Travel:

Wallet-Friendly Getaway Cash Back Credit Cards Road Trip Savings Camping Flashlights Hershey Harrisburg Pennsylvania Family Vacation Delaware Historic Sites

Quick Tips For A Wallet-Friendly Getaway

(NAPSI)-Americans are once again preparing to travel. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 31 percent of respondents said that while they postponed a vacation last year, they are ready to take one now.

Although American families are ready to hit the road, they are still wary of spending too much of their budget on travel plans. Fortunately, when it comes to planning budget-friendly family vacations, there are countless resources to consult. In an effort to ease your planning, here are four effective ways to get the most bang for your buck:

• The More, the Merrier: Want to save money on hotel accommodations? Turn your family vacation into a group trip. Invite other families along and save money by reserving a block of rooms at a group rate.

• Become a Road Warrior: A great way to explore America with your family is behind the wheel of your car. Pick a state and plan your road trip using the state's official tourism website, which usually allows visitors to customize a road trip route for everything from the breakfast diner to the afternoon amusement parks.

• Take Advantage of Hotel Packages: Hotels are constantly creating a wide array of activity-inclusive packages. With just a little research, you can find hotel packages that include popular local activities, such as tickets to sporting events, recreational activities and spa services. When making your accommodation reservations, pick hotel packages that align with your family's interests and enjoy the savings.

• Use Your Hotel Loyalty Program: In this economy, loyalty programs are taking a front seat. They provide millions of members with a steady stream of quality promotions that help families enjoy a top-notch hotel experience at an affordable price. For example, until September 30th, Hilton HHonors members can participate in the Double Your HHonors™ promotion and earn Double Points or Double Airline Miles for stays at any of the participating 3,600 hotels in 81 countries within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio.

Traveling can be both affordable and fun as long as you plan ahead. Learn more at www.hhonors.com/bonus.

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It Pays To Travel

(NAPSI)-Your next vacation can keep you on the road to both fun and financial well-being if you heed a few hints:

• Don't make vacation another job. In our can-do culture, many of us have lost the ability to relax. This summer, leave a few days unscheduled. If you're traveling with children, remember that seeing the Washington Monument at sunrise may not top their list. And spending a day at the hotel pool provides a bit of relief for the finances as well as the schedule.

• Pack light. If possible, try to have no more than 20 pounds in a carry-on-sized bag. Carry-on luggage is less likely to get lost, broken or stolen. You may also save money limiting yourself to a carry-on bag.

• Look out for new charges. Chances are, travel perks that used to be free now cost money. Save on checked-bag fees by finding out your airline's policy and packing accordingly. Bring your own earphones if you plan to watch the in-flight movie. And pack a lunch or satisfying snacks unless you want to pay $10 per sandwich on board.

• Plan for emergencies. If you're taking a car trip, prepare a just-in-case kit--jumper cables, flashlight and flares, basic tools, wiper fluid, water, and a first-aid kit including medication, bandages and hand sanitizer. If leaving the country, be sure to keep copies of your passport in your checked bags, carry-on and wallet.

• Let your travel be an enriching experience--literally. Chase Freedom customers can sign up to earn a total of 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases on plane tickets, hotels, car rentals and gasoline from now through September 2010. In addition, customers automatically earn a full 1 percent cash back on all other purchases they make, from the first dollar spent. And this summer, Chase Freedom customers can have more fun with their card. Customers can enjoy VIP seating and behind-the-scenes access to concerts, beach parties and movie nights.

• Make a flexible spending plan, not an oppressive budget. The word "budget" comes from the French for "small purse," and nobody wants to go on vacation with a small purse! Instead, plan ahead a spending range that works for you and determine which expenses you'll pay off right away and which ones you'll spread out. Chase Blueprint gives travelers clever ways to pay down larger purchases--hotel, airfare--sooner, and its "Split" plan lets customers choose the number of payments or the monthly payment amount that works for them. Chase does the math and makes it clear on every statement.

You can learn more and sign up for the fun and the savings online at www.chase.com/freedom.

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Celebrate 100 Years Of RV'ing: Stress-Free RV Traveling

(NAPSI)-This year marks the 100th anniversary of RV'ing and there is no better way to help celebrate the RV's centennial than by taking a family road trip. With fuel prices holding steady, traveling by RV is more affordable than ever. According to the Recreational Vehicle Rental Association, many RV models allow a family of four to save up to 57 percent on vacation costs such as airfare, lodging, baggage checking and meals. RV'ers are also some of the greenest vacationers out there- research shows that RV vacations have lower CO2 emission levels than airline, rental car and hotel vacations.

Before you hit the road, follow these five easy steps to plan your perfect RV adventure:

Plan your journey in advance: Lessen your stress on the drive by knowing where you're going. Whether you take the scenic route or travel by freeway, map out your route in advance with software such as Microsoft Streets & Trips. You can plot your course, determine your travel time and estimate your fuel expenses before you even leave the house. You can also plot out a comprehensive list of restaurants, gas stations, attractions and other points of interest along the way.

Proper maintenance is key: A quick once-over of the RV will save you the headache of getting stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Before you leave, be sure to check the fluids and make sure the air pressure in your tires is at the recommended levels. Nothing can throw a monkey wrench in your travel plans faster than mechanical problems.

Reserve your spot in advance: Your RV neighbors may have booked their parking spots months in advance, so be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot. You'll save time, fuel and the stress of having to drive around to find last-minute accommodations.

Preparation is essential: Make a list and check it twice because preparation is crucial while on the road. Stocking up for the trip in advance will help you maintain a healthy and consistent diet, while steering away from unnecessary impromptu purchases. Purchase groceries at your local supermarket to avoid stopping for fast food. Prior to leaving, make sure your RV's emergency kit is stocked and you have plenty of water.

Avoid the dreaded "Are we there yet?" question: Show them where they are along the way with Microsoft Streets & Trips with GPS Locator so they can see exactly how far you've traveled and how long each leg of the trip will take. The product can also help keep you on track with spoken directions, automatic rerouting and large on-screen directions.

For additional information about Microsoft Streets & Trips, please visit www.microsoft.com/streets/travel.

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The Lighter Side Of Camping: The Esstentials For A Light Load

(NAPSI)-One of the joys of a camping trip is getting away from your day-to-day work routine. Packing light takes much of the work out of camping and makes it easy to pick up and go at a moment's notice. Marc Rogers, editor of www.bassfishingmidwest.com, recommends campers store their gear in a plastic storage box or duffle, providing a quick transition between quitting time and camping time.

Your "quick getaway" pack should include shelter, bedding and cooking utensils, along with personal items. Often, campers pack so many nonessential items for their trip that they have a truckload of gear before they leave home.

Tents are for keeping you and your trappings dry and protected from wind. If your tent takes more than 20 minutes to "pop up," it is either 20 years old or much fancier than necessary. Tents should be roomy enough to meet your sleeping needs and serve as a place to change clothes, but bigger isn't always better. Packing a six-person tent for two campers wastes space and means more time setting up and tearing down and less time hiking, fishing or just relaxing.

Bedding should be climate appropriate. Lightweight, poly-fill sleeping bags will keep you warm under most conditions and fit easily into a nylon bag. If you pack a pillow for comfort, it should be a small travel-size or inflatable pillow. Air mattresses deflate to pack flat and are excellent if you want some cushion between you and the ground.

For cooking, aluminum mess kits are good as they're lightweight and include a small pot, skillet, plate and cup along with utensils. Instead of packing a camp stove, try a fold-up grill that can be placed over an open fire. It's great for grilling food and provides a surface for cooking or heating food in your mess kit pots. When packing your food, limit items that need to be kept on ice, so you have more room for beverages without requiring a second cooler.

Clothing should be climate appropriate, and one change per day is plenty under most situations. Don't forget lightweight rain gear on every trip. You need to have an emergency change of clothing in case foul weather catches you off guard. For footwear, bring lightweight, waterproof hiking shoes.

Organize personal and first aid items in a resealable plastic bag and keep it light by filling travel-size containers or getting convenient, single-use anti-bacterial wipes, sunscreens and insect repellents. Always include a basic first aid kit for handling minor cuts, bites or burns.

Among the most overlooked items are lighting. Fortunately, with recent innovations in LED lighting, flashlights and headlights are shrinking in size but vastly improving their performance and versatility. For example, the Energizer® Performance LED Cap Light clips on the bill of a hat, allowing hands-free use while setting up camp, tying knots or grabbing firewood in the dark. This water-resistant light is smaller than the palm of your hand and has three settings; two red LEDs help preserve night vision while the white LEDs offer a high and low setting. For those who prefer not to wear a hat, the Energizer® Micro LED Headlight fits over the head and weighs only two ounces without the AA battery. This waterproof headlight features a thin profile and dimmable brightness levels ranging from 100 to 6 percent.

You can find a wide variety of handheld flashlights and hands-free lights showcased at www.energizerlightingproducts.com.

A light load means added time enjoying the trip and less time packing and unpacking. The essentials include a tent, bedding, cooking utensils and such necessary gear as flashlights and headlights.

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Sweet Trips For Your Inner Child

(NAPSI)-Pennsylvania's Hershey Harrisburg Region, long recognized as a family destination, has become a popular playground for adult travel as well. Your inner child will be unleashed with world-class coasters at Hersheypark, baseball games at Metro Bank Park, flora and fluttering butterflies at Hershey Gardens, and rolling fairways at Felicita Garden Resort & Spa.

Big kids at play will discover drivable art at the Antique Auto Museum; local artisans at Susquehanna Art Museum; unique museums on chocolate, firefighting, military history and Civil War; and tours of the state's capitol and the world's Chocolate Capital--Hershey®'s Chocolate World.

They please their palates at Hotel Hershey's Circular Dining Room and along Capital City's Restaurant Row. They grab big stakes from table games, slots, and live horseracing before grabbing sizzling steaks at Hollywood Casino's Final Cut restaurant.

They take in nature hiking on the Appalachian Trail and paddling the Susquehanna River before they take in a concert or live performance at Whitaker Center, the Forum, Hershey Theatre, and Giant Center. Plan your playdate at HersheyHarrisburg.org or (877) 727-8573.

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Pennsylvania Family Vacation

(NAPSI)-Families can experience "3 American Originals In 1 Sweet Vacation" by staying in Pennsylvania's Hershey Harrisburg Region. Long recognized as the home to Hershey--the town built on chocolate--and Harrisburg--the state's capital city--this region is centrally located for convenient day trips to both the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) communities in Lancaster and the national Civil War battlefields in Gettysburg.

This "hub & spoke" approach to travel, first popularized with group tours, provides similar benefits for individual families that want to experience multiple destinations within a close proximity, but without moving hotels.

Parents find that day trips from Hershey or Harrisburg to Gettysburg and Lancaster are an easy way for their kids to enjoy all the fun attractions Hershey and Harrisburg offer while adding a day or two for learning about Civil War history and Amish culture.

For help in planning your hub & spoke family vacation in the Hershey Harrisburg Region, bookmark HersheyHarrisburg.org or call (877) 727-8573.

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Make Your Next Road Trip An Enjoyable One

(NAPSI)-To avoid drowsy driving, get a good night's rest before starting your trip and stop often. Stop at trusted locations, such as travel plazas managed by HMSHost. The company offers dining and retail opportunities at more than 100 highway service rest stops from the Midwest to Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Ontario, Canada.

The newest of these rest stops, the Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza, is now open on Interstate 95, near Wilmington, Del. Among the delicious food offered at the light-filled travel plaza are Baja Fresh, an innovative blend of Southwestern and Mexican cuisine serving freshly prepared tacos and burritos; Brioche Dorée, a French bakery and café featuring sandwiches and salads; as well as Starbucks Coffee, Popeyes, Cinnabon, Carvel, Famous Famiglia Pizza and Burger King.

Travelers can also take advantage of tax-free shopping, with merchandise offered at four new retail shops. Z Market, an upscale convenience store, offers travel essentials, newspapers, magazines and gourmet prepackaged food to go. Postcards from Delaware, which sells products that highlight the state's distinctive heritage and culture, joins Bijoux Terner and IShades.

Photographs of Delaware attractions and scenery, representing every county of the state, grace the center's interior walls.

Wherever you go on your next road trip or family vacation, you may want to avoid some common roadblocks to a pleasant trip. Here are a few pointers on preventing breakdowns and driver fatigue:

• Do you need that? Make a list before packing the car.

• Check your tires and your tire pressure. Tires can lose pressure quickly, and proper inflation helps prevent blowouts. It also helps to improve fuel economy.

• Check your car's fluids and wiper blades. Have your oil changed. Also, check the coolant/antifreeze mixture in your vehicle's radiator. Inspect the wiper blades. Also, check the windshield washer fluid reservoir. Don't forget your car's battery. If it is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility.

• Prepare for roadside emergencies. Create a kit that contains a flashlight, flares and first-aid basics. Bring along jumper cables, a mat or blanket and some basic tools to help change a tire. Also, add some water and nonperishable food in case of a breakdown.

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Today's Travelers Crave Cultural Experiences

(NAPSI)-When traveling to a new destination, today's travelers prefer to learn about and explore exactly what makes that location so special.

Whether it's chowing down on crab cakes in Maryland or standing where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, today's leisure travelers crave authentic cultural experiences.

To help travelers plan their next vacation, various new online travel resources have emerged. Gozaic.com is the only site that brings together extensive and varied information about cultural and heritage travel experiences.

According to a recent study by Mandala Research, 78 percent of U.S. leisure travelers take part in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling and they contribute more than $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The study also found that these types of travelers take vacations more frequently and enjoy culinary experiences, visiting historic sites, attending re-enactments and touring art museums and galleries, among other things.

As the fusion of "go," for travel, and the mosaic of heritage and culture, Gozaic.com is all about inspiring people to fuel their passions for culture and history by exploring meaningful places.

The site features mosaics of images illustrating the dimensions of featured heritage and cultural destinations.

Gozaic can be used as a springboard for travelers planning future trips, helping them research cultural and heritage travel destinations, sites, events and activities. Visitors can search for a specific destination or for sites based on personal interests, whether that means art deco architecture or colonial history.

The site provides in-depth background on the historic and cultural significance of hundreds of places, and rounds up all the necessary details for a trip well spent, including information on off-the-beaten-path cafés, must-see museums and kitschy boutiques.

The site is also an online gathering place for like-minded travelers, and users can create free profiles. Members share travel interests, add friends, upload photos and write reviews about places they've been.

Gozaic.com is the website of Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit www.gozaic.com or contact (877) 694-6924 or info@gozaic.com.

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AMERICA'S HEROES



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