Category Archives: Budget

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ireland’s Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel features 48-rooms and offers a less-formal and a more conveniently located alternative to Ashford Castle which is located to the east.

Ballynahinch’s riverfront location is situated amid the wild, pristine splendor of Connemara and an interior decor that wraps guests in a homey but elegant feel.

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Four Star Irish Castle Hotel

The Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is actually more of a manor house than a castle, but the building and estate are rich in history.

Built in the 18th century, today it stands as one of the finest 4-star luxury castle hotels in Ireland.

Of the 48 guest rooms available, almost half are classic rooms situated in the older part of the castle with the remainder being superior and luxury rooms located in the two riverside wings.

Superior rooms are large enough to add an extra single bed to sleep one more person. All the superior and luxury rooms feature views of the river and woodland as do the classic riverside rooms.

Other classic rooms afford mountain views so no matter what room you stay in the view if stunning.

Kayaking

450 Acres of Things to Do

The hotel is situated on a 450-acre private estate sprawling through woodland and threaded with rivers. The hotel overlooks its famous salmon fishery and in the distance the 12 Bens Mountain range.

It offers the perfect destination for those who want to just relax as well as those who are looking for a little outdoor adventure.

The estate offers a wide range of family-friendly activities including hikes, clay shooting, and fishing. Guides are available to help guests explore the rich culture of the region, to make a journey to the sea, or go for a walk. Tennis, kayaking, and biking are also available.

Dining

The Ballynahinch Castle Hotel has a an on-site restaurant known for gourmet cuisine created using local ingredients including fish, game, and mushrooms.

The Owenmore restaurant delivers elegant but unpretentious dining in a breathtaking location. Plus the Fishermans Pub offers open-log fires, friendly service, and seasonal produce, fresh, fish and more.

Whether you want to spend one night, a weekend, three nights or more, the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel runs special packages to add value to stretch the spending power of your vacation dollar.

Visit their website for more information.

Photo credits: Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Santa's Workshop North Pole

Visit Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole

Santa's Workshop North Pole

With the holidays upon us the North Pole is a busy place and a favorite destination for families with children ages 2 to 10.

This Christmas-themed park offers shows, rides and other attractions designed to make Christmas memories your children will never forget.

Christmas Carousel

Christmas Carousel is open only during the Village of Lights.

Rides and Attractions

The North Pole is a budget-friendly destination, too, with the price for rides included in the admission price.

However, most of the rides found at the North Pole are designed for younger guests and are not accessible to all visitors based on height and weight.

  • Candy Cane Express: All aboard Santa’s locomotive for ride over the river and through the woods. This 24″ gauge trains travels through a covered bridge, a tunnel, and along picturesque landscape. Don’t forget your camera!
  • Bobsled Ride: Jump aboard the bobsled ride like an Olympian and hold on tight while it goes round and round and up and down.(Guests must be under 48 inches and under 75 pounds).
  • Santa’s Sleigh Coaster: This five-car mini roller coaster may be small but it gives a big thrill for guests of all ages.
  • Christmas Tree Ride: Ride in an ornament ball and take the controls. Make yourself go up or down as your ornament goes around the Christmas tree.
  • Ferris Wheel: The Kiddie Ferris Wheel features 6 cars and is only about 20 feet high. Perfect for smaller guests under 48 inches and under 75 pounds.
  • Christmas Carousel: The Christmas carousel features 20 hand-crafted reindeer an 2 sleighs to carry guests. This is another ride designed for smaller guests and is only open during the Village of Lights.

Weather also plays a factor in whether or not rides can operate.

North Pole

Christmas Shows

Not all shows are presented every year, and weather also plays a factor, but this list offers a sample of what visitors to the North Pole, NY can expect.

  • Nativity Pageant: This daily show displays the true meaning of Christmas and includes Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem to the arrival of the three kings at the stable.
  • Christmas Magic: This musical revue features the Mother Goose Guild and a much anticipated dramatic appearance by Santa himself.
  • Santa Claus Parade: The Mother Goose Guild and Santa’s Helpers gather outside the Post Office and thread their way through the village as they pause to dance along the way. Guests are encouraged to follow along for a special presentation at Santa’s House.
  • North Pole Jamboree: This jamboree gives guests a chance to kick up their heels and clap along with Miranda Mouse, Chris Moose, Frosty the Snowman, and Rowdy Reindeer at they celebrate Christmas country style.

If you can’t make it to Santa’s Village this holiday season, they are also opened for Christmas in July. Check their website for dates and all the fun.

Photo credits: Santa’s Workshop

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is a lakeside hotel nestled among 500 woodland acres in Orlando. This secluded Mediterranean-style hotel is close to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World in Orlando and provides a more affordable option for family-friendly accommodations that's are both plush and kid-friendly. Orlando Family Getaway Package The Wyndham Grand Resort in Orlando offers a way to stretch your vacation dollar with a Family Getaway Package that features fun for the whole family and deluxe accommodations. The package includes a pizza party in your guest room (pizza for four) and an in-room movie, breakfast at Tesoro Cove for adults and children, and a snack basket filled with assorted chips, snack bars, nuts and energy bars, candy, bottled water and soda. Accommodations The 500 wooded acres surrounding Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek provides a sanctuary for families returning from a busy day visiting Orlando attractions. The hotel features 400 well-appointed rooms and suites equipped with plush Be Well pillow-top mattresses, 40 inch flat screen TVs, and complimentary Internet. Sleeping arrangements include king, double queen, king with bunk beds, or double queen with bunk beds. Other amenities include swimming pools for every age an interest, a game room, fire pit, a fitness center, and the Blue Harmony Spa. Dining Guests don't have to travel to find something to eat as the Wyndham Grand Resort features four dining options ready to satisfy your appetite. The Deep Blu Seafood Grille serves up creative seafood dishes, freshly made sushi and more. The Tesora Cove is a family restaurant that features a hearty buffet breakfasts including hot entrees, pastries, cereal, and fresh fruit. In the evening, this is the place to eat Italian classics. The Back Bay Bar and Grill serves up sports-bar type cuisine in a casual, relaxed atmosphere and views of the 10-acre lake. For those looking for light fare, the Bar 1521 serves up trendy, sophisticated ambiance and exceptional appetizers and light fare, and live music. Photo credits: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, Favorite Resorts

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is a lakeside hotel nestled among 500 woodland acres in Orlando. This secluded Mediterranean-style hotel is close to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World in Orlando and provides a more affordable option for family-friendly accommodations that's are both plush and kid-friendly. Orlando Family Getaway Package The Wyndham Grand Resort in Orlando offers a way to stretch your vacation dollar with a Family Getaway Package that features fun for the whole family and deluxe accommodations. The package includes a pizza party in your guest room (pizza for four) and an in-room movie, breakfast at Tesoro Cove for adults and children, and a snack basket filled with assorted chips, snack bars, nuts and energy bars, candy, bottled water and soda. Accommodations The 500 wooded acres surrounding Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek provides a sanctuary for families returning from a busy day visiting Orlando attractions. The hotel features 400 well-appointed rooms and suites equipped with plush Be Well pillow-top mattresses, 40 inch flat screen TVs, and complimentary Internet. Sleeping arrangements include king, double queen, king with bunk beds, or double queen with bunk beds. Other amenities include swimming pools for every age an interest, a game room, fire pit, a fitness center, and the Blue Harmony Spa. Dining Guests don't have to travel to find something to eat as the Wyndham Grand Resort features four dining options ready to satisfy your appetite. The Deep Blu Seafood Grille serves up creative seafood dishes, freshly made sushi and more. The Tesora Cove is a family restaurant that features a hearty buffet breakfasts including hot entrees, pastries, cereal, and fresh fruit. In the evening, this is the place to eat Italian classics. The Back Bay Bar and Grill serves up sports-bar type cuisine in a casual, relaxed atmosphere and views of the 10-acre lake. For those looking for light fare, the Bar 1521 serves up trendy, sophisticated ambiance and exceptional appetizers and light fare, and live music. Photo credits: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, Favorite Resorts

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is a lakeside hotel nestled among 500 woodland acres in Orlando.

This secluded Mediterranean-style hotel is close to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World in Orlando and provides a more affordable option for family-friendly accommodations that’s are both plush and kid-friendly.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Orlando Family Getaway Package

The Wyndham Grand Resort in Orlando offers a way to stretch your vacation dollar with a Family Getaway Package that features fun for the whole family and deluxe accommodations.

The package includes a pizza party in your guest room (pizza for four) and an in-room movie, breakfast at Tesoro Cove for adults and children, and a snack basket filled with assorted chips, snack bars, nuts, energy bars, candy, bottled water and soda.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Accommodations

The 500 wooded acres surrounding Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek provides sanctuary for families returning from a busy day visiting Orlando attractions.

The hotel features 400 well-appointed rooms and suites equipped with plush Be Well pillow-top mattresses, 40 inch flat screen TVs, and complimentary Internet. Sleeping arrangements include king, double queen, king with bunk beds, or double queen with bunk beds.

Other amenities include swimming pools for every age an interest, a game room, fire pit, a fitness center, and the Blue Harmony Spa.

Dining

Guests don’t have to travel to find something to eat when staying at the Wyndham Grand Resort. The hotel features four dining options ready to satisfy your appetite.

The Deep Blu Seafood Grille serves up creative seafood dishes, freshly made sushi and more, while the Tesora Cove is a family restaurant that features a hearty buffet breakfast including hot entrees, pastries, cereal, and fresh fruit. In the evening, this is the place to enjoy Italian classics.

The Back Bay Bar and Grill serves up sports-bar type cuisine in a casual, relaxed atmosphere and offers views of the 10-acre lake. For those looking for light fare, the Bar 1521 serves up trendy, sophisticated ambiance and exceptional appetizers and light fare, and live music.

This Orlando hotel is ideally located close to attractions and offers comfort and convenience for less.

Photo credits: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, Favorite ResortsWyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Candy Land

Visit Real-Life Candy Land this Holiday Season

Candy LandMost of us played Candy Land as kids and have introduced it to our own children as we teach them colors along the way to Gum Drop Mountain.

This holiday season, the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center in Kirtland, Ohio is offering a chance for you and your kids to visit a real-life Candy Land game board from Nov. 21 though Jan. 3.

To play, guests will draw a card and move from space to space, just like in the game. The difference is that in this real life version, the kids will pass through the different seasons along the way and experience what nature has to offer.

Penitentiary Glen Nature Center

Special Free Activities

If you visit on a Saturday, be sure to take advantage of free activities offered from 1 to 3 p.m. This list offers a snapshot of what you can look forward to:

  • Nov. 28 – S’mores and a Campfire
  • Dec. 5 – Learn about Apples and Berries
  • Dec. 12 – Ride Trains (weather permitting)
  • Dec. 19 – Taste Sweet Maple Syrup
  • Dec. 26 – Enjoy a Cup of Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Jan. 2 – Learn about Honey and Bee Keeping

Penitentiary Glen Nature Center

Other Things to Do

Along with the Candy Land adventure, the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center features indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts that explore nature.

Quiet activities like coloring pages and activity sheets are also offered, as well as crafts to take home. Kids can also try feeding a live chickadee with the Center’s Bird in Hand program.

Explore the many Nature Center exhibits as a family, watch and listen to wildlife at the center’s bird feeders, or sit and relax as you enjoy refreshments in the Snowshoe Lodge.

For those with older children, the Peppermint Trail also offers a chance to slip on some snowshoes as weather permits.

This life-size Candy Land experience offers a special way to create a new holiday memory. This attraction will be open from Nov. 21 through Jan. 3 with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

While the Candy Land exhibit is free there is a nominal fee for the rest of the activities. Adult admittance is $3/hr. or $12 a day while the charge for children is half that.

Photo credits: Amazon, MoviesMusicNature, MoviesMusicNature

American Airlines

American Airlines Changing Frequent Flier Program

American Airlines

One of the draws to frequent flier programs has been the perk of getting to earn miles based on the miles you travel to earn a free ticket. But the face of frequent flyer programs has been changing and American Airlines is the latest to join the ranks of carriers making adjustments to the benefits and how they are earned.

Their revamped program will now be based on how much a passenger spends rather than how far they fly. This move was announced in mid-November and follows similar adjustments made by Delta and United Airlines, changes which benefit business travelers who purchase expensive, last-minute tickets.

American Airlines

Changes in Reward Chart

American Airlines reward chart changes will affect flights booked after March 22.

Domestic roundtrip tickets will remain at 25,000 miles, but flights going from the U.S. to Canada and Alaska will go up to 30,000 miles roundtrip. Off-peak flights to Hawaii will also become more expensive going up to 40,000 miles from 35,000. Peak flights are staying at 45,000.

Other flights going up in price include long-haul flights to South America, Europe and Asia.

Domestically, the biggest change in the American’s frequent flyer program is the introduction of new 15,000 roundtrip awards for short flight of 500 miles or less.

American spokesman Casey Norton said “the most-popular awards aren’t changing. At least 75 percent of the award tickets booked would not cost more under the new system.” However, it may prove more difficult for infrequent travelers to earn miles.

Interpreting the Changes

How do all these changes translate into real life? Starting in the second half of 2016, a non-elite member of American’s loyalty program won’t earn miles based on miles, but on how much they paid for their ticket. They will earn 5 miles per dollar of airfare (excluding government taxes and fees).

This means those of us who watch for the deals and grab those deeply discounted advance-purchase tickets lose out while someone dishing out the big bucks to snag a last-second ticket on that same route will earn thousands of miles.

How much you earn will depend on the program you’re enrolled in. Elite fliers will earn seven, eight or 11 miles per dollar based on their status tier.

Photo credits: wikimedia, wikimedia

Keystone Resort Offers Family-friendly Rocky Mountain Experience

Keystone Resort 8

Keystone Resort in Colorado features plenty of outdoor winter adventure.

It offers three incredible mountains offering more than 3,000 skiable acres, 20 lifts, two gondolas all situated at the foot of a couple of unique villages where visitors will find good food and a selection of lodging options of various sizes.

Keystone Resort

Skiing and Other Winter Activities at Keystone

Keystone is famous for its skiing and snowboarding, and offers plenty of other winter activities to the mix from November to April. These include fun like ice skating, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, scenic gondola rides, and wine tasting.

For those who enjoy sitting back and enjoying the views, snowcat tours make a perfect choice for families and friends to take in the breathtaking beauty of the back mountains of Keystone Resort. The tour takes in the Continental Divide, Ten Mile Range, and the Gore Range.

Keystone Resort

Snowcat Tour

Save on Lodging

Lodging offered at Keystone Resort includes more than 1200 options with hotels rooms, to condos designed to accommodate guests with various numbers in their party. And the Resort’s knowledgeable concierge service is available to help plan every aspect of your stay with just one phone call.

To save on your stay, book early, and if you make reservations to stay for two nights or more, kids 12 and under get to ski and ride for free.

For additional savings, book before Dec. 2 and this year the Resort is offering a 50% discount on lodging. Be sure to check their website for all the details.

Keystone Resort is a family-friendly resort with first-class runs. Kids ski for free with stays of two or more night, plus there are plenty of other activities for younger kids, too.

The Resort makes a good choice for a holiday vacation with activities like ice skating starting on Thanksgiving weekend.

Photo credits: frontrangebusiness, MountainYahoos, KeystoneColorado

Shopping in Quebec

Quebec City a Budget Friendly Historic Destination

Shopping in Quebec

If you’ve always wanted to visit historic sites of Europe but it’s just not in your budget, satisfy your wanderlust with a visit to the colonial Historic District of Quebec City, a UNESCO world heritage site with castles, cobblestone streets, bistros and more.

With today’s excellent exchange rates you’ll be able to stretch your vacation dollar and get more for your money as you explore Old Quebec which was founded in the early 17th century.

Citadel

Citadel

Historic District of Old Québec

Ramparts and numerous bastions, gates and defensive works still surround Old Québec. The Upper Town, which is situated on the cliff, is still the city’s religious and administrative centre, with churches, convents and other monuments like the Dauphine Redoubt, the Citadel and Château Frontenac.

Combined with the Lower Town and its ancient districts, Quebec forms a historic urban collective of one of the best examples of a fortified colonial city as it moves from military history to religious history.

Rampart of Quebec

Rampart of Quebec

Things to See and Do

  • Fortifications of Québec: The fortifications surrounding Old Quebec stretch for almost 3 miles. These walls are the last such defense system in North America. Walk the walls and learn more about the last fortified city of North America. Take advantage of a guided tour to get even more from the experience.
  • Citadel: The Citadel is a National Historic Site situated atop Cap Diamant in Old Quebec with walls that surround 300 years of history. It has a star-shaped form and offers spectacular views of the city and the St. Lawrence River. Guided tours are available year round and admission price for the Citadel also includes admission to the museum.
  • Cathedral of the Holy Trinity: This cathedral was the first Anglican cathedral built outside the British Isles and is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Quebec City built between 1800 and 1804.
  • Andrew’s Presbyterian Church: St. Andrew’s was built in 1810 and is the oldest English-speaking congregation of Scottish origin in Canada.

Along with these historical sites and others, be sure to stop by one or more of the city’s many museums, or get the feel of traveling back in time with a horse drawn carriage ride or take advantage of a walking tour to learn more of the city’s rich, unique history.

Along with history, the District offers fine dining and shopping along rue Saint-Jean and rue Saint-Louis, where European charm adds a bit of panache to any outing.

Photo credits: pixabay, wikipedia, wikipedia

Disneyland Entrance

Disney Considering New Pricing Model

Disneyland Entrance

For the first time in 60 years, the Walt Disney Company is thinking of changing to a pricing model based on demand at its U.S. parks.

Until now, price breaks were reserved for Florida or California residents, deals for military, or package deals that included your hotel. If this price model gets adopted, it will offer guests a chance to save on admission if they are flexible on their dates and can plan their visit at off peak times.

New Pricing Model

The new pricing model under consideration would provide incentives for guests to visit Disney parks in off peak times in a way similar to what the airlines do. Admission prices would go up on busy days like weekends, and times around major holidays, and would be less during the week and low-tourist season.

These changes are being proposed at a time when the Disney parks are experiencing record numbers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the demand-based pricing could help reduce congestion, raise attendance at slower times and offer more value to park visitors with not only a price-savings but also shorter lines and wait times for rides and attractions.

Disneyland_Park_Adult_Admission

Disneyland Park Adult Admission

Other Changes

Along with the possibility of this new pricing model, Disney has also been experimenting with using technology to manage crowds. For instance, the “My Disney Plus” wristbands lets customers reserve times for rides and meals before they arrive.

“We continue to evolve the way we think about managing demand—particularly during our busiest seasons—in order to deliver a world-class experience for our guests.” — Jacquee Wahler, Disney spokesperson via NBC News

In August, Disney announced that Star Wars themed lands will be coming to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. These are Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each so crowds are expected to continue to grow.

This demand-based pricing could help with crowds, but this potential pricing change is still under consideration. Other options being considered include imposing restrictions or adding perks to tickets instead of tweaking prices.

Photo credits: wikipedia, wikipedia

Hotel Jan Brito Garden

Hotel Jan Brito Small But Elegant

Hotel Jan Brito Garden

Garden at the Hotel Jan Brito

The upscale Hotel Jan Brito first hung its shingle as a hotel back in 1995 and completed its refurbishment project in 2002.

This renovated 16th-century hotel enjoys a 4-star rating and offers charming old-world elements like a garden courtyard with gravel walkways and an inspiring stone fountain. It’s truly a unique hotel conveniently located at the heart of the Centrum district of Bruges, Belgium.

Its 37 rooms offer both elegant and classic décor with the perfect touch of indulgence blended with modern practicality including minibars and free Wi-Fi.

Hotel Jan Brito

Amenities

In the morning, guests enjoy a continental breakfast served in the sophisticated dining room or they can sip a cup of Belgium coffee at the garden bar. Along with the courtyard garden, the hotel is just steps away from a golf course, library, and sports facilities that include mountain biking and more.

Guests also enjoy the convenience of a currency exchange on site as well as a tour desk to help make plans, and a safe deposit box for your valuables. For those looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, a small on-site bar is situated in a pretty parlor keeping with the elegant them.

Hotel Jan Brito

Accommodations

The nature of this renovated hotel lends itself to a nice selection of unique accommodations.

For budget-minded travelers, the budget double is a smaller room equipped with a double bed. Standard rooms are also furnished with double or twin beds and allow smoking. Suites offer a garden view and allow pets but not smoking. The Junior suite offers a queen, double and or single bed, a walk in closet, shower, and is a pet-friendly, non-smoking option.

All the rooms have heat/air conditioning. For more information on specific rooms, be sure to visit their website.

Things to Do

The Hotel Jan Brito is situated in the heart of Bruges where it enjoys quick access to Ostend/Bruges International airport. The Galerie Indigo is a little less than 2 miles away, and Saint Peter Church and Boudewijn Theme Parks and Dolfinarium are just 10 minutes away.

Photo credits: Hotel TV 17

Royal Decameron

Royal Deameron a Quiet Affordable Beach Escape

Royal Decameron

Royal Decameron on Runaway Bay

Looking for an out-of-the way beach destination that’s not too far from a bigger town with things to do, but quiet and affordable?

The Royal Decameron features 143 cottages plus other accommodations perfect for families or couples looking for a beach experience away from a mega resort but still featuring amenities and an all-inclusive deal.

Located in Runaway Bay

The Royal Decameron is situated about 30 minutes outside the busy tourist towns of Ocho Rios and Jamaica, but the Royal Decameron itself is a quiet option that’s low-key and all inclusive. It’s located just about an hour from Montego Bay International Airport and offers a picturesque island setting populated by friendly people.

Royal Decameron Main Pool

Accommodations

In all, there are 203 guestrooms at the Royal Decameron with three types of accommodations available: suites, court yard rooms, and cottage-style rooms with each cottage a single room equipped with a large closet and bathroom.

While the rooms are small, they feature tall, palapa-style ceilings giving rooms an open, airy feeling. Rooms are furnished to accommodate up to three adults or two adults and two children and feature either a king or queen bed with extra single beds available.

Amenities

The cottage-style rooms are nestled in a peaceful tropical beach environment where guests can experiment with a variety of water sports. If you don’t feel like swimming in the Caribbean, the hotel also has 2 swimming pools. One is exclusively and adult pool and the other offers facilities for kids.

Sunbathers can also take advantage of the long dock designated expressly for that purpose.

Royal Decameron

The Royal Decameron also has a variety of restaurants offering different types of cuisine ranging from typical Jamaican flavors to Asian fare. However, the food is nothing fancy.

The all-inclusive package does cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets as well as afternoon and evening snacks. Domestic and imported drinks are also covered as well as nightly entertainment. For a full list of what exactly is included in the all-inclusive price, be sure to visit their website.

Photo credits: toofarfromdabeach