Photography by Allan Baxter/ Stone/ Getty Images
Whether you’re going home for the holidays to be surrounded by extended family (and, potentially, tiny childhood furniture), looking forward to a “friendsgiving” or using the valuable vacation days to escape from it all, WalletHub has calculated the best cities for winter holiday travel, at home and abroad. Using metrics such as average airfares, flight times and hotel costs, it determined the best destinations to celebrate the holidays without the hassle. Without further ado … READ MORE
Photo courtesy Gaylord National Resort
It’s beginning to look, and feel, a lot like Christmas. Bundle up this weekend and visit the annual “ICE!” exhibit at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Centers in Maryland, Texas, Florida and Tennessee, which all officially open their doors to the display this weekend.
In a steadily 9-degree room, the “ICE!” exhibit features larger-than-life ice sculptures from the beloved story of Frosty the Snowman (at Gaylord National in Oxon Hill, MD, and Gaylord Texan in Dallas), ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville) or The Nutcracker (at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL). Each display is perfectly crafted from more than 2 million pounds of ice by 30 artisans from Harbin, China, the ice carving capital of the world. Don’t worry about running out to L.L. Bean or the like: Cozy parkas are provided for all attendees — children and adults — so they can fully enjoy the exhibit.
Carving out 2.6 million pounds of ice — the most ever for Gaylord National — is no small feat. During an exclusive tour of its “ICE!” exhibit, public relations manager Rachel Dinbokowitz provided insider details on what visitors can expect this holiday season. READ MORE
The Royal family at the Natural History Museum on in London, England. Getty Images Entertainment
Happy Birthday to the future king of England — Prince George! It seems like just yesterday the world was going bananas over the future monarch’s arrival, and now that Prince George turned 1, it’s time to raise your glasses – or crystal juice cups — in celebration again!
In honor of Prince George’s birthday, Visit Britain shared with us family-friendly travel ideas in the UK fit for your little prince or princess. Follow in the Royal Family’s footsteps with your little tikes as you explore all the imaginative places that lie in Great Britain.
Travelers, Charlestonians and runners (or walkers) alike, prepare for a big weekend in Charleston, SC. The annual Cooper River Bridge Run happens this Saturday, April 5. Runners and walkers will find their position on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Cooper River Bridge at 6 a.m., to start the 10K race which takes runners across the massive, 2.5-mile-long Cooper River Bridge and ends on Meeting Street, just before the popular Marion Square in Historic Downtown Charleston.
Started as a way of engaging interest and awareness of better health and cardiovascular exercise, “Bridge Run” as it’s fondly called, has become one of the most popular events to happen during the spring season in Charleston – next to its world-class weddings, of course. But before the big race kicks off, the foodies and the kids get in on the action with Taste of the Bridge Run and Kids Run & Wonderfest. READ MORE
Quiet beach time at Cardiff Reef in San Diego’s North County (All Photos: Lisa Singh)
If you’re California-bound, you’ll eventually want to see its birthplace: San Diego. And once you’ve checked out the famed Southern California city’s star attractions, like the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and La Jolla Village, you owe it to yourself to step off the well-worn tourist path and discover San Diego’s lesser-known side, where hidden gems await at nearly every turn.
The place to go is San Diego’s North County, the posh and quieter stretch of town about 25 miles north of the city. Just cruise on down Highway 101, the classic stretch of road with an array of laid-back beach towns along the way. READ MORE
Photography by Thinkstock
We asked you to weigh in on our 10 expert picks and determine this year’s Best Overall Beach. Travel Channel fans voted and chose Clearwater Beach, FL, as their fan favorite!
“The sand at Clearwater Beach is as soft as baby powder, and the gradual slope to the warm Gulf water makes it an ideal beach for babies and toddlers” according to Have Baby Will Travel founder Corrine McDermott.
“I can go anywhere …”
Everyone is frightened of something, but sometimes our fears can prevent us from exploring our world. Most of the time, facing our fears can help us overcome them. But what if the fear is your child’s? And what if it’s his or her fear of flying that makes going to see grandma or taking a family vacation a nightmare … for everyone? READ MORE
Photo by Park City Mountain
What better way to welcome the holiday season than with family, festivities, and, of course, the perfect holiday portrait. Don’t just settle for mundane decorations or a white background for this year’s holiday card; head to one these locations to truly wow your loved ones – no Photoshop required.
There’s no need to scramble to deck the halls and put up the tallest Christmas tree for the perfect holiday portrait. Trade an ordinary fireplace backdrop for one of the country’s coziest hotel fireplaces – just find one near you.
Looking for something less formal … and posed? Get outside and take the kids to a nearby park for a photo shoot. For you city slickers, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite urban parks. No excuses!
Capture their attention with breath-taking views of the ocean, coast, or mountains from your last vacation. If your annual ski trip or beach house rental feels like a family reunion, why not use a photo from the last time you were all together?
Looking for more Everyday Escapes during the busiest travel time of the year? See our Holiday Tips for Family Travel.
Take a photo on your phone to share your family holiday spirit in a real Hallmark card with just a few clicks. Download the Hallmark Go Cards app to send real Hallmark cards to their mailbox from wherever you are. Download it now at Hallmark.com/GoCards.
We’ve got at least one item on your summer 2014 to-do list: Ride Verrückt. If you haven’t heard the latest buzz about Verrückt, allow us to enlighten you. Designed by Jeff Henry, the “Wizard of Water” and co-owner of Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, KS, Verrückt, once complete, will be the tallest, fastest and, dare we say — scariest — waterslide in the world!
The 17-story Verrückt waterslide, which requires 4 people to ride it at one time, will be taller than Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty. And Travel Channel is on the ground capturing the entire build — we’ll be there when the first 4 brave souls take the first plunge! The waterslide will be featured in next summer’s Xtreme Waterparks, our hit series about the coolest, most ridiculous and most extreme waterparks in the world.
Stay tuned for more on how Verrückt’s build is progressing. Until summer 2014, wet your appetite with our Xtreme Waterparks pictures.
Courtesy of Thinkstock
Good luck on trying to find last-minute deals for any holiday travel this year. Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, says, “This is probably going to be the highest-priced holiday fares we’ve seen in the last decade.”
The average ticket cost for the US and Caribbean is already up 9.4% over last Thanksgiving. Prices for Christmas week are up more than 7% to an average of $337.
What’s the reason behind the airfare hike this year? Travel experts blame it on mergers and consolidated airlines over the past couple years, which has forced some carriers to cut back on flights to many cities. This is the first time that planes are flying at 85% load factor — essentially full — since 1945. And today, more people are competing for fewer seats.