A spring getaway needn’t break the family piggy bank. Eager to encourage parents and their children to try new experiences, the travel industry provides plenty of free and nearly free opportunities. Here’s a sampling:
1. Kids stay and eat free. From all-inclusive resorts such as Club Med to virtually every major hotel chain, rarely have we seen such an array of freebies to tempt kids and their parents. Options range from free overnight stays to free meals and activities. Hosts know that when kids are happy, parents are happy. Need an extra bed in the room where you’ll be staying? Be sure and negotiate for a free rollaway before you arrive.
2. Free art and music.Take advantage of performances offered free in your community or in a city you’d like to visit. For example, Symphony Hall in Phoenix will come alive March 7 in a Target- sponsored musical afternoon that includes balloon artists, crafts, a ballet performance and the Phoenix Symphony performing works from Bernstein, Williams, Joplin and Copland.
Contact: 602-495-1999; www.phoenixsymphony.org
3. Kids sail free.Children 17 and younger will cruise free with Crystal Cruises when they share a cabin with two full-fare adults. On board, the cruise line offers myriad family-friendly enrichment activities, including scavenger hunts, dancing and games. In port, children will join their parents in exploring exciting destinations such as London, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Contact: 1-888-722-0021; www.crystalcruises.com
4. Kids ski free.Numerous resorts throughout the Rocky Mountains have packages and programs that offer complimentary ski days, flights and room nights for parents looking to share slopeside fun with their children.
Contact: www.coloradoski.com; www.snow.com.; www.parkcityinfo.com
5. Stress-free bike trips. Biking is a great way to see a city or the countryside. Families have an easy way to find rentals while traveling, as well as free roadside assistance. The prospect of having a flat tire or other difficulty with the kids in tow could be enough to stop a family from taking a two-wheeled tour. But with the peace of mind provided by this no-cost assistance, bike rental in 200 U.S. and Canadian cities becomes even more appealing.
Contact: 847-441-4292; www.rentabikenow.com