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Spring is synonymous with baseball. But with the average ticket to a major league game at almost $30 a pop – plus concessions, parking, and athletes’ egos just as inflated – why not consider a more affordable, but equally enjoyable, experience at any of the country’s 160 minor league parks? Home of the farm teams that serve as training and development for the majors, these parks offer budget-friendly admission, much higher chances of snagging a souvenir foul or home-run ball, and team names sure to bring a smile (Montgomery Biscuits, anyone?). Here, our five picks for great minor league ballparks. Read more
A bunch of travel writers sitting in a room, draining cup after cup of coffee, while exchanging tips and stories, is what our industry typically calls a “conference.” While these types of gatherings are far from uncommon, what’s a bit more unusual – actually, unprecedented until last weekend – is a meet-up of writers dedicated entirely to family travel, which was the point of the inaugural Family Travel Conference, held at New York City’s Omni Berkshire Hotel this past weekend.
I was honored to be part of a panel on Better Travel Writing, for which I suggested tips to family-specialized travel writers. I encouraged them to always consider themselves a work in progress – it’s a point I was particularly inspired to make upon learning that several of the bloggers had children in tow who were themselves budding travel writers.
By association, I think it’s constructive for all family travelers – not just travel writers and their kin – to consider themselves works in progress, striving to make every vacation better than the last. Along those lines, here are just a few tips from the conference that you might find handy on your next family trip:
This holiday season, escape to the warm weather and friendly atmosphere of Sandestin, Florida, located on the Gulf of Mexico’s beautiful and eclectic South Walton Coast. Take advantage of special holiday rates at the 4-star Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, where you can book two nights and receive the third free. With lead rates from $149 per night, you’ll pay only $99 per night for three nights — a savings of 33% on current hotel rates.
Set along the coast of the aquamarine gulf, the Hilton Sandestin serves as an ideal family getaway. Guests have access to four championship golf courses, 15 tennis courts, a fitness center, and a full-service health spa. Make a splash in one of the three pools and two whirlpools, or wade in the warm Gulf waters. All spacious rooms offer a wet bar, kitchenette, sitting area, private balcony, and in-room entertainment. The resort also boasts six diverse dining options and two bars.
For more information on the beaches in South Walton, go to www.visitsouthwalton.com.
THE VALUE: Save 33% on current rates at this upscale family resort.
THE CATCH: This deal is only available until December 30, and rates are slightly higher on weekends.
THE DETAILS: Visit the Hilton Sandestin to learn more, then call 800-559-1805 and mention the code BT.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Destin.
For general trip-planning information, see our Florida Travel Guide.
Bring the whole family to an all-inclusive beach resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, this holiday season. The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay is offering stays from $72 per person, per night – a savings of 65% on current rates.
Stay now through December 24. These rates include all meals and snacks, resort activities and entertainment, non-motorized water sports, and free in-room WiFi. Plus, two children per booking stay for free.
Located directly on the beach, the expansive SunSpree also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, a full-service spa, and plenty of sports, swimming and activity options for the whole family, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and lounges.
THE VALUE: Save 65% and receive all-inclusive amenities at this family-friendly Montego Bay resort.
THE CATCH: These rates are only available through December 24.
THE DETAILS: Visit the SunSpree Montego Bay or call 888-288-6006 to book.
When rainy weather ruins a day or more of your family vacation, it seems to me that the blogosphere ought to offer better suggestions than taking the kids to a museum, mall, or movie. Not that those are illogical ways to kill time – especially since they sort of make you feel like you’re doing something – but they’re lacking in their ability to promote some measure of togetherness.
Under any circumstances I’m not wild about dragging my kids through museums (scandalous to admit, I know, but I’m betting many of you agree with me), and I’ll also be the first to say that not all of my own rainy day ideas are gold. That’s why I’ve given more than two-thirds of the real estate herein to other experts who have some good twists on what to do when a hurricane, earthquake, or garden-variety thunderstorm keeps you indoors during your family vacation.
My kids are fairly dependent on wireless gadgets and DVR, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that they’re learning by example. Vacations bring the promise of curtailing these weak pursuits. But after our family swim, beach time, or other low-intensity outing, we’re unwilling to resist the hotel room TV that’s inevitably far bigger than the one in our living room.
And then there was the time last summer when I realized that my daughter and I had spent more than an hour in a hotel lobby completely absorbed by what was happening on our side-by-side computer monitors. You’d think that would have been the time to look away from my screen and tell my daughter that it was time to stop the madness. But it was too easy to keep doing what we were doing.
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