Specials and News

Around the World with The Family Traveler

US/Canada Travel Ideas

SkyTop Savings

The earlier in advance you plan your winter getaway to Skytop Lodge, the more your family will save with 10 percent off with a two week advance and up to 25 percent when planning two months in advance.  Winter activities at this upscale, Poconos landmark abound for the entire family including downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, tobogganing, ice skating, ice fishing and sleigh rides along with archery, indoor pool, sporting clays, zip line, spa, gym and more.  A variety of family sized accommodations are also available.

Averill’s Flathead Lodge Discount

Families who finish their school year early can save at Averill’s Flathead Lodge.  The discount is 20 percent off from June 10-17, 2018 only.  Averill’s is a third generation family operated guest ranch located in Northwest Montana on the beautiful shores of Flathead Lake. It offers unlimited horse & water activities and sits only 35 miles south of Glacier National Park.  Your family will enjoy a rustic ranch atmosphere with family sized accommodations, endless recreational activities, and unmatched hospitality. Recreation includes a complete horse program, sailing, fly fishing, water sports, hiking, cookouts, and a family barn dance to name a few…all for one all-inclusive rate.


Multi-Generational River Cruise Savings

Young adults, parents and grandparents alike will love a week exploring the legendary rivers of Europe together on AMAWaterways river cruises. Bridge the generation gap with connecting and triple occupancy staterooms, and enjoy twin balconies that let the fresh air in. A variety of included excursions, from gentle walking tours to hikes and bike rides, give everyone the freedom to explore their own way.  Book now and save up to $1,500 per stateroom on select 2018 cruises and up to $2,000 per stateroom on select 2019 bookings.

NCL Updates Mobile App

Norwegian Cruise Line has released its next version of the Cruise Norwegian mobile app. Get directions to the port and access mobile online check-in functions for a quick and paperless e-doc boarding experience.  Onboard the ship (with paid internet access), you can stay abreast of all daily activities. You can preview and reserve shore excursions, place dining and entertainment reservations and buy dining, beverage and special occasion packages.  One of the only things that costs extra is the onboard calling and messaging function—which permits you to give fellow guests unlimited shouts via voice or text—for a flat $9.95 for the length of the cruise. Group messaging even allows for planning meet-ups and sharing photos. Otherwise, outbound shoreside calling through the app is priced at $0.79 per minute to most countries.  You can also review shipboard charges and Immigration and Easy Walk-off disembarkation details.  The new generation of app is ready to use on Norwegian Sky and will be available on the line’s new Norwegian Bliss during summer 2018.  It will roll out to the rest of the fleet by the end of 2018.

Tropical Fun

Double Resort Credits at Palace

Family Deluxe Suites at Palace Resorts now include double the resort credits to use for spa treatments, family photos, golf, excursions, romantic dinner and more.  Receive up to $5,000 in credits for 12 room nights or longer, $4,000 for 9-11 room nights, $3,000 for 5-8 room nights, $1,500 for four room nights and $1,000 for three room nights.  Did you know that resort credits can also be rolled over to subsequent stays at any of Palace Resorts’ 10 oceanfront properties and are redeemable up to 12 months after the original stay?  Your family can also gift the accrued cash value of the resort credits to friends and family who plan on staying at a Palace Resorts property in the future.  Family Deluxe Suites (which are guaranteed adjoining rooms) are available at Moon Palace and the Grand at Moon Palace in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, Beach Palace in Cancun, Mexico and Moon Palace in Ocho Rios. Special touches sure to bring a smile include a fully stocked mini-bar with Hershey’s milkshakes, juice, soda, water as well as plenty of kid- and mom-approved snacks plus Fun in the Sun buckets, which provide all the necessities for building the perfect sandcastle.

Costa Rica Luxury

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will manage a beachfront luxury-home enclave that will be built next to its recently renovated hotel in Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo by the end of 2019.  Four Seasons Private Residences Prieta Bay at Peninsula Papagayo will consist of 20 homes on 17 acres next to the 182-room hotel. The ecology minded homes will feature glass walls with pocket doors to bring the outdoors…indoors.  You will have walkway access to two nearby beaches and use of the Peninsula Papagayo Club which includes golf and tennis facilities.  Recent upgrades to the Four Sesaons Resort included new furnishings, artwork and artisan pieces in all guestrooms, suites and villas, while the property’s 15 hillside Canopy Suites received new plunge pools.

International Exploration

Happy Families in London

The recently renovated Berkeley hotel in the Knightsbridge section of London is showcasing a Happy Families Package through May 19, 2019!  Your package includes:

  • Two bedrooms to accommodate all the family
  • Traditional English breakfast for a family of up to four
  • Take your time with a 2pm late check-out (subject to availability)
  • ‘Happy Families’ classic card game
  • Up to two children eat complimentary once per day – from our children’s menu
  • Surprise children’s treats
  • Welcome bottle of champagne to toast your arrival
  • Selection of films to enjoy in your room or suite
  • Selection of games consoles on request (including Nintendo Wii, if available)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

This luxury hotel is located close to Hyde Park and Harvey Nichols.  It has 190 rooms and suites along with several dining options (including a unique Afternoon Tea inspired by the fashion world), state-of-the-art gym and spa and rooftop pool with views of the park.

Disney’s Eco Resort Paris

Disney has partnered with Pierre et Vacance (a European hotel company known for the village style resort) to create an eco-resort not far from Disneyland Paris.  Named Villages Nature Paris, the 300-acre property with feature five immersive worlds, places with names like Extraordinary Gardens, Bellvie Farm, Aqualagon and Forest of Legends.  Extraordinary Gardens is a sprawling area of wooden walkways, plants and grasses.  At the faux-rustic Bellvie Farm, children can learn about agriculture, interact with animals and participate in beekeeping and bread making classes.The Forest of Legends is designed to allow your family to explore the outdoors together, including learning about forest stewardship. There are nature classes, forest shows and the opportunity for children to build and decorate their own hut.  Aqualagon, meanwhile offers indoor-outdoor pools, waterfalls, slides and a spa. It will be a place “where nature and architecture merge together”.  The resort is just the latest of many efforts by Disney to reduce its overall carbon footprint and address the many issues facing the planet, including the topic of sustainable tourism. The company has also created the Disney Conservation Fund to help non-profit groups that work with communities to protect wildlife and ecosystems.


Trip Review: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Mindy and Lauren attended the invitation-only Family Travel Advisor Forum last month at Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios.  The resort property sits in a gated community close to downtown Ocho Rios and to many of the island’s top nature experiences such as Dunn’s River Falls, Konoko Falls and the Blue Hole.  It’s about 1 ½ hours from the Montego Bay airport. The 705-room property has plenty of dining options; a sprawling pool complex with bridges and water slide; large spa and gym; water sports including fly boards, stand-up paddle boards and two surf pools; children and teen clubs; dolphin swim and evening shows.  Plus a friendly and accommodating staff.   We enjoyed our meal at the Japanese restaurant’s teppanyaki tables the best with a very entertaining Jamaican/Asian chef.  The bakery which created made-to-order crepes was also very popular.  Our rooms were in the North Tower and were a little snug, but well appointed with a filled mini fridge, pull out liquor bar, Chi hair products and styling supplies and a lovely bathroom with shower only.  We also toured the South Tower rooms which are more spacious with full balconies.  This tower offers Family Suites (connecting rooms) and a gorgeous two-bedroom Presidential Suite which is ideal for families and includes a large spa tub, separate living area and several balconies.  The private beach unfortunately offers a view of the Port of Ocho Rios, but otherwise has calm water.  Hotel guests also receive resort credits to use for excursions, spa treatments, family photos and more based on the number of nights they stay.  The trade show we attended offered us the ability to meet and mingle with many of our favorite suppliers along with new suppliers, tourist bureaus, social media experts as well as with other family travel specialists from around the United States and Canada.


Travel Tip: Smart Bags Banned

A growing number of airlines have announced restrictions on luggage with built-in batteries because of a potential fire hazard they may create in the cargo area of a plane.  Two of the world’s largest airlines, American and Delta, announced this month that bags with built-in batteries that cannot be removed will not be allowed as checked luggage starting Jan. 15. Since then, United, Southwest, Alaksa and Hawaiian Airlines have announced similar restrictions. The move comes amid growing worry that lithium batteries can ignite a fire in the cargo hold of a plane.  The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed restrictions on spare lithium batteries carried in the cargo area but has left it up to airlines to impose restrictions on larger batteries inside of electronic equipment, such as smart bags.  Smart bags have become increasingly popular with tech-loving travelers because the bags come with built-in devices that can weigh the bag, track its location using GPS and lock it remotely using a smartphone app. Some bags even include wheels and a motor so that travelers can ride the luggage like a scooter.