, and grown-ups can enjoy unlimited premium drinks at any of the six bars.

Paradisus Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

  • Adventurous families will appreciate the unspoiled natural playground of beachy Guanacaste. It’s full of national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. Ecotourism activities can be arranged through the resort, as well as horseback riding, fishing, diving and more. When mommy and daddy want some alone time on the golf course or at the Ahuia spa, they just need to use the Family Concierge service to book any of several supervised activities for the kids. Among them is a kids camp, painting lessons, bird watching, and sushi making. Parents can join in on the fun at any time. The whole family can also embark on canopy, bike or kayak tours together, as well as a sunset cruise. Each of the resort’s suites is expansive, ranging between 538 and 1,162 square feet, and boasting a separate living area. Just before bedtime, the Family Concierge can set up the in-suite whirlpool for “Bathtime Fun.”

Meliá Caribe Tropical All-Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort, Dominican Republic

  • Punta Cana was made for beach bums, which is an important part of this seaside resort’s experience. Set on a larger-than-life sandy beach, the Meliá Caribe Tropical is also located right next door to a golf course. On top of an in-house casino, the resort also boasts a Flintstones Land mini-club for the kids. Separated into different areas for different age groups, children can play at their leisure in the Flintstone-themed gardens or swimming pools while enjoying a host of supervised activities. Adolescents will no doubt appreciate the arcade, as well as teen-oriented activities like art workshops, karaoke, beach volleyball and water polo. The family that stays together can arrange snorkeling excursions, sunfish sailing, diving lessons or have a go at the climbing wall. At night, there are over a dozen restaurants to choose from, and there’s a theme party every weekend. Those who book the Royal Service benefit from a private check-in and an exclusive beach with a bar, among other goodies.

How to Make a FIrst Aid Kit for an Ocean Beach Vacation

If you are going on a vacation to an ocean beach, you should have a specialized first aid kit with you. Follow these simple directions to make a kit that will provide remedies for most situations that you might encounter at the beach.

Instructions

  1. Put in items for preventing and treating sun burns. Purchase waterproof sun screen with an SPF factor of at least 30 (50 is recommended for children of for anyone with fair skin). The beach is a prime place to get burned so don’t take any chances. For treating burns, put in A&D ointment and/or calamine lotion.
  2. Put in waterproof adhesive bandages, gauze pads, soap and antibiotic ointment so you can treat any small cuts or scrapes.
  3. Add at least two instant cold packs. These can be used for any swelling or pain, such as stings, burns, bruises, or joint sprains.
  4. Add items for treating jellyfish stings: vinegar, meat tenderizer and antihistamine tablets. Vinegar is used to treat jellyfish and box jelly stings (but not Man-O-War stings). The vinegar neutralizes any remaining stingers in tentacles that have not already discharged. Meat tenderizer is recommended for Man-O-War stings, instead of vinegar. The antihistamine tablets will relieve itching and will also prevent or slow down any allergic reaction. The antihistamine tablets can also be used for other situations that involve allergic reactions or itching of the skin, such as food allergies or mosquito bites.
  5. Add a pair of pointed tweezers and a pair of blunt tweezers for plucking out stingers or spines from creatures such as sea urchins, or for removing common splinters.
  6. Don’t forget to put in some information about how to use all these items. Include a basic first aid book, plus some instructions for how to treat stings by ocean creatures such as jellyfish and sea urchins.
  7. Last, but not least, don’t forget to put in ibuprofen (“Advil”) and acetaminophen (“Tylenol”). Use ibuprofen for swelling or pain and acetaminophen for pain or fever.

Family Beach Vacation Packing List

Rubber, plastic or waterproof flipflops or sandals are the best choice in beach footwear.

Planning a successful family beach vacation requires a checklist for for fun in the sun and surf. There are many factors to consider when deciding what to pack such as the location and climate of the beach, activities, age of the children, length of trip and budget. When making a list, the following needs to be included: essential items, beach clothes, beach items, beach toys and toiletries.

Essential Items

  • Money — cash, credit cards and traveler checks along with numbers of the financial institutions for credit cards and traveler checks in case they get lost or stolen. It is also a good idea to have two sets of car and house keys for the same reason. Other necessary items include medical insurance cards, prescriptions and medicines, maps, tickets, reservations and first aid kit. A beach bag can be used to store all the items brought to the beach. Zip lock bags are good for storing items you don’t want to get wet when swimming but are afraid might get stolen if left out. They are also good for collecting seashells and keeping snacks in.

Beach Clothes

  • Beach clothing should consist of sandals or water shoes, sun hats and/or baseball caps, swimsuits or swim trunks (at least 2 for each person) and beach cover-ups. Swimwear with UV protection is recommended for infants and toddlers. In addition to beach wear, a complete change of clothes for each person for every vacation day should be packed, unless there is a laundry facility in the resort, in this case, less clothing may be needed. For cooler climates, a light weight jacket and long pants should also be included in the items packed.

Beach Items

  • Sunglasses, waterproof sunscreen (SPF of 30+) for kids and adults, lip balm, insect repellent, goggles, waterproof camera, after-sun lotion, aloe, beach towels (at least two per person) and a large blanket to spread out on the beach. An umbrella or beach tent is recommended to shade small children. Most resorts provide rentals for chairs and umbrellas. Also another important item to pack is flotation devices for young children. In addition, swim diapers are needed for infants and toddlers.

Beach Toys

  • Buckets and shovels, sand molds, Frisbees, beach balls, books, kites and boogie boards are some items that can create hours of fun on the beach.

Toiletries

  • When it comes to toiletries, they are pretty much the same with any vacation. They include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, deodorant, combs, brushes, shampoo and conditioner, cosmetics, shaving supplies, nail clippers, tweezers and cotton balls. If traveling with a baby, burp cloths, bibs, disposable diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, bathing supplies, lotion, pacifiers, blankets, baby food, formula, utensils and a collapsible stroller may also need to be added to the list.

How to Rent a Vacation Home on the Beach in Florida

Many Florida vacation homes sit close to watersport activities.
Florida had more than 80 million tourists in 2009, according to Visit Florida. People often visit certain cities within the state, such as Daytona Beach, because of their beaches. Many places in Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Miami, Tampa and Tallahassee, offer water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, swimming, jet skiing, canoeing or kayaking. Florida offers a variety of houses on the beach to stay in with your family or friends during a vacation.

Vacation House Rentals

  1. Decide on the city in which you want to rent a house on the beach and the time in which you plan to rent it. During certain times of the year, such as March and April, you may have a harder time renting a house in certain cities, such as Daytona Beach, Miami or Key West. If you want to rent a vacation house with a group of friends from college, consider popular destinations such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami, which feature an assortment of bars and clubs. For vacations with your children, look at houses in family-friendly places such as Merritt Island, Seagrove Beach, Cape Canaveral, Clearwater Beach, Vero Beach or Port St. Lucie.
  2. Use the Internet to research what different areas in Florida have to offer. Use chamber of commerce or convention and visitors bureau websites to try to find out about people or companies that regularly rent out vacation homes and different area attractions. You may also want to talk to real estate agents in Florida to find out about rental units in certain areas and to compare prices.
  3. Ask friends or family members about vacation homes on Florida’s beaches, if they have recently gone to or regularly travel to Florida, to find out if they know someone who will rent out their private beach residence to you. You may get a better deal going through friends and family, but you will likely have to deal with a homeowner instead of an established company.
  4. Narrow down your search based on factors such as price, location, housing size or amenities or nearby attractions. Compare what two or more houses have to offer, looking at descriptions and pictures if possible. Vacation homes in some areas, such as New Smyrna Beach or St. Augustine, often cost less than those in cities such as Naples or Key Largo. If you are staying for more than a week, find a vacation house with a fully-equipped kitchen and a living room with amenities such as a TV or a sofa. For a vacation with kids, consider vacation homes with pools, hot tubs or play sets.
  5. Contact people or businesses renting out vacation houses, by phone or email, to talk about renting their units or to find out more information about the beach houses before making a final decision. Discuss topics such as price and rules and regulations before renting out a vacation house. You likely will have to sign a rental contact and put down a security deposit to rent a house, especially if you are dealing with a company. Understand and negotiate on who pays for certain bills, such as utility, gas, heating, cable and Internet service bills, before renting a house, according to Investopedia.

How to Go on a Romantic Beach Vacation With a Boyfriend

How to Go on a Romantic Beach Vacation With a Boyfriend

Beach vacations are a great way to get some alone time with your boyfriend and take a break from the daily grind. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easier than ever to find the perfect getaway (and possible spot for your future destination wedding). Planning ahead is worth the effort, so that all you have to worry about when you get to your dream locale is slathering on the sunscreen and sliding on your shades!

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

  9. 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.
  10. 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.

How to Find a Last Minute Vacation Rental

Find a Last Minute Vacation Rental

You’ve just found out your office will be closed for construction next week, and your kids are out of school for a teacher’s conference. It’s the perfect unexpected opportunity for a family get-away, but how will you book a vacation home at the last minute? Don’t worry. With these helpful tips, you can find that beach home, condo or cabin for rent, and you won’t have to pay a bundle for booking at the last minute!

Instructions

  1. Check out vacation rental websites for last minute deals. When a landlord gets a last minute cancellation, she may be willing to talk turkey on price just to fill an empty gap in the schedule.
  2. Call area colleges to see if any of their faculty has left an empty rental behind when they left on sabbatical or to teach over the summer at another school.
  3. Find the local classifieds for the area you’re looking in by going online and looking up the newspapers in the town. You might just luck out with an owner listing that’s still available.
  4. Call the real estate and vacation rental agents in the area to find out if there are any last minute vacancies available due to cancellation. Sometimes there may be new houses that haven’t been put into the inventory yet, so ask about that, as well.
  5. Realize that when you’re booking last minute you may have to settle for less than you would ideally want. Be willing to take the house that’s three blocks from the ocean instead of right on the beach. The exercise will do you good!

How to Rent a Beach House in Miami, Florida

Rent a Beach House in Miami, Florida

Renting a beach house or oceanfront condo in Miami is a great alternative to an expensive stay at a hotel. By renting a house or condo, you have more flexibility and freedom to add the comforts of home to your vacation while enjoying everything under the sun Miami has to offer.

Instructions

  1. Before you book your flight, research the availability of vacation rental properties in the greater Miami area. Include oceanfront condos in your search, as well as properties that are also within walking distance to the beaches. Look at residential neighborhoods outside Miami Beach. In the greater Miami area, cities like Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, North Bay Village, Surfside and Sunny Isles Beach have plenty of waterfront properties offering vacation rentals.
  2. Select three to four properties that you are interested in based on your vacation budget and needs, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a family of four, for example. If you are considering an oceanfront condo, ask about amenities such as spa and gym offerings, boat rentals and charters and concierge service.
  3. While contacting a local realtor will certainly make it easier to find the right beach house or oceanfront condo for your vacation, you can review rental properties online at such sites as Miami Beach Vacation Rental House, which offers relevant information on available properties including price, location and photo galleries.
  4. Decide whether you want to travel during the high season, which runs from October through March, or during the low season, from April through September. Keep in mind that you will pay higher rental prices in the high season. Secure your rental by paying a deposit.

Pet Friendly Beach House Rentals on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi

The Mississippi Gulf Coast's scenic shoreline is a beautiful place to vacation.
The Gulf Coast of Mississippi overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi Sound and miles of coastal beaches. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area on August 29, 2005, some of the beach house rental properties have been rebuilt, and unique waterfront homes, many of which are pet friendly, are available for people vacationing in this beautiful shoreline setting. GulfCoastNews.com reports that the Katrina-damaged Beach Drive in Bay St. Louis has been restored and as of 2010, “Biloxi’s historic lighthouse … a symbol of the Coast’s recovery effort … was relit.”

Waveland Vacation House

  • The Waveland vacation house called “The Red Rooster” has six bedrooms and sleeps 12. It is in a private neighborhood in Waveland, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast within walking distance of the beach. This newly renovated home has a private pool, a deck and a hot tub. Pets are allowed. The rental rates and pet fees vary by season and must be discussed with the owner when you call to inquire about the house.

    David L. Segrave (owner)
    228-467-5616
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p233319

    Many beach houses are near the beach where you can walk with your dog.
    Many beach houses are near the beach where you can walk with your dog.

Gulf Breeze Cottage

  • The Gulf Breeze Cottage is decorated with beach decor and peaceful colors. It has three bedrooms that sleep eight and two bathrooms, an open floor plan and a view of the gulf from the living room. The living room has a large screen TV and entertainment center, and the whole house has wireless Internet and air conditioning. The house is near golf courses and one block from white sandy beaches and a park with tennis courts and a playground. Small pets are welcome with approval and a $70 to $100 pet fee.

    Donna Rowland (owner)
    423-595-6850
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p274908

    Small pets are welcome at the Gulf Breeze Cottage, one block from the beach.
    Small pets are welcome at the Gulf Breeze Cottage, one block from the beach.

The Green Woods Stables Lodge

  • The Green Woods Stables Lodge is a charming farmhouse in a pastoral setting on the edge of 70 acres of pastureland with old oaks and pecan trees and a garden. The house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, air conditioning, a wood-burning stove, antique furniture and cable TV. The grounds offer a nature walk, pond fishing and trails for horse riding. It is located close to shopping, restaurants and casinos. Pets are welcome with a $105 pet fee per week.

    Mary (owner)
    228-297 5557
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p182112

    The Green Woods Stable Lodge on the Gulf Coast is in a pastoral setting.
    The Green Woods Stable Lodge on the Gulf Coast is in a pastoral setting.

Boardwalk Reality: Bay Dreams and The Big Lazy

  • Boardwalk Reality manages dog-friendly beach houses on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Non-refundable pet fees are charged, but the fee varies from house to house. Cats are not allowed, and all dogs must be on a flea prevention program, have all required vaccinations, be well-behaved and on leash in compliance with town regulations. Rental rates vary, depending on the house, season, number of days you stay and whether any specials are being offered.

    Two of the available beach houses are:
    Bay Dreams, a waterfront home with a large deck and an expansive view of Mississippi Sound. It is a short walk to Gulf Beach, and its bay frontage offers a sandy shore, a pier with boat dock and a sun deck. This beach house sleeps nine, has four bedrooms, two baths, a well-equipped kitchen and Internet access. The house is pet friendly with a two pet limit and a fee of $100 per pet.

    The Big Lazy is a cozy bayside beach house with views of the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound. The vacation home sleeps eight, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, cable TV, plus a Foosball table. This house is pet-friendly and charges a $50 pet fee per pet.

    Boardwalk Realty
    1804 Bienville Blvd
    Dauphin Island, AL 36528

    877-861-3992
    boardwalk-realty.com/rentals/pet%20friendly.htm

Bay Saint Louis Beach House

  • This Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi Gulf Coast beach house is centrally located, near the beach and restaurants, and it is only a 40-minute drive from New Orleans. This is an older, two-story home with lots of character, high ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace in the well-equipped kitchen, porches for relaxing on and a swing underneath lush green foliage. The house sleeps eight and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It offers a large dog-friendly yard with lush landscaping, and pets of all sizes are welcome. The pet fee is $200 per pet.

    Fred (owner)
    228-380-2525
    vacationhomerentals.com/vacation-rentals/Bay-Saint-Louis-Mississippi-vacation-rental-home-proID-43995.html

    The Bay Saint Louis beach house offers a large dog-friendly yard.
    The Bay Saint Louis beach house offers a large dog-friendly yard.

How to Prepare a Rental Beach House

How to Prepare a Rental Beach House. Owning a beach house and earning rental income from it helps offset the cost of a second home. Although you spend time in the beach house, your plan to furnish the rental needs to cover areas such as expense, replacements, comfort to draw return rentals and durability.

Instructions

  1. Look at other beach rentals in your price range and see what others provide.
  2. Make a list of beach rental features for houses you’ve stayed in over the years. Furnish to please the kind of renter you once were.
  3. Start with the kitchen. Select pots and pans, one of each size, that are easy to clean. Include at least one casserole dish and some mixing bowls. Include a large pot for boiling lobsters or corn. Include dishes, glasses and cutlery to serve at least ten. Remember kitchen utensils, including a corkscrew. Include at least two good sharp knives.
  4. Select furniture for the living space. You want attractive and comfortable pieces that are built for durability and easy cleaning. Don’t spend big bucks on furniture. Shop for pieces that are well made and inexpensive.
  5. Choose a kitchen or dining table that seats at least eight. Make sure there are enough chairs. Opt for sturdy and inexpensive ones.
  6. Purchase comfortable mattresses that can last a long time. Spend a bit more money here. A great sleep can bring renters back year after year.
  7. Pick out some master bedroom furniture, but you don’t need a lot of pieces. Two bedside tables, good reading lamps and a bureau are all you need.
  8. Concentrate on good mattresses and basic furniture in the other bedrooms. There’s no need to buy fancy headboards for these rooms.