Baby, Let Us Take You on a Sea Cruise, European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures

The Ultimate Guide to a Rhine River Cruise

Rhine River Cruise AmaWaterways

A cruise down the Rhine River shines a spotlight on everything that’s great about river cruises in Western Europe. While you float along one of the most important waterways in the world, you’ll touch land in four different countries—the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland—visiting big cities such as Amsterdam and Zurich, smaller centers like Cologne and Strasbourg, and the tiny towns that give the river its heart and soul (but that big cruise ships could never get near), such as darling Riquewihr in France’s unique Alsace region.

I rolled down the river on AmaWaterways “Enchanting Rhine” itinerary, and got the inside scoop on the myriad charms of the Rhine River’s ports of call and castle-laden scenery. (Note: Adventures by Disney uses AmaWaterways for its family-friendly European cruise itineraries, but Ama is comfortable for families who like to travel on their own as well.)

Read on for the A to Z highlights as you sail from Amsterdam to Zurich (note that river cruises also do the reverse Switzerland to Netherlands trip).
Ready to set sail? Let’s roll!

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European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways

WOW, $99 Airfare to Europe! (Yes, You Read That Right)

WOW $99 Airfare to Europe

WOW airlines just announced $99 one-way fares to Europe, in November and December no less! If you’re thinking of taking the family to Europe for the holidays, you want to book RIGHT NOW.

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Far Flung Adventures

Mythical Creatures and Where to Find Them on Your Family Vacation

Mythical Creatures family vacation

Do you have kids who love Harry Potter? Did your family love the magical film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Then have we got a family vacation idea for you!

Expedia UK has created a fun guide to all the mythical creatures in the world — everything from Bigfoot in Oregon to Yeti in Nepal to Unicorns in China (who knew?) — with interactive click and go info.

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European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: Best Paris Restaurants for a Junior Gourmet

Best Paris restaurants for teens

Q: Hi Playground — Do you have any recommendations for restaurants in Paris with authentic French cuisine for my foodie daughter? She’s going to Paris with her aunt for her 13th birthday and prefers a spot with great food (and reasonable prices) over a trendy place. They’re staying near the Place Vendome. Thanks! ~ Gretchen G.

A: Hi Gretchen, What a fabulous birthday adventure! You’re daughter is a girl after my own heart (and stomach). Paris is one of my favorite cities; I visit as often as I can, and love to try as many local bistros and brasseries as possible when I’m there.

Here are some authentic French spots for your teen gourmet (that won’t break the bank):

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European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: Best Mobile Phone Plans for Overseas Travel

mobile phone plan overseas travel

 

Q:  Hello Playground! We’re heading to England for a week on vacation and I want to know the most affordable way to use my phone while I’m traveling. We have Verizon as our mobile carrier. Thanks! ~ LK

A: Hi LK! This is a great question, and one I get asked about a lot. Everyone has heard horror stories about astronomical data roaming charges and ridiculous international phone bills. But the good news is, with the right plan, this no longer has to be the case.

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Far Flung Adventures, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: Questions About Travel Insurance for Family Travel

travel insurance family travel

Q:  Hello Playground! What do you recommend for travel insurance, including medical and flight insurance, for family travel in South America? We have our shots, our anti-diarrhea and altitude sickness meds, but our travel MD recommended the extra insurance for the trip – just in case. What do think? Thanks! ~ A Traveling Mom

A: Hi Traveling Mom! You’re preaching to the choir when it comes to purchasing travel insurance for adventure or long-haul trips. Anywhere it would be hard to get home from, or to replicate the level of care you receive in the United States, it’s a good idea to purchase additional insurance. Not to mention, most travel insurance policies cover delayed or cancelled trips and also baggage that’s destroyed or never makes it to your final destination, which hopefully never happens to you, but it’s great peace of mind to know you’re covered.

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European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: London for Families

London for Families

Q: Hi Playground — My husband, 12-year-old son, 19-year-old daughter, and I are taking advantage of the low fares to England and spending a week in London in July. Now that we have our travel sorted out, I’m wondering what family friendly London sights and activities we should have on our must see list when we get there. Any don’t miss or surefire teen pleasers? Thanks! ~ Jen F.

A: Hi Jen! Great to hear your family is headed to London, it’s one of my favorite cities in Europe and it definitely needs a little TLC from travelers right now. You are actually the third family I’ve heard from recently who’s headed to London this summer with teens and tweens wondering what to do. I’ve got a few crowd pleasers up my sleeve, but remember that every kid, and family is unique, so if your kids love shopping, or art, or theater, be sure to add in extra time for those.

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European Vacation, Far Flung Adventures, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways

Amazing International Airfare Bargains

 International Airfare Bargains

If you haven’t looked at overseas airline seat prices in a while you’re in for a surprise. A good surprise that is. (When was the last time you heard “airline” and “good surprise” in the same sentence?)

I’ve been watching prices drop, no PLUMMET, in the last year, and it seems as though fares have hit an all-time low on select routes. Last year, we told you how to get great fares to Milan for around $450 round trip, but now routes throughout Europe and beyond are dropping down below $300 roundtrip. How low? WOW airlines is offering $150 tickets to ISRAEL! Seriously. I paid more than that for the ACELA to DC from NY last year.

The international airfare bargains are due to a number of factors: Lower oil prices, a strong dollar, and greater route competition from bare-bones airlines that are doing away with all niceties such as free checked bags for overseas flights or even free food (but honestly, we’re so used to this by now, it’s hard to even notice) to create rock-bottom prices that other airlines have to lower their fares to try and compete with.

Here are a few of our recent family travel favorite air fare sales.

Note that some fares are available only for a limited time, and there are often date and day restrictions. We’ll keep checking on more flight deals for you, but keep an eye on Travelzoo (I’m signed up for their daily alerts), which does a great job of spotting airfare deals.

Happy flying!

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