Archive for the Category »Family Travel «

Apr
22nd
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Clearing the Air About Non-Smoking Hotel Rooms – They’re Not as Clean as You Think
Marriott Shadow Ridge Villas from Timesharejuice.com

Marriott Shadow Ridge Villas from Timesharejuice.com

Last week while I was in Rancho Mirage CA, my kids and I visited some friends staying  at Palm Desert’s Marriott Shadow Ridge villas.

I discovered this is a completely smoke-free hotel. I had heard of lodging with nicotine no-nos, but had never run across one. This reminded me of a study published recently, that is important if you have smoke allergies, or are just concerned about your health.

cigarette

The study looked at a random sample of hotels :  some with non smoking rooms, and hotels with complete non smoking bans. Surfaces and air from both types of hotel were analyzed for tobacco smoke pollutants. Not surprisingly, levels were highest in the smoking rooms… BUT what’s significant is levels in non-smoking rooms were much higher than those found at smoke-free hotels.

And…volunteers who stayed overnight in the smoking hotels ended up with sticky nicotine residues on their fingers, even if they stayed in non- smoking rooms. However, urine tests found additional evidence of nicotine exposure in those who stayed in smoking rooms, but not those who stayed in the non-smoking rooms.

It seems third hand smoke  – smoke that seeped under doors, for example – can still linger in drapes, carpet, etc. in non-smoking rooms. We don’t know how dangerous that is, but it is reason to be cautious as we do know that second hand smoke is carcinogenic.

The conclusion is that it’s best for your health to stay in non-smoking hotels whenever possible. Partial smoking bans in hotels do not protect non-smoking guests from exposure to tobacco smoke and tobacco-specific carcinogens

Thankfully, it’s not so hard to find a smoke-free hotel – even in Vegas! –  because the trend is growing. The most comprehensive list I’ve found is here: http://hotelmagician.com/smoke-free_hotels/

And remember, if a smoke-free hotel is not available, and you are booking a hotel online – call the hotel and request a smoke free room if the website doesn’t give you the option. There’s nothing worse than having to spend then night in room with even a hint of cigarette smoke if you are a non-smoker.

As a non-smoker and a mom who travels with kids, I’d like to applaud Marriott and Westin, two chains who offer a number of non smoking hotels across the country. Today on Earth Day, they are good models of those in the industry taking care of our air!

 

 
Apr
10th
  Where Kids Will Like to Roam in Rome – Plus Tips You Should Know Before You Go

In my opinion, it is always a special time in Rome, Italy.

But particularly right now, it is especially festive. The ancient city is the top Italian destination for Easter week, or Settimana Santa, primarily because of the events led by the Pope in Vatican City. Special masses are said on Palm Sunday and Easter, attracting large crowds.

But many of us can’t make it to Rome on Easter, so here are some things to do in one of Europe’s most fascinating and layered cities, with the kids all year round. Rome offers so much for families, but you have to be prepared – the Italians are warm and inviting to children, and hotels and restaurants are welcoming. But the museums are some of the least prepared for children of those I’ve seen in Europe – especially compared to London or Paris, where some museums have special family programs and activities.

Looking beyond museums, I  pulled together a list of things to do in Rome with the family…. some that go beyond the expected sights to see.

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter’s Square

Join an audience with the Pope at the Vatican It doesn’t need to be Easter! Bring your kids to see the Pope himself. Papal Audiences are held on Wednesdays (if the Pope is in Rome, of course). Visitors have the chance to see him in St. Peter’s Square and receive the Papal or Apostolic Blessing. The Pope does a greeting in few different languages, including Italian, English, French, and Spanish, and a ceremony consisting of small teachings and readings.  They are normally scheduled to start at 10:30, or may start earlier depending on the heat. In summer, the readings are done outside, where there is usually sanding room if you don’t get tickets. Tickets are free, but be sure to arrive early to get good seats! Visit http://www.papalaudience.org/ for more details

Note: It is quite an interesting spectacle, but might not hold the attention of very young children. If you want to see the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, plan to stay longer and get tickets in advance through Tickitaly.com. The kids will like climbing the Cupola, the dome of St Peter’s – what a spectacular view from top!!

From Jaunted.com

From Jaunted.com

Rome Treasure Hunts Get to know Rome in the most fun way possible! A group of Roman tour guides have created games, trivia, and quizzes for families. There are multiple tours, including an ancient Rome tour, a Vatican treasure hunt, and an Ancient Ostia treasure hunt. Most tours last 3-4 hours, and include line-skipping privileges.  Visit www.rometreasurehunts.com/ for pricing and reservation details.

Colosseum Of course, once can’t visit Rome without going to the Colosseum… and kids will love taking stroll through history. Middle school students may be  learning about ancient civilizations, so that’s a good age to take the kids.

A tour will shed insight about gladiators and the history. Located in the heart of Piazza del Colosseo, the ancient building is host to thousands of tours a day. Tickets cost €15.50 and operating hours are from 9-4, although there may be changes due to weather. Check out www.rome.info/colosseum/ for more info.

Roman gladiator school from viator.com

Roman gladiator school from viator.com

To go beyond the normal Colosseum tour, there is actually an interactive “Gladiator School” for those who like to dig a little deeper. You have to know your kids – do they like participating? It’s a gladiator history lesson mixed with role playing. Here’s the info: http://www.gsr-roma.com/English/

 

Trevi Fountain from Amore travel guides

Trevi Fountain from Amore travel guides

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain

Arguably the most famous fountain in the world, the Fontana de Trevi is found in the Trevi district in Rome.

Made of mostly travertine, it is the largest fountain in all of Rome, standing 86 feet high, and 161 feet wide. Children can throw coins into the fountain, but make sure you do it correctly to ensure a trip back to Rome: Coins are purportedly meant to be thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder. Make a wish!

This is more than a quick stop -  there are plenty of dining options and gelato in the square itself.

The fountain was refurbished in 1998; the stonework was scrubbed and all cracks and other areas of deterioration were repaired by skilled artisans and the fountain was equipped with recirculating pumps. And thank you Fendi! In January 2013, it was announced that the Italian fashion company would sponsor a 20-month, 2.2-million-euro restoration of the fountain; it will be the most thorough restoration in the fountain’s history.

 

From vatican.va

From vatican.va

Roman Catacombs

On a hot day, this is the coolest place to be: underground tunnels that served as burial grounds for Romans. Not many bones, but a lot of interesting things to see – and sort of spooky for the older child.

The 40 or so known catacombs are actually outside the ancient walls of Rome. From the first through the fifth centuries,  an estimated 375 miles of tomb-lined tunnels were dug, with networks of galleries as many as five layers deep.

http://www.catacombe.roma.it/en/index.php

{Pompeii, from ablogabouthistory.com

{Pompeii, from ablogabouthistory.com

Pompeii

For a quick day trip outside of Rome, nothing is more fascinating than seeing the ruins of Pompeii. Pompeii was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

On display are what excavators found…. I didn’t find it gruesome, but there are sensitive remains on display. Be ready to explain to young children what happened. There are casts of human bodies as they were  when the volcano struck.

From Rome, take a two hour train ride to Naples, then at that train station, take a local train to Pompeii. Beware of people trying to take advantage of tourists at the train stations.

TIPS:

–Driving in Rome is nuts. Only for the person who wants to be stressed out. I highly recommend against it and take cabs or public transportation.

–When visiting churches, including the Vatican and St Peter’s, remember to wear conservative clothing – shirts with sleeves and no short shorts.

 

 
Apr
07th
  A Slam Dunk for Basketball Fans

Who ya rooting for – UConn or Kentucky?  Big day in college basketball today.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame from springfieldhampton.com

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame from springfieldhampton.com

But if you just can’t get enough of the sport after the championship game, consider visiting the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. It is a fun-filled stop on an East Coast summer vacation to the New England area… and easy access to anyone who already lives on the East Coast. And don’t you just love the architecture?

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Located in the town where basketball was invented, the hoops haven honors more than 300 former player inductees…. and has 40,000 square feet of basketball history. There are hundreds of interactive exhibits – with live clinics and skills challenges making it very hands on for kids… and who am I kidding? Adults too.

Other fun exhibits : The budding sportscaster can record on video a news read in front of the cameras… or he/she can play in a hoops challenge.

During the summer, there is a program called “60 Days of Summer,” – This summer players Mitch Richmond, Brevin Knight, and Bill Cartwright to name a few will make appearances and sign autographs.

A great family stop if you are a hoop dreamer or not. The Hall of Fame is about an hour and forty minute drive from Boston.

www.hoophall.com

 

 

 
Apr
04th
  Hotel of the Week: Costa Rica Enchantment in the Jungle
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica from costaricaexpeditions.com

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica from costaricaexpeditions.com

Costa Rica is a great family travel destination for many reasons – There are diverse regions that can appeal to a wide variety of travelers – Beach? Check. Rain forest and wild life? Check. Adventure? Check. Volcano? Got that too.

The hardest part is deciding where you want to go in this Central America country… most people visit a few places for a few days each to encounter all Costa Rica has to offer.

Another bright spot here when bringing kids is that the tap water is clean, and the local food can be eaten without serious stomach problems… and the country is generally safe. A potential negative: You have to buy airfare.

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Costa Rica

So that being said, I wanted to share with you what seems to be a reasonably priced, yet totally enchanting lodge in the Costa Rica jungle. I’ve heard about it a few times lately with great reviews. It is the Tortuga Lodge and Gardens.

Tortuga Lodge & gardens, Costa Rica

Tortuga Lodge & gardens, Costa Rica

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens is a small hotel situated on 146 acres of private land on Costa Rica’s northeast Caribbean coast…surrounded by rivers, which is part of the charm – no roads. .  Tortuguero National Park is a 20 minute boat ride away. Prepare to spend a lot of time on the water actually – there is a lot of exploring to be done on  its back water creeks and lagoons with a Tortuguero Naturalist Guide.

Tortuguero Natl Park, from costaricaexpeditions.com

Tortuguero Natl Park, from costaricaexpeditions.com

Tortuguero National Park is an exciting place – At 51,870 acres, it is one of the most biologically rich and last large areas of tropical rain forests in Central America.

From Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

From Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

Among the wild-life you may encounter and your kids will love are three species of monkeys (spider, howler, and white-faced), three-toed sloths, river otters, caimans, iguanas,river turtles, basilisk lizards, poison dart frogs, as well as more than 320 species of birds.

Turtles at Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

Turtles at Tortuga Lodge and Gardens

Some  of the coolest activities available to you at the Tortuga Lodge (for a price) are turtle expeditions. The eco-lodge is located near a major nesting area of the Atlantic Green sea turtle, so there are opportunities to up close to these reptiles. If you’ve never seen these beautiful (and large!) creatures before, the really are a sight to behold on the sand, with the moonlit sparkling water nearby.   One of the outings you can pay for is an outdoor dinner under the stars, and afterward a walk on a secluded beach to observe the nesting of these interesting creatures.

Beyond normal travel activities,  the lodge offers it’s guests a unique opportunity:  to volunteer in the immediate community. Guests can get to know some local children and speak English with them to help them learn the language. It doesn’t cost anything and transportation is provided in exchange for your time. I will say from my travels that getting to experience authentic life in a destination always makes it richer… and this is a chance to give back – Jackpot.

Tortuga Lodge and Gardens, Costa Rica

Tortuga Lodge and Gardens, Costa Rica

The lodge is NOT a slick, fancy resort… it is basic, but reportedly feels more authentic, while also clean and spacious.

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Deck

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Deck

One of the best features in my opinion is the deck off of the main dining room, so you can take a meal there overlooking the river and forest.. or just sit and enjoy. The setting is magical.

Remember – Costa Rica is quite rainy all year long so pack a rain poncho for those unexpected storms.

Good news – it is pretty affordable for the average budget – Room rates at Tortuga start at $178 for a double; $278 for the penthouse… BONUS  Kids ages 0-5 eat free, ages 6-10 receive a 50% discount, ages 11 and older pay full price.

Special packages are also offered on the website, so be sure to check.

www.tortugalodge.com

 

 

 

 
Feb
13th
  Five Things to do with Kids in NYC During the Storm… or Springbreak

I can’t think of many more family friendly metropolises than New York City. Whether snow or shine, there are plenty of interesting and fun activities to melt away any winter blues (and little town blues according to ol blue eyes…)

While most of these are captivating places to visit during this current storm, you can also check them out during upcoming spring break. And even though a couple of these classic suggestions may seem obvious, there’s more to them behind the doors that you may need to explore.  Go ahead. Let your vagabond shoes stray.

NY Skyride

NY Skyride

New York Skyride

This visual stimulation takes you off the top of the Empire State Building and on a flight over Manhattan. Located on the second floor of the Empire State Building, this attraction is $29 for adults and $19 for children.
www.skyride.com/

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tour through centuries worth of art. Ranging from Egyptian art to present day, kids can learn all about ancient cultures. There are all kinds of special programs and talks for children, and even special ones for teens. The museum is open all week, with tickets at $25 for adults, while kids 12 and under are free. However, if you get a New York Pass, your admission is free!

Also – if traveling to exotic locations exploring art and culture with an educated guide is your idea of a great trip, look into Travel with the Met – The next organized tour goes to Copehnagen in the spring.

www.metmuseum.org/

Museum of Modern Art, NY

Museum of Modern Art, NY

Museum of Modern Art

Though it may seem like an obvious attraction, the MoMA also has film screenings every Friday, which are free for children under 16. Check out www.moma.org/visit/calendar/films for film schedules.

Good Morning America

Good Morning America

TV show tapings

For a unique- and free- travel experience, attend a taping of a popular TV show. But beware! The wait for tickets is often a long one, so write to the studio in advance. Check out www.nycgo.com/tv-show-tapings/ for schedules.

 

Accomplice, NY

Accomplice, NY

Accomplice

Take the most unique tour in New York! A city wide theatrical scavenger hunt, part theater, part game…you can take your family through the most famous landmarks, all while searching for clues.  Participants are looking for actors, who give them clues to find the next actor. Though there is no prize, the fun and unique experience is rewarding enough. This is more pricy, however, at $65 a ticket.
www.accomplicetheshow.com/

Tips:

Beware of the traffic! New York is famous for crazy driving. Keep a close eye on your young ones to keep them safe.

 

 
Feb
11th
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Be Smart About Travel Deals Where “Kids Eat Free.”

You have to be your own advocate when you travel, because the airlines, hotels, etc are always looking for ways to get your money. And apparently, so are some employees.

One way to avoid being taken to the cleaners is to be informed. Read the fine print. Ask questions. For example, this past summer, we stayed at a resort that had advertised “Kids Stay and Eat Free.” Sounds like a good deal, right? Generally, it can be…

KIds Eat Free in Hawaii

KIds Eat Free in Hawaii

But here’s how this deal worked. “Kids Don’t Eat Free” all the time. The fine print said, kids only eat free with the purchase of an adult meal. So if you have three kids, and only two adults, one kid is not going to eat for free. Thus, the campaign is a little misleading.  And if one adult doesn’t feel like having an entree when the child is hungry, well then your child will not eat for free.

Also – make sure if they do eat for free, you should know if  you tip on it. We were tipping the server  on what would have been the cost of the “free meals” because we thought the servers still deserved to be tipped. And they even brought us a separate bill for the free meals with a line for gratuity. – see the photo.

IMG_4171

However, maybe the third day (that’s about 7 meals later) one very honest server stamped the bill – see photo below- and told us that the resort pays 10% tip  on the free meals. So with us tipping on top of that, the servers were getting double tips – and not being honest and upfront about it.

IMG_8336

It was inconsistent the whole trip. More often than not, the servers would not tell us, and bring us the blank bill with the gratuity line open. I hate to be nit picky, but this is not being upfront, and could get some travelers angry.

Lastly -for a deal like this, you should ask what restaurants are available. If you are on an island resort, with nothing else around, you can bet the restaurants will be over the top expensive… look at the menus before you book if staying on your budget is important to you because sometimes the “kids eat free” deal doesn’t even bring the menu prices down that much.

Be smart on your sojourns. And… have fun.

Mauna Kea Resort, HI

Mauna Kea Resort, HI

 
Feb
03rd
  Five Unique Things to do with Kids in Seattle

A lot of Monday  morning quarterbacking today… So let’s shift the focus off of what the Bronco’s did wrong in the Super Bowl, to what a great city the winning team belongs.

Seattle is a town with great spirit -especially on a sunny day! -  and fun things for kids if you know where to look. I like finding activities in cities I visit that are special to that location. For the most part, the suggested sights below are unique to Seattle in some way.

Museum of Glass, Seattle

Museum of Glass, Seattle

1) Museum of Glass – Spectacular. Washington artist Dale Chihuly is most well-known and many of his pieces are here.

Experience contemporary glass art in a breathtakingly beautiful museum on Tacoma’s revitalized waterfront. The Museum of Glass provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections and exhibitions. Feel the heat as you watch a team of artists create masterpieces from molten glass in the Hot Shop Amphitheater, the Museum’s working glass studio. The Museum of Glass offers a variety of kids activities as well as edgy exhibitions of 20th- and 21st-century glass in the galleries. Participate in a hands-on art project, watch original documentary films about glass art and the artists who create it, shop for stunning gifts in the store and stroll across the remarkable Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

- See more at: www.seattleattractions.com/attractions/museum-of-glass/#sthash.MteBKLiL.dpuf

**Also visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center!

EMP Museum

EMP Museum

2) EMP Museum  – First you must know EMP is housed in a 140,000 square foot stunning Frank O. Gehry designed building. Amazing, right? The exterior reflects the  many creative interactive displays inside for kids… I spent a whole day here.

EMP is a leading-edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, EMP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower visitors. At EMP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation, and scholarship to the popular culture of our time.

www.empsfm.org#sthash.sC0z1vqa.dpuf

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park From seattlefindwell.com

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park From seattlefindwell.com

3) Northwest Trek and Wildlife Park – About 55 miles south of Seattle, but some great outdoor time. It claims to be the Pacific Northwest’s premier wildlife and adventure park.

Here you can challenge yourself on four exhilarating zip line/aerial obstacle courses. Climb a 30-foot wall, navigate swinging bridges and soar through lush forest canopy on over one mile of zip lines. The tougher the course, the higher you’ll go.

Get eye to eye with moose, bison, elk and other native Northwest animals as they roam freely through 435 acres of beautiful meadows, lakes and woods. Stroll forested pathways to see grizzly bears, cougars, eagles and more in natural exhibits. Get up close to a beaver, hawk, bat and other small animals at daily keeper talk

- See more at: www.seattleattractions.com/attractions/northwest-trek-wildlife-park/#sthash.w39UQ32Z.dpuf

In front of Seattle Aquarium

In front of Seattle Aquarium

4) Seattle Aquarium

Visit the Seattle Aquarium to experience the wonders of Seattle’s marine environment! Delight in the antics of  playful sea otters and harbor seals, touch a sea anemone or hermit crab, see for yourself how many suckers a giant Pacific octopus has, and so much more.

Be amazed by the Window on Washington Waters exhibit, a mammoth 120,000-gallon showcase full of Northwest sea creatures with dive shows each day. Get your hands wet in Life on the Edge, a tide pool exhibit filled with sea creatures for you to touch and explore. Experience a 360 view of Puget Sound sea life in the Underwater Dome. Take a virtual trip to the tropics in the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit. That’s just the beginning…

- See more at: www.seattleattractions.com/attractions/seattle-aquarium/#sthash.FAxYGddd.dpuf

Boeing Assembly Plant, Seattle

Boeing Assembly Plant, Seattle

5) Future of Flight Aviation Center

Experience what it takes to assemble commercial jets and learn about aviation! Watch the world’s largest jets being constructed in the world’s largest building by volume. Then explore the Aviation Zones where you can digitally design your own jet. Learn from interactive aviation displays, and much more!

Begin in the Boeing Theater by viewing an amazing film about how the Boeing Everett aircraft assembly plant has changed the world. Then take the only tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America – watch Boeing 747s, 777s and 787s being built for airline customers around the world. It all happens in the world’s largest building by volume – 472,000,000 cubic feet!

- See more at: www.seattleattractions.com/attractions/future-of-flight-aviation-center-boeing-tour/#sthash.67tuqvHZ.dpuf

Happy Travels!

 
Jan
17th
  Hotel of the Week: Snow Deals up to 30% off !

Have you ever booked a ski cabin or condo and found it to be NOT like the photos? Yet, booking a hotel can be more expensive. How do you find a nice ski condo or house that suits your needs, is affordable, and delivers what is promised?

Word of mouth is always good. But another easy way is to book lodging through a reputable rental company. I know Air BnB is all the rage, and there is a market for that because one can save so much money… but going through a big company gives you more amenities, consistent standards, and someone in a corporate office to call if something goes wrong.

Lion Square Lodge courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Lion Square Lodge courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

I was just at Lion Square Lodge in Vail, CO, a property managed by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. It just went through a multi-million dollar renovation and, at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I found it to have all the qualities a family could want.

Vail, Lion Square Lodge, outdoor pool view - Photo Credit - Wyndham Vacation Rentals

It is SO convenient – a ski in ski out property.. some rooms overlook the gondola and a pool that overlooks the slopes. (Seriously parents, if you’ve never done ski in ski out, it is worth it. )

Lion Square Lodge, Vail courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Lion Square Lodge, Vail courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

The properties in Lion Square have new clean, fully stocked  kitchens…

photo

…and nice spacious rooms with fireplaces.

Wyndham is having a sale on all it’s ski properties in some of the top destinations – including Sun Valley, Park City, Aspen, etc. RIGHT NOW!

The Lions Square Lodge is one of the nicer properties…It has a mix of hotel rooms and condos. Depending on the date, you could get a place that sleeps 4 for $540 a night.  That includes maid service, free parking, ski valet and WiFi  – all within walking distance to the village.

I recommend it…. and check out the other deals at www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com. It’s not too late to book a ski vacation. :) There are President’s Day deals too!

Happy Friday!

 

 
Jan
07th
  Ski Smarts For Saving Money – Part 2

 

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain

I’m skiing Mammoth Mountain, CA this week. It is so not crowded, and we got a great deal on a condo that is not always available during busy times.  I realize not everyone can take off skiing right after the holidays, but my kids have a third week off for break.  My point is, if you can ski during mid-week, right before or after the holidays, or end of season into spring, you can save a lot of money on lodging and enjoy empty slopes!

IMG_5453

The downside – sometimes the snow is not at it’s peak (excuse the pun.) Right now, there are many rocks showing. But, use that as another way to save money – Since the roads will be easier to navigate with little snow, you don’t always need to rent an SUV if you are flying to your ski destination. They are more expensive. Save money by renting a regular sedan – check road conditions, and get chains if necessary.

Also – in the event you book a trip long before you go, it is smart to buy travel insurance in case – oops- there is no snow, or something happens. You won’t lose all your security deposit for a condo, house, or hotel room.

Have a great day and pray for more snow!

 

 

 
Jan
06th
  As You Get Back to Routine, Note These Ski Deals for An Upcoming Trip!

Welcome back to reality for those who had an extended holiday break!

While  many of us are settling into the new year, perhaps returning from trips, getting back to routine, it may be hard to think about planning another trip… But there are still months ahead of snow skiing.

This week I will give ski tips, in case you are planning a ski trip later this season. (Look at photo of Mammoth Mountain – low on snow! Follow my tips, but I can never seem to time my ski trips with the snow :( )

IMG_5449

Today I we’re talkin’ how to save money on lift tickets….

1) Check out  websites that offer discount lift tickets – Onthesnow.com and  Liftopia.com. both post deals on tickets. The one downside is the discount often comes if you buy multiple tickets, instead of day by day. Still, there are savings to be had. The websites also gives you updates like how much snowpack there is at the moment, which runs are open, the weather, etc. for resorts nationwide, and in Canada.

2) Seek out deals..: June Mountain, next to Mammoth Mountain where I am right now, lets kids under 12 ski free!! That is a huge savings for a family, although it is not the size mountain that it’s neighbor Mammoth is.

Mad River Glen, in Vermont, holds its Roll Back the Clock Day on January 28, when all lift tickets will cost what they originally sold for at the mountain’s 1948 opening—$3.50. Then, on Valentine’s Day, bring your loved one to the ticket booth, kiss him or her, and you’ll each receive $14 lift tickets. Finally, on St. Paddy’s Day, March 17, lift tickets will only cost you $17, assuming you are wearing some green.

At Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in California, save up to $30 when you purchase two consecutive day lift tickets on peak season & weekends OR save $10 when you purchase two consecutive day tickets for midweek. This excludes holidays and the week of February 18-21, 2014

You can also  ski or ride FREE there on your birthday! You must present a valid photo I.D. on your actual birthday to the Guest Services Office.

If you are a college student, or have a college student in your family, research which resorts offer ski passes for your academic skiier, New England has 4.0 The College Student Pass. Colorado students can look into the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus College Pass.

3) Hotel packages: Lastly – Look for hotel packages that offer lift tickets as well. We are staying in a hotel that offers such a deal.

Happy New Year!