5 Cool (Almost Free) Day Trips‏

Bucktown Village Store

Bucktown Village Store

There are only about 2-3 weeks remaining before the school year begins for most children.  Some parents are rejoicing, while others want summer to go on-and-on.  Whatever category you fall into, you should get out the house and do some exploring.  If you are looking for a quick & inexpensive day trip, read on.  These destinations are not just for the kiddos.  They are great for adults too!  
1.  Newseum:  This is a compelling place to visit in Washington D.C. for both children and adults.  With many interesting and hands-on exhibits, a trip to the Newseum is worth the money.  While visiting, I enjoyed making a video at the NBC News Interactive Newsroom.  And best of all, kids are free until Labor Day.  Adult tickets costs $22.95, however, they offer 10% discounts for military, students, and AAA members.
2.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art:  The Met is so much more than the annual celebrity filled Met Gala.  Located in the heart of Manhattan, this museum is full of impressive art from all over the world.  It is full of so many exhibits, you could take more than one day to tour this massive facility.  Being the foodie that I am, I had to have lunch at the Met. I tried a lobster roll for the first time at the Petrie Court Cafe.  And yes, it was delicious!  My friends and I also took the 
obligatory picture on the roof with the Manhattan skyline and Central Park as the backdrop.  Admission to the Met is by donation only.  The suggested adult donation is $25 while children 12 and under are free.
3.  The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway:  This driving tour  goes from Maryland to the Delaware border.  The majority of stops are in Dorchester and Caroline Counties in Maryland.  There were too many stops to cover in one day, so this can easily be stretched into a two-day adventure.  One of the more fascinating stops is the Bucktown Village Store where Harriet Tubman was hit in the head by a weight, which caused her life long medical problems.  By the way, don’t look for railroad tracks (wink).
4.  Brooklyn Bridge:  Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is an enjoyable, free way to spend to about an hour in New York.  It is a little over one mile long and took me a little over an hour to cross.  The time flew by as I stopped many times to enjoy the views.  Here are some helpful tips.  Oh, please stay out of the bike lane!
5.  Old Town Alexandria:  If you are looking for a way to spend a quiet & relaxing afternoon, Old Town Alexandria is the way to go.  You can browse through the many stores or visit museums.  You can also take the ferry to the National Harbor.  And make sure to grab a sweet treat from Alexandria Cupcake.

Road Trippin’

file6071284660910I originally posted this brief article about gas price comparison websites about two years ago.  I know it is worth sharing again just in case you plan on hitting the road for the 4th of July.

Bahamas on a Budget

1432468965246Every spring break, I have always wanted to take my children on a nice vacation.  However, lack of planning has normally kept us at or near home.  Last year, I made up my mind that we were going to the beach.  I was not sure what beach, but I wanted to go anywhere with 75+ degree temperatures and white sand.  After much research, I decided to travel to Bahamas for these three reasons:

1.  Price and length of flight.
2.  Cost of accommodations.
3.  The Atlantis.

To start, Southwest flies to the Caribbean now.  Southwest’s free baggage policy is a big deal to me.  I purchased the tickets for $300 each in September of 2014.  Also, the flight was about two hours long.  Gotta love a quick flight.

If you going to the Bahamas, you HAVE to visit the Atlantis!  I have seen the commercials on TV and yes, it lives up to the hype.  However, the hype comes with a price (that I was unwilling to pay).  So, I found the next best thing.  The Comfort Suites Paradise Island.  For about half the price ($977.82 to be exact), by staying at Comfort Suites, I received complimentary breakfast & WiFi and full access to the Atlantis.  Yes, full access!  This includes the water park, beach, aquarium and the other resort amenities.  

Upon check-in to the Comfort Suites, they gave my husband and I a card verifying our identity.  Every morning, we took a five-minute walk to Atlantis and showed our card to enter the property.  We were then directed to a service desk where they looked at our card again and checked our names against a list.  Then we received our wristbands for the day.  It was a very quick & painless process.

A Few Facts
-I earned $24.85 with Ebates by staying at Comfort Suites.

-There is an automatic 15% gratuity  added to food purchases at Atlantis.
-I bought a case of water and divided it amongst our suitcases before we left home.  I saved tons of money by pre-purchasing water.  Of course my children thought I was crazy.