Category Family Vacations

The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 2015

The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 2015
By Len Testa, Erin Foster, Laurel Stewart and Ritchey Halphen
Keen Communications
Retail Price $17.99
Amazon Price: $14.10

Book Description: 

The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 2015 is your no-nonsense, consumer-oriented guide to Disney’s cruise vacations. We’ll point out the best of Disney’s ships and itineraries, including a couple of stellar restaurants, top-notch children’s activities, and Castaway Cay, one of the best vacation islands in the Caribbean. We’ll also tell you which on-board entertainment and restaurants should be skipped, including what to do instead. Along the way we’ll show you how to save money, choose the right stateroom, ship, and itinerary, and how to get to and from your cruise with ease.

New for the 2015 edition, we’ll give you the run-down on the most popular shore excursion, including comments from travelers about their experiences. If you want to save money and take excursions of your own, we’ll provide detailed itineraries including new maps to help you explore the best that each port has to offer.

Review

This book is a good investment for someone who hasn’t had much experience planning trips, especially a cruise.  It was very informative with plenty of tips on saving money and strategies on making the best choices for your family, giving you a firm foundation.  While not all  tips will apply to everyone and there are some chapters that can be skipped, all in all it is a great book.
~Reviewed by Sharon G.

 

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    The Unofficial Guide to Washington DC

     

    The Unofficial Guide to Washington DC
    By Eve Zibart
    Keen Communications
    Retail Price $17.99
    Amazon Price: $13.21

    Book Description: 

    The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C. by Eve Zibart  is the insider’s guide to Washington at its best, with more than 75 restaurant reviews and hotels ranked for value and quality. With advice that is direct, prescriptive, and detailed, this guide takes the guesswork out of travel by unambiguously rating and ranking everything from hotels, restaurants, and attractions to rental car companies and guided tours. This indispensable travel companion lets readers know what’s available in every category, from the best to the worst, and includes detailed step-by-step plans for making the most of time in the nation’s capital.

    Review

    This book is a very readable, comprehensive, up-to-date guidebook of the Washington D.C. area.  An index made it easy to turn to the specific info I was looking for. There is plenty of basic information on finding the best hotels in your budget range, giving you plenty of choices.  The sections on tours and attractions is quite extensive.  One feature that I like is the “Best Of” lists that help you find the best hotels, restaurants, attractions, tours, etc.  They also have a chart that arranges attractions by “type” making it easy to find the events you are interested in.  The book is sprinkled with “unofficial tips” that give you a heads up on things ranging from how to navigate the metro to how to best navigate the Smithsonian. Anyone planning a tour of the capital should not leave home without it.

    ~Reviewed by Danna D.

     

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      The Color Companion to Walt Disney World (The Unofficial Guide)

      The Color Companion to Walt Disney World (The Unofficial Guide)
      By Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa
      Keen Communications
      Retail Price $19.99
      Amazon Price: $15.75

      Book Description: 

      Following in the best-selling tradition of The Unofficial Guides series, The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World gives readers the inside track on visiting Disney World and making the most of their time in the park. Complete with hundreds of full-color photographs, this essential visual guide is a must-have for any Disney World vacation. With hundreds of pages of highly detailed information on planning, staying, and surviving a visit to Walt Disney World, The Color Companion by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa takes the Unofficial approach while also showing readers exactly where they’ll be staying and what they’ll be doing, all in a trim little book that’s perfect for tucking into a backpack.

      Review

      When I travel, the “Unofficial Guide” books are the guidebooks I turn to that help me plan a marvelous trip with no unwelcome surprises!  Time and again, following the day plans, we’ve had stress-free trips that actually leave us with plenty of time to see everything that interests us.   This book helps you plan your days (and nights) in the most strategic way.   You will find great tips on which hotels will suit your family, the shopping experience , and what time to visit which ride/attraction.   The book is well written and has fantastic photographs and is small enough to take with you to help you navigate different parks while you are visiting.  I wouldn’t even try going to Disney World without it!
      ~Reviewed by Mary B.

       

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        Family Vacation Packages – A Stress-Free Way of Traveling

        While it’s impossible to plan a completely stress-free vacation with young children, there are certainly ways to make it easier. The first step is to take advantage of family vacation packages. These packages have something for everyone that includes the kids, which makes everyone happier. You won’t have to find something for the kids to do, and the adults can enjoy themselves as well. Family vacation packages also tend to be cheaper. Here are some ideas for these types of vacation deals.

        * Rent an RV, or recreational vehicle. This is a great vacation for children. Your family vacation package need not include hotel rooms or lots of restaurant expenses. You have your hotel and restaurant on wheels! You don’t even have the stress of stopping for the bathroom, which is a big plus for parents. RV family vacations mean you can see a lot of different areas without long, tedious car trips, too.

        * Theme parks are fun for school-age children and teens. The children are thoroughly occupied and having fun, while the adults can enjoy the park’s food, scenery, shopping, and simply the joy their children are experiencing. Many theme parks include dramas and shows that appeal to adults and children alike.

        * Ski vacations work well for families. Most resorts offer family package deals. You can rent a house or cabin on a ski vacation, which many families find much less stressful than staying in a hotel.

        * A cruise can offer fun for everyone in the family too. Adults can enjoy the food, amenities, and shopping at ports while children can enjoy the pool, games, shows, and other activities. Many cruise lines offer vacation packages geared toward families. On a cruise, you need not worry about meals and accommodations, and many children find the idea of being on a boat very exciting.

        * Woods, nature, and hiking appeal to many children. So does camping. Look into renting a rustic cabin for a weekend or longer. Check with your local (or wherever you want to vacation) tourist department to find out where the best getaway packages are in the area.

        As you plan your family vacation package, remember to arrange child-watching time with the other adults on the trip. Trying to figure out who watches the kids and who gets to relax on the go often results in stressed-out, frustrated parents and kids. So decide ahead of time how you will divvy up the time between the adults and children, and consider taking along a babysitter if you can.

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          The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C.

          The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C.

          The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C.
          By Eve Zibart
          Unofficial Guides
          Retail Price $17.99
          Amazon Price: $12.78

          Book Description: 

          The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C. by Eve Zibart is the insider’s guide to Washington at its best, with more than 75 restaurant reviews and hotels ranked for value and quality. With advice that is direct, prescriptive, and detailed, this guide takes the guesswork out of travel by unambiguously rating and ranking everything from hotels, restaurants, and attractions to rental car companies and guided tours. This indispensable travel companion lets readers know what’s available in every category, from the best to the worst, and includes detailed step-by-step plans for making the most of time in the nation’s capital.

          Review

          This easy travel guide helps you to create the perfect trip to our nation’s capital.   It is full of easily-absorbed travel information emphasizing authentic experiences in each destination, the most important attractions, the classic method of approaching a particular destination, the best choices for accommodations and meals, and the best ways to maximize the enjoyment of your stay.  This is a very informative and well laid out guide book and because it is quick to read and  light to carry, it is indispensable for anyone visiting Washington, D.C.

          ~Reviewed by  David H.

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            Best Family Beach Vacations

            The best beaches can be found along the Atlantic and Pacific Coast.  Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider for your next family beach vacation.

            Florida.  From Ft. Lauderdale to Miami Beach, Florida is a prime resort area for family vacations.  With perfect weather and miles and miles of beaches, this area is affordable, diverse, and has a wide variety of water-sports, restaurants, and a myriad of activities for children. Cocoa Beach is only an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center and Disney World.  In addition, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is considered one of the best in Florida.

            Myrtle Beach.  Among the many favourite activities for children include: Ripley’s Aquarium, Le Grande Cirque, a show quite famous for its acrobatics and other circus performers; and Myrtle Waves Water Park.  For older children, a definite must-see is the NASCAR Speedpark.

            With a myriad of dining options, shopping, and other historic sites; Myrtle Beach has been named the number one choice for beach family vacations in the U.S.

            Hamptons.  One of the most affordable vacations for beach-loving families is East Hampton, New York.  The best place to stay is at the East Hampton House.  The rooms are available in one and two bedroom units that contain fully-equipped kitchens and/or kitchenettes.  Moreover, you have guest privileges at the nearby beach.

            Although this vacation spot does not offer food, it does have an indoor gym and offers morning coffee there as well.  But, across the street is a deli that has an array of items on their breakfast menu and is very affordable.  In addition, there is a Chinese restaurant across the street as well as a take-out barbeque, and deli.

            The grounds are impeccable and there is a very large pool (one for the kiddies, too) where you can lounge in the sun.  A tennis court is also on the premises.  Every room has its own balcony with lounge chairs and a table.

            If you live in the New York area, it is a 90-minute trip by car.  The East Hampton Inn is centrally located – five minutes from town, restaurants, shopping, and a movie house.  You can even take a short trip to Montauk and visit the historic lighthouse or spend time at the beach there.

            Hawaii.  Of course, nothing can compare to the beaches that are in Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.  No matter what island you choose, Hawaii has the most pristine beaches anywhere in the U.S.  Moreover, there are black-sand beaches on the island of Maui as well as a myriad of activities for the entire family.

            San Diego.  Shifting to the west Coast, your family might enjoy a stay at the Beach Cottages.  This site offers numerous amenities such as water sports, biking, as well as an amusement park.  For the kids, San Diego Zoo and Sea World are not far from the Beach Cottages.

            Centrally located to restaurants and shopping, Beach Cottages is an affordable vacation spot where the family can enjoy the sun, the surf, and other amenities available.  In fact, you can book a studio that offers a fully equipped kitchen.

            Redondo Beach.  Located on Santa Monica Bay, this report haven is perfect for family beach vacations.  Here you can enjoy water sports, fishing bicycling, kayaking, as well as fine restaurants shops located not far from the Santa Monica Pier.  There are many hotels that are situated across the street from the beach or within walking distance.  Each has its own set of amenities that are geared towards families.

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