Going to Orlando and its Parks

It’s time to make a journey and the destination this time is called Orlando, a space full of fun that attracts millions of people during the whole year due to it’s famous parks, places like Disney World, Universal Studio or the Cabo Discovery will keep you busy all day long. Start by looking for a More »

Helsinki City Guide

Helsinki, recently awarded as ‘City of Design’ by UNESCO, is the capital of Finland. Unlike the Nordic winter, the temperature of this city is quite livable, and life continues throughout the year. It has four seasons, and the temperatures vary from 32 degrees in the summer and about -20 degrees in the winter. With the More »

Tricking Out Your Jeep

Tricking out your Jeep is easier than you might think. No matter your budget, there are a number of accessories and parts that you can purchase to trick out your Jeep the way you want it. From roof racks such as the Jeep jk roof rack, lighting, flares, engines, etc. you can have the Jeep More »

Tag Archives: family travel

Best fall beach festivals for families

Summer may be over, but it’s still a good time to visit a beach. Think: Less crowds, cheaper hotels and special events all paired with gorgeous fall weather and a scenic backdrop. Beaches know they are still great in the fall, and to prove it, many host fall festivals and events to entice families to their endless summers. Here are a few we love.

Sea Witch Festival: Rehoboth Beach, Del.
The 23rd annual Sea Witch Halloween Fiddler’s Festival takes place on family-friendly Rehoboth Beach, Oct. 26 to 28. Kids can enjoy both Halloween-themed fun and activities, including a Sea Witch hunt, Pirate Treasure Challenge, magic shows, Pirate Adventures, a costume parade and free outdoor movies in the park at dark. As a Fiddler’s Festival, fiddles and banjos will be providing foot-stomping music. On Saturday, kids are invited to participate in Old Fashioned Beach Games to receive ribbons for winning games like the Beach Ball Roll, Hula Twist Off and Pumpkin Dash.


National Shrimp Festival: Gulf Shores, Ala.
Visit the Gulf Shores Oct. 11 through 14 for its 41st annual fall event, the National Shrimp Festival. More than 250 vendors will be on hand to sell arts and crafts, as well as, what else? Shrimp! Two stages provide continuous live entertainment, and the Children’s Activity Village will keep little ones busy with arts and crafts of their own. There is even a sand sculpture contest — may the best shrimp win!

Harbor Seafood Festival: Santa Barbara, Calif.
A relatively young festival when compared with the others on this list, the 11th Annual Santa Barbara Harbor Seafood Festival is a chance for West Coasters to hit the beach in October. On Oct. 13, local seafood vendors and fishermen will bring on a seafood feast filled with lobster, crab, chowder, gumbo and more. Arts and crafts vendors will also be displaying their wares, as families tour tall ships, enjoy free boat rides and dockside tours, and get close to sea life in maritime exhibits and touch tanks. Live music rounds out the day-long event.

Endless Summer Festival: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
North Myrtle Beach celebrates the end of summer by enjoying its seemingly never-ending warm weather on its sandy shores. This year, on Saturday, Oct. 27, the festival will offer free live entertainment from a stage on Main Street, along with carnival rides, a children’s play area, arts and crafts, a car show and plenty of festival food. The entire event is free and takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Harvestfest Kidsfest: Coastal Maine
Coastal Maine’s York Beach is home to this 28th fall festival — this one featuring a Kidsfest just for kids to enjoy games, entertainment, crafts, hayrides and a special Saturday night pumpkin stroll. The event, which takes place Oct. 13 and 14, provides plenty of adult festivities as well. Live bands, food and beverage vendors, crafters and a marketplace fill the weekend with fun.

Cranberry Festival: Nantucket, Mass.
Ride the ferry from Cape Cod to Nantucket to witness the island’s intimate, seafaring charm and to enjoy the 10th annual Cranberry Festival. The event takes place Saturday, Oct. 6, featuring kids’ events, hayrides, sheep shearing, wool spinning and sheep herding demonstrations. Of course, cranberry dishes will be featured, alongside homemade clam chowder and other festival food.

See the complete list on FamilyVacationCritic.com.

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Teaching kids to take better travel photos

Nearly everyone has a digital camera these days. They’ve gotten so inexpensive that there’s hardly any barrier to bringing up a budding photographer. With photo tours in many cities — even in national parks — there are many opportunities to teach children how to take good digital photos, giving them a greater appreciation of their surroundings, particularly when they travel.

“Kids see the world from an entirely different perspective than adults do, and the shots they get are very different from what we get from our higher vantage points,” says Jody Halsted, editor of Family Rambling, a family travel blog. She also noted that simply stepping back and letting kids shoot is an easy way to further a child’s interest in photography and encourage better photos.


With digital cameras, kids can’t take too many pictures. Encourage your children to experiment and have fun. Shoot subjects from different perspectives. Have them get high, get low, get up close, step back, even if you know the shots won’t look great. “Bad shots are learning tools. They open the door to sharing tips on how to compose better shots,” says Jacquie Whitt, an adventure travel guide.

To help young shutterbugs take their best travel shots, here are some top tips from the pros:

Buy a camera just for your child
Kids don’t need expensive cameras. A point-and-shoot is best. Kids can be spontaneous, so a camera that’s ready to go when they are is ideal.

Pre-plan your shots
Talk to your child about where you are traveling and what might be seen. Get him or her excited about the potential photo opps. Don’t be afraid to point out shots, but allow your child to make each photo opportunity their own.

Find a point of interest
Teach your child to identify a point of interest before taking a picture. Once this focal point is identified, he or she can then think about how to highlight it through positioning, using zoom, etc.

Talk about lighting
For outdoor photos, take photos in the early-morning or late-afternoon when the sun’s light is softer. “Teach kids that the sun’s light changes throughout the day and that it can affect their photos. It gives them a new appreciation for something they probably took for granted before,” says James Kaiser, a professional photographer and author of travel guidebooks for national parks.

Know the Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is the basis for well-balanced and interesting shots. Imagine breaking an image into thirds so that there are nine parts. Have your child place points of interest on the intersections or along the lines so that photos become more balanced and enable viewers to interact with images more naturally.

Get the right balance
Help your child establish a balance between photographing people, things and places so he or she can better experience a new location. By learning how to shoot all types of images, kids become more aware of their surroundings and how photography changes depending on the subject.

Set a theme
Encourage your child to create a themed photo gallery of their trip. Suggest that subjects pose the same way in a series of photos taken in different locations. This encourages your child to print and organize photos at home.

Review photos with your child
As you scroll through shots on a computer or iPad, pause to talk with your child about what he or she did well and point out things that could be done better next time to improve results. Positive reinforcement can provide a child with the inspiration to keep going with this hobby.

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Teaching kids to take better travel photos

Nearly everyone has a digital camera these days. They’ve gotten so inexpensive that there’s hardly any barrier to bringing up a budding photographer. With photo tours in many cities — even in national parks — there are many opportunities to teach children how to take good digital photos, giving them a greater appreciation of their surroundings, particularly when they travel.

“Kids see the world from an entirely different perspective than adults do, and the shots they get are very different from what we get from our higher vantage points,” says Jody Halsted, editor of Family Rambling, a family travel blog. She also noted that simply stepping back and letting kids shoot is an easy way to further a child’s interest in photography and encourage better photos.


With digital cameras, kids can’t take too many pictures. Encourage your children to experiment and have fun. Shoot subjects from different perspectives. Have them get high, get low, get up close, step back, even if you know the shots won’t look great. “Bad shots are learning tools. They open the door to sharing tips on how to compose better shots,” says Jacquie Whitt, an adventure travel guide.

To help young shutterbugs take their best travel shots, here are some top tips from the pros:

Buy a camera just for your child
Kids don’t need expensive cameras. A point-and-shoot is best. Kids can be spontaneous, so a camera that’s ready to go when they are is ideal.

Pre-plan your shots
Talk to your child about where you are traveling and what might be seen. Get him or her excited about the potential photo opps. Don’t be afraid to point out shots, but allow your child to make each photo opportunity their own.

Find a point of interest
Teach your child to identify a point of interest before taking a picture. Once this focal point is identified, he or she can then think about how to highlight it through positioning, using zoom, etc.

Talk about lighting
For outdoor photos, take photos in the early-morning or late-afternoon when the sun’s light is softer. “Teach kids that the sun’s light changes throughout the day and that it can affect their photos. It gives them a new appreciation for something they probably took for granted before,” says James Kaiser, a professional photographer and author of travel guidebooks for national parks.

Know the Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is the basis for well-balanced and interesting shots. Imagine breaking an image into thirds so that there are nine parts. Have your child place points of interest on the intersections or along the lines so that photos become more balanced and enable viewers to interact with images more naturally.

Get the right balance
Help your child establish a balance between photographing people, things and places so he or she can better experience a new location. By learning how to shoot all types of images, kids become more aware of their surroundings and how photography changes depending on the subject.

Set a theme
Encourage your child to create a themed photo gallery of their trip. Suggest that subjects pose the same way in a series of photos taken in different locations. This encourages your child to print and organize photos at home.

Review photos with your child
As you scroll through shots on a computer or iPad, pause to talk with your child about what he or she did well and point out things that could be done better next time to improve results. Positive reinforcement can provide a child with the inspiration to keep going with this hobby.

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America’s best family hotels

Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House / via Travel + Leisure

At the Mohonk Mountain House in Hudson Valley, N.Y., everything from canoeing to lobster barbecues is included in the rate.

 


Slideshow: See America’s best family hotels

 

That’s the verdict from Travel + Leisure readers who voted for America’s best hotels for families, part of the annual World’s Best Awards survey. The 2012 batch of winners runs the gamut from mega beach resorts to lakeside castles and cozy ski-in, ski-out inns. But one thing is clear: more than ever, hotels are hatching clever new ways to cater to families and keep up with travel trends. 

Take the new two-acre water park at the historic Homestead in Virginia (No. 14), where a 400-foot lazy river is sure to keep the kids splashing around. Or the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort Spa (No. 18) in Austin, Texas, where families can learn how to navigate the 405 acres covered in loblolly pine trees using a GPS. (You can officially forget the age-old complaint, “Are we there yet?”) 

Another family-friendly trend that’s taking hold is the use of social media to handle guests’ requests or questions. At the Wild Dunes Resort (No. 3) in the Isle of Palms, S.C., a new Twitter Concierge will book your kayak tour or nab you a restaurant reservation for four with just a tweet. Many hotels are now active on Pinterest too, like the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole (No. 11), which pins snapshots of its wildlife safaris and winter sports — great for inspiration as well as a fun way to capture and share your family memories. 

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Airline to offer baby-free ‘quiet zone’

Fliers eager to sit as far away as possible from crying babies and boisterous kids on planes are getting a new option to do just that in one part of the world.

AirAsia, a low-cost airline in Southeast Asia with hubs in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, has begun advertising a “Quiet Zone” that will be offered on its long haul flights starting this February.

The carrier will reserve the first seven economy class rows “exclusively for guests age 12 and above,” the company says on its website. There’s no extra cost for passengers to book in this section, except the regular fee charged for certain seats with more legroom.


Since bulkheads and lavatories separate the section from the rest of coach, and the premium cabin is generally filled with adults, travelers in this zone will likely not sit near babies or young children.

“Because we know that sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet for a more pleasant journey with us,” AirAsia says on its website.

But the service comes with an asterisk: The airline may allow passengers younger than 12 to sit in the Quiet Zone when “necessary for operational, safety or security reasons.”

How would a “quiet zone” fly in the United States? Travel experts said that while there may be demand for such a service, it’s unlikely to show up on domestic airlines.

AirAsia’s plan is not a practical solution to the problem since travelers in the special section can’t be guaranteed a quiet flight, said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com

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“Logistically, it’s a nightmare for an airline to allocate certain seats for certain people,” Hobica said. “The last time they had to do this was back when there were smoking and non-smoking sections. Even if you were just one row away from the smoking section, you still got the smoke and you’ll still hear the screams … if a child has strong lungs.”

In addition, most planes that fly domestically in the U.S. have just a single, continuous economy cabin, so it wouldn’t be practical to offer a child-free section on those flights, said Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of the Atmosphere Research Group.

Then, there’s the likely backlash from parents.

“It’s already hard enough for families to find seating together so this would take another chunk out where they have fewer seats to choose from,” said Brett Snyder, who writes The Cranky Flier blog.

“I think you would see some family groups up in arms and would probably see lawsuits … it would be ugly.”

As a frequent flier and the father of an 8-month old boy, Snyder knows both sides of the issue well. Last week, he and his wife flew from Hawaii to California with their infant son after a vacation and could not get the baby to stop being fussy. Snyder was so worried about bothering the passengers sitting near the family that he offered to buy them drinks. But he said most people were sympathetic — consistent with his observation that passengers get most angry when parents don’t even attempt to quiet their screaming child.

“As long as the parent is trying to do something and soothe him and rock (the baby), then I think generally there’s a fair bit of tolerance,” Snyder said. “Don’t ignore your kid. It’s amazing to me that people do that.”

AirAsia is the second carrier in Southeast Asia to create a no-child zone on its flights. In April, Malaysia Airlines announced it would restrict families with children from sitting in the upper deck of its Airbus A380-800 flying the Kuala Lumpur–London route.

Snyder and Hobica noted that’s a very different situation from AirAsia’s plan since the A380’s upper deck offers true physical separation from the rest of the plane.

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