Archive for the ‘Summer Travel’ Category

Tips for B&B Travel with Kids

August 12th, 2010 by Mariah

Tips for B&B Travel with Kids

Bed and Breakfast travel with children can be tricky, as vacationing at an Inn can be a very different kind of family experience. But have no fear! With a little planning ahead, you can have an enjoyable family getaway at a B&B with kids in tow. Here are a few tips from to help you prepare for your B&B getaway:

Some bed and breakfasts prohibit children under a certain age, so always ask about an inn’s policy before making reservations.

Ask the innkeepers what on-site activities, if any, they have which would be appropriate and entertaining for children the age of yours. But always be sure to bring along plenty of your own games and activities.

Make a list of two or three B&Bs that seem like good candidates and let your children help make the final selection. They’ll look forward to arriving at the inn that much more.

Let your children help pack their suitcases, again giving them a sense of being involved in trip planning.

If you’re driving a long distance, be sure to plan short pit stops on the way.

When you get to the bed and breakfast, let the children see their room first. They’ll feel special and can start exploring while you get things organized in your room.

Be sure your children get a tour of the bed and breakfast and surrounding property, either from you or the innkeeper. They should know right from the start what they can and can’t do.

Work with the innkeeper regarding breakfast, especially if your children are picky eaters. Many inns aren’t equipped for same-morning menu changes, so plan at least a day ahead.


Encourage your children to rate the bed and breakfast at the end of the trip. Ask what they liked and didn’t like — and why. This will help you plan the next trip.

If you have a child who really likes to camp out, ask the innkeepers if you can bring a small pup tent for the yard. Some innkeepers might even consider reducing your rate, since that child won’t be sleeping in a room.

What You Need: A child-friendly trip agenda, Games, Books, Toys, and a plan for other activities to keep your child occupied if he or she gets bored.

Jimmy Buffett To Play Free Gulf Coast Gig

June 22nd, 2010 by Mariah

“Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has announced a free concert next week to show his support for the Gulf Coast and to boost the mood of residents.

Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band will perform a free show on the beach at Gulf Shores on the Alabama coast on July 1, he announced on his website on the weekend.

Other performers slated to join the Margaritaville singer onstage so far include Allen Toussaint, the Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Sonny Landreth and Jesse Winchester.

According to the statement on Buffett’s site, the concert is meant to “demonstrate support for the people, businesses and culture of the Gulf Coast.”

The free show will also be broadcast live on CMT.

Alabama tourism officials have also pledged support for the concert, which is being held the same day Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel is scheduled to open on Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Other fundraising events have been held to support relief efforts for victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, including the late-May benefit concert Gulf Aid, which saw Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, Toussaint and Dr. John take the stage in New Orleans.”

Brought to you by CBC News.

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

June 16th, 2010 by Mariah

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

Below is a great article taken from the USA Today regarding the efforts by hotels to cater to families this summer season. Innkeepers can get some great ideas from this article, such as making kid goody bags, kid-friendly dining options, and offering gaming systems. Parents may be reluctant to bring their youngsters to a B&B, so if you have anything that caters to kids make sure you ADVERTISE it.

“Hotels try harder to woo travelers on vacation with kids.”
By Roger Yu, USA TODAY

Hotels are stepping up their efforts to woo vacationers and families.
They’re introducing leisure and kid-friendly amenities to deal with a new industry reality that leisure travelers are more important than ever.

Leisure travelers — which include vacationers, honeymooners and wedding attendants — surpassed business travelers as the primary hotel customer segment in the U.S. in 2004. By 2009, leisure traveler volume had risen to 476 million, or 54% of the total, from 399 million in 2000, says D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a travel research and consulting firm. The nights business travelers filled rooms fell during the nine-year period to 411 million.

“Business travel has been slowly declining, says Douglas Shifflet of D.K. Shifflet. And, he says, “It’s not going back.”

Travelers have also gotten younger. Gen X travelers — in their late 20s to early 40s — are replacing Baby Boomers. Gen Xers are more reluctant to travel for business but are showing greater willingness to go on vacations with their families, Shifflet says. “They’re having kids now,” he says. “They try to balance their lives more.”

Among the new leisure traveler enticements:

Family. More kid-friendly programs are offered. Marriott International has started distributing toddler care items, such as fitted slip covers for cribs, squirting bath toys, baby lotion and shampoo and nightlights, at 2,500 hotels throughout most of its brands. “Things people might forget. We’re making sure hotels have these items,” says Peggy Fang Roe of Marriott, adding that the effort is partly to help change its reputation as a business hotel company.

In July, Marriott-operated hotels will begin distributing free activity books and silicone bracelets featuring Nickelodeon characters. For $10, customers can buy a SpongeBob backpack containing a splash ball, paper doll and sunglasses. Customers at full-service hotels — Marriott and JW Marriott brands — can pay $20 for the backpack and a SpongeBob book and pillow cases. Marriott’s partnership with Nickelodeon also features costumed characters and live shows at some of its resorts.

Omni Hotels gives away free bags of goodies for kids (with Twizzlers, flashlight, cup, mini-drum and bookmark), as well as milk and cookies.

Value. With budgets tight, families are looking for deals. Homewood Suites by Hilton says its revamped free meal program has helped draw more leisure travelers in the last year.

Beach Getaway Checklist

June 13th, 2010 by Mariah

Monday June 21 marks the offical first day of summer. In many places however, the summer heat is already very much upon us. Chances are no matter where you live, you will be hitting the beach at some point this summer season. We have put together a few lists of the must-have’s for your beach getaway. Don’t forget that many of our B&B properties are beach front and are the perfect way to extended your summer vacation.

Beach Vacation Must Have’s

The Basics:

Sarong/ Pareo
Flip Flops/ Sandals/ Crocs
Beach Bag/ Dry Bag
Lots of swimsuits
Waterproof hair accessories
Quick Dry Shorts
Anklets/ Toe Rings

Essential Beach Bag Booty:

A sheet/ Beach blanket/ Large towel
Cover-ups/ Loose, light weight shirts
Wide brimmed hats
Sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen
Small amount of cash
Disposable waterproof camera
Small spray bottle of white vinegar

Extra Beach Bag Booty:

Mask and snorkel (fins optional)
Bug spray (depending on the area)
Inflatable or pop-up playthings
Picnic lunch
Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
Folding lightweight beach chairs
Boogie board or similar
Aqua shoes
Umbrella or portable pop-up cabana

Beach Bag Booty For The Kids:

A pail and shovel
Beach ball, water wings, other inflatable toys
Snacks like fresh or dried fruit
Portable kid sized tents

Share Your Favorite Beach With Other Beach Lovers

Of all the beaches you’ve visited which do you think is the Best Beach in the World? Tell us where it is and what you love about it. Is it a great walking or tanning beach? Has something special happened to you on YOUR beach? A proposal, a wedding, maybe you met a special person. Write to us and tell us all about, and make sure to include you favorite Bed and Breakfast near your beach!

10 Summer Travel Tips

June 5th, 2010 by Mariah

To go along with our Summer Specials Blog, here are 10 Summer Travel Tips to help your getaway go smoothly. Even if you have the best of intentions when planning your trip, there are a few major things everyone should remember before heading out on a summer road trip.




1. Tend to your tires. Exchange your winter tires for summer or all-season tires. Winter tires wear out quickly on dry, hot pavement; switching them early will keep them in optimum shape for next year, not to mention improve your car’s handling during the summer months.

Check your tire pressure — and check it often. With every passing month, the average tire loses about a pound of air pressure. Proper tire inflation is critical to achieving the best possible contact between the tire and the road and avoiding blowouts and tread separation. Most cars have a decal mounted in their driver doorjamb that lists the correct tire pressures depending on tire size and vehicle load. Properly inflated tires will also improve fuel economy, particularly important if you’re doing lots of high-speed driving on a long family vacation.


2. Stay on top of your fluids. If you’ve fallen behind on maintenance, get your car’s oil changed before you hit the road. Keep in mind that any of today’s oils, including 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 grades, are multiviscous, and get a bit thinner the hotter it gets outside, thereby increasing the chance that the engine might not get the proper lubrication (it’s the opposite in winter). Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will list the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Consider changing it to a compound that’s slightly thicker if you’re going to be driving in extreme temperatures. While the hood is up, check the coolant/antifreeze mixture inside your vehicle’s radiator. The ideal ratio of coolant to water is 50-to-50 for optimal temperature regulation in both cold weather and hot. You can check this with a simple and inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can find at all auto parts stores.


3. Give the rest of your car a once-over. Inspect the belts and hoses. In modern cars, they are designed to last a long time, but still have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected by a mechanic. And if your car is at least a couple of years old and you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before setting out on a long road trip.

Inspect the wiper blades. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is just one year, and wipers often get dried out or chewed up during a hard winter. If yours are not making full contact with the windshield, replace them. Also, keep an eye on your windshield washer fluid reservoir, which you can top off in less time than it takes to fill your tank with gas.

Finally, check the battery. Extreme heat and cold put additional strain on an automobile battery, particularly older ones. If yours is more than 3 years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. If you don’t know how old it is, think about replacing it. This may seem like an unnecessary expense — especially for those on tight budgets — but trust us, it’s better than trying to find a replacement battery while you’re stuck on the side of the road with three screaming kids.


4. Prepare an emergency kit for your car. Here’s what we recommend carrying in a safe, secure part of your trunk or cargo area:

a. A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit

b. Jumper cables

c. A mat or blanket to protect your clothing in the event that you need to change a tire or reach debris that might be lodged underneath your vehicle

d. Extra clothes and gloves

e. Paper towels

f. Extra washer fluid

g. Nonperishable food

h. Jug of water

i. Basic tools (wrenches, ratchet/socket set, screwdrivers, pliers or Vise-Grips, etc.)

Many of these items are available (often prepackaged) at auto parts stores or major department stores. Also, keep the phone number for your emergency roadside assistance program, if you have one, in a convenient location.


5. Pack smart. Many of us are guilty of taking everything but the bathtub with us on road trips — stuffing our vehicles to the roof with pillows, coolers, suitcases, CDs, etc. — to the detriment of the vehicle’s comfort, handling and outward visibility. Our advice: bring only what’s necessary.

In the days before you leave, then, make a list of what you’ll need on your trip, and pack as many of those things ahead of time as possible instead of throwing everything in the car in a panic at the last minute. Ask yourself: do you have to bring shampoo when it will be provided by your hotel? Can you afford to eat some meals along the way instead of packing up the entire pantry? Do you really need to bring eight pairs of shorts when you’ll have access to Grandma’s washer/dryer?

That said, we do recommend packing a small cooler with bottled water, crackers, cereal bars, fruit, etc., to keep you and your family hydrated and hunger-free. Replenish these supplies at gas stations or rest stops. Try to avoid salty foods and sodas, as they can actually make you thirstier. And don’t stuff yourself when you eat; food comas at 70 miles per hour are not good, to say the least.



6. Load smart. Once you’ve decided what to bring, don’t pack items so high that they completely block your outward vision. Don’t bury items that you may need to access at a rest stop. If possible, even out your load from side to side, and if you’re hauling something in a pickup or SUV, try to keep the heaviest items as close to the center of the vehicle as possible for optimal handling.

7. Avoid fatigue. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of highway accidents. There are a few measures you can take to avoid getting tired on the road. Make absolutely sure you get a good night’s rest before spending a long time behind the wheel. Be mindful of caffeine; a short-term coffee buzz will be followed by a lull, and it’s all but impossible to sustain one’s energy for hours on end. Switch drivers every hour or two if you can. If you find yourself getting tired, by all means pull over at a safe spot, switch on your hazard lights and rest for a few minutes. Finally, stop often. Some people complain about having small bladders, but frequent bathroom stops actually help lower the risk of freeway fatigue. Besides, you never know what cool trinkets, local vittles and photo ops may be waiting for you in those random small towns you might otherwise skip over.


8. Tow, tow, tow your boat (or any trailer) with safety in mind. Keep it slow, keep it smooth. When towing, everything you do while driving needs to be done at significantly reduced speed when compared to driving without a trailer. Smoothness and caution are paramount to successful trailering, including accelerating, turning, changing lanes and especially braking. Plan all maneuvers well ahead of time and be especially cautious when towing a slab-sided trailer in windy conditions. Also, familiarize yourself with trailering-specific traffic laws and heed reduced speed limits.



9. Take the scenic route. Life really is about the journey, so for Pete’s sake, have some fun on your trip. If you’re particularly confident in your navigator (or navigation system), consider taking the more picturesque side roads instead of broad, mind-numbing interstates that may be packed with big rigs and holiday travelers. Pad your trip with extra time so that you can stop at historical landmarks, soak in the beauty of natural landmarks or enjoy a picnic.


10. Be nice. While the high costs of gasoline may keep some families off the road this year, you’ll probably encounter quite a few fellow road-trippers anyway. But consider this: you’re tired, they’re tired, and highway driving (especially with little ones) can shorten our collective fuses, making road rage all too common on our interstates. Some words to the wise: be nice. Use your signals. Let faster drivers pass. Don’t tailgate. Be patient with trucks and vacationing families in RVs. They have a right to the road, too, and if we all can just learn to get along, the road can be an awfully fun place to spend time.