Disneyland Vacation Done Right

This is a guest post from Brandon Doyle, a travel blogger on Twitter.

I was born and raised in northern California. I am the oldest of five children. We went to Disneyland a lot growing up. Those vacations were some of the best experiences I had as a kid. I am now married with 3 kids of my own. My wife and I thought it was time to take our kids to Disneyland for the first time.

When I first looked up Disneyland ticket prices, I was a little surprised. They’ve really jumped up in recent years :/. The hotels near Disneyland are also very expensive, and provide little room for a family of five (we were also making this trip with a few married siblings, so we wanted something bigger). I began looking around for house options. That’s when I found Anaheim Vacation House company.

Anaheim Vacation House was definitely the right choice. Their service is impeccable. The location of the one we stayed in was perfect (~10 minutes from Disneyland). The house was spacious and beautiful. And the backyard was magical. We stayed there in the middle of January, and the weather was 75 degrees each day. The heated pool didn’t hurt either :). destination-3/">Here is the Anaheim vacation rental we stayed in.

I would (and will) stay there again, and again, and again. Being together with family in a big house is better than staying in separate, crammed hotel rooms. We had so much fun for the week we were there. It was easily the best family vacation I’ve ever had. If anyone is interested in staying there, use the coupon code DoyleG25 for $25/night off any house!

anaheim vacation rental

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Your Family Vacation Must knows When Traveling With Kids

October 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Family vacations are a great way for busy parents to have quality time with their kids. But without proper planning, it can easily become stressful and disappointing for everyone. So, do yourself a favor and plan ahead!

1. Ask the hotel about child facilities

Some resorts are built for couples, with lots of spas and romantic nooks. Kids will hate this. You need a resort with plenty of indoor recreational facilities, where they can play safely, and happily. Some hotels will even offer babysitting or child care services, so you can do some shopping or sight seeing on your own, without someone tugging at your knee and saying, “Mommy, can we go now?”

2. Don’t overload the itinerary

Kids get tired more easily, or can rapidly become overstimulated and cranky. Make sure that the itinerary leaves lots of room for resting, snacks, or (if you’re taking toddlers) even naps. Ideally you should only cover two major destinations in one day (one in the morning, another in the afternoon). If you want to see more sights, make arrangements to leave your child to rest in the hotel (see tip number one) and do it on your own.

3. Bring a “child care pack”

This includes lots of water (kids get dehydrated more easily), an extra change of clothes, and small toys to amuse them at restaurants.

If you are going to a warm place (like a beach or a tropical country) remember that kids are more vulnerable to sunstroke and sunburn. Bring sunblock, a handheld battery-operated fan, and sports drinks (which will help them retain water). Avoid bringing them out in the hottest times of the day.

4. Choose a kid-friendly itinerary

Consider your child’s age. A toddler will not be able to appreciate a historical tour of the country’s Medieval churches, and even a seven year old may not be able to stay still in a museum.

Look at the places you plan to visit and think, “Will he be able to understand this?” Compare the length of the tour with the average amount of time he can concentrate on one activity. Do this even before you choose a destination—if he won’t enjoy 50% of the key attractions, find another vacation place.

5. Be prepared to pay extra for comfort

You can save a lot of money by roughing it out in 3-star hotels or taking long bus rides, but it’s just not worth it when you’re traveling with kids. Pay extra for comforts that will keep them in a good mood: soft beds, big pools, 3-minute access to restaurants or tour buses. Because if they’re happy, you can relax, and actually have fun too.

6. Get older kids involved in the planning

Kids are more likely to have fun if you get them “psyched” way ahead of the trip. They can help pick the destination (narrow it down to two places you love and let them have the final say). You can also help them make a vacation scrapbook, where they can put “fast facts” on the place you will visit, as well as photos, postcards and other mementos.

7. Pack your patience

No matter how well you plan, remember, these are kids. Unfamiliar places and changes in schedule will always be a little upsetting for them, so try to be understanding. When they have tantrums, check if they’re overstimulated and bring them to a quiet place where they can calm down. Bring a small comfort toy (which can help them settle down if they are tired, scared or cranky).

Why Fiji

October 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Fiji is probably one of the few places you would name when you are asked what tropical exotic destination would you like to visit.

It is also not as many of us had first thought, just an island. Do you realize there are 333 islands that go to make up Fiji, and they are all different. Fiji is in fact an archipelago, and it stands at the crossroads of the South Pacific. The main island which is called Viti Levu sees the arrival of nearly 100 international flights every week, with most of the tourists arriving , and then taking a short flight of between 7-10 minutes or longer up to an hour to take them to one of the many offshore island resorts.

Where you go, and what you do is very much up to you. You can find real excitement or peace and quiet. You can surf the Cloud Breaker at Tavarua, scuba dive the White Wall, snorkel over giant rainbow gardens of soft coral.

You can fall in love with the smiles and welcome of the people, the hollow log drums beating a welcome, wear flowers in your hair, and be like the local people. If you want to you can just float in the calm turquoise waters of a lagoon, or just idle your day away in a lush tropical rainforest. Yes it does rain, and heavily too!!

A Fijian rainbath is a joy in itself, when the tropical downpour begins, rush outside with everyone else and feel the warm torrential rain, enjoy it, because it never lasts for long.

The choice of island resorts is incredible from Matangi Island and Horshoe Shaped Beach, Namenalala Island, Vanua Levu and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands resort, to Taveuni Island the soft coral capital of the world, Vatulele Island Resort, The Wakaya Club, The Yasawa Islands, to name a few.

Go there, experience it, you only live once and Fiji is the place to live it.

Why Best Western Hotels Are So Popular

October 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

With 4,000 plus hotels in 80 different countries, Best Western is the largest hotel chain in the world. Best Western hotels are comfortable without costing an arm and a leg, making them perfect for travelers that are on a budget but still concerned with quality. It’s first hotel was opened in Phoenix, and it is now a hotel franchise, with each of the many Best Western hotels independently owned and operated. No matter where you go, you can find a Best Western at which to stay!

Each hotel that operated around the world has a vote in Best Western policies as a member of the Best Western association, making it a bit different from other franchises and other hotel operations in the world. Best Western headquarters, after listening to all of the owner ideas, publishes guidelines every year by which each hotel must be run. Therefore, although each Best Western hotel in which you stay is owned by a different person and may be run differently, there are certain standards the owner and hotel have to meet in order to continue functioning under the Best Western Hotels name.

Best Western was one of the first hotels to offer free Wi-Fi access in certain parts of its hotel, and it remains a leader on cutting-edge technology, although the rooms are usually homey and comfortable. Like many other hotel chains, Best Western has a great website that allows you to search for hotel locations, see what special features each hotel has to offer, and book rooms.

Package deals are also usually available. These change with the season, but usually include lower prices and are great for travelers who have little time in their busy lives to plan vacations. You can work together with Best Western to not only find great hotel prices, but to also get good deals on airfare, rental cares, and activities. You really can’t go wrong with Best Western.

Where Can You Travel With Yacht Charters

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

In the world of yacht charters, Greece is one of the most exotic destinations you can choose. Enjoy bareboat sailing on the Ionian Sea along the west coast of Greece where the islands are bound together by a unique culture. Another yacht charter that Greece offers is a chance to see the varied landscape of the islands in the Saronic Gulf. Take trip back to the place where civilization began when you choose one of these yacht charters. Greece has so much to offer that you will hardly know where to begin.

The Saronic Gulf offers exciting ports of call for yacht charters. You have the opportunity for you to charter a yacht on your own and enjoy bareboat sailing. Greece also offers luxury yachts with a full crew to pamper you as you sail along. Whatever your penchant for yacht charters, Greece will meet or beat your expectations giving you a vacation like none other. In addition to the Ionian Sea and the Saronic Gulf, with yacht charters along the coast of Greece, you can sail to the Cyclades Group of islands, the Dodecanese, the Sporades and the Samos area.

For those interested in bareboat sailing, Greece has many types of yachts available, such as sailing yachts and motor yachts. In order to book one of these yacht charters, Greece requires that there be two qualified skippers on board. This is because if one should have an accident, the other can handle the yacht. Greece also requires that skippers be licensed for sailing and you have to mail a copy of your sailing license to the yacht charter company when you make your booking. Don’t forget to bring your original contract for the yacht charter. Greece regulations require this for departure clearance.

Yacht charters in Greece begin on Saturday afternoon and end on Friday evening. The yacht charter company that you choose will also arrange for transfer for you from the airport to the yacht and provide the same service when the charter is complete. With a yacht charter in Greece, you will have to choose an itinerary from a list provided. It is unlikely that you will be able to change the schedule of ports of call.

When you book yacht charters, Greece regulations require that the yacht be full of fuel and water you will need for the trip. There are refuelling stations in the various ports and you must return the yacht in the same way you receive it. The charter company can advise you on what type of clothing to bring with you for yacht charters. Greece can get cold when you are on the water and at night. This is why it is recommended that you bring heavy clothes.

When Traveling With Your Children

October 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Traveling even if just for a weekend trip can be very exciting even for children. However, we have to understand that when we travel with children whether via the plane, ship, train, bus, or drive our own vehicle, kids can become restless especially when the travel time is quite long. Here are several tips to keep your children entertained and well-behaved during the entire travel trip.

People, especially children can get impatient when they are hungry. When going for a weekend getaway, bring loads of snacks for your kids to chomp on when their stomachs start to growl. You don’t need to be bringing along meals in packed containers. You can pack in a bag snacks like sandwiches, cookies, crackers, juices, fruits and bottled water for ease and convenience.

Have some stopovers to enable your kids and the family to take toilet breaks as well as stretch their legs. Take your meals as well during these stopovers. You can always find many gasoline stations along the way that could serve as stopovers, where food establishments are also located.

Always bring extra clothes irregardless of how old your kids are. You will never know when a change is needed especially for accidents like food or juice spills or they could be sweating from a hot weather. A portable potty would also be useful especially when you have toddlers or very young kids who cannot hold their call of nature for the next stopover. Baby wipes and a hand sanitizer would always come in handy.

To prevent boredom from settling in as well as to keep your children preoccupied, play games with them or engage them in conversation about their favorite toys, their most watched movie, their week at school, their friends, etc. Keep them busy with books, puzzles, toys and other stuff that they could enjoy and have fun with. An activity tote bag can contain comic books, books, games, stuffed toys, cards and things that your kid enjoys doing or would want to take along.

Of course, letting your kids sleep during your travel will enable them to rest to have the extra energy needed when you will reach your destination. Let them sleep to avoid them from being cranky for lacking sleep. It is important though to wake them up properly to avoid irritable behavior. Give them some time to be able to wake up fully and not be feeling groggy.

What You Must Do When Traveling With Seniors

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Traveling with your parents can be a wonderful experience if you plan well ahead. Here are five things you must do to ensure that you and your parents will have a great vacation.

1. Ensure that the itinerary is not too fast paced.

Older folks tend to get tired easily and thus it is not advisable to include activities that are too strenuous. It is also not advisable to pack too many activities in the itinerary such that you and your parents have to rush from one place to another.

2. Ensure that everyone has ample sleep

Plan to have at least six to eight hours of sleep for you and your parents for each day of your vacation. Try to avoid having any more activities after 11 p.m. Prepare some hot water for your parents to soak their legs before bed time if there is a fair amount of walking in the day.

3. Have ample supply of their medication

If your parents are suffering from diabetes, asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol or any other illness, make sure you obtain ample supply of medication from their doctors to last for the whole trip. To ensure that you remember to bring the medication, create a checklist of things to bring and put their medication among the top five items on that list. As a safety precaution, ask them to carry a medical record of their illness and contact details in case you are not around when they need medical attention.

4. Healthy diet

Most older people do not take heavy meals and thus you need to plan for multiple light and healthy meals that are low on salts, oil and sugars but high in fiber. Always have a sandwich or high fiber biscuits in your bag in case they get hungry and there isn’t a snack bar in the vicinity. Also make sure that you and your parents drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.

5. Bring along a first aid travel pack.

Your first aid travel pack should contain medication for fever and diarrhea, cold symptoms and giddiness. It should also include a thermometer, tweezers, sharp scissors, safety pins, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze, adhesive tape and antiseptic wipes. While this list is not exhaustive, the stocks in the travel pack should be enough to cater to most conditions that require general first aid assistance. Do check the expiry date for those medications that you bring along to ensure that they are safe for consumption.

Traveling with your parents need not be a hassle as long as you plan ahead and take care of their needs. Involve them in all the activities along the way and remember to have fun!

What To Look For In A Hotel

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

You can trust established chains such as Marriott or Hilton but there is so much on offer that it would be a shame to miss out on the smaller or independent hotels as they may be able to offer you something the larger chain brands can’t.

The Rating System
The star system was created to help guests judge how good a hotel is. Star ratings symbolise the level of standards a guest can expect and are recognised worldwide. Ranging from 1 – 5, the quality of service, amenities, size and condition of rooms and building, safety and security, atmosphere, quality of food and drink, hotel presence and efficiency of staff are judged.

1 Star
Practical accommodation. Don’t expect anything more than the absolute basics. The shower room is likely to be down the hall, but remember, it’s the cheapest accommodation. If you’re looking for a bargain, and don’t mind not having en-suite facilities, don’t hesitate to consider one-star hotels – just check the room first. Go for one that offers clean sheets and a nice neighbourhood. It may be cheap but you don’t want to slum it next door to a crack den!

2 Star
Although many offer en-suite facilities you may find in some hotels there is still a need to share the shower room down the hall with other guests. You’ll have a colour television, a comfortable bed, and a restaurant/dining room for breakfast and dinner.

3 Star
Private bathrooms in the (usually smallish) room colour television, occasionally even a mini bar, a phone, laundry service (optional) and a more formal style of service along with the opportunity for room service during certain times to be expected.

4 Star
Four-star hotels are spacious and have the creature comforts with a touch more luxury, including private baths in addition to a strong emphasis on food and beverage, 24-hour room service and a dry cleaning service available. More often in well situated locations.

5 Star
Simply the best. The interiors will be of the highest standards. Opulent, stylish and of absolute luxury. Nothing is too much for guests. Exceptional comfort, 24 hour room service, luxury amenities, for example, spas or star rated restaurants serving superb cuisine are the norm. The concierge will be only too happy to get you want at whatever time of the day, (so long as it’s legal). You will feel very well cared for by professional, attentive staff providing a flawless service. This is the kind of luxury dreams are made of.

The star definitions should be treated as a general guide to what you should expect from a star rated hotel as there is yet no definitive worldwide standardisation available.

Because of this, it can sometimes be abused and you could find yourself booking into a hotel that just doesn’t come up to what you believe to be adequate for its rating.

Due to the lack of consistency in hotel ratings around the world you could find yourself staying in, for example, a three-star hotel abroad which may be better than a three-star hotel in your native country. But be warned, it can go either way and you could find yourself in a less than desirable hotel with exactly the same star rating.

Keep in mind it is your right to view a room before you commit to staying in it. Ask to do so.

Recommendation
If you’re thinking of booking into a hotel, but don’t know what it’s like, www.gate14.co.uk suggests you take the following steps.
: Ask trusted friends with similar tastes to recommended somewhere
: Alternatively, search the name of your intended hotel and read impartial hotel reviews from people who have stayed in the accommodation.

Reviews can be seen at Holiday Watchdog. It’s free to use and you can even submit a review of your own.

If you would like to see special offers in accommodation, go to http://www.gate14.co.uk/SV4.html.

What To Consider When Choosing Your Maui Villa

October 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Are you interested in taking a Maui trip? If you are, you may wish to stay at a Maui villa. If you would, you are not alone. Maui villas are increasing in popularity among tourists. They are elegant and luxurious in nature. Many individuals find them perfect for romantic getaways and honeymoons.

If you have yet to make your Maui villa reservations, it is advised that you take action as soon as possible. As previously stated, many tourists opt to rent villas when visiting Maui. To ensure that you get the Maui villa of your dreams, you will want to act fast. With that in mind, you will also want to take steps to ensure that you examine all of your options. This will ensure that the Maui villa you choose to rent is best for you and your vacation needs.

When it comes to choosing a Maui villa to rent, there are a number of important factors which you should take into consideration. One of the many factors that you will want to consider, when looking to rent a Maui villa, is cost. If you are on a budget, you may have a limit as to how much you can spend on a villa rental. Even if you aren’t vacationing on a budget, you may want to refrain from paying too much money for a vacation rental. What is nice about this is that the internet makes it easy for you to not only compare Mau villa rental prices, but onsite services and amenities as well.

In keeping with onsite services and amenities, many villas rentals come equipped with staff. If you are looking to take a family vacation, you may want to spend your time enjoying your family and not cooking or cleaning. If so, a staffed villa may be in your best interest. The same can be said for those on romantic getaways or honeymoons. When examining Maui villa rentals, most villas owners will outline whether or not they employ staff members, such as housecleaners or chefs.

Another one of the many factors that you will want to examine, when looking to choose a Maui villa to rent is the onsite services. As previously stated, Maui villas are known for their elegance and luxury. Although this elegance and luxury is nice, you will also want to look for facilities or items that you will need each day. For instance, does each Maui villa rental come equipped with a laundry room, have a fully furnished kitchen, and so forth? When vacationing on Maui, it is important to examine your needs, in terms of your overnight accommodations.

Location is also a factor that needs to be examined, when looking for Maui villa rentals. Maui has a number of different areas that are known for being popular vacation destinations. One of the best ways to narrow down your search for a vacation rental is by first deciding which area of Maui you would like to visit. Depending on your intended destination, you will then either want to decide whether you want to rent a beachfront Maui villa or one that may be located inland or one that simply provides you with a view of a beach.

In keeping with location, it is also important that you examine nearby activities. When taking this approach, it may be a good idea to examine what you would like to do and see on your Maui trip. If you are interested in spending your time at the beach surfing, snorkeling, swimming, or scuba diving, a beachfront villa may be in your best interest or at least one that is located close by.

The above mentioned factors are just a few of the many that you will want to keep in mind when you start examining Maui villa rentals. As a reminder, it may be a little bit time consuming to examine a number of Maui villas, but examination is necessary to have the Maui trip of your dreams.

Vacation Travel Insurance Tips

October 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Travel insurance is an important but often overlooked part of your vacation. Whether you are traveling to a foreign country or to the next state you should consider travel insurance.

Some of the reasons to have insurance are to cover medical expenses, life insurance for your family, or trip insurance when something goes wrong.

If you have medical coverage, check with your insurer to find out the specifics regarding your planned destination.

You can buy medical coverage for the duration of your trip or for longer periods. Some travel insurance policies cover multiple trips of specific duration. Some will cover you for travel up to a year.

Planning a skiing or mountain climbing vacation? You may want to consider evacuation insurance. If you need to be rescued it is quite possible that the you will end up with a hefty bill to pay for the service.

If you are going on a cruise, taking an organized tour or just flying on an airplane you may want trip cancellation insurance. You or a family member may get sick at the last minute or your plans may change unexpectedly.

Many companies do not offer refunds and you could be out thousands of dollars. There are many things out of your control that can mess with your plans. Refunds are tough to get sometimes.

Other popular coverage is loss of baggage, baggage delay, travel delay, dental, 24 Hour Traveler Assistance, and accidental death.

If you are driving out of the country definitely check with your auto insurer. Purchase any extra coverage needed. You may want to ask about an international roadside assistance policy.

Auto breakdowns and accidents are bad enough at home but the problems are compounded abroad.

Check with your credit card company. You may have some coverage if you purchase your vacation with their card.

If you are traveling with a group you may be able to get coverage cheaper as a group rather than individually.

Sometimes you will pay more for less coverage if you buy it through a travel agent who makes a nice commission. This is not always the case but it’s your money. Shop around for the best deal.

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