Five Family-Friendly US Vacation Ideas

Travelling to America for anyone in the UK is going to be a big trip. You have to deal with international flight costs, car rental costs, and accommodation costs. Just a few short years ago these costs likely totalled so high that for many of you the United States of America was simply off the table, but today, there are so many budget-friendly options out there waiting for you.

From cheap flights to ride shares, to even private rentals for accommodation, now you can travel to the United States once a year and still fit it into your budget. The money you spend, however, is probably not something you want to scoff at, especially when you travel with kids, so to enjoy your next vacation to this massive and diverse nation, follow these tips:

Types of Family-Friendly Adventures

There are so many different types of family-friendly adventures that the first step to planning any trip is to decide on what you want to do. Do you want to enjoy nature? See a world-class city? Enjoy a festival? See an alligator in the wild? Once you narrow down the type of experience you have, you can choose more accurately where you want to go and when.

Rui Silvestre

Five Family-Friendly US Vacation Ideas

To help give you some suggestions on what you can do in the states, here are a few great ideas to choose from:

  • Visit Any of Their Incredible Cities

There are so many great places to travel to in America, and their cities are no exception. There are great cities to enjoy throughout the country, from the ultra-modern masterpiece of New York City to the historical towns of Boston or Alexandria. Choose a historic destination, a cultural destination, a modern destination, or anything in-between. If this is your first time travelling to the US, choose something on its east coast. At the very least this will cut down on travel time.

  • Go on a Road Trip

If you have the time, try to go on a road trip. It is in the US that the romanticism of the open road first started, and with as many dramatic landscapes to see there is no shortage of great waypoints you can enjoy.

  • See Any of the Natural Wonders of the World  

America’s national parks are something to behold. From deserts to canyons, to massive trees that stretch dozens of people wide, there is no shortage of incredible natural wonders to see and experience.

  • Enjoy the Warm Beaches

From the warm beaches of LA to the crystal blue waters of the Florida Keys, you have options on both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Plan Your Trip

Once you have chosen the perfect destination, it’s time to find things to do and see. Start first by finding a great vacation rental home on VacationRenter that is close to where all the action is. They also have guides you can peruse through so that you can get a truly authentic experience of whichever US vacation destination you have decided on.

Elements of your trip to plan in advance include:

  • Flights
  • Taxis to and from the airports (at all destinations)
  • Car rentals
  • Accommodation
  • Popular activities and experiences

There are so many ways to have an incredible and unforgettable experience in the US, but when you have a family, you need to keep in mind your children’s age, their limitations, and how family-friendly the area is. Plan what you want to do and budget beforehand so you can have as stress-free a trip as possible.

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Choosing The Right Family Holiday For Us

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It has been a while now since we’ve been on holiday and I must admit, I am desperate to get away even if just for a few days, just to have a break and a breather.

We do face some problems when it comes to sorting out a holiday though. Not only is Jack at school full time during term time but we also have Steve now working at the school which means he too can only take holidays in the school holidays as obviously he is working during the term time. Myself and Olivia can pretty much go away whenever though – and I have been tempted to take her away for a break, haha – but I don’t think it would be much of a break for me.

Something we have decided though is that we really want to get away somewhere in early 2019 – it will obviously have to be in the school holidays though and we need to decide where to go. Shall we stay in the UK and risk potentially abysmal weather or shall we fork out for renewed passports for Steve and Jack and a first passport for Olivia and head off to sunnier climbs? There is just so much to consider.

We’ve been doing our research to find the best options for family holidays. We want a holiday that is truly family friendly, with activities that the whole family will enjoy. We’ve been considering family friendly package holidays such as the holidays Mark Warner offer – their summer holiday package includes direct flights and transfers, accommodation, free childcare for 2-17 years, choice of meal plan and so much more. Their ski holiday package offers very similar options too. This is great as if you book everything separately from other providers, the prices combined can be altogether quite shocking.

Mantas Hesthaven

A package holiday definitely seems like a good option for us. We’ve done self catering breaks in the past but never paid for a package holiday and with Steve and I in desperate need of some downtime, a package holiday certainly seems like it will take away any stress about our plans.

Another thing to consider is location. If we do go abroad, I don’t want to be travelling too far as Olivia is still quite small. We travelled to Italy with Jack when he was nine months old and that was stressful enough for a short flight so although Olivia is a year older, I wouldn’t want to go too far as I’m not too sure how she’d react. Greece is somewhere we’ve been considering – my aunt lived out there for a while and always talks about how she would certainly go back to live out there if she could.

If we stay in the UK, we want to choose somewhere that is a decent distance away from where we live so it actually is a holiday. We’ve been thinking about the Lake District as it is a beautiful area of the country that we would all enjoy.

We’re still currently in the decision stages but I am hoping we come to an agreement and book something soon. I can’t wait to have some time out and just spend some time with my little family. Have you got anywhere booked for 2019?

 

Visiting Paradise Wildlife Park Over The Half Term

We were kindly gifted with a family ticket into the park. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Paradise Wildlife Park is one of our favourite local places to go as a family but we hadn’t been since long before the World of Dinosaurs opened. When offered the chance to review a day out at the park, I just had to say yes to see what had changed and how Olivia reacted now she is a lot older and really into animals.

We decided to visit over half term – with Steve working at the school now and Jack there full time, it had to be a day we could all go so we found a date and headed over. We headed over fairly early and managed to pick a day when it seemed fairly quiet to begin with and steadily built in numbers. I like it when it isn’t too busy earlier on in the day as there isn’t a few people all clamouring to see the same animals.

We headed to see the birds first – they were all incredibly beautiful and Olivia loved waving hi to them all!


Olivia did keep yelling’ammals’ though so we headed through to see the other animals in the park. Olivia got incredibly excited to see all the monkeys, big cats and all the other animals the park had.


Olivia really loved the big cats, roaring and growling as we looked at the lions, tigers and cheetahs among others. Jack loved seeing the monkeys as always, especially the gibbons as they swung from one side to the other on their ropes.


It was so nice to introduce the kids to some animals they may not have necessarily seen before (or don’t remember seeing!). We, of course, had to get the kids to pose by the penguin scale and see which penguin they were most like in size and my son, being the poser he is, couldn’t resist posing with the Halloween decor that was dotted all around the park.Even before you visit the World of Dinosaurs, the park is great fun for the whole family. There are plenty of animals to see, various activities and experiences such as feeding the parakeets at certain points of the day, watching the animals be fed, listening to a person who works there talking about a specific animal. There are numerous places to eat and a variety of slides, swings and other playground equipment for your child to play on, should you wish to take a breather.

The kids were thoroughly entertained and loved seeing all the animals, Olivia especially as animals – all animals – are her new favourite thing. We knew we had to visit World of Dinosaurs before we left and went in with very high expectations, having seen incredibly positive feedback on it all over the internet. We weren’t disappointed. Jack loves dinosaurs as does Steve so I always knew they would enjoy it and whilst I thought Olivia may be a little scared of the dinosaurs, she loved them and relished the opportunities to interact with them – you might even catch her little giggle at the end of our YouTube video at the bottom of the post!

The World of Dinosaurs was absolutely fascinating. The kids were in awe of the different dinosaurs and the movements and sounds they made. It definitely makes a great addition to an already fantastic park and the kids loved taking a slow walk around to look at them all. They also very much enjoyed visiting the dedicated gift shop in the World of Dinosaurs with Olivia coming out with a cuddly dinosaur and Jack getting another toy dinosaur for his collection.

We’ll definitely be visiting again, especially to see the dinosaurs again – we might even take some of Jack’s friends next time!

Before we left, there was just some time for Jack to act like a gorilla and then we headed home, happy after a fun and fab family day out.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful place so local to us and will definitely be heading here again. Be sure to check out the video below for some snippets of the World of Dinosaurs!

 


Have you ever visited Paradise Wildlife Park?

Why I Would Love To Travel To India

If there is one thing I wish I had done more in my life so far, it’s travelling. So far, I have only managed to go abroad twice – once to Italy with my family and once to France on a press trip for my website – but there are so many places that I would love to visit across the world that I have just not had the opportunity to visit yet.

One such country is India. Many of my friends and family have visited different parts of India and sang its praises and told me just how much I should visit and having researched a little myself, I would love to! I’ve been looking into what things are like in the big cities and also what things are like in the smaller towns and cities – I sometimes like to go off the beaten track, so to speak.

My research has, of course, led me to check out both accommodation and amenities. I’ve checked various cities but the hotels in Udaipur really caught my eye.There are such a wide variety of fantastic hotels to choose from, situated in some luscious areas and very affordable too.

But why exactly did Udaipur catch my eye over other popular tourist destinations in India such as Goa or Mumbai? The city is also known as ‘City of Lakes’, It is known as the ‘City of Lakes’ because of the lake system – it has seven lakes surrounding the city! The city is also known for its rich history, heritage and culture – there are massive forts and palaces, galleries, museums and so much more to see when visiting Udaipur. There are also some absolutely beautiful temples and stunning architecture for visitors to see – they really are a wonder to behold.

I would mostly like to travel to India at some point in the next few years to see just how similar and how different life is like in the country compared to the UK. I find the UK can seem quite depressing, boring and bleak at times whereas to me, India always seems so vivid, so full of colour and excitement. There is so much breathtaking architecture, historical landmarks and other things to see that you’d never be bored and you’ll leave feeling as if you’ve learned something. Furthermore, travelling to India would take me out of my comfort zone a little – it is a much longer flight than the ones to Italy and France, I’ve never been on a flight longer than a couple of hours before! I’d be able to see things I’d only ever dreamed of seeing once upon a time.

Travelling is taking a backseat in 2018 but hopefully 2019 will be the year I get to check out some of the places I’ve been wanting to visit. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes out for affordable hotel deals – after all, you want to know you’ll be sleeping soundly without paying through the nose, right?

Have you ever travelled to India? Have you ever visited Udaipur? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Enjoy Some Halloween Fun At Freaky Funfest At Mead Open Farm

We were kindly gifted with a free family ticket to attend Freaky Funfest at Mead Open Farm for the purpose of this review.

Running from the 20th of October to the 31st of October, the Freaky Funfest at Mead Open Farm is definitely not to be missed. We headed there last weekend to see what was going on and to have some spooky fun with the kids. We also, of course, had to go and see all of the fab animals – well, it is a farm, after all!

Freaky Funfest is their annual Halloween event which offers six amazing haunted attractions! The NEW Scary Tales, the NEW Tiny Terrors Tractor Ride, NEW Haunted Hotel, Farm Fun, Pumpkin Carving and Indoor Play. With only a few days left, you don’t want to miss it! Prices are £13.95 for adults, £12.95 for children, £13.25 for seniors, £11.95 for disabled + carer and free for under 2’s. A very affordable day out for sure.

Visiting The Animals

Now as you can expect, we had to visit the animals when visiting Mead Open Farm. It was great as Olivia is finally at the age where she is really interested in things and she was so excited seeing all the different animals. She actually learnt the word ‘animal’ whilst we were there and had great fun joining her Daddy and brother in feeding the goats, finding it utterly hilarious as they tickled her hand as they ate all the animal feed up!

Jack has always loved visiting farms – he is a big animal lover and it was so nice to see him and his sister bond over the animals – chatting away about them and him trying to get her to say their names and the noises they make. She was very excited to see the ‘Moo’s!’ as she called them and as a big Peppa Pig fan, loved seeing the pigs and making the noises they make.


As you can see, there are lots of animals to see including bunnies and llamas too (or ‘arma’s’ as Olivia keeps calling them!)

The Halloween Events

Of course, it was important that we checked out the Halloween events so off we trotted to see what they had to offer. Olivia especially liked the Tiny Terrors Tractor Ride where we rode around in the tractor and had to point out the monsters. She really got into the spirit of things, trying to yell MONSTER with everyone else all the time. She really enjoyed the ride which was great to see. She was perhaps a little too young for some of the other Halloween events but she was very brave and barely got scared (although one of the characters did make her jump in Scary Tales!)

Jack loves Halloween but can be a bit of a scaredy cat so there were times when he grabbed me as he was frightened but ultimately enjoyed the experiences – he is someone who enjoys being frightened. A few of the following photos aren’t of the greatest quality as the experiences were pretty dark so I didn’t have the best lighting (and I wasn’t going to use Flash as that would defeat the object of it being dark and scary!)

When it comes to Halloween experiences, you want them to be spooky and scary, make you jump but intrigue you and make you laugh too. Jack and Olivia thoroughly enjoyed all the different things we could do – especially the tunnel that felt like it was rotating, Olivia wanted to go back on it! They really enjoyed squeezing through small spaces and trying to help find missing spiders and go to spooky birthday parties!

The rest of the farm

After being thoroughly spooked out, the time came for us parents to rest whilst the kids had some fun in the fantastic and rather large playground they have by the exit. It was no surprise to see children running about on it – it was a lovely day and there was so much to do in the playground!

We also grabbed a drink each from the restaurant but didn’t grab any food although it all looked delicious and the restaurant seemed very busy!

Overall we had a fantastic time at the Freaky Funfest and definitely think you should check it out if you’re in the area – it is running for another few days until the 31st! Steve and I have even been considering attending the Howl – for adults only!

Have you attended any Halloween events so far this year?