Are you planning a last minute trip to grandma’s or a tropical getaway for the holidays? If so, you’ll definitely want to hear what travel journalist David LaHuta has to say about traveling by car or by air this holiday season. The famed journalist and renowned travel expert joined me yesterday to discuss where to find the most cost effective accommodations, and the perks of renting a car while vacationing; share tips on how to stay healthy on the road, dish on whether or not you should gift wrap those gifts before boarding your next flight, and much more!
Candace Rose: What is the secret to planning a great last minute trip this winter?
David LaHuta: “The secret is asking yourself good questions. Planning smart trips and packing wisely, and doing everything you possibly can to really prepare for that trip. For example, if you’re staying in a hotel this holiday season you want to ask some questions of that hotel chain. You want to know that it’s got a low nightly rate, and you want some free value added perks like free WIFI or free continental breakfasts. A hotel chain that does that really well is Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham. It’s an award winning chain with 300 locations across the country. What I love is they have a low nightly rate of $65, and they’re going to give you value added perks of free WIFI and free breakfast.
For folks that are renting a car this holiday season- that’s another question that you want to ask yourself, you need value added perks here so you want a car rental agency that’s going to have lots of locations, provide good customer service, and good, good value. So for me, that’s always been Enterprise Rent-A-Car. They have 6,000 locations countrywide making it the largest car rental agency out there. Right now they have a fantastic program- from now until February 28th they have the “Plus Your Points” promotion which basically means for every qualified dollar you spend at Enterprise they’re going to give you a point and then they’re going to double it. Which basically means you’re going to be driving a free rental car in no time and there are going to be no blackout dates.
And finally, when talking about driving, you can’t miss the great tools that are now at our fingertips. Thanks to mobile technology and our smartphones you don’t have to be sitting in traffic any longer. So now you can download a free traffic app that’s basically going to take into consideration weather conditions, accidents that might be on the road, and plot the shortest point from point a to b, which is ultimately going to save you time and money. It’s kind of like having your own personal traffic reporter in the palm of your hand.”
Candace Rose: And where are are some of the hottest destinations (and trends) this season?
David LaHuta: “Well, what I’m personally seeing at this moment are people are taking a lot of shorter regional trips. So instead of taking that far flung tropical vacation, people are just going to pack in a vehicle and drive a few hours. That’s why having something like an INRIX traffic app is so handy or getting value from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Again, it’s all about being prepared and being a smart traveler.
When you talk about holiday travel you can’t forget about cold and flu season. For me, when I travel I never forget basics like antibacterial wipes, or hand sanitizer or even a nasal decongestant, like Advil Congestion Relief which will relieve headaches and nasal pressure and swelling. And actually a little birdie told me if you’re going to fly through Chicago this holiday season in January they’re giving some free samples of that so you can try it yourself.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
David LaHuta: “Yeah, if you haven’t bought your flight yet, don’t be afraid of booking a flight on Christmas Day. You’re bound to get a more inexpensive flight if you travel on Christmas Day rather than December 24th or the 26th. Also, if you can book your flight, make it as early as possible because that first one out is less inclined to have more delays if indeed you are traveling and going through a second airport.
And lastly, if you are bringing gifts to your friends and family wherever you might be going, and you’re traveling by plane, make sure to keep them unwrapped because the TSA agent can indeed go and unwrap your present and all that good energy is going to go to waste.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
David LaHuta: “Microtel.com is the perfect place to book a hotel, PlusYourPoints.Enterprise.com is the place to learn about that great promotion I told you about. InrixTraffic.com is how you can learn about that traffic app and AdvilCongestionRelief.com is a great place to learn about that nasal decongestant.”