Sophie Daniels Posts

Spring Break Essentials for Keeping Kids Occupied During Travel

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With Spring Break just around the corner, the time has come to pre-plan your trip. If you’re traveling with kids, especially multiple age groups, planning how to keep them entertained on spring break is as important as deciding where to go. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of tips on traveling for spring break with kids, to help guide you through the chaos that it can bring!

Pre-Flight Essentials

Pack Smart:

Good quality luggage is an investment for your kids and can help to make preparing for travel fun, especially with the selection of branded options available on the market. Colorful rolling suitcases such as the Samsonite Disney range or Trunki are a great way to involve kids in the preparation process.

Personalizing luggage is another way to get kids excited for a spring break adventure; make an activity out of getting them to decorate their luggage using stickers or funky travel tags.

If you’re feeling especially brave, you can even ask your kids to pack their own case – with supervision of course! If the whole case is too much, then get them to choose a favourite cuddly toy, item of clothing, or book to bring. Involving kids in this process will give them a great activity to participate in and a sense of ownership.

Snacks Galore: 

It’s essential to pre-pack some delicious and filling snacks to keep little tummies happy. Trail mix, fruit pouches, cheese sticks, and crackers are great options to have on hand. A refillable water bottle is also recommended to keep everyone hydrated, especially when dealing with plane air-conditioning. Involve your kids in the planning!

Entertainment on Demand: 

Movies and entertainment are key to keeping the kids occupied when it comes to traveling for Spring Break. Shorter flights often don’t provide in-flight entertainment, so it’s a good idea to invest in electronics where you can download movies, games, and audiobooks. Specialized children’s tablets are available on the market, or if you’re feeling old school, why not dig out a portable DVD player with car chargers as optional activities for kids?

Activity Kits: 

Travel-sized versions of popular board and card games are also great for keeping the kids entertained when you travel. Think etch-a-sketch, travel bingo, or jigsaw puzzles (though try to avoid anything with small pieces, as they’re likely to get lost along the way). Why not pick up a few activity books with stickers, as these are usually a hit with little ones. You could even treat them to their choice of new book or magazine.

Make Pit Stops Count:

Driving to the airport can become long and tedious, especially if you’re traveling from afar to your nearest airport. Choose a scenic spot on your journey for a small picnic to break up the journey. You could even book one of our ParkSleepFly hotel & parking lot packages so you can all get a much-needed night’s rest before your morning flight to your spring break vacation spot.

Take-off to Touchdown

Embrace the Window Seat: 

Try to snag a window seat on the plane and let your kids enjoy “cloud spotting” or watching the sky for other planes. Packing binoculars can encourage some excitement for your spring break trip, keeping the kids awe-inspired during the flight while giving them a tech break too.

Get Creative with Travel Games: 

“I Spy” is another popular in-cabin game you can participate in, especially when surrounded by travel-themed clues. Other fun travel games include tic-tac-toe and hangman.

Destination Adventures

Plan Age-Appropriate Activities: 

Make sure you do lots of research when planning aspects of your trip that can cater to children’s interests. Museums and zoos are popular for springtime, offering an indoor/outdoor adventure and giving you a break from spring showers or the sun. Check reviews before you visit so you’re armed with information on queuing times and facilities, and make sure the attraction is open on the day you plan to visit to avoid disappointment.

Get Crafty: 

Art activities for kids are also ideal when it comes to planning your spring break vacation. Travel-sized craft kits and art supplies can go alongside a stroll and picnic, keeping them entertained between taking in the sights. Crafting souvenirs of the places you’ve visited gives kids a fun souvenir to take home too! For older kids, why not encourage them to write a holiday diary or create a scrap book with tickets and mementoes from the holiday?

Embrace Downtime: 

Downtime can also help with relaxation and winding down amped-up little ones. Make sure to pack books, coloring books, and other mentally stimulating activities that will help everyone get a good night’s rest throughout the trip.

Worried about parking hassles for your spring break trip? Pre-booking your ParkSleepFly hotel and parking package can ensure a good night’s rest before you travel. Sleep soundly, fly out, and spring into adventure!

And if you’re traveling through this period take a look at our Spring Break airport hotel deals & coupons to see if you can save yourself some money.

Alternative Christmas Food Traditions Across the US

Are you looking for some Christmas food ideas to enjoy with the family this year? With Thanksgiving now over, it’s time to think about the big day on December 25th, and what better way to celebrate than with non-traditional American foods! Here are some fun Christmas food ideas from traditions that happen across the US from various cultures.

Mexican Christmas

First, we will look at the Southwest and the neighboring country of Mexico. It’s common for Hispanic families living in the US to make several dishes to celebrate Christmas, including flavoursome Tamales. Mexican Christmas food isn’t the same without them, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy these delicious, wrapped parcels filled with a tasty centre. They are prevalent in southern states such as Texas and New Mexico.

Mexican Tamales prepared for Christmas

The cooking process for Tamales is often long, taking around six hours to cook a 10-pound Pork. This gives the meat time to tenderize, so it falls apart when being eaten. Added to this is a variety of seasonings, including red chilli peppers (pequin), garlic and Comino. The more spices added, the better! The spicy filling is then rolled into Masa, a Spanish dough created from fire-dried corn kernels that have been cooked thoroughly in limewater. After plenty of prepping and cooking the filling, the Tamales are ready to be steamed for around 30-45 minutes in their corn husk shells.

If you are interested in a sweeter treat from our neighboring Mexico, we recommend either Conchas or Mexican Cinnamon cookies known as Hojarascas.

Mexican Hojarascas, crunchy and ready to eat

If you want to stick to the more traditional Western Christmas flavours, Hojarascas cookies incorporate the festive cinnamon flavour. This Mexican shortbread is the perfect addition to any home during the holidays, and if making a large batch it should last a while! Mexican Christmas food is incredibly versatile, so they also make great gifts to give to friends, and family, or to include in a holiday bake sale.

Conchas are another Mexican baked good that can house a variety of flavors, including chocolate, which commonly has a brown topping. They are consumed at any time of day, making them the perfect sweet to enjoy after a large Turkey dinner. Much like Tamales, Conchas need ample time set aside for preparing and cooking. We recommend allowing a day or so to prep for these recipes. Concha bread has a soft crumb, and aerated dough with the use of bread flour, or a denser crumb with all-purpose flour.

Traveling to see your family this Christmas to enjoy a Mexican feast? Don’t forget to pre-book your airport parking + hotel package with ParkSleepFly!

German traditions

Traveling across the pond to Germany, a tradition common for this country is Christstollen. German Christmas food can also be found across the US, and German settlers bring these recipes with them. Christstollen, better known as Stollen is a yeasted bread, filled with fruit, nuts and spices, dusted with powdered sugar.

Sumptuous Stollen, sliced and ready to enjoy

Some variations of Stollen exist, including Dresdner Stollen and Marzipanstollen, the former being the most popular at this time of year. The addition of Marzipan to traditional Stollen recipes adds a delicious almond flavouring, just don’t forget to age the Stollen for a few weeks to intensify the flavor!

If Stollen isn’t what you are wanting to add to your Christmas spread, but you still want German Christmas foods on your table, why not swap out Turkey for a Christmas Goose? Weihnachtsgans (Christmas Goose) makes a fantastic centrepiece if you are finding it difficult to get hold of a last-minute Turkey. This recipe can often take a few hours of roasting until cooked, so make sure there’s plenty of time for you to cook the Goose.

Warm, spiced Gluhwein served with Cinnamon & Orange

For the final touch to your German Christmas, a delicious glass of Gluhwein (mulled wine) is recommended by the log fire. This warming alcoholic beverage is comprised of red wine, seasonal spices, orange, and sugar and is heated on the burner to intensify the cinnamon and clove. This sweet, flavoursome drink is the perfect way to finish the day of your German Christmas.

Staying overnight the night before your flight home for your German Christmas has never been easier with ParkSleepFly. Pre-book now!

Festive Italian feasts

Journeying to the Mediterranean country of Italy, it’s go big or go home when it comes to Italian cuisine for Christmas. Italian Christmas food is full of flavor and guaranteed to fill you up, as they indulge in the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

This spread of fresh seafood is served on December 24 and is common amongst Italian-American families. It comprises either 7 different types of fish or a variety of fish prepared in 7 different ways, and it varies between families. Families usually choose between fresh pasta, soups and Gnocchi to serve their fish with.

Shellfish cooked and prepared for the feast

If you are looking to host friends this holiday season, another Italian Christmas food we recommend is a Charcuterie spread. These are perfect for larger gatherings and mean your visitors can pick and choose from the foods they want to eat.

Suggestions for inclusion on a Charcuterie spread are having the main cheese staple. We recommend Burrata or Fresh sliced Mozzarella. These pair best with cured meats, olives, and tomatoes. For more exotic flavours, Parmigiano-Reggiano with cured meat, honey, grapes, and pears/figs is sure to be a winner.

Delectable Charcuterie spread with various cheeses and meats

Natale Lunch, or ‘Italian Christmas Lunch’ is typically served on Christmas Day. This feast includes starters, which are various cured meat platters, crostini, (toasted bread) and panzerotti (miniature calzone). Following this is 3 other courses, first, second and finally an extravagant dessert.

Families usually gather to feed many mouths in Italian culture, and Christmas is no exception to this. From chicken broth to pasta with clams, all the freshest ingredients are used, and all dishes are made from scratch. To finish off Natale lunch desserts include Panettone, Pandoro and Ferratelle.

Pre-book your airport parking lot space with ParkSleepFly today and avoid the rush before Christmas.

Christmas in China

Chinese culture doesn’t tend to celebrate Christmas and often uses this day to enjoy their favourite western take-out food. KFC is very popular this time of year! However, if you are wanting to incorporate more traditional Chinese food on Christmas this year, here are a few options.

Chicken or Peanut Lo Mein is a quick and easy dish to cook and serve and would be perfect for Christmas Eve. This dish is slightly healthier than the Chow Mein alternative and uses more vegetables and protein to bulk out the coated noodles. The Lo Mein sauce also provides a bolder flavour, guaranteeing your Holiday guests a feast of flavours this festive season. The cooking method of Lo Mein is also different, which includes a difference in the technique of using the Wok. Why not give it a go this year for a Chinese Christmas treat?

Seasoned Lo Mein, perfect for Christmas Eve

Incorporating flavours from different parts of the world is a great way to experience Christmas from other cultures, and Chinese Dumplings can also experiment with flavours and fillings. Steamed dumplings are a very popular dish from the East and serving them with a spiced cranberry sauce is one way to enjoy them.

Dumplings are a great way to use up those leftovers from a Christmas Eve party, so if you’re hosting for the holidays this is a great way to use ingredients you already have in your larder! Grab that leftover stuffing and pop it into some dumpling wrapper for a Chinese starter in your 3 course Christmas spread.

Chinese dumplings after steaming and bursting with flavor

Much like Denmark, Duck is a firm favourite in Chinese culture during the holiday period. The use of Peking sauce differentiates it from the European recipe. Chinese five-spice and aromatic seasonal spices coat the Duck whilst cooking and are usually served with Cucumber, Scallions, and Mandarin Style pancakes. There are plenty of recipes for Peking Duck available, so why not try out a new tradition this Christmas and give Peking Duck a go?

Want to celebrate Christmas with delicious Chinese dishes and the whole family? Book your airport parking with ParkSleepFly and guarantee your lot space.

Succulent Swedish dishes

Finally, we travel to Sweden, where there are even more flavours to behold and inspire you for your holiday lunch this year. No Swedish Christmas is complete without the traditional Ham served with Kale. Swedish Christmas food utilises the Julskinka (Christmas Ham) as the centrepiece of the dining table. Glazed with mustard and breadcrumbs after boiling, Swedes tuck into their Ham and serve it alongside Långkål (creamed kale).

Swedish glazed Ham usually served with creamed Kale

To finish Christmas Day, we recommend indulging in a hot glass of Glogg by the log fire. Similar to the German Gluhwein as mentioned above, this wine-based drink is enriched with spices to warm you up after a winter’s day walk.

The recipe for Glogg differs slightly, by utilising Sauternes and aquavit, and is also enriched with raisins and almonds. Simply simmer this recipe on the stove for 15 minutes, and it is ready to enjoy!

Get a well-rested night in before your trip with a ParkSleepFly airport hotel + parking package before flying home for Christmas!

The Best US Festivals to Visit this Fall

Fall is fast approaching; the summer sun is winding down. and the latter end of the year is gearing up for the next few months of festive cheer. From Halloween thrills to Thanksgiving spreads, there’s something special about Fall in the US. Looking for your next adventure for the last half of the year? Here are some of the top fall festivals to add to your next trip.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

For 9 whole days, from October 7 – 15, Albuquerque puts on a spectacular display for the International Balloon Fiesta. This 60+ acre area launches over 500 hot air balloons into the sky in a mass ascension. Known for being one of the most photographed events in the world, it’s surely not to be missed this year. This event is perfect for those with children, as there is a myriad of activities to participate in as well as watching the balloons ascend into the sky.

Getting to and from

For ease of access in and out of the balloon park, the event provides park & ride services, meaning you can park at a partnered location and hop on the shuttle to take you to the festival park. Make sure to check the schedule for the day you intend to attend and remember that tickets cannot be purchased at the remote lots, so pre-booking is essential!


Other activities include the opening ceremony, drone light shows, firework displays and chainsaw carving. Displays run from as early as 5:45am up until 8:00pm at the latest. The balloon fiesta also plays host to the music fiesta, with headline artists providing a truly amazing atmosphere whilst watching the balloons fill the skyline.

Local and national performers also attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, including a military brass band, and differing genres of music. Main Street is home to strolling performers, with Native American dancers celebrating the New Mexico culture. Look out for the Mariachi troupes and Flamenco dancers too!


For a truly first-class experience of the balloon fiesta, why not upgrade to the Gondola Club VIP experience? You can benefit from A gourmet buffet, shuttle service to and from the park, souvenir gifts and the best views of the launch field. Other hospitality choices include the Chaser Club or glamping/camping. If you want a true camping experience, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta also allows visitors to bring in their own food and drink in soft-sided coolers. The only prohibited items include alcohol and glass.

Cincinnati Oktoberfest (Zinzinnati)

Fancy a long weekend-style trip to Cincinnati this year? Look no further than the Zinzinnati Oktoberfest from September 14-17. Taking place at 5th Street Downtown, this change of location brings even more fun to the festival this year as it gets bigger and better for 2023.

Food & Drink

Southwest Ohio celebrates its deep-rooted German culture with this 4-day weekend extravaganza, making it the perfect weekend to take a trip to this busy city. Expect a range of food and drinks, including Metts, Sauerkraut balls, bratwurst, pretzels, and strudel. Not to mention, all the German beers you can think of are included in this free city event!

Getting to and from

There aren’t any official parking partners with this event, however, it is advised to pre-book parking in the city centre ahead of the event. If you are traveling from out of the city, there are also many transport links within Cincinnati to get you to and from the event, especially if you want to enjoy the local brews and beers the event has to offer!


As well as the overwhelming choice of food and drink (you will never go hungry), there is a range of activities that are family-friendly at this city event. The famous ‘Running of the Wieners’ is expected to kick off this year’s event, much like in past years. This race is specific to our four-legged wiener friends, all of whom are usually dressed in hot dog costumes! Last year’s winner was Maple, a 1-year-old miniature dachshund that took home a Petsmart gift card worth $75. This one is especially good for the children to watch!

To get a head start on the Oktoberfest celebrations, the pre-event the week prior is the Gemütlichkeit Games (goodwill). Located at Fountain Square, you can watch this fantastic community celebration where contestants are challenged to participate in the Dachshund derby, beer barrel rolling, beer sein racing, log sawing races and nail hammering races.

Other fun activities include the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and the Sam Adams Stein Hoist competition.

Columbus Oktoberfest

If you want to make your time in Ohio worth the trip, you can also travel to Columbus for their Oktoberfest before attending the Cincinnati festival! Both festivals are only 1 hour 30 minutes from each other, and follow consecutively, starting with the Columbus celebrations. Taking place from September 8 – 10, this event takes a more traditional route for its German festivities.

Getting to and from

The city of Columbus once again offers a wide range of parking options which we highly recommend pre-booking before you visit. If you would prefer to really indulge in the event, the local city transport links are always a good idea when it comes to pre-planning your trip, meaning you can take full advantage and really soak up the culture of this yearly event.


This family-friendly event features a myriad of things to do, including the kick-off party at Hofbräuhaus Columbus, where you can enjoy food and traditional German beers whilst listening to live music. There is also the Oktoberfest Meiler Vier, a four-mile foot race that envelopes the fairgrounds, it is limited to 500 participants however, so get yourself signed up ASAP!

The main event of this Oktoberfest takes place at the Ohio Expo Center, housing traditional German beers, music, bands, and polka dancing. Strap on your finest Lederhosen and join in with the celebrations! There is also crafts and vendors for the kids, so you know you will never go hungry at this event, with plenty of things to keep the kids occupied too, including bouncy castles and face-painting.

Enjoy a bratwurst or two, frankfurters, German potato salad, Cream puffs, and German Sauerkraut. The best thing about Schmidt’s Columbus Oktoberfest is that admission is free, but parking is $10 per vehicle, so great if you are on a budget this year!

Duluth Fall Festival

Named one of the top 24 fall festivals in the US, the Duluth festival is another great activity to look at for something to do from September through to October. Comprising an opening parade, food, drink, trinket booths and a 5k road race, this festival is sure to get you in those fall feelings this year.

Getting to and from

Duluth is a reasonably small town to get around, and luckily a shuttle service is set up every year, meaning you can park and ride the event if you so wish! This means you aren’t sat in lengthy queues, potentially missing out on the opening ceremony. Parking near the festival site is extremely limited, so this is often the best way to get to and from the event. If wanting to watch the opening parade, it is recommended you arrive at the shuttle lot by 9am as the surrounding streets are closed for the parade.


Duluth fall festival has plenty to eat, drink, see and do for 2023. From cheerleader marching bands to electric jazz bands playing unique original songs, it’s the true culture of the Southwest injected into fall time – including traditional blues rock!

There’s no limit on food and drinks at this festival either, Duluth goes all out with 25-30 vendors expected to take part in this year’s event. Offerings include breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites, coffee, lemonade, breakfast biscuits, kettle corn, hamburgers and much more to suit all palates.

If you want to take home a special trinket from this fall-themed event, don’t forget to peruse the arts and crafts vendors, often selling homemade jewelry and trinkets that are sure to catch your eye! Knowing that all products have to be handmade makes this a truly awe-inspiring event, knowing you will take something home that is truly unique.

New York City Wine and Food Festival

New York is once again host to a spectacular wine and food festival this fall. From October 12 – 15, the big apple is THE place to be to try the latest in food and drink trends. This event is catered to adults, however, so we recommend this trip as an adult-only party and is ideal for friend groups and couples.

Getting to and from

NYC is a city that never sleeps, so you are guaranteed a great night with a lot of transport links to get to and from the New York City wine and food festival. With a subway system that never closes, you don’t have to worry about getting back to your hotel after a night of enjoying good wine and good food.


The NYC wine and food festival promises a plethora of activities to participate in, from Cocktail making master classes to a dinner hosted by your favourite chefs, you really don’t want to miss out on this one!

This fall festival promises a mix of signature events, walk-around tastings, demos and dining, and even master classes, allowing you to really get involved. CapitalOne also has exclusive cardholder access events, including a grand tasting package and a blue moon burger bash.

Pennsylvania’s National Apple Harvest Festival

Split over two separate weekends, October 7 & 8 and October 14 & 15, the Pennsylvania National Apple Harvest Festival is the perfect setting to get into the fall spirit. Arendtsville, PA is the heart of apple country and promises a wide range of tasting to be had.

Getting to and from

Much like the other festivals recommended in our guide, the National Apple Harvest Festival offers outlying parking fields with a shuttle bus service provided to get you to the festival grounds. This parking is included in your admission fee, so definitely worth parking and riding to the event! This festival is within driving distance from Washington D.C, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.


This is the perfect fall festival for those with young families and adults alike, with a myriad of activities to participate in, including over 300 arts and crafts vendors, a huge selection of apple-themed food and drinks, hayrides, pony rides and even a petting zoo! The list is endless, so you and the kids are guaranteed to have a jam-packed weekend.

Alongside the many vendors and attractions to enjoy, you can try a variety of different foods and drinks local to the area, including Ribeye steak sandwiches, a full pork barbeque and vintage sodas, all whilst enjoying the live entertainment. The festival is open both weekends from 8am until 6pm and is held outdoors. Make sure to try all the apple-themed foods at this fall festival, and don’t forget a truly one-of-a-kind trinket from your favourite stalls!

Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor

Another great location to enjoy a fall festival this year is Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor. This annual food and spirits festival offers a diverse selection of food and drinks to try, perfect for the foodie in your life! This is an adult-only event, so best to leave the kids at home for this one.

Getting to and from

Occurring late October, from the 26 to the 28, the Harbor of Portland becomes a gateway to a spectacular offering of a variety of food and drinks to warm you up at the cool coastal town. Due to this being an event in the city, we recommend parking in the city and hopping on local transport to get to and from this event.


This fall festival is purely centred around food and drink and features live entertainment from local performers. Showing the culture of Maine, this is one for the food eccentrics and showcases the diversity of food and drink in Portland.

Starting with TOAST! This event allows you to meet top cocktail and spirit makers in Maine, followed by a Gourmet graze the next day. Featuring coffee, chocolate, and wine, you can also book an intimate cheese and chocolate tasting! This fall festival is rounded off by an OysterFest session, allowing you to truly indulge in what Portland City Harbor has to offer.

Flying into your fall festival?

Are you traveling in from further afield for a fall festival this year? Don’t forget to pre-book your airport parking with ParkSleepFly! We compare hundreds of airport parking lots across the US and can get you the best deal and dollars off your next reservation. Check out our offers before you fly out for your fall festival this year!