• Hi-Tec Quest Hike WP
Have you priced sturdy, waterproof hiking boots lately? For most good ones, it seems the price point begins at $200. But, as Outside magazine recently pointed out, the Hi-Tec Quest gives a boot that provides traction, warmth and protection for $110. From its rust-proof lacing to moisture-wicking lining, it’s a solid boot, weighing in at 19 ounces. An even better buy: The Hi-Tec Flagstaff WP (suede and mesh) for $89.
• World’s Tallest Waterslide
We take you to Kansas City and the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, where they are constructing the world’s tallest water slide that will open in 2014 (get tickets now). It’s said to be much taller than Brazil’s 134 1/2-foot “Insano” slide. This one will have customers careening up to 65 mph.
• Batman’s Bat Cave
It’s at the Hotel Eden in Taiwan, which rents rooms by the hour (yes, that kind of place). But we suppose you could stay the night. The Huffington Post reports that visitors are treated to a furry headboard with the Batman logo, gargoyles on the cave-painted walls and “a real-deal Batmobile that protrudes from the wall.” By the way, they also have an Alcatraz-themed room.
• Budget Travel’s Top 10 Travel With Kids Tips, Hotel Version
Travel writer and mom Kerry Lyons spells out what you need to do to make a hotel stay with young children less stressful:
1. Safety first: Bring your own outlet covers.
2. Ask and you shall receive: “Many hotels offer stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, rubber ducks for tub time, and more.”
3. Making reservations: Be specific and ask for a crib and mini-fridge at reservation time, not at check-in.
4. Join loyalty programs: You can get free snacks and in-room movies with many hotel programs.
5. Buffet breakfast: Many chains, such as Holiday Inn Express, offer free continental breakfasts to guests.
6. Meal planning: Choose a hotel with an in-room kitchen (such as Residence Inn) to save money.
7. Limit packing: “It pays to pack light and do a load on the road – especially when you consider the high cost of checking bags.”
8. Be aware of hidden costs: “Ask in advance about fees for parking, exceeding double occupancy, roll-away beds, cribs, and any other surprises that might come up.”
9. Join: The Automobile Association of America offers special deals, discounts and guides with family entertainment ideas.
10. Don’t skip date night: “If you’re heading to a warm-weather destination, request a room with a terrace or patio and order room service after the kids are tucked in.”
From Gemma Alexander (@gemmamadeatweet): “My baby cried on the flight to Japan for 7 hours. Let’s all try to love, not judge the #travelfail parent.”
— Compiled by Sam McManis, firstname.lastname@example.org