Are you planning a last minute getaway for the holidays? If so, you’re in luck! Travel expert Laura Powell joined me this week to dish on everything holiday travelers need to know this season- from picking the hottest destination, to choosing the perfect accommodations, to finding great deals, and she even shared tips on how to travel with gifts if you’re celebrating with friends and family!
Candace Rose: What are the most important things every traveler needs to know this holiday season?
Laura Powell: “Well, that it’s a tough time to book travel and try to save money. But it can be done, there are some good strategies, and that’s what I’m here to help you out with.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any suggestions on picking the perfect place to stay?
Laura Powell: “Absolutely. Particularly this time of year when people are traveling with families, I think a really good way to go is a vacation rental, I’m talking about a house or a condo that you rent and the key is to find a company you can rent through that you can rely on. I recommend a national brand like Wyndham Vacation Rentals. They actually have a vacation rental bill of rights that will give you some peace of mind in terms of knowing your booking is secure, that you’re getting consistent accommodations and you have access to 24 hour customer service. The nice thing is they have properties at ski destinations, beach destinations just about anywhere you’d want to go on a vacation. So you can check out WyndhamVacationRentals.com for more. I really like the vacation rental concept because you get a lot of space for your money and you also save money because all of these places have kitchens, which means you don’t have to go out for every meal.”
Candace Rose: Where are some of the hottest destinations for winter travel?
Laura Powell: “Well, I think people go one of two directions; they either go to a ski resort or they go to a beach. I personally like the beach. If you want to head out to Florida, the gulf coast actually has some lovely beaches. Sarasota is located in southwestern Florida, it’s got the white powdery sand beaches at places like Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Venice Beach; but they’ve also got a really vibrant cultural scene there. During the holiday season the Cà d’Zan mansion at the Ringling Arts Complex, and also the Selby Botanical Gardens are dressed up for the holidays. And then of course all winter long there are things like opera, there’s ballet, there’s great museums there. You might want to check out CelebrateSarasota.com. The key to picking a destination is really figuring out what everyone in the traveling party likes to do and finding a place that’s going to please everybody in the group.”
Candace Rose: How can we find the best deals on everything?
Laura Powell: “The best idea is to go online, go to a website that specializes in travel deals. Travelzoo is the largest publisher of travel entertainment and local deals on the web. They have a top 20 weekly list which they’ll email out to you, which gives you amazing bargains on travel packages, on hotels on airfares. They also right now have a holiday fare calendar up which help you plan the days to get the best airfare. So shop around online, there are deals out there; but it just takes a little bit of patience and a little bit of time.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Laura Powell: “I think the most important thing is really watch your packing, particularly if you’re traveling by air. If you do bring gifts with you and you have them in your carry-on, do not wrap them because otherwise the agents at security will unwrap them for you. And we’ve got some other really good tips at VideoPump.tv.”