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Stop at These Deals Malls for Black Friday Deals

November 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Massive lines, midnight deals and a little elbowing seem to be the vision dancing through a Black Friday shopper’s head. The bargain hungry go through the madness for one reason and one reason only, the thrill of the deal. If you find yourself on the road for Thanksgiving, or if you merely just want to seek out the best spots for your own slice of Black Friday madness, don’t miss these six malls across the country for Black Friday deals.

1. Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota)

If you are truly going to do Black Friday, you may as well begin at the mall of all malls, the Mall of America. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Mall of America sets up in Bloomington. While the mall boasts your traditional department stores and small boutiques, it also packs in the attractions with an aquarium and a theme park. For Black Friday shoppers, the Mall of America kicks off the frenzy early with a 6PM opening on Thanksgiving Day and a Friday closing of 10PM.

2. The Country Club Plaza (Kansas City, Missouri)

Kansas City might be known for its barbecue, but the Country Club Plaza is equally worth the trip to Middle America. The famous shopping, dining and entertainment district spans roughly 15 blocks and is full of impressive grand Italian-style buildings. If you want to do Black Friday under a blanket of twinkling Christmas lights, Country Club Plaza is the right spot. On Thanksgiving Day, the outdoor mall hosts the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, where many of the mall’s buildings are decked out in holiday lights. For Black Friday, a number of shops give away freebies and chances to win prizes.

3. Macy’s at Herald Square (New York, New York)

While not technically a mall, the Macy’s at Herald Square in New York City is an icon in its own right. Most people link Macy’s to the Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, but the largest department store chain in the world actually kicks off the holidays at its New York City location in style. Generally opening on Thanksgiving evening, Macy’s rolls out the deals on many of its top brands for Black Friday. Your miracle on 34th Street might just be snagging a Black Friday special - if you don’t mind the hordes of people joining you.

4. The Beverly Center (Los Angeles, California)

If you’re looking to do some holiday shopping in Los Angeles and you want to throw in some star sightings too, any local will tell you to head to the Beverly Center. The premium shopping mall boasts all the major retailers like Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Banana Republic. Sprinkled into the mix are also designer shops where you could spot a celebrity if you’re lucky. For Black Friday, the Beverly Center typically offers special deals and holiday events.

5. King of Prussia Mall (King of Prussia, Pennsylvania)

The largest mall on the East Coast opens up for Black Friday at 8PM on Thanksgiving evening. King of Prussia Mall kicks off the mega-shopping day with extended hours. And with over 400 stores, you are sure to find a deal for all of those people on your gift list this year. King of Prussia Mall sits just 25 miles from Philadelphia.

6. Sawgrass Mills Mall (Sunrise, Florida)

If it’s 27 hours of Black Friday shopping you want, it’s 27 hours of Black Friday shopping you’ll get at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida. With over 350 stores, Sawgrass Mills Mall is  the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States. And as the mall values outlet shopping, the deals pile up for Black Friday. Sawgrass Mills Mall will be opening at 6PM on Thanksgiving, staying busy with shoppers for a straight 27 hours, well into Friday night.

 

When you need a spot to rest up from all of that Black Friday shopping from New York to Los Angeles, Extended Stay America is right where you want to be. Locations cover the country, offering amenity packed suites for the entire family. 

5 Thanksgiving Travel Tips You'll be Thankful For

November 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So you’re heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving - you and everyone else it would seem. Traveling for Thanksgiving leaves you feeling like you have little to be thankful for with bottlenecked highways, icy conditions and plenty of crowds to fight on your way to turkey time. To make Thanksgiving travel a little less painful, practice these five tips for a stress-free holiday weekend.

1. Have Your Car Serviced Before You Go

If you’re traveling by car for Thanksgiving, the last thing you’d want to deal with is a roadside breakdown halfway through your trip. To cut back on the possibility of a special-order part breaking or a mechanism malfunctioning when you are halfway to your destination, have your car serviced by your regular mechanic before you go. Travelers should have their local auto shop take a look at fluid levels, the oil, the tires and the brakes in particular.

2. Pack Hand Sanitizer for the Journey

Whether you are going by car for Thanksgiving or traveling through the airport, you’ll want to be careful so you don’t pick up a nasty bug or cold just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. With more and more people traveling, someone in your carload could easily succumb to a germy door handle or two. To lessen the chances of catching something during holiday travel, you will want to have a bottle of hand sanitizer handy in the car. After each stop or visit to an overly crowded area, have the whole family lather up with antibacterial.

3. Avoid Traveling on the Busiest Days and Times of the Weekend

Everyone and their mother - and their uncle, and their cousins and their ex-brother-in-law - wants to jet set for their Thanksgiving destination on the Wednesday before the holiday. And, when returning home from a never-long-enough weekend of Thanksgiving travel, the crowds tend to milk their time for all it’s worth and not leave until Sunday evening. If you don’t want to be stuck in traffic or packed in like sardines on your flight, try to avoid these busiest travel times of the extended weekend, namely Wednesday and Sunday. If you can leave early Thanksgiving morning and go home on Monday, you stand a better chance of not getting stuck in a literal jam (traffic, that is).

4. Keep On Top of Weather Forecasts

Especially if you are driving for Thanksgiving, you don’t want to hit the road when a storm is on the horizon. Beginning with the week leading up to your trip, you should start monitoring the weather situation. If local forecasters are advising to stay off the roads, don’t risk it.

5. Know Your Routes

In the case of bad weather or road closures during the peak holiday travel times, you won’t want to be stuck without a map to guide you on an alternate route. Before you take off for Thanksgiving, be sure to research the route you want to travel, along with any other alternative routes you may have to take. This step will save you from that sense of panic when you find out the highway you planned on taking is shutting down due to weather.

For families traveling across the country for Thanksgiving, you will be particularly thankful when, after the long travel day, you select accommodations that have everything you need. Extended Stay America properties come chalk full of amenities from complimentary television channels to pools and hot tubs. 

10 Tips for Traveling in Cold Weather

November 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vacation: It often evokes images of hammocks, sandy beaches, palms trees and blue-green waters, but traveling to a Winter Wonderland can be just as relaxing and fun, if you prepare. Knowing what and how to travel in winter can be the difference between a trip to remember for a lifetime and one that you can’t wait to get home from.

Follow these travel safety tips and tricks to know what to expect and to prepare for your trip so it’s smooth sailing once you hit the road.

1. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. Whether you’re traveling by plane or going on a road trip, winter travel can be both daunting and dangerous. Have a clear path mapped out ahead of time. Be aware of places where inclement weather can alter your plans - airports in snowy hubs or twisty roads over high elevations may require a Plan B.

2. STRAIGHT SHOT. If you’re flying, and a nonstop flight isn’t possible, try to book connecting flights in places where weather doesn’t tend to be as big an issue. True, there are never guarantees that you won’t have a delayed or cancelled flight, but some airports are either better equipped to handle, or just don’t have as big a problem dealing with weather-related issues. Also try to book early-morning flights. Giving yourself more time during the day to deal with delays and cancellations can be the difference between getting safely to your destination and spending the night in an airport.

3. HYDRATE. Hydration is always important, and traveling is no exception. Even in winter, dehydration can be deadly. Be sure you’re drinking enough water and, if driving, keep extra water bottles on hand.

4. SLOW DOWN. Literally - on the road or in the air, be sure to plan enough time so you don’t feel rushed. Taking it slow is important for obvious reasons when driving, but equally true when flying. Not allowing ample time to get to your destination can cause stress, especially when navigating icy road conditions, so it just doesn’t make sense to be in a hurry. Make the journey part of the adventure.

5. EAT YOUR WHEATIES. Be sure to eat nutritious foods and snacks when traveling. While grabbing that McSomething on the go can be tempting and easy, it’s just as convenient to grab a healthy high-energy bar or snack pack of nuts to get a boost of energy. Toss a few extras into your carry-on or in the car in case you are delayed.

6. STAY ALERT. You should plan a time to rejuvenate throughout your journey. A 12-hour trip will leave you tired and not ready to hit your destination-ground running. Especially when driving, you should work into your trip regular stopping time to stretch and get some air. Be sure you’re pulling over in a safe location, though.

7. TRAVEL KIT. Pack a safety travel kit to have on hand. Think outside the typical first aid kit, too. While Band-Aids and gauze are important, think about cold weather necessities - blankets, an ice scraper and a flashlight are just a few things you may find you need.

8. CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT. Whether in your own car, or if renting one after a flight, be sure to check your tire pressure and tread. Carrying chains in snowy or icy conditions is always a good idea.

9. COVER THE CAR. When you get to where you’re going, try to park your car in a garage or covered space.

10. STAY PUT. If you get stranded somewhere, try to stay where you are. If you’re in a clear, safe spot on the side of the road, the safest thing to do is stay in your car and wait for help. Be sure your exhaust pipe is clear though - you don’t want ice or snow built up around it as it could result in carbon monoxide building up in the car. To keep warm, you can run the car for about 10 minutes every hour, cracking the front window during.

 

There are many cold weather safety tips you can use to ensure you have a magical winter wonderland getaway, but the most important tip is to simply plan ahead. Knowing the potential issues that may arise based on where you’re going and the road to get there can help you prepare for any possible issues that may arise. Being prepared will let you get to your destination, settle into your Extended Stay America suite and start making memories. 

Don’t Forget the Diaper Bag! An Essential Vacation Packing List for Traveling with Children

November 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Packing for any kind of trip can be a challenge. When you have to pack for a whole family, including infants and toddlers, for vacation, the amount of bags you take can grow and grow. To make the packing process a little bit easier, here are a few essentials to toss into that diaper bag.

Medicine, Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

One of the worst things to occur on your vacation is illness. You don’t want your babies or toddlers to get sick while traveling, but things can happen. You should talk to your pediatrician about what medicine to have in case of a problem. Also, parents shouldn’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent, which are essentials for most vacations where you will be outdoors. It is important to make certain that the products can be used on your children; some sunscreens, for example, aren’t intended for babies.

Extra Changes of Clothing

You might be going on vacation with your tiny ones for just a few days, but babies and toddlers often require more outfit changes than a Broadway show. Especially if you are taking a plane, you will always want to have a change of clothing with you and several outfits to get your bundle of joy through those messes on the road.

Changing Pads, Diapers and Plenty of Baby Wipes

Parents with an infant in diapers have to travel with a portable changing station. You can pack changing pads to make it easy to change your little one on the road. If you are flying or going to be in transit for several hours, you will also need plenty of diapers and baby wipes to make it to your destination. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a confined space with no extra diapers.

Toys and Games to Keep Everyone Entertained

When little Johnny decides to have a temper tantrum in the middle of your tour or while you are out to eat, toys and games will be your saving grace. While the whole toy chest won’t fit in your suitcase, a few basic toys and games will be welcome distractions when it seems the sky is falling on your wee one.

Baby Bottles, Formula and Snacks

As part of your vacation packing list for children, you shouldn’t forget to pack baby bottles and formula for infants and also snacks for the rest of the crew. Sometimes a tantrum is merely caused by hunger. However, being on the road or on an airplane can make it difficult to get your child what they want. A few plastic containers of snacks should always be with you wherever you go.

Cameras

Parents and families won’t want to forget one of the most important items that might not stop a temper tantrum or cure a runny nose, but it will have a lasting impact on your trip. Families should always travel with a camera, preferably with video capabilities, to document a child’s first few times seeing the rest of the world. For children who are a little bit older, you can give them disposable cameras to document what they see too.

 

For families traveling, you want a space that feels a little bit like home to keep some normalcy with the little ones. Along with a kids stay free policy, Extended Stay America suites allow families to create mini-homes away from home with separate bedrooms, kitchens and living spaces. 

6 Travel Apps you Need to Download

November 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Travel would not be possible it if weren’t for a little help from one’s friends, namely all of those apps in your pocket. In today’s world, you won’t have to worry about missing your flight or running out of gas thanks to many different travel apps. Before you take off on your next adventure, be sure to download these six essential apps.

 1.      Google Translate

The Google Translate app is practically a travel necessity if you plan on traveling to countries where they might not speak your local tongue. The app features over 70 languages where you can speak into the phone, type what you need translated or even take photographs of something you want deciphered. The Google Translate app is free to download and works on both Android and iPhone.

2.      Skype

When you want to stay in touch with family and friends back home but you don’t want the massive cell phone bill, you can use the Skype app. The app is available for Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, Nokia X and Blackberry. The Skype app allows you to make free face-to-face video calls as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. You can also send and receive messages for free on the app.

3.      TripIt

The free version of the TripIt app frequently tops lists of must-have travel apps. The travel itinerary app keeps you organized on the road and prevents the traveler from having to bring all sorts of paperwork for their flights and reservations. The TripIt app allows the user to send all of their trip-related emails to the app. TripIt then organizes all of your travel plans and keeps them in a nice and neat place. The app is available for free for Android and iPhone.

 4.      Google Maps

To make sure you never wander around lost for several hours on your travels, the Google Maps app allows you to get directions and maps in 220 countries and territories. The app also provides live accident and traffic information so you know what routes to avoid on your travels.

 5.      Gate Guru

 One of the best travel apps for those going by plane is Gate Guru. This app, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, helps you manage your flight from departure to arrival. Gate Guru features flight notifications that alert you of gate changes, boarding times and other status updates. It is also useful if you aren’t familiar with the airport as it provides a listing of all the amenities and restaurants near you.

 6.      Gas Buddy

 When you are in need of a good road trip planner app, GasBuddy is essential to have in your pocket. If you are looking to save on gas prices, this app helps you find the cheapest gas near you. It also tells you where gas stations are located along your route. GasBuddy is available for free for Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

 

With all of the right apps in hand to make travel that much easier, you can make another easy choice with your accommodations. Extended Stay America offers roomy suites where the whole family can spread out and relax. 

5 Ways to Stay Fit While Traveling

November 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Travel and fitness don’t often coincide. It’s quite common to be surrounded by delicious and fattening cuisine and have very little time to burn it off from stop to stop. Whether you are on vacation with the family or looking to come home from that business trip without more weight, travelers can practice a few simple tips to stay fit while globetrotting.

 1.      Book Accommodations with Fitness Centers and Gyms

Staying fit while traveling can be a challenge if you never seem to have the time to work out. If you are looking to keep off vacation weight, it is best to book hotels and accommodations with fitness centers and gyms. You can go for a jog on the treadmill or swim in the hotel’s pool when it is convenient for you. Travelers can squeeze in a workout without having to go too far from their hotel room.

2.      Pick Walk-Friendly Destinations

Some travelers pack on the vacation weight merely because they aren’t walking enough. If you can choose your vacation destinations, be sure you are selecting cities and spots that are walker-friendly. When you can ditch the car and walk more as you travel, you stand a better chance of staying slim and trim too. Selecting naturally gifted vacation destinations like national parks can also help you stay active even while traveling.

 3.      Cook Healthy Meals When You Can

Travel is no stranger to delicious and often fattening foods. If you are eating out each and every night of your travels, most likely you are not going to stay fit. Travelers who create a little semblance of home when they are on the road can better keep off the vacation weight. By preparing your own meals when you can, you can stay fit more easily while you travel. You will want to look out for accommodations that have kitchens so that you can prepare healthier meals.

4.      Use Fitness Apps to Track Your Calories and Motion

There are a variety of fitness apps you can use to keep track of your calorie intake and also how many calories you’re burning while on vacation. As you travel, it can be easy to indulge here and there and not have any idea of the consequences. Fitness apps can help you keep track more easily as the information and data is right in your pocket. Some of these apps can also help you track how active you are. These apps can give you a better sense of when you need to do something more active on your travels to offset that big dinner last night.

5.      Always Take the Stairs

Travel is riddled with elevators and escalators, from the airport to the hotel, and if you’re truly concerned about how to stay fit on vacation, you’ll see stairs as an opportunity. Every time you take the elevator or the escalator, you run the risk of missing out on some easy exercise. When you can, you should always take the stairs. Travel often doesn’t allow for extra time to exercise but if you take the stairs, you can multitask. One easy way to incorporate this technique is to seek out the highest point in your vacation vicinity—perhaps an observation deck of some kind. You can generally climb up your way up to the best views obtainable in your area and get a workout in the process.

Luckily for travelers who are looking to stay in shape on the road, Extended Stay America offers gyms and swimming pools at several of their locations, so you can work off dinner right in the comforts of your hotel.