My kids love Hawaii. They are good travelers anyway, but they especially love Hawaii. Beaches, sun, sand, all the smoothies they can drink, who wouldn't?
Here are 5 tips that save money and reduce stress...
1. Reserve a condo or a hotel room with a kitchenette. A hotel room can seem pretty small even with 2 small kids. It will save money and time to have breakfast in your room just pick up some breakfast foods at a grocery store. Even if you like to go out for breakfast it's convenient to have food for the kids in between meals.
2. Forget lugging boogie boards on your trip, pick them up when you arrive. In Maui, you pass a discount super center on your way to Kaanapali or Wailea so stop in and pick up water toys. Don't forget snacks too.
3. Hiking is something special in Hawaii. There is no shortage of great hiking trails on each of the islands that will take you to views you just won't see any other way.
4. Find calm beaches, look for the leeward side of the island and gently rolling surfs. Oahu - Waikiki, Maui - Kaanapali Beach, The Big Island - Kahalu'u Beach Park and Kauai - Poipu.
5. Take the Red Eye flight back to the mainland. Enjoy another full day on the islands and then settle in for an overnight flight back. Kids can generally sleep anywhere and you won't have to worry about how to occupy their time.
8 Tips to Make Flying with Kids Easier
How does one transition from a traveler to a solo traveler? I think it's by necessity. We go off to college or take a job that requires travel and we just find ourselves going somewhere, alone.
It seemed odd for about 30 seconds and then I realized I was the master of my own ship and free to do what, when and how I wanted. I decided right then that I wasn't going to forgo anything I wanted to do or see because I didn't have someone with me. Flying solo doesn't mean alone.
I left college to fly and see the world. And the first time I was deadheading to Paris to join a crew for a double crossing I realized I had to meet up with them on my own. At 21, it sure seemed daunting but when I got to the right hotel, on the right day at the right time, I knew I could do anything! There was no stopping me.
Years later after I'd left the airline, I arranged to meet a boyfriend who lived in another city at the time, in Paris. By this time, I was in the middle of a successful marketing career and absolutely comfortable traveling alone. After getting off the Air France shuttle at the Arc d'Triomphe and catching a taxi to the hotel where we were meeting, the memory of that first solo trip to Paris came back to me and I was invincible!
Traveling by train in Europe is a great experience. I'm always impressed by the efficiency and the accessibility of their rail system. On-time performance is the norm and not the exception and traveling by train is actually comfortable. Just sit back and take in the breathtaking scenery.
You'll want to consider your options because there's more than one way to travel by train in Europe.
I get a lot of calls from clients asking about rail passes. The general rule is that if your itinerary includes more than 2 legs of travel, a pass could well be the best option for you. Under two legs and a pass will cost more than the 2 tickets.
If a pass is the best option for you then you need to calculate how many days of train travel you'll need and how many countries you'll be covering. A 10 day trip won't require a 10 day rail pass unless you'll be traveling between cities every day. Just figure how many days you'll be going from point A to point B and that will determine how many days of travel you need.
With a rail pass you can make as many stops as you like for the 24 hour period on each day of pass travel. So if you are traveling between Rome and Florence you can stop in Pisa and/or Sienna on your way. With a point to point ticket, you can't do that. Passes can also carry discounts on ferries and local tours so pay attention to everything that's included with the pass. Note, rail passes can not be purchased in Europe so you'll need to make that decision before you go.
Seat assignments are a good idea. I've jumped on a train, gotten comfortable in my seat only to be bumped out of that seat at the next stop when someone with a seat assignment for my seat gets on. For long hauls, I recommend them. You can get settled in and know you won't have to move for the duration of the trip. On some routes, seat assignments are mandatory and will be included in the price of the ticket. If you're traveling on a pass, the cost of the seat assignment will be extra. You need to remember that if you're traveling on a pass it doesn't guarantee you a seat if the car is full so a seat assignment will ensure that you have a seat on that train.
Consider first or comfort class. These cars will offer more leg room, seat comfort and luggage space. On short routes it might not be important, on long trips I think it's worth the extra cost. Also, the different categories can offer varying amounts of flexibility should your plans change. There can be big differences in coach/economy class from one rail company to another. Once, I sat next to chickens in a cage in economy class and another time economy looked a lot like first class. Consider your expectations before you decide on the class.
Overnight sleeper cars sound like a good idea don't they? Save the price of a hotel room and arrive at your next destination, rested and ready for a new adventure! WHOA! I have never been able to have a good nights sleep in a sleeper car. If you can sleep anywhere it might work for you but unless you have the option of a private sleeper car you'll be sharing it with strangers. They can be noisy, hot/cold or just uncomfortable. Just consider what it takes for you to have a good nights sleep at home and if it's not likely in a train car, opt for daytime travel instead.
Train travel gives you the chance to talk to the locals and see things you don't see from the highway or the air. And if you don't feel like talking, slip on the headphones and put your big adventure to music!
I have been in the travel industry for over 25 years, as a flight attendant, travel agent and travel writer. I think all travelers should have the kind of inside information that professional travelers have. The business has changed over the years and those on the front lines deserve a lot of credit. And what they know can help all of us get more out of our travel experience.