UPDATED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 2:33pm
(StatePoint) As families nationwide are packing their gear and heading out by car, plane and boat, recent data suggests that this summer travel season could be substantially busier than in years past.
According to a survey conducted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, nearly 60 percent of innkeepers received increased inquiries for early summer, versus a similar timeframe last year.
“Based on the data I’ve seen and what I’m hearing from my colleagues in the travel industry, I anticipate more people will be vacationing this season, arguably more than they have been over the past five years,” points out Emmy Award-winning journalist and travel expert Rudy Maxa. “So with all those travelers hitting the open road, how can you and your family navigate your way to a fun summer vacation that’s also affordable?”
To help, Maxa, who is a contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler, has teamed with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to unveil a series of top summer travel tips. Here are three key pieces of advice that he’s sharing:
Think Outside the (Computer) Box
Consider conducting travel research offline. The Internet has been a boon for travelers, but sometimes there is too much information out there, which can cause confusion.
There are innovative ways to take advantage of personal knowledge from actual humans. For a modest fee, consider hiring a travel writer who is familiar with the place you want to visit. These writers, available through services such as FortNighter.com, can help customize your vacation based upon your personal preferences.
Use Loyalty Miles and Points
Accumulate and use award miles and points the smart way. Explore the lesser-known world of resources, such as MileValue.com, which publish free, regular advice to help individuals accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles and points.
Also, take some time to understand your credit card rewards program. Oftentimes, there are ways to accumulate maximum miles and points through everyday purchases, versus actually traveling.
Car rental loyalty programs can also yield free rentals when needed most. For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s loyalty program, Enterprise Plus , allows members to earn points that are redeemable at any time for free rental days on any available vehicle at participating locations throughout North America.
Watch Your Money
Don’t change money abroad. Use your ATM card but be sure you remember your PIN as a series of numbers, not letters. Many ATMs overseas don’t have keypads with letters. And, no, the number “1” is not where you find the letters “A, B, C.”
And, if your credit card charges foreign transaction fees of up to 3 percent on every purchase, explore other cards that may give you more purchasing power abroad.
More free travel tips from Maxa can be found at http://aboutus.enterprise.com/summertravel/ .
No matter if you are answering the call of exotic islands or hitting the road closer to home, there are ways to turn your vacation into a grand getaway.