Packed for travel

Someone once said that August was “the summer equivalent of Sundays,” and I couldn’t agree more. August means that summer is coming to a close and the kids are going back to school. Now is your last chance to get away with the family and enjoy this beautiful weather. After you’ve got your luggage packed and ready to go, the following list will help you plan the perfect trip (or at least one that won’t be a complete disaster, which is pretty much the same thing, right?).

TRAVELER’S INSURANCE

If you’re the adventurous type, you never know what kind of situation you might get yourself into. If you’re the cautious type, the idea of traveling without insurance probably gives you heart palpitations. Basically, regardless of what “type” of person you are, you’re going to need traveler’s insurance.

Travelex is a reputable name that has a bunch of different plans to choose from. If you’re traveling for leisure, you can get 100% of Insured Trip Cost for trip cancellations and 150% coverage for trip interruptions! Depending on your needs, you can also choose between plans that have coverage for missed connections or up to $2 million in medical evacuation expenses. Hopefully, you won’t need to use a single thing on your plan, but it’s important to have that option. You can learn more about their plans here.

That old car that’s twice the age of your kids probably won’t make it for a road trip that’s more than an hour, and your precious new car is not ready to add on all of that mileage. Car Rentals are worth the small fee.

There are various name-brand car rental sites, but CarRentals.com compares them all to help you find the best option. To start, you just need to pick the location, date, and size of the car you need. From there, you’ll see a long list of options, but you can narrow them down by using more specific factors. For example, if you’ve had a good experience with a few brands, you can select them, or if you’ve had a bad experience with a particular brand, you can remove them from your list. You can also select more detailed about the type of car you want, how many passengers need to fit inside, and choose between various airport locations.

In addition, there’s no booking or card fees, free cancellation on most cars, and they have “pay later” options. You also have the choice to add collision damage coverage. In short, CarRentals.com is quick, easy to use, and cost-effective. You can make a reservation here.

ENTERTAINMENT DURING THE RIDE

When I was a kid, I used to bring card games, magazines, mix tapes, or coloring books to entertain me during road trips. It wouldn’t be long before I got bored, or a road bump made a mess of everything I was holding. At that point, I would end up arguing with my sister about absolutely nothing, and chaos would ensue.

Later on, I decided to bring a pile of CDs to play on my Walkman. I’d also bring my Gameboy Color to play some Pokemon. That kept me quiet for a while, especially since I couldn’t fall asleep in the car. However, these days, kids probably don’t know the difference between vinyl records or CDs, and they might think that Walkman is the last name of a distant uncle. Instead, you can combine the fun that comes with music and games, while also offering internet access and movies, with this wonderful thing called a tablet.

At Verizon Wireless, they have very affordable tablet options (starting at $49.99), along with the latest name-brand models. You and your kids can download apps that have group or family games, search for something on the internet, or even just quietly entertain yourself by playing Solitaire (without having the cards fall under the seat). Verizon 4G LTE is America’s largest 4G LTE network, so even if you’re traveling through cornfields, it’s unlikely that you’ll get interrupted. You can look at their tablet selection here.

If you’re traveling with a family, you’re probably not looking for bottle service or 800 thread count sheets. You just want a place that’s clean, safe, and comfortable to stay in. Choice Hotels is a family-friendly, affordable hotel chain with locations throughout the world. You’ve likely seen their hotels whenever you’ve been out on the road, which include Comfort Inn, Quality (formerly Quality Inn), Sleep Inn, Clarion, and more.

On their website, you can find a place to stay by typing in pretty much anything that comes to mind about your trip: the city, zip code, nearby attractions, or airports. If you’re familiar with the Choice Hotels brands, you can also search by an address or hotel code. In addition to the general search options you’d expect, such as number of rooms, adults, children, and dates, you’ll also find options to choose senior rates, AAA rates, and more. If your vacation is incomplete without a furry friend, you can even search for pet-friendly hotels and cities here!

When you book directly through their site, they promise to offer the best internet rates available. If you find a lower published rate for the same hotel and accommodations for the same date at any other qualified online source, they will match that rate plus give you a free night for that stay. You can find a hotel here.

TRIP ACTIVITIES

If you have absolutely no idea what you want to do, other than spend some time with your family, the best way to start is by searching for ideas on TripAdvisor. They have a community of millions of people who have reviewed their own experiences in the areas you plan on visiting, so you know that you’ll get completely honest, unbiased opinions. Once you figure out where you want to go, you can get the latest coupons with this year’s Entertainment book, which include restaurants, museums, amusement parks, and much more. If you’re worried about the book shipping in time, have no fear–they also include a free digital membership as well! You can find the latest deals here.