Are you planning a last minute trip for Thanksgiving or thinking of heading out for the holidays come December? If so, you’re in luck! Travel expert and Travelgirl magazine’s editor-in-chief Stephanie Oswald joined me recently to discuss everything from planning a great last minute trip to how to save money when traveling this winter to how to find the best accommodations, and much more!
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to planning a great holiday trip on little time?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, let me tell you Candace- whether you’re traveling by land, sea or air, I’ve got some great tips on stress-free travel. It comes down to choosing smart accommodations, becoming a travel insider and also knowing when to multitask when you’re on the go.”
Candace Rose: What should be on travelers checklists?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, first off you want to find a place to stay that’s going to be easy on your wallet and also has all the perks that are important to you. For me, I like having breakfast included in the rate and streaming WIFI.
I like Super 8 because you’re going to get a place to stay that’s an average of $60 a night, which is a great deal. And if you book two nights or more, you’re going to get 15% off that rate so no matter where you’re traveling they’ve got 2,000 locations across North America. It’s a really great option rather than staying on grandma’s couch during the holidays. So that can help alleviate stress.
Something else you can do, Candace, is become a member of travel clubs. I’m a huge fan of joining travel clubs because it’s going to save you money. Whether it’s a frequent flier program, a hotel frequent stay programor a loyalty program with a rent a car company. Alamo rent a car for example has an insiders club. You sign up for it online (it’s free) and then you get 10% off or better when you book your car.
Now you talk about checklists. Something you do when you rent a car is you want to have your own checklists. If you’re traveling with kids make sure you request the specific types of car seats that you need ahead of time. If the XM radio or the Sirius radio is important to you, ask about that. GPS programs ask about that as well. Because if you do all these things ahead of time, you’re going to save your vacation time for enjoyment. Something else you want to do- check in online. That goes for your airport, your airline flight and also your rent a car because then you don’t have to wait in line at the rent a car center when you get there. A lot of people don’t realize that, that’s a huge time saver.
Now, something else to do, Candace, is if you’re the type of person who likes to get things done when you’re on the holidays and you want to get that checklist finished so you can relax. You want to be online when you’re flying and one way to do that and save money is to go to GoGoAir.com, and sign up for their pre-flying packages. They have a Turkey 2-Pack, a holiday 3-pack or a Reindeer pack. You buy WIFI before you fly and then you can save more than 50% on the rate.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to save money and have a great time while traveling this season?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, you really want to be flexible. The more flexible you are, the more chances you are going to have to save money. There’s two ways you can save money when you’re traveling- from cars, hotels to flights, and that’s to be a little bit more flexible. Maybe you fly on the holiday itself because that can save you a lot of money, or maybe you stay an extra night. What I like to tell people is just because Christmas Day on the calendar is December 25th maybe talk to your family members if they’re coming from all over the place, maybe you want to celebrate it a few days earlier or a few days later, and that way you can save money in your travel plans. If everyone is flexible it can make a big difference, and it really is being with family so that’s a great option as well.
The other thing to keep in mind is if you have time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s one of the least expensive times to travel. So if you have some flexibility and can do your Thanksgiving early or your Christmas celebration later, you can save some money.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Stephanie Oswald: “Sure. If you want to find out where there might be a Super 8 near you, go to Super8.com. You can also find out about that discount where you book two nights you get 15% off, that’s a good deal.
If you want to join the Alamo Insiders Club go to Alamo.com. And you can also find all kinds of perks for saving money.
And then finally if you want to take advantage of buying WIFI before you fly, go to GoGoAir.com, and take advantage of those packages.
Also, I want to remind you to go to Travelgirl magazine’s website. We have all kinds of advice for women and men. It’s TravelgirlInc.com. And we’re also hoping to bring out a travel app next year, so look for that too.