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Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

Sanctuary Camelback

This winter sucked. Like for real. And even though spring has sprung, it’s still pretty cold in a lot of places around the nation. Lately, my thoughts have been turning back to our incredible three night stay at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The resort is set against the beautiful backdrop of the Camelback Mountains—red and rugged. Totally what you think of when you think of the southwest. With 105 casitas and six private estate homes on the property, it’s huge, so expect to be whisked away by golf cart to your room and around the resort.

Sanctuary Camelback Casita

Each casita (Spanish for cool little bungalow) is situated amongst lush landscaping. Bay windows (that actually open and let in the sweet smell of blooming cactus flowers) show off the view of Paradise Valley and let in a natural light that almost makes you think you’re in the comfort of your own home. You actually feel one with nature, while not having to be exposed to the elements.

Sanctuary Camelback View

There’s plenty to do onsite—spa treatments, meditations, Pilates and yoga classes, tasting menu dinners and more. But their concierge can point you in the way of other activities special suited for families like renting bikes and heading out on the local trail, taking a nature hike or even shopping in downtown Scottsdale. And if you’re in need of a date night, they can help you track down local sitters in a pinch.

Make a mental note for next year if you have baseball-loving family members because spring training happens within the city. If you stay at this resort, you’ve got a great home base where you can be pampered in between games.

The restaurant serves up five-star quality grub from Food Network star Beau MacMillan. If you want to order something off menu for the kids, feel free. These guys go above and beyond to make your stay comfortable.

Sunday Brunch is a must, and if you start on the early side, you’ll be able to enjoy the calm before the storm. We chowed down on Old Bay poached shrimp, smoked salmon and ranchero burritos. The kids loved the chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes, because who wouldn’t?

Sanctuary Camelback Poolside

Totally suggest snagging a private cabana poolside (did I mention it’s an infinity pool) and having someone bring the food and drinks to you. After all, that’s what vacations are for.

If you want to add to your relaxation, you can take a walk down to the hotel’s spa for any number of treatments. You can even book a private aqua therapy session. Totally awesome for people who have sore backs from picking up little kids All.Day.Long. Parents, who’s with me? Combine that with an ultra-pampering manipedi, and you’ve got pure bliss.

Overall, this place rocks as a quick and easy family getaway with a scenic backdrop that is to die for.

Christina Montoya Fiedler is a Los Angeles-based parenting and travel writer. Follow her @cmf2009.

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/23 at 07:30 AM
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Destination: Family Escape

We’ve got the solution to finding a place to escape with the fam! As part of Destination Hotels & Resorts’ mission to create authentic experiences that are indigenous to each property’s location, they’ve launched Destination Family Escapes, a series of family-friendly curated itineraries. Destination Hotels & Resorts guests can supplement their mountain retreats, beach getaways and urban escapes with active journeys designed to educate and inspire. As the largest collection of independent hotels and resorts in the country, Destination Family Escapes’ all-encompassing experiences provide unforgettable vacations suitable for every family. Here are a few adventures you’ll be sure to love!

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Lansdowne Resort
Treat your family to a Northern Virginia adventure at Lansdowne Resort with the Land & Space Family Escape Package. Explore 500 acres and search for trinkets in a fun geocaching treasure hunt! Then prepare the blast off to the nearby Air & Space Museum to see some of the greatest flying machines of all time—including the amazing Space Shuttle Discovery.

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Stowe Mountain Lodge
This four-season resort boasts the tranquility of New England and enviable access to Stowe Mountain Resort ski area, as well as the charming village of Stowe. Get Out and Go offers families two-night accommodations, a rustic furniture-making class, a guided family hike or snowshoe adventure, dinner at the sophisticated-yet-laid-back Hourglass Lounge and a classic welcome of milk and cookies.

Always Find Yourself Needing More Hotel Time?
This resort group offers an additional perk called Destination Delivers—a unique loyalty club catering to Destination Hotels & Resorts guests’ individual lifestyles featuring exclusive members-only offers, discounted rates and VIP treatment collection-wide. Perks include 10% off the best available rate, complimentary room upgrade or late check-out VIP status. And every family knows how valuable late check-out can be!

Want to see the other Destination Family Escapes or to view packages from other distinctive hotels and resorts? Visit their website to learn more.

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/20 at 07:00 AM
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Saying Hello!

We know our Posh Blog readers want to get the most out of their travels and experience the place they are visiting to the fullest extent. A good place to start is by saying hello in the native language! With that in mind, we found this great infographic showing 21 Ways to Say Hello to help you on your way. From France to China to Brazil—and even Croatia—you’ll be able to take the first step to getting to know your hosts!

21 Ways to Say Hello

Courtesy LivingLanguage.com

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/16 at 10:52 AM
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Pinterest Place Boards: A New Way to Pin Down a Great Family Vacation

Need some travel inspiration for the upcoming summer family trip?

Put aside the dog-eared travel guides, and check out Pinterest! It’s not just for collecting ideas for weddings and dinner parties anymore. They’ve recently unveiled Place Pins—a valuable tool for planning posh summer vacations—or any sort of luxury getaway.

Click a Place Pin and up comes additional details, including location and contact information, to go along with the sort of photos that will have you itching to book that perfect trip or rent that vacation dream house.

Since November 2013, Pinterest users have created more than three million Place Boards making it a cinch to find tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels, and we’ve collected some of the highlights for you! To access the board, just click the pin below! Users crafting some great luxury travel plans have shared their:

Summer vacation ideas:

Lake House on Pinterest

Ideas for doing Europe in style:

House in France from Pinterest

or simply collected pins of their top hotels for families:

Slide in Maui from Pinterest

Travelers have always tapped like-minded others for ideas. Now, Pinterest has given us a visually fun, easy way that beats collecting a bunch of URLs or jotting down a list of destinations and vacation ideas. Give it a try! Make some of your own Place Boards to reference and share and post below so we can all see!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/13 at 12:11 PM
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Three Luxury Mediterranean Resort Gems for the Family

Fancy yourself a spot of Mediterranean sunshine? With hundreds of glorious luxury hotels and villas to choose from across the Med, you might be overwhelmed when looking for a vacation spot. Today we’re featuring three locations that have been highly rated for their family-friendly design and exceptional high-class facilities—an ideal combination for a posh family break!

Porto Elounda

Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort, Crete

Don’t let the adult-friendly name fool you, Porto Elounda has much to offer in addition to the exceptional golf and spa facilities. This seaside haven ensures families feel extremely welcome with interconnecting rooms a-plenty indoors and waterslides outside. The hotel has a Kid’s Ark club and crèche facility with both indoor and outdoor play areas and two fully-supervised shallow paddling pools. The club has an animal-theme and typical activities to keep the little ones entertained including baking, treasure hunts, circus acts, mask making and mini Olympic games. There are evening events for children scheduled twice weekly.

If picturesque relaxation is what you’re after, you’re heading to the right place. There’s a pool nearby the beach, and the sheltered bay is great for children to paddle. There are several dining options on location, from Greek to Italian to French, and weekly theme nights with music and dancers. You can even have a private dining experience in your room!

Anassa Spa

Anassa, Cyprus

When you want a luxurious holiday break with the family, you don’t need to sacrifice photogenic landscapes and sophisticated style in favor of brilliant childcare facilities—at Anassa, they have it all. The hotel is stunning, with whitewashed villa rooms, elegant swimming pools and striking waterfalls, but the children’s club is equally engaging. It features different clubs for different ages, including the Escape Club for teens and the Baby Go Lightly crèche. The hotel can provide everything you need for keeping youngsters occupied yourself, with books, crayons, games and puzzles for purchase. Strollers and other baby essentials are available to borrow.

For the adults, the Anassa in Cyprus has everything you’d expect from a luxury resort! Their Thalassa Spa is the height of relaxation, and their other facilities include squash and tennis courts, gym and four exceptional restaurants with international and local dishes on the menu, four bars and a lounge with wood burning fires.

Resort Spa Le Dune Restaurant

Resort & Spa Le Dune, Sardinia

Another superbly equipped resort for families is the Resort & Spa Le Dune on the magnificent Italian island of Sardinia. Le Dune is made up for five hotels in all—giving you plenty of facilities and options. There are extensive grounds overlooking the Badesi Marina coast, framed by sandy dunes and beaches that stretch around 8km to Isola Rossa.

Children will enjoy two dedicated kid’s swimming pools, a huge children’s playground and the Duneland Castle. The play center has a film screening area, a restaurant, workshop areas, play space and even a nursery area for toddlers and baby to nap or have their bottles. For children that enjoy the great outdoors, they can tend to veg in the organic garden or collect eggs from the resort’s hens.

The resort has 10 restaurants in all, including the children’s ‘Peter Pan’ eatery and two others particularly recommended for families: Le Palme and I Ginepri. At Dune Point, you’ll find other activities for all the family from shops and an amusement arcade to the dive centre! There’s plenty to do.

These are definitely resorts you’ll want to check out as possible holiday destinations, so why not add them to a travel planner like Amadeus.net, and ask your parenting friends which resort they’d like most?

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/09 at 01:22 PM
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Keeping Up with the Holidays (While You’re on Holiday)

Person sitting on beach

A nice, long holiday can make it easy to get so wrapped up in the moment that you…well…forget about the holidays!

There was so much planning going into your vacation, and you’ve booked the time solid with fun and adventure, but back home things are still going at normal speed. Even when you’re out and about there are certain holidays you wouldn’t want to miss (Mother’s Day, anyone?).

This article is a little unconventional when it comes to travel tips, but I think these are worth noting. Here are some ways you can “keep up” with the holidays…even when you’re on a holiday.

Keeping Up Calendar

Always Set those Reminders
You could be an absolute genius when it comes to making your travel plans but a complete ditz when you need to schedule out the little things. I blame it on the fact that we have Facebook letting us know when holidays are coming about—which lets us forget about them until the last moment.

Instead, get proactive with the scheduling:

- Use Google Calendar to keep track of your travel time and if a holiday falls on one of the dates that you’ll be away.
- Send predated emails to be delivered on specific days to work as reminders.
- Get a trustworthy friend to send you a text reminder in the even you haven’t got back to them about plans and the big events.

There are lots of tools for handling reminders.

Keeping Up Flowers

Do the Gift Thing, Online
Giving a gift to someone, in person, is the best since it’s more personal, but when you’re out and about there’s not much you can do if someone is far off in another land. Thank goodness for online shopping, am I right?

For example—this Mother’s Day you can show your appreciation by sending off a bouquet of flowers. When you could order online, the shop handles the arrangements, and you don’t have to feel sorry that you left mum without a gift on her special holiday.

Some services will even send you reminders should you be the type of person who forgets important dates. Set them up to remind you when to order gifts and to whom. This will get rid of the stress of keeping up with the holidays—especially the gift giving kind.

Keeping Up Carnaval

Out with the Old; In with the New
Whisking off to an exotic location isn’t just about the beauty and the food. Don’t forget there is a lot of culture to be found in the world, and this goes doubly true for the holidays the locals celebrate. Next time you’re on vacation, consider skipping over the one you’d do back home in place of one that’s going on in your area. Take a look at what holidays happen around the world. You could even cater your vacation around them (Carnival in Brazil, anyone?).

Attend an Event, Virtually
Can’t be there physically? There are lots of great tools for doing online video like Skype or FaceTime (on iOS devices). If you know someone that has a tablet you could ask them to set up one of these services, put it on the table, and let you “attend” the celebration—even when you’re way off in another country. Just make sure you have a good internet connection for your devices otherwise the video will be choppy, but even then…it’s better than not being there at all!

Keeping Up Plane

Surprise ‘Em by Bringin’ ‘Em Out
This isn’t for those on budget travel, but since we are on a site about posh lifestyle I might as well add the suggestion of bringing people to you for the holiday. Wouldn’t it be an awesome surprise if you flew a friend out for your birthday (or theirs)? What if you brought the whole family out with one big surprise announcement? Vacations are nice, but they’re even better when they’re around the loved ones.

Your turn. How do you keep up with the holidays when you’re off in exotic locations trying to get away from everyday life?

Thanks to guest blogger Sara Stringer for this travel tips post!

photo credit: Jjarivera via Wikimedia Commons cc
photo credit: Andreanna Moya Photography via Flickr cc
photo credit: Lisa Brewster via Flickr cc
photo credit: jikatu via Flickr cc
photo credit: Kitty Terwolbeck via Flickr cc

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/06 at 01:14 PM
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Vacationing at the Spooky Stanley Hotel

Spooky Stanley Hotel

There are many hotels across the globe, each with its own charm, but one of the most noteworthy is in Estes Park, Colorado. Made popular for inspiring Stephen King to write “The Shining,” The Stanley Hotel is an entertaining experience for adults and kids alike. What makes this historical landmark such an attraction for kids?

Ghost Hunts and Tours
The Stanley Hotel is well known for its alleged paranormal activity, so, of course, there are special packages available to help your kids search the hotel for evidence of spirits. With the Ghost Adventure package, not only are you guaranteed a room on the spooky fourth floor, but each reservation receives an EMF meter to hunt ghosts! Kids love the idea of “ghost hunting” with these “proper tools,” and it’s fun whether you believe in the phenomenon or not. Each guest also receives a glow-in-the-dark foam ghost and a REDRUM coffee mug. Other fun extras can be found in the gift shop!

Spooky Stanley Butterflies

The Butterfly Encounter
In spring and summer, volunteers from Estes Park High School devote their time to caring for a large number of Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies. The butterflies are released weekly into the wild to help repopulate the dwindling Monarch Butterfly population. It can be an awe-inspiring sight to see hundreds of butterflies take flight as each explores its own existence. Visitors are right in the middle of the action, and kids love it!

Kid-Friendly Environment
Although the sheer elegance of the hotel will make most parents cringe when their kids run up and down the hallways, the Stanley welcomes all visitors regardless of age. In fact, it’s not just kids wandering around, because the hotel’s paranormal reputation tempts everyone to explore. No matter when you look, you’ll find guests searching for evidence of the supernatural!

Tours
There are several tours leaving from the Stanley exploring historic Estes Park and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. For one fun adventure, kids dress up in pint-sized fire gear and ride around in a restored old-time fire engine. They’ll be having so much fun experiencing the beauty of Estes Park and the gorgeous mountainous terrain, they won’t even realize they’re learning!

Fun City!
You can’t miss going to a place called Fun City! Luckily, The Stanley Hotel is just a short drive away from the Estes Park Fun City. Whether your kids love playing miniature golf, driving go-karts or enjoying paddling boats around, there is family entertainment for everyone at this local establishment!

Spooky Stanley Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is only a short distance from The Stanley Hotel. Regular guided tours showcase Colorado’s natural beauty, or you can strap on a backpack and explore the mountains as a family. Educational adventure tours are popular for kids who enjoy learning about life in the mountains.

Aside from fascinating history and deep beauty of the Estes Park area, the ambiance of the hotel will make you feel like you stepped into a completely different era where you can truly experience a luxurious vacation. You’ll enjoy fine dining at the three restaurants on location. The Cascades Restaurant is a wonderful steakhouse featuring fresh and innovative dishes with a local flair and focus on sustainable ingredients whereas the The Whiskey Bar offers an historic cocktail menu and Colorado’s largest selection of whiskeys and single-malt scotches. Steamer’s Cafe serves lovely fresh pastries, gelato and sandwiches. No matter what you’re craving, you’ll find it here!

Spooky Stanley Lodge Suite

Both condos and rooms in the lodge (where dogs are welcome!) are available. All accomodations feature comfortable furnishings and inviting seating areas, 42” flat screen televisions, complimentary wireless internet and pillow-top mattresses.

Ken Myers is a father, husband and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience building a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

Rocky Mountains photo credit: jbkalla via photopin cc

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/02 at 12:00 PM
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Magna Carta: Downton Abbey Classic Cruise

downton-abbey1

Do you find yourself watching the hit PBS drama Downton Abbey and dreaming of walking the halls of the iconic Grantham manor? Think you could never see the inside of the castle outside of television? The European charter vessel company Magna Carta offers travelers the opportunity to do just that with a tour of Highclere Castle, the show’s real-life filming location, as well as a peek into some of England’s most historic landmarks during a luxurious seven-day cruise. Beginning with English Cream Tea at the legendary Stafford Hotel in London, the tour includes stops at Windsor Castle, Christ Church in Oxford and, of course, “Downton Abbey.”

Highclere Castle

Julian Fellowes, creator and executive producer of the television show Downton Abbey, drew his inspiration from Highclere Castle and the Carnarvon family who has lived there for centuries. Set on 1,000 acres of sprawling parkland, the classic Victorian castle is the main filming location for the show. Guests receive a tour of the castle and learn firsthand about its vibrant role in English history. For instance, the castle was in fact converted into a hospital during World War I as depicted during the series!

Magna Carta Cabin

While traveling with the Magna Carta crew, service onboard your floating, luxury hotel will be second to none. Each cruise is limited to eight guests in order to provide the maximum in terms of service and space. The end results are cabins averaging 200 sqft with king-sized beds and extra spacious en-suite facilities. The saloon and sun decks are much larger than expected and give guests the space to really relax and unwind. In addition to the captain, the staff consists of a master chef, a hostess and a deck hand. The cuisine and service are quite simply exquisite!

Saloon image March 2014 reduced

The all-inclusive, weeklong cruise is priced at $5,180 per person and is available for select departures on Sundays in May and August. Advance reservations are suggested for spa treatments. For booking inquiries, contact Dominic Read at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or at 011 44 7836 551912.

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/28 at 11:27 PM
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Table For Two, Please!

Picture this: You and your significant other are on vacation in a fabulous locale, and it’s your last night there. You want to grab dinner at the most well-known restaurant in town. You decide to just show up at 8PM, but, of course, there are no tables available. What do you do?

Dinner-Is-Served

Wendy Perrin over at Condé Nast Traveler has put together some tips on getting a reservation at a fully booked restaurant. Here is a sampling:

- In major US cities, remember to take advantage of your smartphone! Download an app like OpenTable.
- Make use of your social media sites! Many chefs and restaurants post table availability on their pages.
- If you’re overseas, go at less popular times.

For more tips on scoring reservations when there aren’t any, check out her article, How to Get a Reservation at a Fully Booked Restaurant.

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/25 at 12:04 PM
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What Happens When You Mix Up Disney Idols at the White House Easter Egg Roll: Hormonal Teen Takedown

We went to the White House Easter Egg Roll yesterday in Washington. It was a beautiful day and thousands of families were enjoying The People’s House.

eggroll

6 year old Penelope and I met Ross Lynch, star of “Austin & Ally” and leader of the sibling band R5. He was very gracious. Penelope told me he was “Austin Mahone” (I’ve since learned he plays “Austin Moon” on this show) and so I posted to Instagram and tagged “Austin Mahone.” Bad mistake. Really bad.

This is what happens when you mix up your Disney teen heartthrobs…Warning, some of the fans’ comments are, er, colorful.

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Posted by Elizabeth on 04/22 at 06:37 AM
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Kourtney & Scott Take Mexico

Kourtney and Scott in Cabo

Break out the sombreros! Kourtney Kardashian didn’t let us down with her pampered 35th birthday celebration. The hot reality-celeb mom of two was spotted having fun at Casa Aramara in Cabo with her boyfriend Scott Disick and two kids, Penelope and Mason.

The family of four enjoyed their stay at this posh private retreat that is popular with many celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Ashton Kutcher, Mario Lopez and Vince Vaughn. Casa Aramara has every amenity you could wish for to make your stay a great one:

- ATV’s for beach adventures
- Sea lion encounter
- Basketball court
- Champagne sunset cruises
- state-of-the-art Fitness Center
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Island excursions

Cabo Sea Lion

So the next time you’re thinking of spending some time in Mexico, remember… VIVA LA MEXICO Kardashian style!

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/21 at 09:18 PM
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Last Minute Easter Getaway to Puerto Rico? Yes, Please!

Need a last minute getaway deal for Easter? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! From egg decorating and a dive-in egg hunt to Easter-themed kids’ spa treatments and an elegant Easter brunch, Caribe Hilton and El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico offer activities all this weekend. Over the Easter holiday, nightly rates start at $299 at Caribe Hilton and $279 at El Conquistador Resort. Both resorts are easily accessible to U.S. residents—no passport required—via the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

El Conquistador

At El Conquistador Resort you and the family will enjoy:

Camp Coqui - Specially designed for children ages 4 to 12, this camp offers a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, dive-in movies, nature walks and more. Half-day, full-day and night sessions available with cost including activities, snacks and meals.

Coqui Water Park

Coqui Water Park - This family-friendly water park offers pools for guests of all ages, exciting water rides such as slides and a lazy river, a casual café and gift shop.
Palomino Island - Hop on the resort catamaran for a short ride to this unspoiled private island. Activities include snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, horseback riding or simply enjoying the beach with the family. Iguana’s Café serves casual fare. Two shops offer beach supplies and souvenirs.

Caribe-Hilton-Hotel-Walking-path

Caribe Hilton offers:
- 264 spacious villas at Condado Lagoon Villas—part of Caribe Hilton complex
- A secluded beach, modern fitness center, pool, three tennis courts, spa and games room
- Eight San Juan restaurants and bars
- Kids club and summertime children’s camp Camp Coco

Caribe-Hilton-Gameroom

If you’re still in the market for a quick Easter vacay, check out these two hot spots!

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/18 at 12:37 AM
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Laid-back Luxury - A Couples Guide to Fine Island Living

Author in Barbados

Although the month of love is a distant memory, the spoiling and pampering that comes with it should be an all-year-round affair. Spending time in Barbados with your better half—on the sun-kissed sands of an island getaway—is the perfect potion to rekindle the flame…or to keep the fire burning!

Where We Stayed

What drew me to The Sandpiper Luxury Hotel was its rustic feel set against its opulence and intimate subtle charm. Don’t get me wrong, we love spa resort-type hotels, but Sandpiper’s interior design and location near the stretch of white sandy beaches along St. James was breathtakingly beautiful.

We booked ourselves a one-bedroom luxury suite (they do have double rooms, too) with all the usual amenities, as well as a balcony that beckons you to a morning coffee while you watch the sun crest over the coconut palms. The luxury suites also have a plunge pool perfect for desalinizing after being in the ocean all day.

Barbados Bartender

What We Ate

And now the food…oh my gosh, the food was amazing! It’s fresh, especially the seafood, as it’s caught each morning. The cuisine served during the day was never boring or repetitive and is award-winning quality. Even the barbecue is moist and full of flavor. The best way to drink rum (this would be the only way I would drink it from now on, if I could) is by having a bartender whack off the top of a coconut, splashing a healthy helping of rum inside and throwing in a straw with a teeny-tiny umbrella. I can guarantee you have not tasted anything so marvelous.

What We Did

What we loved about The Sandpiper Hotel was their exclusive and complimentary water activities. We didn’t have to organize anything! We snorkeled, surfed, kayaked, jet-skied and went on island tours. They offer Mabel rides, tennis court access and golfing, but those weren’t our style, so we skipped them.

Barbados Sea Turtle

Besides the ocean-tastic activities, we also did a bit of touring of the island. We visited Harrison’s Cave, saw Green Monkeys in the Wildlife Reserve and took a trip in a glass-bottomed yacht to see the sea turtles (when we snorkeled later that week, we swam with them a little way).

How Did We Do It

Flight costs generally chew up most of our budgets, so I did a comparison with flythomascook.com, flight centers and other popular travel agents to find the best deal.

I cannot truly convey the actual feeling of being on this Caribbean island, talking to other guests, hearing their stories and the sounds of the waves at night and laughing with new friends over good food and wine. Depending on where you are on the island, you will experience both the calm and easy-going side, as well as the passion and energy. So go beyond the standard Google search or YouTube video, and find your own secret gems waiting to be discovered. It will be well worth the time!

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/15 at 09:26 AM
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Family-Friendly Villas in Jamaica

Kick off your snow boots, grab your sandals and head to Jamaica! This week we’re previewing a few of the wonderful villas available there through Villas by Linda Smith. Linda and her team have put together a list of sumptuous villa options designated as family friendly. What makes them family friendly? In addition to the full staff of butler, chef and housekeeper, these villas offer:

- Grassy lawns and outdoor play areas;
- Safe distances between house and swimming pool;
- Kid-friendly meal planning;
- Nanny service; and
- Adjoining bedrooms for parents and children.

Many of these homes also enjoy membership to exclusive resorts so you can take advantage of their on-site kids’ clubs. Here’s a preview of three of these gorgeous family-friendly villas—with the full list available here!

Sundown on the Beach—Discovery Bay

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Sundown is an exquisite nine-bedroom home on a 125’ private white sand beach next to the turquoise waters of Discovery Bay. The villa also features a 17’x 28’ pool with shower, a staff of seven and two seaside gazebos for lunches, massages and watching sunsets across the bay.

Tranquillity on the Beach—Montego Bay

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Tranquillity is a fully-staffed beautiful six-bedroom beachfront villa with more than 6,300 square feet of rich marble floors. The private pool and expanded pool deck are surrounded by hibiscus with over a dozen different blooms daily. Artful landscaping ensures year-round flowers in bloom that brings regular visits from hummingbirds and parrots. The grounds resemble a private park dotted with mango, guava, banana, plantain, lime, soursop, apple and papaya trees.

Knockando on Round Hill—Montego Bay

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The deluxe 5½-bedroom private Knockando villa sits atop prestigious Round Hill and is powered 100% by solar. It features a staff of five, a 20’ X 40’ private saltwater pool with unique mosaic Chinese dragon design and is distinguished by one of the most breathtaking views in the Caribbean.

After taking a look at these posh villas, you and your family are sure to be headed for family fun-in-the-sun in no time!

Photos courtesy of Jamaica Villas by Linda Smith and photographer Nigel D. Lord

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/11 at 12:56 PM
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Posh Family Travel on a Budget

Jennifer and Katie in Paris

Please welcome our guest poster—author Jennifer Coburn!

When I tell people I took my daughter on four summer trips to Europe, some reply, “Must be nice.” What they’re assuming, of course, is that my family is rich. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When my daughter Katie and I took our first trip overseas, our house was in a state of serious disrepair. None of our windows shut properly. The oven in our 1970s kitchen had two settings: hot and off. And the bathroom floor was patched with wooden boards.

Perhaps making overseas travel a priority was irresponsible, but I will always treasure the memories of watching Katie sketch at the Louvre in Paris and explore the Coliseum in Rome. Plus, there are ways to make family travel fit most budgets.

Fly for Free

Airline frequent flyer programs are a pain to navigate, but worth the hassle. Katie and I have flown to Europe for free in the height of travel season, but I had to learn a few tricks in order to collect and redeem miles.

First, earn miles by signing up with a credit card that awards points for charges. If you have the discipline to pay off the card in full every month, charge everything! If I bought a banana, it went on my American Express card that awards 1.2 miles for every dollar I spend.

Join a dining club—or other groups—that award miles. I earn five miles every time I charge a meal at many restaurants, including hamburger joints.

I’ve been able to fund four round-trip tickets to Europe in the summer this way.

Don’t have the patience to read the fine print? Neither did I, so I called the airline in the middle of the night to talk to a call center operator who wasn’t rushed. She advised that if I wanted to fly during peak travel season, I should call on the exact day “non-revenue” seats opened up. For American Airlines, this was 331 days prior to the flight date. She suggested I call at midnight (in her time zone) to ensure another savvy traveler didn’t snatch up the extremely limited frequent flyer seats. The operator also offered this valuable caveat: Be sure you are 100% certain of your travel dates, because any change will cost you.

Put Your Home to Work

You can actually earn money while traveling by renting your vacant home on Air BnB or another vacation rental service. To find lodging, email everyone you know and ask who has friends who will rent their home or rooms. Katie and I spent 10 days in a lovely home near London. A friend’s aunt charged us $20 per night. Friends in southern Italy let us stay with them for free.

You might also house swap through one of many reputable home exchange services.

Jennifer and Katie in Madrid

Enjoy Family Discounts and “City Passes”

Many countries offer discounts at tourist attractions for children under 16. And most cities offer a cultural pass that bundles admission to attractions at a discount. I bought a $32 Barcelona arts pass that gave me access to every museum we visited, and Katie got in for free almost everywhere we went.

Make a Game of Budgeting

At the start of our visit to Italy, I explained to Katie that I could afford to travel for a month on a budget or a week on a shopping bender. Thankfully, she agreed that time was more important than stuff, and we made a game of staying on our daily budget.

For meals, we loaded up on free breakfast, carried snack bars (from Costco back home) and ate at wonderful little delis. It was Italy, though, so every few nights we splurged on great meals.

Travel is a luxury because it gives us the time to explore new parts of the world with the people we love most. But that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. With some advance planning and cost cutting, the trip of a lifetime doesn’t have to put you in debt for the rest of your life.

Jennifer Coburn is the author of “We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother-Daughter Memoir.” Visit her online at JenniferCoburn.com or on Facebook/JenniferCoburnBooks.

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/08 at 11:33 AM
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