Don't let a tight budget ruin your vacation plans

Summer Travel Trends 2013
It's not too early to start planning your summer vacation and whether your budget is tight or you just want to get the most bang for your buck, there are great trips and tips that won't break bank - from weekend getaways to America's historic landmarks to outrageous adventures. As you hit the road this summer with kids or friends, Emily Kaufman, the Travel Mom, has the 411 on the latest summer travel trends for stretching vacation travel dollars.

Plan Your Packing to Save.  One of the first places to start to stretch your summer travel dollar is your suitcase.  Don't over pack.  With airlines charging extra fees for everything these days, try to pack everything you need for your family in just two suitcases.  Smart packing will save you coming and going.  Since most airlines charge about $35 per bag, a family of four can save $140 if they.  Kids can pack a little extra in the carry on, too.

Travel Insurance is Always a Good Idea.  whether you're planning a trip to Europe, the trip of a lifetime or a cruise for the whole family, don't forget to pack travel insurance. TravelGuard.com has a wide range of comprehensive travel insurance plans that typically cover you for trip cancellation, interruption or delays, lost or stolen luggage, emergency medical expenses, and more, as well as 24-hour travel assistance and emergency services. They have the popular Gold Plan and even free coverage for kids under 17.  For a list of travel insurance and assistance plans made to fit your travel plans, visit travelguard.com .
 
Hotel Brand Loyalty Will Stretch Your Travel Dollars.  In the summer, families are always trying to squeeze in more family fun and get more bang for their bucks.  Choice Hotels have a wide selection of great places to stay including Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Sleep Inn that offer a great value with amenities like free hot breakfasts and free Wi-Fi.  This summer, you'll even be able to earn a $50 gift card to use at major participating restaurants, stores and gas stations with their Two Stays Pays travel promotion.  All you'll have to do is stay two separate times at any Choice Hotels property this summer. And there will be no limit to how many gift cards you'll be able to earn.   Choice Hotels are also always on the cutting edge of travel research and trends and expect road trips will be very even more popular than last summer and Choice Hotels promotions are perfect for stretching your road trip dollars.  You can find out more at ChoiceHotels.com .

Historic Destinations Create Memorable Road Trip Vacations.  The Great American road trip is a family vacation favorite and historic destinations like national and state parks are great fun for kids and parents.  Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon Lodges , including The Train and The Grand Hotel , as well as The Kingsmill in historic Williamsburg, Va. The Grand Canyon Railway offers daily trips to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Kingsmill Resort features three 18-hole world-class golf courses, and plenty of fun for kids including fishing in the James River, jet skis, a lazy river pool and bike rentals. Guests staying at the resort can also enjoy complimentary shuttle service to nearby attractions and Colonial Williamsburg.  Known for its "Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint," Xanterra Parks & Resorts include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator.

Pack a Boredom Buster Bag for Kids.  The key to conquering the "Are We There Yet" syndrome is keeping the kids entertained when you're traveling.  Emily recommends a boredom buster bag filled with snacks, games, books and technology including VTech's InnoTab 2-S WiFi Learning App Tablet that gives kids their very own tablet to keep them entertained and has a ton of educational content.  Kids can wirelessly connect to VTech's Learning Lodge and browse through a variety of e-books, apps, games, music, and videos and there are apps for kids ages 1-9 years, so there is something for every child.  They can pick their favorites and send their wish list to Mom and Dad's e-mail to approve their picks.  It also has a rotating digital camera and video recorder perfect for vacations.  Find out more about VTech's InnoTab 2-S WiFi Learning App Tablet at vtechkids.com

Use Technology When You Travel . There are lots of great travel apps for your smart phones so use them.  Also, don't get stuck in long lines at the airports.   You should always make sure your phone has all the important numbers you're going to need for your trip including the number for the airlines, car rental, and hotels where you're staying.  And nothing will make your trip run smoother than getting to the airport early or getting on the road early in the day.  You'll avoid a lot of headaches.

You can find all of this information in one place at YourNewsCafe.com .

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