How to Obtain Your Passport in 5 Easy Steps

how to obtain your passport

Do you have a destination wedding on the horizon or plan to travel internationally?  You will need to obtain a US passport.  No worries, here’s 5 easy steps on how to obtain your passport quickly:

Complete Your Passport Application –  You can fill out Form DS-11 Application for US Passport on-line and print it.  You will need to know dates of marriages and/or your date of divorce as well as your spouses or ex-spouse’s birthday and address.  Sorry, I’m just delivering information.

Obtain Passport Photo – You will need to get a passport picture.  I had mine taken at CVS.  However, Wal-Greens, Fed-Ex, UPS, Rite Aid, 1-Hour Photo Shops, Costco are a few places who offer services too.   Your local Wal-Mart may offer the cheapest service.

Before you have your passport photo taken, familiarize yourself with the rules.  For example, you can’t wear glasses, a hat, or obscure your hairline.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  So, I wore a headband for my initial photo.  But it was not allowed.  You can’t hid your hairline.  Obviously, the lady who took my picture at CVS didn’t know that.  She just knew how to use the camera.  The lady who took my passport application questioned it.  Back to CVS I went.  Fortunately, it was close by.

Obtain a Copy of Your Birth Certificate – You will need a copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal.  A copy of your birth certificate will not be allowed.

Make a Copy of all Documents – Make a copy of your documents before you hand them over.  You may need the information if you have to make an inquiry about your application.

Find a Location to Take Your Application – The Post Office and the library accept applications in my area.  There is a $110.00 application fee for adults and $80.00 for children under 15.

It takes approximately 30 days to obtain your passport.  However, allow sufficient time to obtain your passport and to have any printing errors corrected.  They printed M instead of F for my gender.  Correct any printing errors, otherwise, you risk being allowed to board the plane or get through customs.  You will need to complete Form DS-5504 to have any errors corrected.

Finally, we hope that our tips on how to obtain your passport has been helpful.  You may also like Using Travel Checklist to Organize Packing.

Things to Do In Virginia

 

Things to do in Virginia

 

Washington, DC is the nation’s capital.  So, it’s full of history, galleries, restraunts and more.  However, the state of Virginia is close by and is also full of history and things to do.  Furthermore, it boasts beautiful skylines, caverns, wineries and more.  It’s a perfect place to vacation or spend a few days of your vacation.  As a result, check out my list of things to do in Virginia: 

  1. Monticello –  First, the home of Thomas Jefferson is a must see.  Jefferson inherited land from his father when he was 26. He began building Monticello, and it became the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson. Monticello has approximately 5,000 acres, which 2,000 were tended by 150 slaves.  The grounds consists of slave quarters, gardens, a dairy, a washhouse, store houses etc. The house is approximately 11,000 square feet.
  2. Skyline Drive  –  Second, Skyline Drive is approximately 105-mile road long with several entry points.  It has 75 overlooks, places to lodge and dine along the way.  It takes about 3 hours to drive the route at 35 mph.  It’s most popular in the fall with the colorful foliage, but it’s just a beautiful in the warmer months too.  There’s plenty of wildlife, hiking trails and waterfalls.
  3. Luray Caverns  –  Discovered erroneously in search of cave, the caverns were discovered in 1878.  The guided tour of the Luray Caverns are the most popular caverns in Eastern America. You will also find a replica of a frontier home and Car and Carriage Caravan Museum.  Feeling adventurous, enter the garden maze and attempt to find your way out.  In your in need of a few adult beverages, check out the wine tasting.  There’s also a café to satisfy your hunger.
  4. Shenandoah Caverns  – The caverns are around 56 degrees year round.  The guided tour takes about an hour through 17 rooms.  The Breakfast Bacon has been featured in National Geographic magazine.  Long View Hall and Grotto of the Gods as well as formations like Capitol Dome, Diamond Cascade, and Rainbow Lake.  The Yellow Barn,  American Celebration on Parade, and Main Street of Yesteryear provide great family photo opportunities.
  5. Arlington Cemetery – Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  You will find John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis gravesites as well as the Changing of the Guard.
  6. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens –  Next, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was voted as one of the Top 10 Botanical Gardens in the country.  It offers 50 acres of gardens, dining and shopping.  It has more than a dozen themed gardens, which include a Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Flagler Garden and the Kroger Kitchen Community Garden.
  7. Great Dismal Swamp – The Great Dismal Swamp is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  It inhibits 112,000 acres.  The area is occupied by bobcats, bears, white tail deer, an array of fish, turtles, lizards and more.
  8. Victory Rover Cruises – Last, be sure to add Victory Rover Cruises to your list of things to do in Virginia.  It offers a 2 hour narrated cruise by the captain.  The Norfolk Naval Station  is the largest Naval Base in the world.  You will see Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers, Submarines, Cruisers, Yachts and more.  Additionally, lunch boxes may be available.  

Finally, I hope that you liked my list of things to do in Virginia. Pick a few items and enjoy the day with your family and friends.  Additionally, you may also like 9 Budget Friendly Activities in Virginia Beach.

Using Travel Checklists to Organize Packing

 

travel checklists

 

Going on vacation can be exciting and at the same time stressful.  Having travel checklists to ensure that you have items that you need can remove some stress.  I place my travel checklists on a clipboard and just leave it on top of my luggage or close by.

I start using my lists at least a week in advance of my trips.  Why, because I’m still dealing with running my household and everything that goes along with life.  As a result, I don’t trust myself to remember everything that I need to take or do. So, I use a travel checklists to help me remember.  Stress can cause temporary memory loss or forgetfulness. At least it does for me.  There’s nothing worst than reaching your destination, unpacking and realizing you forgot a bathing suit, PJs for the kids or a pair of sandals.

Furthermore, I have created a travel checklist for my grandchildren.  What a lifesaver!  It’s hard enough packing your own luggage.  When you have to pack for the children and you add gathering documents, hotel reservations, and securing transportation on top of it, it can be stressful. Having a checklist for the children can reduce that stress and possibly save money by not forgetting items.

travel check lists

Since I have a granddaughter and grandson, I tried to make the Kid’s Travel Checklist neutral.  Too many lists can be as stressful as not having any.  Furthermore, for the most part they need the same items.  I would suggest placing their luggage side by side, and placing the items on the list into both suitcases.  For example, they both need underwear, PJs, swimsuits, shorts, and tees/shirts.  Gather the items for both, and check them off the list.   I also suggest that you start placing a few items at a time into the luggage.  This keeps you from becoming overwhelmed because you’re trying to pack everyone’s bag the night before.

travel checklists I use the travel checklists above.  I figure out the activities or possible activities that I may participate in and make notes.   For example, I purchased a flowing skirt with an off the shoulder blouse to wear on trip to Mexico.  It’s perfect for dinner or a theme party.  I do this for other events as well.  If I’m traveling for business, a family reunion, wedding or whatever.  When I’m packing, I make sure that I pack what I want to wear along with accessories, shoes etc.  I hate having to purchase items that I’ve forgotten when I’m traveling.

I hope these travel checklists will be beneficial to you.  Feel free to download them here.

 

Airport Tips for Parents Traveling With Children

airport tips for parents

 

Summer is here!  We’re all looking forward to a nice long vacation.  Some of us will be traveling by car to our destinations, and some of us will be heading to the airport with children in toll.  Traveling can be stressful, but traveling with children raises stress to a new level.

So, how can you get through the airport with children and keep your sanity?  We have a few airport tips for parents that will make you a professional traveler in no time:

  1. Discuss expectations with the kids – First, let the kids know that they are expected to follow directions, and they are to stay with a family member at all times.  Once you get to the airport, discuss airport and plane instructions as well.
  2. Arrive early – Second, you will need plenty of time to check bags and get through security  Furthermore, you will need time to get drinks and snacks if you didn’t bring them.  Allow your children time to relax with an electronics game or book.  They may also want to checkout the planes on the tarmac etc.
  3. Get in the line designated for travelers with children – Next, you should know that not all airports have designated lines.  So, check with the airport before you arrive.
  4. Children 12 and under have different procedures – Children are allowed to keep their shoes, jackets on,  etc. on while going through security.  Furthermore, they will not be separated from their parents.  If you have an infant, you must remove them the carrier and carry them the detector with you.
  5. Children 13 and older must follow adult procedures – Children 13 and older must follow the same procedures as adults.
  6. All backpacks and carry on bags must be screened –  This includes your child’s.  So, make sure you are not carrying liquids or other items prohibited by TSA.  Allow yourself enough time to get beverages once you get through airport security.
  7. Pull Ups will come in handy  – If you have a child 6 or younger, use them.  It’s better than having an accident in the airport or on the seat of the plane.  Having to change out of wet underpants is a task you don’t need.
  8. Carry a change of clothes for the kids – Having a change of clothing with you just in case of an accident is a good thing.  This could be spills from eating or drinking, upset tummies and more.
  9. Wear slip on shoes and socks – Wearing shoes that you can easily take off and put on will help alleviate your struggle to get through the airport.  Remember belts, jewelry and other items can cause the detector to go off.  Put some thought into your dress for departure and your return.
  10. Pack carefully – You will have to get bags through security and through the airport.  Lugging heavy bags can be stressful, but also physically dangerous when trying to keep up with kids.
  11. Purchase ID Bracelets – We hope that we don’t get separated from our children, but sometimes things happen.  Place an ID bracelet on your children, and give them instructions on what they should do if they get separated.  First, they should immediately found another mom or someone wearing a uniform.  Second, instruct your children to tell the adult that they are lost from their parents, and last show them their ID Bracelet.
  12. Take advantage of early boarding – Airlines will allow travelers with children to board early.  This is one of the most crucial airport tips for parents that we have.
  13. Be patience –  Additionally, another one of most recommended airport tips for parents is patience.  You will need it.
  14. Baggage Claim – Furthermore, you must remain vigilant in getting your children through the airport.  Your last stop will be baggage claim.  A rest room break would be good at this time too.  If you have two adults traveling, I would suggest one stay with the children and the other retrieve the bags off the carasaul.   Furthermore, a  few bucks for a skycap or cart will be money well spent.
  15. Apply for a TSA Pre-check Clearance – Also, with a pre-check clearance, you will be allowed to by-pass removing your shoes, taking out electronics.  As a result, you can focus on the children and take them through the detector with you.  To fully maximize your pre-clearance, apply for your clearance before you make your airline reservations.  Additionally, you can enter your clearance number into the system when you make your airline reservations.

Last, allowing sufficient time to get through the airport is essential.  Furthermore, becoming upset and grumpy will make the trip unpleasant for everyone.  Most importantly, children will be excited at one point and frightened at others.  So, it is your responsibility to get them through both.

Finally, we hope you found our airport tips for parents useful.  You may also like: 13 Tips for Parents Traveling with Children 

 

Destination Wedding and Party Rentals

 

party and destiation weddings rentals

 

Planning a destination wedding, birthday party or social gathering?  Check out Archive Rentals, they’re waiting to be your premier party and destination wedding coordinators.  Their locations include northern and southern California as well as Mexico.  The locations in Mexico include, Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen.  So, remove the stress from planning your event.  Archive Rental will help you with furnishings, staging or designing your event.  No event is too big or too small.

They offer a variety of tables and chairs for rent and vintage rentals.  If your style is country, check out the farm table and barrel stools.  They will set the tone for any country affair. Furthermore, they offer accessories including cowhide throw pillows, neon BBQ signs, wooden farm shutters and more.  Need a little wow factor?  Add in the barn wall.  It a great backdrop for photos.

If you’re thinking of a beach themed party, check out the soda shack.  It is sure to get your guests attention.  A  suggestion would be to serve bottles of Coke, Pepsi or Nehi.  Perfect for those wishing to have a non-alcoholic drink.   Additionally, the soda shack would be a great conversation piece.  Also, add the nautical collection and along with the canoe and you’re on your way to a lively party.

I hope that you’re feeling inspirational at this point.  If you’re planning a destination wedding Archive Rental is located in Mexico.  Picture a wedding on the beautiful white beach with ocean waves crashing in the background.  Or a roof top wedding with the ocean in the background.  Sounds so romantic doesn’t it.  So, let Archives Rental help you plan the perfect wedding and reception.  Flowers, arches and seating can be provided. Make a note of your idea place settings too.  Archive Rental can style the perfect table for you and your spouse and 100s of guests.

Finally, you can be assured that you will be receiving quality service and products.  Archive Rental has clients as large as HGTV, Victoria Secret and Stitch Fix.  But, they have also have clients like you and me.  Therefore, put them at the top of your list for assistance with your next event.

 

24 Things To Do In Washington, DC

 

things to do in washington, dc

Washington, DC is the nation’s capital.  It’s the perfect place to spend a week or even a few days.  It’s family friendly, and has 100’s of attractions.  You will find historical sites, restaurants and sports events.  Check out my list of things to do in Washington, DC.:

  1. The Smithsonian – First, you can spend days at the Smithsonian.  It’s the world’s largest museum.  Includes 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and the National Zoo.  You can check out the Air and Space Museum, African American Museum, National History and more.
  2. Holocaust Museum – During The Holocaust, 6 million Jews were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. Also, Gypsies, the handicapped, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witness were targeted.
  3. Madame Tussauds – Second, be sure to grab a photo opp with wax figures of past Presidents.  Furthermore, there’s First Ladies, sports figures, historical icons and more.  Purchase tickets on-line.
  4. National Harbor – It’s a great place for family fun.  Hop on the Capital Wheel.  You will have a great view of the National Cathedral, Washington Monument, and the Masonic Temple.  You can also shop at the local Farmer’s Market.  Be sure to pack a few chairs for a free movie night.
  5. Arlington Cemetery – Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  You will find John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis gravesites as well as the Changing of the Guard.
  6. Lincoln Memorial – April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.  In March 1867, Congress approved the Lincoln Monument Association.  It’s goal would be to build a memorial to the slain 16th President. The Lincoln Memorial is also the place of Martin Luther King’s iconic I Have a Dream Speech.
  7. The Capitol – The US Capitol sits on approximately 274 acres.  The Statute of Freedom sits on top of the Capitol.  The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate work in the Capitol.  It also houses The National Statuary Hall, which contains 100 statues. Each state has contributed 2 statutes.   Click here to book a tour.
  8. Washington Monument –  So, the Washington Monument stands at 555 feet tall.  Unfortunately, it is closed and will not reopen until 2019.  However, you can still roam the grounds for photo opportunities.
  9. Mount Vernon – Check out the plantation and 21 room mansion of George Washington.  It’s sits on the banks of the Potomac River.   The grounds include 500 acres and Washington’s family tomb.
  10. MLK Memorial – The memorial is covered with famous quotes by Martin Luther King.
  11. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Largest Catholic Church in America.
  12. National Cathedral – The National Cathedral is the length of two football fields.  Therefore, allow plenty of time to during your visit.
  13. International Spy Museum – No visitor can spend time in Washington, DC ad not add the International Spy Museum to the their list of things to do in Washington, DC. Visitors can interact during their visit.  After all, there’s a little spy in all of us.  Furthermore, you can break codes after you take on a cover.  Afterwards, identify disguised spies or become the subject of covert surveillance.
  14. White House – Add the White House to you list of things to do in Washington, DC.  Schedule your tour through your Congressional  representative’s office. Request tours up to 6 months in advance.  Schedule it at least a month before the requested tour date.
  15. Ford’s Theatre –  Site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth.
  16. St. John’s Episcopal Church – Located in Lafayette Square across from the White House.  Every US President has attended St. John’s at least once.
  17. Bureau of Printing and Engraving –  It’s true money doesn’t grow on tree, but you can watch it being printed.  Did you know the life span of a $1 dollar bill is almost 6 years.  But the life span of a $100 dollar bill is almost 15 years.  Tours are not available on week-ends.
  18. National Mall – Next, check out the 200-year-old American elm trees.  You will also find the National Archives, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Gardens along the National Mall.
  19. Pierce Mill – Pierce Mill is the only 19th century gristmill operated by the National Park Service.  It originally operated from 1829-1897.
  20. Capitol Riverfront – Additionally, the Capitol Riverfront is located on the Anacostia River.  It is home to MLB’s Washington Nationals and Yards Park.  Yards Park provides water fun for kids.
  21. Chinatown – There are approximately 20 Chinese and Asian restaurants in Chinatown. Most are owned by Asian American families. Also, Madame Tussauds and the International Spy Museum are nearby.
  22. Embassy Roll – Massachusetts Avenue, NW, is home to more than 170 foreign embassies.  So, take a stroll down Embassy Roll.  It’s a great history lesson.
  23. Petersen House – Last, Abraham Lincoln was moved from Ford’s Theatre to the Petersen House.  He died, April 15, 1865.
  24. Frederick Douglas Home – Also, visit the last home that Frederick Douglas lived in before his death.

Finally, I hope that you liked my list of things to do in Washington, DC.  Pick a few items and enjoy the day with your family and friends.  Additionally, you may also like 9 Budget Friendly Activities in Virginia Beach.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Things To Do In Central Park

 

 

Central Park is an 843-acre NYC gem offering an oasis of nature’s delights in the midst of a chaotic urban sprawl. Fortunately, this large patch of green provides visitors respite amid woodlands, meadows, lakes, wildlife and monuments.  With 21 playgrounds, rolling hills and tranquil spaces co-existing together, a day in this park promises to be unforgettable.  As a result, the whole family can enjoy a broad range of fun activities.

Here is a list of fun things to do in Central Park:

Bird Watching

First, explore 37-acres of winding trails, streams, rocks and hills known as the Ramble.  It’s a densely wooded, world-famous birding spot that covers from 72nd St. to 79th St.  Furthermore, Central Park is a well known migratory route and one of the best birding spots in the U.S.  It attracts birders from all over the world.  Some 250 species can be spotted here in any year.  Simply incredible.

 People Watch in Sheep Meadow

Second, Sheep Meadow is perhaps one of the best people-watching spots in Manhattan. This 15-acre field of lush green grass north of 65th St. along the southern edge of the park.  We suggest that you grab a blanket and some snacks.  Furthermore we suggest that you mingle with the ocean of sunbathers, picnickers, and kite-fliers for a relaxing fun-filled day.  In addition to the fun around you, you may hear a performer strumming a guitar or join in a friendly game of Frisbee.

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink

If you happen to be in NYC during winter, this summertime amusement park morphs into an icy playground.  And  ice skaters of all ages and skill levels join for arctic fun.  Another thing you can do is catch an exciting game of hockey,  or indulge in some night skating, with a romantic backdrop of NYC skyscrapers.

Bike through scenic landscape

Next, Central Park bike tours are perhaps the most leisurely way to explore this iconic green oasis. Take a guided bike tour, ride beneath a canopy of trees and appreciate nature at its finest.  Stop at famous locations and points of interest, grab hundreds of fantastic photo ops, and learn fun facts from your guide while pedaling through the park.

Stroll through the Conservatory Garden

Take in the beauty while strolling the through this six-acre paradise, the Conservatory Garden.  You can find spectacular annual displays of seasonal flowers.  Enter the park at 5th Ave between 104th and 105th Streets.  You will be entranced by water fountains and famous sculptures.  Not only it will entrance you, it will be bursting with colors you’ll want to capture in print.

Catch and release fish in the Harlem Meer and The Discovery Center

Enjoy this favorite free community pastime at the Harlem Meer.  Borrow a fishing rod and eco-friendly bait from the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, and let the fun begin.  You will find a flourishing pond with a variety of fish like carp, largemouth bass, and bluegill sunfish.  Additionally, you will find turtles, waterfowl, and birds.  Once you’re done just return your rods.  Be sure to learn about the many seasonal exhibits, musical performances, holiday celebrations and free education at the Discovery Center.

Go for a hike in the North Woods

Did you know that nearly one million visitors a year hike through these 40-acre woodlands?  The setting will make you feel like you’re in the Adirondacks.  In addition to the woodlands, you can enjoy the serenity of The Pool.  It is lined with cypress, weeping willows, and red maples, an idyllic setting for photographs.  This popular destination is the perfect place for spotting wildlife by streams.  Furthermore, you may find wildlife feasting on one of three cascades along rustic trails that will inspire and calm your senses.

Also, you may also like New York City Travel and Sites From Your Favorite TV Shows.  Without doubt, New York City should be on everyone’s list of place.  Oh yes, be sure to have fun!We need to conclude this post, but we hope you found our Things to Do in Central Park tips helpful.

About the author:  Kabir Khan is a contributor for travel and sight seeing in New York City.  Be sure to check out Central Park Bike Rental .  Great way to get exercise and to check out Central Park.

 

New York City Travel and Sites From Your Favorite TV Shows

 

New York City Travel

 

New York City has been the backdrop for many popular TV shows and movies.  In fact, you may have grown-up watching some shows featuring NYC sites and locations.  So, when in the Big Apple be sure to visit those very places in person and relive those shows all over again!

Here is a list of NYC sites you may have seen in some of your favorite TV shows:

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Five character of the main characters You must have seen how 5 of the main characters of this popular TV show spent so much of their spare time at a bar. And that bar was real. The real NYC pub or bar – MacLaren’s – is at 240 W. 55th Street.  Check out the menu items; some have been renamed after scenes from the show.

GOSSIP GIRL

The popular TV series “Gossip Girl” used many real-life NYC sites, which you can visit to feel the magic once again. Do you recall how the characters in the series, including Serena, Blair and friends had lunch on the steps of the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art?  To see where Serena lived with her family, visit the Palace Hotel.  And to see Chuck Bass’ home, you can visit the Empire Hotel.

Cafe Grumpy’s

Remember Café Grumpy’s from the hit HBO show, Girls? This coffee spot is for real with locations throughout NYC.  The locations include Greenpoint, Chelsea and the Lower East Side.  You can see people hang out, read and get their morning cup of caffeine at this popular coffee shop in the city.

Mad Men

Numerous TV shows have been shot at the Oyster Bar.  The Oyster Bar seafood restaurant has been located on the lower level of the Grand Central Terminal since 1931.  It has been quite popular among locals as well as visitors. If you were a fan of the TV series, “Mad Men”, you must have seen how Don Draper sabotaged his boss at the bar.

Sex and the City

When the Magnolia Bakery made its way in the TV series, Sex and the City, its popularity has reached a new level. The bakery in Greenwich Village still sells delicious cupcakes for visitors. Did you notice how Carrie and Miranda spend a lot of time here sitting and chatting about many things?

Seinfeld

In the popular sitcom, “Seinfeld,” you must have seen Monk’s Café which served as a hangout spot for Elaine, Jerry, Kramer and George. The café was actually fictional using the real exterior of Tom’s Restaurant in the Upper West Side.  Locals have favored this restaurant since 1940.  Visit and recreate the magic of this popular TV show all over again.

We hope you enjoy our New York City travel tips.  Finally, use the hop-on hop-off New York  for sight seeing and tours.

Stress Free Tropical Family Vacations

 

tropical family vacations

 

Going on vacation when you have kids can be difficult. There’s so much to think about.  For example, what to do with your time and how to keep everybody happy and safe.  It can be done, and we’re going to give you a few tropical family getaways.

Borneo Family Tour

 

tropical family vacations

Wikipedia

Borneo is one of the world’s largest islands and one of the most interesting. There’s a huge range of activities and landscapes to enjoy in this tropical paradise. Perhaps the most enchanting for both parents and kids is the island’s orangutans. The best place to find orangutans is at the Sepilok Sanctuary.  The apes are kept on display.  However, if you head out on a bush tour, there’s a small chance you’ll see these enchanting creatures in the wild.

Borneo is home to many different tribal groups too. You can visit these groups while staying in one of the island’s traditional long houses. The rainforest here hosts many interesting creatures, including pygmy elephants and wild gibbons.  Borneo is open to visitors all year, but the best time to take a visit is between March and October.

 

The Texas Coast

 

Galveston Texas vacation

Wikipedia

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home consider the Texas coast, around Galveston.  Every summer, thousands of families descend on the area looking for warm waters and tropical skies. The main attraction on the Texas Gulf Coast is Galveston island. As this guide to Galveston Island points out, there’s plenty for families to do here. You can take a trip on the Port Bolivar Ferry where there’s a chance of seeing dolphins and do other sightseeing. You can also see some of the island’s many tree sculptures. If you’re into your history, your can pay a visit to the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, preserved as a monument to the region’s maritime history.

 

Burma

 

tropic vacations

  Wikimedia Commons

Burma has been through political strife over the last few decades.  Recently they have begun to open its doors to the outside world.  As a result, you might not think that it’s an ideal location to take children.  Burma needs to attract tourists if it is to become a wealthy country.

Right now, there’s a wealth of activities being offered that children will love. How about spending some time in the Burmese jungle learning to ride an elephant?  Or sailing to Inle Lake on your very own long tail boat?

There’s plenty of opportunities for children to get involved with the local culture. There are tours, for instance, where you can learn about the lives of traditional fishermen. You can also spend a night in a local village, living as the locals do and experiencing their culture first hand.

The Burmese people are very welcoming and have a very positive attitude to Westerners. More often than not, they learn as much from you as you do from them. When it comes to children, nothing is too much trouble.

How to Save on Vacations: We Have 20 Tips

 

money saving tips on vacatins

 

 

 

 

While travel is not a household’s biggest expense, family vacations are expenditures that many families care. We have great tips to show you how to save on vacations. Getaways can also be expensive.  Particularly when traveling with kids. Even so, here are 20 ways to push through your vacations and save at the same time.

1. Be Flexile on Flights 

Save big money on travel by flying during less popular times, such as early in the morning, late at night, or midweek. When booking online, use the flexible-travel-date feature that lets you compare fares for days on either side of your target date.

2. Book early

Book trips between 27 to 114 days in advance saves a significant amount of money. The prices of airfares, according to CheapAir.com, fluctuate until about 14 days out, when they reach their maximum.

3. Carry-ons

Avoid paying huge checked-bag charges by making sure that several of your suitcase adheres to the standard carry-on size (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches). You can carry these bags on the plane and place them in the overhead bins.  Pack several large or a large suitcase for family clothing and toiletries.  Be sure to pack light.   

4. Hotel rooms

Call potential hotel rooms in your vacation destination and ask about discounted rooms.  AAA rates and any other specials can help cut cost. Do this before booking your hotel room.  Reservations can be made on-line.  Be sure to get a confirmation number and ensure your discount has been applied.

5. Vacation homes/condo

Consider booking a vacation home or condo rather than at a hotel. It will usually cost less and is more comfortable for the kids.  They also full or partial kitchens which can be used to cook some of the meals or house snacks.  

6. All-inclusive resort

When traveling outside the U.S., consider an all-inclusive resort, which includes meals, drinks, and entertainment. All-inclusive resorts offer maximum value while making budgeting for vacation easier.

7. Special promotions

Find online promotions related to your vacation. Attraction tickets are often less expensive when bought online, especially during certain days of the week.  If you don’t know where to start online, consider hiring a travel agent.  These agents work on commission and won’t charge you.

8. Coupons

Search the Internet for coupons you can use once you reach your destination. There are many sites that will show you how to save on vacations. Family deals are often offered when purchasing multiple tickets. Special Internet offers are also available when buying tickets online.

9. Deals

Find discounts and deals for your destination by using Groupon or Living Social. Also, check your destination’s local newspaper for specials and discount coupons. You can find special deals on How to Save on Vacations in local newspapers or the hotel you will be staying in. 

10. Transportation

Check to see if your hotel or resort offers shuttle service. You can eliminate car rental fees.  Use taxis or Uber, which can take you to outlying locations at a cost lower than a rental car.

11. Car rental

If you need to rent a car, go with a local car rental company instead of renting one at an airport location. Local car rentals help you to avoid high airport rates and fees.  Check to see if  they offer service to and from the off-site location. 

12. Car seats for kids

If you are using a rental car you may need a car seat.  Renting a car seat can set you back more than $5 a day. Save on car seat fees by bringing your own car seat for your kid. 

13. Supplies

If you are driving, pack plenty of drinking water, bread, cold cuts, healthy snacks and other supplies. This helps avoid stopping and buying on impulse. Once you reach your destination, shop at the local grocery store for supplies. 

14. Vacation essentials

Bring basic vacation items such as sunscreen and water bottles. Bringing your own essentials is far cheaper than buying them in hotels and amusement parks.

15. Packed lunches

If possible and when you can, prepare bag lunches each day for adults and for kids,  This can help avoid spending more, particularly on fast food chains.

16. Travel needs

Buy water, snacks and everything you need for a trip at a grocery store instead of purchasing them at the hotel, which usually sell overcharged items.

17. Eating locally

Eating at local restaurants is not only less expensive but also makes the trip more of an adventure. Ask for suggestions from your hotel’s front desk or from your vacation home’s contact.

18. Rewards points

When booking your airfare, hotels, or rental car, use points you have earned from credit card purchases or loyalty programs. Also, use credit cards that offer extra bonus points when used at supermarkets.

19. Apps

Download money-saving apps that you can use for gas, sites along a route, local diners, and accommodations. Save them in your phone during the planning stages of your trip.

20. Off season

Consider traveling during off-peak times. It will be cheaper and is less crowded than traveling during popular dates. Many vacation destinations offer reduced rates during the off season.

We hope that you find our tips on How to Save on Vacations beneficial.  You may not be able to or need to implement them all, so just implement the ones that will save you the most.

About the Author:

Stephanie is a freelance writer who resides in Gilbert, Arizona.  She is co-owner of  How Much Is itAside from spending time with her family, she also enjoys hiking, biking and scrapbooking