Back to school may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t head out for one last summer vacation before winter storms hit. Travel expert and syndicated writer Chris Elliot has been traveling throughout the country by car with his family for the last year, exploring the best locales and the top deals not just for his family, but families looking to enjoy that one last summer trip before colder weather sets in. Chris joined me from Hilton Head, South Carolina recently to chat about the best time to take that last summer vacation of 2012, where to find the best deals and share tips when traveling with school-age children.
Candace Rose: Now that kids are back in school, is there still time for families to take a summer vacation?
Chris Elliot: “Absolutely. People tend to think that just because summer is ‘officially over’ that there’s no opportunity to take another vacation. That’s not necessarily true. Just because people have gone back to work and back to school doesn’t mean you’ve lost your opportunity. First of all summer lasts extra long in a place like this- I’m in Hilton Head, South Carolina right now, and in November you have high temperatures in the 70′s still so you can take a walk along the beach and enjoy it as if it was still summer. But more importantly a lot of resorts have great deals and offers to get you in here during the off season, so that’s something definitely to consider.”
Candace Rose: How can families plan a trip to get away right now?
Chris Elliot: “I have a couple of tips- I’ve been traveling around the country for the last year with my own family, and one thing that we’ve learned is you don’t have to drive during the day when everyone else is. What we do is we feed our kids dinner, put them in the car and then drive. We drive all night, and the kids will sleep so you don’t have to make as many stops; you don’t deal with as much traffic and you arrive, and you haven’t wasted an entire vacation day.
There are also excellent deals out there. One of the deals I’ve found is offered by Holiday Inn Resort. I’m at one right now, and as you can see behind me (see video above) it’s really quite nice. The deal they have is ‘Extra Credit’ and what they’ll do is they’ll give you, if you book any two consecutive nights you’ll get a $50 voucher, and that voucher can be used on anything from food to entertainment to rentals and if you stay longer you get another $25 per night. The address for that offer is: http://HolidayInnResorts.com/ExtraCredit.
But one other tip that I wanted to mention to you too is the food situation. Have you ever been in the car and the kids are going ‘are we there yet? are we there yet’? Well, one of the reasons they’re saying that is because they’re hungry, and one of the first mistakes that we made when we were traveling with our family, is that we didn’t have enough food in the car. So if it comes down to packing toys, or extra luggage and snacks; pack the snacks.”
Candace Rose: How about school for the kids?
Chris Elliot: “Our kids for the last year have been in a virtual school, so we’re taking care of some of their school at home, but even if your kids are in a public school, each school has leave time policies. Find out what those are. You don’t have to take a whole week off; you can take off maybe a Friday off and a Monday off, plan a long weekend and you have four or five days of vacation in October or November. So those are some really excellent ways of still getting in that last minute summer vacation.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?