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travel – Page 7 – Luv Saving Money

How To Discover A Whole New Affordable Way To Vacation

If you’re stuck in the city in the middle of a January snow storm and wishing you could be anywhere else in the world, why don’t you put that impulse to good use? Perhaps the powers that be won’t care much for you using up your saved vacation days to leave them behind for a while, but so what? You expect and deserve to use the vacation time that you’ve earned with your hard work and sweat, so why not take some time to yourself and live a little? There are a million places in the world for you to explore, so get moving and get gone!

Determining How You’re Going To Live When You Get There

Of course, it’s one thing to just decide one day that you’re going to go to a certain place on the map, but a whole other to have a well worked out plan in advance of just how and where you’re going to live when you get to your chosen destination. This is precisely why you need to have an accurate idea of where you want to go, and what kind of place you want to stay in while you enjoy your well earned vacation. Without a plan to work from, you’ll find yourself adrift in a sea of overdrafts that will sour all your plans.

Vacation Time Is Not The Time To Settle For Less

For example, if your present apartment or condo in the city is your favored style of living, it makes no sense to lower your standards by staying in a mud hut or run down motel room. Just because you’re paying for space overlooking the beautiful beaches of a tropical island or Southeast Asia peninsula doesn’t mean that you need to sit still for being gouged for an outrageous fee for a motel room that barely qualifies as being fit for a wild animal. In a word, vacation time is not the time to settle for less.

How To Get The Best Possible Deal For The Best Possible Price

The key to planning and then enjoying the benefits of a successful vacation is to make well sure that you are getting the best possible deal at the best possible price. When it comes to planning for your vacation lodging, there is a wide and comprehensive variety of options to choose from. For many world travelers, the idea of owning a time share property is the best policy. Indeed, time share property firms, such as Bluegreen Resorts and many others, are well known for the convenience and reliability that they offer to their customers. The benefits of going the time share route are many and obvious.

Alternative Solutions To The Vacation Destination Dilemma

Many people have solved their vacation destination issues by deciding to rent or own a time share. Others have simply purchased a small seaside cottage or condominium. While there are plenty of alternative solutions to the vacation destination dilemma, there is no one definitive answer. The solution that is right for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your temperament and the size of your budget. It is an excellent idea to compare and contrast the available solutions until you happen upon the one that is right for you.

This is a sponsored guest post.

Protecting Your Vacation With Travel Insurance

Today’s post is sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance through the Bloggy Moms Network.

As a family of 6, it can be quite expensive to go on a real vacation. We only go on vacation once every 2 years. We didn’t go this year so next year should be our vacation year.  We only go domestic, usually do a beach on the east coast, and we drive but it’s still not cheap.  To fit our whole family comfortably we usually have to get a 2 or 3 bedroom condo or suite. We prefer to stay at an ocean front resort that has amenities so we have easy access to the beach. Then the resorts usually have extra things like swimming pools, restaurant, resort events, etc.

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Last year we went to Ocean City and stayed at the Princess Royale.  They had movies on the beach, an indoor swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs, a sauna, a gym, restaurant, gift shop, and we got an ocean front 3 bedroom room. That set us back $1500 just for the room for 4 days.  One thing in the back of my head when you think of the southern east coast in August is the possibility of hurricanes or some other issue coming up.  That’s why I consider travel insurance with our vacations.  I hate to be the pessimist but what happens if we invest all this money, something happens and we’re out all that money?

Allianz Travel Insurance offers peace of mind when booking your vacations. They are the leading travel insurance company offering financial protection and 24/7 travel assistance. Allianz Travel Insurance has conducted a Vacation Confidence Index Survey every years since 2009.  What they found is that more Americans will travel but plan to spend less on their 2015 trips.

They can help with things like emergency assistance in a number of areas both travel and medical, helping you recoup some or all of your money depending on your policy and more.

There’s also Concierge service for help with things like event tickets, gift arrangement, restaurant reservations, and more.  There are so many more benefits that I could make this post go on for a long time but I think you get the idea.

Allianz Travel Insurance can be purchased through many leading travel agents, most airlines, online travel agencies, other well-known travel suppliers, and

While you’re here check out these money saving tips for travel from Allianz Travel Insurance too!

6 Tips to Save Money on Your Cancun Trip

This post is brought to you by Hipmunk

Traveling to Cancun can be very relaxing and exciting. With its beautiful beaches and warm breeze, the island is a perennial favorite destination for vacationers. There are several things you can do to save money on your trip. Helping people save money on hotels in Cancun is what sites like Hipmunk try to do. Here are six tips that you should keep in mind for your own vacation.

cancun commons wikimedia
cancun picture credit to

Hop on a Bus

The public buses are everywhere and they are reliable and cheap. Don’t hesitate to use them to get around the island, as they only cost around 50 cents or less.

Consider an All-Inclusive Package

While it is true that in some destination trips, piecing your trip together can save you money, the opposite is true for Cancun. Many all-inclusive packages combine your hotel, meals and all drinks, including alcoholic ones, in one price.

Be Mindful of Data Roaming Charges

Most cell phone plans will charge you steep fees for international data roaming, so make certain you take the time to turn off your data roaming on your cell phone. Only turn on data roaming if it is absolutely necessary to avoid unpleasant fees on your cell phone bill.

No Need for a Phrasebook

You don’t need to go out and purchase a phrasebook. It is easy to find workers who understand and speak English. While a phrasebook may not cost much, it’s one expense that is unnecessary for your trip.

Travel Light

Try to travel only using a carry-on bag. By choosing the right bag, you can take full advantage of the space while saving additional checked baggage fees. You can do so by choosing clothing that is lightweight and wrinkle-resistant, layering items to change up your look. Try to minimize the number of shoes you plan to bring, as shoes take up lots of space. Choosing to travel light can also save you the time you would otherwise spend waiting in line at the baggage claim area.

Use Credit Cards for Better Exchange Rates

Using credit cards can give you better rates of exchange for most transactions. Be aware that some credit card companies do charge foreign transaction fees, however. Think about getting a card like the American Express Platinum card or another similar one that does not charge such fees.

Following these simple tips can help you save money on your next vacation. Remember to relax and plan ahead to gain the best vacation experience while also saving money.

Visit to Snapology in South Hills Pittsburgh

**I had the opportunity to review Snapology in South Hills Pittsburgh through the US Family Guide  The visit was my compensation.  Any opinions expressed are my own**

Snapology South Hills building

As a mom who had never been to any Snapology site before.  I did some reading before I went.  It’s a good idea to check the hours to see when they’re open.  We decided to go on Monday January 20 since the weather wasn’t too bad that day and the kids had off of school.  Mondays this particular site is open 10 am until 2 pm.  Tuesday 5:30-7:30 pm, well it’s different hours each day.  Checking out their website makes it easier to plan your trip.

Snapology has a lot of different opportunities for your children.  They host birthday parties, they have cool camps like the LEGO Minecraft camps, combat robot rumble tournament, and lots more.  My 10 yr old son is a LEGO fanatic and he told me he would have loved to do the LEGO Minecraft camp as he is also a Minecraft gamer as well.

We had a little trouble finding the building itself.  I called ahead to confirm hours, address, and get any tips from them as far as if we should bring anything.  There wasn’t.  She just told us to make sure we wear socks because there was a room with an interactive game on the floor that the kids would take their shoes off in.  She also told us that the GPS would tell us we were there when we weren’t quite there.  She told us to make sure we turned onto Highland Park Rd.   Just for anyone else trying to find it you turn left onto Highland Park Rd. from Washington Rd.  You’re turning left into the mall area.  There is a small plaza on your left. Stay in the left lane.  It’s the tan building with the striped awning that I have in the picture above.  I ended up not finding it right away but I called them and the girl was very sweet and stayed on the phone with me until I found it.  I don’t know a lot of places that will do that!

Snapology in the South Hills is located on the 2nd floor.  Go in the entrance I have pictured above. You can take the steps or the elevator to the 2nd floor.  When you get there is’s a very big open room.  You can see LEGO…well lots of LEGO stuff as well as other building materials.  The kids were anxious to get in there and check everything out. They registered us making sure they took info for each kid so they could make sure everyone left together as well.

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Bright colors and obvious stations were placed throughout the big room.  There were a couple of other rooms for the classes and camps.  There was also the room with the game on the floor I mentioned earlier.

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The area closest to the registration desk is a toddler section that has LEGO Duplo tables and bricks on the floor.  There were soft cubes for parents to sit on in this area.  There were small baskets with more Duplos in them.   There were other small activities nestled in other ares.  I didn’t do a good job of getting it in this hot but there is a red base on the wall in the back with a trough attached. It had letter bricks in it that the kids could attach to the base and spell words or whatever they like.

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This was right next to the toddler section.  These large pieces were foam.  There was a ball you could use to make a ball maze of sorts with ramps and tunnels.  My youngest son tried this out.  Actually on my instagram you’ll see my daughter enjoyed playing around with some of these pieces too.

There were things there for each age, skill level, and motor abilities.  My oldest boys are 11 and 10 yrs old. They had fun with a number of things throughout.

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The race track was pretty cool.  It was actually a little bigger than what this picture makes it seem.  My boys had fun racing other kids that were at Snapology as well.  They also enjoyed the K’nex coaster that’s pictured in the top pic here.

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My daughter is 10 months old.  I initially wasn’t sure how much there was going to be for her to do safely.  We found plenty. This wall in the picture above is metal and has lots of magnets on it.  I sat with her on the floor and she enjoyed pulling the magnets off the wall.  Some  of them moved and spun and she was very interested in those.  She also found a big pile of foam LEGO bricks on the floor as well.

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She did also find the small regular LEGO bricks on the floor as she explored so yes, you definitely have to keep an eye on the small ones while you’re there.  They actually have a sign up that if your child is under 5 you must be present with them. If your children are over 5 they actually have a drop off and pick up service.  So let’s say you want to head over to that mall I mentioned you could register your kids, drop them off, go shopping by yourself and come back and pick them up.  You wouldn’t even have to feel guilty because your kids would be having a blast there and there is a pick up and drop off process as I mentioned earlier in this post.  If I had one of  these closer  I could see me using that service when I have a dentist appt. or if I wanted to get some Christmas shopping done around the holidays!

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There were other things other than LEGO bricks.  Like this wall race track, the other race track I mentioned, and the room with the game I pictured below.

Blog 003This was my youngest son’s favorite feature.  The game on the floor is projected and changes every so many minutes.  They only allow up to 4 kids in at a time.  In the game pictured my son was playing a sort of whack-a-mole game by stepping on the mice as they popped out of the cheese.  There are lots of games that cycle through though including a bubble popping game and a game where they stop on animated cockroaches…yuck!

Another instagram pic because this one shows the baby getting into the game too.  This particular one was a hockey game and he had to try too kick the puck into the goal.

If you live near the South Hills Pittsburgh, this Snapology site would be a great activity to break up some of the winter cabin fever.  Hands on, encourages creativity, mechanical reasoning, gross and fine motor activities, something for every age.

For a limited time, you can use this coupon from the US Family Guide to try out Snapology for yourself  Limited offer – receive a FREE hour of play at Snapology®ionid=58

You can check out my instagram for a few more pics from our visit to Snapology in the South Hills Pittsburgh :

**Review completed as part of the US Family Guide blogger program.**

We Went to The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA

**I was provided with free tickets for my family from the Crayola Experience in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation has been received**

The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA is a place I’ve been wanting to take my family too for a while now.  It’s located here in PA.  I think it appeals to everyone in my family from my husband and I too my baby girl.  Crayola has been around for a long time.  I think we’ve all had some type of Crayola products in our life at one time or another. The fact that Crayola makes you think of colors and imagination, well I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us at the Crayola Experience.  Even if you’ve been before, they added 18 new activities this year so it would be worth another trip.

There was a parking garage located right across the street with a reasonable rate ($2 per hour).  There was also meter parking along the street.  Easton itself was a very clean and beautiful town with a variety of restaurants and shops nearby.  We stayed at the Comfort Inn on Nazareth Road which was only a couple minute drive from the Crayola Experience.

One of the first things we say in the Crayola Cafe was the world’s largest crayon weighing in at 1500 lbs and 15 ft long.

World's Largest Crayon
World’s Largest Crayon

The Crayola Cafe had light food like sandwiches, salads, soft pretzels, and drinks available.  Fairly reasonably priced for a place like this.  There were bright colors every where you went.

My son is 4 and one of his favorite parts was the “Doodle in the Dark” section.  The room was dimmed and there were all kinds of hands on and active stations in this room.

There were these boards in the “Doodle in the Dark” section which made glow in the dark pictures.  There was also a floor the kids could go on that had different activities like games, coloring pages, and music activities.  A lot of the kids of all ages had fun with this.  In the picture below the game had balloons everywhere and when you stepped on the balloons they popped and you got points.

The other activity in this room included a screen with colored squares on the floor.  When you stepped into one of the squares there Crayola man on the screen woke up.  When you moved the crayon guy would move like you.  So if you waved he would wave and so on.  My son could have spent an hour there.

My husband and I both enjoyed the “Art Alive” activity.  The room had a bunch of touch screen tablets.  You could choose a coloring page, color it on the screen, choose an animation, and when you were done it would appear on a big screen on the wall.  My son loved this too.

Crayola Art Alive
Crayola Art Alive
crayola art alive screen crayola experience art alive crayola exprience art alive wall

My diver I colored is on the bottom by the crab.  My son’s fish he colored is hard to see because of the color he used.  His is the fish colored in the aqua blue next to the orange fish by the crayon diver.  There was a large indoor playground too with lots of levels.  The parents could sit on benches or there were tables set u where you could color a picture and then turn it into a puzzle for no additional cost.  Around the play area there were squares on the floor that were like pavement but soft.  They had buckets of Crayola sidewalk chalk on the ground and you could draw on the floor.  I took the time to make my mark.

Crayola exprience sidewalk chalk

There were 4 floors of activities.  There were many projects you could work on and take home with you.  The meltdown hand tables with containers of melted crayons that you could grab a card stock car and paint using a stick with melted crayons.  When you first enter and buy your tickets you are given tokens to use in the machines like the Marker Maker and “Wrap it Up” which allowed you to choose certain colors of crayons and make a custom label.  You could have it say whatever you wanted.  I made one for each of my kids with their name on it.  You could also choose a symbol to put next to the name.  It dispensed a crayon and label. You could walk over to a table and it gave you simple instructions on how to wrap your crayon.  I ran into an issue when we put in a token.  It dispensed the wrappers but not the crayon.  An attendant was available and quickly fixed it and gave us out tokens back.  She was very friendly and helped a few people with different things while we were in that area.

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We were there for 3 1/2 hours and still didn’t get to try everything they had available. The one thing I would have liked to have seen but didn’t was the crayon making demonstration.  There was a lot of activities we did that would just make this post a mile long but I think you get the idea.

To find out more about the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA you can go to their website:

You can also find them on these social media sites:

Twitter: @VisitCrayola