Are you looking to travel this winter, but don’t want to fight the crowds on the road or at the airport? Maybe you’ve thought about trying a new loyalty program, but aren’t sure if it’s worth it. If these thoughts have crossed your mind, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Travel expert, Josey Miller joined me this week to share tips for avoiding crowds when traveling, staying safe on the road, and where to find the best deals!
Candace Rose: Traveling during the holidays can be stressful. Is it too late for travelers of any kind to expect a smooth trip through the holiday crowds?
Josey Miller: “Some travelers don’t have a choice as to whether or not to travel during December which is, like you said, a very busy time- those being the business travelers. But if you can avoid traveling near the end of December where it’s Christmas and New Years, I think you can save a lot of money and avoid the crowds by traveling earlier in December, or some time in January if you can, that’s my preference.
In fact, I was just doing some research for a travel blog I write, and I saw that a trip I took with my husband a couple of years ago during the first week of December to Lake Tahoe- this is a ski destination.”
Candace Rose: My favorite (Lake Tahoe that is)!
Josey Miller: “Do you love it? We stayed right at the base of Heavenly Mountain. It was this gorgeous room, I remember a fireplace, a full kitchen, and in my files it said that we paid $112 a night, which is just incredible. There are definitely deals to be had, particularly at those times during winter.”
Candace Rose: How about for those who travel often, what are your thoughts on loyalty programs?
Josey Miller: “You don’t even have to travel that often to make them work for you, though they are designed for business travelers. But there are loyalty programs for everything- for rental cars, for flights, for hotels, you name it!”
Candace Rose: Can we start with rental cars?
Josey Miller: “Sure. ‘Road Warriors’ which are another term for business travelers, they are looking for speed, and convenience, and choice, and that’s actually why National Car Rental’s Emerald Club is is a favorite among those frequent travelers. You can bypass the counter so you don’t have to wait in line, and head right into their Emerald Aisle where you can select any vehicle as long as you reserve the midsize car. You can make your reservations on their Emerald Aisle website. And now through the end of January they’re running their ‘One Two Free’ promotion where you earn one free rental day for every two qualifying rental days. And if you think about it, that can really add up fast.”
Candace Rose: And how about hotel loyalty programs?
Josey Miller: “Sure, this works very similarly. If you have a favorite hotel chain, I say stick with it, be consistent and keep earning points at those hotels. The same applies to credit cards that are linked to hotel brand loyalty programs- for example the American Express Hilton Honors program which has no annual fee; no blackout dates, which is a big deal in December in particular where blackout dates are pretty common. It’s a great card to have if you love the Hilton Hotel chains because you can earn multiple points for every dollar you spend throughout the year to work towards free hotel rooms at any Hilton Hotel brand.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Josey Miller: “It’s a very popular time of year to travel, I think you should manage your own expectations, you know the roads are going to be busy, you know the airports are going to be busy, and if you manage your expectations and they’re not as busy as you anticipated, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As a mom I also have to say, especially on the roads be careful. It’s so much more important to arrive safely than to arrive quickly. So take your time, you will get there and I hope you have a very happy holiday!”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Josey Miller: “Just go to MoreAboutThat.info.”