Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The Great American Road Trip Travel Tips

July 9, 2016

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The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, frequently appears on The Steve Harvey Show and The Today Show to share her insider travel trips. If you’re planning a great family road trip this summer, she has some ideas to pack your vacation full of fun and great memories.

The Road Trip is a Big Part of the Vacation. First, remember that the road trip is part of the vacation and not just a way to get there. In fact, some of my favorite memories are from the cool places we stopped along the way to our vacation destination. So make sure you build in time to stop at unique roadside attractions, beautiful spots in nature and take some time to enjoy your favorite summer treats like ice cream.

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The First Sustainable Ice Cream Trail. In fact, July is National Ice Cream Month and you have to check out the first Sustainable Ice Cream Trail created by natural oral care leader Tom’s of Maine. It features ice cream shops in 14 states that not only give back to the community, but they make their delicious ice cream (or gelato) using local ingredients with no artificial ingredients.

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Now, if you have sensitive teeth like 40 million of us do, you usually have to skip eating ice cream but Tom’s of Maine new Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste uses a patented combination of arginine and calcium carbonate — both derived from natural sources — to seal the pathways to sensitive tooth nerves to help block the pain.  It is the only toothpaste currently available in the U.S. to use this technology.

You’ll get rapid relief when you apply it directly to a sensitive tooth with your fingertip and gently massage it for one minute. Continuous use provides long-lasting protection so make sure you pack a tube in your suitcase and enjoy the great ice cream and gelatos around the country. Go to TomsOfMaine.com\icecream for more information.

Ways to Keep The Kids Entertained in the Car. Next, let’s talk about how to keep the kids entertained while you’re in the car for the long drive so they’re not constantly asking, “Are we there yet.”

I’ve always been a fan of loading up a boredom buster bag packed with lots of toys, coloring books, games, and snacks.

Also, bring several cookie sheets to use as a lunch tray, magnet board, or even a hard surface for coloring. Although electronic gadgets and video games will keep the kids occupied, I like to encourage moms and dads to get the kids to enjoy the scenery and play old fashioned road trip games to create family memories.

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How to Find Hidden Nature Spots Just Beyond the Highway. Finally, make sure you stop at beautiful places along the way to enjoy nature. ExitTheHighway.com has a map of some hidden gems in nature located throughout the country that lie just beyond the highway. You might even find a great spot for a picnic and that’s so much nicer than grabbing a quick lunch through a drive-thru.

So before you hit the road, take note of these travel tips from The Travel Mom and have the best road trip ever.

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The Latest Fall Travel Tips and Trends from The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman

October 1, 2014

Even with soaring airfares and gas prices, ’tis the season for great weather, great fall foliage and great off season travel deals. The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has the inside scoop on what everyone needs to know about great fall vacation ideas from getaways to cruise deals and more.

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Emily Kaufman – Ft. Lauderdale in the Background.

 

The fall is a great time to travel since it’s shoulder season and you can get great deals and the summer crowds are gone.

Cruises are one of the best vacation choices today.   Cruises offer terrific value, let you see many exciting destinations in one trip without packing and unpacking and most everything – including meals and entertainment – is included in one, very affordable price! The fall is a great time to take or buy a cruise – especially during Cruise Lines International Association’s “World’s Largest Cruise Sale,” taking place October 6-13. This is when all the top cruise lines, – including Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line – and thousands of travel agents across the U.S. team up to offer spectacular savings on more than 200 cruise ships.

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There’s a cruise for everyone and every budget available during CLIA Cruise Week – from Caribbean cruises, to river voyages in Europe, romantic cruises in the Mediterranean and even adventure cruises in Antarctica. Some of the very special cruise offers that you can get during CLIA Cruise Week include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line – Great rates, plus 50% reduced deposits, plus upgrades and $50 onboard credit
  • Royal Caribbean – Buy one guest; get the second guest at 50% off; plus 5% off the line’s ChoiceAir air fare bookings
  • Norwegian Cruise Line – 10% off cruise fares with onboard credits for specialty dining, shore excursions or spa treatments
  • Avalon River Cruises – a savings of $1,300 per couple for river cruises in Europe

Just go to cruising.org/vacations for a full list of CLIA Cruise Week special offers and to find a CLIA trained and certified cruise specialist travel agent near you who will make booking your special cruise a breeze!

Look for areas that are popular during the peak seasons to get the best deals in shoulder season. Greater Fort Lauderdale in South Florida not only has beautiful beaches, but it’s also known as the “Yachting Capital of the World” so you’ll want to check out the 55th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show that is the world’s largest in-water boat show and features nearly $4 billion dollars’ worth of boats and sea vessels of all sizes.

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Greater Fort Lauderdale kicks off its 100th Centennial this October with a year-long calendar of special events and happenings throughout Broward County.  For the next 12 months, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Centennial celebrations will include music and dance performances, concerts and festivals, art exhibitions, museum tours, and many events for children and families.

And, if you want to take a cruise on a really big boat, check out the cruise ships sailing from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and the destination’s “Cruise & Play” program with special offers on pre and post cruise hotel packages and discounts at attractions and restaurants. Visit www.sunny.org for more information.

Spring Travel Trends with Emily Kaufman: Tips on Deals, Travel Safety & More

February 11, 2013
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

After years of trimming travel budgets, Americans are eager to pack their bags and get on the road again this spring to escape the winter weather.  Spring break means that both parents and children from grade school to college are gearing up for an annual dose of fun, festivities and frivolous vacationing. And who isn’t looking for a travel deal?

There are lots of ways to get a lot of bang for your buck for a fun getaway and Emily Kaufman, the Travel Mom, has some tips for your spring vacation.

It’s Wave Season – A Great Time to Get Cruise Deals.  Cruises are always a great travel value because you get great food, entertainment, and adventure for one price. Right now, it’s Wave Season – that’s when cruise lines work overtime to book as many cabins as possible for the upcoming season and have great deals to get you to book early.  Expedia has teamed with several cruise lines and has great deals from now through summer to save you up to 75 percent on standard fares on select cruises plus so much more. Go to Expedia.com and check out the cruise site for deals to places like the Bahamas, Europe and Alaska. And if you book a cruise with Expedia before February 28th using your MasterCard, you’ll get up to $300 in onboard credit per cabin. You can also get free upgrades plus up to $150 onboard credit on Norwegian Cruise Line as well. You can find lots more cruise deals at Expedia.com.

New Ways to Protect Your Mobile Devices When You Travel.  Losing your smartphone on vacation is probably worse than losing your wallet these days since we have everything stored on it from bank account numbers to social networks, email and other personal aspects of your digital life.  Not to mention it also has all of your irreplaceable vacation photos.  If your phone or tablet gets lost in the excitement of vacation, you can now prevent anyone from accessing it until you can track it down with Norton 360 Multi-Device which remotely locates and temporarily locks your device.  Also, be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels and cafés, since they can be a virtual paradise for cyber-criminals looking to steal your personal info. You should use a private VPN service like Norton Hotspot Privacy to protect your signal. More details are at Norton.com where you can download these products to protect your devices BEFORE you travel.

Keeping Little Kids Comfy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  Parents also can turn to technology when traveling with infants and children. The New Snugli All-In-One Car Seat is the first of its kind to feature a temperature management technology called  OUTLAST® – a patented foam that helps keep children well insulated and prevents them from getting too hot or too cold.   This is a smart innovation since skin temperature plays a vital role in keeping children comfortable while riding in car seats.  It has a lightweight design to make it easy to use in a car or in a plane.  It is available at Buy Buy Baby and specialty stores for $329.99 and and you can find out more at Snugli.com.

Don’t Be Afraid to Add Adventure to Your Travel Plans.  Last year on Emily’s 49th birthday, she challenged herself to have 49 new experiences before turning 50 and she became fearless in her pursuit to add adventure into her travel plans.  She took up skydiving, bungee jumping, co-piloting a small plane, and much more. She is currently in production this spring on a new travel/adventure television series, Fear-Less-Living, with The Scripps Network inspired by her successful 49before50.com blog.

 

Emily Kaufman’s Insider Fall Travel Tips

October 16, 2012

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Here are the latest insider secrets about the best ways and places to get the best travel deals and values for getaways for the entire family or anyone eager to take advantage of empty travel destinations.

October is a Great Time to Find Deals on Cruises.  Fall is a great time to travel since it’s shoulder season, you can get great deals and the summer crowds are gone.  It’s also the perfect time to plan a cruise vacation because you can get lots of incredible deals and special incentives this time of year, for the holidays and next year, too.  CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, is celebrating National Cruise Vacation Week from October 21st through the 27th with “The World’s Largest Cruise Sale” where 25 of CLIA’s cruise line members and over 7,000 travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada team up to offer spectacular savings and value on a wide variety of cruises – including “Virtual National Cruise Week Events” where you can go online to get information and even book your cruise. You’ll find amazing deals around the world across all cruise categories – on major cruise ships, smaller and adventure cruise lines, luxury cruises, and even river cruises in Europe and Asia. Just go to cruising.org for a full list of special offers and to find a CLIA-certified travel agent.

Here are two great deals:

Carnival Cruise Lines: Gives you up to $200 Cash Back per stateroom and accept 50 percent reduced deposits on select sailings through December 2013. With prices starting at $259, this is a great value for cruises to The Bahamas, the Caribbean– great choices for short or seven-day vacations. In fact, for Carnival’s 2013 European cruises, travelers can save up to 20 percent, and only have to put $99 per person down as a deposit.

Celebrity Cruises: Take a seven-night or longer cruise to Alaska, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Europe between January first and April 30th and get up to $250 in Onboard Credits to be used in restaurants, the spa or for other shipboard activities.

Use Technology to Organize Your Travel Details. Whether you’re planning a family cruise, ski trip or international vacation this fall or winter, you can use your smart phone and apps to organize so many things for your trip.  Just program the numbers of airlines and hotel contacts into your phone so if you need to rebook a flight or hotel because of travel delays, the numbers are right there.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance When You Travel. And you don’t want to get caught with extra fees for flight delays or lost luggage, so you need to think about travel insurance.  TravelGuard.com offers many comprehensive travel insurance plans that typically include coverage for things like trip cancellation, interruption or delays, lost or stolen luggage, and emergency medical expenses.  They also provide 24-hour travel assistance and emergency services and even have a popular Gold Plan that includes free coverage for kids under 17. You can find out all the details at TravelGuard.com.

Tourism Websites are a Great Resource for Savings and Freebies at Your Destination. Do your research and subscribe to email alert lists from travel, airline, hotel and tourism websites so that you’re alerted to travel deals when they’re published.  Here’s a great deal for Los Angeles Tourism.  They have a fall program called “Museums LA” from October 1st to November 11th and you get FREE admission to LA’s leading museums like the Huntington, Getty Center and Getty Villa, even the Grammy Museum.  And when you book two nights or more at any participating Los Angeles area hotel on DiscoverLosAngeles.com/cultureLA , you get FREE admission for two people and museum store discounts at 30 of LA’s top museums—a savings  of nearly $500.  Also, check out 100 Free things to do in Los Angeles.

Bundle Your Trip to Save More. Also, look for ways to bundle your trip to save.  If you purchase your vacation as a package with your airfare, hotel and car rental together, you can usually save a couple of hundred dollars on your trip.  Cruises are a built in bundle of value since they include accommodations, meals, and entertainment.

New Ways to Save on Family Travel Trends this Summer

June 17, 2012
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

American household budgets are stretched and families are looking for new ways to save on the classic American tradition – a summer vacation.  From airfares to hotel stays to baggage fees, vacation costs can add up and rising fuel prices make road trips and air travel more expensive this year, but a fun summer vacation is not impossible if you know a few tricks to stretch your travel dollars and pack extra value into your trip. 

The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has ways to get more for your summer vacation dollar and how to have fun with kids on the road.

Find Family Friendly Hotels that Include More Extras. In the summer, families are always trying to squeeze in more family fun and one more weekend getaway into just three short months.   In fact, a survey from Embassy Suites Hotels and Parents magazine revealed that more than one-half of families only “dabble” with vacation and take short one- to two-night getaways here and there.  Embassy Suites Hotels is known for giving families MORE with every stay including two-room suites and a free cooked-to-order breakfast each morning.  Along with helping families get more out of their vacation days, you can enter the “Get More Vacation” Facebook contest to win one of five week-long trips and $10,000 to spend on your vacation.  Just upload a photo of your family’s “vacation face” and explain how you’ll get the most out of summer travel. You know what we’re talking about – that excited, happy look you get when you’ve finally booked your vacation. Enter now for a chance to win at Facebook.com/EmbassySuitesHotels before the contest ends on July 20th.  You can also book your family getaway at EmbassySuites.com.

Keep the Kids Entertained and Conquer the “Are We There Yet” Syndrome.  The key to conquering the “Are We There Yet” syndrome is to keep the kids entertained when you’re traveling which is why Emily always recommends a boredom buster bag.  Here’s something new that combines two favorite toys for boys: dinosaurs and cars.  VTech® Switch & Go Dinos™ are dinosaurs that uniquely morph into vehicles to provide an interactive 2-in-1 play experience.  Kids can personalize them with cool electronic features on the LCD screen and choose animated dinosaur eyes for the dinosaurs, driver faces for the cars and then add sound effects that really bring them to life.  They start at just $15.99.   The four Starter Switch & Go Dinos are available now at Amazon.com and VTechKids.com and all seven unique dinosaur-vehicle toys will be at major retailers this Fall.

Little Ones Get Stylish When They Go Hawaiian  If you’re traveling with little ones this summer, you’ll want to pack Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and Wipes. Their new tropical-inspired design has a tiki-twist on regular diapers plus an improved Leak Lock® protection.  For every pack of Huggies Hawaiian Diapers and Wipes purchased, the Huggies Every Little Bottom program will diaper a baby in need for one day.  You can also help the fight against diaper need and upload a photo of your summer-ready little one to Huggies Facebook page to create an animated dancing Hula Baby video. For each animation created, liked or shared Huggies Every Little Bottom will diaper a baby in need for one day.  Like all Huggies Little Movers diapers, Huggies Hawaiian Diapers are shaped to fit with proven leakage protection that moms have come to know and trust from the Huggies® Brand.   You can find out more at Huggies.com.

Ways to Organize and Save When You Travel . Nowadays, there’s an app for almost everything when it comes to travel and mobile devices. You should always make sure your phone has all the important numbers you’re going to need for your trip including the number for the airlines, car rental, and hotels where you’re staying.  For pre-planning your trip, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned check list and paper itinerary for when batteries go down and you can’t access your PDA.

Best Way to Get Discounts at Your Destination.   Check out the local tourism office website where you’re visiting since they usually have lots of local deals and great tips on what to do when you’re there, but check it out before you go so you can make plans.  During the crowded summer months, you don’t want to miss out on fun things to do because they’re sold out.   Also, if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, ask for tips from followers and friends at your destination.  It’s a great resource for insider tips.

Spring Break on a Budget: How to Get More Out of Every Vacation Dollar

March 1, 2012
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

After almost four years of trimming vacation budgets, Americans are eager to pack their bags and get on the road again for a fun spring break.  According to a recent poll by TripAdvisor, 36 percent of people surveyed said they plan to spend more on leisure travel this year and 69 percent expect to travel internationally. Even those nasty airline fees aren’t dissuading people from taking to the skies since 24 percent of those surveyed expect to fly more this year, too.   But that doesn’t mean that travelers aren’t still looking for a deal and there are still ways to get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to that great American tradition known as Spring Break. If you book your vacation smart, you can really stretch your vacation dollars by packing extra value into your trip.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has timely advice to put those spring break travel plans in full motion.

Find Family Friendly Hotels that Include More Extras.  Look for a hotel that gives you more with every stay like more space, free breakfasts, and other amenities since this can mean a huge savings when you travel with kids.  Embassy Suites Hotels is the only upscale hotel where you get a two-room suite for about the same price of one room which is great when traveling with your family.  You also get a free cooked-to-order breakfast AND complimentary nightly drinks and snacks with every stay like more space, free breakfasts, and other amenities since this can mean a huge savings when you travel with kids.  Embassy Suites Hotels is the only upscale hotel where you get a two-room suite for about the same price of one room which is great when traveling with your family.  You also get a free cooked-to-order breakfast AND complimentary nightly drinks and snacks with every stay.  But that’s not all – Embassy Suites is all about giving More so it recently launched its “366 Days of More” Facebook contest where each day for a year, a Facebook fan will win a free night at any Embassy Suites and a free night to gift to a friend through Facebook. You can enter for a chance to win at Facebook.com/EmbassySuitesHotels.

Find Family Friendly Destinations that Have More To Do.  Orlando is a great location for getting more value as a destination because its the mecca of theme parks that keep adding more attractions and has so much more to see and do.  This spring, Sea World Orlando is opening TurtleTrek that invites guests to visit two astounding naturalistic habitats; one teeming with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other with more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles. You can then experience the first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome theater film that will immerse you in the inspirational underwater journey of a sea turtleand a reminder of how humans can make its travels safer.

Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland is doubling in size this year at the Walt Disney World Resort with a new Dumbo attraction and Goofy roller coaster.  In late 2012, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a musical showcase featuring Ariel and friends will open along with the Enchanted Tales with Belle where Belle and her friends will share “the tale as old as time” inside the new Princess Fairytale Hall and Disney princesses will greet guests in their elegant royal court.  Finally, on the theme park scene, Universal Orlando Resort is opening a new 3D attraction based on the popular movie Despicable Me where guests go on an adventure with the popular minions. They also have a new parade with characters and floats opening this spring plus a new nighttime spectacular show, both at Universal Studios

And there’s to more to Orlando than just theme parks, you can take the wheel of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi R8 or Porsche for a spin around the Walt Disney World speedway, enjoy hang gliding at Wallaby Ranch, Ziplining over alligators and through a Central Florida eco park at Forever Florida and Gatorland), see Disney and the theme parks from the sky in a hot air balloon and even take the controls of a WWII fighter plane at Fantasy of Flight.  Check out VisitOrlando.com for more information as well as check out how to discounts on all the fun things to do in Orlando.

Loyalty Programs Offer More Discounts and More Savings.  Here’s a tip that a lot of people don’t know about where you can get exclusive deals and a 10% member discount every time you rent a car.  All you have to do is become an Alamo Insider at Alamo Rent A Car.  You sign up online at Alamo.com where you can reserve the car you want for your trip, check in online before you travel and when you arrive, just go to the self-service kiosk at the airport and simply drive away. It’s a hassle-free travel experience. You can also find out about more deals and tips from other travelers on the Alamo Facebook page that offers a brand new family vacation forum called The Value Project.  You can connect and share information on popular destinations and activities across the U.S. and also leave your great tips for other families.

Smartphone Apps Offer More Ways to Organize and Save When Travel.  Now more than ever, you can use your smart phone and apps to organize so many things for your trip.  These apps also save you time and money with lots of ways to find local deals on restaurants.  You should also program the numbers of airlines and hotel contacts into your phone as well so if you need to rebook a flight or hotel because of travel delays, the numbers are right there.

The Internet Has More Last Minute Travel Deals.  The internet is always a great source for last minute travel.  However, when it comes to spring break, you may not find a lot of last minute deals so book early – which means now – or you may find it hard to get the best travel deals. Also, one of the best ways to get more for bang for your travel buck is to look for vacation packages or hotels that pack in lots of added value. From onboard cruise credits to free lift tickets to breakfast included or kids eat free programs.  These are ways to really save. Finally, definitely check out VisitOrlando.com, EmbassySuites.com and Alamo.com to find out more about deals and those added value travel features.

Five Ways to Save: Last Minute Holiday Travel & New Year Getaways

November 29, 2011
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

With the holidays looming, millions of Americans will line up at airport terminals grimly hoping that they’ll survive their air travel experience with their bank account intact after all the extra fees.  If you booked your holiday travel in advance this season, domestic airfare was expected to be down 1.4 percent overall, with tickets averaging $302, as opposed to $306 last holiday according Bing Travel. But if you’ve waited until the last minute to book your holiday travel plans, you still have options.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has valuable advice for everyone traveling this season to avoid the ho-ho-hums of holiday travel.

Travel Tip #1: Road Trips vs. Air Travel Can Save Thousands of Dollars for Families.  If you’ve waited until the last minute to book a flight, you’re going to have a challenge finding a great airfare Christmas week but there still may be time for New Year getaway deals.  Driving instead of flying can save you two ways – a family of four can save thousands of dollars in airfare even with the price of gasoline on a road trip. You’ll also save hundreds of dollars on luggage fees.

Travel Tip #2:  Book a Reservation at an All-Suite Hotel vs. Standard Hotel.  Savings is about getting more bang for your buck so stay at a hotel that gives you more value than just a standard hotel like an all-suites hotel.   Embassy Suites Hotels is the only full service hotel that gives you a two-room suite for the price of one room.  This holiday season, they are also giving away a $10,000 online shopping spree.  You can enter to win at EmbassySuites.com and you receive one entry for every night you stay between now and January 31st.

Travel Tip #3:  Never Pay for Breakfast.  If you book the right hotel, you should never have to pay for breakfast which can save a family of four several hundred dollars over a one-week vacation or trip.  Look for hotels that provide a breakfast as part of the lodging fee, like Embassy Suites that includes a free cooked-to-order breakfast.  This can be a significant savings when you travel with kids.

Travel Tip #4: Get Local Deals at Your Drive-To Destination through Tourism Websites.  No matter where you live, road trips are a trend this winter because of the savings.  Recent holiday travel polls show that Americans are sticking with their cars instead of braving airport hassles and are choosing closer to home getaways for winter breaks.  Connecticut, the Closer Than You Think state, is a great drive to destination and a fun winter escape with four different areas for snowboarders and skiers of all levels. Places like Mohawk Mountain have seven ski lifts and snowmaking capabilities plus affordable packages for children starting at $27 a lift ticket. Beyond the slopes, there’s Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration and a free planetarium show at Mystic Seaport.  You can find lots of getaway ideas and discounts at dozens of area hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops at CTVisit.com.

Travel Tip #5:  Don’t Forget to Use Travel Reward Programs to Save. Travel reward programs and credit card rewards have more ways to use points for travel items outside of hotel rooms and airfare and include activities and meals when you arrive.

The biggest trend is that overall, travel spending for holiday travel is up from a year ago and 41% of people traveling are spending $500 or more.  Also, travel technology and the latest apps that make travel easy are trending in travel.

Don’t forget to use defensive flying tips BEFORE you board the plane.  That means use technology first to find out about delays in advance and have a back up plan including phone numbers or email addresses programmed in your phone so you can let your family know about delays – especially if you have someone picking you up at your destination.  Also, make sure you have a boredom buster bag for the kids with games, books and electronics so they don’t cranky.

New Ways to Save Big on Last Minute Summer Vacations

June 28, 2011

Looking for ways to take that memorable summer vacation without breaking the bank? From airfare to hotel stays to baggage fees, vacation costs can add up. With rising fuel prices making road trips and air travel more expensive, a last minute summer vacation may seem impossible.  However, The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has ways to cut costs on that much-needed getaway without sacrificing a true vacation experience.  Making simple tweaks can each save hundreds—even thousands—of dollars on your last minute summer vacation.

Travel Tip #1:  Leverage money you’re already spending on travel with cash back programs.  First, if you’re traveling with a family of three or more, consider a “drive-to” destination within 1000 miles from home. Summer airfare and baggage fees can add up, especially at the last minute, so road trip vacations are a great way to save, particularly if you use a credit card that gives you cash back on travel purchases. For example, with Chase Freedom, you can actually earn cash back on big ticket items like hotels and gasoline when you travel.  From July through September, card members get 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 on travel purchases, including gas, hotel, and airline purchases. By using the Chase Freedom card, you can save more on your summer vacation, whether you’re filling up a gas tank, reserving a hotel, or booking last minute airfare.  You can get more info at chase.com/freedom

Travel Tip #2:  Look for giveaways and sweepstakes.  In addition to cash back programs, hotels are offering some great incentives for summer travel.  Now thru Labor Day Weekend – DoubleTree by Hilton has great summer hotel specials all over the country along with a Sweet Rewards Sweepstakes, where you can enter to win weekly getaway prizes every time you stay with them and a grand prize of up to 1,000,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points, their hotel loyalty program, that can be used anywhere in the world.  It’s all part of sharing their new look and new name.  And who doesn’t love those sweet chocolate chip cookies you get every time you check in at their hotels and resorts?  (They’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of that sweet treat this year.) You can enter at doubletree.com/sweetrewards.

Travel Tip #3:  A little planning before you hit the road can save hundreds of dollars on your vacation.  If you’re doing a road trip vacation, one of the easiest ways to save is bring your own meals and snacks for travel days and during your trip.  Not only is it healthier than drive thrus, it’ll save you hundreds over a week long vacation.  No one expects an emergency when you travel, like a broken arm or earthquake on vacation, but not having a plan for these possibilities can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Travel insurance covers monetary damages for costs like a trip cancellation, but travel assistance provides you with unexpected emergency medical transportation for everything from road trips and camping to cruises and international tours.  On Call International has coverage any time you travel more than 50 miles from home including emergency evacuation to the hospital of your choice, regardless of medical necessity, and much more. A single trip membership is as little as $55 and can save you a bundle in the event of an emergency.  You can get more info at OnCallInternational.com.

Travel Tip #4:  Travel to off-season destinations for best last minute summer travel deals.  The best travel deals are usually going to be off-season places like ski resorts that have great hiking trails and biking in the summer.  Also, many Caribbean locations have great deals during the peak of summer.  It may be really hot & humid, but its always cool in the water.

Travel Tip #5:  Biggest savings tip most people don’t know about is a new online calculator to compare costs of a road trip vs. air travel to your destination.  BeFrugal.com has the coolest online calculator to determine if it’s cheaper to drive or to fly.  You just fill out your trip information – where you’re starting to where you’re going and how many people and it will do the math for you and show you a cost comparison of a road trip over airfares based on current gas prices, airfares, baggage fees, etc. It’s at befrugal.com/tools/fly-or-drive-calculator.

BONUS Travel Tip:  Check out the official tourism site of your destination for local savings & deals.  You should do this BEFORE you go, but great local deals can be found at most destinations by going to the official visitors (or CVB) website. Also, most hotels have the local magazines with great local coupons for all sorts of savings at local attractions and restaurants.

Spring Break Dollar Stretchers: Get More for Less with The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman

March 4, 2011
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Watch Video. After almost three years of trimming vacation budgets, Americans are eager to pack their bags and get on the road again.  According to a recent poll by TripAdvisor, 36 percent of people surveyed said they plan to spend more on leisure travel this year and 69 percent expect to travel internationally. Even those nasty airline fees aren’t dissuading people from taking to the skies since 24 percent of those surveyed expect to fly more this year, too.   But that doesn’t mean that travelers aren’t still looking for a deal and there are still ways to get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to that great American tradition known as Spring Break. If you book your vacation smart, you can really stretch your vacation dollars by packing extra value into your trip.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, shares timely advice to put those spring break travel plans in full motion.

Travel Tip #1:  Find family freebies. Family freebies will make your dollars stretch further.  There are lots of hotels that include breakfast in the price to spring ski packages include lift tickets.  You may think it’s too late to book a great ski vacation, but this season brought record-breaking snowfall and many resorts in the West are open until the end of April to accommodate Easter travelers. The spring conditions will be the best they’ve been in years. If you’re still looking for a great deal to the mountains, Ski.com offers 100 resorts worldwide and has spring discounts up to 50% off. There are around 400 sample deals listed on their website, for example: A family of four can stay at the Great Divine Lodge in Breckenridge, Colorado, just a short drive from Denver, for 4-nights with 3-day lift tickets for just $360 per person.  Check out ski.com/spring for more information on these ski vacation travel deals.

Deals up to 50% Off at Ski.com

Deals up to 50% Off at Ski.com

Travel Tip #2:  Find family friendly drive-to destinations. Orlando is slated as one of 2011’s top spring break and summer vacation destinations.  It’s a great drive to destination and road trips can save families a lot of money on airfares and car rentals.  If you’re planning an Orlando vacation, your go-to place for great money saving tips and advice is the Walt Disney World Moms Panel.  This is a free online forum of park savvy moms and dads who’ve mastered the art of planning the ultimate Disney vacation.  They can give you tips on anything and everything at DisneyWorldMoms.com including things like how to maximize your food budget to customizing your Disney World vacation to fit your family’s needs so you can focus on having fun.

Tips on Everything Disney at DisneyWorldMoms.com

Tips on Everything Disney at DisneyWorldMoms.com

Travel Tip #3:  Have a Plan B to protect your vacation dollar investment. Now you also don’t want your vacation fun to get derailed by flight delays or cancellations that can really mess up your spring break, so part of your planning should include travel insurance. Coverage includes flight delays or cancellations, lost or delayed luggage and even emergency medical expenses that is so important when traveling with the kids.  Travel Guard offers a range of comprehensive plans including their GoldPlan that covers kids for free. You can get all the details at TravelGuard.com.

Travel Guard GoldPlan Covers Kids for Free.

Travel Guard GoldPlan Covers Kids for Free.

Travel Tip #4:  Use smartphone apps to save time and money on spring break vacation. Now more than ever, you can use your smart phone and apps to organize so many things for your trip.  These apps also save you time and money with lots of ways to find local deals on restaurants.  You should also program the numbers of airlines and hotel contacts into your phone as well so if you need to rebook a flight or hotel because of travel delays, the numbers are right there.

Travel Tip #5:  The internet is still your best resource for travel discounts and last minute travel deals. The internet is always a great source for last minute travel.  However, when it comes to spring break, you may not find a lot of last minute deals so book early – which means now – or you may find it hard to get the best travel deals. Also, one of the best ways to stretch your travel dollars is look for vacation packages or hotels that pack in lots of added value. From onboard cruise credits to free lift tickets to breakfast included or kids eat free programs.  These are ways to really save. Finally, definitely check out DisneyWorldMoms.com and Ski.com to find out more about deals and those added value travel features.

2010 Last Minute Holiday Travel Tips

December 12, 2010

December 2010:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Tips from The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman. The holiday travel season is in full swing but there’s a lot you need to know before you travel.  Passengers took advantage of bargains last year, when airlines dropped prices to the lowest levels in decades to entice recession-battered travelers back into the air. But this holiday season, the more than 41 million Americans expected to fly home for the holidays are paying seven to eighteen percent more.  Travelers can also look forward to more crowded flights since the airlines have added few new planes or routes in the past several years and no matter where you’re staying this holiday season, The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has last minute travel tips to keep your holiday spirits holly jolly and travel advice for a hassle free trip for the entire family.

Biggest Trends in Travel in 2011. The biggest trend is that travel is “back.”  The good news is that the great travel deals won’t go away and you’re going to continue to see credits available at hotels, value added packages, and cruises – with so many new ships continuing to be added to cabin inventory – will have great deals.

YPMobile.com

YPMobile.com has a great app for travel.

Also, travel technology and the latest apps that make travel easy are trending in travel.  Since Emily travels a lot and is in unfamiliar areas frequently when she travels, she uses the YP mobile application that helps her find everything she needs when she’s on the road with her family. If you need to get Children’s Motrin for that unexpected kid’s fever at 11 pm, the app will show you the drugstores nearest to Grandma’s house.  Or if you find yourself on the road with a car full of hungry kids, you can search for restaurants nearby that are clean and open – and get maps and directions to get there. You can get  the app for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and Android and for more information, or to download the app, just go to ypmobile.com or go directly to the app stores and search for “YP. “

YPMobile.com

You can get the YPMobile.com app for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and Android.

Avoiding Aches & Pains with Traveling. We all know the about the TSA headaches, but what you might not know is that a recent survey reports that 75% of Americans have aches and pains when traveling.  That’s why it’s so importance to arm yourself with a handy items in your carry on bag before you fly and find yourself in pain.

Therma Care

Therma Care

You can apply a ThermaCare® HeatWrap on a trouble spot like your neck or lower back for all day pain relief and it can also be worn under your clothes when you travel. This is actually more effective for back pain than the maximum dose of acetaminophen, the medicine in Tylenol® (after eight hours). These wraps provide a heat therapy that penetrates deep into your muscles and joints that really helps alleviate pain and you can get more information about how they work at ThermaCare.com

For more information, go to ThermaCare.com.

For more information, go to ThermaCare.com.

The Bed Bug Buzz – New Product for Travel. Now, no matter where you’re staying this holiday season, bed bugs may be an issue.  They have been found on airplanes and in reputable hotels and stores in all 50 states.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs found in all 50 states.

There is a new product that is a great solution to this outbreak that is a pesticide-free treatment and proven 100% effective in killing and preventing bed bugs.  Stop Bugging Me! is safe for the entire family, including pets, and you can pack a 3 oz travel-size spray bottle with you and have it with you at all times when you travel.  You spray it on any bed bug prone or infested area like mattresses, bedding, linens, and luggage.  They have two sizes that cost under $20 and you can purchase it online at StopBuggingMe.com

Stop Bugging Me

Stop Bugging Me - Solution to Bedbugs.

Handling Travel Delays with No Worries. No doubt about it, travel delays can be stressful for everyone.  You can use technology first to find out about delays in advance and have a back up plan including phone numbers or email addresses programmed in your phone so you can let your family know about delays – especially if you have someone picking you up at your destination.  Also, make sure you have a boredom buster bag for the kids with games, books and electronics so they don’t cranky.

Last Minute Holiday Travel Deals & New Year Getaways. Your best bet for great last minute travel deals will be choosing a destination anywhere it’s the off-season.  Also, you may want to check out cruises for last minute deals as they have so much inventory of cabins with all the new ships and they’re an excellent value.  Finally, a short getaway for a day or two of skiing may also be an easy drive to destination and check the internet for deals on lift tickets as well.

Follow Emily Kaufman on Twitter @TheTravelMom.