Shermanstravel Blog

Family

Grand Bahama - Gold Rock Beach at Low Tide - 620x400The Bahamas is often synonymous with Nassau’s bustling casinos and the sprawling Atlantis resort – a great vacation for those looking for a mix of partying, gambling, and sun. However, if you’re opting for a crowd-free beach retreat and outdoor activities, look 55 miles east of Florida to Grand Bahama Island. I discovered this tranquil paradise first-hand on a recent trip courtesy of the Grand Lucayan Resort. Here are seven ways for you to do the same.

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SanJuanMarriottWhether you’re a family of four, a group of girlfriends, or a young couple on a tight budget, you know that tropical travel can come with a high price. Sure, all-inclusives offer the bang-for-the-buck factor, but what they provide in savings they often lack in culture and distinctiveness.

For all of the above travelers (and anyone in between), the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers the best of both worlds: comfort and culture at reasonable rates. Rooms start as low as $185 per night in low season; about $200-$220 in high season. (Note: there is an 18% resort fee per room, per night.) Read more

BaseballGoing to the ballpark isn’t what it used to be: ticket, concession, and parking costs all combine to put a major strain on your wallet, hindering the enjoyment of the game itself. Going with a family of four? You’re looking at a $200 night, at least, just to watch two teams hit a ball around. Savvy travelers can still find ways to do it on a budget, though. Here are a few tips to help you beat the system:

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Wild DunesYou put in an order weeks ago to make sure mom gets flowers on Mother’s Day.  We even did a roundup of great travel deals, so you can whisk her away on vacation. But what about Dad? The latter holiday, which falls on June 15, tends to get lost in the shuffle between graduation season and the beginning of summer. This year, take advantage of off-season travel deals to take Dad on a trip he’ll never forget. From a beachside resort in the Caribbean, to a golf-themed southern getaway, here are five affordable itineraries you can book right now:

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bronson gate 1From Superman stopping the Earth’s rotation, to locals fending off a twenty-foot great white shark, Hollywood has given us plenty of moments where we scratch our heads and wonder, “How’d they do that?” Most of the time, that on-screen magic is simply the result of hard-working studio technicians, cameramen, and a well-equipped sound stage. And for movie lovers vacationing in California’s entertainment capital, it’s possible to take a spin around the studios where the magic happens. Here are five tours that’ll take you backstage on Tinseltown’s most famous sets: Read more

Grand Floridian, Orlando, FloridaIf you’ve ever stayed at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, or even just researched them, you know that the 20-plus properties are all different. Each has its own theme, dining options, recreation, and level of service. Plus, the properties are broken down into four categories (Deluxe, Villas, Moderate, Value, and Campgrounds) to accommodate guests’ different budgets, needs, and preferences.

If you’re on the fence about which Disney hotel to choose, we’re here to help. Just match yourself up with the type of traveler you identify with most to find your ideal hotel.

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cruise 1When booking a cruise, the options can seem infinite and overwhelming. And choosing the right ship, itinerary, and cabin type is just the beginning. From there, you’ll want to know when the cheapest cruises are, when you should travel, and, the age-old traveler’s dilemma: what to pack. Browse our stories below for answers to all the above, and more. Who knows, you may be inspired to set sail sooner than you think!
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AkkoWith its small land mass and relatively easy public transportation system, Israel lends itself to quick, mad-dash side-trips for those intent on seeing as much of the country as possible in a short amount of time. Of course, you could easily spend weeks leisurely making your way up and down the Mediterranean coast, stopping in at desert-surrounded kibbutz-style hotels and remote mountain towns along the way. Or book a vacation package, like the one featured in our Top 25 this week, which takes you all over the country. But for those who find themselves in Tel Aviv, here are three easy day trips reachable in 45 minutes, 1 hour, or 1.5 hours from the bustling capital:

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Epcot Center, Walt Disney WorldIf you’re visiting the “Most Magical Place on Earth” anytime soon, you might have to dig a little deeper into your pockets to pay for park tickets: Walt Disney World recently raised the price of admission for all four of its theme parks.

Now it’ll cost you $99 for a one-day ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom and $94 for a single ticket that gets you into Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

But don’t fret! We have some ways you can save on admission.

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Hilton Head Vacation Rentals PropertyFor photos of Hilton Head, and the  Endless Summer villa (pictured, and mentioned below), visit our slideshow.

When you ask the locals about things to do in Hilton Head, the South Carolina island community that’s overhung with Spanish moss and filled with quiet gated communities, you’ll get an honest answer: not much. And that’s what’s good about it. While other beach destinations boast of their noisy nightlife, amusement parks, and crowded boardwalks, Hilton Head offers a different kind of vacation. That is – a purely relaxing one. Visitors wile away the summer months golfing, soaking up the sun, biking on tree-shaded paths, and enjoying the island’s casual restaurants.

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South PadreSpring breakers have been invading South Padre, a small island along the Texas gulf coast, with their beer-guzzling antics for years. But families, too, make good use of the island’s beaches and the Schlitterbahn Water Park. Really, though, most vacationers in the laid-back resort town are just looking for some R&R and an icy margarita. In our mini-guide below, we’ll help you avoid the spring break din (think 50,000-watt sound systems) in favor of a quieter, crowd-free slice of island life. Read more

Koh LantaWhether it’s a packed cruise ship unloading throngs of boisterous passengers, or a mob of thirty college students tearing through town, an excess of tourists can make a destination go from in-demand to insufferable, just like that. Consider avoiding these played-out locales and shift your attention to nearby spots that are lesser-known, and more worthy of the term “vacation.”

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Musee MechaniqueTuck your wallet back into your pocket, because these San Francisco experiences are either completely free, or are nearly so. If you’ve already seen the city’s tourist icons on your San Francisco vacation, check out these six offbeat budget attractions for a different take on the city: Read more

Park SlopeAs we showed in an earlier post this week, New York is pulling out all the stops for National Walking Day, which is today, April 2. And that’s as it should be: with a relatively compact land area, Manhattan remains one of the densest, most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. Plus, Central Park and the well-maintained green spaces along the East River and Hudson River make the city ideal for travelers who like a little nature with their urban trekking.

And speaking of the East River, we can’t recommend highly enough the pleasures of exploring – on foot, of course – the quieter, more neighborly environs of Manhattan’s little sister across the river, Brooklyn.

Below, we offer a ready-to-go walking guide to one of the borough’s most iconic (and culturally rich) neighborhoods, Park Slope. Read more

New York PalaceLarge families certainly have their work cut out for them when planning a trip to, well… anywhere. But that’s especially true in the Big Apple, where locals are known to pay $1,000 per month to live in apartments that could easily be mistaken for walk-in closets. Add to that, the cost of getting around, finding affordable restaurants, and visiting all the family-friendly sights on your to-do list, and you might soon ditch your NYC plans altogether in favor of a less complicated destination (Maui, anyone?)

Enter the New York Palace, the acclaimed four-star property built inside a 19th century mansion on Madison Avenue. This spring and summer, the hotel is giving families a break with its “Family Values Promotion,” the latest offer to benefit group travelers. Starting now, families who book a room on any weekend between Easter and Labor Day can book a second room at the New York Palace for 50 percent off. That’s half off for an elegant, freshly-renovated hotel right in the heart of midtown.

Let’s take a look at how this offer stacks up with other hotel rates in the area. Read more

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