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Archive for the ‘Travel Discounts’ Category

My Top Ten Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas

May 11th, 2010 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Legoland, Museums, Road Trips, San Diego Beaches, Ski Adventures, Smith Family Adventures, Snow Vacations, theme parks, Travel Discounts, Travel Tips

I have been meaning to do this kind of tip post for a while now, but my friends at Twittermom finally gave me the excuse I needed to get it done. Here are the Family Adventure Guidebooks Top Ten Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas:

Saving Money on Food:

1) Pack a Picnic.  Whether you’re hitting a theme park or on a road trip, packing a picnic cuts down on the cost of overpriced, yucky fast food.  I am always sure to include  some special treats: berries, salami sandwiches, etc…something the kids don’t get to enjoy every day.  Eat your picnic at a local park or rest stop.  Your kids will make new friends and get their wiggles out.

2) Do it Yourself Room Service .  Supermarket delis have fun, healthy take out.  Everyone can eat what they want and if you get paper plates…no dishes.  TV Dinners are a rare treat in our family so if there is a microwave and freezer in the room I sometimes pick some up.

3) Pick Hotels that Have Breakfast Included.  Last summer our family stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Santa Cruz for two weeks.  It was lovely to have a hardy breakfast (eggs or omlette, sausage, fruit,etc.) every day.  Since we filled up at breakfast we were able to eat a lighter lunch!

Saving Money on Lodging:

4) Time Shares Don’t buy one…rent one…!  Our latest discovery is renting time shares on a per night basis.  With a family of five, we find that we all have a happier vacation if we are able to spread out.  Renting a time share gives us extra space, a full kitchen,  and privacy for Mom and Dad at an affordable price.

5) Join the Club.  Join Hotel Chain loyalty rewards clubs and stay at only one or two chains when you can.  Also keep an eye out for stay ___ nights get a night free promotions.  Our summer Holiday Inn Express stay yielded a five day  ski vacation in Lake Tahoe.  We used our bonus nights at the Holiday Inn Express in South Lake Tahoe,  and used the the money we saved to pay for ski lessons. 

Saving Money on Themeparks and Attractions:

6) Do Your Research.  Figure out how many days you are going to spend  at a themepark, then look at all the admission possibilities including memberships.  Sometimes buying a membership is the same price or even cheaper then a number of single day admissions.  It may be worth buying a membership and making a return trip.

7) Keep an  Eye Out for Discounts and Special Events.  LEGOLAND holds a special fundraising event for the schools every year.  They also invite people to a smaller section of the park  at night to experience their Halloween festivities for less than the price of full admission.  The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offers discounted weeknights during the summer.  Our family never misses them when we go to visit.  All rides are the cost of one ticket which adds up to significant savings if you want to ride the famed Giant Dipper more than once.

Vacation Fun on a Budget:

8.) Visit a Children’s Museum:  These are way cheaper than theme parks and are just as fun!  My friend Minnemom has pointed out that some museums have reciprocity agreements. So, if you purchase a membership at your local museum it may give you free admission to museums at your vacation destination.  Some of my favorites are The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The Children’s Discovery Museum of San JoseThe Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas, The Exploratorium in San Francisco and The Portland Children’s Museum.

9) Hit the Beach. You can spend a blissful day (or two or three) with your kids entertained for hours.  Just purchase a few cheap buckets and shovels, pack a picnic, slather on the sunscreen, and read a book that you brought from home or picked up at a local used book store.  If you want to splurge you can rent surfboards or boogie boards from a local business like the one run by my friends at Concept Specialty Board Shop  in Encinitas, California.

10) Play at the Park.  Here in California playground safety laws were changed a few years ago so almost every town has had to update their playground equipment.  This is a real benefit for travelers.   No trip to Monterey would be complete without a visit to the famous Dennis the Menace Park.  Our kids love to perch on top of the train.  Even less famous parks can be lots of fun.    Some other favorite California Parks  are Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas, Louden Nelson Park in Santa Cruz,  Holiday Park in Carlsbad, and Moonlight Beach Park in Encinitas.

Happy Trails!

Bridget

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Toyota Sienna and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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Free Admission to the Reuben H Fleet Science Museum in San Diego This Saturday!

April 29th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Free Stuff, San Diego Adventures, Travel Discounts

 

 Lunchables is sponsoring free admission to the Rueben H Fleet Science Museum this Saturday May 1st  for the first 1,500 people to visit. Those lucky few can also attend an IMAX film for five dollars on that day.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m.  See you there!

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S.  Thanks to my friend Deb at San Diego Momma.  She has a really funny and interesting blog about motherhood and life in general. 

 

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Photo Friday: A LEGOLAND CENSUS, PLUS LEGOLAND DISCOUNT COUPONS

April 23rd, 2010 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in Legoland, theme parks, Travel Discounts

The Census is Happening at LEGOLAND, Ca

Every so often LEGOLAND comes up with a Miniland installation that reflects current events in a clever way.  I’ve seen portapotties at the Obama inauguration and the agony of defeat reflected in the LEGO depiction of the Little Leauge World Series game.  I really enjoyed this picture of the census which is going on in Miniland right now.  Fun fact:  The census taker is modeled after Beth, the PR person at LEGOLAND.    The humans are also doing a real life count of the Miniland population since it has grown considerably since the park opened. 

LEGO census workers will be hard at work though July, so take your kids on a hunt for them a la “Where’s Waldo?”.  How many Minilanders to you think that the human census workers will find?  Record your guess below, and I’ll try to get the final count from Beth in the near future. 

Stopped by Wendy’s for a burger the other day and discovered that San Diego Wendy’s Restaurants are offering free child admission with an adult admission while supplies last.  Now that’s a great travel bargain!

Have a great weekend!

Stop by Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday to see what’s happening in the world of travel. Love Debbie’s son’s choice of future occupation.  Check it out ;) .

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S.  The Photo is Courtesy of LEGOLAND, CALIFORNIA.  My camera doesn’t take closeups that are that spectacular ;) .

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Family Adventure Bargain Alert: Max and Ruby by Moonlight

April 20th, 2010 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, Travel Discounts

Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells

Lately here in Northern San Diego County it seems like we have been so blessed with fun kids events that it’s hard to choose.  On Saturday Jared, Destiny and I will be heading to a musical theatre production of Max and Ruby at the Moonlight Ampitheatre in Oceanside.  If you haven’t attended something at this performance venue , you must give it a chance.  It’s casual and outdoors atmosphere  makes  it the perfect place for an early theatre experience.  This particular production is by Theatreworks/USA a professional  New York Theatre group.

How much would you expect to pay for this spectacular production????  The unbelievable price is $5 a ticket.  Order yours here.  Gates open at 5:30 curtain goes up at 5pm. 

Hope to see you there!

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Best LEGOLAND Bargain of the Year:$15 discount tickets-1 day only!!!

April 9th, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Legoland, theme parks, Travel Discounts

Taking the entire family to LEGOLAND California can be a pricey, but worthwhile adventure.  Still, if you are on a budget or just want to preview the park before spending big bucks, Celebrate Carlsbad Day can be a great way to help  Carlsbad Schools and enjoy a LEGOLAND adventure.

Every year LEGOLAND California generously holds this day as a  fundraiser for the Carlsbad Educational Foundation.  Funds raised are used for music and science enrichment at the Carlsbad Unified School District (including my son’s school).  Tickets are $15 and are good for a visit between 1pm-9pm on May 1, 2010.  It will be crowded that day so plan accordingly.  It may not be the best day to promise to take your 5 year old on all the most popular rides.  Still LEGOLAND is seldom open past 6pm and it’s fun to catch a glimpse of LEGOLAND at night.

If you are interested, you can order tickets by phone at 760-929-1555.  Tickets include coupon for a $5 admission ticket to the Sea Life aquarium on May 1 or 2nd which makes them an extra great value.

Hope you enjoy your Legoland adventure.

Happy Trails!

Bridget

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How to Support a Great Cause and Get Free LEGOLAND Admission on March 16th

March 14th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Legoland, Travel Discounts, Uncategorized

One Carlsbad business owner has pledged to do something extraordinary.  Greg Nelson has pledged to donate Gregorio’s entire profit from 2010 to the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad.  That alone should give your family the motivation to head over for some great Italian food, but wait…there’s more.

This Tuesday Legoland  General  Manager Peter Ronchetti will be serving as a “celebrity host”.  He’s bringing along a LEGO Master Builder who will be giving kids tips as they participate in a LEGO model builder competition.  Everyone dining at Gregorios the evening of March 16th will receive a coupon for free LEGOLAND admission with a paid admission.

Make your reservations now.  Gregorios will be a very busy place this Tuesday night.  Call (760) 720-1132 or visit the Gregorios website to reserve your table.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Birthday Adventures

January 15th, 2010 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Free Stuff, Sea Life Aquarium, Sealife Bargains, Travel Discounts

 

I had big plans for my birthday this year.  I considered a trip to the zoo or a day exploring Torrey Pines State Beach.  I thought about taking a big family hike in some part of San Diego that we had never explored before.  Well, the entire family was recovering from colds and very tired.  We had alot of fun around the house, but weren’t able to get our act together until 4pm.  Even then, I was getting some major grumbling as I pushed three kids, one husband and the dog out the door.

I “settled” for a very short walk along Agua Hedonida Lagoon in Carlsbad and was rewarded with a spectacular sunset walk.  It was the perfect way to end my special day.  As you can see the kids ended up having alot of fun despite their grumbling.

 

Here’s a final glimpse of the birthday girl (ME).  My husband and I are leaving on a San Francisco getaway tommorrow.  Ken is a really thoughtful guy, and I’m excited to become reacquainted with the city that I used to visit when growing up in San Rafael.  Last time we spent the weekend there, my ten year old was only a few months old, and we came back to San Rafael in the middle of our getaway so I could nurse the baby to sleep ;) .

Since I will be on the road I will be missing the Underwater Parks Day Festival at the Sea Life Aquarium.  For more information about this great family event click here.  Receive two free child admissions to this exciting event on January 16th by clicking here.

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.    I love Debbie’s Photo Friday Post on Unicorn Crepes .  Will have to try some next time I’m in Seattle.

Happy Trails!

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Little League Victory at Legoland

September 25th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures, Legoland, theme parks, Travel Discounts
Chula Vista Little League Victory, Legoland, California
Chula Vista Little League World Series Victory, Legoland, California

 

One of the things that I love about Legoland is how they bring the real world into the park through their Miniland displays.  A few weeks ago, a team from Chula Vista in Southern San Diego County won the Little League World Series.   To honor this historic event, model builders installed a replica of the winning game at Miniland.  This is the first time that Legoland has immortalized local heroes.  How exciting this must be for the preteens on that team!

When I heard about this display, I had to share it with all of you.  The photos of the game were furnished by Legoland California and taken by the multi talented Lego Master Model Designer Gary McIntire who designed and constructed this amazing display.

Note the boys celebrating their victory with a dog pile.  I think that’s my favorite part :) .

If you would like to check out this amazing display, but don’t have the cash for full admission you have two options.

A) Enter my Family Adventure Guidebooks Birthday Giveaway to win four free Parkhopper Passes to Legoland.

B) Looking for a Legoland bargain? Visit www.brickortreat.com to purchase tickets to Legoland’s Brick or Treat Celebration.  This fun after hours Halloween party starts at 5pm and includes a number of areas including Miniland so you can check out the display then enjoy some Halloween fun.  Night admission is only $25 or an all day admission is $55.  If you order online this includes a second visit free between November 1 and December 25th so this is really a great deal.

Activities include a dance party, costume contest, balloon artists, and roving musicians.  Kids get to come in costume and do some trick or treating.  Here’s a photo of  Justin, Destiny, and Jared enjoying some Halloween fun at Brick or Treat last year. 

Legoland Halloween

Brick or Treat only takes place a few nights in October, so act now to be sure you don’t miss out on the fun.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. You can also check out my post on Uptake for more tips on how to save money on your theme park adventures.

P.P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.

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Legoland Misses Me! (Legoland Offers Great Deals to Lure Members Back)

August 19th, 2009 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Legoland, theme parks, Travel Discounts

Lego New York City, Miniland California

After much deliberation our family let our Legoland passes expire this year.  Due to a family trip last year, we have Disneyland passes through December.  Two themeparks seems like too much during the school year.  Still, Legoland is making it awfully tempting to re-up.  Here are two offers I have received in the past week.

Legoland’s Tenth Birthday Offer

 My ten year old is finally getting his long awaited birthday party this Saturday.  After partying in the pool with five of his closest friends, we may be heading over to Legoland.  It turns out that like Justin, Legoland is celebrating its tenth birthday.  To acknowledge this milestone its ten year old members (and apparently former members) a FREE Legoland Standard Membership. (Yes, you read that correctly…absolutely free).  The only catch of course is that you have to pay alot for parking, and find a Legoland member willing to bring your kid along or buy Membership yourself. 

 If you have a ten year old in your family and are planning to by a whole bunch of memberships, it might be worth asking if they would honor this promotion.  It expires Sept 1, 2009 and requires a postcard so act fast.  I am hoping that like most memberships this one will come with some bring a friend coupons in December and April.

Legoland Resort Pass Offer

Our three kids had a three month Resort Pass this year that we purchased from Costco.  Since we had been 3-Month mebers we also received a postcard offering Resort Memberships for the price of a  Standard Membership.  This is a pretty good deal, since it includes free mini golf and unlimited Sea Life Aquarium admission.  The aquarium admission would come in handy on the occasional rainy days we have here in Carlsbad.  It also includes free parking which is always awesome and is offered for any Resort Passholder, even kids.  That’s a savings of $40 off of the regular adult Resort Membership price.

Will these great Legoland bargains succeed in luring back our entire family? Frankly I’m still thinking about this one.  I do miss the special member Lego building events, the free entrance into Brick or Treat, and being to head over to Legoland for a Rocking New Year’s Eve Celebration.  We will take advantage of Justin’s free membership and see how it goes.  At the very least,  another three month pass for me and the little ones may be in our future. 

Anyone else out there seen some great theme park discounts and promotions?  Feel free to share below.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Sea Life Aquarium (Carlsbad, Ca)

June 5th, 2009 by bsmith | 12 Comments | Filed in Sea Life Aquarium, Special Events, theme parks, Travel Discounts
Jared Fish Explores a Tank

Jared Fish Explores a Tank

I must confess that I have had a major change of heart about the Sea Life Aquarium.  When I visited a few weeks after opening, I wasn’t really sure if this aquarium was worth the trip.  The Sea Life Aquarium is pretty small, and it was very crowded the day of my first visit.   My three year old kept running ahead and getting lost in the crowd. 

A few weeks ago I returned to the aquarium on a Tuesday.  The crowds were gone. They had done some tweaking with the exhibits, and I began to see that the Sea Life Aquarium is perfect for little kids.  The tanks are designed so the kids can actually come up inside and have close encounters with the fish.  There are plenty of down low peek holes, so no one has to be lifted up to see the tanks. 

Enjoy these pictures from our latest Sea Life Aquarium Adventure:

Jared and Friends Explore the Touch Pool

Jared and Friends Explore the Touch Pool

 

Fascinating Fish, Sea Life Aquarium

Fascinating Fish, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

 Another wonderful thing about the Sea Life Aquarium is its dedication to marine conservation.  They have many special events and celebrations including beach clean ups and the upcoming World Oceans Day Celebration which takes place on Sunday June 7th.  There will be special arts and crafts and a reading of  Surf Angel  by local children’s author Terry Krazewski. You can also check out the aquarium’s  brand new shark exhibit.  Get a discount coupon here .

Lego Sand Castle Building, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

Lego Sand Castle Building, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

World Oceans Day,  is Monday June 8th.   The Ocean Project encourages ocean lovers to “wear blue” and tell two.  This means, wear blue on Monday and tell people two facts that they may not know about the ocean.  If you live in California, I have one fact you can share.  Many of our state beaches may be closed at the end of the summer due to budget cuts.  I will be talking more about this at Family Adventure Guidebooks throughout the summer, but for now you can get  more information from the California State Parks Foundation website.

Finally, Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicous Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Round Up. Be sure to check it out.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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