Record Numbers Set to Travel This Holiday

Linknet Travel News Digest – December 21, 2005 – Travel may be expensive this time of year, but the AAA is still predicting this will be a record year for travel in the U.S.

The organization estimates that 63.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home for either Christmas or New Year’s. This is up 1.7 percent from last year. Approximately 81 percent will travel by automobile.

Travel plans are aided this year by the calendar. With both Christmas and New Years falling on Sunday, that makes for two long weekends, and for many people, an entire week of holiday revelling.

Travel Websites Still Offering Deals

If you’ve waited till the last minute to make your winter or holiday travel arrangements, there may still be deals to be had — in spite of the fact that most travel sites are usually pretty pricey this time of year.

Rather than fly planes with empty seats, the major airlines will usually turn these seats over to online ticket sellers. Because you are dealing with relatively small numbers of empty seats, the deals can disappear quickly. A deal you find in the morning may not be around in the afternoon.

Some sites where you can find deals: Priceline.com, Cheaptickets.com, and Hotwire.com

Be prepared to act quickly, and take what you get. The real cheap tickets often have a one or two day stay over, and are non-refundable.

Tips for Travelling with Children

Why not use some of that idle travel time to pack in some learning activities for the kids. Here are some tips for parents who want to engage their children in learning, creating, and exploring.

1. Take a sketch pad along. Create a family memory book with your children. Share family holiday memories and illustrate them in the book..

2. Bring along some blank note paper or note cards, and help your child create some original greeting cards. Illustrate them with original drawings, and add short original verses.

3. Encourage reading during travel. Bring some of your children’s favorite books and encourage your children to read. Discuss the topics before you leave and let the kids help choose the topics.

4. Instead of videos or DVDs, why not buy a talking book (recorded version of a classic) and play that while you travel.

Passports Required for Caribbean Destinations in New Year

The North Port Sun Herald reports that if you are travelling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central or South America, you will need a passport as of January 1, 2006.

The passport is not required by the destination countries. It is required to get back into the U.S. These new measures have been instituted in what is called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, in order to strengthen border security. Plans also call for passports required for travel to and from Mexico and Canada by January 2007, although this policy is currently under review.