2009 Recession Proof Your Spring Break

February 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Just because money may be tight that doesn’t mean you have to cancel spring break this year for you or the kids.  Emily Kaufman, the Travel Mom, has timely advice for these economic hard times to keep your spring break travel plans in full motion with three great tips to recession proof your spring break:  1) Find Family Values; 2) Go Surfing; and 3) Arm Yourself with Information.

#1-FIND FAMILY VALUES

The first thing you need to do is book your vacation “smart,” so you can really pack a lot of extra value into your vacation dollar.  You need to look for free extras when you plan your trip as the extras can add up to big savings.  For example, look for buy three nights, get one free offers from hotels and look for hotels that offer a free breakfast that can save hundreds of dollars for families, and packages that include extras like free admission to local attractions and more.

Also, look for destinations that have a lot of extra savings and extra value.  Emily has two great picks for family getaways this spring break right here in the U.S.  They’re both affordable and easy and probably just an Amtrak train or a short road trip away which can save hundreds of dollars in airfare.  The State of Connecticut and the city of Baltimore are two destinations packed with history, fun and savings!

CONNECTICUT HAS HANDS ON HISTORY FOR KIDS & WATER PARK FUN AND SAVINGS! Check out Connecticut and Mystic Seaport‘s recreated 19th-Century village and historic vessels at the waterfront.  Kids love hands on history and there’s an amazing interactive Indian village at the Mashantucket Indian Museum where history comes alive for kids as they see how tribe’s lived.  And don’t miss the new indoor tropical-themed water park at Coco Key in Waterbury connected to the Holiday Inn with a Splash & Stay Package for as low as $189 for hotel and four water park passes.  Go to CTVisit.com for lots more info and savings.

#2-GO SURFING:  THE INTERNET IS LOADED WITH VALUE ADDED DEALS

BALTIMORE’S HARBOR PASS AT BALTIMORE.ORG SAVES YOU 20%!

If you like to walk and really get a feel for a city, you’ll love Baltimore, a walkable city ideal for families on spring break and weekend escapes.  First, you have to get a Baltimore Harbor Pass which will save you and the kids 20% on tickets to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Science Center and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Families on a budget will also love the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum which have FREE Admission.  To help plan your trip, use the Deals and Discounts section at Baltimore.org where you can also buy your Harbor Pass online and get many value-added packages.

#3-ARM YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION

PROTECT YOUR VACATION INVESTMENT THIS SPRING.

The recession has not only created a deal-dominated travel environment, but has also focused attention on cruise vacations, whose all-inclusive nature make them perfect for budget-conscious travelers.  The majority of cruisers now book their own air transportation – separate from the cruise line – to save even more money, but many don’t realize new Department of Homeland Security rules require cruisers to board their ships earlier than in past years.  Also, cruise lines will not work to resolve air-related problems for guests who booked their arrangements separately so if you miss your cruise departure due to airport delays, you have to fend for yourself.  This means possibly spending thousands of dollars to re-book flights, make hotel reservations, and added meals as you try to “catch” your ship at the next port.  Most people don’t know that even cruise-line insurance doesn’t cover your flights if you book hem separately.

TravelGuard.com, a travel insurance and assistance provider, can help safeguard your cruise vacation investment.  Their “My Travel Guard” policy includes coverage if you’re forced to cancel your trip, but also protects you against the far too frequent occasions that can derail your vacation plans like flight cancellations, delays, or lost luggage.  Imagine missing your flight cruise departure in sunny Miami because of snow in Chicago?  Travel insurance will help.  Vacationers covered by “My Travel Guard” also receive a variety of protections and services at no extra charge including 24/7 live assistance with emergency or last-minute travel changes (including re-booking and canceling previous reservations) or help with something as nice as locating a restaurant and making reservations.

Additional Cruise Travel Tips from Travel Guard

Use the Internet to Save Time. Check in and print your boarding passes online to bypass long airport lines.  Many cruise lines also offer online check-in, which can save valuable time once you reach the pier.

Arrive early. New Department of Homeland Security rules require guests to arrive at the pier 90 minutes or more before your ship’s scheduled departure time.  It’s also best to always assume there will be delays at the airports and arrive at least two hours before your departure time for outbound and inbound flights.

Bring your numbers. Bring the phone numbers of your travel agent and the travel assistance hotline of your travel insurance provider and program them into your cell phone as well.  This will be your lifeline to helping you through unpredictable situations such as flight delays, cancellations, airline strikes, etc.  If you’re staying at a pre-cruise hotel or you are renting a car, bring these contact numbers as well in case you need to re-adjust a booking or alert the company to a delayed arrival.

Make copies. Make photocopies of your passport and other identification to keep separately from the actual documents to protect you against their loss while traveling.  It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport with a family member that could fax it to you should you need it.

FINAL TRAVEL & MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR SPRING BREAK:

What you need to know about what’s going on in the travel industry right now is that this is a great time for travel deals.  The internet is loaded with deals as the travel industry is looking to fill cruise line cabins, hotel rooms, airline seats, rental cars, and more.  So whether you’re looking for a getaway close to home or a popular destination, big savings are almost everywhere right now.  Finally, Emily highly recommends that teenagers under 19 never on Spring Break un-chaperoned.  Have a great spring break and enjoy the deals!

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