Virtual Tours of 6 Beautiful Cities

Virtual Tours of 6 Beautiful Cities

Travel may prove difficult this year.  With travel restrictions, quarantines, airline regulations, masks, and social distancing many of us may not feel too comfortable boarding an airplane, staying at hotels, and even exploring major cities using crowded public transportation.

We’ve canceled this year’s family summer vacation and our usual travel and cruise itineraries for the rest of the year.  In fact we’re not sure when we’ll feel comfortable traveling anywhere that entails long haul flights, and since we live in Hawaii this pretty much covers the whole world.  It makes me sad that I will probably not be able to visit my daughter in Italy until hopefully next spring, we usually visit in the summer and fall.  But health and safety come first and with no cure or vaccine in sight for the novel corona virus it means that home is where we’ll be for the foreseeable future.

Staying home doesn’t mean we can’t explore new cities on our bucket list or re-visit some of our favorite ones.  We’ll just have to explore virtually from the comfort and safety of our family room.

Here are some virtual tours of 6 of cities that you may want to re-visit or add to your travel bucket list.  Enjoy!

Paris

The City of Lights brings romance, history, art, fashion, and cuisine to mind.  I love Paris in the Spring!

I love the sights, sounds, and smells of this wonderful city.  From the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, to the magnificent artworks in the Louvre and D’Orsay museums, the shops on the Champs Elysee, and the cafes along the Rive Gauche, Paris has something for everyone.

Experience the city on this virtual tour!

London

What’s not to love about London?  I love the palaces, gardens, museums and galleries, theaters, markets, and shops in this great city.

From Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court; the British Museum to the West End shows; Boroughs Market to Harrods; there are many excellent sites to explore in this beautiful city.

Explore Westminster Abbey where you’ll find the tombs of England’s kings and queens as well as poets, scientists, and other notable historic figures.  Get a bird’s eye view of the city on the iconic London Eye.  Walk the fog shrouded streets of Whitechapel where the infamous Jack the Ripper left his gory mark.

Experience the city on this virtual tours!

New York City

The Big Apple!  New York City has so much to offer, it’s one of my favorite city’s.  Having been raised in the City I guess you can say I’m just a little bit biased!

New York City is a bustling place where you’ll find the iconic State of Liberty, green spaces such as Central Park and Battery Park, quirky neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Tribeca, museums like the MOMA and the Guggenheim, and Times Square.

Explore the Big Apple on this virtual tour!

Dubai

Dubai never fails to make me feel like I’ve stepped into a Star Wars movie.

The mish mash of futuristic looking buildings tower over the desert sands.  It’s not at all unusual to find camels sitting on the beach in front of one’s hotel room; nor is it unusual to ski inside the Mall of the Emirates in the morning and have dinner in the desert dunes just outside of the city.

Of course you’ll find every high end designer shop in the Dubai Mall and you can drape yourself in gold from head to foot at the Gold Souk across the creek in the old section of the city.

Dubai is a fascinating city with a foot in it’s past and an eye to the future.

Experience the city on this virtual tour!

Istanbul

East meets west in the city of Istanbul, literally.  Separated by the Bosphorus Strait this city has one foot in Asia and the other in Europe.

It is a delicious mix of ancient historic and religious sites, bustling markets, and secular modern buildings.

I love everything about Istanbul!  The sites, the people, and the food are incredible; they keep me coming every chance I get!

Experience the city on this virtual tour!

Bangkok

On the banks of the Chao Phraya River sits the bustling city of Bangkok.

Here you’ll find Temples that house Buddha statues in a myriad of sizes, positions, and materials.  Along with is huge temple complexes you’ll find a palace complex, green spaces, floating markets, night markets, and more.

Experience the city on this virtual tour!

 

Travel More Often With These Thrifty Tips

Travel More Often With These Thrifty Tips

Picture by Vincent Ravaud from Pexels – CC0 Licence

Travelling isn’t just a luxury for the rich; anyone can do it. It just takes some careful planning, rejigging your finances, and thrifty choices. For ideas of how you can make your dream of traveling more come true, read this guide for tips and tricks.

Reduce Mortgage Payments

The most substantial payment you make each month is your mortgage. If you can look at options to see if you can reduce it. A lesser mortgage payment means more money you can put towards adventures around the world. If you’re unsure what your options are, search for https://altrua.ca, there’s plenty of guidance on here to give you a better idea of how to reduce your mortgage. Plus, contact details to get in touch with advisers for more information too.

 

Mortgage interest rates are pretty low right now because of the pandemic. Remortgaging to a different, cheaper mortgage product could free up more of your income each month to put towards traveling the world.

Sell Your Things Online

We all have items stashed in cupboards, the attic, and cellar we could sell. The hardest part is finding the motivation to organize and dust off what could be worth a few dollars. Use your motivation to travel more, to add more to your travel pot, and give you the oomph to start selling junk you haven’t used in years.

 

For instance, outdated clothes, to someone else, could be passed off as vintage. Extra furniture in the spare room you no longer need, electricals like old phones, tablets, and laptops, there’s always someone out there that can use it. Here are a few sites worth taking a peek at. Some with fees, some without, it’s really about finding a platform that works for you.

 

  • Nextdoor
  • Decluttr
  • LetGo
  • Offerup
  • Craigslist
  • eBay

 

Travel Slowly

Picture by Alfonso Escalante from Pixabay – CC0 Licence

Airplane rides are usually the quickest way to get you abroad, but they’re also sometimes the most expensive. Choosing to travel slowly can make your money stretch further, and leave money in savings for other adventures.

Take a look at all your travel options to see what’s the cheapest. With everything from trains to coach rides, buses, and boats, one route will be less expensive than the rest. It may just mean it takes longer to get there. When you’re searching for flights, instead of selecting ‘direct flights only’ on your search, uncheck this box because flying could work out cheaper if you have to stop off in another country first.

Always look at how you will get around your destination too. Planning and getting to know the local area with Google maps can give you an idea of how far historical sights, monuments, zoos, shops, and beaches are, and the cheapest way you can get around to these places.

Your first form of transport to think about should be walking, it’s healthy for you, and it’s free. Plus, it ties into the goal of slowing down your travels, soaking in your surroundings, all while saving money for more vacations!

Thrifty Accommodation

It’s tempting when you’re looking at holidays to choose the best looking hotel with five pools, and a sea view. But when you think about it realistically, how much time are you really planning on spending at your accommodation? If you’re active and keen to get out and do things, the main thing your accommodation should be is clean, comfortable, and cheap. Below are a few suggestions for alternative accommodation.

Air B and B

With more thrifty travelers around the world, sites like Air B and B are rated highly. Air B and B is for ordinary people to advertise their spare room, annex, apartment, and so on. Each accommodation is priced differently and is usually cheaper than staying in a conventional hotel.

House Swap

A great option, particularly if you have a family, is to get away by house swapping. It means you get to benefit from a fully equipped home that’s big and comfortable enough for everyone to stay at a fraction of a price at a hotel. Some home swapping sites to look at are Love Home Swap, Knok, and CasaHop.

Family and Friends

If you have friends or family across the country, why not ask if you can join them for a week and make a holiday out of it. If you regularly keep in touch, staying with friends and family guarantees you’ll feel welcome and comfortable in your accommodation, have great company, and advice from real locals about where to go and what there is to do.

To cover your stay, you could repay by cooking meals for everyone, or other helpful household gestures such as running a few errands or helping out in the garden to keep your hosts happy. And in between, you’ll have plenty of free time to explore, without the burden of expensive accommodation weighing you down.

Campervan

Depending on where you want to travel and for how long, investing in a campervan is worth considering. Campervans provide you transport and accommodation rolled into one, and so you’ll only need money for food and activities. To keep it thrifty, take a look at pre-owned camper vans that you can pick up for a few grand that could last for the rest of your life.

 

Save Money On Food

Choosing to self-cater is usually the cheapest option. You can pack your edibles to take with you, mainly food that won’t perish, such as canned food like chopped tomatoes and beans, or packet food like pasta and couscous. And create tasty meals while you’re away, plus at least you know that because you cooked it, your family will eat it! Buy local fresh produce to top up your cupboards but also to get a taste of local food, but set a budget, so you don’t overspend.

If you want to splash out on local cuisine, before booking a restaurant, make sure you check free apps on the internet like Groupon. If you reset the location to where you’ll be staying, local eateries will pop up that you can eat at for a discounted price. However, always read the terms and conditions. Sometimes an offer, for example, for two meals and a bottle of wine at a local Italian restaurant, may only be available Monday to Friday at lunchtime. Reading the conditions before you buy on Groupon will prevent you from wasting money on a voucher you can’t use.

Cut Back On Holiday Spending

Firstly we’ll cover the amount we tend to spend before a trip has even begun. None of us are strangers to purchasing an excessive amount of clothes we’ll think we need, but probably never wear. Or expensive last-minute sun cream at the airport and other novelty items for traveling on holiday aren’t entirely necessary.

To curb your spending before each trip, look at everything you already have that you can take. Sun creams stuffed in the attic from the last vacation can prevent you from needing to buy more. Holiday clothes with tags on could be perfect for your upcoming trip. If you’re tempted to buy something beforehand, set a budget, head for the sales, and even consider thrift stores for second-hand clothing.

Picture by Pixabay from Pexels – CC0 Licence

While you’re away, the same rules apply; you can save money for your next vacation by watching your spending. Some things we tend to overspend on are buying souvenirs and postcards for relatives back home. But in all honesty, unless the token is particularly useful, your friend at work might be okay with not having another thimble with your holiday destination.

A mindset to keep on your travels is to buy only what’s necessary. The central part of your vacation to take back with you is the suntan and memories. But if you’re still optimistic about getting a souvenir or two, why not take lots of pictures to capture several moments you can look back on and cherish. Or pick up a pretty seashell or rock to put in your garden or give to your neighbor.

Find Free Things To Do

Part of going away is exploring, and that takes little to no money to do. All you need is your feet, a bottle of water, and some snacks in a backpack, and you can spend your time strolling city streets, along the promenade or the local woods – walking and observing your surroundings is free.

Search for local free events in the area, too, parks, swimming pools, and excursions. Before going away, researching the place you’ll be visiting and writing out a rough daily guide of what you’ll be doing each day gives kids, in particular, something to look forward to. After all, children care about having fun with you, not how much activity costs. And it means your money will go further, and you’ll have enough for another holiday away soon.

Would you believe that there’s even more that you can do to allow you and your family to get away more? From remote working to selling one of your cars (if they’re not in much use). Plus, checking up on your monthly outgoings to see if there are savings you can make. Every little bit of saving and extra income amounts to more adventures away.

 

 

Virtual Tours of 7 Zoos Around the World

Virtual Tours of 7 Zoos Around the World

I absolutely love zoos.  I know zoos are pretty controversial, one side I guess you could call them the “Free Willy” side demonize zoos as being filthy cages where animals are mistreated and neglected; then there’s the other side who point out that well designed and well run zoos act as shelters for abused animals, saved some animals fro extinction, and have educated the public to respect and admire animals.

I really can’t say for sure which side is absolutely right, that’s a debate I’ll leave for the experts.  But I can say that most of us if we think about it fall somewhere in the middle, I know I do.  Of course I find zoos that are filthy and disgusting, those that neglect or mistreat animals abhorrent.  What to do about them is beyond me other than to redesign them to be more humane and to replace staff with caring professionals and volunteers; but turning those poor animals loose in the wild I doubt is the answer.

But on the other hand I’ve visited quite a few zoos that are beautifully designed, have caring and knowledgeable staff, and have educational programs that help endangered species, and provide safe shelter for abused or displaced animals.  In short these zoos help many animals that would have been destroyed otherwise or may have gone extinct if not for the zoo’s research and breeding programs.  There are many such zoos around the world.

These days due to the pandemic many of us will not be traveling far so visiting a zoo that’s not in driving distance will have to wait.  But with the aid of technology there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy some of the best zoos in the world thru a webcam or a virtual tour.  Here are some of the best zoos you can visit from the comfort and safety of your home!

Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is located in a rain forest not far from the city.  It’s a wonderful zoo.  We had the pleasure of visiting this zoo and going on the night time safari it was awesome!

Click here for the virtual tour!

 

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is one of the top zoos in the world, it’s one of our favorites!

It’s a huge zoo with many amazing exhibits.  Here’s the website that has a list of all the webcams around the zoo.

 

 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Located on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs this zoo is built along the side of the mountain.  It’s one of my favorite zoos.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of the top zoos in the US.  The Giraffe enclosure greets visitors to this zoo.  It’s an amazing way to get up close and personal with these tall animals.

The zoo has several webcams, it’s most popular is the Giraffe Webcam.  Click here for the website where you’ll find the Giraffe Webcam as well as other webcams and virtual activities.

 

 

Zoo Atlanta

Accredited by AZA Zoo Atlanta is located in Grant Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

It is home to a couple of delightful Giant Pandas.  There are webcams for virtual visits!

Click here for the website!

 

Welsh Mountain Zoo

Welsh Mountain Zoo is among the 15 Best Zoos in the world according to BestProducts.com.

It certainly looks like it’s filled with happy critters!

Click here for the site!

 

Australia Zoo

This was where you could find the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.

Today his family is very active at this zoo.  It features many animals from around the world and of course the critters from down under.  Explore the zoo with his son Robert on this virtual tour!

The National Zoo

The National Zoo located in the suburbs of our nation’s capital is another favorite zoo.

They have many webcams around the zoo featuring different critters.  The most popular of course is the Giant Panda!  Click her for webcams!

 

Virtual Tours of the World’s Iconic Sights

Virtual Tours of the World’s Iconic Sights

In the not too distant past, like just 3 or 4 months ago traveling was part of our lives.  That is until the pandemic forced many of us to stay at home, and many of us are still under shelter in place orders.  And even if we’re not how many of us are willing to venture out and take our usual summer vacations?

I know I’m not and neither are most of my friends and family.  But with the aid of technology we can still get together for birthdays, graduations, and visits albeit virtually on our computer, tablet, or phone screens.

Technology allows us to virtually be with friends and family and it also allows us to “explore” the world from the safety and comfort of our homes.  Of course it’s not the same as climbing to the crown of the Statue of Liberty or taking the elevator up the Eiffel Tower, but Youtube, Google, and other platforms can be the next best thing to being there.

Virtual tours provide a great opportunity to see the world during these uncertain times, and they can be a starting point for teaching kids about history, cultures, arts, and sciences. It’s like going on a field trip!

So here’s a list of some of the world’s iconic landmarks and attractions that  you and your kids can “visit”.  Enjoy your tours!

The Statue of Liberty

This virtual tour by the National Park Service takes you around the island and to the crown.  It’s a great tour.

Virtual tour click here!

The Great Wall of China

The wall is a spectacular site!

Virtual tour click here!

The Great Pyramid

Of the 7 Wonder of the Ancient World the Great Pyramid is the only one left standing.  It’s just one of the pyramids of Egypt that offers a virtual tour.  Explore one or all by clicking here!

The Great Sphinx

Another Egyptian icon is the Great Sphinx. Find out more about this mysterious monument on this virtual tour!

 

Pompeii

A must see site around Naples, Italy is the vast ruins of Ancient Pompeii.  This virtual tour takes you thru some of the discoveries archaeologists have made at the excavation.   Click here for the virtual tour!

Delphi

Home to the Temple of Apollo and the legendary  Oracle of Delphi this ancient site on Mt. Parnassus was a very important place in antiquity.  Click here for the virtual tour!

Ephesus

This ancient city located in Turkey’s Ionian coast near the modern day city of Selcuk was the main commercial center in the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire.  Due to flooding the city was moved several times in ancient history thus the excavations wish began in 1895 covers a huge area.  These excavations reflect centuries of history from classical Greece to the Roman Empire and on to the spread of Christianity.  Many of the structures unearthed in the area by Selcuk are in excellent condition.  The structures in the Ephesus  Archaeological Museum including the Terrace Houses have frescoes so vivid it looks like they were painted recently!

Click here for the virtual tour!

The Acropolis

The word Acropolis literally translates to “the edge of the city”.  This “city” which sits atop a low hill dominates the Athenian skyline.  Its most iconic building acts like a sentinel guarding the city sprawled at its feet.  The hill has been a place of residence since 4000 B.C. but became a sacred site in 800 B.C. when it became a place of worship for the goddess Athena who was the protector of the city of Athens.

The Acropolis is actually a complex with several sacred buildings, temples and altars dedicated to the goddess.

Click here for the virtual tour!

Delos

The island of Delos was one of the most important places in Ancient Greece.  It has temples honoring the birth place of the twin god and goddess Apollo and Artemis.  It was a pilgrimage site before the birth of Christ.  It was an import sacred and commercial city during classical Greece and a major trading city during Roman rule.

Click here for the virtual tour!

Hagia Sophia

This vast domed monument’s name means “Holy Wisdom”.  It was built in then Constantinople, modern day Istanbul, in the 6th. Century A.D.   by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.  It was originally built as a cathedral and was an important part of Byzantium religious and political life.  It was later transformed into a Mosque in 1453 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.  Then in 1935 it was turned into the Museum it is today by the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk who strove to build a secular country on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

Click here for the virtual tour!

Petra

Recently added to the New Wonders of the World list Petra is an ancient Nabatean City built along the walls of a a desert gorge in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  It is a spectacular site starting from the entrance which passes thru the Siq, a narrow path threading its way thru rock formations, wall carvings, and even water channels that brought water into the city during ancient times.  The Siq ends in front of Petra’s most popular building the Al Khazneh or the Treasury, the building featured in the Indiana Jones movie the Last Crusade.  Nothing beats actually walking thru the Siq and scrambling around this vast ancient city, but this virtual tour is pretty cool!  Click here for the virtual tour!

The Colosseum

Built during the reign of Rome’s Flavian emperors the Colosseum is a huge structure that provided entertainment for the citizens of ancient Rome.  It was the venue for Gladitor games, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, and dramas.  It is situated in the heart of modern day Rome along side triumphal arches, the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Market, and the Temple of Vesta.  Click here for the virtual tour!

Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France for over a hundred years from the reign of Louis XVI until the French Revolution.  It is a luxurious complex with smaller villas, gardens, and fountains built around the main palace.  It’s a wonderful place to visit whether in person or in VR.  Click here for the virtual tour!

The Eiffel Tower

Designed and built in 1887 by Gustav Eiffel for the Paris Exposition of 1889 the tower has become a symbol of Paris.  This iconic tower is situated on the Champ de Mar.  Climbing to one of the observation platforms is an experience and dining at one of the restaurants is amazing.  But you can still explore this beautiful tower from the comfort of home by clicking here for the virtual tour!

If you enjoyed your virtual tours of these iconic sites you might want to check out some museums.  Virtually of course!  Click here for a list of some popular museums you may want to explore.

 

Virtual Tours of Museums Around the World

Virtual Tours of Museums Around the World

For the last couple of months museums around the world have been closed due to the pandemic lock downs.  Most folks under stay at home orders are looking for ways to spend the day and in many cases home school the kids.

No one really knows when things will begin to reopen and when it will be safe for us to venture out again.  In these uncertain times we don’t know when we can travel further than our local grocery stores and possibly malls.  But staying at home doesn’t mean we can’t visit our favorite places around the world or find new ones to explore.

With the help of technology we can travel the world and visit world class museums around the world!  Just because they’re closed doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the art work displayed in their galleries.

Of course it’s not the same as traveling to these countries and viewing the artwork in person.  But in these trying times virtual museum tours have given me a break from the bleak news that is broadcast on the TV and social media.  A little beauty always brightens the day!

Here are just a few of my favorite museums that you can enjoy from the comfort of you living room couch. You can even visit them with your kids; it’s a great way to introduce them to different artists and media.  My grandson Devon and I have spent some time together exploring the galleries and I even encourage him to create his own art work based on some of the works he’s seen at these wonderful museums.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Situated on the banks of the Nervion River in Bilbao, one of the largest cities in Spain’s Basque Region the Guggenheim Museum has become an icon of the region.

Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in October 1997.  The building itself is a work of art.  It is a masterpiece of modernism making it the perfect place to showcase contemporary works of art.

A virtual tour of this museum is sure to land it on your travel bucket list.  So settle down with a glass of Riojas (red wine) and an assortment of Pinchos (appetizers) and enjoy this awesome museum.

Virtual tour here!

The British Museum

This is one of my favorites.  Located on Great Russell St.  in Bloomsbury, London, the British Museum is a must see.  Founded in 1753 the museum is home to a variety of artwork from around the world as well as the Reading Room located in the center of the great court.

Among the must see attractions of the museum are the Elgin Marbles, a collection of beautiful marble statuary and reliefs acquired by Lord Elgin from the Athen’s Parthenon in the 19th. Century; the Rosetta Stone which held the key that allowed modern humans to unlock ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics; this crystal skull; and the Moai, the huge sculpted head from Easter Island.

Virtual tour here!

Musee d’Orsay

Housed in the former Gare d’ Orsay (train station) which was built in 1899 for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 this museum is a must see for fans of Impressionist artists.

This museum is home to artwork by Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, and other great impressionist artists.  I’m a huge fan!

Monet’s Water Lily’s, Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, Manet’s Olympia, and Degas’ Little Dancer  statue are just a few of the great works of art in this museum.  So sit down with a nice glass of French wine and a cheese board of French cheeses and enjoy this delightful museum.

Virtual tour here!

The Louvre

Since you’re in Paris visiting the D’Orsay you can continue on to the Louvre.  This museum is the world’s most visited museum, trust me the crowds shuffling thru the halls is a testament to this claim.  But with the world social distancing the best way to see this popular museum is on a virtual tour; no masks, no gloves; and no crowds!

The Louvre is home to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as well as other Renaissance Masters including Botticelli, Raphael, Giotto, and Titian.  The Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory statues also call the Louvre home as well as a fine collection of Egyptian antiquities.  It would take days if not weeks to walk the collections housed in this fine museum, but you can see all the highlights from the comfort of your home.

Virtual tour here!

The Vatican Museums

The highlight of the Vatican Museums is arguably the famous Sisitine Chapel whose ceiling is a masterpiece by Michelangelo.  But there is so much more to see.

You’ll find the famous winding Bramante Staircase here.  You can also marvel at Raphael’s famous mural called School of Athens, it’s one of my favorites! Then there are the maps, tapestries, statues, and paintings.

So settle down with a fine glass of Frescati and a pizza and enjoy this wonderful museum!

Virtual tour here!

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

This historic building is located in Athens, Greece.  It is home to some amazing archaeological finds including classical Greek statues and bronzes, the Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient hand powered “analog computer”, and golden items such as death masks like the mask of Agamemnon.

So grab some bread and a dish of Tzatziki and a glass of Assyrtiko (white wine) and enjoy these ancient wonders.

Virtual tour here!

Egyptian Museum in Cairo

My grandson loved our virtual tour of this museum.  He found the mummy room amazing, as I did when I was actually visiting this museum several years ago.

The museum is famous for its mummies, of course, and it’s King Tut Exhibit.  But it houses a huge assortment of artifacts found in archaeological sites around the country.  You’ll see stone sarcophagi, Egyptian tablets, statues, reliefs and so much more.

So sit down with a plate of mezzes or a falafel sandwich and enjoy the wonders this museum has to offer.

Virtual tour here!

 

Best Family Christmas Vacations

Best Family Christmas Vacations

Our family has a whole set of Christmas traditions, one of them is opening presents at our home on Christmas morning.  Even tho my kids are grown with families of their own those that live in town and those that came home for the holidays still open presents at my house.  Those unable to come home for Christmas open presents with those that are  here thanks to the magic of technology.

Every now and then we decide to do something different, we travel.  We usually leave Christmas evening.  This allows us to open presents together Christmas morning and also take advantage of the cheaper airfare that’s available for traveling on the holiday.  Air fares are very expensive just before and just after the holiday, but drastically drop on the holiday itself as no one wants to travel that day.  It’s always a pleasure to travel on Christmas and New Year’s day, flights are pretty empty and flight attendants more pleasant.

There are many great places to spend the holidays with kids.  Many places have fantastic Christmas displays and host many seasonal events.  Here are a few places you might want to visit during Winter Break, some may even be close enough to drive to thus eliminating costly airfare and the crowds at the airports.

1.

Hershey Park, Hershey, Pennsylvania – Billed as “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, Hershey Park is a popular theme park year round it’s even more fun during the holidays.  Lots of holiday events going on including dining with Santa, Sweet Lights a drive-thru spectacular, Christmas Candy Lane, ice skating, Gingerbread Tea, Dinner Theater Shows, and more.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

2.  Visit Santa’s Workshop, where else but in North Pole, NY.  Just minutes fro Lake Placid, New York families have visited the Workshop since 1949.  Experience the magic of an old-fashioned Christmas in this fairytale setting.  Meet Santa and his reindeer, tour the village and shops, ride Christmas themed rides, and more.

 

 

3.  Santa Claus, Indiana – “America’s Christmas Hometown” has lots of events this season including meals with Santa, Chestnut Roasting, Children’s Craft Time, and more.  Click here to see their event schedule this year.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

4.  Experience a Traditional Christmas on the Cape at Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod.  2014 marks the Inn’s 100th. Anniversary.  They are hosting many seasonal events including Elsa & Friends Enchanted Wonderland for Frozen fans, Gingerbread House Workshops, and their annual Sno BBQ on December 26.  Click here for their event schedule.  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Woodloch Resort Holiday Weekend

5.  Enjoy an Old-Fashioned Christmas at one of Pennsylvania’s all-inclusive resorts in the Pocono Mountains.  Olde-Fashioned Holiday at Woodloch Resort and Old-Fashioned Christmas at Mohonk Mountain House  offer many seasonal activities including caroling, holiday scavenger hunts, visits with Santa and more.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

6.  Christmas in Cambria, California.  During the holidays the stretch of California’s highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles turns into a lighted village filled with story-book charm.  Stroll the town and visit many galleries and shops to shop for unique one of a kind items.  Enjoy your Holidays in The Pines.  Click here for events in the area.

 

7.  ICE! the award-winning icy attraction and Christmas celebrations at 4 Gaylord Resorts:  National Harbor, Maryland; Kissimmee, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Grapevine, Texas.
During this season  resorts guest will enjoy lights, Christmas trees, snow tubing, character meals, and more.

 

8.  Set sail for the holidays on Disney Cruiseline’s Very MerryTime Cruises.  Disney cruises are always fun, even more so with these holiday enhancements onboard:
Other holiday enhancements include:

  • Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night, with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony, where kids can help light the tree and kick off the holiday festivities
  • Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves
  • Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday attire
  • Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties—private celebrations where teens and tweens can hang out with new friends
  • Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea and around the world
  • Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, go on a holiday scavenger hunt and more
  • A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house*

Plus, on December 24 and 25, enjoy additional holiday experiences:

  • Cookies on Christmas Eve
  • Special holiday towel animals
  • Special holiday surprise
  • Holiday caroling with the kids and crew
  • Religious Services

9.  Hop aboard the Polar Express for a fun filled evening ride to visit Santa and friends.  For more info and to find a Polar Express near you click here!

10.  Head over to the Big Apple!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year to visit New York City.  Ring in the Holidays at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Enjoy the Tree at Rockefeller Center, events, and activities New York City has to offer this holiday season.  For NYC events and activities click here!