The holidays will be here before you know it, and if you’d like to plan the perfect fall trip before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you are in luck! Travelgirl magazine’s Stephanie Oswald joined me for an interview this morning to share her secrets to planning the perfect trip this season!
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to planning a great trip this season?
Stephanie Oswald: “Everyone has their challenges when it comes to travel even on a good day, but this time of year there are some things you can do to fight off the stress of travel, the stress of flu season, so I’ve got some advice for you and how to have healthy, happy, stress-free travels! Whether it’s how to get there, what to pack or where to go.
Let’s start off with getting from point A to point B because that stresses people out, and spending money on plane tickets stresses people out. A lot of people are saying they don’t want to deal with that, I don’t want to deal with all the rules at the airport like the four ounces or less – all those things, so they’re opting to take the bus. Part of that is because MegaBus.com has these beautiful new buses, they are double decker, state of the art and the fares are very affordable. When you’re talking about the choice before having more money when you get to your destination or spending it on a plane ticket, more people are saying I’m going to take the bus, and have more money when I get there.”
Candace Rose: Why is it so important to create a travel checklist?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, it’s important to create a travel checklist because then you won’t forget anything, and when it comes to packing, knowing what you’re going to be dealing with when it comes to weather, being familiar with where you’re staying so you know if you need to pack your own pillow, or if you need to pack certain boots for walking or certain types of clothing for the weather – very important to have that checklist handy.
Also, you want to make sure you have a mini medical kit because you want to stay healthy and this time of year (flu season), having that little medical kit with you with you is going to help you save time and money because you won’t have to run to the drugstore to buy simple things like Bandaids, Neosporin. You want to bring throat lozenges and throat spray, and again if you’re taking the bus you won’t have to worry about the four ounce rule.
Vitamins, vitamin supplements – these are all things you can buy ahead of time and have ready to go and you’ll spend less money then if you have to run and get it when you’re on vacation or at a resort. Something else to remember, reading glasses and an extra pair of contact lenses. If there’s anybody in your family or who you’re traveling with who uses contact lenses or who wears them, you want to make sure you have an extra pair because these are things that you may not need, but if you have them with you, it’s going to help you have a more stress-free trip.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to be prepared for the unexpected when traveling?
Stephanie Oswald: “One thing you want to do too is keep yourself organized. Make sure you’ve checked all of your itineraries. Take a photograph – use your phone or your iPad to take a photograph of your drivers license and your passport. Also, make sure you’ve sent your travel itinerary to someone other than the people who you’re traveling with so that if something happens – your luggage got lost or something happened to you where you lost your phone, you want to make sure that you’ve got that information handy just with a phone call to somebody else.
Also, you want to make sure that you put everything in the right travel bag. I want to tell you about this new line of bags, it’s Couture by Elesia, this is the Carey bag (please see video above for details). Gorgeous, gorgeous – built for the weekender, the fashionista travelgirl who wants to put everything in one bag. It’s a gorgeous leather bag with a silk interior and that’s something to put on your list for yourself as a perk for the travel season, for the holidays or even for that fashionista travel girl on your list.”
Candace Rose: Traveling can be expensive. Do you have any tips on how we can save money and stay on budget?
Stephanie Oswald: “Absolutely, Candace. Most important is to do your research online. Go to the Tourism Board websites for wherever you’re headed, and I want to tell you about a little undiscovered place on the East Coast. It’s a group of Barrier Islands off of North Carolina. It’s North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands – beautiful, beautiful barrier islands. It’s a group of five islands with six beaches and right now they’ve got a lot of fall specials because it’s a great time to go out there. They like to say ‘You get more beach for your blanket’ because there are no high rises, no condominiums. They’ve got some really great specials, so check out that website NCBrunswick.com. Something else that’s really cool is that Weather.com recognizes the Brunswick Islands as a great place to go because you can see a natural phenomenon that only happens in late fall, early winter. What it is, Candace, is that you can sit on the beach and see sunrise and sunset.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Stephanie Oswald: “Just remember that the holidays are a time when there’s so much stress and have so much anxiety. If you can just give yourself time to plan ahead, make some smart choices, have a budget. Money is also something that stresses people out, so if you’re making these smart choices, packing right, having the right tools with you on the road, you’re going to save money.
Also, going ahead of time and looking up the websites, connecting online, whether it’s the bus company or your hotel, you can connect online, you’ll find out about special deals and also special promotions. For example, Megabus.com is donating one dollar for everyone who takes the bus on Veterans Day this year. Those are some of the things you’ll find out about if you’re connected online. Follow places that you’re going to visit on Facebook, Twitter. If there’s a deal happening, you’ll be like a travel agent, you’ll find out ahead of time.
Something else I recommend is creating an email account that is just for travel. Whatever your frequent travel programs are that you belong to, make sure that you have one email account that’s only for travel, so that you can go online anytime and do your planning. It won’t clutter your inbox for work or your other personal stuff. You’ll have one place to go for travel information.”
Candace Rose: Well, thanks for the great tips, Stephanie. Where can we go for more information?
Stephanie Oswald: “Well, Candace, you can follow me on Twitter @TravelGirlSteph. Check out the TravelGirl magazine website TravelGirlInc.com. Also, we have the TravelGirl magazine Facebook page. If you want to find out about those great bus routes, you can buy tickets now through January 6th and that’s MegaBus.com. If you want to check out that new line of bags I told you about, Couture By Elesia on Facebook and also, those beautiful islands where you can see the sunrise and the sunset this time of year, NCBrunswick.com.”