Monthly Archives: April 2016

Hilton Hhonors Double Points Extended

Hilton Hhonors has extended its double points promotion that was due to expire at the end of April. This promotion is now valid through the end of August 2016.

You can register here:


Earn Double Points when you sign up and stay at any hotel between
May 1 and August 31, 2016. There’s no limit to how many Points you can earn.

Categories: Discounts | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Inn Express in King of Prussia

We found ourselves in King of Prussia for the night before our first college tour of the trip.  King of Prussia is know for its HUGE shopping mall.  They seemed to have every store imaginable here!

The Holiday Inn faces the very busy I-76 and is next door to a Hooters and Ruth’s Chris steakhouse. There was ample parking and I was staying here on my IHG points.  This hotel is 15,000 points or cash would have been $139 for two queen beds.  I do not think I would pay $139 for this hotel.

Our service was good.  The front desk was friendly and check in was quick.  The hotel has a fitness center and just through the fitness center is a small hot tub.  There is no pool at this hotel.

We had a room on the 7th floor facing the highway.  The hotel is a bit dated even though our room seemed to have been redone in the last year or so. We also had a small cement balcony outside attached to our room.

View this post on Instagram

Holiday Inn Express King of Prussia

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

View this post on Instagram

Holiday Inn Express King of Prussia

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

We drove the mile and a half to Red Lobster for dinner.  Basically you just drive around the side of the huge mall to many chain food options.  We had a gift card to use so it was Red Lobster heaven for Daughter.

Sometime later in the evening a bus full of students arrived at the hotel.  We never heard them so kudos to the staff for keeping the hotel quiet!  The only thing I did hear was a semi engine braking for a crazy amount of time on the highway that woke me from a dead sleep.  So even though we never heard normal traffic I would suggest a room on the other side of the hotel!

Breakfast layout was great.  When its busier the room is set up with duplicate items on both sides.  Being less busy only one side of the breakfast was open.  The student group was just leaving at 7:30 when we came down to breakfast.  Lots of tables and space in the breakfast area!

More information here:


Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Valley Forge Afternoon

This falls under the category of since we are there anyway why not visit….  We spent the morning in Gettysburg and our hotel for the night was in King of Prussia.  Looking at the map we were going to be fifteen minutes from Vally Forge.  So we figured why not see what we can see!

I will tell you after our great guided tour at Gettysburg that Valley Forge was a let down.  We arrived at the visitors center to see that we would be able to hear a ranger program on a soldiers life.  We hustled over to the huts to hear the ranger and never did see a ranger at 3:30.  That was a bust!

View this post on Instagram

Valley Forge

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

Continue reading

Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Visiting Gettysburg

When planning what we wanted to see in Pennsylvania my Dad brought up Gettysburg.  A quick look at a map confirmed it was very possible to alter our route to include a stop over to tour the the battle field area.  When I am looking for options in a new to me area I browse through Tripadvisor to get some ideas.  One of the top listed things to do was to book a battlefield tour with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides.  I also google for more information just to be sure its a good fit for our family.

One option is $30 a person riding the bus on a guided tour.  That would have been $90 plus a tip for the 3 of us to cram on a bus with strangers for two hours.  It works but I would rather have a smaller group.  It is $55 for 1-6 people in your own car with a Licensed Battlefield guide.

You can either book by calling them directly in advance  (717) 337-1709 or by visiting the National Park visitors center the day you want to tour to purchase a tour.   Booking directly with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides not only saves you a few dollars but also lets you customize your private  tour.  Do you want two hours or longer? Do you want the standard tour or is there something that specifically interests you?  And by booking in advance you know you are guaranteed a tour! Over the summer they can be completely booked if you just hope to reserve a tour at the visitors center the day of your visit and there is a $10 surcharge if you book at the visitors center.

I called a couple of weeks in advance and left my information including my desired tour date and time with my phone number on their answering machine.  A guide called me back, confirmed my information and asked me a few questions.  I was told to pay the guide at the end of your tour when we were done.  Just like that we were booked, very easy!

The morning of our Gettysburg visit was cold and very windy.  So windy that several trees were down in town near the cemetery and there was no power at the visitors center.  Our initial plan was to tour the visitors center at 8am and then meet our guide Bob at 9am.  With no power we left the visitors center to tour the cemetery before meeting our guide.

View this post on Instagram

Gettysburg cemeterey

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

It was freezing and we were dressed for cold but the wind was biting!  We spent about 40 minutes viewing where Lincoln spoke and checking out the different monuments.  While it was still snowing back in the Midwest spring was already in full bloom in Gettysburg!

View this post on Instagram

Gettysburg Cemetery

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

We meet our guide at the designated spot at 9am.  Even though the power was out the emergency lighting and toilets were still working at the visitors center so we stopped before our tour.  We did not see facilities on our tour so use it before you go!

Our guide took over the driving and led us on a two hour chronological tour of the battles. He would point out what direction the south would advance from and what they encountered.  Then show us what the north was trying to hold while waiting for reinforcements.Without a guide the battlefield looks like a bunch of monuments and stones. Spend the money and hire a guide, there is so much information you cannot gleam from a placard!

View this post on Instagram

Michigan monument

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

He would throw in tidbits about our state and the key players.  Wow!  He was a treasure trove of information and told us many things I had never heard before about how the weather played a role.  He showed some of the remaining trenches and where some farms were burned down to prevent snipers.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

Our two hours flew past and our guide ended back up at the visitors center.  After thanking and tipping our guide we had a couple of places we wanted to drive back to and explore on our own like Devil’s Den.

View this post on Instagram

Devils Den

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

More information on the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides can be found here:

Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Try the town one over…

When my Dad threw out the idea to visit Gettysburg I started looking at my hotel points stash.  I have 3 different chains that I could potentially stay for free with my points.  One was booked and the other two did not work for various reasons.  Marriott was too many points for the Courtyard with no breakfast and Holiday had nothing in the area.  The next option is to just pay for a room.  Spring break in a tourist area left me with prices I was unwilling to pay! Almost $200 for a Hampton Inn is not going to happen when I have points!

The next option is to look a town over.  I am willing to drive 30 minutes to save some money!  I was able to use my points in Chambersburg a town slightly west of Gettysburg. In Chambersburg the hotels run from $100-130 a night, much more reasonable! I had many points choices here between 2 Holiday Inns,  Country Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn, etc.

I booked the Fairfield Inn Chambersburg at 10,000 points for a two queen room. We were given a room on the third floor facing the Cracker Barrel next door. Normal price for this hotel is around $123 a night for this category 2 hotel.

It was nice to be done driving around 5pm and at our hotel for the evening.  Coming from the Midwest we had been on the road over 9 hours Saturday.  We tried to get daughter to agree to eating at the Cracker Barrel next door but she would not hear of it!  It became a trip joke and we pointed them out each time we passed one figuring she might like to stop.

Check in was quick and we were told the breakfast hours for the in the morning.  I had not found them on the website so I was happy to hear breakfast would start early so we could get out the door to Gettysburg!

Our room had a fridge and microwave next to the desk area. Having a microwave in our room was very useful the next morning.

View this post on Instagram

Fairfield inn Chambersburg PA

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

Continue reading

Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Walt Disney World Late Summer Family Time

Late summer and early fall is the perfect time of year to explore the theme parks together!
With this 4-night/4-day package, you can enjoy a 4-night stay in a standard room at one of Disney’s All-Star Resort hotels and 4-day Magic Your Way base tickets—for just $1,850 for a family of 4. Book through August 31, 2016 for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights from August 1 through November 5, 2016.Ask about great rates that may be available for other lengths of stay and party sizes.

View sample packages valid for a family of 4 staying in a standard or studio room at one of the Disney Resort hotels and dates listed in the charts below.

Sample Resorts
Valid Travel Dates: August 1 – November 5, 2016
Sample Package Prices
(Sunday through Thursday nights)
Disney’s All-Star Resorts
Starting at $1,850
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Starting at $2,097
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Starting at $2,635
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Starting at $2,628
Price based on 2 adults, 1 junior (ages 10-17) and 1 child (ages 3 -9). The number of packages available at this rate is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price of the same package. Tickets are valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advanced reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas and campsites. See Important Details.  More information here:
I ran the numbers for Pop Century for the last week in October for 2 adults and 2 kids with a seven day base ticket standard room to see how the packages compare.
Base rate is $2403.22
Early Fall package $2273.60
Late Summer package $2273.60
Back to School Room Discount added tickets $2273.60
You read that correctly, I ran the numbers twice to be sure but each “package” is the same price in the end.  You save $129.62 no matter which option you choose. 
Categories: Discounts, Disney | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walt Disney World Fall Room Discount

If you were planning on free dining for October this seems to be the only discount Disney is offering for that time. A room only discount that you can turn into a package to save money.
Enjoy back-to-school savings and captivate your entire family with a visit to Walt Disney World Resort—exciting new entertainment, events and attractions are waiting to be explored.
Take advantage of this great offer to save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels. Book now through August 31, 2016 for stays most nights August 26 through November 5, 2016. Other great rates may be available for stays most nights August 1 through August 25, 2016.No matter when you choose to travel, there’s always something uniquely fun to experience in all 4 parks—from world-class attractions to fireworks spectaculars to unforgettable Character Greetings and beyond!This special offer is valid for the Disney Resort hotels listed below. View chart to check out sample savings within each Resort Category.

Resort Category Resort Savings
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on non-discounted price for the same room. Length of stay requirements may apply. Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount. See Important Details.
The illuminated exterior of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at night with a giraffe and 2 zebras roaming the grounds
More information here:
Categories: Discounts, Disney | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Free Dining Fall Promo


Get a FREE dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and theme park ticket with Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More Option.
Offer valid at select Disney Resort hotels for arrivals most nights:

  • August 23 through October 1, 2016
  • November 15 through November 21, 2016
  • November 26 through November 28, 2016
  • December 10 through December 21, 2016

Book through July 8, 2016.

Explore the Disney Resort hotels and Disney dining plans eligible for this offer in the chart below.

Resort Category Dining Plan
– Collapsed
Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
– Collapsed
Select Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
– Collapsed
Select Disney Moderate Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
– Collapsed
Select Disney Value Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package. Some table-service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase. Advance reservations are required. Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use.
You are reading that correctly, October is missing!!!!!!  Major bummer and not sure why they are skipping all of October and even most of November.  The room discount package will be the better (only) deal for people looking to travel in October. 
More information and book here:
Categories: Discounts, Disney | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Off to Pennsylvania!

We spent spring break this year checking out three potential colleges for my daughter.  We hit a couple last year and I am sure we will hit a couple next year.  Just trying to give her an idea of what might work for her.  This year my Dad volunteered to come along and help split up the driving as the furthest school was ten hours from home.  I wanted daughter to know just how far 10 hours away from home feels before she makes her decision. And I had just a month earlier earned almost 50,000 IHG points so we had lots of options for Holiday Inn type hotels for free.

I had three days off from work and we had schools scheduled for Monday through Wednesday for visits.  This gave us Saturday to drive and Sunday to do something interesting.  My Dad had the great idea to visit Gettysburg and we made our route to swing down that way before heading back up toward Philly.

Here is a quick recap of the Penn trip and I will post more in depth later on the good stuff!

Saturday rental  was car pickup in the morning.  I had a good price for the car which was a challenge over spring break by using a coupon I found on Mousesavers.  By the time you add a second driver the deal is less enticing but still less than what I would have paid with Costco’s free second driver bookings.  Also booking with the Southwest Airlines code will earn me 1,800 airline miles with a promotion they offered.

Saturday night in Chambersburg was 10,000 Marriott points at the Fairfield Inn and dinner was with a $25 TGI Fridays gift card. Breakfast was supposed to be at the hotel but ended up being fruit and a muffin.

Sunday spent the morning in Gettysburg where the national park is free.  Went from there to Valley Forge which is also free.  Spent the night in the Holiday Inn Express King of Prussia for 15,000 IHG points.  Dinner was Red Lobster with a $25 gift card to offset the pain of the bill.  A good hotel breakfast was free Monday morning for us.

Monday was a college visit and driving to Lancaster to set up for our next visit.  We spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express in the Rockvale Outlets for 25,000 points.  Dinner was at a smorgasbord board restaurant in Bird In Hand.  Dad had found a coupon in the Lancaster visitors magazine.  We hit a few antique shops and an Amish bakery.  Another decent free Holiday Inn breakfast Tuesday morning before we headed out for our visit.

Tuesday we drove to Grove City and spent the night in a B & B the night before our last visit.  Having to only pay for one nights lodging I wanted to spurge a little and give us some space after a few nights of family togetherness in one hotel room.  Dinner was at a local Italian place we walked to in town.  Great breakfast was included with our B&B stay so we skipped lunch on Wednesday on our drive back home.

My Mom is amazing at packing snacks and even lunch for Saturday so we never had to stop or purchase lunches on our trip.  That is a big cost savings since we really only purchased dinner each night with breakfast for free at the hotels.  Even driving back later Wednesday we chose not to stop for dinner and just ate some snacks she had packed.

It was a very fruitful spring break trip!  Daughter really liked two of the three schools.  She also realizes how far away a ten hour drive is.  We hopefully did not drive my Dad too crazy! Having hotel points lets us travel cheaper  and we even sampled shoofly pie for free in Lancaster at Dutch Haven!

View this post on Instagram

Grove City

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on


Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USS Lexington Visit


Part of the reason we chose Corpus Christi for our Christmas time visit was that the USS Lexington was open on Christmas Eve.  In fact they only close on Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Part of the frustration of holiday travel can be closed attractions so I am always on the look out for something that is open and appeals to our family.

Husband has been on USS Yorktown before and is always open to visit another ship. I like to poke around and am always impressed by the size of these ships.  Daughter is pretty tolerant and when she is done we break off and let Husband finish looking around longer.

We could see the ship from our hotel balcony at the Radisson and it was a short five minute walk to the entrance. The ship opens for tours at nine am and we were up the walkway ready to board.  They do offer a shuttle if you do not wish to walk up the slight incline to the ship.

View this post on Instagram

Radisson Corpus Christi view

A post shared by Stretchingittotravel (@stretchingittotravel) on

Continue reading

Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at