August Vacation Destinations in the United States

grand_canyonIf you’re a hardcore summertime devotee, the start of August can test your “is the glass half-full or half-empty?” philosophy:  You still have a month of “official” summer to enjoy, but you only have one month of summer left.  However you look at it, if you haven’t taken a summer vacation yet, the clock is definitely ticking.  In the spirit of assistance, we hereby offer you a few choice August vacation destinations across the country:

marthas

Martha’s Vineyard

There are plenty of other great August vacation destinations across the United States; feel free to share your favorite spots in the Comments section.  Wherever you go, be sure you make your plans early enough to find accommodations, of course.  And be sure to book your travel through Travel Plus if you want to earn 5% cash back on reservations and enjoy cash-back rebates on airline, hotel, rental-car, and Wi-Fi services.  Enjoy your final “official” month of summer!

Advertisements

Great Places to Camp in the United States

camping-main-image

When you want to clear your mind, invigorate your body, stimulate your imagination, and, as a bonus, make sure your boss can’t reach you for days, a camping trip may be just what you need.  Getting back to nature is a worthy goal in itself — as Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” — and it offers the added benefit of vacation savings:  Camping out is almost always less expensive than a hotel stay.  If you’re looking for a place to go, check out some great places to camp in the United States:

To find more great places to camp in the United States, click here and here.  To find affordable travel deals, check out Travel Plus, where you’ll save on reservations, travel services, and much more.  Wherever you camp, enjoy the views, embrace the solitude, and, in the words of poet Khalil Gibran,  “forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Money-Saving Travel Tips: How to Save on Airfare

Everyone loves deals, and travelers really love saving money on airfare.  Flight reservations can eat up a lot of your travel budget, so any savings you manage to pocket on airline reservations can feel like money well-earned.  The next time you’re booking domestic flights for yourself and/or your family, keep in mind a few tips on how to save on airfare:

  • getting_ticketsShop around.  Search online for meta-comparison websites, visit individual airline sites, and track prices over the course of a week or two to look for trends.  Be sure to compare round-trip versus one-way fares; sometimes two one-way tickets can cost less than a round-trip ticket.
  • Reserve your seats at least three weeks before departure.  The research is mixed on the best time to make non-holiday flight reservations:  Some say it’s exactly 49 days in advance; others say six weeks in advance; still others claim the “magic window” is 18 to 28 days before your travel date. Start looking three to four months ahead of time, use online tools to gauge trends, and pounce when you see an attractive price.
  • Book flights on Tuesdays or over the weekend.  Common wisdom is that Tuesday is the best day to make reservations, because airlines like to announce sales on Monday nights, and other airlines will try to mirror these price drops by the next morning.  However, a recent study from Texas A&M found that, on average, weekend bookings to non-vacation destinations resulted in 5% savings on flights compared to weekday reservations.
  • Fly mid-week.  The cheapest flights generally depart on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in good part because people prefer to fly on or close to the weekend; lower demand leads to lower prices.
  • Take an early-bird flight.  Departing at 6 a.m. can save you hundreds of dollars compared to a 10 a.m. flight.  It also decreases your odds of facing a flight delay, and depending on your destination, you won’t spend the entire day traveling.
  • Follow airlines online.  Good deals can pop up at a moment’s notice; by following airlines on Twitter and signing up for alerts, you’ll stay up-to-date on the latest savings offers.
  • Stay flexible.  The ability to switch flight dates or use alternative airports can often result in considerable savings on your flight.
  • Check fares after you book.  Should the price of your flight drops within 24 hours of your booking, airline regulations let you cancel your reservation without penalty.  If the fare drops after the 24-hour window, call the airline or your travel agent anyway to see if you can pay the lower price; sometimes they’ll agree, and it never hurts to ask.

Travel-Plus-logo-5percent

When you want to save on airfare, check out Travel Plus, where you can earn 5% cash back on plane reservations you make through the program (and enjoy cash-back rebates on a wide range of airport and in-flight services).  If you have additional tips on how to save on airfare, please share them in the Comments section.  Happy contrails!

Cool July Vacation Destinations

Summer is heating up, not just this year but seemingly every year.  For warm-weather fans, this may be a welcome trend, although even people who like extreme heat may want to avoid places like Death Valley this season.  For folks who prefer to spend their time off in more temperate climates, we offer a list of the coolest July vacation destinations:

aspen-bike

      • Aspen, CO. Every summer, the Aspen Institute hosts the Aspen Ideas Festival. It’s too late to attend this year, but you can find plenty of other things to do in the Colorado Rockies this July, including the Aspen Music Festival, an ongoing celebration of all things musical; the Aspen Invitational (July 19-20), a charity bike ride through the mountains that supports affordable transportation in Africa; the Aspen Arts Festival (July 27-28), an open art gallery spotlighting dozens of artists; and much more.

mthood_oregon

      • Rockaway Beach, OR. Head northwest for a vacation right on the Pacific Ocean. Rockaway Beach offers seven miles of soft, sandy beach, featuring the Twin Rocks formation. Enjoy a ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, take a hike through the Old Growth Cedar Nature Preserve, or fish and kayak in one of a half-dozen lakes in the area. With over 100 rental homes and 300+ hotel rooms, Rockaway Beach offers plentiful places to stay for families looking to escape from city life.

sanfran_cablecar

michigan_beach

      • The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Separating Lake Michigan from Lake Superior, the U.P. provides summer visitors a wide range of historic and natural attractions, from the Keweenaw National Historical Park, site of the largest and lowest lava flow on the planet, to the Sylvania Wilderness, home to old-growth northern hardwood forests and almost three dozen lakes. Whether you prefer camping, cabins, B&Bs, historic inns, or family-friendly resorts, you’ll find accommodations to your liking all across the U.P.

Vermont-horse

Even in July, you can find cool vacation destinations across the U.S. — and cool travel savings from Travel Plus, including 5% cash back on reservations and more.  Happy trails!