New York Times Travel Expo: Top Family Value Destinations
Tips, Trips and More!
As a travel lover, the Jacob Javits New York Times travel expo was a no-brainer. Not only did I feel like I traveled the entire world in six hours, but the tips, knowledge, immersion and value I got out of a $13 investment was priceless.
I started my day at Cruise Planners, American Express Travel--my future franchise investment (woo hoo) to meet a wonderful colleague I have been networking with. Watching her interact with her clients, and listening in on what consumers are asking was a wealth of information and an exciting moment for me.
I later made my way through the expo. It was as if I had decided to travel all the continents, on my on, with no limitations--no passport needed this time!
Come travel with me! Enjoy my tips and takeaways from the experts!
Woodloch Pines, PA-Serene!
- Woodloch Resort | All-Inclusive Family Vacations in the Poconos Mountains, PA
Woodloch Resort of Pennsylvania offers all-inclusive family vacations, group getaways and corporate retreats, featuring delicious meals daily, spacious accommodations, amenities and nightly entertainment.
Indoor Water Parks Abound
- Kalahari Waterparks, Resorts & Conventions • Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Authentic African themed waterparks, resorts and convention centers. Wisconsin Dells, WI - Sandusky, OH - Coming to Pocono Mountains, PA. Home to America's largest indoor waterparks!
- Water Slides & Rides in the Poconos - Camelback Resort
Aquatopia is home to the most exciting water slides and rides in the Poconos. Get free admission to the park by booking your stay at Camelback Resort!
- Poconos Amusement Parks - Local Attractions | Camelback Resort
Aquatopia is the largest indoor waterpark in the Northeast, featuring 125,000 sq ft of fun, two levels of water features, 7 pools and 13 slides!
- Rocking Horse Ranch Resort | All-Inclusive Family Resort in the Hudson Valley, New York
Award-Winning, All-Inclusive Family Resort in Highland, New York with Indoor Water Park, Unlimited Horseback Riding and more! Specializing in group events, Girl Scout weekends, class trips and more.
- Migis Lodge in Maine
- Tyler Place
Indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, childrens pools, and large family splash pad assure family resort vacation fun in all weather. Soothing Jacuzzi for relaxation.
Luxury Cottages for Families and Couples Only
- Poconos Cottages and Lodging Accommodations | Pocono Cabins | Family Vacations In PA | Poconos Inn a
Poconos cottages at Skytop Resort, a Poconos Mountain resort for families, couples, groups, corporate retreats and weddings. Features include fireplaces, jacuzzis, meals and activities.
As a mom of two boys, wife, daughter, employee and future business owner, value is key when it comes to vacations. I want to share with you and my clientele that value does not necessarily mean cheap. Cheap is not always cost effective if you have to sacrifice quality, comfort and time.
At the first Seminar, Top Value Family escapes, the panel focused on affordable, quality value. For families with kids, and I can relate, it's about the budget, but making the kids happy is also key. If the kids are happy, then the adults are happy. You can rest assured that you too will have a memorable and fun time.
For parents, vacations can--well, they are, down right exhausting; so making the kids happy and keeping them amused gives you time to enjoy and relax too.
Nearby East Coast destinations are still valuable and enjoyable for all!
- Woodloch Pines, Family All-inclusive, PA: A "Cruise on land"
- Great Wolf's Lodge- 79,000 square foot Indoor waterpark. Awesome themed cabin-like suites, Kids spa, story time and more!
- Hershey Park
- Hudson River Valley
- Washington D.C.
Further destinations include the following:
- Southeast beaches-South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
- New England beaches
- Niagara falls-The New York side
- Niagara falls-The Canadian Side; make sure to have your passport!
- Cape Cod
- Maine-Good vacation rental properties!
New for 2015:
- Camelback Lodge: Indoor Waterpark opening March 2015
- Kalahari Resorts Summer 2015: Horses and Zip line fun!
- Skytop lodge-Country life Luxury!
All-Inclusive Resorts: East Coast
- Vermont-Tyler Place Family Resort
- Maine-Migis Lodge
- New York-Rocking horse Ranch (Value)
Finding Value in a Family Vacation:
- Always consider an all-inclusive!
- Hotel Perks: Look for hotels with suites for maximizing space; use kitchens to save on food expenses, free breakfast, wi-fi, kid programs and clubs included
- Budget Airlines: I know we all have our favorites, but when budget is key consider the following:
- Frontier-Trenton/Princeton New Jersey, (small but comfortable), Wilmington, DE
- Southwest Airlines: Leaves from NY, PA, and Baltimore, MD
- Spirit: Leaves from NY, PA, Atlantic City, NJ, and Baltimore, MD
2. Family Cruise Tips
Cruises offer many, many amenities for all. One of the key tips is to get the kids involved early (unless you want to surprise them!) Having the kids anticipate and plan family vacations keeps them interested, happy and included. It is also important to get their recommendations and take them seriously. I am always probing my 12 year old as to what the latest fun trends amongst his friends are to gauge what we can do on vacation and it really helps:
- Cruising is a great value for multi-generations that differ in interests and age.
- Choose activities that matter to you and your family. Sometimes you want to do it all and it's not what you or your kids really wanted to do. Plan ahead. Maximize your time.
- Plan excursions locally and use a tour guide. They are not as expensive as many may think. Ensure that you consider soft vs. hard level activities. In other words, if the kids are afraid of heights, zip lining and bungee jumping (hard) may not be suitable. However, water slides, at accommodating heights, and go-karts may appeal to them instead.
Cruise Away from New York: No airline hassles!
- All year round on Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity
- Summer: Choose from over seven cruise lines
- Wave Season--What's that? This is the Cruise lines bargain season. Book as early as January-March
"Been around the world and….."
All American Destinations
- Dude Ranches & Guest Ranch Vacations - Dude Ranchers' Association
Over 100 of the best Dude Ranches & Guest Ranch vacations. Enjoy the perfect wild west experience, including horseback riding, hiking, fishing & more.
- San Juan Islands Overview
3. For the Adventurous Family
For families that want to explore and experience adventure, the following list from Family Forum Travel and Family Travel Association, compiled the top adventure destinations:
- Breakneck Ridge, Beacon, NY-Hiking tour. Excellent Day trip excursion
- Lake Placid-For the bobsledder in you!
- Quebec-"The hidden secret," Aka--Old City. Cultural experiences and only 7 hours away from New York!
- Cape Cod
- Acadia National Park
- Rafting the Delaware River-Thousand Island
- Catskills-Fly Fishing
- Lake George-Awesome Camping and boat rentals too!
All American destinations:
- Dude Ranches
- U.S Virgin Islands-No passport needed
- San Juan Islands-This is not Puerto Rico, but the North of Seattle, WA
- Arizona & Utah
- Road trip from New York to San Francisco
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
If you are wondering if you could ever bring the kids to such destinations, rest assured that many destinations accommodate families by incorporating all kinds of kid camps and programs with child friendly amenities. This is an ongoing trend to motivate families to travel abroad.
NY Times' Must Go
- The New York Times 52 places to go
52 places to go from the New York Times!
Adventure and Education
4. Tour Operators
When adventure, experience, cultural immersion and education is essential to you, tour operators are a solid investment. According to a Washington post article, 2008:
"Tour operators use their experience and relationships within the travel industry, along with insider's knowledge of a country, region or specialty, to design and package trips. tour operators represent steady, often bulk, business to other segments of the travel industry, and because they are steeped in the trade, they are able to pull all the pieces of a vacation together more cost-efficiently and expeditiously than an individual might. Some tour operators act as their own travel agents, booking trips for travelers; others turn to travel agents to sell the trips they've organized. The best tour operators have often been around for years and belong to an accredited organization such as the National Tour Association or the U.S. Tour Operators Association."
- Thomson Adventures
- National Geographic
- Smithsonian-17 free Smithsonian museums & National Zoo too!
- International Journeys
- Kids Sea Camp
- G adventures
Where to next??
The travel expo was an immersion of worldly, exotic, luxurious, all-inclusive and cultural destinations, near and far, as well as a wealth of knowledge, tips and new destinations to visit.
The world came to me in a few hours and I hope my article has brought it to you. So, start packing and safe travels!