In spite of what the thermometer may read, the calendar says spring is nearly here. Spring Break is on the horizon and maybe a family vacation is in the cards. If you haven’t yet overdosed on the flaky white stuff, get out and enjoy the deep snowpack with hotel specials in New Hampshire, Vermont or the Hudson Valley. If you’re looking to escape winter’s last grip, there are deals in Mexico, Santa Barbara and the Texas Hill Country. If you enjoy train travel, Amtrak and Eurail are offering price breaks. We've got the scoop all all these deals, plus a sweepstakes to may win a free vacation for four people to Kissimmee, Florida, a gateway to Orlando. Get set to save on your spring travels.
Allison Tibaldi - Writer
Allison is a native New Yorker who's been lucky enough to have lived in Italy, Australia and Canada. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish, and
believes that language is a key to understanding other cultures. She frequently contributes travel pieces to Family Travel Forum, using her own children as guinea pigs as they journey around the globe. She's also a senior writer at offManhattan.com, contributing car-free vacation ideas. Her background as an Early Childhood Educator gives her an added understanding of what it takes to travel with kids in tow, and she firmly believes that the most important part of education takes place outside of the classroom on the road. Her love for travel goes hand-in-hand with her love for food and wine.
Latest posts by Allison Tibaldi
Looking to cure the winter blues? A mid-season getaway may be just the trick to keep you going until spring. Thankfully, there are lots of discounts during the upcoming school break. If your family craves the excitement of a theme park, Downtown Disney in Orlando has excellent rates. East Coast families could consider an urban escape to Baltimore or for something with a small town vibe, head to Freeport Maine, home of L.L. Bean. How about a yoga and massage weekend retreat for parents, with childcare for the kids, in the Berkshires? If your family feels like frolicking in the snow, many ski resorts are offering discounts. Adventurous types can head west to Yellowstone National Park for spectacular wintery scenery and no crowds.
Wherever you sit on the issue of testing, standardized tests and the accompanying pressures are part of the American educational system. Our city kids are faced with high-stakes tests from an early age, from the G&T to the ERB to Regents to the granddaddy of them all, the Scholastic Aptitude Test for college-bound high school students.
In order to improve their score, many teens enroll in SAT prep programs during their junior year. These classes usually meet twice a week for a few months, cutting into after-school activities and precious study time during an already stressful school year. So when it came time for my 11th-grade daughter to face the SAT challenge, we opted for a different solution: a six-day summer intensive course and camp in rural Southern Maine. While SAT prep is the camp's main objective, the kids also have plenty of time for traditional summer camp activities. The serene Maine setting on Panther Pond was just the respite my stressed-out city kid needed.
Cyber Monday’s single-day travel bargains have come and gone and the December holiday season typically presents slim pickings for price conscious vacationers. In high season, thinking out of the box may help you find legitimate deals. Cape May and Grand Canyon in winter may not immediately jump to mind, but they offer fine savings. Cities like Philly and NYC are savvy budget options. If small town charm is in your forecast, consider quaint Cooperstown or frosty Vermont. Sun-seekers should note that the Grand Lucayan resort in the Bahamas has a great deal.
Several large hotel chains are offering property-wide discounts. Consider family-perfect First Night celebrations and ring in the New Year in Boston or Burlington. Start planning an exotic trip to Bangkok and you’ll score a bargain at a luxury hotel. When the holidays are finished, head to Telluride where kids ski and stay free. Or leave the kids and rejuvenate at Red Rocks Resort in Utah, perfect for a girlfriend or couples getaway.
Pre-Thanksgiving travel is like the calm before the hectic holiday travel storm. If you can manage to get away just before or just after Turkey Day, you won’t find big crowds and you will find deals. East Coast residents can enjoy discounts at rustic Shenandoah National Park, off-the-grid Maine Huts &Trails, the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, urban-cool New Haven and Woodloch Resort in the Poconos. Out west, consider a trip to Los Angeles, Death Valley or Phoenix. There are warm weather deals in Florida and at Atlantis in the Bahamas.
True travel mavens are gearing up for Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, when the Internet is flooded with hotel and airline bargains. These deals are usually announced at the very last minute, so you won’t get much advance notice. In recent years, hotel chains like Starwood, Sheraton, Embassy Suites and Marriott have offered consumers deep one-day-only discounts. All-inclusive family resorts like Beaches and Club Med have also offered bargains, so keep these chains in mind if you’re looking to score a Cyber Monday vacation deal.
Fall is an awesome time to travel. The summer crowds have dissipated, the weather is usually fine and deals abound. If you have pre-school kids (or home-schooled kids), or can manage to take some time off, consider sneaking away for an autumn getaway. If your family is back in the busy swing of school and activities, consider a weekend or quick overnight getaway. The following destinations are on our radar, thanks to attractive off-peak pricing and excellent seasonal attractions and activities. From Providence to New York State, from Orlando’s theme parks to warm weather dream destinations to a Disney Cruise, here are our best fall travel deals.
Wave goodbye to summer with an eleventh hour family getaway. Check out hipster-haven Portland Maine, the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls or the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Big Texas has deals in charm-filled San Antonio and cowboy-crazed Fort Worth. If you’re looking for a tropical location, Curaçao, Aruba and Puerto Rico are dishing up legitimate savings. Myrtle Beach usually stays warm well into fall, and this year brings special savings. Florida bound vacationers will find deals in Orlando and Captiva. If you’re headed to Europe, Airberlin is auctioning upgrades to fly business class.
Summer and family vacation go together like milk and cookies. With the kids out of school, many families will hit the road for some fun and togetherness. This summer, there are deals to be found. In New England, Great Wolf Lodge has a brand new water-filled outpost. For something more low-key, try a farm-style vacation in New Hampshire. Tanglewood, the venerable music festival in the Berkshires, invites kids to hear concerts for free. Kids cruise to Nova Scotia from Maine without paying a dime. Plan a vacation or staycation at the Park Central in New York City and you won’t break the bank. West Coast families can enjoy a getaway to the Enchantment Resort in Arizona or score a cool bargain in hot Palm Springs. If you’re thinking tropical, the British Virgin Islands has some great offers or try the all-inclusive Paradisis Resorts scattered around the Caribbean, where kids stay free.