Jan 19th
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Ask the Travel Agent

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Ask the Travel Agent

Q.     How do you go about renting a house in France?  We would like to be within a day trip to Paris.
A.     The French Experience (800-283-7262) rents apartments in Paris, as well as homes and villas in the countryside.  Interhome (800-882-6864) rents homes throughout Europe.
Q.     Amy (age 4) and I will be staying a week in Castellina in the Chianti area of Italy.  What might we find to enjoy in Tuscany?

A.     The Chianti Hills are great for biking.  Rent a bike and a kid's seat, pack a picnic and with plenty of stops to smell the flowers and pick grapes, you can enjoy the lovely scenery.  Leisurely walks are fun, too!  The Saturday market in Castellina in Chianti is always fun for the kids.  The Castle and parish church in Castellina in Chianti, and Etruscan Tomb of Montecalvario are fun outings.  See these in small doses, mixed with plenty of climbing, story telling, and picnics.  The Castles of Brolio and Meleto nearby offer more exploration.  The beaches at Rimini on the Adriatic and on Tyrrhenian Coast are fun.  San Gimignano, Firenze, Pisa,Siena are additional outings.  A week will go by very fast--relaxing, exploring a new country, dining on fantastic Tuscan food, and mingling with local families.
Q.     Where can a family of 4 go for a day or two, very economically in east Texas?
A.     In east Texas you'll find Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston National Forests.  All have camping, boating, swimming and hiking.  Sam Houston also has bicycle trails.  The cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston offer a variety of attractions.  Fort Worth has the Museum of Science and History, Zoo, Six Flags and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center; Dallas has the Fair Park, Zoo, World Aquarium, Frontiers of Flight Museum and The Sixth Floor, a tribute to JF Kennedy.  Houston has the Astrodome, Museum of Natural Science, Bayou Bend, Menil Collection, Museum of Health and Medical Science, Six Flags/Waterworld, and Space Center Houston.

Q.     I heard that crossing the Canadian and U.S. border isn't as easy as it used to be.  What is required?
A.     You will need a birth certificate and picture identification or passport to cross into Canada.  Your children also will need birth certificates or passports.
Q.     We are going to Auckland, New Zealand in November with our 6-year-old.  We prefer outdoor activities and cultural attractions.  Any suggestions?  
A.     November in New Zealand is at the end of their spring.  The weather is very pleasant, with no extremes.  You'll find a variety of water sports along the bay--sea kayaking, sailing, fishing, beach play and swimming.  The Waitakere and Hunua Ranges offer great bush walks or 4-w drives with beautiful scenery.  Observe the unique animals of New Zealand at the Auckland Zoo, also check out the penguins at Kelly Tarlton's.  You can ride horses at Pakiri beach.  Don't miss sheep herding demonstrations --those dogs are amazing!  View the stars of the southern Hemisphere at Stardome Planetarium.  I would suggest traveling to the Bay of Islands, where you'll see some gorgeous scenery plus learn of the history of New Zealand.  Also, a drive to Rotorua, an area of visible volcanic activity--boiling mudpots, fumaroles and hot springs.  Don't forget your swim suits!  You'll find cultural attractions here, too.  Bay of Plenty has white water rafting.

Q.     We are planning a trip to Greece with our 2 and 5 year olds.  What islands with nice beaches can you suggest?

A.     The Petasos Beach Hotel is on the beautiful island of Mykonos with its many excellent swimming beaches.  Santorini’s east coast is lined with black volcanic pebbled beaches--great for swimming.  The Santorini Image Hotel has a children’s pool and playground.  The Elounda and Rethymno Beaches are found on Crete, along with the Silva Maris property and its children’s playground.
Q.     Our family would like to ski Colorado.  What will we find?  
A.     Steamboat Springs caters to the family, offering family packages, ski school and plenty of winter fun.  You'll also find deals at Winter Park and KeystoneAspen, Snowmass, Telluride, Vail, and Breckenridge are quaint ski resort villages.  Arapahoe Basin, Berthoud Ski  Area, Cuchara, Eldora, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn, Silver Creek, and Ski Cooper are lesser known ski areas.  Accommodations range from on the slope, base lodges, to just a few miles from the ski area.

Q.     I want to take my family from San Francisco to New York by RV.  How do I start?  
A.     Check out "Road Trip USA" by Jamie Jensen.  This is a Moon publication and provides a variety of interesting routes across the country.  AAA of California can map out your route across the U.S. with mileage, schedules, attractions, campgrounds, and such.  Also, their road service may come in handy.



Where is the O'Conner family?

When the lakes freeze over, the O'Conner family are having winter fun at this unique hotel. Where is the O'Conner family?
Click here to find out.

Tips, Tricks & Tactics

Dream Vacation Ideas
Your dreams can come true...
Plan that dream vacation now!

Discover how fun it can be to plan that dream family vacation. Find a variety of ideas to help create your own dream list of fun adventures... take to the open road, hop a train, set sail, pitch a tent, stay in a resort, join a tour, learn about a new culture, and oodles more. Choose from a multitude of possibilities. Dreams are as endless as are vacation ideas. So, go ahead and Dream a little... 


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