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Happy Traveling: Getting The Best “Bargain” For Your Bucks

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By mia bolaris-forget

I don’t know exactly “when” it happened, or exactly how…or even who got me started…but what I “do” know is that I was “bitten” at a very young age..and I’ve never been the same. I caught the travel bug quite early on...and it seemed to feed my inherent curiosity, my love for (different) people and places, and my intrinsic and wonderful wonder lust. In fact, I can remember hitting the airways as early as 10 (years of age to visit family in Europe during summer vacation….and before that I have memories of mom and dad (as well as many of my relatives) taking to the skies and roadways for summer and weekend excursions opening, at least for me, and experience of wonderful new and exciting places to see and things to do.

Years later, I’m happy to boast a belt-full of notches of beguiling travels with friends and family and some unforgettable memories preserved in photos and video and which will last forever. And, some of my happiest moments have included not only the experience itself, but the look of the faces of those I was sharing it with. And, for many parents that joy comes from sharing previous and new experiences with their kids. Still, choosing a “hot-spot” for family vacations can take on quite a different definition that those looking for a romantic “lovers” getaway…after all, its mostly about the “kids”….or for childless couples like us…all about the “extended family” which often includes parents and grandparents.

Pick Properly and Wisely: The Internet offers savvy travelers a bevy of useful information, right at their fingertips. From photos to reviews and area activities, you can choose the right spot. Young children need lots of stimulation, something you MUST keep in mind. Think amusement parks and the such, which also make a great family getaway for those with older kids too….though you may want to check out the local night life for them as well. Couples and those with more mature family member sattending may want to think about age-appropriate activities such as spas, shows, and non-walking sight-seeing tours. Make sure your like what you see and read and that you also scope out nearby shops and restaurants while your at it.

Dare to be different: Sure the kids may LOVE swimming….and that doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time poolside with the fam…but consider doing something that you wouldn’t normally do at home. Try to keep your sense of adventure interesting and alive. Disney may be an AWESOME family vacation, but may get “played” if you visit year after year. Expose your family and guests to a new and interesting experience each time, starting with the hotel and location, and try to keep activities as fresh and new as possible. You may also want to consider trying cuisine you wouldn’t normally have at home. Just remember, to book restaurants and make reservations well in advance.

Splurge a little: Vacations are all about pampering yourself and your family. Now, we are not suggesting to spend ALL your savings on accommodations, but just like real estate, a positive experience is usually all about location, location, location. Pick a hotel that is family friendly and age-appropriate but that caters to your senses and offers you the opportunity to “spoil” yourself. If you’re diligent about doing your homework, and getting an early start, you can find some FABULOUS deals online and the “additional fee” will likely pay off in a host of other areas including amenities, service, and conveniences….but, definitely don’t book something you CAN’T afford….remember having fun is all about balance.

Indulge yourself in hotel indulgences: Many hotels offer complimentary children’s, couples, or senior services…take advantage of them.

Think and plan ahead: Besides your vacation standards, such as flip-flops, towels and swim suits, think about some other items you may need that will make the trip more fun for everyone. This is an especially helpful tip for those with little or young kids. Make sure you have enough toys, books, etc to keep little ones entertained (without spending more), in between activities, when YOU are lounging by the pool, and when they claim they are bored. For parents and grandparents…make sure the area offers activities “they” are interested in such as a casino, church, or bingo hall.

Long Island Travel & Leisure Articles > Happy Traveling: Getting The Best “Bargain” For Your Bucks

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