One of my favorite things to do in the Summertime is go to a good water park and enjoy the rides, slides, and the rush of the cool water with my family. There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing water parks across the U.S. but today I am going to be talking about just five of my personal favorites. If you’re looking for a great family trip this Summer be sure to check out some of these awesome parks.
When you visit the nations capital you will find dozens of great free things to do in Washington D.C., but you’ll also find amazing beauty, architecture and history at every turn. This city offers tons of great free attractions alongside amazing restaurants, museums and kid friendly events for your entire family to enjoy.
Visit The National Mall: This monument in the nations capital is one of the most infamous images having been seen in movies, television shows and pictures world wide. It’s a great place to walk, take photographs and see first hand where history has been made with rallies and events during our nations history.you
Visit The White House: Anyone can walk outside the gates to photograph the White House or get their picture taken in front of the building on the sidewalk. However, you can also take free tours of the White House if desired. If wanting to tour the White House you’ll need to plan in advance and reserve tickets since it is in high demand. You may need to book several years in advance.
Visit the Chinatown Friendship Arch: Located on 7th and H Streets NW this is a fun attraction that is quick and easy to visit, but well worth your time. A great photo opportunity and landmark in itself, the arch is visited by millions of people each year.
Visit the Lincoln Memorial: One of the largest pieces of statuary known, this epic memorial to President Abraham Lincoln is visited by millions of visitors each year. Take your picture next to one of the most beloved presidents the United States have ever known.
Visit the National Monument: This large monument stands proudly in the center of the city that is known by all. A simple walk from the Lincoln Memorial and you are at the National Monument for great photo opportunities as well as a history of the United States.
Visit the National Archives: See the Declaration of Independence up close in the National Archives. Other well known historical documents are located there and lead to great conversations with your children about our nations history, as well as how legislation is passed for many bills and amendments that are shown in the archives.
Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall: This is truly a historic monument that will leave you humbled at the sacrifice of so many young men and women who went to war. Vietnam Veterans often are found here sharing information, looking for names of friends or family members It is a great teaching tool for your kids to learn about war, military involvement in other countries and the ultimate sacrifice those individuals made not just for our freedom, but to better another country.
Visit The National Museum Of American History: Famous for housing the original American flag as well as memorials from wars, advances in technology and even a few movies and celebrities that have impacted our country, this is a favorite free thing to do in Washington D.C. when you visit. Learn about the most beloved pieces of our history while finding out unique facts about cinema, arts and the founding fathers.
I remember being in grade school and having to write a 1-2 page paper on that exact topic every year.
Here is a quick (ok, maybe not-so-quick) summary of my summer.
School got out on June 13th and we quickly zipped over the the airport to meet a 10 year old girl from Borodyanka Ukraine. Diana was with us for 6 weeks to let her body “reboot” itself from the damage that living in constant radiation does. They are in zone 2 of the Chernobyl area…so they also get free dental, vision and health screenings while here and English Lessons!
Dental work in their area is pitiful — they do NOT numb kids up before pulling teeth or doing fillings, so these children arrive TERRIFIED of the dental part of their visit. No worries — it’s a great experience for them and my church is working on upgrading their dental preventative care over there.
Here are some pictures of the silly and simple things we did with her: farmer’s market, Vilas Zoo, Cook outs, Parades, Fireworks, eating out, Doing the Home Depot Workshop, going to the Dells and more.
After that, it was time for Vacation Bible Camp – where I am a craft co-ordinator! All the great things for kids like great counselors, fun food, campfires, games, crafts and swimming and new friends!
All of this at the beautiful Bethel Horizons property!
OK, week at the cabin with my Father In Law — it’s an annual thing and the cabin we get is usually larger than my house! It’s a week of great food, a fire in the fireplace and silly time:
Then came our Orlando Trip! We stayed and played at the Coco Key Waterpark resort, hit a fun dinner show and even got a private tour at Universal Studios (more coming on that)
Then Nashville — staying at the incredible Gaylord Grand Old Opry, and enjoying an AMAZING view as well as a dinner ride/show one of the 10 paddle boats left in the world. Fun fact: That hotel is the largest in the US that isn’t attached to a casino! We also made sure to hit the Picadilly Cafeteria (It’s a southern thing…)
I did travel more than that — Washington DC, Hershey PA and even New York City — but those are stories for another day.
What did you do on YOUR summer vacation?
How to Save Money Booking a Hotel
For anyone planning a vacation, or even a business trip, it is likely that the greatest on-going expense is the cost of a hotel. A savings if even $10 a night can really add up quickly if one is going to be on the road for a week or more.
Here are some proven tips that can help:
1) Check On-Line, Then Call –
The major travel sites such as Expedia or Hotels(dot)com will list prices and availability for hotels. Be aware of two things: they may only have access to a limited number of rooms at a given hotel. If the website shows it is sold out, it may only be sold out to them. Also, that price is a negotiated price. After checking the price, call the hotel directly and ask if there is a better price for those dates.
2) Name All Organizations –
Hotels often have bands of prices with better rates available for members of large companies, service clubs, labor unions or political parties. Always ask for the Corporate Rate. If the desk or reservations clerk asks, start naming your affiliations.
3) Independents are Flexible –
Chain hotels often have their rates set by their central office, so an individual franchise may not have flexibility. Independent hotels, however, do set their own rate. During slower times, the traveler may well be able to negotiate a rate 5-10% below what is advertised.
4) Check That Wallet –
Hotels often have discounted rates for specific kinds of credit cards, or members of groups like the AAA. Look at what cards there are filling up the side pockets of the wallet or purse, then ask.
5) Is Booking Ahead Cheaper? –
It is always advisable to book reservations in advance. Do not assume that, for example, a Tuesday through Thursday travel time is a hotel’s slow period. It may be filled with business travelers. So do book ahead, but when doing so, ask if the rate agreed upon will be the same rate on check-in and will the traveler get the rate on check-in day it is lower? Then, if the answer is in the affirmative, ask for a confirmation email of that.
These tips will really lower the cost of travel.
Enjoy the stay!
Ooh, this is a HOT deal. I might be biased, because I just randomly booked a trip to Florida this week. I can’t wait to go in September and I’m obsessed with all things travel right now. Airlines are pretty picky about the dimensions of your carry on bags and your checked luggage. If you’re looking for new luggage for an upcoming trip, check this out. Bon Ton sells a line of upright luggage called the Leisure Bayside Luggage Collection and it normally retails from $50-$120 depending on the size. Today you can choose any pattern and any size for only $22.97! To maximize this deal, buy the bigger suitcases which normally retail for the higher ticket price.
Thanks, Brads Deals!
10 Tips To Making Healthy Choices While on the Road
Business travelers are consistently battling with eating out, lack of routine, snacking and open invitations to grabbing a drink during happy hour. Don’t get me wrong though the hotels, room service and butter soaked steak dinners are well worth it but maybe not to the waistline.
I’ve put together 10 tips to help you stick to your eating plan and lose weight while on the road. Try to get a hotel room with a fridge or pack a cooler in hopes to save a little money and a few calories!
- Water – stay hydrated and bring a water bottle with you, a rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example a 100 pound person would need to take in 50 ounces of water a day.
- Snacks – pack travel friendly snacks like almonds, protein bars, dried fruit, apples and even some veggies!
- Eating out – skip the deep-fried foods and opt for additional veggies on the side and skip the bread
- Make healthier meal choices – get your protein in the morning so you are fuller longer and opt for salads and lighter fares for lunch.
- Eating out portions – Ask for a to go container with your meal and package half when the meal arrives, therefore you won’t over eat and have a meal for the next day.
- Head to a local grocery store – grab some healthy snacks and supplies so you can eat in your room instead of going out for every meal like salads, deli meats and wraps.
- Stay active – Don’t depend on going to the gym chances are you’ll be way too busy instead choose alternatives like taking the stairs, going for a walk on lunch break and walking to meals instead of driving or cabbing it.
- Avoid happy hour it might be rude to skip it but stick to one drink or order club soda and lime (everyone will think its vodka), cutting your calories and avoiding the alcohol!
- Get enough sleep – make sure you get a solid 6-8 hours of sleep at night, if you’re overtired you’ll eat more plus if you get more sleep you’ll be more productive during the day
- It’s ok to say no – we’ve all been there just “one more drink” or “its only dessert” don’t feel bad because you’re saying no. Celebrate in the fact that you know you’re body and won’t beat yourself up for having that extra helping of dessert when you get home!
Even the best thought out plans can go wrong while you’re on the road. Just make the decision of choosing healthier choices while you’re away from home. When all else fails drink more water and take the stairs!