This spring break I was dying to get away. Funds were limited, however, so I was looking for something that wouldn't break the bank. Sunshine and heat were a must, however, so I was looking at desert destinations, where the warm weather is basically a guarantee.
We found a flight out of Bellingham with Allegiant Air to Palm Springs. After taxes, pre-paying for seating, and two checked bags...plus the miserable exchange rate, it didn't end up being that great of a deal (about $400 CAN/person). In the future, I don't think I'll bother flying out of Bellingham. The extra you pay to fly with Alaska or WestJet out of Vancouver is worth it.
Silly me went and booked the airfares without much consideration for accommodation. I figured that Palm Springs is full of resorts and motels and condos...how hard would it be to find accommodation for a family of four? Boy was I wrong. The week we booked was not only Spring Break, there was also a major tennis tournament happening at the same time. My hopes of finding somewhere economical were dashed as I scoured AirBnB, HomeAway and VRBO in the search of something suitable.
In a moment of desperation, I had a look at the Palm Springs Craigslist and found a listing for a one bedroom condo in a resort in Cathedral City. I quickly emailed the owner and discovered it was her timeshare week that she needed to sell off. Of course, I was wary about booking something through Craigslist, but I was getting nervous that we might be flying down there with no place to stay, so I put my faith in humanity and hoped for the best.
We truly lucked out. We ended up staying at the Welk's Desert Oasis Resort. It was AMAZING! The rooms were newly refurbished and HUGE. Lots of room for the four of us! The pool was perfect (the kids could touch the bottom everywhere, which made lounging reading my book much more enjoyable for me). There was a recreation centre that had daily activities along with arcade games, a pool table, ping pong and air hockey. And the snack bar beside the pool served food and drinks all day for super reasonable prices. We were a five minute drive from Target and Trader Joes and an easy drive in every direction to all that Palm Springs had to offer.
I had no idea just how much great stuff there is to do with families in Palm Springs. My kids are pretty happy to just swim in the pool all day, however, it's nice to get out and mix things up. We had an amazing time and I can't wait to go back!
Here is a list of the places we discovered to play and eat:
You can check out photos from our trip on my Instagram feed!
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Drop the beat, and maybe your kid will drop the attitude on the lengthy car ride. “Are we there yet?” will probably be replaced with glorious silence. Think about it: no squabbling about which radio or satellite station to listen to. You can happily listen to Paul McCartney’s Christmas jams all the way to your destination as the kidlet in the back grooves to hottest new songs with their purple urBeats earbuds (available only at Target). This is an investment that will pay off in sweet silence for years to come.
This one can get a little messy, but if we stick to the basics here, no upholstery has to suffer. Grab some pens, pencils, blank paper, and maybe even a colouring book and let the kids have at it. Add some fancy-looking pens and markers, a table tray, and some construction paper, and you’re good to go. That should keep your Picasso-in-training busy for the entire trip.
Sometimes it takes a good book to make a long journey seem like just a blip in time. Whether your children are ace readers already and onto lengthier editions, or if they are just picking up on the phonics of words and sounds, reading can easily entertain and keep them mentally active with something like the LeapPad2 Disney Princess Enchanted Bundle (available only at Target), that both teaches and amuses. And you’re not only getting the core LeapPad device (the #1 learning tablet in the world -- no big deal), you’re also getting your kids Disney Princess lockets, exclusive Disney content (wallpapers, carrying case), and a $20 digital download card. Let’s be honest: you’ve been looking for a way to turn your kids’ love of princesses into a love of education. Consider your problem solved.
Sometimes, you need to address your family’s competitive spirit in a safe (and travel-friendly) way. Friendly competition in the form of travel board games such as Scrabble, chess, or maybe even those hungry hippos can keep the attention of your precious cargo. Sure, they aren’t terribly flashy forms of entertainment but, with the right game, they can add up to hours and hours of fun.
There is nothing like sitting back, stretching out your legs, and tuning into a good movie. It feels a lot like home to be wrapped up in that kind of familiarity and comfort. So, pick a few movies your kids enjoy for the long road trip. If your vehicle is already equipped with a DVD system, then pop in a film and enjoy the ride. There is also the option of setting them up individually and getting to it with portable DVD players.
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