Cool off with your family at one of these top affordable water parks.
Texas Schlitterbahn, on Galveston Island, Texas, opened in 1966 and calls itself the world’s first “water resort”—but don’t write it off as old fashioned. The park opens new rides almost every year, and with more than 35 water attractions, family adventures, and thrill slides, there’s something for everyone. Teenagers will love the Cliffhanger, with drops of 81 feet and speeds approaching 40 mph, while younger visitors prefer the Treasure Island kids area, a shallow pool designed to entertain the smallest Schlitterbahn guests. Tickets for the park are $46 adults, $36 kids. Stay at the nearby historic property, The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, where rates start at $139 on weekdays and $199 on weekends.
People are feeling good. Job numbers are up today; consumer confidence is rebounding. That means more people spending on travel. AAA Travel projects that 41 million Americans travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend. That's a 1.9 percent increase from last year. The majority are hitting the road, with more 34.8 million driving. But if you’re flying, the goods news is that you probably paid five percent less for your ticket than last year, according to AAA.
Some advice for drivers: A lot of people start heading out right about now so expect heavier traffic from about 6pm tonight through tomorrow.
You've read the headlines: Uber is being valued at $18 billion. And as a mom of two toddlers living in New York, I think that sounds about right. Why, you ask? The popular car-sharing service just launched UberFamily, which means getting around the city just became a lot easier (anything to avoid a schlep on the subway). For a $10 surcharge, your vehicle will pick you up with fully-installed car seats. This is a major game-changer, especially for city parents without wheels, and the company plans to roll out to other US destinations later this year. For info on downloading the app, go here.
Harald Hansen, spokesperson for Visit Norway, told the AP that U.S. tourism to the country that inspired the film’s settings have increased substantially. Hotel bookings in the first quarter of the year were up 37% from 2013, and tour operators have experienced a 40% sales increase.
Sometimes the best trips are the most laid back; the lesiurely afternoons where random wandering yields the stuff of scrapbooks (or, Pinterest boards). Having hustled my kids to every landmark last year, I decided to ditch the psychotic sightseeing and spend our week in London exploring the city with minimal structure.
Renting an apartment when travelling with a family makes sense on many levels. It provides increased space and the opportunity to dine in quietly after exhausting days. But, lack of amenities can be a challenge. When I heard about Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, a Park Lane property which offers apartments accompanied by 5 star services, I felt as if I had struck lodging gold.
The next time I want a stress-free family vacation, I'm going all inclusive. We all know the perks—kids clubs, babysitters, easy access to restaurants, powdery beaches within walking distance. But culture? Not so much. Now Club Med is attempting to change that by reinventing the city stopover. Launching this summer, its City Stops program is perfect for families seeking an urban adventure, along with downtime at a resort. So far, the company has rolled out to 9 cities (Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York, Miami, Dubai, to name a few), partnering with top hotels such as Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La and Tribeca Grand. Guests have everything taken care of, from hotel bookings to transfers and flights, and can customize the length of their stay to either before or after their beach visit.
Top photo by Christina Conrado; bottom photo courtesy of Club Med.
New Orleans is famous for bar-lined Bourbon Street and the Mardi Gras celebrations along it. But is it a family getaway? Liz Vilardi and Nick Zappia, owners of Cambridge, Massachuetts restaurants Belly wine bar and The Blue Room, decided to find out with their five year old son, Lucian.
Barcelona scarcely lacks diversions (including Tibidabo Park, pictured here), but in 2016 a new Ferrari Land theme park will open just outside the city. The park will feature Europe’s fastest and highest vertical accelerator, a slingshot–like ride in which a passenger pod—attached by bungee cords to two towers—is launched skyward.
Fifty years ago today the New York World’s Fair opened its doors to the public along with one of the featured attractions, Walt Disney’s “it’s a small world.” (Yes, those lower-case letters are there on purpose.) In the ride, water-borne passengers drift through an enchanted world of audio-animatronic dolls dressed in national costume, singing the eponymous song. And in 50 years people still can’t get that darn song out of their heads. But if you’re one of those goofballs who really, really loves that tune, you can record yourself singing along and have it broadcast on Disney’s site devoted to the anniversary.
Meantime, while you’re warming up your vocal cords and focusing your laptop cam, here are 10 facts that you probably didn’t know about the most famous travel-related ride in the world.