5 Amazing family vacation resorts in the US

Given the huge variety of destinations on offer, choosing a family vacation in the US is not an easy task. In fact, even when you do find some options, it can be hard deciding which on is most suited to a family’s needs. Luckily we’ve gone to the trouble of picking out 5 of the best family destinations in the US for you:

Woodloch Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania

The Woodloch Resort is one of those destinations that feels like a fairytale. Located on Lake Teedyuskung, the range of activities are staggering in the summer time when hiking, mountain biking and ziplining. There are many other interesting things to do at Woodloch Resort including mini golf and go-karts and if you happen to find yourself at Woodloch in Winter, there are still activities on offer with ice skating and snow tubing being particularly popular. At $360 for a family of four, a stay in this beautiful pocket of Pennsylvania is worth considering.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Port St. Lucie, Florida

When it comes to all inclusive family vacations, Club Med have always been at the forefront of the industry and today, this is still the case in Port St. Lucie. The most notable attraction for parents with young toddlers here, is no doubt the infant care on offer but then the older kids are also well looked after with a huge variety of activities, from volleyball and table tennis, to basketball and swimming. For a family of four you can expect a price of $385 per night although make sure to check for hotel discounts before finalizing anything.

Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg, Arizona

Imagine having more than 20,000 acres of desert surrounding your haven of activity in Arizona. The Rancho de los Caballeros has been around for a very long time and while it may have a loftier price tag for a family of four than the other options on this list (($640 per night), there are very unique experiences on offer here including a fantastic opportunity for horseback riding. As with the other resorts, there is also both a daytime and nighttime kids club which allows parents not only to have a break during the mornings, but also to enjoy a cocktail at dinnertime without having to rush.

Mayan Dude Ranch, Bandera, Texas

While horseback riding is high on the agenda for most families arriving at the Mayan Dude Ranch, there is a lot more to this wonderful resort than the more affordable price tag of $490 per night. In typical cowboy fashion, you will stay overnight in a log cabin before waking on a huge Texan landscape to begin riding the many trails in the area. Fishing is also popular nearby, as too is tubing , while the kids can make full use of the tennis courts and stunning swimming pool. There is also an evening entertainment program with Western bands and line dancing.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Hawaii takes some beating on almost every front and the same can be said about the kids clubs. Simply put, the resorts in Hawaii excel when it comes to providing the highest level of kids entertainment and the Hilton Hawaiian Village is up there with the best. From submarine tours to giant super pools, the Waikiki Aquarium to volcano making on the beach, there is no end to activities here for the kids and you are sure to have plenty of free time as a result. With a stunning beach and 5 star facilities on offer, this resort will please the parents as much as the kids.

Find all the best hotel discounts and family vacation discounts on the leading travel club membership website Hotels Etc.

5 Quick and easy ways to save on travel in 2016

Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. In fact, a little research and smart decisions can go a long way to making your dream vacation happen, for a fraction of the usual cost. Here are 5 quick and easy ways to help you save on travel in 2016:

Check out travel credit cards

A certain stigma attaches itself to the idea of having a credit card, and rightly so, for spending money you don’t have, or buying something you cannot afford, is always a bad idea. However, while they can have the same pitfalls, there is also a risk-free strategy with travel credit cards which can help you make huge savings on future travels.

Providing you do a little research and read the fine print on each one, a travel credit card with free air miles can be obtained with no upfront costs. In fact, there are travel cards which offer free air miles with absolutely no obligation for a minimum spend amount. Furthermore, this bonus will remain even if you decide to cancel the card at a later date and there is no limit to the number of travel credit cards you can obtain.

How to find the best travel credit card: A quick google search will bring up a dozen options for you to consider.

Get Hotel discounts and more

Since the introduction of rate parity laws, there is really no way to find genuine hotel discounts, other than joining a travel membership club.

In recent years, a mass number of booking engines and travel companies have saturated the online market, but what many people have not yet realized, is how the above mentioned law now restricts these businesses from providing the best hotel discounts, vacation packages or travel offers. Essentially, this means you will now find the same price for products or services across all channels of distribution and the end result; no real discount or value.

Thankfully, there is still a way to find the best hotel discounts or special offers, and it’s a very simple process which involves signing up for a travel membership club such as Hotels Etc and getting easy access to huge savings.

Hotels Etc is a reputable company with more than 20 years experience, and over 4 million members.

Invest in an unlocked cellphone, or don’t take one at all

With so much Wi-Fi access in travel destinations, there really is no need to be spending dollars on roaming charges; Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype all have a facility to make calls.

However, an even smarter move when it comes to traveling abroad is to take an unlocked cell phone and purchase a local SIM card on arrival. Most airports will sell a temporary SIM card at very low prices, and the rates for which you are charged while using it, is always a fraction of the costs incurred through data roaming.

Eat local, and eat cheap

Cost is not always a true reflection of the value, and this is most certainly the case when it comes to food. When you think about it; why not have food in the hotel room for an evening? or make some lunch using ingredients from the local supermarket?

Eating at a restaurant for every meal can be a sure fire way to use up the entire budget for a vacation, and choosing to prepare your own lunch every afternoon, can leave you a lot more disposable spending money for other activities. Another alternative is to choose local restaurants away from the main tourist hub; meals are often just as good, and half the price.

Get your timing right, and travel for half the price

Shoulder months are always the most affordable time to travel on vacation, the weather is generally still just as good in this period, and everything cost less. People with children may not have the luxury to plan a trip outside of school holidays, and then sometimes it is difficult to agree on the best time, if there is a group decision involved, but ultimately, it will lead to large savings.

In fact, recent travel deals have allowed Hotels Etc members to travel with up to 60 – 80% off a large variety of hotels and vacation packages. These were not last minute deals, but rather an example of the amazing hotel discounts which are provided through travel membership clubs.

Whatever happens, and whatever the weather, think smart, pay less and have just as much fun.

You can sign up for a free trial with Hotels Etc today and check out all the latest offers.

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5 Best luxury hotel deals in the US

Rooftop infinity pools, high tech rooms, prime locations and superior customer service. There are many five star luxury hotels across the country who provide all of these services, but here are five of the best luxury hotel deals in the US, and the easiest way to find hotel discounts to make huge savings on your next reservation.

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The St Regis, New York
A personal 24 hour butler, an incredible variety of five star food, and a central location in the heart of New York City, the St Regis has plenty of competition in the “Big Apple” but it really is in a league of it’s own, even when it comes to the most luxurious alternatives.

Located on 5th avenue in Manhattan, the St Regis pulls out all of the stops by providing every possible service, with the greatest amount of detail, and this also goes for the room decoration. Spacious, sleek, stylish and elegant, you can expect nothing but an exceptional experiences on all levels, when you stay here on your next trip to the city that never sleeps.
Location: 2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, United States

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, California

The Garden Villas, and the hotel suites provide two alternate options when it comes to staying in the stylish Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Both are incredible places to stay, both elegant, and both as prestigious as the other.

Located in close proximity to the nearby shopping areas, the Fairmont is the perfect base for a weekend of splurging, but it is also central to the stunning beaches, and coastline scenery in Santa Monica. Another highlight is the Gourmet Dining and nearby nightlife which attracts the crowds, but the real draw of this opulent hotel, is the secluded experience it provides with peaceful gardens to explore on foot, and the option of the Garden villas for extra privacy.
Location: 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Waldorf Astoria, Chicago

Another hotel which excels when it comes to focusing on the fine details, id the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. The exterior is an eye catching sight with an old fashioned motor court which appears more like something you expect to see on mainland Europe, while the interior is a designers paradise with sparkling chandeliers in the lobby, and Coco Chanel drapes adorning the walls.

Interestingly, the staff at the Astoria do not have a designated role within the hotel, but rather each member is committed to assisting with every aspect of the hotel. It certainly helps not having to look far for somebody to help with an inquiry, but the theory is smart, and it helps customer service at the Waldorf Astoria stand out from competition.

The romantic fireplaces in each room are a nice touch which add a very personal feel to the hotel, and this atmosphere, combined with the ultimate level of service, has long ensured that clients return to the Waldorf Astoria year after year.
Location: 11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

Hotel Beaux Arts Miami

The Hotel Beaux Arts is a small hotel in comparison with the reputation it holds. Naturally any hotel in Miami can boast an alluring location with easy access to fine dining, and some of the best nightlife in the country, but the hotel itself does not rely on any of these factors to maintain this image.

Every room is equipped with the most modern high tech gadgets, from ipads to large flat screen televisions while the wooden floors, unrivaled views, and endless facilities make the Hotel Beaux Arts one of the most prestigious in the country.

A rooftop infinity pool, yoga studio and ultra modern fitness room are icing to the cake in this fine establishment, and the slightly less “flash” appearance of Hotel Beaux Arts, make it an ideal place to stay prior to a cruise, or for business professionals staying overnight in Miami.
Location: 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

The Hay Adams, Washington

The most prestigious location in the country, the Hay Adams Hotel is situated directly across from the White House and has a historical relevance which only adds to the chard of a stay in the Nations Capital.

Although all the modern facilities exist in the Hay Adams, the refined nature of the interior design st it apart from the competition. Local designer Thomas Pheasant has ensured the history of the building is maintained by designing it with a very residential feel. The lobby is akin to a natural museum, the cocktail bar is famous throughout the city, and the roof terrace is one of the most peaceful places you could possibly imagine.

When you consider the high profile location, the history, and charming nature of the interior; the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington is arguably one of the most alluring hotels in the United States.
Location: 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006

All the best hotel discounts, and luxury hotel deals can be found exclusively on Hotels Etc, the number one travel membership club in the US, and easiest way to make huge savings on all your travel needs.

Finding cheap hotels, and the best hotel discounts

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With Spring break on the horizon, and most people searching for an easy escape to the warm weather of the South, finding cheap hotels, and the best hotel discounts is an idea worth prioritizing.

Anyone with a huge amount of disposable income may not be interested in learning about the new “Rate parity laws” which were introduced to the travel market, but for the average person on the street, knowing how this new law affects the online travel industry can save you a lot of money.

Rate parity and the increase of hotel rates online

It is not simply a case of the major booking engines increasing their rates, but rather that this new law has enforced a regulation which disallows a fluctuation of pricing across different distribution channels. Essentially the big brands, Expedia for example, are unable to offer lesser rates through their smaller, “sister companies” such as Orbitz or Booking.com.

Most often this will mean higher hotel rates when you check through the different options available because the booking engines/businesses are now required to offer a standard rate but more importantly, for you the consumer, it means the best hotel rates are to be found away from these particular websites.

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Reintroduction of Travel club memberships and finding cheap hotels

For some readers, it may sound strange to “introduce” a travel membership club as during the 1970’s these were a powerful source for vacation deals and the only genuine way of finding cheap hotels or the best hotel discounts.

However, it would seem that history is now repeating itself with the Travel club membership now being back at the very top of the list in terms of “the best hotel discount providers”. Travel clubs are exempt to the new rate parity law and this has allowed them to take one step ahead of the major travel brands by offering their customers the one thing, they cannot – genuine hotel discounts.

Membership clubs, such as Hotels Etc, have a long standing history in the travel industry for finding the best hotel discounts and negotiating the best vacation packages for their members. Hotels Etc also have an impeccable trust rating and with more than 4 million members, are arguably the largest travel membership club in the market at this moment. It really is simple, by signing up to such a club, you will have access to the biggest online travel discounts and an opportunity to pay less, and receive more.

Considering you are already reading this article, chances are you wish to find the best hotel discounts, the best vacation packages or travel membership club and in Hotels Etc you already have the best way to find all the most affordable offers in the online travel industry.

With Spring break just around the corner, and the new rate parity laws restricting the major travel brands from providing genuine value, there really is only one way to find the best hotel discounts online right now, and with Hotels Etc offering a free trial, there really is no reason not to sign up now.

7 ways to save money when you travel

Affordable vacation packages, cheap flights, amazing hotel discounts, free activities – everybody wants to find as much value as possible on vacation, and to help you do that, here are 7 ways to save money when you travel:

Consider an “open jaw” flight itinerary

“Open Jaw” is a term given to a flight schedule which arrives in a particular city, but then departs from an airport in another location. For anyone traveling to Cancun for a one week each vacation this will not be as relevant, but for anyone planning to see Europe, South America, Asia etc and hoping to do some overland travel, flying back from an alternative city is a great option.

Not only is the airfare less expensive, but an open jaw ticket also saves you the extra cost of returning to your trip starting point, never mind the inconvenience it causes to get back there.

Avoid traveling during peak season

Spring break, Christmas and school holidays are always more expensive and in order to ensure the lowest possible cost of a vacation, it is always a good idea to avoid travel at peak season.

Many of the best vacation packages to the Caribbean, or anywhere for that matter, will have more availability outside of this time meaning the rates for hotels, flights and anything tourism related, will be much more affordable. When you consider some of the best hotel discounts which can be found during these times, it is quite often the case that a vacation at this time will provide much more value, with less crowds, cheap hotel rooms and low airfare.

Best Hotel discounts

Save money when you travel by turning off your cellphone data

Have you ever arrived home from vacation to an insanely big phone bill? It happens. Availing of international roaming, checking your emails and even sending a few text messages can prove to be a large unnecessary cost on your vacation.

With every resort and hotel being fully equipped with free Wi-Fi, there is really no reason to be wasting money on expensive tariffs while on vacation. Skype, Facebook, and email are all capable of calling and sending instant messages from the local Wi-Fi which is entirely free.

Avoid renting a car when staying in the city

Renting a car can be a wonderful idea which can make travel outside of a destination convenient and highly enjoyable. However, if you are visiting a destination with plans of exploring the city, there really is no need for the added expense of having a car at your disposal, .

Even a train or bus ride around the city can make a family trip seem like more of an adventure, not to mention the fact that not having to worry about a car parked out on the street can reduce stress. Leave the car at home, discover the city on foot, and live adventurously on your next vacation.

Be careful with tipping

It’s good to tip, it’s only right, and everybody appreciates it. However, North Americans are the only people’s around the world who are generally known to tip more than 10 – 15 %.

Tipping extravagant amounts every time on vacation can be an enormous cost in itself. For example, if you have 3 meals a day and tip 25% each time, you are not far off paying for a fourth, non existent meal on every day of the vacation.

By all means tip, but within reason, you need to have some money left when the vacation is over.

Use Hotel discounts

In this modern age of technology, there s no excuse for not knowing about the huge hotel discounts being offered by travel membership clubs. Recent laws may have prevented Expedia, Orbitz and other travel brands from providing discounted cruises, packages or hotel rooms, but where they have lost their value, Travel clubs have taken their place.

Stop wasting time, and money by getting signed up for a travel membership with Hotels Etc and start saving up to 60-80% on hotels rooms, packages and much more.

Research free things to do at your destination

Not everything costs money once on location, in fact many of the best activities are free. A quick search online for travel blogs, reviews or trip reports will often result in a number of fun and completely free activities to help you save money on vacation.

A secret beach, a nearby mountain hike, a free walking tour or visit to some local landmarks. Even a trip around a lesser known part of town can result in cheap eateries, hidden attractions, and the free excitement that comes with not knowing where you are going.

All of the above are simple ways to ensure your vacation provides enough value, without leaving you in debt on the return back home and a great way to get started with saving money for future travels, is by signing up for Hotels Etc here.

Free attractions and affordable things to do in New York

They call it the ““City that never sleeps”” and it truly does live up to this reputation with an endless number of activities, attractions and affordable things to do in New York. A trip to the Big apple is possibly a once in a lifetime trip for some people, but most certainly it’s a trip that everyone should take at some point in their lives, and despite what you might have heard, it is actually possible to visit New York on a budget, provided you avail of hotel discounts and spend some time planning an itinerary.

Truthfully, the best way to keep costs down on a trip to New York is to check out the free attractions in the city and the more affordable things to do, from a visit to the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, to the dazzling lights of Times Square, the iconic Statue of Liberty and an afternoon in sunny Central Park – there are so many ways to spend your time without spending a great deal, and the following is a list to help you plan an affordable trip to New York.

Central Park & Times Square

When most people arrive in New York, they wish to be staying in a centrally located accommodation which is within easy walking distance of the main parts of the city. This is usually more expensive but if you use some of the best hotel discounts on Hotels Etc, you could easily find yourself in the middle of downtown for  a very minimal cost.

Central Park is a beautiful place to spend the day, especially in the Summer, and it can feel like a million miles from the city with all the green open spaces, cycle paths and lush surroundings. Visiting Central Park is obviously a free activity and likewise just a short walk from here, standing beneath the blinding lights of Times Square is a fascinating place to be and an unforgettable sight.

Tip: A visit to the zoo in Central park is relatively cheap at $16.20 for adults, and $11.70 for children.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so big that you spend weeks inside the building and still not make your way around the entire 2 million pieces of art that are on display. It is also here, where you can witness the spectacular Temple of Dendur which is an ancient temple which was once on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt, before being transported to the US as a gift from the Egyptian government.

The best way to see the museum is by taking a guided tour with a curator, as often there are many parts and secrets of the museum which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Tickets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art are $25 for adults and $12 for students, while children under the age of 12 go free.

Concerts in Prospect Park

Every weekend there are big concerts at Prospect Park over the bridge in Brooklyn and amazingly, these are entirely free of charge. Despite there being no charge, it is not unusual for even the most popular acts to show up in the park with the Barenaked Ladies being a regular on stage.

These concerts are ideal for families and as with Central Park, there is so much space in Prospect that it makes for the perfect escape from the busy city without having to travel too far.

Grand Central Station

Just short of one million people hurry through the hallways of Grand Central Terminal in New York every day, and despite it sounding like a strange thing to do, visiting the station is a fascinating activity. There are free walking tours which take in a trip to the station but if you visit during the mid afternoon, it should be quiet enough to take a self guided tour and not get lost along the way.

The interior is beautiful with enormous stain glass windows reaching for the tall ceilings and mosaic tunnels leading their way between the different terminals which offer surprising delights on every turn.

There are some cheap eateries spread out around the station, and if you don’t want to miss out on any of the history, there is a self guided tour app you can download for just $5.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Many people travel to Ellis island to see the iconic statue without being aware of the great significant importance of the island itself. It is here, where you will find the enormous halls which were responsible for separating, detaining and processing the millions of immigrants who had traveled to the US many years ago in search of a new life. This brings a truly fascinating element to the journey and you are free to walk around the inside of the buildings.

However, that is not to take away from the awesome sight of the great Statue of Liberty which dominates the New York skyline and makes for the most awe inspiring sight to marvel upon, and capture through photography. Although you can take a trip to the top of the statue, it is just as nice to stay below and maybe have a picnic, while all the madness and chaos of Manhattan begins to disappear.

The cost of the Staten island ferry is $18 for adults and $9 for children.

The American Museum of Natural History

If the Metropolitan Museum of Art was big, then the Natural History Museum is completely off the charts. There are more than 30 million varieties of fossils, animals, plants, rocks and artifacts in the building which is spread out over 45 different exhibition halls.

When you think “there is something for everyone”, there has never been a place more true to those words. It is one of the most popular attractions in New York and widely known for having an incredible array of dinosaur replications. The hall of African animals is also a favorite while the Rose Center houses a very educational attraction in the Earth and Space exhibition.

Once more, this is another of the affordable attractions in New York which provides outstanding value given you will easily spend the entire day, engrossed on the inside of these walls.

Tickets for the American Museum of Natural History are $22 for adults and $12.50 for children.

There is no end in terms of things to do in New York and affordable attractions are everywhere so long as you spend time searching them out. The cost of your accommodation in New York is always going to be the biggest part of a budget for such a trip but as mentioned at the beginning of the article, Hotels Etc have the best hotel discounts which can provide anywhere between 50 – 80% off the regular price. Regardless of which free attractions you choose or the affordable things to in New York, on thing is for sure, the city provides great value for money.

11 Reasons to visit San Francisco in 2016

Whether you are taking a weekend break from work, an extended vacation in the summer or just wanting an alternative option for a Spring break vacation, San Francisco is a dream destination and a city which has the perfect mix of ideal weather, engrossing culture, fascinating scenery and interesting attractions.

Here are 11 reasons to visit San Francisco in 2016:

 

  1. San Francisco has the perfect weather all year round

San Francisco he kind of weather which makes it the perfect city to live for the entire year round. Don’t be fooled by photograph’s of the Golden Gate bridge covered in fog, this city has just the right amount of cool, and the perfect dose of warm weather to make it idyllic for exploring in the outdoors.

 

  1. The city is built for walking

Everywhere in San Francisco is within walking distance, from Fisherman’s Wharf, to Chinatown and back, the famous hills are hugely enjoyable to walk around with scenic views of the city and if you get tired of walking, an absolute “must”, is to take a ride in a traditional cable car which climb the extremely steep hills near Powell street.

 

  1. You can taste the Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma Valley may not be the most famous wine region in the US, but it is still one of the most varied and stunning collection of wineries. Both the Buena Vista and Lynmar Estate are particularly nice but with more than 30 different establishments in the area, there is simply no end to great wine tasting options, along with spectacular rolling hills, gardens and spectacular landscapes.

 

  1. Watch Giants playing on the waterfront

 

In the East you have the New York and on the West coast you have the San Francisco Giants. Take in a riveting game of baseball next to the waterfront in the awe inspiring At&T Park. The Giants have been around since the year 2000 and have an ever growing reputation with a loud fan base in their 45,000 capacity stadium.

 

  1. Enjoy unrivalled scenery

The scenery in San Francisco is breathtaking, from the world famous Golden Gate bridge, the green and beautiful Dolores Park, the unrivalled views of ships cruising the ocean horizon, to the iconic sight of the enchanting Alactraz prison.

 

  1. Experience local culture in the Farmers markets

San Francisco is certainly a city which knows how to please a “foodie”. There are a number of annual food events throughout the year but there are also regular markets around the city with the biggest being Alemany farmers, markets  which is the oldest market in town and a fine display of local produce.

 

  1. Witness the many districts which make this city a melting pot

San Francisco has long being known as a melting pot of traditions and different cultures. For example, the infamous Chinatown is a fantastic place to sample some Asian cuisine while the Mission district is known for hipsters, cheap drinks and a predominantly Latin population. A visit to Alcatraz is every bit as fascinating as the story behind the name.

 

  1. Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge

The bridge is 65 stories high which certainly adds to the impressive nature of the bridge, but the specific design of the Golden Gate Bridge has made it into the world famous landmark it is today. The perfect photograph opportunity, and ideal for a walk on a sunny day, the Golden Gate bridge is not to be missed on a trip to San Francisco.

 

  1. Be a tourist on Fisherman’s Wharf

Arguably one of the most popular places to visit in San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf, the historic waterfront transformed over the years into a major tourist attraction. The pier has an endless amount of activities and points of interest, including shops, amusements, food stalls and unrivalled views of the an Francisco Bay.

 

  1. Endless shopping options on Union Square

Union Square is the epicenter for retail in San Francisco which is a shopper’s paradise. Huge department stores line up next to boutiques and high end fashion. It’s gets busy on the weekends but if you are traveling midweek or during the day while the locals are at work, shopping in San Francisco can be a very enjoyable experience.

 

  1. The best Hotels in San Francisco

Luxury hotels, mid range hotels, boutique hotels, cheap hotels, affordable hotels – whatever type of accommodation you are looking for, you can easily find it in San Francisco. Unfortunately the cost of hotels in San Francisco can be quite high, but if you avail of the best hotel discounts for San Francisco with Hotels Etc, a trip to this beautiful city can be easily afforded.

Click here to check out the huge savings on hotels in San Francisco.