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InspirationFamilyBudget Travel Lists

Four Great American Trains to Discover

There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14-thousand-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such as Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting. THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet) Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it is back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY (Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon) Courtesy Xanterra Travel Collection Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters. THE EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania) Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad It's one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than "standard" railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children.Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285. THE NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM & NOSTALGIA RIDES (New York City) Brooklyn Union Elevated Car Courtesy of The New York Transit Museum Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what's called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.

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Rediscover AmericaRoad TripsFamily

The best states to visit on a camping trip with kids!

But what are the best states to visit on a camping trip with kids? To find out, The Family Vacation Guide researched and revealed a list of all the states in the country and ranked them based on family activities, family campsites, Instagramability, and safety, to find the perfect states for a family camping adventure. With safety a top concern when traveling with kids, New Jersey has the highest safety score out of 100, of all the states in the US, at 72. California is the ideal state for families who love outdoor hiking. The state is home to 4,383 family-friendly trails, more than any other state. Florida has the most family-friendly things to do out of all states we looked at, at 4,622, providing endless opportunities to make memories as a family. Hawaii has the highest percentage of family-friendly campgrounds, with 44.4% of all campsites in the state providing the perfect time away for those with kids. TOP 5#5 Massachusetts Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground - Courtesy of campmv.com Most people know Massachusetts for its important role in American history, its sports teams, universities, delicious seafood, and, of course, Boston, dubbed the “Hub of the Universe.” But the most populous state in New England is also home to prime camping opportunities for outdoor lovers. From seaside campgrounds on Cape Cod to the scenic woodlands of the Berkshires to bustling RV parks just outside of Boston to the unique experience of camping on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts has a little something for everyone. Sleep under forest canopies in the Berkshires, or near the beach on Cape Cod. Campgrounds vary in what they offer, from showers and flush toilets to R.V. sites offering electric and water hook-ups. You can also try island camping, yurts, cabins, or a hike-in area. Spacious Skies Minute Man Campground - Littleton - Spacious Skies Minute Man Campground is a peaceful campground located in a piney forest grove in historic Littleton, Massachusetts, set between two National Historic Parks and famed Walden Pond, and just a short drive or ride on public transit into Boston. Relax by the heated pool, hang in the rec hall, send the kids to the playground, or play fetch at one of the dog runs. The camp store carries many convenience items and treats, and nearby restaurants offer both takeout and delivery. (Starting at $64 a night) Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground - Martha’s Vineyard - Camping on Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t get much better than Martha Vineyard’s Family Campground. Although the campground is geared towards RV campers with a wide range of full-hookup RV sites suitable for RVs up to 40’, tent camping and even cabin rentals are both also offered. All these campsites are located in a quiet, wooded setting with each site receiving plenty of shade during the day. This top-rated Massachusetts campground is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from everything that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer, including its world-class dining, beautiful beaches, and pocketful of adorable small towns. (Starting at $63 a night) #4 VirginiaWalnut Hills Campground and RV Park - Courtesy of Campspot There are many campgrounds in the state of VA that have all sorts of activities aimed to keep the whole family enjoying their vacation and experiencing quality family time together. From waterfront to mountaintop camping Virginia offers it all. It has one of the most varied and beautiful landscapes of any state in the U.S. Whether you’ve got your own RV camper or plan to rough it in a tent, making sure your family has a safe, clean, and comfortable place to call home-base is of utmost importance. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center - Purcellville - is all about non-stop activities, exciting challenges, and family fun. Camping options include cabins, riverside tent sites, mountaintop tent sites, and mountaintop platform camping (raised wooden platforms to put your tent on to keep it level and off the wet ground). The most difficult part of staying at Harpers Ferry will be choosing which activities to do as a family – there are so many choices. From whitewater tubing to zip lines and ropes courses – there is something for every age, ability, and daring level in your group. There is also an adventure day camp for kids ages 9-14 that includes activities specifically tailored to that age group. (Starting at $48 a night) Walnut Hills Campground and RV Park - Staunton - Pitch a tent, have a fire, and create a memory with your family. Camp in the shadows of 250-year-old locust and walnut trees in Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Kids can fish in the pond, play in the game room or swim in the pool. Visit nearby attractions, such as Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, Monticello, Natural Bridge, Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, Frontier Culture Museum and countless antique shops and flea markets. (Starting at $30 a night) #3 New YorkTriple R Camping Resort - Franklinville - Courtesy of Campspot The ‘Big Apple’ state is more famous for its bustling cities and tall skyscrapers than its natural areas and camping reservations, however, it is one of the best states for families planning a camping trip in the US. New York comes in third place for family-suited activities, with 1,733 family-friendly things to do throughout the state. Only 16.2% of all campgrounds in New York are family-friendly, which is fewer than in most states we looked at, however, New York has more tagged Instagram posts than any other state. New York has 1,997 family-friendly hikes, and the highest safety score out of our top three, at 61.7/100. North Pole Resorts - Wilmington - If you like to do your camping in the Adirondacks, then North Pole Resorts are for you! This family ran resort is a camper’s paradise located right on the edges of the Ausable River in the Adirondacks and also located near Lake Placid. Bring your tents, and RVs, or rent a cabin at this awesome resort. For the kids you will find two swimming pools, two playgrounds, mining experiences (both gemstones and fossils), biking, an arcade, mini golf, boat rentals, and more! (Starting at $40 a night) Triple R Camping Resort - Franklinville - Triple R sets a new standard for camping. They take pride in being the cleanest park with many amenities, beautiful views, and pet-friendly accommodations. Come have dinner on their new patio with a hot tub, tiki tables, palm trees, and splash ground called LeeKee Lagoon. Other fun activities include gem mining, corn hole, guest DJs, live music, ceramics, fireworks, and bubble ball. This is a great campground for kids. (Starting at $30 a night) #2 California Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort - Courtesy of Campspot One of the US’ most-visited states, famous for its beaches, sunshine, and for being the home of Hollywood. The coastal state is one of the US’ best locations for family camping fun, coming in second place out of all states we looked at. California is home to more family-friendly things to do than any other state we looked at except Florida, at 3,210. California is in the top five states for family-friendly campgrounds, with 34.2% of all campgrounds in the state listed as family-friendly on Tripadvisor. The second most-Instagrammed state, there are 97.8 million posts with #california on Instagram. For families who love keeping active, California has the most family-friendly hiking trails of all states, at 4,383. Lake Siskiyou Resort & Camp - Mt Shasta - This family campsite is has a true gem of a lake, a jewel set at the foot of Mount Shasta at 3,181 feet, the prettiest lake on the I-5 corridor in California. The lake level is almost always full (because it was built for recreation, not water storage) and offers a variety of quality recreation options, with great swimming, low-speed boating, and fishing. The campground complexes are huge, yet they are tucked into the forest so visitors don’t get their styles cramped. (Starting at $36 a night) Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort - Felton - 2022 Campspot Awards Winner: Top Campground in USA, Most Popular in USA. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort is nestled in the California Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Situated on the beautiful San Lorenzo River and backed by Henry Cowell State Park, this clean and well maintained RV Park and campground offers guests a year-round, family-oriented place to relax or explore the great outdoors. (Starting at $60 a night) #1 Florida The state, popular among vacationers, retirees and spring breakers is also the best location in the country for families looking for a camping adventure. Florida has the most family-friendly things to do out of all states. 40.9% of all campgrounds in Florida are family-friendly style sites, which is a higher percentage than any other state on our list except Hawaii. Florida is the third most-Instagrammed state on our list, with 65.8 million posts including the hashtag #florida, and Florida comes in third for the most family-friendly hiking trails, at 1,662.Camp N Water Campground - Homosassa - Camp N Water is hidden away on a tree shaded bank of the Homosassa River, its a quaint RV Campground for those who prefer the relaxed and congenial atmosphere of a natural setting. This fully equipped campground is a short drive from major and local attractions in Citrus County, Florida. (Starting at $60 a night) The St Augustine Beach KOA Holiday - St. Augustine is placed in Anastasia Island within a walk of the beach and offers a large selection of tent pitches, RV sites and deluxe cabins. All year round your child can enjoy the site’s outdoor pool and games area and there’s even a dog park available! (Starting at $60 a night) To read more about their study and see the rest of the list visit The Family Vacation Guide.

Road TripsFamily

Bike Tours for Everyone

With 2022 lining up to be the busiest travel season ever, those who haven’t booked a summer vacation yet may already feel they are missing out. For those still undecided on where to go this summer (or hesitant to travel too far from home) we have compiled a list of biking tour destinations that explore the natural wonders and culture of America.Intrepid ToursTeddy Bear Cove Fairhaven Bellingham Bay Washington Overlooking San Juan Islands - IStock / Seastock Cycle Washington's San Juan Islands - Combine cycling, stunning coastline, relaxed island life and the best that western Washington has to offer. Ride quiet roads from delightful fishing villages to the pristine waters separating the USA from Canada. With great weather and scenery and marine wildlife second to none, the San Juan Islands are a cyclist's paradise. Off the bike you’ll find fascinating history, friendly locals and amazing cuisine – this cycling adventure takes in the best of it all at a pace everyone can enjoy. If you're looking for an unforgettable cycling vacation away from the stresses of everyday life, then this is it. Cycle Sonoma & the Napa Valley - Combine wine, rugged coastline and the best Northern California has to offer as you cycle from stunning wine country to epic redwood forests and on to the rugged Pacific Ocean coast. With great weather, breathtaking scenery and over 500 vineyards, the valleys of Napa and Sonoma are a cyclist's paradise. Off the bike, you’ll find wine tastings, amazing cuisine and a wealth of history to experience, and this cycling adventure takes in the best of it at a pace set to enjoy rather than race, making it a trip for every rider. If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation for all five of your senses, look no further. Cycle Utah: Bryce & Zion National Parks - Combine cycling, stunning rugged landscapes and laidback Southwestern life and you get some of the best that Southern Utah has to offer. Ride winding roads through iconic Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, past red rock canyons, sandstone cliffs and through sprawling forests, or escape the crowds and enjoy the endless vistas of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Snow Canyon State Park. With great weather and scenery, the cycling here is second to none. Off the bike you’ll find some of the country’s best hiking as well as fascinating history, friendly locals and authentic cuisine – this cycling adventure takes in the best of it all at a pace everyone can enjoy.Budget Travel readers get 15% OFF Use Intrepid coupon code: 691016 Family Tours Adventure Cycling Association is offering its Family Adventure tours in summer 2022, with two departures of the new Cape Cod Family Adventure and one departure of the Idaho Trails Family Adventure. Family Adventure tours are designed to help introduce parents and their children to the transformative power of bike travel with the support of tour leaders, catered meals, accommodations, luggage transport, and more. Departures are available in July, starting at $699 per adult and $499 per child. On Adventure Cycling’s Family Adventure tours, children must be accompanied by adults, and adults must be accompanied by children – parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and groups of friends with their children are all welcome. Children must be between the ages of 8 and 17 years old at the time of the tour. Tour highlights include: Cape Cod Family Adventure (new), July 9-12 and July 14-17: Experience four action-packed days while exploring beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from Provincetown, at its northern tip, to Upper Mill Pond, near Brewster. At the core of the trip is nearly 100 miles of great cycling, including traffic-free paved trails such as the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Head of the Meadow Trail. Participants can even take some time off the bike to go swimming and hiking, and try stand-up paddleboarding. Starts at $699 per adult and $499 per child. Idaho Trails Family Adventure, July 17-22: On this six-day tour, ride through the gentle terrain and gorgeous scenery of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes as it follows an abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way past lakes between the Silver Valley, near the Montana border, and Plummer, not far from the Washington border. Also spend a day on the Route of the Hiawatha, which originates in Montana and then crosses the state line into Idaho in the middle of the 1.7-mile-long Taft Tunnel. Starts at $1,099 per adult and $799 per child. To find out more about Adventure Cycling’s Family Adventure tours, read their full descriptions and register, visit their site. Courtesy of VBT Bicycling Vacations Tour operator VBT Bicycling Vacations has compiled a list of their legendary biking destinations in the US. Some of these destinations have been driven by and flown over for decades, which means fewer crowds exploring the road less traveled. If biking isn't your thing check out their sister company Country Walkers which offers walking tours. E-bikes are available on all VBT itineraries, and an added bonus: since VBT take care of all the logistics, there’s less stress involved when it comes to planning (in case the past two years have left one a little rusty in that department!). Mississippi: The Natchez Trace (VBT, Guided) – ponder the legacy of the Civil War at the ruins of the Windsor Plantation, relive the Siege of Vicksburg with a local historian on a guided tour of Vicksbury National Military Park, visit one of the largest Native American ceremonial sites Emerald Mound, and marvel at stately antebellum homes. Maine: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park (VBT, Self-Guided) – explore Acadia National Park, browse Bar Harbor’s shops and art galleries, ride through unspoiled landscape of rugged coastline, forested coves and idyllic fishing harbors, and sample mouth-watering dishes infused with Maine blueberries. California: Wine Country & the Pacific Coast (VBT, Guided) – enjoy private tastings at some of the most renowned wineries in the region, bike along the Pacific coastline and into the rolling countryside blanketed with grapevines, explore Healdsburg and some of the most charming Spanish Colonial towns in the West, cycle the Napa Valley Trail, and more. Arizona: Saguaro National Park & the Sonora Desert (VBT, Guided) – soak in sprawling desert landscapes and ride across vast, versatile ranges. Enjoy picnics and tastings in winery row, bike among the cacti of Saguaro National Park and Tumacácori National Historical Park, and savor local cuisine infused with Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American influences

FamilyTheme Parks

Most Affordable Amusement Parks

HomeToGo revealed the results of its 2022 Theme Park Index, ranking 30 theme parks in the U.S. based on affordability. Taking into account factors such as the cost of an admission ticket, parking and nearby vacation rentals, they compared many of the most popular theme parks across the country to uncover both budget-friendly and top dollar options for those planning upcoming vacations. While ticket prices have seen an overall increase, the index revealed that some of the best theme parks across the country are accessible for a fraction of the price compared to those in states like Florida and California. Amusement parks in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri and New York climb to the affordable peak of this year’s ranking, whereas world-renowned parks in Florida and California are on the pricier side. Based on the cost of a one-day adult admission ticket, parking and data for nearby accommodations, here’s a snapshot of the top rankings from the 2022 Theme Park Index: Top 5 1. Tropic Falls at OWA - Alabama Ticket Price: $22.49 Parking: Free Courtesy of visitowa.com 2. Quassy Amusement Park - Connecticut Ticket Price: $39.99 Parking: $10 Courtesy of quassy.com 3. Wild Adventures Theme Park - Georgia Ticket Price: $49.99 Parking: $15 Courtesy of wildadventures.com 4. Worlds of Fun - Montana Ticket Price: $34.99 Parking: $2 Courtesy of worldsoffun.com 5. Six Flags Darien Lake - New York Ticket Price: $34.99 Parking: $20 Courtesy of sixflags.com For a complete breakdown of the methodology and all 30 destinations in this year’s Theme Park Index, read the full report at: https://www.hometogo.com/united-states/amusement-parks/#theme-park-index

Travel TipsFamily

5 Financial Mistakes Parents Should Avoid When Traveling With Kids

Traveling, while enjoyable and fulfilling, takes a lot of expenses. It will take the use of strategic planning, different budgeting techniques, and financial confidence to make a limited budget work, especially when there are a lot of people traveling together such as with your family and with kids, at that! When you’re traveling with kids, the game changes and adjustments have to be done. Before making that next big trip, parents and guardians should consider several strategies so that their hard earned bucks are also well spent for them and their kids, ranging from finding affordable flights to bringing their own forms of entertainment. One efficient strategy is by “reverse engineering” your finances (or knowing the things that can potentially go wrong, instead of the ones that you should do right). That said, below are some of the financial mistakes to be avoided when families travel with kids. We hope that this guide prevents parents (like us) from making the same mishaps. 1. Not Being Prepared for Medical Emergencies Traveling is best done when precautions are in place. The first step in being prepared for medical emergencies is having travel health insurance. Getting you and your family covered will save you the trouble of paying for emergency medical expenses when traveling. Depending on the plan the family has, the cost will either be reimbursed within the plan limits or covered altogether regardless of injury or illness. Unfortunately, not many families come prepared with this, not even the parents themselves. It doesn't take a while to be acquainted with options, though, be it a comprehensive travel insurance plan that covers several problems (including baggage loss, trip delay, and trip cancellation), or a standalone medical plan limited to dental and emergency medical fees only. The bigger mistake is opting out of the travel insurance fee and then ending up spending more let alone on a different country when faced with medical expenses. 2. Not Prioritizing Convenience Over Ticket Price While flights can be as affordable as they can go, it is still best to be wise when choosing cheap ones but one that can compromise convenience. After all, going through delays and panicking one's way into making the connecting flight, with jet lagged children, toddler gear, and several pieces of luggage, is not an ideal experience when traveling, even if it allows youto save a little bit. For instance, don’t fall prey to a lap arrangement. It is recommended to buy a ticket for your child in order to prevent breakdowns and also have someone on your lap for an extended period of time. Parents, you will need all that muscle strength while traveling. Save your energy while in transportation. Also, isn't giving your family a bit of fun, convenience, and comfort a good thing to aspire for while traveling? If one can do this within a good budget without overspending, then it should be done. 3. Not Having Essential Items It is better to bring your children's essential needs, such as diapers and clothes, instead of buying them at the travel destination. After all, the availability of your children's needs, especially in terms of brand, may not always be around in certain countries. Securing these needs will save the unnecessary expense of buying something other than souvenirs and the experiences that should make the trip, not new baby clothes, prescription medicine, or diapers. A way to ensure doing this is to have firstaid kits and packing cubes. A firstaid kit and having it onboard is a nonnegotiable, and it should include items such as medicine for allergies, stomach ache, cold, flu, motion sickness, fever, and rehydration, as well as antiitch cream, thermometer, and bandages. Packing cubes, on the other hand, are fabric containers with zips. These can be packed with the basic clothes needed, including socks, as well one for dirty laundry and some detergent in case clothes need to be washed at the hotel. Imagine all the savings by dodging all those unnecessary expenses! 4. Not Bringing Enough Entertainment for Children It is a must to engage children of all ages when traveling. Otherwise, parents will find themselves with unnecessary expenditures on snacks, toys, and even inflight WiFi. It is best to pack some activity sheets, portable art materials, and even some books for the children to carry on their bags themselves. Be strategic when picking toys that won't be too missed in case they are damaged or lost. Make room for calming downtime activities too, so that the children can recharge and avoid having to ask for other things that are not needed. 5. Not Planning Properly Lastly, not planning properly for almost everything in the trip is a sure ticket to disaster. There are so many decisions to make. Lodging, for instance, is crucial for comfort, convenienceand affordability. Will it be better for you to book a hotel room? Or should you choose a spacious rental with kitchen access instead? More importantly, what are the activities you have planned each day? It would be best to keep things scheduled so you can avoid unexpected expenses and decision paralysis. Other Tips to Consider When Traveling With Kids Finally, don’t alienate your kids from the planning process. You’ll be surprised by how insightful their opinions are. Just remember that when it comes to choosing activities, your interests should come first, with the destinations as a second priority. Don’t forget to account for younger children as well. For example, going to a theme park with really young kids might not be the best idea since they will have limited ride options. Cruises, on the other hand, have a variety of activities for school age and teenage children. Family friendly cruise lines have added perks, too. Lastly, parents and seasoned travelers alike advise that less is really more. If the parents try to cram too much in a day, the trip might end up as a chore and not as an enjoyable way to spend time with the family. The Bottom Line At the end of the day, how much you wish to spend on your family travels is still up to you. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to strike a balance between cost effectiveness and overall, the fun, happy times that you signed up for. Safe travels! Jim Hughes is a freelance writer based in Sheridan, WY. Jim has significant experience covering financial and businesstopics. He’s been a financial advisor and also provided consulting and advice. At the moment he is the Director of Content atOpenCashAdvance.com

InspirationFamily

An American Railroad Re-Awakens in Pennsylvania

An American, and certainly a Pennsylvanian, historical experience and adventure is about to awaken after years of hibernation. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state will start up train rides and historic railroad shop tours on May 6. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than "standard" railroads) and industrial complexes in the country. It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1955; today is it a true treasure that far exceeds the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected in the near future. Malkiewicz TrainStation - Courtesy The East Broad Top Railroad The East Broad Top is famous for being an authentic antique all steam engine railroad when it was shuttered in 1955, escaping the scrappers torch (the owner of the scrap company actually saved the entire railroad) and slumbering, running semi-regulary with steam engines (which are rumored to be back this year) and watched over, protected and preserved by "friends," railfans, and the community. This historical treasure was well guarded, preserved and kept safe for 70 years. In 2020 the non-for-profit EBT Foundation was formed and embarked on the ambitious plan to restore most of the entire line and inject funding and resources into the mountain-pass communities. Adjacent to the East Broad Top is the Rockhill Trolley Museum offering a significant collection of operating streetcars and trolleys from around the U.S. and the world. Malkiewicz TrolleyRide - Courtesy The East Broad Top Railroad So, if you are looking to discover a true treasure, a historical and adventure experience in a landscape less touched by the rushing, worried world, take a short train ride big on history and discovery on the East Broad Top before everyone else finds it. From May 6 through the end of the year, the renaissance of the East Broad Top can be experienced on a one-hour train ride in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car. While the rail line is 30 plus miles long, trains in 2022 will travel on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children. Visit www.eastbroadtop.com for reservations and information.

DealsFamily

California Deals You Don't Want to Miss!

Spring is prime time to visit California -- and have deals across the state for all types of travelers. From romantic escapes to family outings, discover weekend getaways and unmissable hotel deals in California. Reach for the Stars Family Deal and Gas Bump Yosemite - Credit: Visit California Yosemite–Madera County, CATaking the family to Yosemite National Park doesn’t require that everyone love camping. This nice deal from Yosemite-Madera County sets up the kids with a tent and sleeping gear inside your hotel room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Oakhurst Yosemite, 15 miles from the national park’s south gate. Or choose the same hotel’s deal that offers a $25 gas card for the parents. Adding to its family-friendly appeal, the hotel has a pool and free breakfast. Best of LA Deal Los Angeles, CAThe 17-story Omni Los Angeles California Plaza offers a convenient perch on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, located near Grand Central Market, The Broad Museum, and Angels Flight Railway. Streamline your trip even more with this deal that includes a $25 credit with Uber, either for rides or Uber eats. Ongoing. 30 Percent Off: Spring into Wine Country Special Napa Valley - Istock - franckreporter Napa Valley, CAMake your own spring break at St. Helena’s Wine Country Inn, which features 20 rooms and five cottages with decor inspired by the vineyard scenery. Stay three nights between Sunday and Thursday and get up to 30 percent off, as well as a split of wine upon check-in and daily breakfast delivery (good through April 30). Check out Visit Napa Valley for more offers, like one where California residents can get discounts of up to 25 percent (with ID) at resorts such as the Silverado Resort & Spa. Buy Three LEGOLAND California Passes, Get One Free Legoland 2 - Credit: Visit California Carlsbad, CAIf you go even two times during a year, an annual pass to a theme park pretty much pays for itself. This new deal at the Carlsbad theme park packs in even more value. Buy three Platinum or Elite annual passes, then get the fourth free. Both of these pass levels include admission to the main theme park, LEGOLAND Water Park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium, and adds free parking plus discounts on dining and shopping. The Elite option ups the ante by having no blackout dates. Third Night Free Santa Barbara, CAMore than a dozen hotels are offering third-night free deals through June 30 in the American Riviera. Choose from options such as The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, the Brisas Del Mar, Inn at the Beach, and the Cheshire Cat Inn. Planning further ahead? Check out the Stay Savvy Deal at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beach Resort, granting a third night free on weeknights (good through July 29). $20 Unlimited Service to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Sequoia - Credit: Visit Visalia Visalia, CAPlan now for your late spring or summer trip to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. The 16-passenger Sequoia Shuttle will resume service between Visalia and Sequoia National Park starting May 26, running through September 11. The shuttles stop at several Visalia hotels, an easy launching pad into the big tree–lined national parks, and there are routes inside the parks, too. Each shuttle offers comfy seats, luggage space, and features a video about the Giant Forest. Round-trip tickets are $20 per person and include your park entry fee. Spring Break Getaway Package with a $100 Daily Credit Indian Wells, CATake the whole family to the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, a Greater Palm Springs resort with a sand-beach pool, golf, and a spa. The deal includes a large pizza and soft drinks upon arrival, then a sweet $100 in resort credit per night. Good for stays between March 27–April 25.