The Beauty of Travel in America

Vast in land, natural treasures and diverse cultures, the United States offers endless opportunities for new experiences right in our own backyard.

Hawaii

Say Aloha to average year-round temperatures between 78-85 degrees! A Hawaiian vacation allows you to surf the big Kahuna, hike on a volcano, and dance the night away at a luau.

What’s your travel style:

• Relaxing vacation for the entire family: Aulani. Disney’s Hawaiian resort offers 4-star luxury accommodations on Oahu

• Island hopping: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America cruise. The only cruise line offering 7-nights sailing roundtrip in Hawaii, discover the best of the islands with optional excursions to curate your adventure

Beautiful Hawaiian landscape

 

Alaska

The final frontier awaits. Have you ever heard anyone say they’ve been to Alaska and didn’t want to go back? Alaska is one of the most sought-after bucket list destinations and it’s easy to see why. There is so much to see and do, it will most likely take more than one trip.

What’s your travel style:

• 7-days or less vacation time: cruising. Maximize your time so you can see and experience as much as you can. Spend time discovering Mendenhall Glacier in the capital Juneau, watching whales in Glacier Bay, and time in charming coastal towns on a cruise. Read about Lori’s recent Alaska cruise adventure here.

• 8+ days: cruise + land tour. Cruising the coast of Alaska only allows you to see 3% of her beauty. If you have the time, extend and enhance your trip with a land tour. Most itineraries include time in beautiful Denali. See the tallest mountain in North America (from base to peak, taller than Everest), spot the “top 5” most common animals including the caribou, bear, Dahl sheep, moose and wolves, and take what we think is one of the most scenic train rides in the world.

Alaska landscape with moose

 

Grand Canyon

The epitome of the national parks, the Grand Canyon offers some of the most stunning views in the entire U.S. Rich reds, vibrant oranges and beautiful browns sing in contrast to the bright blue sky.

What’s your travel style:

• Family vacation: Globus offers family-friendly itineraries with a guided tour of the Grand Canyon and surrounding Canyon Country. Enjoy some “off the grid” down time and disconnect for an amazing family trip with visits to three national parks, then test your luck in fabulous Las Vegas.

• The epic adventurer: G Adventures will get you moving. For the more adventurous, pack your hiking boots and discover the American canyonlands

Grand Canyon landscape with rainbow

 

Canada & New England

Quaint and iconic, New England shines in the fall. Cruise the coast and see beautiful fall foliage, watch the whales and sail past the lighthouses.

What’s your travel style:

• Luxury: Oceania cruises. Luxurious accommodations, top tier customer service and smaller ships get you closer to the sites

• All-inclusive: Norwegian Cruise Line cruise. With high tech ships, endless activities and options for an all-inclusive cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line allows you to pay one price for your cruise

New England lanscape with lighthouse

Ready to go? Our Travel Specialists are ready to help you plan that next great American Adventure. Find a location near you and stop in.

Encore! For The Norwegian Encore

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. Amanda recently experienced the inaugural “docked cruise” of the brand new Norwegian Encore. The newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, she can accommodate 4,000 guests.

For my first time on a ship, this beauty surely did not disappoint! I am not by any means a “cruiser”. In fact, I have never been on a ship in my life. After this inaugural though, I cannot wait to plan a cruise next year for myself! I think I really have been missing out on this on my entire life…

A few of my fellow Travel Specialists are avid cruises and made the experience smooth sailing for me, giving me great tips and tricks… Thanks Boscov’s Travel! Our Travel Specialists really know their stuff. With all the laughs and tears (from laughing so hard) we had while knowing that this was our mini-vacation, I know anyone will be able to go on this beautiful ship and make great memories – just like I did!

Some of Boscov’s Travel Specialists enjoying the ship!
Some of Boscov’s Travel Specialists enjoying the ship!

A little more about the ship… from the classy atrium to the bake shop, to the race track all the way to the mojito bar, this ship had something to offer for everyone. In addition to touring the ship and experiencing the entertainment, we had a chance to hear from Norwegian’s CEO. He shared his plans for the future and how the company is focused on the environment and issues surrounding cruising! HOW COOL!

One special perk of being invited to the inaugural is the ability to tour the entire ship to better inform each and every client. We were lucky enough to be able to tour The Haven which is their luxurious accommodations, and let me tell you they really are! With their own entrance onto the ship, their own private pool, and their own concierge, The Haven is most definitely worth the extra cost.

The Haven private pool

We were also able to experience the cuisine. The Encore has so many dining options so there is something for everyone! I am a very picky eater and I did not go hungry. The restaurants on this ship were absolutely amazing! I was fortunate enough to be able to experience various complimentary restaurants and one specialty dining restaurant. My favorite – the complimentary Manhattan Room (available on several Norwegian ships) – featured my favorite meal onboard, surf and turf. I must say, it might have been one of the best steaks I have ever had.

We also dined at additional specialty restaurants including Los Lobos,  contemporary Mexican restaurant with a modern twist. Everything our table ordered was spectacular and the views were even better. We sat adjacent to the floor to ceiling glass paneled windows and were treated to spectacular views. Paired with a delicious dinner and table-side guacamole, it is safe to say that this is a great specialty dining choice.

Food on the Norwegian Ecnore
Specialty dining, Los Cabos Salad!
Caesar Salad from complimentary dining restaurant, The Manhattan Room
Surf and Turf from complimentary dining restaurant, The Manhattan Room

I know I keep saying this, but this ship has so much to offer! Shows, the casino, comedy clubs, dance clubs, trivia, the spa, virtual games, an arcade, casino, laser tag and go cart racing you will never go bored on this ship. I was able to experience a variety of entertainment on board. First stop, the shows. Choir of Man and Kinky Boots are performed nightly in the theater and WOW let me tell you, everyone raved about these shows, especially Choir of Man. In fact, it’s the highest rated entertainment on all of Norwegian’s ships! And it’s all included – these guys perform at venues around the globe and tickets are in excess of $140/each (and worth it). Luckily, it will be complimentary for you onboard… just be sure to reserve your seats as soon as you can.

I was able to experience the Galaxy Pavillion – the virtual game room onboard –  which was nothing less than amazing! In one scenario you lay down and it feels like you are soaring through the most scenic places. I also tried a game called descendants which sadly I think I might have had the worst record on the ship but man was that game fun! Shout out to our Travel Specialist Tammy from Camp Hill who rocked it, as the worker reminded me (haha).

One thing I never got up to see due to the weather was the Encore Speedway. My colleagues who had a chance to ride it and said it was epic! This speedway hangs 13 feet over the side of the ship. Then once you’re done racing you can head next door to the laser tag on the same deck! How cool that you can have these experiences on a cruise.

My two favorite parts of the ship? The Waterfront and the Observatory Lounge for their views. Let me tell you these pictures do not do it justice. Floor to ceiling windows in the lounge, you will never have a bad view from wherever you sit. Hang by the comfy chairs and enjoy the scenery because that lounge is spectacular. When you’re done there head outside to the Waterfront for the most comfy chairs and views. They also have built in heaters in the ceiling for when it gets chilly. On a chilly Tuesday afternoon in New York, I felt warm with the help of the heaters.

This ship has so much to offer – I could go on for days, but I won’t. You should just go experience it yourself so you truly understand. I promise you, it will not disappoint. Scroll down for more photos from the ship!

 

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com 

Holiday Travel: Where to go for the Holiday Season

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel marketing department.
Before you know it, the holidays will be here (I know some of my colleagues have started decorating for Christmas already!). If you are like me and like to plan ahead to avoid the rush, stress and are not quite your house can fit one.more.toy., consider giving the gift of travel. Besides, statistics show 53.1% of people report receiving unwanted gifts during Christmas. Give your family, friend or loved one a dream vacation, tour, cruise because we can guarantee that gift will not end up in the trash (like the 4% that are immediately thrown there!). Below are tips and recommendations on where to go on 1) an extended vacation 2) a weekend getaway as well as 3) day trips to experience this holiday season.
Extended vacation

WALT DISNEY WORLD
Most people typically associate the most magical place on earth with summer vacations, but visiting the magic during the holiday season can be the best time to go. The Christmas lights, decorations, shows, weather, WAIT times… yes you heard me right – there are typically less crowds! Just travel before December 23rd as this starts the peak week for Disney crowds and lasts until New Years. My family typically travels to Disney the second week of December and it’s about 70-75 degrees during the day and high 60’s in the evening. It’s so perfect considering Pennsylvania is about 30 degrees at that time.
Let us help you plan your Disney holiday. We still have 2019 packages available through our exclusive non-stop flights from select local airports. Call or visit your local Boscov’s Travel to plan your magical vacation!

CRUISING
If you’ve ever been on a cruise during a holiday, you know the staff goes all out! Whether it be Halloween or Christmas, on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or Disney Cruise Line, you’ll be charmed by the activities and creativity of the crew. Plus you can even take cruises into the New Year… talk about the ultimate party at sea. Bonus perk: no time spent laboring over the holiday meal.





Weekend getaway
HERSHEY, PA
Yes, this sounds bizarre but this recommendation is for the people who want that theme park experience, but might be on a budget, have time constraints or you’re looking for something a little closer to home. Hershey is a great destination for winter activities. No, you won’t get that warm weather, but you will get great park deals as well as fewer crowds. Hershey Park remains open during this time with select rides available to ride and entrance is historically anywhere from $20-23. Santa visits and brings his reindeer in for the season for you to visit and feed. How cool is that? Hershey is also known for their Christmas light displays where you experience the dancing lights in the comfort of your warm car. Turn on their radio station and travel through Hershey’s very own Candy Cane Lane! It’s super cute for the young ones and well worth it.
NEW YORK CITY, NY
What a place to visit during the holidays! The city is just gorgeous once the holiday hits the town. The Rockettes, Christmas Village, The Nutcracker, Christmas markets, Rockefeller Center, and beyond… New York really shows up for the holiday. You know when you see movies of people ice skating in NYC? You can do that too! Just visit Bryant Park Winter Village. This 17,000 square foot ice skating rink features lots of activities nearby with vendors and businesses in the area. Be sure to check out Santaland at Macy’s, the New York tradition since 1902.
Day Trips
PEDDLER’S VILLAGE IN DOYLESTOWN, PA
Peddler’s Village is a cute town-like setting with quaint shops and fine dining. They feature grand illumination lighting with one million lights and an annual Gingerbread House competition and display. This place feels like a fairytale when you visit it at Christmas time. With over 60 specialty shops, from bakeries, restaurants, clothing, jewelry stores, unique food stores, this is a day trip I would tell everyone to visit at least once.
PHILADELPHIA, PA
Ohh Philadelphia. Macy parade? Check! City Hall festivities, ice skating, Philly’s own nutcracker, and Love Park village make this a Christmas-y day trip. Holiday pop-ups during the holidays are a draw for the City of Brotherly Love. If you decide to spend a weekend, I would head over to the Macy’s Christmas Light show on the first night. Every two hours there is a free performance and it is AMAZING! Macy’s has the whole second floor transformed into a village so you can relax and enjoy (and stay warm). Once you hit the city for a day two make sure to head over to City Hall. This is where the Deck the Hall Light show plays and you can skate on the ice rink. Then head over to Philadelphia Christmas Village in Love Park. With 80 wooden booths of merchants of all different varieties, there is something for everyone in this village. End your night over at the Comcast Center where you will see a super high-res LED holiday show.
Ready to start planning? Contact your Boscov’s Travel Specialist to get away for the holidays.
Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

The Majesty of Alaska and Cruising with Holland America Line

The following post was written by Lori in our Marketing Department and is a review of her experience aboard Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam to Alaska. Departing September 21, 2019 from Seattle, WA, the ship made stops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, AL and Victoria, B.C.  

“And she gazed at the sky, the sea, the land,
The waves and the caves and the golden sand.
She gazed and gazed, amazed by it all,
And she said to the whale, “I feel so small.”

This is one of my favorite pages from a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and perfectly sums up my Alaskan adventure. I will try my hardest to describe the majesty of Alaska, the beauty of sailing with Holland America Line on board ms Eurodam and the memories made with my mother — and I’m hoping at the end, you will want to experience it all for yourself as well.

Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam

The Ship

ms Eurodam is Holland America Line’s first Signature-class ship with a capacity of 2,104 guests. Noted for a full Music Walk experience, including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard, the talent on board is truly breathtaking. My favorite was B.B King’s Blues Club. The singers and band wowed the crowd with favorite blues from the 1960’s and beyond. The crowd was engaged and couples danced the night away — which was so sweet to watch.

B.B. King’s Blues Club
Billboard Onboard

There were additional performances onboard showcasing comedy, dance and more daily at the Mainstage. My favorite was the comedian David Crowe. His skits were light-hearted and side splitting funny. Equally as entertaining was an illusionist onboard. He wowed the crowd with illusions that had you wondering “How’d he do that?” for days. And if you are sitting next to someone who has their hand raised to help with a skit, you may just get pulled up on stage (me!). I’m still not quite sure where he put the blades he swallowed and later pulled back out of his mouth — eek.

Mainstage

Love America’s Test Kitchen? You’re in luck. Holland America Line has a test-kitchen right onboard. Another favorite of mine, I enjoyed learning new tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. On the menu for the day was adult grilled cheese (cheddar and brie spread, yum!) and creamy tomato soup without dairy. An added bonus, they give a unique URL of all current recipes from America’s Test Kitchen to everyone that sails with Holland America to use in their own home. So far I’ve tried a couple different recipes at home and they turned out great! Also, the demonstrator gave recommendations on places to eat in port and proved to be on-point (Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau, yum!)

America’s Test Kitchen

Dining onboard is another notable experience. Complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the Lido Market (buffet). Every day they served up fresh and delicious cuisines. You can also grab a NY style pizza at New York Pizza or a hamburger, hot dog and fries at Dive-In, all located on the same deck as the market. You can also choose to dine in the main Dining Room (complimentary table service) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We loved their lunchtime fish and chips meal and the surf and turf served during one of the two gala nights onboard. Also, the afternoon tea served at the Dining Room was a favorite and served the most delicious small plate sandwiches and desserts.
If you enjoy meeting new people onboard, ask to share a table when you go to the Dining Room. We met people from all over the United States and loved seeing them throughout the ship and staying up to date on their adventures as well as sharing our own. You may even meet a couple from the famous Punxsutawney, PA.

Dining Room

Additional photos from onboard:

Lido Pool
Outdoor Pool
The Shops
Loved my time in the gym

Insider tip: If you are flying on certain airlines, take advantage of Port Valet (offered by the Port of Seattle). It is a complimentary luggage service that takes your luggage the night before disembarkation, delivers it to the aiport, makes sure it gets on your plane for arrival at the airport when you arrive home. Port Valet will also provide you with your boarding pass (although some airlines you’ll have to get your boarding pass at the airport). It is an extremely easy process and the benefits of not having to lug your luggage to the airport is worth the 2-minutes to fill out the paperwork onboard.

Alaska

Alaska, also given the nickname as the final frontier, is packed with staggering mountains, breathtaking glaciers that are continuing to shape the land, wildlife, lively cities, unique culture and is on the top 3 of many peoples bucket-lists. With many cities only being accessible by boat/ship or plane, the people of Alaska adapt to the demands of the ever changing weather as a way of life. The Alaskan people truly adore where they live and can be felt by the warm welcome felt while touring this beautiful state.

Port 1 – Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is the capital of Alaska. Although it is not the largest city in Alaska, the town is bustling with shops, restaurants, a tram ride to the top of Mount Roberts, art and culture, excursions to experience fishing, kayaking, and the beautiful Mendenhall Glacier and visitors center. We chose the latter as our excursion at this port of call and was one of our favorites. After about a 20-minute bus ride filled with local history provided by the tour director, you arrive at the glacier with 2-hours to explore. An easy 1-mile walk up and back on Nugget Falls Trail got you up close and personal with the glacier and the Nugget Falls Waterfall.
Insider tip: For some extra fun, bring rain boots to get super close to the waterfall.

Nugget Falls
Mendenhall Glacier

We had some time before our excursion to explore so I ventured off in search of a new addition to Juneau. A 20-minute walk got me to the interactive lifesize statue of a baby humpback whale. It was worth the walk for the pictures alone and most cruisers aren’t aware of this piece of art yet.

Cruising Glacier Bay

This was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE day out of the whole trip. Holland America Line brings a park ranger onboard this day to narrate the changing landscapes, the wildlife you see passing by and the magnificent Margerie Glacier.

Margerie Glacier

Port 2 – Sitka, Alaska

In Sitka, we chose to do the Bird, Bears and Barnacles excursion hosted by Holland America Line. We visited the Raptor Center and saw injured raptors recovering in real-life environments, bears enjoying their time and a fish hatchery and science museum.

Port 3 – Ketchikan, Alaska

This was by far my favorite port of call. I chose to explore on my own today and did a self-guided walking tour of the town and surrounding landscapes including a hike on the popular Rainbird Hiking Trail. We were in Alaska at the end of the salmon season so I got to see them swimming up the river to lay their eggs and eventually the end of their life (a bit stinky but worth it).

Port 4 – Victoria, British Columbia

This port was the one I researched the least and was the one I was most pleasantly surprised at. We enjoyed sitting down at a local pub and enjoying some beer and bangers and mash before exploring the grounds of the parliament building, the famous Empress hotel and some local shops.

I’m so thankful that I was able to visit Alaska and to experience it with Holland America Line. I can most definitely see why they are noted as the leader in cruises to Alaska from the easy online check-in prior to sailing, the daily turndown, important information and port excursion recommendations being delivered directly to your stateroom daily, the entertainment and activities onboard and the EXCEPTIONAL service and dining. I hope you are able to experience Alaska for yourself one day and you come away as humbled as I am in the presence of such beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

 

Oh Joy! There’s So Much to Love About Norwegian’s Newly Reimagined Ship

Introducing the New Norwegian Joy

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

Have you ever heard of a ship that gets refurbished after only two years? Probably not – it’s unheard of. Once again, though, Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t disappoint and has decided to refurbish the Norwegian Joy for the American market. Originally created for the Asian market, this ship underwent a $50 million makeover and let me tell you, this ship is GORGEOUS!

With a guest capacity over 3,800 and overall length 1,094 feet, this ship features a race track like sister ship Bliss, and so much more. It will make you feel like you’re living in an entertainment-packed resort no matter where you are on the ship. Take on the challenge of outdoor laser tag and virtual experiences, ride the first of its kind two level race track… then check out the water slide that hangs 11 feet off the side of the ship, the casino, observation lounge, splash academy, teen club, and a kids’ aqua park – there is something do for every member of the family.

After my extensive research, I must say I’m so obsessed with the wide range of dining options (yes, I am restaurant guru). There is an American diner restaurant, an outdoor promenade and The Waterfront where you can eat outdoors overlooking the beautiful ocean! Enjoy 16 dining options – – food is everywhere you turn.

So the big question: how can you experience this beautiful cruise ship? She will be sailing year round – summers in Alaska and the rest of the year sailing the Mexican Riviera, from Miami and LA to the Panama Canal. So if any of these sound interesting to you then get ready to sail!

I’m excited with anticipation as I’m about to book my first cruise (through Boscov’s Travel, of course) and am absolutely considering this ship! It really looks like a dream vacation with endless possibilities and things to do! Great job Norwegian! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


If you’re ready to start planning your Norwegian Cruise aboard the Norwegian Joy, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or call 800-755-8020.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

The Perfect Historic Trip for Memorial Day Weekend

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

Memorial Day is coming up! If you’re like us, you are so ready for that week-long vacation you have been planning all year, but still have a couple weeks to wait. Luckily you have a 3 or 4-day weekend coming up. Let’s figure out how to get you somewhere for a short VAY-CAY to hold you over.

Here’s our recommendation for a perfect getaway for a family, group of friends, or a lover of history. Learn history, have some adventure and be able to relax all in one! When you use a trusted Travel Specialist, we can help you plan an even more robust trip with guided tours, hotels, select meals, and multiple destinations included. We work directly with companies like Globus and Premier World Discovery to bring you highly rated guided tour vacation packages.

 

Williamsburg, Virginia

Day 1

Governor’s Palace at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

This place is so much fun! About a 5+ hour drive from south eastern PA, it’s a perfect long weekend getaway. Head down Thursday night from work to make the most of your weekend.

Colonial Williamsburg is such a cute little area with hidden gems… this area is the state’s largest historical attraction at almost 200 acres! Sightsee in the historic town where there is lots to do – this area is very walkable and will make you feel that you’ve stepped back in Colonial times. It takes an entire day to explore the town (without rushing).

Top recommended attractions:

  • Enjoy self-guided walking tours in historic houses.
  • See the beautiful Governor’s Palace, a historic home where Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson both resided until the capital was moved to Richmond in the late 18th
  • Ax throwing at the Ax Range where you’ll learn the proper technique and get a chance to throw one yourself!
  • End your Friday night with a ghost tour right through the historic downtown (so much fun)!

 

Day 2

Historic Yorktown

Next up… Jamestown. Spend your Saturday going to the Jamestown settlement! Again another throwback as you walk through the first permanent English colony from the 17th Century. A look at living history, this morning is filled with a self-guided walking tour, gallery exhibits and film.

In the afternoon, take a 30 minute drive to Yorktown, part of Colonial National Historic Park in Virginia! End your night on the beautiful Yorktown Riverwalk Landing with a bevy of restaurants and boutiques along the water. Stroll along the shore and enjoy a cone from the quaint but delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. With beautiful views as the sun sets in this sweet little town, this day really ends picture perfect! I promise you this is worth it.

 

 

Day 3

On the final day, your kids and the kid-in-you will enjoy an entertaining day at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. I recommend going on Sunday as it seems to be the least busy day at Busch Gardens, at least when my family has visited! Busch Gardens is located just 10-minutes from Williamsburg making it an ideal stop.

This park is so much fun and reminds me of a mini Walt Disney World with their version of “around the world.” Kids will love the waterpark complete with lazy river, slides, wave pool, and kid friendly play areas.  It’s a great way to end a weekend getaway trip!

And just like that, it is Monday and you are on your drive home to get home to enjoy a Memorial Day burger on the grille or chill before the work week begins.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

10 Tips When Traveling with Kids

The following post is written by Jen from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. Jen’s an avid traveler with her husband and her three kids. 

At the conclusion of our third vacation with three kids, I threw my hands up in the air and proclaimed to my husband that I was beyond done traveling with kids. Puzzled–and knowing just how passionate I was about traveling and how much I looked forward to our trips–he questioned me as to why I wanted to stop, and I simply replied: “It’s just not a vacation anymore.”

At that point in our parenting journey, our travels had taken us with our 7-week-old first-born on a should’ve-been-8-hours-but-turned-into-12 car journey to the Carolina beaches; three times up to the Maine coastline (similar car drive, natch); several trips to the Jersey shore; countless local day trips and overnight trips to relatives’ homes; and once to Walt Disney World. Along those journeys, I had figured out how to breastfeed babies while strapped in their carseats, how to reduce the number of potty stops, how incredibly late my eldest could stay up well beyond her usual bedtime ignoring the lull of a moving vehicle, where we could get the healthiest “fast” food, and what was absolutely necessary to pack (and what could stay at home). And even though travel had become easier as our kids moved out of the infant stage, there was just something during that third year of managing three kids out of the familiarity and routine of home that made me say, “Enough!”

But despite my unusual outburst, on our way home, my husband and I talked and made plans for the following year of vacation, promising ourselves that we’d get better at planning and preparing to travel with our young brood, determined more than ever to share experiences that we loved with them while breaking them away from the monotony of home. With our kids now well into their teens, here’s what we’ve learned along the way:

1. You’ll only have as much fun as the person having the least amount of fun. Hats off to whomever told me this while we were in Walt Disney World as they observed my youngest beg for some frivolous souvenir–the 145th request that day–and then pout for a good hour afterwards when we wouldn’t succumb to his demands, thereby making it difficult for anyone else in our family to have a good time. While we still won’t cave to his persistent demands for overpriced mementos, we have learned how to vacation trying to meet the needs of each of our children to ensure they stay happy–or at least content–during our travels. Oftentimes, it means bargaining with our brood and trading our well-crafted itinerary for more time at the pool or going to the mini-golf course in exchange for happier kids for a happier vacation for everyone.

2. Less is more. I’ll never forget the first time we packed for a week vacation with our 7 week old. Even though her clothes were small, we filled our entire car as if we were moving the entire contents of our house out of the country. We had portable swings, and bouncy chairs, and beds, and sand tents, and bassinets–all of which were never used once since she had so many eager arms willing to take her at a moment’s notice of discontent. Be realistic about what you’ll use and pare down to what’s absolutely necessary. To make things easier on yourself while you travel, consider shipping big and bulky essentials to your destination, or take advantage of rental services: Many resorts or businesses in bustling tourist destinations offer everything from strollers to cribs at reasonable prices–and usually deliver and pick up directly to you for extra convenience.

3. And sometimes more is more when you’re traveling. Parents, don’t expect your 18-month-old-SO-overtired-from-being-off-his-routine toddler to magically fall asleep the moment you buckle him into the seat of the airplane. As often as we’ve flown, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the inconsolable and content kids based upon the attentiveness of their parents and the novelty or lack of the items they brought with them to keep their children occupied. On most airlines, your toddler (if you paid for a seat for him) is afforded a personal item: Fill it with new and never-seen-before books, stickers, play-doh and crayons. Download new movies and apps to your tablet or phone before you take off. Bring dry snacks like pretzels and crackers, as well as drinks (which you can legally bring through TSA Security–see guidelines here), or purchase them after you’ve arrived at your gate. If you bought a seat for your toddler, use an FAA-approved airplane travel harness or travel with your own carseat so your child knows he must stay in his seat and can’t just walk around the plane whenever he feels like it. As much of a pain it is to lug a carseat through the airport, I’m forever grateful we did it with our hard-to-contain toddler’s first flight since it provided him somewhere to sit securely, as well as familiarity and a comfortable and safe place in which he was used to sleeping.

4. Stick to your child’s sleep schedule. While sleeping in and staying up late is one of the joys of adult travel, babies and young children are not nearly as adaptable to sudden changes in their schedule and routines. As much as it might pain you to leave sightseeing for a few hours every afternoon while you head back to the hotel for your child to rest, you might find it will save your sanity overall having a well-rested and happy child.

5. Let them plan parts of your trip. Just like involving your children in preparing dinner makes them more prone to eat it, giving your children some control over the planning of your vacation makes them more likely to enjoy it. For us, we’ve found that when our kids were little, they garnered the most amount of happiness with simple and easy choices, such as giving them a list of what we plan to do for the day and letting them plan the order in which we sightsee, or picking which restaurant to go to. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve given them more decision-making power in choosing destinations and activities–which allows their budding leadership and research skills to emerge!

6. Prepare yourself and your children for any physical demands of your vacation. For about a year or two after our children had graduated out of regular stroller use, we continued to bring one along on vacations where we knew we’d be walking a lot or pushing the limits of bedtime. If we still had a child who used a stroller regularly, we brought a double stroller so our walking kids could hop in and out of it as necessary for breaks or quick naps. Once we had decided that our brood had outgrown the use of a stroller, we’d start building their stamina several months prior to our travel date by taking them on long walks and slowly increasing our mileage until we felt confident we’d be able to travel successfully without the aid of one. This not only made the trip more enjoyable for them, but also for us as we weren’t trying to carry a 35-pound child for hours on end as we tried to accomplish our to-do list with a too-tired-to walk preschooler.

7. And on that note, don’t forget to take breaks. See tip #1. Once you have an overtired child, you’re likely to have an unhappy and bringing-down-the-rest-of-the-family child. Sometimes all your child needs is 5 minutes to sit and stop, enjoy a drink or a treat, and that’s enough to ensure his/her happiness for another few hours.

8. Bring cleaning supplies. True story: The last three times my kids have thrown up, it’s been while we’re on vacation. At home, they rarely catch GI bugs, but it seems the moment we travel during tummy bug season, someone comes down with it while we’re away from home. While it could simply be coincidence, I’ve decided to take no chances and have become fanatical about making sure our hard-earned money isn’t (literally) flushed down the toilet. We carry wipes to clean our room paying attention to remotes, toilets, doorknobs, handles and phones; we carry hand sanitizer and use it when sinks aren’t available; and we pay close attention to making sure everyone in the family washes their hands well before they eat and following bathroom breaks in hopes of avoiding illnesses. In the very least, while we haven’t been able to stop someone in our family from getting sick in the first place, our cleanliness measures seem to have worked to keep it contained to the one ill person in our family, only derailing our vacation plans for a day or two while he/she recovered.

9. Be present. For as long as I live, I will forever be grateful for every night that we’ve spent in a hotel room. Living in one forces me to recognize how little I need, and how close the quarters bring my family. One-by-one, freshly bathed kids make their way into my bed, to snuggle and to relive the favorite parts of their day. Exhausted, they fall asleep, and I find peace with the money we’ve scrimped and saved so that we can travel often. It’s the one time where our lives aren’t encumbered with deadlines, alarms, work, sports, activities, chores, homework or stress–and we soak in every second, grateful we’re able to afford the time together and to be present with one another.

10. Plan adult time. One of the greatest joys when we traveled with our young family and our parents was that my husband and I had built-in and willing babysitters to head out for a few hours for an adult dinner. As our children have gotten older and as we’ve traveled without grandparents, our kids have loved spending time in organized kids clubs. If your vacation plans don’t include trusted relatives or organized kids activities, we found it was always nice to give one parent a break for an hour or two as needed and allow them to seek some quiet with a book, or head to the spa or gym. Trips with kids aren’t always vacations for parents–particularly when your children are young–but allowing your spouse or significant other to have some down time (and get it in return) often allows you both to come home from your travels happy, refreshed and excited about the quality time you spent as a family–and without needing another vacation!

To learn more about family-friendly travel destinations, please contact a Boscov’s Travel Specialist at 800-755-8020 or email us at travelrequest@boscovs.com.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

Ahoy Cruisers! Here’s What We Learned Planning Our First Cruise

The following post is written by Jen from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. Jen set sail on Disney Cruise Lines in September 2017. 

Confession: Despite having spent my childhood summers on the water from Maine to Maryland on my family’s small speedboat, I had never considered taking my own family on a cruise. Although I loved my summers on the ocean on our tiny little boat, graduating up to a huge ship wasn’t necessarily something that ranked highly on my vacation bucket list. But after several friends came home from a cruise raving about their experience, and after our kids kept hinting that they’d like to visit islands and the beaches in the Caribbean, we decided it was time to set sail. With the help of an experienced Travel  Specialist to guide us through the planning process, we planned a memorable vacation our whole family enjoyed. Here are a few things we learned along the way:

It’s so much more helpful to plan a cruise with a Travel Specialist

At first, planning a cruise seemed simple and something we could on our own  (we planned the trip prior to me joining the Boscov’s Travel team). But we quickly realized that everything—from picking a departure port, cruise line and a ship, and then a category and room on the ship, as well as an itinerary that worked well for us at the time we needed to vacation—was not nearly as simple as it originally seemed. Although we pride ourselves on being able to research and plan many of our own family vacations to the beach or other nearby locales, as inexperienced cruisers, we quickly became overwhelmed by the choices and realized that we needed expert help to be able to craft the perfect vacation that also fit into our budget. Our Travel Specialist, an experienced cruiser herself, quickly put us at ease and started to explain the process to us: First, roughly decide on your budget. Next, decide which cruise line appeals to you. For us, this was our simplest choice since we own a timeshare through Disney Vacation Club and had the option to use our points in lieu of cash (which we ultimately decided against doing since our points didn’t go very far towards covering our fare). But had we not been so committed to sailing Disney, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of cruise lines and the sometimes subtle or not-so-subtle differences among the ships, as well as price-points for sailing on each line. Once we had that narrowed down, we took a look at what ships and what itineraries were available during the timeframe we wanted to sail, and from where the ship departed so we could factor in any additional transportation and pre- and post-cruise lodging costs into our overall budget. At this point, with our Travel Specialist, we compiled a small list of suitable cruises and went to work on researching the ships and itineraries to decide which one appealed the most to us. Taking the information back to our kids, we determined as a family that we wanted to experience a short 3-night cruise for the first time to ensure that we all enjoyed it (and no one would be prone to motion sickness) before we invested in a longer week-long stay aboard a cruise ship. At this time, our Travel Specialist also advised us she felt it was best to fly to Florida at least a day before our cruise’s departure to take some of the stress out of worrying about flight delays or cancellations, which might affect our ability to get to the port on time. This pre-cruise stay allowed us to get in two nights at Walt Disney World prior to our cruise, thus extending our short cruise into a longer land and sea vacation, which was great for us since we knew we’d be blending together a familiar and fun vacation spot along with a new and unfamiliar experience.

Figuring out your budget and what’s most important to you

Once our ship, date and itinerary were chosen, it was time to tackle where to stay on the ship. Unlike most vacations where we’re placed wherever the hotel chooses to put us, cruising is much different with cruisers selecting the exact room they’d like to stay in. Prices can also wildly vary with those staying in interior rooms low on the ship paying much less than those staying high on the ship with verandahs or balconies. Additionally, like airfare, cruise pricing is not set: Generally, cruises are least expensive  when the itineraries and dates are first announced (often a year to almost two years in advance – see current itineraries here http://boscovstravel.com/temp/Disney-Cruise-Line-Sailings-2017-2018.pdf), and steadily increase in price as you near the sailing date. Because our family chose a short cruise, and because we were not sailing to many ports of interest, we decided to splurge on our accommodations to make the most out of our time on the ship. As first-time cruisers, and since communication to our Travel Specialist would be cut off as soon as we sailed away from Port Canaveral unless we wanted to pay exorbitantly high roaming charges on our cell phones, we decided it would be in our best interest to have the help of a concierge staff to help us with any request, including personalized help with booking on-board experiences and off-ship excursions both before and during our stay. Our concierge privileges also enabled us to be among the first to board the ship, maximizing the time of our vacation, plus gave us access to a special lounge steps from our room that offered specialty coffee, hors d’oeuvres, and beer, wine and cocktails, which are not normally included in your cruise fare. While our concierge stay nearly doubled the cost of our cruise compared with us sailing in a less expensive cabin on the ship, as first-time cruisers unfamiliar with cruising and overwhelmed with the options each day both on and off the ship, we were glad we opted to go for a shorter cruise to save money and instead splurged for the extra help and truly personalized service we received from the concierge staff—they made everything incredibly easy and stress-free for us from the moment we arrived at the port to the moment we stepped off the ship.  While we were definitely spoiled this time by the amazing service of the concierge staff, we certainly feel more confident to sail without such a luxury next time now that we know the lay of the land and what to expect during a cruise vacation.

Because we allocated so much of our budget towards our concierge room, we didn’t have much left over for excursions off the ship, nor for much pampering or paid-activities on the ship. Cruises are packed with hourly entertainment for the whole family, and while most activities and dining are included with your fare on a Disney cruise, some activities are not, such as wine tastings, spa treatments and specialty dining and beverages. Additionally, nearly every excursion off the ship cost something—whether it was a couple of bucks per person, or sometimes several hundred per person. Since our next cruise will likely be longer in length, and we’ll place importance on the ports over the on-the-ship experience, we’ll likely sail in more moderate accommodations to be able to afford excursion adventures and some additional fun things on the ship while we’re at sea.

Other financial considerations also include the cost of passports for your family if you don’t already have them, gratuities for your dining and stateroom attendants, as well as travel insurance. We were incredibly fortunate to be the last unaffected sailing prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival, and didn’t stress too much about her impending arrival since we knew our trip would be covered due to any delays or disruptions.

Because we received such experienced guidance by our Travel Specialist when planning our trip, and had such personalized help with the concierge staff on the ship, we were truly able to simply relax and enjoy every second of our cruise, making it a truly unforgettable and fun experience for our whole family.

If you’re ready to start planning your next cruise, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

The Best Age to Take Your Child to Disney

As a Travel Specialist, I am often asked, “What is the best age to take a child to Disney?”  That is a question loaded with expectations… Though the answer is different for every family, by asking the right questions, you can figure out what works for your family.

Parents often feel overwhelmed by the Disney question… you are investing in a trip that is considered a childhood rite of passage, and you absolutely want your little ones to be engaged and cherish the experience.  So what’s the perfect age?  Assuming that there is an ultimate answer to the ‘age’ question is a trap that even I as a travel professional have fallen into.  My husband and I didn’t want to go until all our kids could ‘remember’ the trip.  We waited until the youngest was three (young and perhaps pushing it from a memory perspective).  Our oldest however was eight and while we had a wonderful time, I feel like he lost something by being asked to wait until he was eight to see this wondrous place.  Still, it was a great trip and we learned a lot.  At that point in time, we weren’t seasoned travelers with our kids and we had no concept of how they would adjust to a lot of things.  It wasn’t just Disney, we had postponed experiences and we didn’t train them well for travel in doing so.

My then eight year old never knew the wonder of seeing Mickey and believing in the magic of him…and I never got to see it either.  He is my first – fondly called my ‘practice child’ and all mistakes were and still are made on him.  I remember that first birthday party.  He turned one and we invited everyone we knew to bring things we didn’t need.  Friends and family gathered to watch him dive into a cake and guess what…he doesn’t remember that.  But I do.  If our children’s childhoods were all about what they could remember, many of our decisions would be different. A lot of their young lives are about how we remember it.  How many parents took photos of your child the first time they experienced snow, or sand or put their toes in the ocean (or tasted lemon – my personal favorite)?  We have to do some of the remembering for them and retell the experiences through our stories and pictures.  We have to prepare them for experiences by giving them experiences.  It’s a process.

That’s why you can take your children to Walt Disney World as young as you would like (and are comfortable) because we need to have vacations, even with our babies and toddlers.  Of course we may have to adjust our expectations of the trip; naps may be in order, familiar foods and snack packs are essential, and pool time is a requirement (do not underestimate the benefit of water therapy in a land as hyperkinetic as a Disney theme park).  But taking it at a slower pace does not mean it will be less enjoyable. As parents we spend all sorts of time adjusting – our schedules and yes, our vacations. We’re pros at this sort of thing.

So in answer to the question, “What is the best age to take your child to Disney?” my response is… soon, very soon.

 

Ready to experience the magic of Disney with your children? Take one of our charter flights from local airports in Reading, Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Learn more here.

Jennifer Fegan is a Travel Specialist at Boscov’s Travel within Boscov’s at the Camp Hill Shopping Mall. With five years’ experience in the travel industry, Jennifer has helped her family, friends and clients bring their travel dreams to life. As a mother, Jennifer has become an expert on all things Disney. Whether you’re looking to visit the happiest place on earth or set sail to a tropical paradise, Jennifer will help you to maximize your budget and make unforgettable memories for you and your family.