The 4th of July is always one of the most popular times to travel, whether you’re single or have a family of your own. Not only is the weather perfect, but it’s an exciting time with gorgeous fireworks displays that light up the sky, and can be educational too if you head to the right location. If you’re on the hunt for the top patriotic travel destinations or interested in what’s going on in your area for Independence Day or how you can save money and maximize you’re trip, you’re in luck! Travel expert Stephanie Oswald joined me for an interview this week to dish on the top patriotic summer travel destinations, how to get travel perks leading into your trip, how to relieve the stress of traveling, and how to make the most of your trip!
Candace Rose: What are the top patriotic summer travel destinations?
Stephanie Oswald: “4th of July weekend is an exciting time and some of my favorite patriotic destinations are separated into two categories, the big cities and the beaches for the old fashioned Americana.
The big cities, the nation’s capital Washington D.C. If you haven’t ever experienced 4th of July there, you must put it on your list because watching the parade down Constitution Avenue and hearing the concert on the West Lawn with the National Symphony, it’s something not to be missed or you can watch it on TV. Being there in person is just extraordinary.
Three more big cities where you can sink your teeth into being patriotic – New York, Baltimore and Boston. Go to the 9/11 Memorial, visit Fort McHenry where the Star Spangled Banner was written near Baltimore’s harbor. Go walk the Freedom Trail in Boston. Getting into these cities where you can really learn a lot about the history of our country after you enjoy the fabulous fireworks displays, it can make a big difference and really teach your kids. I always say travel is the greatest educator.”
Candace Rose: How can we get perks and discounts leading into our trips?
Stephanie Oswald: “You can go to the website for the Tourism board for wherever you’re headed. For example, if you want to head to the beach to watch your fireworks, then you can want to think about whether you’re on the East Coast, the West Coast.
On the West Coast, San Diego has some fantastic events happening for 4th of July, some rock & roll concerts, some fireworks to the music.
Miami and South Beach, there’s a lot going on down there as well. Fabulous Fashion Central down there.
If you want to come up the East Coast, Myrtle Beach is a super fun option. There’s a boat parade, which can be really fun. They’re also doing a military flyover along the entire length of the South Carolina Coast. There are several free fireworks shows. If you go to the website MyrtleBeach.com, you’re going to find out what’s happening, what’s for free and other things that are really unique. For example, the Carolina Opry is featuring a decorated Vietnam War veteran at some of its shows this weekend. Lieutenant Clebe McClary was critically wounded during Vietnam and awarded a silver and bronze star for bravery and now he’s a motivational speaker. If you do your homework and research on some of these websites, you’re going to find out about things like that. It’s terrible when you hear about it afterwards
Another place to save money and find out about things that are happening in your destination is the hotel concierge. Wherever you’re staying, once you’ve made your reservation, or if you’ve waited until the last minute and you’re walking in, the first stop should be at the front desk of the concierge, and ask them – ‘where can I go for some romance; where can I go for fun with the family’ because the hotel concierge, they’re going to be your answer, they’re going to be your source.”
Candace Rose: What are some easy ways to relieve the stress that comes with traveling?
Stephanie Oswald: “Candace, one of the biggest stresses with traveling is spending too much money. When we talk about how we’re going to get to these destinations. If you’re flying, I hope you already have a ticket because last minute fares are tough to get and they cost a small fortune at this point. Gas prices aren’t too helpful at the bottom line either. If you want to relieve some stress and get from point A to point B and save an average of more than $300 roundtrip compared to air travel, try city to city bus travel because it’s currently the fastest growing transportation mode in the U.S. thanks to companies like MegaBus.com. I’ll tell you what Candace, Megabus serves more than 120 cities in North America and the fares start at one dollar. It’s something to consider if you’re looking for a deal.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips on how we can make the most out of our travel budgets and still have an awesome vacation?
Stephanie Oswald: “Just being aware of the perks that you have however you choose to travel. Remember, if you are taking a bus, you can check a bag – if you are taking Megabus, you can check a bag up to 50 pounds and the first bag is free…so that’s going to help you. Wifi is also free, and I love it when you can get those perks for free.
If you’re checking into a hotel, choose one that has parking included. Sometimes people think they have to find the best rate, but they’re not thinking about what’s included for that rate. Make sure you’re staying with a hotel that has some of those perks like a free breakfast. That can save a lot of money, especially for families who are traveling. Or stay in a hotel that has a little kitchenette so that you can have your breakfast in your room. Even having a bottle of wine or coffee for mom and dad, that’s going to save you a lot of money if you count it up over the course of an entire vacation.
Join frequent flier programs and frequent stay programs – hotels in particular. You’re going to have more money to spend on souvenirs and you’re going to have better memories if you’re able to save money for your attractions and adventures instead of having to pay it for parking at your hotel or Wifi at your hotel.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Stephanie Oswald: “If you want to find out more about those Megabus destinations, go to Megabus.com. If you want to find out about all the happenings that are going on at Myrtle Beach, go to VisitMyrtleBeach.com. Also, anybody who is traveling or staying home this weekend, make sure you visit the tourism board website for your destination, whether it’s far away, whether it’s five miles away or 5,000 miles away because that’s where you are going to find printable coupons, that’s where you’re going to find out what’s happening. Go to TravelgirlInc.com, we’ve got some great ideas too, as well as free digital subscriptions that people can download. Check that all out, you can also follow me on Twitter @TravelGirlSteph, I’m going to tweet out more tips over the next few days.”