A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition

Temecula may be one of California’s best-known wine regions, but I’ll always remember it for something else: the fresh fruit we harvested on a recent visit to this out-of-the-way Southern California destination. Read more “A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition”

What is the value of a Spirit Airlines voucher if I can never use it?

Jill King-Fernandez and her family voluntarily give up their seats on a Spirit Airlines flight. In exchange, they’re offered flight vouchers. But the vouchers are unusable. Now what? Read more “What is the value of a Spirit Airlines voucher if I can never use it?”

“Free” airline seat assignments for families? It’s about time

Family travel, as rewarding as it can be, is seldom easy. And with increasing airline fees for anything they can charge for, it’s also become much more expensive, especially for cost-conscious travelers who don’t fly enough to have airline status.

It’s not just needing to bring your own food, and pay for your bags. Now families have to pay just to be guaranteed to be seated together.
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Why are families drowning in travel fees?

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After Eric Kodish finished making his reservation at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach for the upcoming Christmas holiday, he tried to tie up one loose end: ensuring the two rooms he’d booked for his family were connected.

No problem, a hotel representative said. For an additional $50 a night per room, they’d be happy to guarantee adjoining accommodations.

“My kids are minors,” says Kodish, an accountant from Moorestown, N.J. “They can’t stay across the hall if a connecting room isn’t available.”

The price tag for staying next to his children, Tyler, 8, and Devon, 5? An additional $1,100.
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Do hotels lie about being “family friendly”?

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Somewhere between a booster stool at the check-in desk and a DJ spouting profanities at the kids’ pool lies the definition of a “family-friendly” resort. No one seems to agree. Maybe it’s time we did.

Let’s start with that step stool, which I saw at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s check-in desk a few months ago. Fairmont is known for catering to its littlest visitors, but I’d never seen a booster before. It allows youngsters to come eye-to-eye with a check-in clerk while Mom and Dad register.

The step-ups were also in the lobby bathrooms. When I told one of the hotel employees that my kids, who were traveling with me, thought the furniture was “really cool,” she shrugged as if to say, “Doesn’t every resort do it like this?”
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