Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • We’ve been busy mamas, traveling all over lately. Here are some of the latest travel deals from around the globe. Remember, many of these travel deals are for a limited time and may even need to be purchased today.

    Lodging

    Holiday Inn Main Gate East Hotel Orlando, Florida – For a limited time, Traveling Mamas can make reservations through the following link and receive every third night free!! Get the travel deal

    Southampton Halloween Weekend – Two night stay, annual Rag-a-Muffin parade, Trick or Treating, Pumpkin Patch, and more.  Spend a wonderful autumn weekend in Southampton October 29 -October 31, 2010. Get the travel package

    New Orleans – Stay at the Bourbon Orleans for just $79/night. Book now until November 2. Get the travel deal….

    Tamarinda Costa Rica – Stay 3 nights at Jardin del Eden Hotel and pay for 2: USD $260.00. Get the travel deal….

    Attractions and Tours

    New York City – Get a two hour walking tour by Levy’s Tours for only $20. Choose from four different tours! Get the travel deal….

    Seattle, Washington – Admission for two to the Smith Tower Observation Deck is only $8. Seasonal hours apply. Get the travel deal….

    The Bluffs of Louisiana – My parents live at this Arnold Palmer designed golf course and today’s deal is a steal! It is one of the most beautiful golf courses I’ve ever seen. Deal is $50 for two players and a cart. Tee time reservation required and you have one year to use this deal. Get the travel deal today only….

    Restaurants

    Jacksonville, Florida – Knucklehead Sandwiches is offering $10 worth of breakfast or lunch for $5. Get the travel deal

    Savannah, Georgia – Dine at Paula Deen restaurant Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House and get $20 worth of seafood and drinks for $10. Good for dine in or carryout. Get the travel deal

    Tuscon, Arizona – Get $30 worth of Mediterranean cuisine for $15 at Azul, located at The Westin La Paloma. Get the travel deal….

    Spas

    Denver, Colorado – Get an organic facial or hot stone massage for $30 at Patrica Scarr Skincare Associates in Westminster. Get the spa deal….

    Honolulu, Hawaii – Get a mani-pedi at the Nail Garage on S. King Street for only $20. Relax and sip on complimentary refreshments while in the Aloha state. Get the spa deal

    Miami, Florida – Get a Seafoam Facial or Massage at Sky and Sea Spa for $45. Get the spa deal…..

    New Orleans, Louisiana – 90 minute custom massage at Massage Envy for only $49. Get the spa deal

    San Diego, California – Mani and Pedi for $15 at Metro Nails in Hillcrest. Get the spa deal

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  • The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season is the busiest travel season of the year. More than 41 million American are expected to fly the skies this year, making it one of the most stressful times to travel with young children. Let’s face it, babies can sense when mom is flustered, which set them off to crying. Being in unfamiliar surroundings and getting off schedule is another stress trigger for our littlest travelers. Let’s not even mention having to deal with the in-laws!

    Technology, in the form of apps for Android phones, Blackberries, iPhones, and iPads can help keep mom (and dad) sane while traveling to Grandma’s house. Here are some of the best mobile apps for family holiday travel:

    Potty Break – SitOrSquat Bathroom Finder lets you know which bathrooms are nearby, notes which ones have changing stations and even has reviews from other users so you know what to expect. Free. Available on Blackberry and iPhone.

    YP – AT&T Yellow Pages is your trusted resource for answering the question “Where do I find …?” Need to get Children’s Motrin for that unexpected kid’s fever at 11 pm? It will show you the drugstores nearest to Grandma’s house. Need gas on the way back to the airport? Search for gas stations near your current location. Looking for some entertainment? Search the local events or movie theatre categories. Free. Available on Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone and Palm.

    Dr. Mom – iTriage is the brainchild of two emergency room physicians. If your child suddenly develops ear pain, you can quickly pinpoint the symptoms and then find the best medical facility to provide treatment. Free. Available on Android and iPhone.

    Travel Itinerary – no need to take along a folder with all your travel details. TripIt organizes your travel itinerary so it’s easy to access (and share with your mother-in-law so she knows what time to have dinner ready.) Free. Available on Android, Blackberry and iPhone. I’ve been using TripIt Pro (not free) and LOVE IT!

    Games – Don’t forget about those games to keep the kids (and you) occupied when traveling. There are tons of free games and many inexpensive games. My family loves playing Skeeball.

    Blackberry – A while back I put together some of the best travel apps for Blackberry users.

    iPhone and Android – I finally went to the dark side and I’m now an Apple fan girl. A crazy fun mobile travel app that has come in handy is Google Goggles.

    Tips for traveling: Be sure to keep your phone charged and have your charger handy to power up when needed. Most airports have recharge stations available in convenient areas, although not all offer this service. Earbuds are a must if playing games that make noise and your fellow travelers will be appreciative. Remember, don’t leave home without packing the patience and have a wonderful family holiday.

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  • Today, Royal Caribbean International takes delivery of the newest and ship in its fleet – Allure of the Seas. Allure is sister ship to Oasis of the Seas, which has the honor of being the largest cruise ships in the world. Last year I had the honor of seeing Oasis in port for her US debut as I was returning from a romantic Princess cruise with my husband.

    Cruise afficionados can follow Allure of the Seas online at AllureoftheSeas.com as she sails from Finland to Port Everglades, Florida through daily webisodes documenting the trans-Atlantic journey. Updates can also be followed on Twitter @OasisandAllure.

    From RCCL:

    Royal Caribbean’s strategic alliance with DreamWorks Animation, featuring new onboard parades, ice shows, aqua shows and experiences with the film studio’s beloved characters, along with the at-sea debut of the Broadway production Chicago: The Musical, and Royal Caribbean Productions’ new Blue Planet aerial production and Ice Games ice show, offer guests unparalleled entertainment options. Allure of the Seas also boasts 26 dining options, including the first ever Starbucks at sea; a new fine dining experience at 150 Central Park, created by The Culinary Institute of America alumna Molly Brandt; Samba Grill Brazilian steakhouse; Rita’s Cantina, a casual Mexican restaurant offering the widest selection of margaritas at sea; and the Boardwalk Dog House, an outdoor hot-dog specialty counter. Also making its maritime debut aboard Allure of the Seas is the GUESS Accessory store from one of the world’s most recognizable fashion apparel and accessories brands, as well as the first BRITTO Gallery at sea by pop culture artist Romero Britto. In addition, new technological innovations include complimentary guest service kiosks in the Royal Promenade – which guests can use to instantly view, print and email their SeaPass folio, as well as check-in for flights and print airline boarding passes – and 3-D movie screens in the ship’s Amber Theater located in the Entertainment Place neighborhood.

    The official naming ceremony for Allure of the Seas will take place on November 28 during a one-night celebration to benefit the United Way chapters of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, among other charities. A special four-night sailing on December 1 will call at the cruise line’s private beach destination of Labadee, along the north coast of Haiti, and Allure of the Seas’ inaugural seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary will depart on December 5.

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  • Country Inns and Suites LogoValue and affordability are always winners when it comes to choosing a hotel for family travel. While we frequent all brands at TravelingMamas.com, we do like to highlight new additions to properties that offer added value for travelers. MommyMusings and her daughter checked out Country Inn & Suites during their ‘1, 2, Free Promotion’ to get a little traveler’s take on this hotel brand. It was a positive experience for the MommyMusings family, but the only thing lacking was a hot breakfast included in the rate.

    Fortunately, Country Inns & Suites answered the call. This morning, Country Inns & Suites launched its ‘Be Our Guest’ breakfast expansion program in over 500+ locations across the U.S. This hot breakfast enhancement is rarely found in the mid-scale hotel segment. Country Inns & Suites’ new offering is going above-and-beyond to meet the changing needs of business and leisure travelers, including the introduction of:

    • Eight new “Hot” rotating entrées such as eggs benedict, chicken biscuit breakfast sandwich and rosemary potatoes.
    • Build-your-own omelet, breakfast burrito and yogurt parfait bars.
    • ‘To Go’ stations for guests on the run.

    For business travelers, this means the comforts of home and the convenience of a hot meal available on-site. For families, this means the kids eat what they want, how they want and you’ll save your money for fun and adventure.

    Also this fall, Country Inns & Suites is introducing the Home Office Away From Home promotion. Now through Nov. 21, 2010, goldpoints plusSM members booking this rate and staying one or more nights on any Sunday through Thursday will automatically receive a bonus of 15,000 Gold Points® that can be saved or redeemed for a free night stay at most Country Inns & Suites properties. As part of this offer, guests will also receive a T.G.I. Friday’s® voucher.

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  • TripAlertz, a new site that has been described as “Groupon for travel,” launches today.

    As I told Traveling Mamas readers a couple of weeks ago, I love the TripAlertz concept of harnessing the power of social media to sell vacation packages. As more people buy a particular package, it gets cheaper for everyone. And the TripAlertz folks are offering some clever extras, too. If you refer other people to the site, you earn “TripCash” to be spent on your own vacation. And, TripAlertz members can design their own dream vacation packages for a chance to win the package for free.

    But no matter how fun it is to use the TripAlertz Web site, what really matters is whether or not they are selling a quality product, right? Earlier this month, TripAlertz sent me to the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, Florida, to check out one of the vacation packages that goes on sale today.

    The package sells for $526. If 65 packages sell, that price drops to $442. The package includes:

    • 2-night stay in a Bay View Deluxe Room
    • Welcome cocktail for 2
    • Daily breakfast buffet for 2 at Neomi’s Grill
    • Two 50-minute massages per stay

    The hotel rooms

    The Trump International Beach Resort is a Mobil 4-star hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, a small beach community in North Miami.

    The Bay View Deluxe rooms have two queen beds. They are extremely spacious, with a large wet bar area that includes a refrigerator (partially stocked as a mini bar) and a microwave. There’s a table and chairs, a spacious desk and a flat-screen TV. The bathroom has a garden tub and a separate walk-in shower.

    The decor is minimal, and, frankly, feels a bit sterile. It’s a room that feels easy to clean. But the resort is on the beach, so we can forgive the sand-colored carpet and spare detail. The room was immaculately clean, after all.

    A sliding door leads to a patio with views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Sunny Isles Beach. The patio is roomy and there are chairs to sit and watch the world go by. We were facing West, and we had a great view of the October sunsets from our patio both evenings.

    The beds were extremely comfortable, with crisp, white linens that felt luxurious and mattresses that offered a good balance between pillowy soft and supportive. The room was quiet, with no detectable noise from neighboring rooms or the hallway. In-room amenities included toiletries by Ecru, as well as a coffee maker stocked with regular and decaf coffee.

    Public spaces

    The Trump International’s public spaces are beautifully designed. I loved the mix of contemporary with a Miami twist – a neutral, glass-tiled wall in the lobby adorned with eye-poppingly bright Brito art, for example.

    The pool and beach areas outside may be the most gorgeous beach resort area I’ve seen in Florida. The resort-style pool with waterfalls offers larger water-play areas, as well as more secluded sections for lounging. There are several hot tubs spread around the pool area, and the options for poolside seating extend beyond chaise lounges to love seats and chairs with ottomans.

    Downstairs at the beach, there are loungers and umbrellas for resort guests, as well as plenty of room to spread out and play in the sand or walk along the water’s edge.

    Welcome cocktails

    After a smooth check-in, we were sent to the pool bar for our welcome cocktails. The bar is fully stocked, and it offers a variety of tropical, frozen concoctions, as all great pool bars should.

    Most of the cocktails are $10, but keep an eye out for the board listing the drinks of the day, which are on sale for $7.

    At check-in, I tried a traditional mojito, which was traditionally made with fresh mint. I am always a sucker for something frozen and frothy poolside, so the next day, I tried a “Drink of the Day” concoction: the pomegranate pina colada. I absolutely loved this twist on the traditional.

    Daily breakfast buffet

    I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the free breakfast offered with the TripAlertz package. I didn’t know whether it was going to be a selection of pastries and fruit, or maybe have a few hot selections thrown in for good measure. Either way, I was going to be pleased with it, because getting breakfast in the hotel included is a great value for this resort.

    But what we got, was well beyond what I had imagined. Neomi’s Grill offers a full breakfast buffet. It included cold cereals, pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, hot breakfast meats, and a chef’s station offering made-to-order eggs, omelets, waffles and pancakes.

    Everything was fresh and beautiful. We went down to breakfast fairly late both mornings, and found ourselves skipping lunch after such a great morning meal – another money-saver on the discounted trip that I was not expecting.

    Massages

    It was easy to book the massages that came with our TripAlertz package the morning after our arrival at the Trump International Beach Resort.

    We were given a choice of Swedish or aromatherapy massages. I chose aromatherapy, and my husband chose Swedish.

    The Aquanox Spa was well-equipped. The men’s and women’s areas offer steam rooms and saunas, as well as shower facilities and tranquil areas for relaxation.

    Our service providers were extremely professional. My husband pronounced his massage excellent and said that he did not have any pain at all during his service – a rarity for him.

    I also enjoyed my aromatherapy massage. My massage therapist was very good at maintaining my modesty during my service, which is something that can make or break my relaxation level during a massage.

    Final thoughts

    I honestly cannot believe the value of this TripAlertz package. When I was first approached about sharing TripAlertz with Traveling Mamas readers, I was skeptical until I saw the price on this package. That’s what sold me.

    And once I arrived at the resort, I knew that the package was for real. At a beach resort on par with the Trump International, you would expect to pay nearly the price of the TripAlertz package for the two massages alone.

    I wondered whether or not we would be treated differently because we were there on a discount, but it was never mentioned, and we certainly were not relegated to a tiny room in a corner (an experience I have had with other hotel discount Web sites).

    The level of service in all areas around this resort was excellent. There are tiny touches that made me feel like this is a staff that is well managed and understands customer service. For example, when I inquired at the bell stand about a lobby bathroom, I was not simply pointed down the hall, I was walked there to ensure I found it. Service at our breakfast both mornings was seamless.

    As far as other meals, the pool bar serves sandwiches, salads and snacks, and there is a sushi restaurant at the resort. Directly across the street is a shopping center with several restaurant choices, everything from fast food to upscale. (A couple of the nearby restaurants – including La Terraza, which we tried and would recommend – offer deeply discounted gift certificates on Restaurant.com that you could pick up before your trip to save even more.) There is also a Publix supermarket across the street.

    If you’re flying in, it’s easy to walk and explore the area without a car. Cabs run about $50 from Miami International Airport, $40 from the airport in Fort Lauderdale. Trump International also offers free shuttle service to two nearby, popular shopping areas, and to South Beach.

    If you are driving, parking is valet only, $22 per day. The fee isn’t out of line with other Miami resorts, but it is something to be aware of when you’re planning your vacation budget.

    This Trump International Beach Resort package will be on sale at TripAlertz for the next two weeks, with travel dates available in November and December. You can book more than one package to extend your stay (another TripAlertz feature I love).

    Two more hotel deals are also for sale today, at the Hotel Marina El Cid in Cancun and the Parc 55 Wyndham in San Francisco.

    You can also get a look at upcoming hotel deals, which include some great prices on Walt Disney World stays, as well as a Costa Rican getaway.

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