TO ORLANDO ON THE CHEAP
Quality slime-time courtesy of Nickelodeon

TO ORLANDO ON THE CHEAP

It's bad enough to say no to the kids all the time at home, much less on vacation. (No, you can't have that $40 sweatshirt. No you can't order that $20 steak...) Vacation, after all, is when we all want to indulge the kids and ourselves. But with the economy the way it is, I think we're all going to be saying no more often, until we figure out better ways to stretch those vacation bucks.

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Hitting the slopes this winter without busting the budget
Fun on the slopes at Big Sky in Montana

Hitting the slopes this winter without busting the budget

Eleven-year-old Nate Gourd, an avid snowboarder from Manchester, Vt., couldn't agree more. "You feel like you're flying when you come down the mountain," he says, adding that kids "definitely should wear helmets." Meet Vermont's vice presidents of fun. Bridget -- who says she's always waiting at the bottom of the mountain for her "slowpoke" family

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Take them for some spooky fun and games this Halloween season

My best friend JoAnne and I fashioned ghost costumes out of old white sheets, corralled my little sister Amy to join us and --presto -- we were The Ghost Family. We happily went off trick or treating in our suburban Long Island, N.Y., neighborhood. No parents tagged along, of course, no one had expensive costumes or headed to a theme park fright fest.

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Getting free gas, free golf, free s’mores and more this summer
A morning ride at Colorado's Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

Getting free gas, free golf, free s’mores and more this summer

Free gas anyone? Not quite. But the higher gas prices go -- and the more we rethink summer vacation plans as a result -- the more hotels, resorts, cities and towns across the country are rolling out the welcome mat with rebates and credits all designed to help fill your gas tank and ease the sticker shock that comes with it, as the price of gas climbs to $4.07 a gallon on average. That is $1.09 a gallon more than a year ago, according to AAA.

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RECESSION-PROOFING YOUR SUMMER VACATION
Keystone Resort offers a family adventure package that includes an Adventure Passport for activities that include a golf clinic, guided hikes, paddleboat rentals and more.

RECESSION-PROOFING YOUR SUMMER VACATION

Just as we're all planning summer getaways, gas prices go through the roof, the dollar is so weak against the British pound and the Euro that trips to Great Britain and Europe seem out of reach, and the pundits suggest the economy is going to get worse. And, as if to make us even more frustrated, this month airlines will begin charging you for checking a second bag.

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A LAST-MINUTE SPRING BREAK
Spring Break Ideas

A LAST-MINUTE SPRING BREAK

What are you waiting for? Spring Break is looming and you haven't planned a getaway. We're not talking a Big Trip -- a cruise, for example, or an adventure trip to Costa Rica, though, according to Travelzoo.com, there are good last-minute deals to be had in Costa Rica.

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SNARING A LAST-MINUTE HOLIDAY DEAL

Honestly, I can't remember anything I saw that day. I could never find that field again (though I do have a picture of it somewhere.) But I'll never forget that glorious I-don't-have-a-schedule feeling. Of course that was long before responsibilities - like children and jobs -- curtailed my freewheeling travel style.

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