How To Survive A Big Family Vacation

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Going on vacation with your entire family can seem like a lot, and more often than not, it is. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great idea. Getting all of the generations together can be both and enjoyable and an excellent way to make memories. We never know what the future holds, so spending precious time together while we can is always worth it. Get your parents, children, siblings and extended family members together and start to plan – because a big family vacation is calling.

Pick Neutral Territory

If your parents and siblings are based all across the country, you’re going to want to pick somewhere that is easy for you all to get too. Likewise, you’re going to want to decide on a kind of vacation that you can all look forwards to. Whether that’s a beach holiday, ski trip or city escape, choosing neutral territory often ensures that your vacation gets off on the right foot, even before it’s started. If you’re prone to arguments, this could be one way to keep them to a minimum.

Plan Ahead

Next up, you’re going to want to make sure that your family vacation is completely planned before you leave for it. You might think that leaving your days free always for spontaneity, but when you’re vacationing in large numbers, it can cause chaos. You can find that people are waiting around a lot and no one can agree on times and places. So, cut that out by planning activities before you get there. That way, everyone’s ideas and tastes can be catered for and everyone knows what to expect with the agenda.

Pack Well

To make this work, everyone is going to need to make sure they have packed smart. Not only will you need the right equipment and accessories for your little ones, but you’re going to want to make sure that your parents have their hearing products and accessories to be able to enjoy themselves. Also, you’ll need to advise everyone on things like swimwear, skiwear, or even hiking or activity gear should they need it.

Mix Things Up

When you’re trying to coordinate a lot of personalities and ages, you may want to keep everyone happy. One way of doing this is to ensure that your agenda has a mix of everything. Some people may want to lay by the pool while others may want to play tennis. Either way, ensuring that your planned days and activities have a good mix of everything, you’ll do a much better job at keeping the children, adults, and seniors all happy.

Split Up

Even though this is a family vacation, there’s no reason why you all have to do everything together. In fact, splitting up is often a good way to ensure that everyone gets a vacation that they love but still enjoys their time together. When some of you are enjoying the sun, others can be out shopping or head on an adventure. It’s often the best way to avoid friction and ensure that everyone has a good time.

 

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The Best Cities In Florida

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Florida is a wonderful state to live in. It has great weather, friendly people and it’s a safe area to raise a family in. Why wouldn’t anybody want to live there? That doesn’t mean that every single corner of the state is lovely, though. There are obviously going to be some parts that should be avoided and some parts that are much better than others. If you are considering a move to Florida, or if you are just thinking about relocating to a different city in the state, you should know which cities are best. Here is a handy list of some of the best cities in Florida.

Naples

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Naples in southwest Florida is a very quiet and peaceful city to live in. It has a population of around twenty thousand but most of the homeowners have it as a second home, so during the summer months, it will be very empty. If you are a keen golfer then this is probably the best place for you as it has more golf courses than any other place in the whole country. It is also home to a historic downtown area that offers great dining experiences as well as a rich cultural scene. Having said that, you are at higher risk of damage during hurricanes and storms, so you’ll need to weigh that against the positives.

Tallahassee

Tallahassee is the capital of Florida State and is an incredibly popular city indeed. The large Cuban population has given birth to hundreds of delicious fusion restaurants all over the city. It also has a vibrant arts and music scene, with lots of great galleries and performance venues everywhere. Each year the city hosts a number of different festivals and parades showcasing all of the brilliant talent in the city. If you are considering a move to Tallahassee, there are plenty of homes for sale at Joe Manausa real estate, so why not have a look and see what you can find.

Winter Springs

Winter Springs is a small town just outside of Orlando. It’s a great location because you get all of the benefits of being close to Orlando without having to be at the heart of the busy city. The crime rates are also a lot lower than they are in Orlando. If you enjoy all of the theme parks and other attractions that are in Orlando then you should definitely consider Winter Springs. You’ll even be close enough to commute if you wanted to work in the city. You are at lower risk of hurricane damage here and the schooling is very good. However, accidents on the routes into Orlando can cause major traffic incidents.

Palm Beach

Most people think of Palm Beach as being exclusively for the rich, but that isn’t the case. You can still enjoy the rich social lifestyles of the people in Palm Beach without shelling out millions of dollars for an expensive house. In fact, some condos will cost as little as $200,000, so not really much more expensive than anywhere else. During the winter months, the city really comes alive, but you will be exposed to the risk of flooding.

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When Travel Plans Fall Through

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Going traveling is always exciting, whether you go alone or travel with family or friends. It gives you new experiences and allows you to see the world or just your country. However, there’s one experience that you don’t want to put up with, and that’s having your travel plans canceled or changed. You’ve spent time planning your travels perfectly, but now things won’t go to plan because of a delayed flight or a canceled tour. It can be extremely inconvenient and even upsetting, but it’s also a chance for you to learn something new. If you have to deal with your plans being changed, here’s how you can keep your head.

Rearranging Your Plans

Your first thought is probably what you’re going to do next. When your plans are suddenly canceled, they could be months away, or you might already be in the middle of them. You could be stuck at an airport or traveling toward your destination. Or perhaps you had a vacation planned for the future that is no longer possible. If rearranging your plans is a pressing matter, you need to start coming up with a new plan right away. You might be able to find someone to speak to, either in person or over the phone. An airline representative or travel company rep might be able to help you deal with your issue. Think about what you want or need to do next. Perhaps your next step is to arrange tickets for a new flight, or maybe it’s to find different accommodation.

Covering the Costs

No one expects things to go wrong, but some people prepare for it anyway. However, if you haven’t ensured you have extra funds, you might be wondering how you’re going to pay for your change of plans. In some cases, perhaps you’ll get your money back in time to make new plans. But there are other times when you could be stuck in an airport or somewhere else, and you can’t leave without paying your way out. If you don’t have any spare funds, you’re going to have to get the cash from somewhere. One option is to consider payday loans, which you can apply for online and even using an app with some lenders. You can also ask family members or friends to help you. Or you can use your credit card if you have one.

Staying Calm

It can be very stressful when your travel plans fall through, especially if you’re in the middle of your travels. It’s normal to feel upset and perhaps even panic a bit, but staying calm will help you get things sorted quickly. It might feel like a disaster, but if you take a couple of minutes to think about everything logically, you’ll soon realize that you can sort things out. Take some deep breaths and consider who you can ask for help if you need it.

Find Out Your Rights

It’s always worth knowing your consumer rights if your travel plans fall through. If you experience a cancellation or delay, you might be able to get compensation. Your airline or travel company might be required to offer you another flight, somewhere to stay, or perhaps vouchers for food. If you have travel insurance, you should also check what it covers. You might be able to claim back the money you have to spend.

Work Together

If you’re traveling with a group of people, make sure it’s not left to one of you to sort everything out. You can work as a group to put your heads together and figure out what you’re going to do next. Everyone can have a task so that you can come up with a new plan and carry it out. Be supportive of each other too, so that you can get through it together.

Make the Most of Your Changed Plans

Don’t let your change of plans ruin everything. If it alters the course of your travels, use it as an opportunity to experience something new. Maybe you’ve had to book different accommodation, travel with a different company, or even put your trip off until later in the year. Whatever happens, you can use it as a learning experience. Perhaps you originally intended to do one thing, but you ended up having to try a completely different type of traveling. You might find that you enjoy it more than you expect to.

Changes to your travel plans might be annoying, but you can view them as something positive once you’ve worked out what to do next.

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Jet-Set And Ready: What You Must Do Before You Travel

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There are plenty of stresses brought to us by modern life. The constant buzz of work and a boisterous family. How does one get away from it all? The rush and stresses of life?

Travel

It’s the great get-away to places unknown (or known). It’s an excellent way to give back, find yourself and develop new skills. Travel might very well be a key part in your personal growth. Not only that, but you can flee the stresses of your normal life for an adventure in a distant land.

No matter if it’s an all-expenses cruise or a backpacking holiday where you have to really get your hands dirty, travel is an amazing way to truly escape into a world of wonder.

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But hold your horses! It’s all good having your head in the clouds thinking of your next destination, but there’s some serious groundwork you have to lay before you can jet off. Not only that, but there is a lot you have to consider.

Firstly, plan your luggage and pack lightly. Don’t be the guy/girl carrying eighteen packs around. Traveling isn’t really about carrying stuff. It’s about enjoying yourself and exploring, and you can’t do that under the strain of heaving loads of luggage. If you can afford to leave something at home, leave it at home. There’s no excuse for bringing a laptop, a tablet, a camera and a smartphone when just the small smartphone will suffice for every job! Having your luggage packed well before your departure will save you a lot of issues.

Plan well for your getaway – this will make your journey so much easier if you know exactly where you are going and when. Have your routes to and from the airport planned out and pre-book your trips to the airport via taxis or transfers if you can. It’s all about putting in the work before it actually becomes a headache!

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There are two forms of research you must do – once for fun and once for coping. Fun research involves having a long look at your destination and planning your itinerary – where will you visit, what will you do? This is essential as you’re not going away to stare at a wall for a week! Find some fun activities to take part in and have a look at the restaurants around your hotel. Google Maps can help here as it can recommend the best food and restaurants near your hotel based on reviews. The other form of research here is coping – do you understand the language? What are the local customs? Is there any danger? Do you need to get vaccinated for or protect yourself from diseases like hepatitis c sofosbuvir? This is important to know!

Planning, preparation and research are three things you must do before your next vacation. Yes, it’s work, but performing it in advance is going to make sure you have the getaway of a lifetime!

 

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Western Australia: A Magical Land Down Under

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When people think of taking a trip to Australia, they usually think of Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast or the Great Barrier Reef. Though these are all great places to visit, they are missing out a huge chunk of Australia. And when I say huge, I mean huge! Western Australia is the largest state in the country, covering over 2,400 kilometres of land from north to south. This part of the world is prime for an unforgettable road trip, and here are some of the places you won’t want to miss if you decide to journey to this incredible part of the world.

Perth

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Hands up if you knew that Perth is the world’s most isolated city?! Despite being so far away from the rest of civilization, this is where over a million people call home and it is the fourth largest city in the whole country. Many people fall in love with this area, and even decide to make it their home when they find good land packages in locations throughout Western Australia.

An unforgettable experience to have here is visiting Perth Zoo, where you and your family can see some kangaroos first hand. They even wander around on the visitors paths so you can really get up close and personal!

Perth’s beaches are some of the best in the whole country, but if you are heading here, make sure to stock up on sunscreen and insect repellent. Scarborough beach is one of the most popular amongst visitors, while Cottesloe is also fun for all the family.

If you are travelling with older kids, why not take a trip to Adventure World, the only theme park in the area complete with roller coasters, water slides and go-karts. They also have a few rides to keep younger kids entertained as well.

Margaret River

South of Perth, this is the place to go to enjoy the great outdoors including hiking, biking, surfing and other water sports. The other thing this place is best known for is its incredible wineries and vineyards. I’m sure that has caught your attention! A more family-friendly activity is whale-watching, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people. There are plenty of tour companies in the area that offer this experience so don’t miss out if you are in this part of the world.

Monkey Mia

Spotting some wildlife is a must-do activity while in Western Australia. I’ve already mentioned kangaroos and whales, but another magical experience in seeing the dolphins at Monkey Mia. The overall area is known as Shark Bay, and access to the Marine Park here is totally free. You will want to arrive at Monkey Mia as early as possible for your best chance to see the dolphins. It’s even possible to feed them which is an experience you and your family will never forget!

Though the dolphins steal the show, there are plenty of other fantastic native creatures to spot during your time here including the woylie, mallee fowl, southern brown bandicoot and bilby. Though these may sound like creatures from Harry Potter, they are very real and here is one of the only places in the world you can come to see them!   

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6 Useful Ultralight Backpacking Tricks

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Modern way of hiking and backpacking teaches us that we are able to do much more and to travel far greater distances by simply cutting the weight. This is the basis of ultralight philosophy where you have to decide what items to cut and how to reduce your already light backpack.

There are numerous benefits to traveling light. First of all, it is much easier and it reduces risk of an injury. Also, it allows you to quickly adapt to unforeseen situations.

With these 6 tips, you will be able to pack like a pro!

  1. Tent, backpack and sleeping pad – the big three

Ultralight packing always has to start with these three items. Given that tent it the biggest one, we need to go from it and then, plan everything else. Ultralight philosophy revolves around creation and sewing of your own items. This also includes tent. You can create one that suits your body’s dimensions and is much smaller than the ones sold in shops. Same goes for backpack and sleeping pad. Based on this, you can reduce a lot of weight during the very first step of the process.

  1. Minimize your clothes

Basically, the clothes that are on you is everything you need. Naturally, if your hike will last for a several months, you will need to adapt to change of seasons and bring something extra. Nevertheless, you will need spare socks as they are crucial for warmth. All clothing items should be synthetic (except for socks and boots, of course). It is common for clothes to get soaked while on the trail. If you are wearing cotton, it will take a lot of time to dry them. In other words, you will have to wear wet clothes if you wish to continue your hike. Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are impregnable.

  1. Reduce the amount of water in your backpack

According to ultralight backpacking, all you need is one medium bottle of water. Make sure to stay hydrated and drink whenever you can in big quantities. Basically, you will carry most of the water in your stomach. Instead of drinking bit by bit during the whole day, you will need to make a compromise and drink water seldom.

  1. Food should also be considered

Inexperienced hikers lose a lot of space in their backpacks for food. They bring food that is energy rich without thinking how big it actually is making the backpack really heavy. Although energy rich food is necessary for hiking, you need to find the way to reduce it. Dry food is optimal in this case. You can also choose to dry and pack food yourself. This way, you will create perfect portions according to your daily needs.

  1. Multipurpose items

Ultralight hiker has to compromise and adapt all the time. This can be seen through choice of items he brings. Instead of carrying objects with one function, he has to opt for multipurpose items. Even if something is not meant to be used in a certain way, you need to improvise.

  1. Split the weight

This last tip pertains to hikers who are traveling in a group. There is no need for everyone to carry the same set of items. Instead, make the arrangement in advance and decide who is going to carry what. Another great way to minimize your backpack.

Ultralight backpacking is based on resourcefulness. It is a hiking model which was invented by hikers who, at certain point, lacked items from their backpack. They realized we are carrying too much stuff as it is and create ultralight backpacking. Hopefully, you will adapt it on your next hike.

 

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Where Will Your Next Family Vacation Take You?

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Family vacations can become a little bit stale and boring at times. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and do the same kind of thing over and over. When it comes time to think about your next family vacation, why not approach it from a different angle? There are lots of different ways to travel, and plenty of different things to see. Perhaps one of these ideas will become your best vacation yet:

Under The Sea

If your kids love the idea of being under the sea (who doesn’t love Dory and Nemo?), then you could take a vacation that gives them that view. You can try a glass bottomed boat ride. Or maybe you fancy walking under the sea with the fish swimming above you? There are lots of different SeaWorld Centers all over the world to delight your little ones. All you need to do is pick the one you want.

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Of course, if you’re an active family, you might choose to take a snorkeling or even a diving vacation. You can all learn and qualify as divers if the kids are old enough. Little ones can learn to snorkel as soon as they’re safe to swim. Choose warmer climates with plenty of tropical fish to make these vacation memories last a lifetime.

Up In The Sky

Hot air balloons are one of those things you can’t help but stare at up in the sky. Even though they take ages to drift from view, your gaze is fixed. Most kids would love the chance to fly in a hot air balloon, so why not make that the focus of your next vacation idea? Of course, the more adventurous families might fancy a helicopter ride weaving in and out of the grand canyon. Or how about a bungee jump?

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Parachute jumps are one of those experiences that you never forget. You can take on a little training so you can jump solo, but your kids will need to be pretty grown up to join in. Alternatively, you can enjoy the feeling of flight by taking one. Airplanes fascinate kids and adults alike. Why not book a flight on something extra special like a wartime bomber?

Across The Land

When it comes to vacations, the road trip is what springs to mind for many. The vehicle you choose depends on how many of you are going. If you need a trailer, it makes sense to look for a good RV. But motor vehicles aren’t the only way to enjoy the landscape. Active families may enjoy taking on one of the hundreds of great cycle routes America has to offer. It’s also a great way to get fit!

Hiking is another pastime families enjoy when they’re on vacation. This is particularly good fun when you’re camping. You can ramble across the country and camp when you’re tired. There are dozens of excellent trails. Or you might prefer a well-trodden path near a large camping area. What will your next vacation look like?

 

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Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat

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Disclosure- We received cruise admission on the Key Largo Princess in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.  20160720_133945Last week my family and I went to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for a few days. I was looking for a fun adventure and I found the Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat. The Key Largo Princess sails 3 times daily (10am, 1pm, 4pm) from Key Largo Holiday Inn through coral reefs in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. It’s a great way to see lots of fish, sharks, coral, and other sea life while staying dry.
P1260211When we first got on board the boat we went into the air conditioned salon where the glass bottom is to cool off for a bit because it was so hot outside. Once we began to sail my husband and older daughter decided to stay below and relax in the A/C while my daughter and I went up on deck to the front of the boat to enjoy the breezes and beautiful ocean view. 20160720_130950It was so gorgeous and relaxing. Here are some of the houses, boats, and more that we saw while we sailed to the reef.

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P1260222I think this is my favorite view: 20160720_132354The boat is 70 feet and holds 129 passengers. It has a bar on deck that serves sandwiches, snack, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages for the adults. We had already eaten lunch so we didn’t get anything from the snack bar but other passengers looked happy with their purchases. The staff was really friendly and informative.P1260240
P1260242The ride out to the reef is about 45 minutes. Once we arrived on the reef we all went down to the glass bottom salon part of the boat. Viewing windows of the glass bottom total 280 square feet in area. The crew was so knowledgeable of all of the marine life we were seeing. 20160720_135730The staff made sure to point out the marine life and give us great information on everything we were seeing. It was so cool to see various types of coral, fish, rays, and sharks right below us. The kids had fun dangling their feet over the railing as we all sat on the floor watching the sea life go by. We saw a nurse shark right under the boat. It would have been the perfect picture but unfortunately my camera closed when I clicked to take a picture. I was so bummed!

128_519016624548_2864_nThe trip around the reef lasted about 30 minutes before we sailed back to dock. Once again I went up on deck to enjoy the outside view and breeze as we sailed back.
20160720_144648The cruise was so much fun and a great taste of the underwater beauty of Florida but I want to mention that if you get sea sick, this might not be the activity for you. Unfortunately my husband got sea sick about half way through the trip. The crew was really helpful coming around with cups of ice water for anyone that wasn’t feeling well. If you usually get sea sick I suggest bringing along some sea sick preventative. My girls and I didn’t have any problems with being sea sick and really enjoyed the cruise.
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Here’s Why Byron Bay Is Australia’s Hottest Destination

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Melbourne: check. Sydney: check. Perth: check. Once you’ve done all of Australia’s major cities, you might be struggling to think of where else to check out in the vast country. However, I’ve got a fantastic destination for you. My hot tip for your next trip to Oz is Byron Bay. This pretty coastal town is just under a two-hour drive south of Brisbane. It’s pretty out of the way, but the extra journey there will be very much worth it. Here are some reasons why it’s so fantastic.

Surfing

Byron Bay is one of Australia’s best surfing spots. Seasoned surfers often run out to show off their skills on the waves. However, it is also the perfect place for beginners to learn the ropes as well. There are many surf schools in the town that can help you get up on a surfboard in no time at all. Not too keen on surfing? Doesn’t mean you should miss the beach. You can also spend the day working on your tan and enjoying a cocktail from one of the many beach bars.

Tour The Local Area

There are lots of ways you can get out and about in Byron Bay’s surrounding countryside. You can jump on a bicycle or simply go off on a hike. However, if you really want to discover everything the local region has to offer, join a tour group. There are many different ones you can choose from, including Travezl tours in Byron Bay. Remember to have your camera with you at all times so that you can take plenty of snaps of the beautiful sights.

Arakwal National Park

Arakwal National Park is known for its white sandy beaches and stunning coastline. Tallow Beach is one of its main attractions. This 32-kilometer stretch of shore is popular with walkers, birdwatchers, and whale watchers. While you are in the park, watch out for its two native frog species, the Wallum Froglet, and the Wallum Sedge Frog.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

One thing everyone does when in Byron Bay is to take a trip to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. It is located in the easternmost part of the Australian mainland. The building looks uncharacteristically low for a lighthouse, but it was built that way to take into account the fact the land is quite high up. Today, the lighthouse is an icon of the entire bay area and is often used as a symbol for Byron Bay.

Terrific Restaurants

Byron Bay is also known for its marvelous restaurants and eateries. Carnivores should head straight for Main St. Burger Bar to chow down on some meaty patties topped with a variety of relishes and salads. Thai food is a big deal in Australia, and that is especially the case in the bay area. Traditional Thai is situated in the center of town and known for its delicious pork belly dishes and Thai green curries.

So next time you’re planning a trip Down Under, make sure you plan in some time in Byron Bay. You’ll certainly thank me!

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US Vacation Ideas That Your Kids Will Love

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Often, heading abroad on vacation isn’t doable for families because of how expensive it is. Many parents worry that if they don’t go abroad for their vacation, their kids will have a rubbish time. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Believe it or not, vacationing in the US can be a lot of fun. There are some really great places that are perfect for family vacations right here in the US.

If this summer you’ve decided to stay in the US, there are plenty of fantastic places that you can visit. It’s just a case of working out what type of trip is within your budget, as well as what you and your family would enjoy. To help you do that, here are some US vacation ideas that your kids are sure to love.

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Go wild camping at Yellowstone National Park

If your kids love the great outdoors, why not plan a wild camping experience for them? The US has lots of natural areas that are perfect for wilderness trips, but the biggest and best has to be Yellowstone. If you’re an active family that loves nature, enjoys hiking, and is always looking for an adventure, this could be the ideal trip for you. You’ll need a tent, a BBQ, and a range of other camping equipment, but that’s all. You can cycle, hike, fish, swim, or kayak here, as well exploring the area of the park that you’re camping in.

Plan a road trip to the coast

Are you a family that loves sun, sand and sea? Then a road trip to the coast could be the perfect vacation for you. The US has so many beautiful beaches, from Miami Beach to Malibu, there are lots of places to visit and explore. Road trip to the coast in a motorhome or RV, and spend some time sunbathing while the kids build sandcastles and splash about in the sea.

Explore the Grand Canyon

The mistake that many people make is thinking that the Grand Canyon is just one attraction. When actually it’s a huge national park. There are areas hiking, swimming, cycling, kayaking, and plenty of other activities. You can bird watch, find unique and interesting insects, and spend time exploring the rocky area. There are tours you can go on, helicopter rides, and plenty of other fun and exciting activities.

Visit New York for a city break

If you would prefer a vacation that includes a little more sightseeing, a city break in New York could be perfect for you. There are plenty of deals and discounts on city breaks; it’s just a case of shopping around until you find a suitable one. Look for self-catered accommodation as that will help to keep the cost of your trip down. It’s also a good idea to book tickets to any sights and attractions that you want to visit in advance, as this will save you money. Most attractions offer a 10 percent off online deal, so this is worth looking into.
Just because you don’t want to leave the US for your summer vacation this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time.

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