How to Plan Your Summer Vacation
It’s summer vacation season. We hope the following travel-related items can help you as you take to the air or hit the road this summer.
- Traveling by air comes with a price. Prices for many major-city air routes have increased significantly since 2009, even by more than 60 percent for some fares in that span. Several airline mergers have led to fewer choices, and that means higher prices. Even for fares that have remained flat, passengers have to deal with various fees. Despite this, forecasters are expecting this to be the busiest summer for airlines since 2008.
- It’s getting easier to travel green. Many airline travelers can now save an image of their boarding pass to their smartphone. No paper needed. Some hotels and resorts are including separate receptacles for bottles, plastic and paper in guest rooms. Others are offering guest points or food vouchers to on-site restaurants for guests who decline housekeeping service during their stay. Go green, earn green.
- There continues to be a strong niche for wellness vacations, as travelers look for the opportunity to work on their mind, body and spirit and not just their tan. Some facilities focus on fitness offerings, whether it’s yoga or hiking. Others may specialize on teaching guests how to cook healthy. Some properties don’t allow cell phones, tablets or laptops in public, and TVs may be hard to find. The whole goal is to de-stress, and to not need a vacation from your vacation once you return. National Geographic has identified the top wellness destinations in North America, and also compiled a glossary to define all things wellness. Spas in mainstream properties are also expanding their services to go beyond massages and manicures and instead focus on total well-being.
Places to Go
- The New York Times has identified 46 places to go in 2013. The list includes destinations that range from big-city hubs (Houston and Paris) to tucked-away gems (Bhutan). It has places for culture lovers (Marseille) and kayaking enthusiasts (White Salmon River, Wash.). Even if you don’t visit these locales, it’s worth taking a virtual voyage through this interactive slideshow for its educational descriptions and enlightening imagery.
- Know where you are going but not where you are staying? Condé NasteTraveler has spanned the globe and selected the best new hotels and spas. The list includes various subcategories such as the top new hotels under $300 and the best ones for families.
- The Travel Channel offers a regular feature on the best places to visit each month. For instance, for July, it offers destinations that are timeless (Philadelphia for July 4 and Paris for Bastille Day) or seasonal (Provincetown, Mass., on the northern tip of Cape Cod).
Travel Websites and Apps
Tingo: Once you book a refundable hotel room through this website, you are not only alerted if the rate drops but also rebooked, locking in the savings for you.
TripIt: TripIt combines your airline, hotel and transportation information into a one-stop, on-the-go itinerary that can be viewed on TripIt’s website or via its free app. You can also add restaurant reservations, theater times and other planned activities to your travel itinerary.
Wi-Fi Finder: Available on iPhone and iPad, this app can help you locate free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots that are near your current location.
WordLens: International travelers can use this app for instant translation. You only need to hold your phone’s camera over a written phrase for translations that are available in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
GlobeTipping: Get gratuitous gratuity advice on what generally is viewed as an acceptable tip when dining at restaurants or tipping porters or cab drivers in more than 200 countries. The app also features a calculator to help you know how much to add to your bill by percentage as well as how to divide the overall bill by the number in your party.
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The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of the BAM ALLIANCE. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.
© 2013, The BAM ALLIANCE