When a client asks me to recommend a theme park vacation for tweens and teens, I don’t hesitate to suggest Universal Orlando. This less expensive and less time consuming Disney alternative is perfect for older or more adventurous kids (and adults!). There are thrilling roller coasters with loops, drops and twists, as well as many motion and interactive rides. With a variety of resort alternatives, from value to deluxe, there is a price point for every budget.
Author: Hali Wallach
City #4: Vienna, Austria
Vienna was everything that you’d expect from a storied European city steeped in history, art, culture and money. It was grand, regal, beautiful, opulent and expensive. Overall, it was quite impressive.
We stayed at the Graben Hotel which was also centrally located and very affordable, but bare bones and no frills. As is the case for the vast majority of European hotels, the room was tiny with limited space to move around. Still, it was clean and the staff was accommodating. Seeing as we didn’t spend much time in our hotel, it served its purpose.
In Northwest Italy in the region of Liguria you will find five colorful fishing villages linked by an ancient system of footpaths. These villages perched on steeply terraced cliffs are collectively referred to as The Cinque Terre, which means five lands or five towns.
As cars were banned many years ago you can reach the five villages-- Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore-- only by footpaths, boats or train. The ancient architecture, medieval fortresses and breathtaking coastal scenery are just a few of the charms of this area.
Thailand is filled with amazingly beautiful areas not yet touched by mass tourism. In Northeast Thailand, just over 300 miles from Bangkok in the province of Ubon lies the city Ubon Ratchathani.
Ubon province is known for its ancient Buddhist temples and forest-dwelling monks. Among the city’s 2 dozen temples you’ll find Wat Pah Nanachat—Thailand’s only monastery where English is the main language.
But the sheer beauty of the area, its authentic folk culture and warm-hearted people also beckon to those attracted to the roads less traveled. Examples of the inspiring natural beauty of the area include: 4,000 year-old rock formations, prehistoric rock paintings, captivating national parks, waterfalls, and the two-colored river.
Family Time at Beaches
It’s often hard for families with young children to find a place where they can take a vacation that meets the needs of both kids and adults. Luckily, the Sandals resort chain offers a multi-generational option for family with infants to teens with their Beaches resorts. A recent visit to Beaches Ocho Rios with my family showed us just how family-friendly this resort chain actually is.
Author: Hali Wallach
City #3: Krakow, Poland
Author: Hali Wallach
City #2: Warsaw, Poland (Poorman’s Europe)
After our trip to Warsaw we understand why some of the polish people have unofficially adopted Krakow as their capital city. Since most of Warsaw was rebuilt after WWII you’d expect it to be a very modern, progressive city, but that was not our experience at all. Even though the buildings are all relatively new, they don’t look like it. Most of them are dirty, covered in graffiti, and look like they are about to crumble to the ground.
One very favorable aspect to mention about traveling to Warsaw, is how affordable it is. The cost of food, local goods and mass transit in Warsaw is cheap!
You can get around the city, purchase local products and/or eat like a King/Queen for next to nothing.
I personally recommend that you go to a Milk Bar for good cheap eats!
When shopping for global name brands, expect to pay the same as you would in the states, but buy items local to the region and your money will go a lot further.
Author: Stacey Goodale
Family Travel Specialist
Taking your children on their first overseas trip to Europe may seem like a challenge, but with a little planning, you and your family can have a wonderful experience.
Consider making a packet of fun worksheets about the country to which you are visiting. Although many planes have wifi, it is best to pre download any movies or apps on your devices and don’t forget your portable charger. Bring lots of snacks, too! Airplane food may not cut it when it comes to keeping your kids’ stomachs full and happy.
Because we field a number of questions regarding whether US Citizens can travel to Cuba we thought we’d lend a little clarification.
In 2014, an executive order loosened the restrictions on traveling to Cuba. This order made it legal for Americans to travel to Cuba without having to go on an escorted group tour.
In 2017, the current administration announced they were going to roll back all the regulation changes, but as yet nothing has been put in place and no details have been confirmed.
This means that right now you have a number of options for visiting this culturally intriguing Caribbean island including traveling independently. However, as Cuba has been isolated from much of the world for centuries, its tourist infrastructure is still developing.