Just north of its better-known California wine country cousin, Napa, is the small resort town of Calistoga. My husband and I recently had the chance to visit Calistoga for a weekend getaway to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had a relaxing time staying at the historic Indian Springs Resort, known for its geothermal heated pool, full service spa, and old-school mud baths.
Calistoga is situated in the heart of the Napa Valley, so grapes dominate the landscape and wine tasting tops the list of local must-do activities. Because we had a rare trip away without our two children, my husband and I made sure to visit several of the better known Calistoga area wineries. There are many within just a few mile drive, so choosing which ones to visit was no easy task. We narrowed it down to four wineries, and each was able to deliver some tasty wines as well as a unique perspective on the Calistoga wine scene.
As I’ve alluded to a few times, I’m a big fan of frequent flyer miles and points as a way to reduce travel costs. My family has used miles and points over the past 4-5 years to fund a reasonable amount of our travel. The biggest way we earn points is through credit card signup bonus offers (here are a few posts about cards I’ve gotten in recent years).
I don’t blog about miles and points because there are plenty of experts in that crowded field already. And frankly, I’m not really one of them. My husband and I are incredibly financially conservative, and we don’t apply for dozens of credit cards just for signup bonuses and the like. We probably average 2-3 new cards per person per year. This is child’s play in the real credit card churning game. We don’t keep up with every single trick, hack, or deal. We do what works for us, and we are happy with that.
But fellow blogger Dia over at The Deal Mommy encouraged me to share a miles and points personal story as a cautionary tale to others. So I’m breaking with my usual practice of not blogging much about miles and points to share just that.
Happy Friday! Thanks for bearing with my while the blog has been a bit quiet for a short while. I never take breaks for very long though, so expect some new post soon.
In any event, I have some catching up to do this week in this blog roundup since I skipped the last two Fridays. So, I’m featuring three weeks of excellent family travel stories today. Keeping up with all the family travel blogs weekly is a bit of a challenge, so you’ll probably see this post only once or twice a month going forward. But I tweet a lot of good family travel articles as I find them, so follow me on Twitter for the latest and most current updates.
Here are the best of the best family travel articles from the past few weeks:
If you read this blog often, you will know that I am one of Southwest Airlines’s biggest cheerleaders when it comes to traveling with kids. I think Southwest offers a superior product for traveling families and have chosen to fly Southwest a lot more in recent months with my own children. A few weeks ago, however, I had a situation occur on Southwest that made me (temporarily, at least) question my undying devotion to the airline. This happened because Southwest oversold the flight on which my family was scheduled to fly from ATL to SFO on August 18, 2014. For more than a few brief moments at least, we were at risk for being bumped off our Southwest flight. Read more…
At the end of every week, I usually publish a list of the week’s best stories from the various family travel blogs I read. Because this is a special DISNEY week at Trips With Tykes, we are doing things a little differently today. Today’s post highlights the best Disney-related stories and posts I’ve seen in the last several weeks from both family travel bloggers and Disney-specific bloggers. Hope this adds a little bit of pixie dust to the end of your week.
In honor of Disney Week here at Trips With Tykes, I thought it would be fun to share some of our family Disney vacations of old for Throwback Thursday. Both my family and my husband’s family have made many trips over the years to Disneyland and Disney World, and we have watched the parks expand and evolve before our very eyes. Enjoy! (And don’t laugh too much at us!)
One of the highlights of our Hong Kong Disneyland vacation this past May was our 5 year old daughter’s makeover into Princess Belle from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. This magical transformation happened one afternoon at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
If your family has traveled to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you are probably familiar with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Here, little girls are treated to makeovers where they can dress as their favorite princess. Our daughter was a bit too young for the experience on our last Disneyland vacation in Anaheim, but we knew she was the perfect age on this trip.
As my family starts preparing and researching for our next big trip (Disneyland in November), I thought it would be fun to dedicate a week here at Trips With Tykes to all things Disney. We are big Disney fans in our family. We try to visit Disney as much as we reasonably can while still seeing many other kinds of destinations in our family travels.
Everything you are going to see on the blog this week is going to be a celebration of Disney. Every day, I’ll have a new Disney-themed post for you. But the pixie dust won’t stop there. The Trips With Tykes social media channels are going to be sharing even more Disney fun, so make sure you are following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. Look out for some really fun Throwback Thursday photos of Disney trips I took as a child (embarrassing but cute!).
We’ll end the week on Friday with a Best of the Disney Travel Blogs post instead of my usual Best of the Family Travel Blogs post. Bloggers: if you have an unfinished Disney post waiting in the wings, hurry up and get it published this week so I can feature you! I’ll be sharing anything Disney-related that strikes my fancy that has been published in the last month or so.
To get Disney week kicked off right, be sure to get caught up all the Disney content I already have on Trips With Tykes:
- Top 10 Disneyland Attractions for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Best California Adventure Attractions for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Avoiding Long Waits at Disneyland
- Disneyland: Hotel Choice with a Little One
- Disneyland: Avoiding the Cars Land Crush
- Disneyland: Three Kids, Three Days
Hong Kong Disneyland
- 10 Tips & Tricks for Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Review, Part 1
- Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Review, Part 2
- Top 5 Websites for Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Planning
Another Friday, so let’s get down to it! Here are some of the gems from around the family travel blogosphere this week:
- Where To Put a Car Seat on an Airplane?: Points With a Crew explores the question of where car seats go on airplanes. Since most seats are bulky and can block egress, it seems like the right answer in most cases is the window seat. But it turns out you can put them in middle seats too, as long as no one is sitting in the window seat. As with everything car seat related on planes, your miles may vary.
- How to Be Prepared If Your Flight is Cancelled: Triathlon TravelingMom shares some excellent tips for dealing with flight cancellations (which are never fun but that are even less fun when traveling with kids!).
- A Parent’s Guide to Traveling with Asthma: Suitcases & Sippy Cups travels with a child with asthma and so can you. Thoughtful and helpful tips to make things easier when facing challenges like asthma on the road or in the air.
- Today’s Hint: A Travel Tip for When Kids are Too Big for Strollers (Think Scooters): Hint Mama contributor Eileen Gunn shares a creative tip for traveling with preschoolers. Scooters! My now 5 year old daughter has never been much of a scooter fan, but this is a good reason to make sure our little guy learns to ride in the coming years.
- Save the Date for Family Travel for Real Life 2! 3/7/15 in Charlotte, NC. See You There?: I’ve mentioned a family travel conference, Family Travel for Real Life, several times over the past few weeks. It was hosted by Dia The Deal Mommy in DC in August. Looks like it was such a success that she’s already planning a second one. If you are interested in funding your family travel with frequent flyer miles and points and also learning lots of other money saving family travel strategies, this is the conference for you. Really hoping I will be able to attend this one!
Note: Every Friday, I share the best-of-the-best family travel news stories and blog posts that have been published during that week. Featured posts are usually consistent with the theme of my blog – the logistics of travel with young kids. If you have a post that you think would be a good fit, please email me or tweet me!