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GenevaAirport Guide

There are numerous Geneva airport transfer companies that offer reliable and cheap transportation services so that you can reach your hotel, motel or resort as fast and as safe as possible.

Here are three of the transfer companies that you can choose from:

Cham-Van

Cham-Van offers transport from Geneva airport to Chamonix. You will have to fill a booking form before your arrival in Geneva and to enter the arrival time of your flight. If you also want transfer from the hotel or resort to the airport you also have to enter your departure time. The company’sdriver will wait for you with a Cham-Van welcome board in the Swiss side arrivals area of the GenevaAirport.

It will take less than 1 and a half hours to get toChamonix or to Les Houches/Servoz and 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to Argentiniere, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

Shuttle Direct

Shuttle Direct is another Geneva airport transfer company that can transport you into the city, your hotel or a ski resort. The transportation services offered by this company are reliable, affordable and easy. Shuttle Direct provides its customers with everything they need from private transfers, private taxis or buses to hotels and resorts such as Valmorel or Champery. Whether you’re visiting Geneva for pleasure or business, you can always rely on Shuttle Direct to get from the airport to your destination.

Happy Bus

Happy Bus offers transportation services from Geneva airport to the Swiss, Italian or French Alps, for small and large groups. You can choose from luxury or sporting airport transfers, with a Mercedes 4WD, Mercedes saloon, 16 seaterSprinter or 50 seater buses. You can travel to Geneva, Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg, Lyon and Milan. All drivers are D1 qualified professionals and all buses are equipped with tachographs so that you can have a safe trip and the highest level of comfort.

The cars can be fitted with baby and child seats for free and they carry snowboards and skis free of charge. Happy Buss offers transport for one person or for 60, in modern and safe vehicles.

No matter what Geneva airport transfer company you choose, make sure you carefully read and understand their terms and conditions and ask all the questions you need before you decide to accept their services. Always ask the phone number of your direct agent in case you cannot find your driver.

Great Family Vacations on a Budget

Getting away with your family doesn't have to break the bank.

When time comes to hit the road on a vacation with your family, consider some cost-effective options. Instead of emptying your wallet on one budget-busting vacation a year, plan several smaller and more budget-friendly getaways. Many of the less costly vacation options prove just as enticing to children and selecting one may mean that you and your family can afford to spend more down-time together throughout the year.

Camping Trips

  • Instead of spending your family vacation in a pricey, and often not particularly kid-friendly, hotel, explore the great outdoors. Camping trips are a highly economical vacation option, as you don’t have to pay a premium for lodging, and you can cook most of your meals on an open flame instead of buying them from an expensive restaurant. As you plan your next family vacation, explore the parks in your immediate area, looking for one that offers camping sites. Reserve one of these sites, outfit your family with some tents, pack up some cookware and food, and test your outdoor skills.

All-Inclusive Options

  • Don’t allow yourself to get nickeled and dimed your entire vacation. Instead, select an all-inclusive option. Many resorts or cruise ships offer all-inclusive vacations. On an all-inclusive getaway, all of your needs, from accommodations to food costs and sometimes even activities, are rolled into the cost of your trip package. By selecting an all-inclusive getaway, you can know upfront exactly how much the trip is going to cost you, and budget accordingly.

Week-Long Rental

  • While some families feel that they can’t afford much more than a weekend getaway, week-long rentals often prove more affordable than you would think. Often, if you rent a cabin or condo for a week you receive a discounted rate on the lodging. Also, many of the places available for week-long rental have in-house cooking facilities, allowing you to craft your own family meals instead of buying food out. Select a week-long rental in an area that offers an assortment of cheap or free activities, such as the beach where children can frolic in the surf or a remote wilderness area where the family can explore the woods.

Tours of History

  • Hitting the historical sites on your vacation is an easy, and low-cost, way to get your kids interested in history. To plan your history-themed trip, gather information on historical sites in your area or in neighboring states. Create a plan for hitting these major historical landmarks.

How to Book a Cheap All Inclusive Vacation in Mexico

All inclusive resorts are the way to go if you look at cost of staying at a non-inclusive resort. The average family will spend up to $60 per day on food and drinks alone. When you add in the additional money for your lodging the cost can be quite high.

Instructions

  1. Decide on where to go for your vacation. Look at different locations and resorts. There are many all-inclusive resorts at different cities in Mexico so you’ll want to know which city you’d like to visit. Some of the more popular cities are Cancun, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta. Most major cities will have resorts that have all-inclusive resorts. You can also call a travel agent if you decide you want to leave it up to someone else.
  2. Once you find the resorts that offer all-inclusive packages, do a little comparison-shopping. First find out what each resort has to offer in terms of price, accommodations and entertainment. You’ll also want to find out what the all-inclusive prices entails. For instance, does it provide three meals per day? Are drinks included? These are all things you should look at before you pick a place based on cost alone. Entertainment is another thing you will want to check on. Some places have water parks and tours that you’ll want to see if there is an extra cost involved.
  3. Travel times can be the difference between your vacation being expensive or less expensive. There are times of the year that can be more affordable, usually being the less busy times of the year when people vacation. You can ask the resort when their cheaper rates are and see if it is within your travel period.
  4. Travel cost added to your budget can increase it by tenfold. Check with the resort to see if they add travel costs to the inclusive package. Some resorts do have the option of including your travel plans within the cost of the package so check to see which is more affordable for you. If you are flying, you will need to add that cost into your budget as well.
  5. Booking your inclusive package in Mexico will require you to put down a deposit. You should make sure that you have enough funds now to put down this deposit to ensure that your booking is being held for you. Most places will let you pay on the booking throughout the year as long as it is paid in full by the time of your vacation.
  6. Once you’ve found an all-inclusive resort that you like and can afford, go ahead and place your booking. This will guarantee that you spot won’t be given to someone else.

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Enjoy a family vacation with your adult children to reconnect with them.
Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. Discuss vacation options as a group, with all parties involved. Have a webcam conference or a conference phone call, so everyone can have a say in the destination — if you can’t meet in person. Vote on the vacation and go where everyone — or the majority — want to go. The family can rent a large cabin in the mountains, take a cruise, stay at a bed-and-breakfast along the coast or stop by the nation’s capital for an educational visit.
  2. Plan a location or destination that offers activities for young children, if grandchildren are involved. Multi-generational vacations provide an opportunity for the entire family to bond, especially if you don’t live near one another.
  3. Lay out who is paying for what. Some adult children may expect Mom and Dad to foot the bill, which could create a family feud instead of a bonding, relaxing vacation.
  4. Make specific travel plans, such as who will rent the car and drive, or if the family will meet at a central airport — or the final destination. For example, the entire family could fly into a central airport, then catch the same connecting flight to the final destination, so you all arrive together.
  5. Leave some free time in the vacation schedule to allow the parents and adult children to participate in activities they enjoy, but the others might not. Having together- and separate-time planned out, allows everyone to fully enjoy their vacation; as well as time with the family.

How to Rent a Beach House

If you’re tired of staying at impersonal hotels, you may choose to rent a beach house on your next vacation. A rental home can be an attractive alternative if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends.

Instructions

  1. Determine the number of people that will be joining you on your trip to the beach. It’s possible to find rental homes in many different sizes. Also, get a feel for the different age groups in your party, as some owners may choose not to rent to a group of college kids or families with lots of small children.
  2. Draw up a budget for your beach vacation, and decide how much of that budget will be used to rent a house. Your accommodations will probably be the biggest expense on your trip.
  3. Choose between renting a home from a private owner or renting through an agency. You may be able to negotiate a better deal by renting a home directly from the owner, though you’ll have a greater selection of homes from which to choose if you go through a rental agency.
  4. Contact the local visitors’ center for any advice they may have regarding local beach house rentals. They may also have some money-saving advice to help you get the most out of your vacation.
  5. Read local newspapers to get an idea of the types of homes available for rent and the different price ranges. Familiarize yourself with the different beaches and the pros and cons of each one.
  6. Negotiate a price to rent the beach house you’ve selected. Depending on the time of year and the number of guests, the price may fluctuate. Be prepared to pony up a deposit if the homeowner requests one.
  7. Make reservations as early as possible. This is especially important if you’re planning to book a vacation during the months that are most popular with tourists.
  8. Observe all the homeowner’s rules while you stay in his beach house. There may be restrictions on smoking and noise. If you violate the rules of the house and cause damage, you may forfeit your deposit and risk a lawsuit.
  9. Clean the home before you leave. Get rid of your trash and strip the sheets off all the beds in which your group has slept. While an individual homeowner may contract a janitorial company to clean the home between guest stays, you should still do your part to clean up after yourself.

What to Send in a Care Package

Care packages are a great way to show someone who is far away that you are thinking of them. Sending a care package is a perfect gesture for any time of the year, but is special at holidays or during other important events. Consider the recipient and the timing when you put together your next care package in order to have a successful delivery of thoughtfulness and love.

Go with the Times

  • When you send a care package, consider the timing. Choose items for your box that coordinate with the season or time of the year, holidays near that time or special events you are celebrating. For birthday boxes, send gifts and cards with bright festive wrappings. For a holiday care package, go to your local discount store to find fun, themed additions to your box. You may also consider sending seasonal fruit or holiday desserts. Just be careful about shipping regulations if your box will cross state or international lines. Avoid including items that will perish before they arrive. If you are sending food, make sure it will last until your package can be delivered.

Choose a Theme

  • Care packages can be sent for any occasion, but there are some specific occasions that you should consider.
    If your care package is for a college student, try sending an exam survival kit. Include coffee and a travel mug or chocolate-covered espresso beans for those all-night study sessions. Cure your recipient’s junk-food fix by including bags of chips and candy. Add in some school supplies or study guide materials to help them ace those tests.
    If your care package is for a soldier, consider the modern conveniences of home he may be missing while on active duty. Simple items like chewing gum, facial cleansing wipes and favorite candies may not be available where he is, but can be very appreciated. Consider sending letters for his fellow soldiers from a local elementary class, or handmade socks from a charity knitting circle, to personalize the gift and send thanks from the local community.

Tailor it to the Recipient

  • No matter what, a care package should be individually packed for the intended recipient. Include that person’s favorite items, especially if there are local items you can send while they are far from home. If your town has a local candy store or snack company, send its specialty items. You may also wish to send a special candle or lotion from a local boutique or a statue from a local artist.
    A care package doesn’t have to cost a lot of money in order to be effective. Choose inexpensive items like small toys or candies in the recipient’s favorite flavors or colors. Simple additions like stickers or pencils can make the box a fun surprise for any time of the year without breaking the budget.

How to Send a Care Package to Military Troops

Nothing thrills a solider serving overseas like receiving a care package from home. It doesn’t matter what branch of the military armed forces they serve in, it just helps them to know that others care about them. There are many “do’s and don’ts” about sending a care package to persons in the military, so use the following suggestions as guidelines to help you prepare a care package and getting it to the right location.

  • Shop for items to go in the care package. This may be for a family member or you may be sending a generic care package to be forwarded to a military service person, who may not have much support on the home front.
  • Include in your care package a large variety of items such as nonperishable food and snacks like sunflower seeds, beef jerky, hard candy, gum and snack crackers. Useful items like toothpaste, hand lotion, baby powder, wet wipes, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, shampoo, chap stick, disposable razors and bath soap are always appreciated as these are of better quality than the standard military issue equivalents. Also include CDs, DVDs, magazines, small games, note pads and pens. If you are preparing a care package for a family loved one, include personal items like photos, family videos, hand written letters and copies of the local newspaper.
  • Follow the restrictions established for military care packages. Do not send perishable foods or candies that melt. Alcohol is not permitted in care packages, nor are any type of firearms or weapons. Do not send any product that may be considered harmful or is in an aerosol spray can.
  • Use the guidelines established for the care package itself. The package cannot weigh more than 70 pounds. The box or container that is sent must be no more than 130 inches total combined girth and length. The completed care package needs to be sent by way of the United States Postal System by “Priority Mail.” If not sent by Priority Mail, the package will take 8 weeks or even longer if during the holiday mailing period.
  • Make sure that you have the exact correct military address to mail your care package, as these packages will pass through the MPO or Military Post Office to be processed to the correct military base or location.
  • Join forces with other military families in the same unit as your loved one to work as a group to make sure that all the members of the unit have care packages arriving from home. Check with the home front commanding officer or the assigned contact to keep updated on the location of the military unit.
  • Talk to organizations in your community about doing service projects for various military units that may not have a lot of home front support. Groups like Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Elks Lodges, some schools, church groups and business associations many times will take on care packages as a project and can send mass numbers of care packages at one time.

What Is the Role of a Tour Operator When Developing an All-Inclusive Package Holiday?

A tour operator is a professional, licensed wholesaler who purchases and arranges two or more aspects of a travel itinerary into a package for sale direct to the general public or via a travel agent. An inclusive package may be sold to groups or individuals and may include some or all of the following: mode of travels(air, rail, coach, cruise, rental car) with transfers; accommodations; local sightseeing and attraction admission tickets; guide services; meals and entertainment. A tour operator may function within a region, country or internationally and is bound by rules, laws and insurance bonds enforced by tourism authorities and regulatory agencies in the places where the company operates.

Working With Tourist Boards

  • A tour operator works with the official tourist promotion agencies that represent a destination, discovering the latest new attractions, events, restaurants and hotels that may be incorporated into programs featuring that area. The tourist board typically provides sample itineraries, royalty-free photo galleries, insider’s advice, networking connections and marketing support for the tour operators that feature their destinations.

Contracting With Suppliers

  • A tour operator determines a short list and negotiates directly with transportation companies, hotels, attractions, local sightseeing tour services, restaurants and others. Normally, this planning takes place more than 12 months prior to the launch of a program, with many trade-only marketplaces and travel shows held throughout the world to facilitate this contracting process. Partner suppliers provide wholesale rates to tour operators in consideration of guaranteed volume business.

Planning for Special Events

  • Tour operators have roles in the case of major international spectator events such as the World Cup and the Olympics; smaller sporting matches such as pro tennis and golf circuits’ and cultural draws such as international film festivals and blockbuster museum exhibitions. Selected, highly accredited tour operators usually are allocated blocks of tickets for packaging. This is a reliable way for members of the public to obtain legitimate admission tickets together with transport and lodging.

Packaging Special Interests

  • Some tour operators specialize in destinations while others specialize in activities that are travel motivators. This may include general local interests such as outlet shopping or dinner-theater entertainment. It may include regional trips such as to see fall foliage, historical landmarks, battlefields, national parks and go wine-tasting. Specialist tour wholesalers may build trips around age groups, ecology awareness and outdoor adventure pursuits such as skiing, diving, cycling, mountaineering and sailing. Hobbyists with keen interests in activities such as gardening, gaming, car and boat shows will find tour specialists packaging both popular and niche pursuits.

The Most Common Items to Send in an Overseas Care Package

With thousands of troops serving overseas, there are many opportunities to send care packages to individuals within the armed services. Whether you have a child, sibling, significant other or friend stationed overseas, he might request several different items. Many items that troops commonly request are simple things that can help make them feel a little less homesick, while others are daily necessities they may otherwise go without.

Personal Care

  • Personal care articles are common requests for care packages sent overseas. Popular items include packets of baby wipes, razors, eye drops, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, deodorant, lotion and lip balm. The person you are sending the care package to may request specific brands that he likes or that reminds him of home.
    A toothbrush is one item commonly requested for overseas care packages.
    A toothbrush is one item commonly requested for overseas care packages.

Food

  • Homemade treats like cookies and brownies are often much-appreciated items included in care packages. You can also include non-perishable snacks like sunflower seeds, chewing gum, beef jerky, fruit or pudding cups, peanuts and almonds, powdered drink mixes, packets of chicken or tuna, hard candy and even individual packages of ketchup, mustard and salsa.
    Sunflower seeds are popular and easy to include in an overseas care package.
    Sunflower seeds are popular and easy to include in an overseas care package.

Entertainment

  • If your soldier is a movie or music buff, include a few new-release DVDs and CDs in your care package. You can also include puzzle books like Sudoku, crosswords and word find, books and magazines, card decks and writing paper. If your soldier has a laptop, you could send her a memory card full of photos or a video from home. Include a few laminated photos your soldier can carry in an uniform pocket or tack on a wall near her bed.
    Troops can use a deck of cards to play different games and pass the time.
    Troops can use a deck of cards to play different games and pass the time.

Holidays

  • Create a themed care package to send overseas for a birthday, anniversary or holiday. Many stores have special sections for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter more than a month ahead of the actual holiday. These early displays mean you can pack up a holiday-themed care package with special items and ship it overseas in time for the holiday. A holiday package can include decorations, candy, small toys, movies (for example, a movie like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for Christmastime) and other treats.

Miscellaneous

  • Other commonly requested items include batteries (usually AA or AAA), zip-close bags and pre-paid phone cards.
    Include a package or two of batteries in your overseas care package.
    Include a package or two of batteries in your overseas care package.

How to Package Homemade Christmas Cookies

Making Christmas cookies as gifts is a tradition for many people. Whether you are preparing some for neighbors and the mailman or taking part in a cookie exchange at work, the packaging is all part of the process. Don’t just put them on a paper plate and seal them in a plastic bag. Go the extra step to make your cookies as festive as they can be.

 

  • Put the cookies in a traditional holiday tin. Put wax paper across the bottom of the pan and across the top to seal in the cookies and keeps them fresh.
  • Stack the cookies in glass jars with seals. Whether it’s a basic Mason jar or a flip-top glass jar with a rubber gasket lid, placing your cookies gently into a jar will bring some cool class to your homemade gift.
  • Pack Christmas cookies in colored or clear cellophane bags. Tie with a ribbon and cookie recipe to finish off the gift.
  • Place cookies on a small, round cooling rack, then wrap it in a new, clean dish towel or place mat for a hostess gift. Showcase five or six cookies this way, and tie it all with some fabric ribbon and a gift tag.
  • Fill holiday mugs with smaller cookies.
  • Line a basket with a clean holiday dish towel and put the cookies inside. Small wicker baskets are inexpensive and reusable and present your cookies to your hostess or family member in a warm and inviting way. Cover the basket with cellophane wrap to keep them fresh.
  • Use carryout food containers. These boxes come in many colors and are good sizes for small or medium cookies. An elegant ribbon adds a touch of style.
  • Put the cookies in a nice bread pan to protect cookies during shipping and give the recipient a gift they can use over and over again. Wrap the pan in colored cellophane and tie at the top with a bow.

Christmas Care Package Ideas for Soldiers

Soldiers overseas for the Christmas holiday often miss out on the festivities that occur at home. However, you can include them by sending a care package, a small box full of much needed and much appreciated things. If you have a soldier in your family or close friends, you may be able to send it to him. You can also get involved through a variety of organizations to “adopt” a soldier or unit to which you can send presents each year. Such gifts help soldiers feel appreciated for their sacrifices and get supplies they otherwise would not be able to receive.

xmas photo Nov09115.jpg

Christmas Cards and Decorations

  • Handmade gifts such as Christmas cards add a personal touch to a care package, especially if it is addressed to a particular soldier. Such a gift has immense sentimental value, and allows you to express your appreciation fully. Consider taking pictures of yourself and your family to include in your soldier’s card. Add personal touches by having every family member sign the card or write a short note. Likewise, you can create sturdy Christmas decorations with your kids. Make sure they’re made of nothing that will shatter or break, such as glass.

Music CDs

  • If you’re able, try recording your kids singing favorite Christmas carols. If you do purchase a caroling CD, there are many ways to personalize it. If your soldier has musical preferences such as a genre or group, try looking in those categories. Religious CDs such as hymnals and inspirational Christmas sermons can also be acquired and sent to her. You can personalize it with a small note or inscription to give this gift particular significance.

Snack Goodies

  • Don’t forget to send your soldier plenty of Christmas snacks and treats. Some things to consider include: hard candies, mints, popcorn, dried cranberries or figs, mixed nuts, candy canes, chocolate, apple cider packets and coffee. There are many other things which you can also include. Keep in mind a few things, however. First, don’t send anything perishable. It will need to be able to be mailed potentially around the world and carried in his bag. Also don’t send anything that might spill. A good example of this is to opt for powdered coffee creamer rather than the small creamer cups, even though they won’t perish. Lastly, consider the heightened security and don’t send anything in an unmarked or opened package. You don’t want to get yourself or your soldier into trouble.

Bare Necessities

  • Simple supplies that aren’t necessarily Christmas-related still mean a lot to your soldier. She likely doesn’t have access to luxuries such as bar soap, deodorant, cotton swabs, toothpaste or batteries as easily as we do. These things will go a long way and your soldier will appreciate them immensely. To fit the Christmas theme, you can wrap them each as little tiny presents. You may even wish to send a long a stocking for her to hang and open on Christmas morning.

Definition of a Package Holiday

A package holiday, also known as a package tour, can be an excellent way to enjoy a destination or travel the world. You pay upfront for a package tour, so there’s no worrying later about where you’ll stay, how you will get there, where you’ll eat and what you’ll do. This frees you to enjoy your trip without stress.

What’s Included

  • These tours normally include airfare and lodging. Meals may also be part of the package. Some include all meals, others include a single meal, usually breakfast. Always check for any hidden costs you’ll be responsible for, such as tips, baggage handling, taxes or resort activity fees. If you can, get a list in writing of what your tour will include so you won’t be surprised later.

Upgrading Your Package

  • If you want to minimize the cash you spend on your trip, ask the vendor about upgrading your package. Some packages can be upgraded with all meals, attraction and show tickets, on-site transportation such as rental cars or buses, and transportation to and from the starting airport for your tour.

Where to Buy It

  • Traditionally, package tours are sold by travel agents or tour operators, but they can also be sold by the destination itself, such as an all-inclusive Disney World package. No matter where you purchase your package, ask for a contact if you have questions before or during your tour.

How to Buy an All-Inclusive Resort Package

Resort vacationing is a trendy and convenient way to travel and get away from it all. Besides the natural beauty and seclusion offered by many resorts, travelers save on overall cost because they don’t pay for separate amenities. Buy an all-inclusive resort package if you want your dream escape to be comfortable, affordable and no hassle.

  • Figure out what part of the world you would like to visit. Think about what sorts of activities you and your travel mates or family would like to participate in and what sort of amenities you desire.
  • Decide whether you would like to buy an all-inclusive resort package directly from a well-known resort, such as Club Med, or through a travel agency like American Express Travel. Know that some travel agencies have access to better discounts and may offer more variety. Although, some resorts offer their own deep discounts if you buy your all-inclusive resort package directly from them.
  • Consider who will be traveling with you before you buy an all-inclusive resort package. Some resorts are adult only while other resorts are family- friendly.
  • Make a decision about where you would like to vacation exactly, either with the help of a travel agent or on your own. Keep your options in mind. Shop online and telephone travel agencies or resorts for general information. Check also with local travel agencies.
  • Contact a travel agent or resort representative and ask them about the all-inclusive resort packages that they offer. Ask them to send brochures featuring pricing and amenities information to you. Start thinking about travel dates.
  • Choose a resort destination. Book and buy an all-inclusive resort package that will satisfy you and your travel mates. Reserve your all-inclusive resort package way in advance, keeping in mind the competitiveness of peak season and holiday travel.

What Are Package Holidays?

A package holiday is an all-inclusive pre-arranged holiday, comprising of at least one overnight stay. It will include travel arrangements, accommodation and, optionally, a tourist activity such as a special tour, a sport or an activity. The last might not be linked to either the transport or accommodation, but which makes up a significant part of the package. Package holiday information is usually provided in the form of a travel brochure, which forms the basis of the package contract. One can claim damages if the package trip turns out to be different from what the brochure indicates.

 

Package Holiday Details

  • While booking the package holiday deal, the traveler must receive a copy of the travel contract that contains all the relevant trip information. This contract should mention the travel destination, holiday duration, transport type, departure times and places of visit. The contract should contain accommodation details such as location and category and indicate whether the traveler requires a passport and visa(s) for travel. Apart from this, the contract should explain how and when the package holiday could be cancelled, along with tour itineraries, taxes or compulsory charges, and complaints procedure. If the travel is being planned to locations that require vaccinations, the package holiday contract should mention that as well.

Package Holiday Cancelation Terms

  • If the tour operator cancels the holiday or alters the tour plan significantly, the operator must provide a replacement holiday of the same or better quality, or a lower grade holiday while refunding the price difference. In the event that the tour operator is not able to offer either of these, then a full refund is the traveler’s right. In addition, the tour operator is not allowed to change the pricing within 20 days before the departure date. The tour operator can cancel the trip owing to an unforeseen event or if they’ve failed to get the number of people required for the tour to take place. However, even in this case, the traveler is due a refund or replacement holiday.

Package Holiday Complaints

  • The package holiday contract should also outline the complaints procedure. If the traveler has a complaint while on the holiday, the traveler should be able to report the issue to the local holiday representative or trip organizer. Before travel, the traveler should obtain a complaint form and retain copies of any submitted complaints. If the traveler is not happy with the complaint resolution, he or she can submit evidence of problems such as pictures or video footage, and lodge a written complaint to the tour operator within 28 days of the trip. If there’s no response to two written complaints, the traveler can take the complaint to court.

Package Holiday Insurance

  • Out of convenience, many travelers opt for the package holiday and the insurance from the same operator, but it is possible to buy this elsewhere as well. The tour operator should indicate that the traveler could opt to purchase insurance from a different insurance carrier than the one that the operator uses.

How to Make a Holiday Giving Tree

The spirit of giving infuses the holiday season, encouraging good-hearted people to share with those less fortunate than themselves. Some families make it an annual tradition to select a child, individual or family in need and provide food or gifts. Giving trees, placed in malls, churches, businesses or private offices, are one way to help local charities provide for the needy while ensuring that the gifts are delivered to the appropriate recipients.

How to Make a Holiday Giving Tree

(Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Locate a CharityWhen planning a giving tree, contact your local charities or social service agencies. Each agency has its own policies and procedures regarding charitable gifts and giving trees. Depending on the agency, you may be provided a list of first names, children’s ages and desired gifts to make your own paper tags or ornaments for your giving tree. Other agencies may provide paper angels, stars or decorative tags with the child’s name, sex and age information already filled in, ready to hang on the tree. In addition to the tags, which the donor takes and attaches to the gift, you should have a signup sheet or spreadsheet to track the donors’ names, contact information and the recipient selected.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Set Up the TreePlace the giving tree in a convenient location and assign a person to monitor the signup sheet or input the donors’ names and contact information on a spreadsheet. Twinkle lights, garlands, bows, plastic ornaments and the paper tags provide a cheerful appearance to the public or employees. If the tree must be placed in a corner, keep the tags in the front, within easy reach of the donors. Create additional paper ornaments or bows with metallic paper or decorate them with glitter so that when a donor selects a recipient, you can replace the tag with a decorative ornament.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Track the GiftsPlace the gifts under the giving tree as they arrive, double-checking to ensure that the paper tags are securely fastened to the gift bag. Encourage the donors to use gift bags so that the charity or social services organization can check each gift before it is delivered to the recipient. Check each donor off the spreadsheet when the gift arrives and provide a charitable-donation receipt. A few days before the deadline, contact the remaining donors to ensure that the donation will arrive in a timely manner. In some cases, circumstances may have altered the donor’s ability to give a gift. Assure the donor that the recipient will still receive a gift and make alternate arrangements.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Deliver the GiftsWhile each organization has its own policy on gift deliveries, in general, you are expected to bring the giving tree gifts to a central location on a specific date. Provide your spreadsheet to the organization, with each gift checked off, and keep a copy for your records. The volunteers can then check each gift and the attached tag to ensure that clothing is the correct size and toys are age appropriate. Additional donations of cash and gift cards are welcomed to fill the gaps where gifts are lacking.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Beachfront Cottages in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

Fort Walton is home to several beaches.
Located less than three miles east of Fort Walton Beach, White Sand Vacation Rentals features nine uniquely decorated cottages, each offering a private pool and access to street-legal golf cart rentals. All cottages are located within one or two blocks of the Gulf of Mexico’s beaches. Popular activities located within walking distance of the cottages include swimming in the ocean, fishing and access to restaurants, bars and shops.

Key Lime Cottage

  • White Sand’s Key Lime Cottage is the largest available unit and features six bedrooms and four baths. This cottage includes three king, two queen, two double and four twin beds and can comfortably sleep up to 18 people. Several balconies overlook the nearby sights, and the cottage is fitted with wireless Internet access. A private swimming pool and golf cart are included with the rental, and each room features a television. A gas grill is also available for guests’ convenience.

    White Sand Vacation Rentals
    94 Cobia St.
    Destin, FL 32541
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Cashmere Coconut

  • The Cashmere Coconut features four bedrooms and three baths located across the street from the Terra Cotta Terrace Community Center. The community center is available for guest use and features a swimming pool, sauna and several outdoor activities such as volleyball and tennis. This cottage comfortably sleeps 11 adults and includes wireless Internet access. A private swimming pool, gas grill and DVD player are additional amenities guests can expect. A television is provided in each room with many also featuring DVD players. The Cashmere Coconut is located one block from the beach.

    White Sand Vacation Rentals
    94 Cobia St.
    Destin, FL 32541
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Destin Beach House

  • This four-bedroom, two-bath cottage is located a block off the beach and features a private pool, large backyard and gas grill. A private patio is attached the house, and the entire unit features central air conditioning. Each room includes a television, and wireless Internet is provided throughout the house. A large community pool is located five houses from this cottage, and residents at the Destin Beach House are welcome.

    White Sand Vacation Rentals
    94 Cobia St.
    Destin, FL 32541
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

Blue Marlin

  • This large home features five bedrooms and three and a half baths spread over 3,000 square feet. Located less than two blocks from the ocean, the Blue Marlin enjoys easy access to the Gulf of Mexico’s scenic beaches. The house sleeps up to 16 adults and features parking for recreational vehicles and boat trailers. Central air conditioning and wireless Internet access are provided at the cottage, and the unit features a private swimming pool, balconies and intercom system.

    White Sand Vacation Rentals
    94 Cobia St.
    Destin, FL 32541
    850-654-5799
    whitesandvacationrentals.com?

How to Take A Vacation With Little Or No Money

Explore the great outdoors for a vacation that won't break your budget.

Vacations build memories, strengthen family bonds and relieve the stress of everyday life. While luxury vacations may be the stuff that dreams are made of, financial reality often dictates that vacations be planned with budgets that make pup tents look palatial. Having little to no money to spend on a vacation doesn’t mean the fun has to be minimized. Fire up your creativity to make a low-budget vacation memorable and delightful for you and your family.

Instructions

  1. Be a tourist in your own town. Make a list of the attractions near home that you don’t visit in your day-to-day life. Put together a tour itinerary and visit local playhouses, museums, parks, sporting events and gardens. Take tours of historical buildings and visit farmers markets or unusual boutiques. Attend local events at your library or make a scavenger hunt. Plan your vacation around a local festival or fair and spend the day there. Create a passport for each of your family members that you can stamp as you visit each locale. Make it a multi-day vacation and let everyone camp out in the living room. Stay up late and read local stories out loud to each other.
  2. Be an exchange tourist. Arrange with a family in another state to trade homes for a week. Prepare an agenda for them of local attractions they can visit and leave a welcoming basket for them. Stay in their home for a week and visit the attractions near their home. Choose inexpensive but memorable attractions such as state parks, historical monuments, beaches or caves. Be sure to leave their home clean and in at least as good of shape as you found it.
  3. Go camping. Buy used camping supplies at yard sales and visit a state or national park. Spend your days hiking, bird watching, riding bikes or swimming. Gather the family around a campfire in the evening and tell ghost stories, find constellations in the sky or listen for night animals.
  4. Visit friends and family. Plan a car trip in which you spend a day or two with out-of-town family members you rarely see. Bring batches of cookies or homemade bread as hospitality gifts. Instead of dining out, suggest the family cook a meal together with everyone contributing a dish, even the young kids. Play family games, yard sports or cards and take lots of pictures.
  5. Take advantage of museum reciprocation programs. Buy memberships at your local museums and find out whether that membership will give you discounted access to museums in other cities. Visit those museums throughout the year.

Fun Family Vacations on a Budget

Alternative lodging options often save money.
A limited budget doesn’t mean you have to skip your vacation. A trip to a luxury resort or a dream Disney vacation may not fall within your budget, but several other affordable options may work just as well for creating family memories. Start by considering destinations close to home to save on transportation costs so you have more money for entertainment.

Lodging

  • Your choice of lodging affects the overall cost of your vacation no matter where you go. While some destinations are typically more expensive for hotel rooms, you can still get deals on your stay with a little planning. Travel during the off-season in the destination. For example, travelers are more likely to book a stay on a tropical island during the winter months to escape the cold. Visiting during the summer likely means lower rates.

    Another option is to look beyond the typical hotel rooms for lodging. Try camping or renting a cabin near the destination. Check into vacation home rentals and split the cost with another family. Swapping homes is another option. HomeExchange.com and GoSwap.org are examples of sites that help you connect with other families who want to swap homes. You stay in the other family’s home in another destination for free while they stay in yours.

Trip Ideas

  • The typical family destinations like Orlando typically cost more for everything from accommodations to entertainment and food. Instead of hitting major tourist destinations, try a less commercial area. A trip to a national park or other nature area gives the family a chance to get dirty while exploring the natural setting.

    A farm stay is another affordable option that strays from the typical family vacation. Visitors stay on actual working farms while participating in farm life. The vacation accommodations and entertainment are wrapped into one cost for overall savings.

    A local road trip allows you to explore your region without the costs of plane tickets. You can also make the trip shorter since you aren’t going as far from home. Pull out a map and look for cities or destinations that are within a day’s drive.

    Board a train for a different approach to a family vacation. An Amtrak ticket is generally less expensive than a plane ticket, and the kids get the experience of crossing the countryside on a train. The trains offer sleeping cars if you plan a long trip.

Activities

  • Take advantage of free activities in your destination. Check with the hotel, resort or campground where you’re staying to see if they offer free activities or tours. Look for tour companies in the area to explore their tour stops. Instead of paying for the tour, walk or drive around the city to see the spots on your own. Many cities offer discount tickets for attractions in the area. Look for racks of brochures and coupons in restaurants or shopping centers. You may also be able to buy discount cards or combination tickets for two or three local attractions at a reduced rate. If you vacation with other families, check out group discounts for various attractions.

Tips

  • Plan your family trip in advance for the best savings options. You have longer to look for deals and plan your itinerary for greater savings. Packing your own snacks saves money no matter how you get to your destination. If possible, stay in a hotel room with a refrigerator so you can buy groceries for some of your meals. Carrying your own drinks also saves money since tourist destinations often inflate the cost of beverages.

How to Enjoy a Family Vacation With a Teen

Encourage your teen to connect with younger siblings during the family vacation.
For many teens, the thought of a family vacation — spending 24/7 with lame parents and annoying siblings — is akin to torture. Others like the idea of a vacation, but worry you’ll pick boring places and activities. If you’ve decided that your family is going on vacation no matter how resistant your teen is, it’s important that you consider his needs and wants so he won’t sulk the entire time. Getting your teenager’s input on where to go, ensuring there are plenty of teen-friendly activities and being flexible with family time just may turn his reluctance into excitement for the vacation.

Instructions

  1. Research vacation options that offer plenty of teen-friendly options. Your teenager may act less resistant to the family vacation if she knows there are activities that will appeal or even cater specifically to her interests. Large family resort destinations often offer attractions and activities specifically for teens. For example, many of the Club Med Resorts, located all over the world, have a teen club space where teens can hang out on their own, dance or engage in games and other activities. Most major cruise lines also offer state-of-the-art areas for teens only that include a party or nightclub space, video game lounges, private sun decks and teen-friendly sport activities, such as wave simulators and rock climbing walls.
  2. Ask your teen for input on where to go. Taking your teen’s desires into consideration can make all the difference in his attitude toward the family vacation. You don’t have to do exactly what he wants, but if he really hates the cold and loves the beach, announcing a ski vacation isn’t likely to earn you any cool points. Once you have agreed upon a destination, encourage your teen to do some research on activities and restaurants in the area that might appeal to him so you can make time for it.
  3. Negotiate family time with your teen. Family time likely is not as important to your teen as it is to you, so compromise is the name of the game. Offer incentives for your teen to suck it up and at least try to have fun with her siblings. If your teen is willing to take the younger kids to the kiddie pool for a couple of hours, tell her she can stay up late at the resort’s teen club until it closes. If she agrees to go with the family on the “boring” sky tram cable car up a mountain, offer to go ziplining with her afterwards. Don’t be surprised if your teen actually starts to have fun engaging in family activities, however — even if she won’t admit it.
  4. Allow a friend to come along, if possible. Yes, it’s a family vacation, but if your teen is an only child, or your other kids are much younger, it can be tough for him to have fun without someone close to his age with similar interests. Have your teen choose a close friend whose parents you have a relationship with, and ask them well in advance so you can address logistics and any concerns they may have. You also want to factor the friend into the decision on where to vacation, as the additional person will add significantly to your budget. It may be best to invite friends along only for budget-friendly trips that are just a few hours away, unless the friend’s parents are willing to pay for their teen’s expenses.

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Enjoy a family vacation with your adult children to reconnect with them.

Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. Discuss vacation options as a group, with all parties involved. Have a webcam conference or a conference phone call, so everyone can have a say in the destination — if you can’t meet in person. Vote on the vacation and go where everyone — or the majority — want to go. The family can rent a large cabin in the mountains, take a cruise, stay at a bed-and-breakfast along the coast or stop by the nation’s capital for an educational visit.
  2. Plan a location or destination that offers activities for young children, if grandchildren are involved. Multi-generational vacations provide an opportunity for the entire family to bond, especially if you don’t live near one another.
  3. Lay out who is paying for what. Some adult children may expect Mom and Dad to foot the bill, which could create a family feud instead of a bonding, relaxing vacation.
  4. Make specific travel plans, such as who will rent the car and drive, or if the family will meet at a central airport — or the final destination. For example, the entire family could fly into a central airport, then catch the same connecting flight to the final destination, so you all arrive together.
  5. Leave some free time in the vacation schedule to allow the parents and adult children to participate in activities they enjoy, but the others might not. Having together- and separate-time planned out, allows everyone to fully enjoy their vacation; as well as time with the family.

How to Rent a Party House for a Day in Los Angeles

Sprawling estate
With its great weather and prime real estate, Los Angeles is the perfect city for home rentals. These rentals don’t necessarily just have to take the form of vacation homes, however, as many television-watchers can attest to the number of LA-area homes that gain media coverage and attention simply because they were used in a commercial or for a corporate-sponsored party. Though the idea of renting out a home for a party may sound like a great idea, some homework does need to be done. You should know exactly what the terms of the rental will be and, in exchange, the owner should know exactly how you plan on using the house.

Instructions

  1. Check Craiglist to see if any properties are available for as little as one day. These Los Angeles-area homes are usually listed under “Sublets/Temporary” or “Vacation Rentals.”
  2. Skim through the classified sections of the local papers, including the “Los Angeles Times,” “LA Weekly” and the “Los Angeles Daily News.” Many owners and real estate brokers will list properties that are available for rental. Many properties are mostly available for filming. However, if contacted directly you have a fair chance of being able to convince the owner that it would monetarily be worth it for him to receive a hefty fee for only one day’s use for a private party.
  3. Check the real estate sections of neighborhoods that are notorious for filming locations, reality television homes, and other concerts and parties that you come across on television. Malibu, Hollywood Hills and Harvard Heights are some of the most popular locations that often rent out large homes, beach front estates and private residences nestled into the hillside.
  4. Visit the iRent2U website. Register for the site and skim through the many listings of vacation homes that are for rent. The good thing about this site is that it covers a wide range of the city. You can start your search in Los Angeles and expand it out as far as you would like.
  5. Contact BEB World, an online rental agency that specializes in renting out homes to both film crews and individuals who want to rent a home for as little as one day or as much as a few months.
  6. Visit VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and select the city that you are looking to throw your event in. Skim the listings and contact the owners directly to inquire about the property. The good thing about this site is that it provides the exact properties, their locations, amenities and fees all on the site. This eliminates a lot of the back and forth that you would typically have to engage in with an owner or broker.
  7. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $500 to $4,000 for just the one-day rental. Realize, too, that your “one-day” may actually mean more like six to eight hours. You will likely not be able to occupy the residence over night. You may also have to leave a significant deposit to protect the homeowner from any damage his home incurs during your event. The deposit is usually dependent on the term’s of your contract.

Oceanfront Rentals in Bethany Beach

Rent a seaside room with a view in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Enjoy the view of breaking waves and the scent of seaside breezes in Bethany Beach, Delaware, from the porch of a cozy bed-and-breakfast or the private balcony of a hotel suite. If you’re bringing a large group or want your own kitchen, rent a furnished oceanfront home in this coastal Delaware resort town, which faces the Atlantic Ocean.

Rooms by the Sea

  • Addy Sea Bed & Breakfast, located just a few steps from the beach, has Victorian-style décor in a refurbished oceanfront mansion. In addition to a hot breakfast each day, this bed-and-breakfast offers afternoon tea with baked treats. Guests can borrow beach chairs and towels. Most one-bed and two-bed rooms have full or partial views of the ocean. Built in 2014, Bethany Beach Ocean Suites has one-bed and two-bed suites with private balconies. Larger suites have separate bedrooms. Choose a room with a direct or partial ocean view. This waterfront hotel property has an indoor restaurant with an outdoor dining terrace. The property has a swimming pool, on-site fitness center, full-service spa and business center.

Near the Beach

  • Meris Gardens Bethany is a bed-and-breakfast located four blocks from the beach. Guests are provided a free breakfast and happy hour snacks each day. Each of the one- and two-bed rooms has a private bathrooms, mini-fridge and microwave oven. The inn lends bikes to guests to ride to the beach. One mile from the beach, Holiday Inn Express Bethany Beach has one- and two-bed hotel rooms. Some are equipped with kitchenettes. A pool and fitness center are on the property. This hotel offers free continental breakfasts.

Real Estate Firm Rentals

  • Four real estate companies with offices in the Bethany Beach area rent vacation condos and houses. Long & Foster Real Estate rentals include a six-bedroom oceanfront home with a full-size kitchen and washer and dryer. Among properties for rent by Coldwell Banker are condominiums with one to three bedrooms at the oceanfront Sea Colony resort. Guests have access to the property’s swimming pools and tennis courts. Among the vacation rentals offered by Wilgus Associates is a three-level four-bedroom beach house with wraparound balconies. Some homes rented by Crowley Real Estate Associates are a block from the beach.

Vacation Rental Websites

  • Individual home and condominium owners also list vacation rentals with companies that operate the by-owner websites Flipkey.com, VRBO.com and HomeAway.com. To use VRBO, for example, the company recommends entering the desired destination and travel dates, and then narrowing your search with website filters. For example you can search by the number of bedrooms and proximity to the beach. The company suggests inquiring about three or more properties “to increase your chances of booking” a property for your desired dates.

How to Plan a Disney Vacation for a Large Family

Disney Castle
Disney theme parks are a vacation children dream of and parents want to give. There are many locations to choose from and you can personalize the trip to suit your needs and your budget. Disney package deals can be found and for less than you might think. Here are some tips on how to plan a Disney vacation for a large family, so you can enjoy as much of Disney as possible without sending you to the poor house. Disney is a wonderful place to take your family on vacation. Plan ahead and search around for the best deals.

Instructions

  1. Ask yourself if you want a relaxing getaway or do you want the excitement and thrills. It is quite possible you may want some of both.
  2. Decide who and how many are going with you. If you and your significant other are going, your itinerary will be vastly different from that of parents with a preschooler.
  3. Decide if you will use a travel agent or booking service. Many travel agents are able to secure lower airfares, hotel rates and attraction tickets at a reduced price from what the general public might play. You certainly can book all the arrangements yourself, but you may be missing out on some great packages or vacation deals.
  4. Plan your traveling arrangements. A large family will be costly, if you decide to fly. Of course, the rise in gas prices can be hard on a large family as well. Decide which means of travel is best suited for your family.
  5. Be aware that if you book a flight over 21 days in advance, you will get a substantially lower rate than if you book the week before you leave. To save some extra cash, try to find a flight that leaves on Tuesday or Wednesday. These are often the cheaper days to fly. If your children are older, you might also consider a red eye flight. Many times these flights can save you another 30 percent off a regular daytime airline ticket.
  6. Try to find a hotel located on a Disney property. There are some very substantial benefits to staying there. You will be provided transportation. The park has transportation to and from the hotels. Disney also has the Magic Express, which will take your bags from the airport to your room. It might, however, take up to four hours for you to receive them. A great bonus to a Disney property is how you can have your souvenirs delivered to your hotel room. This is a great way to keep from carrying toys and such from your children all over the park.
  7. Consider purchasing the Park Hopper Pass. You can enter all the parks, and some of the water ones, too. You can go from park to park at your leisure. If you buy the complete Disney pass, you will find your park passes, room keys, and credit card can be in one Disney card. It is a great way to keep from losing something.
  8. Check out additional special offers. Disney has many special offers. Extra Magic Hours allow a Disney hotel guest to enter the park after it is closed. This is great fun because you may not experience any lines for the rides. Dining plans are also available and usually will pay for themselves after the first meal.

Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

Not all vacations need to break the bank.

If you’re planning a trip for you and your family, chances are you’re working with a budget. If you haven’t been saving up and putting money aside for this trip, you’ll likely want to plan an affordable vacation that will remain memorable, as well. Take into consideration how far you’re willing to travel for your trip and what the weather will be like.

Road Trip

  • Take your family on a road trip. You don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel or worry about hotel amenities. In fact, your family won’t be thinking about the hotel at all. Plan a few key destinations–landmarks, famous natural wonders, or quirky sites (like the world’s biggest rubber band ball)—to keep your family engaged.

Rent a Cabin

  • Find an affordable cabin to rent for your family. You won’t have to worry about things to do—being so close to the outdoors will be enough. On your vacation you and your family can visit local parks, rent bikes or use your own to enjoy off-road trails, and enjoy barbecue for dinner and nights by the fireplace with s’mores. This trip will be an opportunity for you all to take a break from technology, television and connect with nature and the outdoors.

Dominican Republic

  • Known for being one of the cheapest Caribbean locations to travel to, the Dominican Republic has beautiful beaches and has plenty of all inclusive resorts to choose from. Look for some cheap vacation packages for your family to an all inclusive resort. Most resorts include amenities like windsurfing or sailing lessons, organized nightly events and open bars for the adults. Check in with the concierge desk when you arrive and ask about tours around the island—resorts will usually provide discounts on local tours and shuttles.

Theme Park

  • Take your family on a theme park vacation. If you decide to visit Disney, resist the temptation to stay in one of the extravagant resorts. There are many hotels located a few miles from the theme parks that will save you a ton of money. These hotels usually provide scheduled shuttles to and from the parks, as well. If Disney isn’t your style, plan a two day trip to a water park or roller coaster park. Some options include a Six Flags location, Dorney Park, and Busch Gardens. By splitting your park visit into two days, you won’t have to rush and you can enjoy the parks stress free.

How to Budget for a Family Vacation With Low Income

Budget for a Family Vacation With Low Income
While the money may be tight or traveling expenses can be high, it is possible to take vacations on a low budget. By traveling off season, staying at low cost hotels with continental breakfasts, or visiting national parks where you can take trails, your family can still spend quality and enjoyable time together. If the family works together by saving change, doing odd jobs and cutting back, a vacation can be planned in your family’s future.

Instructions

  1. Study your family’s income and budget. Find areas where you can cut back on such as extra clothing purchases, dining out, or haircuts.
  2. Save each dime, penny, nickel, or quarters that you get. Purchase or find a big glass jar where all of the family’s change can go. Drop all of your change into the jar each time you have it. Every penny will add up.
  3. Have your children chip in by doing chores or other small jobs around the neighborhood such as mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, walking dogs, and babysitting. If the children can help, they will feel like they are part of the project as well.
  4. Clip all the coupons and shop at all of the sales that you can find. Try coupon matching at your local retail store that offers it too. Try to save money on all grocery purchases. Create a weekly dinner menu and purchase only the items needed to prepare meals without buying a bunch of extra food and snacks.
  5. Look through vacation booklets and brochures. Study the places that you and your family would like to go. Plan for low cost hotel stays, eating out, and family activites and try visiting areas that have national parks where it is low costing or free to attend. Stay at hotels that offer continental breakfasts. Plan your family’s vacation onto paper and determine the exact costs of everything so your family will know how much is needed to be saved.

How to Rent a Beach House in Miami, Florida

Rent a Beach House in Miami, Florida

Renting a beach house or oceanfront condo in Miami is a great alternative to an expensive stay at a hotel. By renting a house or condo, you have more flexibility and freedom to add the comforts of home to your vacation while enjoying everything under the sun Miami has to offer.

Instructions

  1. Before you book your flight, research the availability of vacation rental properties in the greater Miami area. Include oceanfront condos in your search, as well as properties that are also within walking distance to the beaches. Look at residential neighborhoods outside Miami Beach. In the greater Miami area, cities like Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, North Bay Village, Surfside and Sunny Isles Beach have plenty of waterfront properties offering vacation rentals.
  2. Select three to four properties that you are interested in based on your vacation budget and needs, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a family of four, for example. If you are considering an oceanfront condo, ask about amenities such as spa and gym offerings, boat rentals and charters and concierge service.
  3. While contacting a local realtor will certainly make it easier to find the right beach house or oceanfront condo for your vacation, you can review rental properties online at such sites as Miami Beach Vacation Rental House, which offers relevant information on available properties including price, location and photo galleries.
  4. Decide whether you want to travel during the high season, which runs from October through March, or during the low season, from April through September. Keep in mind that you will pay higher rental prices in the high season. Secure your rental by paying a deposit.

Pet Friendly Beach House Rentals on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi

The Mississippi Gulf Coast's scenic shoreline is a beautiful place to vacation.
The Gulf Coast of Mississippi overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi Sound and miles of coastal beaches. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area on August 29, 2005, some of the beach house rental properties have been rebuilt, and unique waterfront homes, many of which are pet friendly, are available for people vacationing in this beautiful shoreline setting. GulfCoastNews.com reports that the Katrina-damaged Beach Drive in Bay St. Louis has been restored and as of 2010, “Biloxi’s historic lighthouse … a symbol of the Coast’s recovery effort … was relit.”

Waveland Vacation House

  • The Waveland vacation house called “The Red Rooster” has six bedrooms and sleeps 12. It is in a private neighborhood in Waveland, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast within walking distance of the beach. This newly renovated home has a private pool, a deck and a hot tub. Pets are allowed. The rental rates and pet fees vary by season and must be discussed with the owner when you call to inquire about the house.

    David L. Segrave (owner)
    228-467-5616
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p233319

    Many beach houses are near the beach where you can walk with your dog.
    Many beach houses are near the beach where you can walk with your dog.

Gulf Breeze Cottage

  • The Gulf Breeze Cottage is decorated with beach decor and peaceful colors. It has three bedrooms that sleep eight and two bathrooms, an open floor plan and a view of the gulf from the living room. The living room has a large screen TV and entertainment center, and the whole house has wireless Internet and air conditioning. The house is near golf courses and one block from white sandy beaches and a park with tennis courts and a playground. Small pets are welcome with approval and a $70 to $100 pet fee.

    Donna Rowland (owner)
    423-595-6850
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p274908

    Small pets are welcome at the Gulf Breeze Cottage, one block from the beach.
    Small pets are welcome at the Gulf Breeze Cottage, one block from the beach.

The Green Woods Stables Lodge

  • The Green Woods Stables Lodge is a charming farmhouse in a pastoral setting on the edge of 70 acres of pastureland with old oaks and pecan trees and a garden. The house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, air conditioning, a wood-burning stove, antique furniture and cable TV. The grounds offer a nature walk, pond fishing and trails for horse riding. It is located close to shopping, restaurants and casinos. Pets are welcome with a $105 pet fee per week.

    Mary (owner)
    228-297 5557
    homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p182112

    The Green Woods Stable Lodge on the Gulf Coast is in a pastoral setting.
    The Green Woods Stable Lodge on the Gulf Coast is in a pastoral setting.

Boardwalk Reality: Bay Dreams and The Big Lazy

  • Boardwalk Reality manages dog-friendly beach houses on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Non-refundable pet fees are charged, but the fee varies from house to house. Cats are not allowed, and all dogs must be on a flea prevention program, have all required vaccinations, be well-behaved and on leash in compliance with town regulations. Rental rates vary, depending on the house, season, number of days you stay and whether any specials are being offered.

    Two of the available beach houses are:
    Bay Dreams, a waterfront home with a large deck and an expansive view of Mississippi Sound. It is a short walk to Gulf Beach, and its bay frontage offers a sandy shore, a pier with boat dock and a sun deck. This beach house sleeps nine, has four bedrooms, two baths, a well-equipped kitchen and Internet access. The house is pet friendly with a two pet limit and a fee of $100 per pet.

    The Big Lazy is a cozy bayside beach house with views of the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound. The vacation home sleeps eight, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, cable TV, plus a Foosball table. This house is pet-friendly and charges a $50 pet fee per pet.

    Boardwalk Realty
    1804 Bienville Blvd
    Dauphin Island, AL 36528

    877-861-3992
    boardwalk-realty.com/rentals/pet%20friendly.htm

Bay Saint Louis Beach House

  • This Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi Gulf Coast beach house is centrally located, near the beach and restaurants, and it is only a 40-minute drive from New Orleans. This is an older, two-story home with lots of character, high ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace in the well-equipped kitchen, porches for relaxing on and a swing underneath lush green foliage. The house sleeps eight and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It offers a large dog-friendly yard with lush landscaping, and pets of all sizes are welcome. The pet fee is $200 per pet.

    Fred (owner)
    228-380-2525
    vacationhomerentals.com/vacation-rentals/Bay-Saint-Louis-Mississippi-vacation-rental-home-proID-43995.html

    The Bay Saint Louis beach house offers a large dog-friendly yard.
    The Bay Saint Louis beach house offers a large dog-friendly yard.

How to Prepare a Rental Beach House

How to Prepare a Rental Beach House. Owning a beach house and earning rental income from it helps offset the cost of a second home. Although you spend time in the beach house, your plan to furnish the rental needs to cover areas such as expense, replacements, comfort to draw return rentals and durability.

Instructions

  1. Look at other beach rentals in your price range and see what others provide.
  2. Make a list of beach rental features for houses you’ve stayed in over the years. Furnish to please the kind of renter you once were.
  3. Start with the kitchen. Select pots and pans, one of each size, that are easy to clean. Include at least one casserole dish and some mixing bowls. Include a large pot for boiling lobsters or corn. Include dishes, glasses and cutlery to serve at least ten. Remember kitchen utensils, including a corkscrew. Include at least two good sharp knives.
  4. Select furniture for the living space. You want attractive and comfortable pieces that are built for durability and easy cleaning. Don’t spend big bucks on furniture. Shop for pieces that are well made and inexpensive.
  5. Choose a kitchen or dining table that seats at least eight. Make sure there are enough chairs. Opt for sturdy and inexpensive ones.
  6. Purchase comfortable mattresses that can last a long time. Spend a bit more money here. A great sleep can bring renters back year after year.
  7. Pick out some master bedroom furniture, but you don’t need a lot of pieces. Two bedside tables, good reading lamps and a bureau are all you need.
  8. Concentrate on good mattresses and basic furniture in the other bedrooms. There’s no need to buy fancy headboards for these rooms.

How to Rent a Beach House

If you’re tired of staying at impersonal hotels, you may choose to rent a beach house on your next vacation. A rental home can be an attractive alternative if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends.

Instructions

  1. Determine the number of people that will be joining you on your trip to the beach. It’s possible to find rental homes in many different sizes. Also, get a feel for the different age groups in your party, as some owners may choose not to rent to a group of college kids or families with lots of small children.
  2. Draw up a budget for your beach vacation, and decide how much of that budget will be used to rent a house. Your accommodations will probably be the biggest expense on your trip.
  3. Choose between renting a home from a private owner or renting through an agency. You may be able to negotiate a better deal by renting a home directly from the owner, though you’ll have a greater selection of homes from which to choose if you go through a rental agency.
  4. Contact the local visitors’ center for any advice they may have regarding local beach house rentals. They may also have some money-saving advice to help you get the most out of your vacation.
  5. Read local newspapers to get an idea of the types of homes available for rent and the different price ranges. Familiarize yourself with the different beaches and the pros and cons of each one.
  6. Negotiate a price to rent the beach house you’ve selected. Depending on the time of year and the number of guests, the price may fluctuate. Be prepared to pony up a deposit if the homeowner requests one.
  7. Make reservations as early as possible. This is especially important if you’re planning to book a vacation during the months that are most popular with tourists.
  8. Observe all the homeowner’s rules while you stay in his beach house. There may be restrictions on smoking and noise. If you violate the rules of the house and cause damage, you may forfeit your deposit and risk a lawsuit.
  9. Clean the home before you leave. Get rid of your trash and strip the sheets off all the beds in which your group has slept. While an individual homeowner may contract a janitorial company to clean the home between guest stays, you should still do your part to clean up after yourself.

Family Vacations: Restful for All, Including the Wallet

When it comes to family vacation options, pitching a tent can also mean pinching pennies.

While draining her bank account into the gas tank of the family wagon, a mother of three hears the Clash on her car radio and ponders the question of the summer family vacation: Should we stay or should we go?

The answer, if she plans well and seeks bargains, is “Yes.”

Staycation Is All I Ever Wanted

A staycation involves resting and playing like it’s vacation without leaving town. Rising gas prices have made that a popular option.

Janin and Marc Spoor, worn out from the stress of work, realized they needed a break. But limited in both time and money, they started a tradition – staying at a nearby luxury resort for an overnighter.

“The best part of a staycation is you are already saving money on travel, so you can splurge on a really nice hotel,” said Janin Spoor, who found a reduced hotel rate. “We stayed at the Four Seasons. You spend on a luxury stay, which comes with its own perks, like yoga classes, indoor pool, kids club, free parking, free meals for kids, etc. It all depends on the hotel.”

She said the only thing missing from taking a “real” vacation was the travel hassle and long hours, but with two young daughters, that was a plus.

“We had a great time. We didn’t have to spend a long time in the car, so we weren’t tired when we got to the hotel. We headed straight to the indoor pool and started having fun right away,” Spoor said.

Once they were done splashing in the pool they took in the sights around the hotel. Although it was close to home, they had not explored the area before.

“It really felt like we were somewhere else,” she said, but with a new baby, being 20 minutes from home was a distinct advantage.

As it turned out, the hotel was more than prepared.

“It was great. The hotel brought up a crib, baby shampoo, diapers, wipes and a diaper pail,” Spoor said.

If a night at a luxury hotel is out of the budget, family moments can also be created in the back yard.

“My kids love to pitch a tent and sleep out there. It is a full-family project. We put up tiki torches and barbecue. We play Monopoly and then the kids tell spooky stories,” said Iris Duran, mother of three and an instructional technician at AdvancePath Academy. “We love it.”

It seems that parents often equate the cost of a vacation with the entertainment and educational value. But, as the Spoors and Durans have found, the kids just want to have fun.

Winter Rentals in Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Winter beach rentals can often be less expensive than a hotel.

Old Orchard Beach, Maine—named after an apple orchard that sat nearby–dates back to 1653. Destroyed in a fire in 1907, the community quickly rebuilt and has remained a vacation favorite. With seven miles of sand, outdoor activities are available even during the long winters. Area attractions include lighthouses; state parks; cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing; as well as indoor activities. If you prefer a vacation rental over a hotel, here are some companies to check into.

Seashore Property Management

  • This company provides year-round rentals, handling the reservations and maintenance for various owners of properties along coastal Maine, including Old Orchard Beach. The types of properties available for rental include ocean front, ocean view and beach access. They also have pet-friendly properties and homes that can be rented by the month. For more information or reservations, contact:

    Seashore Property Management

    9 Ocean Park Rd.

    Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064

    207-934-3400

    Seashorepropertymanagement.com

Absolute Beach Rentals

  • Also providing year-round rentals, this company provides beach houses, condos and condos that are within walking distance to the beach, or or the beach itself. Discounted rates are available in the off season and some locations allow pets. Rates and availability will vary; for more information, contact the company at:

    Absolute Beach Rentals

    11 First St., Suite A

    Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064

    207-934-9111

    Absolutebeachrentals.com

Cyber Rentals

  • With more than 85,000 vacation rentals worldwide, Cyber Rentals includes Old Orchard Beach in their list of winter properties for rent. While their main office is in Texas, they manage and rent homes for numerous property owners. The company’s listings include homes for large groups as well as pet owners. Rates will vary on the type of property rented, location, and if it is in peak or off-season. The company can be reached at:

    Cyber Rentals

    1011 W. 5th St

    Suite 300

    Austin, Texas 78703

    512 684-1098

    Cyberrentals.com

How To Advertise a Vacation Rental Property on a Shoestring Budget

Motivate renters to visit your property by showing clear pictures of your home.

Renting out your vacation home is meant to provide you with extra cash, but spending large sums of money on advertising quickly minimizes your profit. With a little creativity and effort, you can advertise your vacation rental property even with the most humble of budgets.

Have a Party

  • The best way to motivate customers on a shoestring budget is to get them involved on an emotional or experimental level, according to Kim T. Gordon, owner of a national marketing company and author of “Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.” Let potential vacationers see what it would be like to live in your rental by hosting a party on the premises. A few finger foods and music playing from your smartphone are all that is needed to set the stage.

Distribute Fliers

  • There is a reason why you constantly see cork boards with flyers on them at work, school and church — they work and they are cheap. Print out some basic fliers from your home computer or take the ad to a local print shop and print them there. Include some pictures of the property so that potential renters can get an idea of the size and the aesthetics. Post the fliers in high-traffic areas, including at your work, colleges, grocery stores and church. Include your phone number in multiple strips on the bottom of the flier.

Use Word of Mouth

  • Some vacationers may be scared to rent a property from someone they don’t know. Offer your first set of tenants a reduced rate in exchange for them writing a positive public post on a vacation review site. Having a positive review on file may help people feel they are making safe and smart decisions when booking your property. If you are targeting a local renter, ask friends to visit for a weekend and then spread the word to people who may be interested.

Advertise Online

  • Post a free or inexpensive advertisement for your rental property on online community directories. If you have multiple properties available, you can create a business website to post information about your property management business. Link that website to search engines such as Google and Yahoo by setting up a free listing for your properties in their local directories. Likewise, create social media pages for your rental business where you can post pictures of the properties and answer questions directly from potential renters.

Donate to Charity

  • If the vacation season is approaching and you do not yet have any takers, talk to charitable organizations and ask if you can donate a week at your home as part of a future charitable auction. Even if the charity keeps the money, you may still be able to use the rental as a tax write-off from your property management business. Consult a tax professional for more information and to check rules in your state.