I love to travel with my kids and take every chance I get. You see, I feel like there’s a pending expiration date. I really feel like our time together is limited. Right now my son is 14, but I know it won’t be long before he’s 18 and an adult and travels exclusively with his friends, or (gasp) a girlfriend. So, I’m honestly making a conscious effort to spend time with him now.
This takes me out of my comfort zone. A lot. It’s a constant challenge to plan and search out things that would appeal to him and his teen sense of adventure. I know it’s a time in their lives where they push boundaries, but I can tell you, that as a parent, I feel like I’m the one constantly outside my comfort zone.
Like today. Where truthfully, I’d rather be sitting on a patio sipping a cocktail and reading, I found myself looking at bike rentals, white water rafting brochures and considering ziplines. Yikes.
I’m not telling you that I’m going to do all these things. And I have no interest in being the coolest mom on the planet. BUT, I do want to show my son how to travel and explore.
Here are 3 ways in which I achieve my goals without having to do it all.
- Enlist help. Do you have a cool uncle, a friend or somebody in your life who regularly does the activity you’re considering? Have your teen hang with them for the day. This makes you the awesome mom who can hook them up. This gives your teen a taste of independence and another adult role model.
- Let your teen take the lead. Let them find, research and pay for the activity. When it’s their own money, they tend to consider their choices more carefully. It shows them that you can’t do EVERYTHING you see in a brochure.
- Look for hotels with added value or partnerships. Does your hotel offer a stay and play package? Ask at the front desk or concierge. The more you ask, the more you learn. You’d be surprised how many tour companies actually pick up at the hotel and offer door to door experiences. There’s so much more than “kids’ club” available. For example, we were staying at the Westin Kierland in Arizona and while a round of golf was well over $200, they offered golf lessons for kids and teens at $25. Or when we stayed in Revelstoke BC, the cabins didn’t have a pool. but they offered FREE passes to the city’s Aquatic Centre.
The best advice I can give, is to admit to your teen that you don’t know everything and that you haven’t been everywhere. When you learn and travel and explore together you do more than just vacation, you make memories and you make them stronger and more capable in doing so.
Ah, first day of summer and the NHL teams officially release their 2016/17 schedules. Somebody clear my calendar, I’m going to need some time to look at this!
Work’s been a zoo lately and I’m dying to plan a trip. But with nary a prospect of a weekend off before October, I might just have to settle for planning a fall getaway. And, for me, that’s probably going to include an NFL game.
I can’t hide the fact that I love professional sports. And nothing beats great tickets to a big game. October is a fabulous time to take a sports trip. You could, theoretically, see NFL, NHL and MLB in one weekend if things align and you have a winning baseball team.
Last September, I took my youngest to see the Denver Broncos (pre-season game) and also to see the Colorado Rockies. We had two action packed days and nights in Denver. Denver is one of the ideal locations to see two or three sports in one trip as the stadiums/arenas are in close proximity to each other. Pick the right hotel and you can even walk to each quite comfortably, like we did.
Arizona has both NHL hockey and NFL football in the same Glendale entertainment district. That’s a great city to see as well and you’ll love the whole restaurant/movie/shopping plaza that is between the stadium and arena. We visited in December and had perfect weather.
When I get a free hour, and a huge cup of coffee, I intend to cross reference the NHL and NFL season schedules and find a few double-headers of note. Then…. step 2, we’ll find flights!
The Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t “our team” when we arrived, but I believe they are now. They won us over in back to back games.
First we saw them play the San Francisco Giants, in a Sunday afternoon game. We sat in the first row of the upper deck. (MVP Section 321). The view was fantastic and I would definitely recommend them for the best of the cheap seats.
We took a stroll around the stadium to see where we might like to sit for the next game. What did we discover? There probably isn’t a bad seat in the house. Anywhere on the lower level (home run bleacher seats included) would have a pretty good view of the action.
We also spied the very unique and completely awesome Pet Smart patio. On Sunday game days, people are welcome to attend with their dogs. Yes, your dog can go to a baseball game! How very cool! There was also an adoption pen that on Sundays, showcased local dogs up for adoption. This Pet Smart patio zone had its own entrance an a park-a-potty section for the dogs.
Right next to the Pet Smart section was Mountainside Fitness. It was an actual gym. You could attend, ride the bike or run on the treadmill AND watch the game action. Again, very cool. Who are these innovators with these great ideas? I’d like to shake their hands.
Next up on our tour was a view of the pool section. Yup, an actual pool and patio that you could rent out for your corporate or party events. Wouldn’t that be something? Bathing suits and baseballs. It was in the home run area, and I could definitely see a ball getting hit into the pool.
For our second game, a night game against the NY Yankees, my son chose the seats, He wanted to sit as close to the field as possible, in foul ball territory, and on an aisle. Thanks to Stubhub.com and a game-day purchase, that was an affordable and possible request.
We sat just beyond the Diamondbacks’ dugout on the 3rd base side and 6 rows up from the field. At various times during the pre-game, Diamondback players stopped by the fence to sign autographs. My son was lucky enough to catch a ball during batting practice and then have it signed by #27, Brandon Drury.
We had a great time. A blast. We’re already talking about when we can go back. Seems to me, like we’ve got ourselves a baseball team. Go Dbacks!
Phoenix! When can I go back?
Need a quick vacation? Something action packed and easy to navigate? I have the answer! Phoenix, Arizona.
My son and I wanted to see a couple major league baseball games. We were on a very tight time schedule, Between work and school, we could only find two nights to get away that worked for both of us. A quick search of the MLB master schedule revealed all the games and cities that would work for our dates.
We narrowed it down to a few choices and then compared flight schedules and prices. Phoenix was quickly identified as the best value for time and money when it came to flights. In fact, even at last minute prices (we booked on 4 days notice) Delta sent us round trip, taxes in for $350 CDN. So, already this trip was off to a pleasing start
For our hotel, we chose the SpringHill Suites (Marriott) Downtown Phoenix for 3 main reasons. Location, free airport shuttle and excellent Trip Advisor reviews. This turned out to be a brilliant choice!
The airport shuttle was easy, convenient, clean and also available for short trips in the downtown area. It even had a luggage rack! This is actually a pretty rare asset.
The location was unbelievable. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. We were a casual, stroll in flip flops to the baseball stadium, which incidentally is called “Chase Field.” (More on Chase Field, later.)
We were 3 blocks from a major dining hub called the Arizona Centre, It had sit down restaurants, patios, waterfalls, gardens and casual eating areas. It was absolutely beautiful. An oasis in the city.
If you had young children with you, the hotel was right across from the Arizona Children’s Museum. We didn’t go, but it was very inviting and actually right there in the same block as the hotel. Rather, we opted to cross the street and go one block further to the Arizona Science Centre. It’s 4 levels of interactive displays, plus and IMAX theater and special travelling exhibit space. We spent just 2 hours there but could have easily spent twice that time. A full day for the really inquisitive mind. Admission was $27 for the both of us, with a modest $2 CAA discount.
Sharing the same entrance courtyard as the Science Centre is the Museum and also the Heritage Center. The Heritage centre consists of a museum building, stores, restaurants and a coffeeshop, all in original period buildings. The Rose and Crown is one such restaurant, Pizza Bianco another. Each has casual outdoor patio space where you can dine or enjoy a beverage. We chose to stop in at Royal Coffee Bar. It was amazing to me, that in a heritage space of very limited size, they actually roast their own coffee. A very impressive operation. The equipment and furniture still looks brand new even though they’ve been at this location 3 years. It’s obvious that the owners and staff take a great deal of care and pride in this business. Open daily from 8am to 3pm I think it’s a ‘must see’ for coffee lovers if you’re in the area.
In all my travels, I can’t think of another area that was so absolutely all-ages suitable, incredibly convenient, and packed with amenities all within easy walking distance. I’m in awe really. It was exactly what I was hoping for in a quick weekend trip.
If you wanted to travel to Phoenix for a basketball game, or concert, it would be likely located at the Talking Stick Arena (formerly American Airlines Centre) and is just one block further than the baseball stadium. More restaurants, and a courtyard full of pre-game bars are right there at the doorstep.
This was a two night getaway, that felt like so much more! Without taxis, Uber, or wasting time in traffic we had a chance to relax, enjoy and participate fully in exactly the vacation we wanted. The baseball game… well that was incredible. Worthy of its own chapter.