Are you looking to take a last minute summer vacation before Labor Day rolls around, but aren’t sure where to start? If so, you’re in luck! Travelgirl Magazine’s editor-in-chief and co-founder Stephanie Oswald joined me for an interview recently to dish on the top travel destinations, the secret to saving money while on vacation, the best way to travel and how to keep your kids safe on the road!
Candace Rose: What are the top travel destinations this season?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s hard for me to pick a top travel destination because I love so many places. We’re seeing families get together and say ‘Hey, we’ve still got time, it’s the last hurrah of summer before Labor Day gets here’. For a lot of people that means hitting the beach or the big city, so I’ve got some tips for you.
If you want to choose a spectacular destination, find one that has something for the whole family. A place like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where you’re going to find mini golf, you’re going to find music, you’re going to find great restaurants. Getting in that beach destination right now, you might even avoid the crowds too, so that’s a great option.
Another thing that is happening right now is a lot of places are having locals only specials. Wherever your listeners are – I’m in New Orleans and I’ll tell you what, we have so much going on in my city that when I want to take a vacation, sometimes it’s just nice to take a staycation. A lot of the local hotels, like the Roosevelt Hotel for example it’s a Waldorf Astoria, they have a special going on where people who live in Louisiana can show their drivers license and get a rate of $149 on the weekend, and that’s a gorgeous property. That’s unheard of!
Things like that are really helpful in helping you save money and have a great trip to wrap up summer.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other ways that travelers can get perks and discounts leading into their trip?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, one really important way to get perks and discounts is to stay in touch with wherever you’re headed. You can do that by establishing a social media relationship with your hotel, your airline, your destination. Whether you’re going to Disney or wherever you’re going…I always tell people Mickey Mouse has a Facebook page, and he’s also following me on Twitter…which I love! If you sign up for social media, you’re going to get these deals sooner than the average person who is doing their research online. Sign up for emails, follow places on Twitter and like their Facebook pages, it’s really important and that way you’re going to hear about discounts faster.”
Candace Rose: What are some easy ways to relieve the stress that comes with traveling?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, I’ll tell you what, one of the most stressful things about traveling is spending money. If you want to save money, take a road trip and not have to spend too much money…maybe just a dollar, have someone else do the driving like MegaBus.com. Taking the bus is actually the fastest growing travel trend in the United States right now, and it’s thanks to companies like Megabus.com where the fares start at just a dollar and you can save up to 80% on trips between 100 miles and 500 miles. When you consider a family of four, and that’s something…we’re seeing families actually taking the bus because it’s such a money saver. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars versus flying. It’s a great option, you also get perks like free checked bags up to 50 pounds. Your first bag is free, there’s free wifi on the bus and there’s power outlets, so if you’re traveling with teenagers who need to plug in their phones or their iPads or dad or mom has to do a little work on the go, easy to do when you’ve got those perks right there.”
Candace Rose: How can travelers make the most of their travel budget and still have a great vacation?
Stephanie Oswald: “You’re saving money by taking the bus, you’ve visited the Convention of Visitors Bureaus…something else you want to do, you save money but you also want to be safe. That’s another thing you can do to make the most of your vacation. One thing you can do is to make sure your car is in tip top shape before you go. If you need to have your oil changed, do it at least a week in advance so if they find something wrong they have plenty of time to fix it. That’s going to save you money and time once you get somewhere. You don’t want to deal with a car shop while you’re on vacation.
Something else you can do safety wise is if you’re traveling with infants make sure that your car seat is installed properly. A study that came out recently says 70% more than 70% of car seats are installed improperly….that is the bad news. The good news, Candace, is Evenflo has come out up with a solution, a way that we double our chances of doing that right and getting that car seat in correctly. It’s the Symphony All-In-One carseat with SureSafe installation. The reason it’s so easy is because it comes with a series of latch guides and quick connectors. These quick connectors fit into latch guides that look like tunnels and it makes it so easy to anchor your carseat base into the car, get your carseat in and out. It’s really helpful for parents because it can be very stressful if you’re not sure how to install your carseat.
Something else for your listeners, make sure that if you have any doubts, you drive your vehicle to your nearest police station or fire station and have them do a little car safety 101 with you and make sure your car is all set to go…very important.”
Candace Rose: Absolutely. Where can we go for more information?
Stephanie Oswald: “Sure, why don’t you visit The Travelgirl Magazine website, it’s TravelGirlInc.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @TravelGirlSteph. I’ll be tweeting out some of this information and some more tips in the weeks ahead. You call also follow the magazine at @TravelGirlMag.”