Why Southwest Airlines Rocks It For Traveling Families!

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Traveling with a family can be tricky. It can be expensive. Things come up. It’s tough to get everyone’s calendars synced. Needs change. Southwest Airlines to the rescue. The fact that Southwest in budget conscious and very flexible make me loyal to this brand. Southwest Airlines really rocks it for families!

Here is why my family loves flying with Southwest Airlines:

  • Change Your Flights Without Fees. Unlike any other domestic airline, you can book flights [paid or points] and then make a change to them up to 10 minutes prior to boarding for FREE. This is golden for my family!
    • I often book flights on Southwest with the idea that we MIGHT go. Sometimes I am just dreaming. Sometimes I need to figure out if this trip works with everyone’s schedules. I book the flights and then figure things out. I can take more than 24 hours that other airlines let me have to get things figured out or wait to see if the other pieces of the trip will come together.
    • For example, we have tickets booked to go from Denver To Salt Lake City this winter because we want to ski at Park City Ski Area. I’m still not sure how the snow will be in Utah, so I’ll sit on these tickets until we have a clearer idea of snow fall, without worrying about change fees. Flexibility is key for my family!
  • Free Checked Bags. You get 2 free checked bags which saves you a bunch over other airlines unless you have elite status or have their credit card.
    • This is self explanatory, but if I was flying on United or other major airline carriers, I would pay a fee per bag if I did not have elite status or their branded credit card. This could cost my family hundreds. I hate to pay extra fees! 
  • Early Bird Check In. You don’t get a seat when you book a flight on Southwest, but you can pay $15 to get their Early Bird Check-In. Since you don’t have assigned seats you can just have one parent go on board early [just pay $15 once] and save seats for the whole family. Everyone does it, so it’s not strange.
    • If cost isn’t an issue then just get everyone in your travel party Early Bird Check-in when you purchase tickets. If you want to save some $ then just divide up your reservation and make sure one parent is going on early to save seats for the entire family.
  • Excellent Value/Use of Points. If you plan ahead, and sometimes last minute, Southwest offers really low cost travel options – which is great for my family of 4!
    • Southwest is a great option any time you are traveling last minute as they are definitely worth checking and at times offer an excellent value.
    • Southwest points are usually a better deal than most other airlines. For example, I wanted to fly from LA to Denver this month [November] and there are plenty of $44 [2002 points] or $79 [4045 points] one way. On United would cost me much more if I purchase a revenue ticket or between 12,000 and 25,000 points one way.
  • Easily Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest Points. If you have a credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points you can easily transfer then 1 to 1 and fill up your Southwest points account when you need them most. 

Southwest really works for our family. The things I love the most are their flexibility and low cost/low points. I regularly transfer Ultimate Rewards points into my Southwest account to book flights. I love that I can leave the points in my rewards card until I need them – just in case I need them for some other reason. Southwest just makes my life so simple and helps our family to travel more!

How about the rest of you traveling families – what is your favorite airlines and why? 

Free [or practically free] Skiing/Snowboarding in Colorado for ALL 5th and 6th Graders

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Skiing/Snowboarding Is Free [or almost free] in Colorado! Calling all 5th and 6th graders – you can ski 60+ days this winter for free [or close to free] at 20 Colorado resorts! If you are thinking of skiing/snowboarding in Colorado AND you have a 5th or 6th grader, you are in luck!

The Colorado Passport program is for you – even if you don’t live in Colorado. Live in Massachusetts and want to ski/board in Colorado – your 5th grader skis free. Live in California and you want to ski/board in Colorado – your 6th grader skis almost free. As long as you can prove your child is a 5th or 6th grader they qualify for the 5th & 6th Grade Passport Program! 

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Here is how the 5th & 6th Grade Colorado Passport Program works:

5th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 5th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Ski up to 60 days. That’s right your 5th grader can ski 3 times at all of 20 resorts including: Winter Park, Copper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]!

6th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 6th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Register by November 30, 2016 and pay $105 to ski 80 days. That’s right, your 6th grader can ski 4 times at all of the 20 resorts including: Winter ParkCopper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]! You can still register through January 31, 2017, but the cost goes up to $125. This is still a screaming deal if your child qualifies!

PARENTS/ADULTS/KIDS [Not 5th & 6th graders]

The best way to get a deal on skiing in Colorado [if you aren’t a 5th or 6th grader] is to purchase a pass at any of the mountains at which you plan to ski. People in Colorado know, it makes sense to get a pass. The walk up prices at some of our amazing mountains can easily be over $150/day. I am not kidding! Here are some ideas of passes that might work in conjunction with the Colorado Passport:

Aspen/Snowmass/Buttermilk: Get a Classic Pass which give you 4-7 days at a serious discount with no blackouts from $199+

Winterpark: Get a Season Pass ahead of time for $429/adults and $249/kids. This also gives you 10 family/friend passes at $69 – $89/day, so maybe you just buy one pass and use the benefits to purchase cheap tickets for other adults skiing with you.

Copper Mountain: Try a Copper 4 Pack for $169/kids & adults. It’s a deal!

PASSPORT PROGRAM MOUNTAINS

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-40-38-amNeed more ideas for how to get your family skiing in Colorado for cheap? Give me a shout – I’m happy to help! -Amanda

Colorado Elementary School Kids: Get 16 free days of skiing at Vail Mountains with their Epic School Kids program

#Skiing #Free #Kids #Families #Colorado #Winter #Snowboarding

ALL Colorado K-5th Grade Kids Get 16 days of FREE Skiing! Find out how…

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Elementary kids in Colorado – It’s your lucky day! Colorado elementary school kids don’t have to wait until they are in 5th/6th grade to get their own ski pass – Vail Resorts’ Epic School Kids now offers FREE skiing to ALL elementary school children.

The catch? Get your kids registered by October 8, 2016!

Q: WHAT IS THE EPIC SCHOOL KIDS?

Epic School Kids is a FREE program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides skiing and riding at some of Colorado’s best areas – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. That means 4 days of FREE Skiing at each area or 16 days in all.

The pass also includes one FREE first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental.

Q: ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS?

The following are blackout dates: 11/25/16-11/26/16, 12/26/16-12/31/16, 1/14/17 and 2/18/17-2/19/17

Q. HOW CAN PARENTS ENROLL THEIR CHILDREN IN EPIC SCHOOL KIDS?

Parents can take their children to a participating Front Range Colorado Ski & Golf, or Boulder Ski Deals location to register their child in person. In Boulder – just head to Boulder Ski Deals. Take a look at what you need to bring below.

Want more details? Epic School Kids

2016-17 Ski Passes: Family Deals Are Happening Right Now!

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What are the best ski deals for families right now? There are some good ones that are time limited, so it may be time to get your passes soon. Don’t delay, the best deals are in the Spring when these areas are trying to entice you to purchase for the 2016-17 ski season.

Rocky Mountain Super Pass+*

Included: Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Eldora, and days at Steamboat, Crested Butte and some others

Cost: $499/adult, $409/teen, $299/child [The price of these passes are only guaranteed through April 5, 2016.]

KIDS SKI FREE! One free child pass [12 & under] with the purchase of an adult RMSP and RMSP+ until June 1, 2016. 

*You can purchase the regular Rocky Mountain Super Pass, but it’s the same price as the RMSP+, so I think it’s a clear decision. 

 

Mountain Collective

This is a new one to me, but might be attractive to some adventurous, traveling families. The Mountain Collective gives you 2 free passes to 12 areas in the United States so 24 days of skiing if you can make it to all locations. Think Alta, Whistler/Blackcomb, Taos, and many more! The only local areas are those in Aspen. But if you are ready to go to the snow, this pass may be a fun one to add to your list.

Cost:$379/adult, $1/child

KIDS SKI FREE! Their child pass is $1 when you purchase an adult pass [limited time]. 

 

Vail Resorts/Epic School Kids

The Epic Pass products are on sale. Again this year they will be offering their Epic School Kids program which offers children through 5th grade a pass that allowed them to ski free for 4 days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Not too bad! Time to get on this one as this is a limited time offer and there were lots of families sad about not jumping on this one earlier!

The other thing to consider is adults need to get passes that align with these free kids’ passes, so you want to look at the whole package.

KIDS SKI FREE! 4 free days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge

What passes will your family get?

 

Kid Friendly Vail, Colorado

Awesome playground in Vail at Lionshead

Awesome playground in Vail at Lionshead

“What Is There To Do With Kids In Vail?” Is Vail, Colorado family-friendly?

Vail doesn’t always conjure up the image of happy families skipping through Vail Village. If your kids are not old enough to ski or you are looking for options when they are not skiing these suggestions will help you get dialed in to the family-friendly Vail scene. Most weekends there is something going on in Vail. During the winter season they offer free live music with big name acts, fireworks, tree lighting, and lots more. Check the Vail Events Calendar for details of what’s coming up.

Vail is our family’s favorite ski mountain. Sure there are tons of mountains to ski in the mountains of Colorado, but Vail gives us lots of diverse terrain, a great park and pipe area, back bowls, trees, groomers and lots more to entertain everyone in the family! The food is expensive and buying a ticket at the counter is very expensive indeed. Last weekend it was $165 for the day for adults which is not so family-friendly, but if you think ahead and get a pass it’s a great spot for the family.

Skiing is the obvious option for families in Vail, but I want to point out the other fun things to do in Vail with your family as a day off or after skiing.

Playgrounds:

  • Our favorite is the pirate ship playground in Vail Village. This is located just to the left of the Gondola, right at the base of the slope, through Vail Village. This ship is great year around and you will always see kids playing on it rain, snow or sun.
  • Another option is the funky playground at Lions Head, located just above the ice skating rink.

Other Things To Do:

  • Ice Skate at Solaris. Kids and adults can have fun skating all day and into the night at this cool skate rink close to Vail Village.
  • Ice Skate at Lions Head. Located in Lions Head Village at Vail, this is another fun ice rink for the whole family.
  • Adventure Ridge. This is family fun on the mountain where you can choose snow mobile riding, serious sledding, bungee jumping, and XXX. Expensive, but a blast for the kids!
  • Bol. This is high tech, over the top, bowling at its best. Kids and adults have a blast here. Reserve a lane ahead of time. You can order pizza, drinks, lane side. Expensive, but very entertaining.
  • Fuzzywigs candy store. This is always a fun place to take the kids. This is just in Vail Village.
  • The Vail Library. This is an under utilized resource for families. With programs like Toddler and Preschooler Story Time, Après-Ski Puppetry, games, art projects, and wifi, the Vail Library is a chill and fun place for all kinds of kids. Free.
  • Colorado Ski Museum. If your kids are old enough to appreciate the history of skiing and snowboarding the museum has some great displays and videos showing the 10th Mountain Division and the progression of the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Free.
  • Cinnebistro. Dine and watch at the Cinnebistro at Solaris just outside of Vail Village. Kids love it! It’s not cheap, but the memories last of being served right at your seat in a movie theater. Moderate to Expensive.
  • Take a Walk Along The River. Take a walk along the river in Vail Village. There are beautiful statues, ice carvings, and lots to look at. Free.
  • Vail Events Calendar. This calendar from Vail.com gives you the scoop on upcoming events and activities on and around the mountain. Most events are free. http://www.vail.com/events/event-calendar.aspx

Vail is a super fun family destination. Ski. Skate. Play. Watch a Movie. Learn. Bowl. Sled. Have fun!

#Vail #Colorado #Family #Vacation #Kids #Children

ALL Colorado K-5th Grade Kids Get An Epic Kids Pack [4 days of FREE Skiing at 4 Colorado Vail Resorts]

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Elementary kids in Colorado – It’s your lucky day! Colorado elementary school kids don’t have to wait until they are in 5th/6th grade to get their own ski pass – now Vail Resorts is offering their new Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack and it offers FREE skiing to ALL elementary school children. Vail Resorts just announced that they will be offering Colorado K-5th grade kids a FREE pass as part of their newly launched Epic School Kids Colorado Pack program. That means 4 days of FREE Sking at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Vail Resorts is saying that this is a limited time opportunity, so I say get over to Boulder Ski Deals – see below for what you will need to provide them as proof of eligibility.

Current School of Shred [this is the old 5th/6th grade FREE ski program] participants can get the same deal for their child who is going into 6th grade next year – 4 FREE days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge.

Q: WHAT IS THE EPIC SCHOOLKIDS COLORADO PACK?

The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a FREE program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides skiing and riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone (restricted: 11/27/15-11/28/15, 12/26/15-12/31/15, 1/16/16 and 2/13/16-2/14/16.)  It includes one FREE first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental during the month of January. (The first-timer lesson is only available from 1/5/16-1/31/16 as a part of “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” and is not available 1/1-1/4/16 or 1/15/16-1/17/16.)  Additionally, Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack provides unlimited summer 2015 scenic chair lift rides at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone.

Q. HOW CAN PARENTS ENROLL THEIR CHILDREN IN EPIC SCHOOLKIDS?

Parents can take their children to a participating Front Range Colorado Ski & Golf, or Boulder Ski Deals location to register their child in person. In Boulder – just head to Boulder Ski Deals. Take a look at what you need to bring below.

Q. WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO BRING TO REGISTER THEIR CHILD FOR EPIC SCHOOLKIDS?

The parent must bring

  • The child must be present at the time of registration
  • A physical copy of the student report card/transcript/school ID or birth certificate
  • A physical photo of the student (no sunglasses, hats or others in the photo)

 

Want more details? Epic School Kids Colorado Pack

Skiing Every Month in 2014 = Building Grit in this 12 Year Old!

My oldest son has a goal to ski every month this year. Good goal for a ski obsessed kid! [See this 12 year old’s ski video] So this weekend my husband took him to St. Mary’s Glacier to get in his August skiing. It turns out skiing has become a great opportunity for father-son bonding. It’s also great overall family bonding, but this was of the father-son genre. The take home for our family – It’s the Process that Matter Most, Not the End Result!

The process is so much more than making the turns – but it includes the turns! The process is talking about open ended questions on the way up the mountain to the destination. The process is getting on the pack and loading it up with boots and skis and gear and stuff, then putting said pack on this 12 year olds back and hiking up about a mile to get a few turns. A mile up hill. A mile to find just enough snow to make those necessary turns that he committed to earlier this year.

Sometimes the skiing happens at #Vail or #Breckenridge or #CopperMountain, but in the summer it has happened by earning his turns. I’ve got to believe this process helps create grit in my son! Grit that will help him in get through the tough parts in his life. Grit that he will call upon when he needs to hike that last mile or finish that tough homework assignment. There is nothing as important as having grit, so when Kai tells me about his experience and how it was tough but he did it, I take a deep breath that fills me up inside. I know the process and these experiences will fill him up in the end.

Take Homes from this Adventure:

  • Follow your passion
  • Do it even when it’s tough
  • Enjoy the process
  • Find a way to bond – something you enjoy doing together!

Interested in what a 12 year old can do skiing? Check out this video Kai made of his skiing!