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Great American Getaways
Great American Getaways
06.09.11

We’ve put together this list of 12 Travel Tips to help you plan a great getaway in your own backyard this summer. All you need to do is read them, pack your bags and get going.

Packing for Space

Since you can’t pack your entire closet, clothing that offers versatility is priceless when you’re on the road. Clothes that are reversible and convertible offer a new look with a simple zip, flip or roll. Our convertible pants change from long to short to accommodate a turn in the weather or your busy vacation schedule. Search for “convertible” on our website to discover all of our options: shirts, scarves, ponchos, pants and purses.

Package Travel

If you feel overwhelmed by online travel research, wholesale vacation packagers can save you time and money. They arrange everything from airfare, ground transfers and accommodations to vacation activities. Because these wholesalers purchase in bulk from airlines, resorts and car rental companies, they can offer you great vacation deals in one neat package, discounted an average of 20% (vs. buying the components of the trip separately). Let a professional travel advisor/agent at TravelSmith Passport by CWT Vacations help you find the right package and the best value for your needs. Check out these two great deals:

  • TravelSmith Passport GOGO Exclusive
  • TravelSmith Passport Brendan Exclusive

Cruise from Your City

In recent years, cruise lines have positioned ships in port cities to make travel more convenient for passengers. You can now drive to a departure city such as San Diego, Seattle, Miami, Boston, Tampa or Galveston, and cruise to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Latin America, Mexico or Alaska.

Find What You Need

If you want to know exactly where you’re going the minute you land, check out the Point Inside app. It maps the interior details of major airports across the globe, as well as malls in the U.S. and Canada, displaying the locations of bathrooms, ATMs, eateries and retailers. It even helps you remember where you parked. Let your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android lead the way.

City Tours at Your Own Pace

GPSmyCity.com offers self-guided city walking tours in 180 cities around the world through an app that works on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad app. Using GPS technology, these tours offer notable points of interest, hidden gems, location details, photos and turn-by-turn directions for a small sum ($3–$6). Check for cities, details and demos on the website. Then download your app and be on your well-informed way.

Travel Light, Avoid Fees

All major airlines in the U.S. and Canada charge a fee for checked bags if you buy a regular economy fare, except:

  • Southwest: 2 checked bags are free
  • Jet Blue: 1 checked bag is free
  • Air Canada: 1 checked bag is free

If your airline charges for bags, try to fit everything into a carry-on (although Spirit Airlines now charges for carry-ons not considered “personal items”). See all of our luggage options. Since luggage restrictions change constantly, we update our Carry-On & Check-In Guidelines frequently, so you’ll never be surprised at the airport.

Make the Journey Your Getaway

If you want to go on a scenic U.S. journey, but don’t want to deal with airports or driving, consider going by rail. Amtrak offers 33 routes to over 500 destinations across our great nation. Find a route going to your place of choice, or turn the trip into its own journey. Look online for websites offering special deals.

Scouting for Local Deals

Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer great bargains at local businesses. Take advantage of special offers for fitness classes, spa treatments, movie tickets, and even hotel, restaurant and museum discounts. Sign up for Deal-of-the-Day or 1-Day-Deal offers in your area or at your destination of choice.

Equip for the Road Trip

Prepare for your road trip just like you would any other vacation to make it more enjoyable and stress-free. Consider the following before you hit the road:

  • Routine car maintenance (tires, oil and fluids, wipers)
  • GPS device or road maps
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Music, audiobooks, guidebooks
  • Car games for kids
  • First-aid kit
  • Car-repair kit

Hana Highway Tips

Driving the Hana Highway in Maui can be challenging if you don’t prepare for it. Purchase a copy of the Hana Highway Mile by Mile guidebook (available as an e-book or paperback) or the audio CD guide of the route, and you’ll be far better equipped to enjoy each segment of the way. The audio guide is available at many outlets in Maui. And be sure you have a full tank of gas (there aren’t any stations along the route), lunch/snacks, water, sunscreen and good walking shoes—see our selection.

Optimum Alaska

If you’re headed to Alaska, the best time to visit is during the summer months when the days are long and the temperatures are more mild—June to July are optimum. The last week in July and the first week of August are the best time to visit if you’d like to avoid mosquitoes. Bring warm clothes for chilly nights, and always prepare for the possibility of rain—in August, Alaska has up to a 50% chance of precipitation. See our selection of cool-weather apparel and raingear.

Black Bag Identity Crisis

Although black luggage shows the least amount of wear, its popularity can cause confusion at the baggage carousel. Taking the wrong bag is easy to do, and in some cases, the error isn’t discovered until people have left the airport. If you travel with black, be sure to use an easily identifiable tag or a brightly colored luggage belt to make sure you and your bag are reunited.

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