Affordable family weekend getaways
With the weather getting warmer and the kids on summer break, it may be time to plan a fun and budget-friendly weekend getaway. Discover the most kid-friendly places in seven U.S. cities where everyone can have fun — but still come home with money in your wallet.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., Albuquerque is known for its multicultural heritage and being the gateway of the Southwest. It boasts a mild climate almost year round, which makes it a great place for the family. A popular attraction is the American International Rattlesnake Museum, home to the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes — at 34 — in the world. Admission is $4 for children and $6 for adults. Another option is taking in an Albuquerque Isotopes Triple-A minor league baseball game. Tickets for Isotopes games cost only $9 on themed Fridays once a month.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Located on the Gulf of Mexico side of the state, the number one free thing to do is to visit a beach. A great kid-friendly one is Fort De Soto Park, named America's best family beach by Parents magazine in 2011. Besides the sand and gulf waters, you can walk on nature trails, visit the military fort that's now a museum or have a family picnic. The kids will love visiting Spongeorama's Sponge Factory, home to the world's largest selection of natural sea sponges. They'll also learn what a sponge is and where they come from.
Charleston, South Carolina
Founded and settled by English colonists in 1670, this city is located on Charleston Harbor, on the Atlantic Ocean. The Battery on the city's waterfront features southern mansions, cannons, cannon balls, a gazebo, and great views of the historic Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. This park is a respite, but the kids can see cannonballs and climb on cannons that date back to the Civil War. They can also learn about pirates that used to visit the region while adults can stroll and look at the historic homes that surround the park. Or visit Folly Beach, where families can play in the water, go paddleboarding, play horseshoes, have a barbecue or even go camping.
The Windy City has a plethora of free or low-cost and fun things to do for kids and families. Sign up for an up-close-and-personal free tour of the city with an official Chicago Greeter. Or get your art on by visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, which is always free for kids. Work on a family art project, enjoy a story time or check out the famous Thorne Miniature Rooms, which show off small models of interiors, furnishings and art from between the late 13th century to the 1930s.
San Diego, California
This Southern California city near the Mexico border is serious about wooing kids. How serious? It created the Kids Free San Diego program, where parents can find more than 100 free things to do in the city with their kids to visit. One of those things might be a visit to Waterfront Park, which features a cool interactive splash fountain, a children's play zone and picnic areas. Or tap into your kids' social media skills by using the hashtag #SecretSwings to find them in nearby La Jolla.
The nation's capital is the motherlode when it comes to free things to do with the kids. If you only have a weekend, that's enough time to go to two museums under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution. A popular one is the National Museum of Natural History, where kids can get hands-on experiences at the Q?rius Science Education Center, see the world-famous Hope Diamond or check out the bone collection at Osteology Hall. And there isn't a kid — or adult — alive who wouldn't enjoy visiting the downtown D.C. location of the National Air & Space Museum. Go to the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall and learn about historical airplanes, rockets, and spacecraft that have made history. Or splurge and let the kids take a ride on interactive flight simulators where you can test your skills on aircraft including the P-51 Mustang, F-18 Hornet or the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Years ago, Austin may have been known mainly for its music scene, but today there are so many things to do, from museums to an abundance of outdoor activities. Go on a picnic in Butler Park, where the kids can see dogs running around, join a frisbee game or even play in the lighted splash pad to cool off. Or you can mix education and fun at the free Austin Nature & Science Center. The popular Dino Pit is an outdoor paleontology exhibit that teaches children about paleontology through a hands-on educational experience. There's also dinosaur trackways, a display that shows off fossils and an observation deck.
If you go
We know people are taking a second look at their travel plans right now. If you're scheduled to travel March 10 – May 31, 2020 and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you're traveling. This is in addition to our previous waiver, which waives all change fees – domestic and international – for tickets purchased March 3 – April 30, 2020. This is available for any of United's published nonrefundable fares. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.
Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.
Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.
Change your current flight:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
- Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
- Date of travel or destination
- Add a flight
- Remove a flight
- Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
- Continue through booking to confirm your new flight
Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.
Cancel your flight and rebook later:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
- Select "Cancel flight"
- Confirm flight cancellation
- If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.
Canceling or changing an award flight:
When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.
*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.
Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:
Start on the United homepage:
User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 68 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 9,200 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.