Summer is one of the busiest times to travel throughout the year. If you’re planning the perfect vacation for yourself or for you and your family, but aren’t sure what’s hot and what’s not in terms of summer travel destinations and trends, you’re in luck! Travel expert and Travelgirl Magazine co-founder Stephanie Oswald joined me for an interview this week to dish on the hottest travel trends of summer 2014, the top travel destinations in the United States, how to stay safe on the road and keep you and your family healthy, the dish on how to get perks and discounts before you head out the door and much more!
Candace Rose: What are the hottest summer 2014 travel destinations?
Stephanie Oswald: “One of the things we’re seeing at Travelgirl magazine is that people just want to get on the road and explore the great U.S.A. and National parks are a big part of that. There are some fabulous places all across our country, definitely want to get that bucket list going – the Grand Canyon, the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Redwood Forests in California. Wherever you are there’s got to be something nearby you. I think it’s a great way to get your kids out there and give them a taste of history and nature away from those schoolbooks now that school is out.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips on how travelers can get perks and discounts leading into their trip?
Stephanie Oswald: “Absolutely. One of the deals that is something that’s going to help you get the deals, get the bargains is to choose the right hotel and take advantage of any loyalty programs. Wyndham Hotel Groups for example, they’ve got so many different hotels, they’re the biggest hotel company in the world and whatever brand you stay with, they have a guaranteed loyalty program where you’re going to get perks after just one qualified night stay. That’s something to think about, and I like to remind people that even if you’re not a frequent traveler, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get to take advantage of some of these reward perks. Join the hotel frequent stay programs, join the airline frequent flier clubs and if you rent a car, join that rental car loyalty program as well. With Wyndham, if you go to WyndhamRewards.com right now for the summer, they’ve got a deal happening that is going to save you up to 25%, so that’s another way to save money.”
Candace Rose: Traveling can be so stressful, do you have any tips on how travelers can ease stress this summer?
Stephanie Oswald: “Absolutely. I’ll tell you what, Candace – one of the most important things to do is make sure that you’re going to be safe when you’re traveling so you don’t have to spend time in the hospital or the car repair shop, so if you’re going to hit the road this summer I have some safety tips for you!
First of all, make sure your car is in tip top shape. Get it to the shop, get the oil changed – if it’s ready for an oil change, get that done done at least a week in advance so you have time to fix things if there’s something wrong. Make sure you’ve got all your updated paperwork in the glovebox.
Then also, to make sure your body is fit for the ride and the adventure, make sure you’ve got some healthy snacks -some nuts, bottled water, having those on the go.
Another tip I like to tell people about is cook a pizza the night before your trip and then wrap up individual slices after it cools in aluminum foil. It makes a great snack for the entire family and it saves you having to make a trip off the road.
Something else to do with safety, you want to make sure that your child is in a carseat. There’s a new one that just came out from Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX, and it is the first of a series created with Outlast performance material that was developed by NASA, so you know it’s going to be good. It’s temperature controlled so your child is going to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It also has these great pockets to put the buckles in, so you don’t have to worry about the heat of the sun heating up the metal and then burning your child. Tools like this are going to make it easier for you to have a happy trip.
Also, bring extra batteries with you on the go in case your children are going to be using those electronics. And if you’ve got a car with the movie screen in it, make sure that that’s all working before you hit the road. You don’t want to find out about that after you’ve hit the first 10 miles.”
Candace Rose: How can travelers make the most of their travel budget and make the most of their vacation?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, another thing, Candace, is choosing the right destination and that’s really what it comes down to. Figuring out what your budget is and then making sure that you find a place that is going to have something for the whole family and a place that offers lots of discounts geared towards family.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of my favorites on the East Coast, their website VisitMyrtleBeach.com is full of destination tips, they’ve got a list of free or cheap things to do in Myrtle Beach. There’s also a boardwalk, great restaurants and what’s really important when you do your homework is to check out where you can go where perhaps mom and dad pay for a meal, but the kids eat for free. Or maybe you’re going to play mini golf and that destination in particular has more mini golf than anywhere in the world. Check that out, and a lot of places the adults pay to play but the children play for free.
It depends on where you’re going, but do a little extra homework. If you don’t have time to do your homework, when you get to a place and you didn’t buy your tickets to WonderWorks or the aquarium, or some kind of museum, ask at the counter when you’re at the counter if they have any discounts happening because you never know when maybe the hotel you’re staying at has a deal with this attraction or maybe you belong to AAA and they’ve got a deal or you belong to AARP, or they may just have something online that if you like their Facebook page right there while you’re buying your ticket, and next thing you know you’ve got 20% off.
If you make all those perks happen, eventually you’ll have a lot of money. That will pay for that splurge at a fancy restaurant or maybe a spa treatment or something else.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Stephanie Oswald: “You can go to TravelgirlInc.com. Our new issue is out (our summer issue). You can also get a free digital subscription right now. If you head to our website, you can put in your email address and you’ll get a free digital subscription. You can follow me on Twitter @TravelgirlSteph. If you want to go to Myrtle Beach, their website: VisitMyrtleBeach.com, if you want to check out the Wyndham Rewards, it’s WyndhamRewards.com. Again, think about safety before you hit the road and go to the website for whatever destination you’re headed to.
Also, bring some maps along with you, some old fashioned maps, so when you put that smartphone down for a minute, you can take out that map and let the whole family mark your trail through the great countryside.”