Last Minute Fall Staycation Ideas

Fall is a fantastic time for an impromptu vacation, or stay-cation. Here now, a few of our favorite ideas for family togetherness, that will not break the bank.

1. Visit your local zoo for FREE. Yep-  here’s one from the “I didn’t know that” file: many public libraries have a zoo pass that will accommodate a family of 4 for FREE. In the major cities that do have these, they go fast- so be sure to check with your local branch stat!

2. Apple Picking. Nearly every major, or medium-sized city has an apple farm within an hours drive. Some will let you pick your own apples, while others may just have a cute shop and a great cup of fresh apple cider. Fall is THE BEST time of year to go.

3. Pumpkin Farm! If you’ve always bought your pumpkin at the grocery, give this a whirl. What better way to pick your pumpkin than from the vine? A classic family outing.

4. Flag football. Yes, here’s another idea that may make some of you say “well, duh, lady!”…. but when was the last time you actually did this? Here’s a free trick: try different colored napkins in your jeans pockets to use as flags, and if you don’t have a football of any sort, you can use any ball, really, and if you don’t have that, an old stuffed pillow works well.

AND DON’T FORGET: The time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving yields some of the cheapest airline tickets throughout the year. Check carriers for last-minute deals. TIP: look for tickets on Tuesday, when airlines announce their specials, and give yourself a couple of weeks for the best results. At the time of this posting, you have more than that before the Turkey Day prices skyrocket.

For more great ideas, visit our colleagues:

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Dancing in the Isles- A Good Thing?

Below is a new air safety presentation by Philippine airlines Cebu. The flight attendants, all young, and seemingly enjoying themselves, dance their required safety instructions to the beat of Lady Gaga. What do YOU think? Is this fun and refreshing, or in poor taste? You can’t help but watch, but are you listening?

New Hawaiian Disney Resort Sets Date

Photo Courtesy Disney Media

Aulani, Disney forthcoming Hawaiian resort has set a date to open its doors. The 21 acre property nestled along Oahu’s western shore will open its doors to vacationers on Aug. 29, 2011, and will begin accepting reservations on Aug. 2, 2011. This will be a stand-alone resort for Disney, much like the one also planned to be built just outside of Washington DC.

2010 Labor Day Travel to Increase from Years Past

If you are able to get an early start on the road this Labor Day weekend, you might want to. That’s because the American Automobile Association anticipates a 10 percent increase in travelers driving this year from last, for a total of 34.4 million Americans hitting the road over the weekend. According to the group, U.S. travel continued to gain traction during the fourth quarter of ’09. Spending is also up an additional 3.9%. Travelers are expected to drive, more than fly this weekend, due in part to low gasoline rates [the national average at the time of this post was $2.67]. Still, flying is also in an up-tic, with approximately 4% higher volume of travelers taking to the skies.

With regard to Hurricane Earl, early forecasts indicate the Carolina’s Outer Banks could lose up to 8% of the travelers currently expected to vacation there over the weekend. The National Weather Service cautions travelers in area that are expecting the now- category 4 hurricane.

Top Ten Must-Have Kid Gadgets for Summer

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know we love our gadgets! With that in mind, hre are our Top Ten picks for must-have products this summer.

1. Gourmet Picnic Duffel: This isn’t your parent’s basket and blanket! These fully insulated picnic baskets by Ascot come with everything you’ll need- except of course the food.

2. Best Kids Travel Cup: Our travel cup of choice is the Travel Cup for kids by Contigo. Their secret is their patented  AUTOSEAL® technology.

3. If you’re as tired of fishing out old Cheetos from under your car’s back seat as we are, then you might want to check out this handy Snack Ball.

4. Anyone who’s ever lent their toddler their (now defunct) iPod might want to check this out. The Sweet Pea 3 won the Toy of the Year from Energizer & the Canadian Toy Testing Council, and with a rubber-coated exterior, it’s very rugged.

5. This has been one of our favorites for a long time. The Trunki Suitcase is a case and ride all in one. Expect to see smiles galore at the airport.

6. Check out Samsung’s DVD Jr. The handheld, portable DVD player is designed for kids under 15, but be warned- you’ll need special discs. Samsung has partnered with Warner Home Video to create 3″ discs specifically for this player.

7. Is your kid a gamer? Be sure to check out Nintendo’s website for a number of portable Gamboy consoles. Too many to review.

8. The best kiddie camera is still this one.

9. Sun is fun until someone gets burned… so DON’T! Stay covered at the beach and at the lake with a Bambino Cabana.

10. Holy App Attack, Batman! There are dozens of kid friendly apps for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Droid now. From Sesame related games to apps that let you draw- be sure to check iTunes for a full list.

Get loads of inspiring ideas for your family in this month’s edition of Washington Family Magazine.