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JetBlue's Family Pooling Program Lets You Combine Airline Miles

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Every year, I make it a point to ditch the loves of my life—and husband—to escape for a long-weekend with my college friends. Last year, it was Tulum. “How much was your flight here?” l remember asking them. “Oh we used points.” Again??? I never seem to have enough to get me anywhere—but with JetBlue’s new Family Pooling plan, I could do some serious damage this year. Under the new program, families and small groups can share their True Blue points in a group account. The definition of family here is pretty loose, which is why this is actually REAL news. It can consist of up to two adults and up to five children under the age of 21. That can include family members, same sex partners or a couple of friends. No doubt, I’ll be flying gratis to Vieques this spring.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at
Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways

Guthrie Theater Announces New Playcare Program for Kids

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I think the last time I went to the theater was in 2010. (Slightly embarrassing given I live in New York City.) But every parent knows how it goes; somehow paying a sitter an hourly rate equivalent to the price of a ticket doesn't seem worth it. Well, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is on to something. It just announced a new playcare program—I believe the first of its kind—for kids ages 4 to 11. You drop your little ones off at the theater's Level Eight Education Suite, head down to catch a matinee, then pick them up after the show, all for $10 an hour. Unfortunately, I'm not headed to Minneapolis anytime soon, but I'm hoping the Guthrie's idea catches on. It's genius.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at
Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

Family Pie-Making at Paws Up Resort in Montana

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I have a confession: I've never made a pie in my life. Not apple, not pumpkin, not cranberry. Not even for the holidays. So when I heard that the glamping retreat Paws Up, in Montana, is hosting its first ever pie making weekend (October 11-14) for families, I began to fantasize about the Martha Stewart me—the one that makes crafts for her kids and whips up delicious meals from scratch. (I have yet to see her appear.)

The resort tapped master pie maker Kate McDermott to teach her baking secrets, while New York Times photographer Andrew Scrivani shows guests how to take great food photos. On the menu: Huckleberry and savory bison or elk pie. Maybe this year, I'll make my fantasy reality.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at
Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo Courtesy of Upper Crust

Kung Fu Coasters? Jackie Chan to Open Theme Park

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China may already have an Angry Birds amusement park, but the nation is about to seriously up its theme park street cred.

According to a recent Guardian article, action film star Jackie Chan has announced that he will open his own theme park in Beijing, to be called JC World.

No doubt, we love the idea of rides inspired by Chan’s action films—who wouldn’t want to go on a rollercoaster called Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow? How about an It’s-a-Small-World-style dark ride called The Forbidden Kingdom, followed by turkey legs and adult beverages at the Drunken Master concession area?

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Cruise the Amazon with Your Family on an Aqua Expeditions

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Ever since my kids watched a TV show about Piranhas, they've been obsessed with the Amazon. “It's the biggest river in the world, full of scary fishes!” Sebastian told me one day. For any parent who's dreamed of traveling down this exotic waterway with family in tow, now is the perfect time to do it: Luxury cruise line Aqua Expeditions is offering free sailings on its ultra-luxe Aqua Amazon or Aria Amazon for kids under 12, through November 2014. Along the way, you'll spot sloths, caimans, pink dolphins (maybe a piranha), and more. It's the ultimate adventure for a family of wildlife lovers.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at
Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of Aqua Expeditions

Family Friday: Etihad Airlines Offers In-Flight Nanny

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Can you imagine having a real live Mary Poppins on your next flight? Someone to entertain your kids (origami anyone?), serve them meals, and help you fill milk bottles—and all this done with a smile? Well Etihad Airlines has made this dream a reality. Known for over-the-top amenities and service, the Persian Gulf carrier just announced a Flying Nanny program for all its long-haul flights. More than 300 "nannies" trained in child psychology and sociology will be available to help frazzled parents survive their trip whether they're sitting in economy, business, or first. Yes, it sounds a tad extreme, but think of all the magazines you could read, movies you could watch, and naps you could take.

Clara O. Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Etihad Airways

Family Friday: Lufthansa's New Family-Friendly Check-In

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If there’s anything more challenging than a flight with your young kids, it’s trying to keep them entertained at the airport. On my last trip, I spent two hours chasing my twins around New York’s Delta terminal and had to convince a worker at Starbucks that Sebastian hadn’t intentionally stolen a bag of coffee (he knew exactly what he was doing). Enter Lufthansa. The airline recently launched a series of new family offerings at its Munich and Frankfurt airports, which include child-friendly check in areas with stations for kids. When you’re at the counter, your little ones can climb up a step ladder to feel part of the procedure (they’ll even get a “Best Friend Boarding Pass” for their favorite stuffed animal). You’ll also receive a Family Pilot brochure with vouchers and information about airport play areas, pharmacies, observation decks, and the best restaurants for kids. FYI, if you travel Lufthansa frequently, make sure to enroll your child in the Jet Friends frequent flier program—he’ll get instant points and access to a community of like-minded mini-globetrotters. Lufthansa.com/family

Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image Courtesy of Lufthansa

Family Friday: Villa Rentals by Kid & Coe

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Navigating the world of villa rentals is a dicey proposition. What looks incredible online (spacious rooms, gorgeous pool, state-of-the-art kitchen) often ends up being in one word—a dump. Case in point: a couple of years ago, my husband rented a house in Costa Rica and arrived to discover the place had no roof. While I have no problem camping out under the stars, it’s a different story when the kids are with me. A new villa rental company launching in October, Kid & Coe, aims to assure families that you won’t reach your dream house to discover a 50-foot cliff drop off the pool. Launched by Zoie Coe, wife of DJ Sasha, from Sasha & Digweed, the company has properties in Europe and the US, as well as a few prime vacation destinations like Sayulita, Mexico and Transcoso, Brazil. All houses are approved by the Kid & Coe team, often by Coe herself who is constantly on the road with her little ones. Stylish, functional, and safe digs are guaranteed.

Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Kid & Coe

Family Friday: Italy Offers Free Museum Entry for Kids

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Having just got back from a family trip to Tuscany, Italy, I am deliriously in love with all things Italian–the food, the coffee, and most of all, the achingly beautiful architecture and art. So when I read that the country just called for free entry to all national museums and historical sites for kids under age 18, it made me want to pack up the twins and do the trip all over again. We didn't reap the benefits of the new law when we were there, and at often 15 euro a ticket, sightseeing became a costly venture. Now the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, the Medici museums, and hundreds of others are all gratis (see a full listing here). Who was it who said Italians do it better?

Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Caro / Alamy

Family Friday: Dallas Adventure Garden

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Why do kids get to have all the fun?  The Rory Meyers Adventure Garden is set to open in Dallas at the end of September—and it might just be the coolest interactive play space I’ve ever seen. Spread out over 8 acres, the park is a massive science learning center with 17 outdoor and indoor galleries, each themed around a particular subject. Some highlights: exploring wetlands, walking on boardwalks through grass tunnels, and hiking under a rushing waterfall. Oh, and almost everything is giant-sized, from the flowers and trees to the rabbits, spiders, and butterflies.

Clara O. Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Dallas Arboretum

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