Summer Travel Tips + Hyatt and Hertz Giveaway!

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It’s June and it is now undeniably summer.  I don’t care if the calendar says it is still spring, for many of us it is full on summer!  For most families summer is a huge travel season.  The kids are out of school, the beaches are warm, and the days are long.  Some of my very best memories as a kid were on summer trips, and I hope that holds true for my daughter as well.  To celebrate the coming of this huge travel season, I have teamed up with fellow family travelers Ed from Pizza in Motion and The Weekly Flyer from Points, Miles, and Martinis to do a “Welcome to Summer” giveaway! Today all three of us are launching posts about some of our favorite summer travel topics.  We will all share our stories and tips, and then we will ask you to do the same in the comments section.

C Having Fun at Hyatt Hill Country Resort last summer

Best of all, one winner from each site will be selected at random to win a night at Hyatt House, 1,200 Hertz points, and an airline club pass!  You can enter once on each site each day from Tuesday (6/4) through Saturday (6/8) by answering the summer travel related question in the comments section.  If you win, these prizes should give you a good head start on an awesome summer trip!

Summer travel is fun, but it can also be challenging since it is such a peak travel time.  This means that there can be long lines, expensive rates, crowded planes, and cranky kids.  Here are a few of my favorite summer travel tips to help mitigate some of those challenges:

  • If you live where it is hot, head to somewhere it is not.  It gets over 100 degrees regularly in Texas, so the ideal summer trip for me is somewhere we can beat the heat.  This can be such a welcome respite during the long hot days of July and August.  Heading to the mountains, Alaska, or a part of the world that isn’t in their summer can be a great destination.  The kids will love being able to play outside all day without melting, and you will love sitting outside sipping a cool beverage without being drenched in sweat.
  • Stay somewhere with enough room to spread out.  When I was a kid, my parents, sister, and I all stayed in one hotel room on vacations.  It worked, but now that I am a parent I prefer to have enough room to spread out.  Being piled on top of each other for days at a time doesn’t sound like my idea of a relaxing vacation, so be sure your accommodations are large enough to be comfortable.  That may be accomplished by getting a rental a house, an apartment, or even a two room hotel suite.  My parents, daughter, and I recently stayed in a two bedroom Hyatt House, and it was very nice since had two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen.  Had we all stayed in a single hotel room with two double beds it would not have been near as pleasant.  It cost a little more for the two-bedroom than a one-bedroom did, but not substantially more.  Money well spent in my book.

Denver Hyatt House Bedroom

Denver Hyatt House Living Room/Kitchen

  • Don’t over-plan the trip.  I like to see a lot on vacations, but I also want time to just be on vacation.  This means don’t push yourselves too hard, and don’t over-stuff your days.  While I am sometimes guilty of this myself, the point is not to come home more exhausted than when you left.  Take some time to just chill on your trip!

Chillin' on a summer trip eating s'mores

  • Stay somewhere you can cook some meals, or at least use the fridge.  You can save so much money and time by staying somewhere with at least a small kitchen, or even just a refrigerator.  Being able to keep some milk, juice, breakfast foods, and snacks in your room can save a ton on breakfasts and just make life simpler.  If you happen to be in a place with a larger kitchen you can even all take turns cooking dinner.  With young kids this can be not only cheaper, but easier than going out for all of your meals.

Kitchen at Rental House in Upstate NY

  • If you go to peak destinations, try to go on off-peak days or times.  If your idea of a good summer trip is heading to a popular summer travel destination like Disney or the beach, then at least try to focus on off-peak days or times.  Get there early in the morning or later in the evening, go mid-week, go at the very beginning or very end of summer, etc.  Anything you can do to lessen your exposure to massive crowds is probably a good thing.
  • Be proactive about airplane seat assignments.  If you want/need to sit next to your family members on flights during the summer you must be proactive about your seat assignments.  If you wait until the last minute to worry about getting seats together, it is quite likely that the plane will be full during these peak travel months.  Get your seat assignments when you book the tickets, and then monitor them periodically to make sure they are still together.
  • Use points to keep the cost down.  Most major hotel chains that we collect points in (Hyatt, SPG, Club Carlson, etc) have a policy where if a standard room is available for sale, it is available on points.  Take advantage of that during the summer when the rates can be high at certain properties.  Save your dollars for attractions, and use your points to defray the cost of a hotel room.
  • If you are going to spend a good amount of time in the car, try to rent a nicer car.  If part of your trip involves a rental car, then make it as good of an experience as you can by renting a car that comfortably seats everyone (plus luggage).  The easiest rental car drive with Little C was when we used Hertz points to rent an SUV in Colorado that had a built in DVD player.  It made the drive comfortable for us, and it was a breeze with her relaxing with cartoons.  Our cars at home don’t have this feature, so it was a novelty that was reserved for the trip.  She loved it, and consequently we loved it!  We take huge advantage of the Hertz Gold Choice that allows us to choose any vehicle in the Gold section without having to pay more, and we also pay modest upgrade fees to reserve something even better from time to time.  Hertz is also excited about their new “Waterkeeper Swim Guide” that allows customers with NeverLost GPS to find out where beaches nearby are located, which are safe for swimming, and what’s unique about each beach.  That’s pretty cool for summer travel!
  • Use airline lounges when traveling, if available.  During the summer the airports can be packed, so we like to get there and get into the lounge as quickly as possible.  Some lounges have family rooms that we stay in so C has a safe place to play.  We enjoy free snacks and drinks while we wait in a relatively peaceful environment, and we have access to helpful and knowledgeable lounge agents in the event there are issues with our flight.  This takes some of the stress or airport travel away for our family!
  • Get the kids involved in the planning.  One of my favorite summer trips as a kid was to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.  I was 15 at the time of the trip and 13 and 14 when we were planning it.  My parents allowed me to be as involved as possible in planning that journey, and it made it that much more enjoyable.  My daughter is only 3, but we have already started giving her some (limited) choices in activities and letting her have an active role in planning.  Though maybe I should also give her a budget as she picked helicopter sight-seeing tour in Kauai!

There are a million summer travel tips out there, but those are some of my favorites.  Now it is your turn to share your favorite summer travel tips in the comments section.  Not only are you sharing your knowledge with others, but you are entering to win the following prizes:

Complimentary one-night stay at Hyatt House: Valid at any Hyatt House location through 12/31/2014.  Subject to availability and must be made in advance using the code on the certificate.  Limit one certificate per stay.  Other details available on the certificate.  Thanks to Hyatt for donating this certificate!

Hertz: 1,200 Hertz points (enough for an anytime rental, and free weekend days start at just 500 points).  Thanks to Hertz for donating the points!

Two United Club passes: Valid for one-person, one-time access to any United Club worldwide.  You must be 21 or older to redeem and there are a few other restrictions on the pass.  They are valid through 12/31/2013.

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your favorite summer travel tip by 11:59PM Eastern on Saturday June 8, 2013.  Must be 18+, limit one entry per person per day on this site, void where prohibited.  Remember to go and enter to win similar prizes on Pizza in Motion and Points, Miles, and Martinis!

 

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  1. Wear thin lightweight clothing with long sleeves. It will help you stay comfortable at altitude and prevent sunburn on the ground.

  2. No matter how pleasant the weather seems like it will be – don’t forget to pack at least a light rain jacket or something waterproof. These days things can get unpredictable.

  3. Bring lots of water when out and about – both to stay hydrated in hot weather and to wash sand off hands and faces at the beach.

  4. Amusement parks tend to be quieter on the hottest days. This has held true for both local parks here. Drink lots of water and enjoy the short lines.

    Michelle

  5. Are you sure about Club Carlson having rooms for points when rooms for money are available? I have tried to book many days at the Radisson Blu in Chicago and the Martinique in NYC where this is not the case. hope there is a trick I am missing!

  6. We always do longer trips in a rental condo…a kitchen, space for the kids to hang out, and more than one TV = no fighting! (Ok, *less* fighting.)

  7. I cannot agree more with your travel advice of leaving the heat in the summer. I try to plan trips around decent weather seasons, whenever possible and affordable at the same time! Keep up the good work 🙂

  8. research your destination, alot of times you can get advanced tickets to big attractions by paying a few dollars more ( vatican, effile tower, etc) Not having to wait in line with kids offsets the few extra dollars.

  9. My advice: Wear plenty of sunscreen (sunburns aren’t fun). Also drink liquid often to avoid dehydration when it’s hot and humid out.

  10. Give yourself an extra day off after the vacation. Just in case travel plans change and this also allows you time to recharge if you have to go back to work.

  11. I find when having long days full of activities it really helps the kids to take a break in the middle of the day and rest, nap, swim and then recharged they are ready to go for a long evening!

  12. If you are going to a popular summer travel destination like Hawaii go right before or right after peak season. That way you still get to enjoy your trip near summer time.

  13. If you are going to be staying at the same hotel for multiple nights with a refrigerator (a must have for families), order a case of water from Costco before you leave to be delivered to your hotel. It is usually only less than $7.00 (delivery included) and that way you have refreshments ready to be chilled upon arrival. If going to Disney or similar hot locale it is a real budget saver than constantly paying for beverages. Bring flavor packets if family members don’t like water all the time.

  14. I would bring some water bottles with me when traveling so that I could refill them after getting past security at the airport. You can sometimes AA the flight attendant to top you up during the flight as well.

  15. Check the fare for business class. Sometimes it is only 100 USD or so more then coach one way. I needed to get a lot of stuff from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles and business class SJU-JFK-LAX on AA was a little over 100 more and I was able to check 3 bags for free. The JFK-LAX flight a 3 class transcon so definitely worth the money.

    If you have the time and want to make some cash arrive early to the gate to see if the flight is over sold and if the need volunteers for a later flight. The past 2 summers flying 4 round trips total I was able to volunteer off of 3 flights. I received a 500 USD voucher, a 600 voucher and an 800 voucher. The 500 voucher I got in only 2 hours later. The 800 they put me up at the hotel inside the airport at MIA and I arrived on the West Coast at 11AM instead of 11PM. I just slept in Miami instead of San Francisco.

  16. If travel to Orlando on the east coast for Disney Consider taking the AutoTrain makes it easier to have your own car and bypass possible traffic on I-95.

  17. By tickets ahead of time whenever possible. Use a site like Working Advantage or Goldstar for discounts, plus you know you will get in and you can avoid the lines!

  18. My mosterable trip is going to Ireland a few years back. I loved the culuture, people and natural beauty of the country.

  19. Use a travel agent for trips that are extra complicated. They can often find great deals if you are not using points. Try to find one associated with your hotel chain, for example a Star agent for Ritz properties.

  20. If flying with children, bring a change of clothes for not just the baby, but yourself too! (you never know who will vomit on you next..)

  21. Always, always bring (use) a beach umbrella !! It can change the temp dramatically, and protect you from then sun.

  22. Bring your own dryer sheets, and maybe even detergent. If i’m on vacation, I usually nee to do laundry once or twice. I hate having to buy a big box of dryer sheets and/or laundry detergent. Or pay a massive premium for a small box.
    Pack how much you think you’ll use in ziplock bags or tupperware.

  23. If going to Disney, leave as soon as school gets out. Pick the kids up from the last day of school and head to the airport! Every day that goes by gets more and more crowded.

  24. Always have your essentials in your carry on if you checked your luggage. Never want to be stranded with nothing when you land if an airplane loses your luggage.

  25. Always take a camera that fits in your pocket; a big camera with great lenses at home does you no good when you aren’t at home

  26. The early mornings are the best time to get out and see the world, whereas the afternoons are for the pool.

  27. make paper photocopies of your documents and carry them in separate bags, and consider a digital scanned copy you can email to yourself.

  28. Go to places that you wouldn’t think are fun! Smaller cities like Saint Louis and Denver are where the best times can be had!

  29. Always pack more snacks than you think you’ll eat on the plane. Never know when you’ll be stuck on the tarmac waiting for a thunderstorm to clear somewhere…

  30. Theme parks are less crowded on Monday holidays, ( Memorial, Labor) than the Fri, Sat, Sun preceding them!

  31. My favorite summer travel tip is to bring a portable dvd player so the kids can watch their favorite shows while on the road.

  32. Since my wife and I are teachers, we can book refundable hotels in advance and then try for some last minute deals. Priceline, Backbid, and Best Rate Guarantees can be huge money savers

  33. always break up the day and do some activities that the kids want to do as well. A couple hours in the pool always bring them around to their happy place and not being grumpy in the car driving somewhere…..

  34. If you’re going on a road trip, have an early morning start. The weather is usually a bit cooler, your mind is fresh, you’ll get to your destination at a good time, and there’s just something amazing about the early morning that allows us to achieve a lot of things in less time!

  35. The best advice someone ever gave me, whether traveling with kids, adults, or alone is go with the flow and allow yourself to do something spontaneous!

  36. Bring food! Much more than you think you will need. If everyone is hungry, everyone is unhappy! Flights have no food and even car trips so south quickly when you have to keep stopping to feed everyone.

  37. I’m going against the grain on this and prefer to go places in the off season. Florida in the Summer, Europe in the Winter. It’s never crowded, the prices, plane tickets, hotels.etc. are cheap.
    Also book cruises during the hurricane and school season like mid August. You are gambling a bit but the odds are really not so bad and the prices are super cheap.
    Oh and don’t forget the sunscreen.

  38. No brainer, but wear sunscreen! Nothing ruins vacation like feeling like your skin is on fire (double that for kiddos). Sunscreen is never cheap, but you can save by purchasing it away from the beach, where vendors often jack up the price.

  39. My childhood memory was also of going to the Jersey shore and riding the roller coaster at Seaside Heights.

  40. I like to go places where I don’t have to drive hours in the car so the kid doesn’t get too cranky and bored.

  41. Bring a portable DVD player for the kids. This has been invaluable to us for long rides in the car and on planes.

  42. If you are driving somewhere, put one outfit per person each in a large ziploc bag. That way you don’t have to unpack everything to get some clothes. We don’t do this when we get to our destination, just on the way there but it makes it much easier. I have the kids help pick out the outfits that go in each bag so they had a part in it.

  43. Keep checking to see if the price of your rental car has dropped! I just checked yesterday for our trip that starts tomorrow and I was able to rebook and save $70 and secure a larger car. I know there are sites that say they will do it for you, but I haven’t had as much success with those as I have just going to the site and plugging in our coupon codes to check for myself.

    I also have a little travel file (looks like of like one of those little coupon files, but just slightly larger) where I keep all our lounge passes, our WDW Annual Passes, etc. If there’s some card, coupon or document I need to take with us, I put it in this small, bright, lime green file, which I keep in my travel backpack. That way I’m less likely to forget something.

  44. Travel the first week of June is the cheapest summer travel time because its after Memorial Day but before kids get out of school.

  45. Look for discount parking at services off the airport property. Usually the rates are much lower, there are often promotions for further discounts like pre-booking discounts or free parking days. The service (pick up and delivery) may actually be better than parking at the airport property.

  46. Don’t underestimate your kids – jet lag, long flights, it is all doable and kids are way more adaptable than we give credit for. So don’t think of just kid friendly summer vacation destinations, kids can go almost anywhere!

  47. Remember when you travel to blend both culture and nature… if you go to a big city, enjoy it, but remember to go outside that city and see the landscape that made it, that shaped its people, its cuisine, its identity. Likewise if you go on an outdoor adventure, don’t give your hub city short shrift. Spend a night or grab a meal or take a walk… two parts make the whole!

  48. If you have a kitchen or are camping, for breakfast make omelets in a baggie! Cleanup is a breeze! Best yet, everyone can eat their omelets at the same time! Make meals with the use of slow cookers – so nice to come back from sightseeing to a hot meal.

  49. When travelling with an infant, you are always going to have too much stuff if you don’t think out everything you need in advance. Also, call ahead to your hotel to see what they have and what condition it is in before you leave so you can leave certain items behind. Most Hyatts and Starwoods will have great cribs, fresh bedding, and a package of toiletries for your infant.

  50. If you are taking your little one on a long over the land journey, I would pick train over car. The kids can run around a little bit on the train, play games with you, or go to the dinning cart for a change of scenery.

  51. Always do your research on restaurants weeks in advance if you enjoy dining in the areas where you go. A lot of times, the popular restaurants will require reservations, and it is nice to have all of those planned out weeks before the trip starts so you don’t end up waiting hours for a table, or just skipping the one or two restaurants you really wanted to go to because you did not plan ahead.

  52. Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses! There have been many a time where I forget these items and I get burned and they are expensive at the places you visit

  53. Bring some booze so you don’t have to pay the exorbitant vacation costs. Its a good way to unwind with your significant other after the kiddos go to bed.

  54. Try to find a nice mixture of new experiences as well as things that you know you enjoy to keep things fresh but at the same time help you relax in your comfort zone

  55. When the weather is nice, always look for a place that rents bikes or kayaks/canoes. Nothing is more relaxing than being out in nature

  56. Regardless of where you visit, try to have your meals in the neighborhood along with the locals (as opposed to inside a hotel). Bonus points if you can dine alfresco!

  57. Take advantage of saving on hotels by picking up deals on Hotwire and bidding on Priceline. Use betterbidding.com to decode and target specific hotels offering cheaper rooms.

  58. If you get a membership at one science museum, it will often be a member of ASTC, which gets you reciprocal complimentary admission at a ton of other museums across the country (and in some other countries too!)

  59. freeze a bottle of water/gatorade. it’ll help keep you cool….and tada…..cold drink for the duration of the day!

  60. take lots of pictures….but on the same note, make sure you’re not always behind the camera and missing out on the experience.

  61. Try to venture out and not just do “the tourist thing.” Ask the employees at your hotel about the hidden gems that are local favorites.

  62. Pack the car with :
    disposable paper plates ,napkins,cutlery
    a cooler
    flip flops
    towels
    you never know what the adventure will bring

  63. I have been trying out the long sleeve quick dry shirts for the summer. I burn in about 5 minutes in the sun and I get so sick of putting sunscreen lotion on since I’m a wookie. The shirts have worked well in the Colorado sun so far, and the sun here is STRONG compared to growing up in south Florida.

  64. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent, especially if you want to see gorgeous sunrises or sunsets by the water!

  65. Use autoslash.com! I know you can’t really use it for booking rentals from the get-go anymore, but if you book directly with the rental company and then have autoslash track it, they’ll still find you cheaper deals! And cars are so expensive! They already saved me $150 on my Memorial Day rental 🙂

  66. Invest in an awesome cooler. Snacks, drinks, and lunches are all much cheaper when brought from home. That leaves resources to use on more fun things.

  67. I really like your “don’t overplan” tip. Some of the best memories we have are last minute camping trips.

    My favorite tip: Pack your own drinks (at least if not snacks too)

  68. Don’t over-schedule yourself. Leave lots of “open” time for people (adults and kids) to just meander around and not do much. Being able to relax is a learned skill. Teach it to your kids by example.

  69. I am a big planner. If we are planning a trip and there is a show we definitely want to see, I get tickets in advance so there is no disappointments. I like to pick my seats for the show, etc. If there is a nice restaurant that we MUST eat at, I make reservations in advance. Vacations are important and sometimes not as often as we would like so I want them to be perfect. Just my personality. There is my tip!

  70. Plan early, because summer is one of the busiest times for family travel, especially if you are using ff miles to get there.

  71. Definitely not my best, but most memorable is our road trip from Utah to California to visit my grandparents. The air conditioning broke down in the middle of the desert. Longest, hottest ride of my life!

  72. My favorite travel memory is every year going to Disneyland with my parents and we would always go in July. It s was awesome.

  73. If you don’t mind the heat, there can be savings from booking summer travel to many of the warmer destinations.

  74. My best summer travel memory is going to Mexico with my family and enjoying the sun and beach in Cancun.

  75. My family packs a dorm sized fridge when we go car camping at a site with electricity. It doesn’t take up much more room that a large cooler and we can keep all the meats cold without the hassle of refilling the cooler with ice.

  76. Pack for all temperatures — you can’t predict the weather and buying new clothes to keep warm can be expensive (but fun! haha).

  77. bring sunscreen with spf rating of at least 30! getting burnt on the first day of your trip can ruin the remainder of the vacation!

  78. we always encourage our kids to take photos with cheap digital cameras. We also have them do some journaling (usually can only coerce about 15 minutes worth) about the day so far. at the end, we can help them compile their own travelogue.

  79. If I’m traveling by air and don’t have time to grocery shop while on vacation, I’ll ship water and snacks to my hotel in advance of my trip. Most hotels will hold packages for a few days.

  80. If you are going to france with a carry on, make sure you also pack an extra bag you can check in full of delicious cheese

  81. If you’re traveling alone or with one other person, you can save a ton of money and meet some amazing people using couchsurfing – my best friend and I spent 9 days in Puerto Rico for spring break and spent a total of $150 for lodging.

  82. Always carry an empty water bottle in your bag. So many cities have great filtered water fountains you can constantly fill up at!

  83. Study maps, a lot, before you go. Use resources to determine travel times to avoid spending too much time getting to B from A.

  84. Check out the National Park Service website prior to a US trip. Great places withs loads of free activities for kids and adults.

  85. If you do go to WDW or Universal (or some other big theme park), go early, take a break during the hottest (and most crowded) part of the day, and return when it’s cooler. Life is so much better when the heat doesn’t zap all your energy!

  86. dump water bottles in freezer the night before. the water freezes into ice and then you just carry them in the car as they are. over the day the water will melt giving you fresh cold water all along the way. this is great for road trips, beaches, camping. Something i learned from the cab drivers in phoenix. they fill gallon jugs with water, freeze them over night and then keep them in the trunk. the heat of the day melts the ice and gives cool refreshing water.

  87. Less is more! If you are looking for a vacation with a baby, check out the Disney Cruise line. Not only do you get the typical all-inclusive meals and entertainment but they also prove babysitting services and most importantly you can pre-order your diapers saving you space in your luggage saving you in check fees

  88. If you’re heading outdoors on a hot day – fill up your water bottles halfway up, and lay them down in the freezer. You can then fill the other half with water and have cold water on the go!

  89. Respect your child’s need for sleep when you travel. If you are going to be changing time zones, try to adjust your child to the new time as quickly as possible. Even when on vacations, an early bedtime can work wonders if a nap is skipped or if your child wakes up early. Well- rested kids and families always enjoy their vacations that much more!

  90. If you go to Hawaii, stay in a condo: as much room as a suite in a fancy hotel, but at way lower cost. And then use the kitchen to cook food (esp. fresh fish) from local markets.

  91. Anybody not traveling as a couple should look into vacation rentals/condos … much more roomy and comfy for a family.

  92. My favorite summer travel tips are to pack lightly for your trip, always carry water with you, and wear light colored clothing.

  93. Here are a few big items from my list of summer travel essentials: 1)Several pair of Ex Oficio underwear; 2)Sun hat; 3)Small flashlight or headlamp; 4)Bottle of good sipping tequila to kick back with at dusk after a long travel day. 🙂

  94. Besides the main destination or attraction for where you are going, check into the wierd kitschy points of interest as well. I love roadsideamerica.com to find strange attractions that the kids might get a kick out of.

  95. Secure someone or someplace to pet-sit in advance. The last thing you want is to worry about your pets while you’re gone 🙂

  96. Pack lots of entertainment (books, tablet pc, etc) for toddlers and plan on taking lots of breaks during the day with babies and toddlers

  97. Our whole family went to Hawaii and stayed in a house right on the beach. It was such fun as a grandparent seeing the joy in the kids faces playing in the surf. A trip of a lifetime.

    Gail

  98. pack snacks with you before you go; can avoid paying for dinner with some granola bars and fruit; also head into town to grab a bottle of wine for the room; way cheaper than glasses of wine at the hotel bar!

  99. Immediately put your suitcase in a plastic bag when you get home until you can wash all your clothes. Change into fresh clothes and shower. Then keep your suitcase in the bag and spray with alcohol before next trip.

    Bedbugs are something no one ever wants to repeat and avoiding any occurrence is best.

  100. Consider travelling with some old clothes and throw them away before you come back. This will leave more room in your luggage to bring gifts home.

  101. When checking in put bags in the bathtub then check the bed (look at the mattress corners) for bedbugs!

  102. Eye drops — sometimes the humidity is different from your home city and your eyes may get dry. Having eye drops handy definitely helps soothing your eyes.

  103. No matter what you are doing- go early! Whether it is an amusement park, museum,whatever go early to avoid crowds and heat. There nothing better than heading out of an activity just when crowds are increasing along with the heat and you are headed back to the pool where it is cool and quiet!

  104. I’m usually an ultra planner, but my tip for summer travel is to schedule in plenty of lazy time to move slowly and take it easy.

  105. I love to buy ponchos at Walmart before traveling to a theme park. 99 cents at home or $15 at the park is a no brainer.

  106. My favorite summer travel tip is do Couchsurfing when summer traveling, significantly cuts down on costs and you get to meet some amazing people!!

  107. decide which attractions you’ll like to see and google its name along with “discount”–for example, i’m interested in going on a boeing tour in seattle, and this was an easy way to find out that they have a aaa discount!

  108. Our family has always enjoyed a beach vacation in Feb/Mar. A little dose of sunshine can perk up the winter doldrums.

  109. Learn from blogs like this how to use points smartly…somehow everything is more enjoyable when you are getting major discounts!

  110. If you are going to a summer cottage by the beach, keep a small whisk broom just outside the door. It is the best way to remove sand from legs, feet and chairs.

  111. Have fun! Travel can be stressful especially with little ones but if you can make it seem fun then that alleviates some of the stress.

  112. If going overseas to a sunny location, try to figure out if you’ll need to bring your own sunscreen as it can be much more expensive to buy while there.

  113. A more general travel tip, but especially valid in the sumer when restaurants are hoping to attract tourists – look for deals on Groupon at your destination. If a restaurant, double up with an Open Table reservation. For a recent (amazing) meal in Santa Barbara, we got a half off voucher from groupon, chase UR points for buying the groupon, 10 bucks back from booking through opentable, and United points through MileagePlus dining!

  114. On a road trip, take the long way and drive by the mountains or the ocean. It automatically relaxes (and cools) you off!

  115. Bring food where possible as tourist destinations will jack up the prices to obscene amounts!
    Also any toiletries, etc

  116. We don’t travel much in the summer so I don’t have any good tips! Just general travel tip to keep your cool and go with the flow. Being uptight and overscheduled on the trip because that’s not relaxing!

  117. Lots of folks have said to bring sunscreen, which is right, but also bring a hat! It really helps protect you from the sun!

  118. What kids don’t like stickers? I always had a supply of colored lunch bags, filled with an asst. of stickers for a nice calm activity. Great for planes, cars, beaches, anytime and almost anywhere. It can be an individual activity or a chance for sharing and trading.

  119. Always remember to make sure you bring your cellphone charger. Buying extra chargers while traveling is no fun!

  120. If you find yourself bumped off a flight or missed a connection because of a weather delay and airlines do not cover hotels for WX delays. You may just have to sleep in the airport so here is a web site that covers almost every airport in the world if you have to sleep in the airport:

    http://www.sleepinginairports.net

  121. Find discounts and better rates for summer trips if you plan your travel for the last week in August. Many schools are back in session already and, even if they aren’t, many families don’t want to travel right up to Labor Day when kids are returning to school and parents are getting back to their regular work schedules. You may find attractions less crowded too!

  122. In warm weather, the prize parking space is not the close-in one, instead it’s the one under the tree.

  123. I’d love to win that RCC pass for my 14 hour layover at LAX on my way to Tokyo. It would great to have a shower and a snack before a long flight

  124. Learn how to tether your smart phone – in case you are in a situation without internet and you need to get online.

  125. Don’t forget the aloe vera! Seems like someone always gets too much sun no matter how much sun screen we lather on!

  126. Day 2 tip:
    Don’t feel you have to see everything there is to see with kids. Travel at their pace and make it fun. After all, not seeing everything is a reason to return!

  127. Secure someone or someplace to pet-sit in advance. The last thing you want is to worry about your pets while you’re gone 🙂

  128. Since my wife and I are teachers, we can book refundable hotels in advance and then try for some last minute deals. Priceline, Backbid, and Best Rate Guarantees can be huge money savers

  129. If you have kids, bring glo-sticks or glo-bracelets for nighttime fun. If you’re somewhere like Disney, it’ll save you the money of having to buy them from vendors.

  130. I love the one about staying somewhere where you can use a kitchen or at least a fridge. My family and I try to stay in house rentals as often as possible because it keeps our food bill down during vacations since we can make most of our own foods and the kids can have our normal snacks available to them (other than what I was used to growing up which included Cheetos and licorice).

  131. Realize that kids and adults have completely different perspectives on what’s interesting enough to do on vacation. With few exceptions, anything new will please young kids if you keep the duration before moving around pretty short, so don’t convince yourself that you can’t do adult things (no, I’m not talking “adult” things) with young kids, within reason. We’ve done art museums, historical sights and long train trips with our little ones (three 4 and under) repeatedly. However, no matter how well you plan and/or prepare, going through security at an airport with toddlers will suck; accepting that has made it a bit less stressful.

  132. Ask hotel employees where the locals go to eat. Often times, these restaurants will be cheaper and tastier than the places that the concierge would recommend.

  133. If you’re heading to the beach or a pool, or going tubing down the guadalupe, it’s worth it to buy a lifeproof waterproof case for your iphone. And you can take pics underwater!

  134. Buy souvenirs someplace else. These things are far less expensive outside of the touristy location. We often check local stores like Target, Wal-Mart and even the local thrift store.

  135. Remember when you travel to blend both culture and nature… if you go to a big city, enjoy it, but remember to go outside that city and see the landscape that made it, that shaped its people, its cuisine, its identity. Likewise if you go on an outdoor adventure, don’t give your hub city short shrift. Spend a night or grab a meal or take a walk… two parts make the whole!

  136. Try to time long drives with preferred nap times of under 4 children, they will sleep longer than they usually do and you can drive further

  137. Day 2: Bring snacks – you never know when you’ll be having too much fun to stop for lunch, or when you’ll be stuck in traffic/on a plane/in a train…

  138. It seems like such a basic one, but SUNSCREEN. I remember being in Istanbul in July and having to choose between wearing a scarf or burning my neck even worse. I only found one place that sold a small bottle of sunscreen and it cost something like $20! Now I always have some with me in my travel bag.

  139. Take a photo of your luggage as it is on the carousel leaving you with your cell phone, so that just in case you don’t see your luggage for your summer travel, you will easily be able to identify it later when dealing with the airlines. Plus always pack comfy clothes in your backpack, just in case luggage is lost.

  140. Plan at least one trip where you arrive at your destination early in the am (even better if you have status for early check-in). This way you can take a quick (or not) and still have plenty of time to do things on day one!

  141. Fill TSA-size shampoo bottles w/ liquor so one can get sauced for free in coach while one’s child runs up and down the aisles terrorizing the snobs in business class!

  142. My tip for family travel: Don’t stress, remember the goal is fall you to have fun with your kids! My wife always sresses about packing but you know what? There’s a Walgreens/CVS/Target in most towns and you can get what you forgot for a few bucks. A few bucks is a small price to pay for lower stress.

  143. From the North Idaho forests and lakes to the Jersey shore in August. Nothing could be better. The beaches, great waves, seafood and don’t forget Max’s hotdogs. And a chance to support the local business after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Bring your sunscreen and beach chairs.

  144. Take lots of pictures!! We went to Europe in a motorhome when our three oldest children were younger, and we look through the pictures to remind them of the good times even though they don’t remember all of the details.

  145. try and get a plane with direct tv if you can, there’s a huge novelty about watching live tv on a plane that usually trumps any iPad during our travels

  146. I love a good trip or two away in the summer, but I think that it’s also the best time to explore your own city/county/state! Be a local tourist and hit up all the spots that other people flock to your neck of the woods for (or discover cool places that most people don’t know exist–as a Kansas gal, I love doing this)!

  147. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen–so important and it is very costly or difficult to get at some resorts. Don’t forget to bring sunglasses and bring a refillable water bottle so as not to get dehydrated (or buy bottled water at a grocery or convenience store if tap water is not drinkable)
    Most important–have fun!

  148. A cell phone and Sam’s Club membership are a powerful combo for road trips. Look up Sam’s locations ahead of you as you drive. Often Sam’s are a couple of minutes off the highway, but you can save quite a bit.

  149. When travelling with your kids, realize they are little for such a short time! Take advantage and embrace the stage they are in when considering your vacation choice.

  150. If you have kids with you, do some research ahead of time to find a place to stay that is near a zoo, farm or animal park. Kids need to stretch, be outside and they usually love to see animals. So have a travel plan in mind that includes a daily visit to a place designed to entertain and intrigue the little ones. Last tip, bring a book or electronic device to keep you entertained in case they don’t want to leave. When my daughter was little she would want to watch the horses, penguins, etc. for hours. I admit to getting a bit bored after the first 20 minutes so I started bringing a book…

  151. Chill no mater what happens – attitude can make negative things unimportant and positive things amazing.

  152. Pack healthy snacks, cereal, milk boxes, etc. Even if you fly, if you are staying in a resort area and will not have a car, the $25 to check a bag is far less than even one meal out.

  153. Bringing laundry detergent, Shout wipes and dryer sheets will allow you to pack lighter. If you are traveling with kids at least 2 adults, 1 adult can do laundry in the evening when the kids are in bed. Warning: Do not put powdered laundry detergent in a carry-on! It will look suspicious to security and they will most likely pull you aside and dig through your luggage to find it. Chances are very good that you will not get it back.

  154. travel tip: Use can use hotwire and better bidding to find out where your hotel can be. Works well on a road trip.

    • Tip #3: I never leave home without my Bose noise cancelling headphone. If flying the red eye these things will block out everything, including crying babies unless they are right next to you. I swear by my Bose. I can’t imagine what I need before they made these things.

  155. Remember when you travel to blend both culture and natur if you go to a big city, enjoy it, but remember to go outside and see the landscape that made it. Likewise if you go on an outdoor adventure, don’t give your hub city short shrift. Spend a night or grab a meal or take in the view… two parts make the whole!

  156. Before traveling, check to see if the city you are staying in has a subway/metro system. Check routes on-line to see if they are convenient to the hotel you are planning to stay at. You might want to pick a different hotel. Taxi’s are expensive!

  157. Attach a keychain flashlight to your travel bag(s). They’re 99 cents at Target and have come in handy more times than I can remember!

  158. Don’t forget to, if your child is young enough, to buy diapers online and have them sent to your destination. With baggage costs sky rocketing, it makes more sense. I use honest diapers (honestcompany.com) and depending on what you purchase it is better on the wallet, I also heard you can go to diapers.com and it doesn’t cost anything for shipping and handling.

  159. Use hotel points if you’re booking close to the date of travel – if hotel pricing is expensive, points can save you!

  160. If you’re travelling with children, pack a backpack for each with snacks, books, toys (get new cheap things at Target or Walmart). Keeping them entertained while travelling makes things go smoother.

  161. Don’t forget all your chargers….phone, camera, laptop, etc. Keep them in a ziploc baggie all in one place.

  162. For road trips, check ahead to see which states have cheaper gas prices so you can fuel up as appropriate.

  163. for int’l flights or when I hear half the plane is sneezing/coughing, I bust out my face mask. In Asia, it’s not uncommon for the “unsick” passengers to wear masks to protect themselves. you get funny looks here but it’s actually a smart idea the germs are being spread in the recylced air.
    I caught some bug from an int’l flight and it ruined my vacation. I vowed to never let that happen again if I’m going to spend good money on a trip.

  164. Go to locations with lots of water or water parks. It’s winter in Australia, mates- try a vacation down-under!

  165. If you’re going to check a bag, make sure it’s brightly colored and stands out from the 349080234987 other black and gray bags on the baggage claim.

  166. Don’t forget to plan early for pet care. It’s the last thing you want to worry about before leaving town 🙂

  167. make sure you have plenty of cash for places (sadly) that dont take credit card and your local bank atm is not close by

  168. Since I travel extensively for my work, my kids and I love taking advantage of the amazing activities available in our sweet home, Chicago! Love being a tourist in my own town!

  169. My travel tip: remember that when you travel it’s good to blend both culture and nature. If you go to a big city, enjoy it, but remember to go outside and see the landscape that helped shape it. Likewise if you go on an outdoor adventure, don’t give your hub city short shrift. Spend a night or grab a meal or take in the view… two parts make the whole!

  170. When traveling with kids, try and find out in advance if there are any festivals or events. Something that does not seem very exciting to you, can make a world of difference to them

  171. We took our 3 year old son on an Amtrak train ride to Rock Springs, Wyoming because he was fascinated with trains. Great reminder that the joy is in the journey, not necessarily the destination.

  172. My tip is always bring a hat! I always start out saying I’m never going to wear it, but after an hour in the sun, I always put it on.

  173. Always take public transportation if it is available. Subways are marvelous inventions, and the trains in Europe are outstanding!

  174. Travel tip: Make friends with people you meet in line. Who knows what benefits the serendipitous networking might yield?

  175. My favorite travel tip would be to RELAX and ENJOY, do not get discouraged if your plans don’t work out while traveling, just enjoy the break from reality!

  176. Tip #4:
    For single budget travelers try http://www.couchsurfing.org

    You can search in cities all over the world and stay with people for free. I had an awesome host in Sydney Austrailia and we are still friends. He is moving to Rio and invited me to come for Carnival in Feb.

    I hosted a girl when I lived In Puerto Rico and we remained friends as she moved to the island.

  177. Use a Sam’s or Costco card to save money on long road trips. The small effort to find them along the way is worth it.

  178. We are Seniors with the travel bug. We seek out US cities with good public transportation systems and stay at hostels. Most Hostels have kitchens so meals are nominal,
    employees can point you to the best activities and there’s always a fascinating travelers to chat with.
    For the best rates on several hostel sites, plus airbnb.com, and always phone the hostel you’re interested in. If you can’t find a direct phone number, try facebook. FYI Many hostels have private rooms and welcome families. Specially Hostels International. As an example of possible savings…We each paid $30 per night in San Francisco and $35 per night in Washington DC. Both hostels were in prime locations

  179. When going on long car trips through hot sections of the country, Fill a spray bottle with ice water to help stay awake and cool

  180. Thanks for the contests!

    1. If you are road tripping in the US – keep track of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and public libraries. They usually all have clean bathrooms with changing tables.

    2. Sign up for Groupon or Amazon Local ahead of time – you might find some good deals.

    3. If you are interested in volunteering during your trip, and you are visiting a city, you might be able to find 1 day or a few hours long volunteer opportunity. Free weekly papers, googling for volunteer calendars in said location, and just calling around places can all give you good leads. Its a great opportunity to meet with locals and have the kids interact with others. You might even find a friend.

    Thanks!

  181. In DC, rather than buying overpriced bottled water on the mall or in the museum cafes, stock up on cheap bottle water (under $1) at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s before heading out in the heat!

  182. Check your destination for programs that offer free 2-4 hour walking tours led by volunteer local residents. Two that I’ve personally used are Big Apple Greeter in New York City and Melbourne (AU) Greeter Service.

  183. Remember that when you travel it’s good to blend both culture and nature. If you go to a big city, enjoy it, but remember to go outside and see the landscape that helped shape it. By the same token if you go on an outdoor adventure, don’t give your hub city short shrift. Spend a night or grab a meal or take in the view… two parts make the whole!

  184. Pack a small travel cooler with drinks and snacks to save time and money on a road trip. And be SURE to check groupon’s for the city you’ll be visiting – great way to save $$$

  185. Always take at least 2 swimsuits per kid. There is nothing my boys hate more than putting on a wet swimsuit. Cuts down on whining:)

  186. Have a special bag for travel with surprise toys and games that your children have never played with. It’s like opening up a Christmas stocking 🙂

  187. Snorkelling in Maui and getting a sunburn right below my shorts on my back because my shorts was too high when I applied sunblock. So apply accordingly.

  188. Tip #5:
    OK the final tip. If you are in coach and are in the lounge you can ask them to block the seat next to you. I only have the lowest status on AA these days and I buy day passes sometimes and I have asked and they have done it. They definitely did it when I was AA EXP (which is top tier). But I have had it done as just a Gold. It can’t hurt to ask. They are very nice in the lounge and the worst that could happen is they say no. Keep in mind the seat next to you has to already be open which means it is not a full flight.

  189. My favorite memory was driving to cali to visit family every summer rocking out to Bon Jovi with my mom the whole way

  190. If you are traveling to a major city, try a bike tour. It is a fun group activity and a neat way to learn about the city.

  191. Big cooler with everyone’s favorite snacks and drinks makes everything go much easier. No low blood sugar and saves money.

  192. Use your Sam’s or Costco card to save money on gas over long road trips. A little planning ahead can save big.

  193. Don’t procrastinate! Book early! Those American Airlines flights you want to book with British Airways Points are going to go away soon…

  194. Do your research before the trip, compiling a list of potential activities for your family. Involve everyone in mapping out the locations of these activities, grouping them geographically. Then the family can determine the highest priorities, e.g., the “must-sees” vs. the “only if time allows.” Last year my fam flew to VA and took a road trip through the state; there were particular historic and educational activities some of wanted to do, while others wanted to lounge beachside. We made it a point to visit places for each family member; knowing their locations made it easy to prioritize AND be flexible each day.

  195. Go somewhere that is in “off-season.” Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean it’s not the off-season somewhere, for example Thailand! Prices will be cheaper, but you can still do your favorite summer activities!

  196. Bring a light rain jacket! Afternoon thunder showers can pop up fast and ruin the rest of your day if you get caught in it and get drenched.

  197. Plan a nice long trip. Summer is when the kids and my wife (she’s a teacher) are out of school, so it’s our best chance for an extended trip. This summer we are headed to Hawaii.

  198. If traveling with kids, bring a sample of their over the counter meds. These can be incredibly expensive in the hotel gift shop or the 7-11 by the hotel. I wish I’d have taken my own advice and packed some cough medicine and benadryl for my year old. Would have saved me (literally) $25 in St. Thomas.

  199. Use google flight search to get the least expensive flights to your destination using all available airlines at once.

  200. If military or retired don’t forget ITR for discount tickets Sea World, Disney etc. really low prices. And you can also stay in on post lodging very inexpensive.

  201. ALOE ALOE ALOE! It doesn’t matter how much sunscreen you prepare and use, you will still need ALOE! Prepare it and save spending $20 a bottle at some resort/tourist spot.

  202. Take breaks when driving, but plan activities to keep the kids entertained for those hours on the road – movies and tablets are great, but don’t forget to take sometime connecting with your kids in conversation. The more they feel like they are part of the action and have some say in what happens, the more they’ll enjoy it.

  203. Summer travel tip: Keep drinking water. Drink and eat. Drink and eat. Drinking and eating will stave off crankiness. And who wants crankiness?

  204. Two tips!
    For all of the family: Always take clothes that layer well – this will take care of any unusually cold temperatures…i favor an all cotton short sleeve v-neck Tee over or under a long sleeve cotton T….A cotton wide scarf that can double as a shawl- or a light blanket on the plane! : ) and another plus of this type of travel wear? It rolls nicely in the luggage for extra space!

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