Archive for the ‘General’ category

Where Selfie Sticks Are Banned

August 8th, 2015

Six Flags recently announced the banning of selfie sticks in parks nationwide, citing safety as a concern. Earlier in 2015, Disney did the same for all parks. As more attractions and events shun the devices, we’ve compiled a list of popular family destinations where it’s best to save the selfies.

Mom and Son With Selfie Stick

– Six Flags, Nationwide
– Disneyland, California
– Disney World, Florida
– Disneyland Paris, France
– Disneyland Hong Kong, China
– Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California
– Colosseum, Italy
– The National Gallery, London
– Museum of Modern Art, New York City
– Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
– Lake Winnepesaukah, Georgia
– Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
– The Palace of Versailles, France
– Kentucky Derby
– Minnesota State Fair (Partial Ban)

Visit CanIBringMySelfieStick.com (a newly launched site) to search attractions you’ll be visiting and see what the policies are on selfie sticks.

More From Family Vacation Critic:
Family Guide to Six Flags Amusement Parks
10 Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2015

How to Cancel Your Flight for Free

January 9th, 2015

Airplane landing on runwayFlying in the United States is pricy and all too often we book our round-trip airfare only to see it drop up to $50 over the next day or two. Well now you can cancel your flight for free. Actually, you could do this for a while now, but I only recently became aware of it thanks to a Huffington Post article from October.

According to the article, which credits Hopper for most of its information, eight major airlines in the United States allow passengers to cancel flights for free. Some stipulations may apply, such as it must be within 24 hours of when you booked and it may only be allowed on flights that were purchased at least seven days in advance of the travel date, but still – you can get your money back for free! The eight airlines, according to Hopper, include Delta, United, American, US Airways, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and Frontier.

Technically, as the Huffington Post points out, it is a federal rule that airlines must allow customers to cancel their flights within 24 hours of booking as long they were purchased at least seven days in advance. The Department of Transportation’s website states that “U.S. and foreign air carriers regarding compliance with the customer service rule requires carriers to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty.”

Now that you know you can cancel your flight and that its your federal right to do so, you may be asking why you’d want to at all if you still plan on taking a trip. Well what if you could cancel and then repurchase the same flight for a cheaper price? According to Hopper, about 68 percent of the time customers can find a cheaper price for their flight within 24 hours of their original purchase. You could save just by cancelling and rebooking, which means more money in your pocket for vacation!

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

15 Travel Resolutions for 2015

January 1st, 2015

Man jumping over 2015 at sunsetHappy New Year! Traveling is a popular New Year’s resolution, but it can be a difficult challenge to meet with everyday life getting in the way. Rather than make one large resolution to travel more or to visit certain faraway destinations this year, break it down into easier-to-accomplish goals. Here are 15 travel resolutions that your family can achieve in 2015:

1. Visit a local sight you have never seen before. There’s probably one nearby museum, park, library, historical home or famous place that you have been meaning to visit, but just haven’t. Grab the kids and go this year! You’ll be glad you did.

2. Pack more efficiently. Wouldn’t it be nice to arrive at your destination and have everything you’ve packed organized and ready to use or wear? Check out our list of packing tips so that your suitcase is more organized on your next trip.

3. Make a bucket list of places you want to visit. Rather than state that you will visit a specific destination this year, make a list of all the places you would like to go over the next few years. This bucket list can be added to the refrigerator and every time you’re able to take a family vacation there, you can cross it off! Plus, you can continuously add to it so that you never forget a place to which you would like to travel.

4. Visit a fair with the family. Renaissance fairs and state fairs pop up all over the country throughout the spring and summer. Find one near you and head there for a fun experience that everyone will enjoy.

5. Try something new while traveling. Don’t do the same old things while on vacation – museums, beaches, zoos, etc. – book a new adventure or excursion, like a surfing lesson or zip-lining experience.

6. Take a train. Rather than drive or fly to your next destination, take a train instead. Check out our 10 Best Train Trips for Families for ideas!

7. Travel with another family. Don’t book one vacation for your own family. Try booking one in conjunction with another family that you’re friends with. You can split the cost of accommodations and the kids will be easily entertained with friends in tow.

8. Go to a game. Even if you don’t like sports, there is something about seeing a game at a stadium that just makes it more magical. Check out our lists of the best football stadiums and ballparks to visit with kids.

9. Book a staycation. Hotels often offer pools, room service, free W-Fi, free breakfast and more. Book a night at a local hotel and enjoy doing nothing but relaxing while everything else is taken care of for you.

10. Take a factory tour. Hershey, Ben and Jerry’s and other great brands offer factory tours where families can see how the delicious treats are made. Here are 12 to choose from!

11. Bring your pet with you. Next time you book a hotel for vacation, make it one with pet-friendly rooms and bring Fido with you. Everyone will love having the furry friend along for the trip.

12. Spend a night at a museum. If you didn’t know, museums host overnights for kids and families. Find one near you by reading our article on the 13 Best Nights at Museums.

13. Take a multigenerational trip. Bring the whole family along for the ride this year. Multigenerational travel is a growing trend and it’s easy to see why. To get started, read our 10 Tips for Multigenerational Travel.

14. Ride a roller coaster. Theme parks are a lot of fun for kids. Visit one this year and ride a roller coaster. Even you have done it before, do it with your children, spouse, parent, niece, nephew – whoever! You’ll be glad you did! Plus, there are new ones being built for 2015 – check out which ones you can ride this year in our article!

15. Unplug on vacation. Leave the technology behind for a couple of days and unwind with the kids. No cell phones, Internet, iPads or video games. You’ll be able to reconnect as a family. And isn’t that what vacation is for? Check out our best places to unplug for ideas!

What are your New Year’s travel resolutions? Tell us in the comments below!

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

Happy Holidays From Family Vacation Critic

December 25th, 2014

Happy holidays from our family to yours! We hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah, are having a festive Christmas today, and are just as excited for Kwanzaa! Whatever holiday you may be celebrating, we hope it is filled with love and cheer.

Happy Holidays!

Employees at The Independent Traveler, Inc.

— Hilarey Wojtowicz