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(BPT) - We all need a vacation to disconnect from our everyday lives, but studies show that many Americans fail to take all their vacation days each year. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 662 million vacation days on the table last year. Yet, research confirms that people who use their vacation days have lower stress, are happier and even have a lower risk of heart disease.
So, what are you waiting for?
There's still plenty of time this summer to take a vacation. Whether you're a group of girlfriends on a getaway, a family piling into the car for a road trip, a couple sneaking off for a romantic weekend or someone exploring a new city solo, it's about getting out there, having fun and recharging from the hectic pace of life. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your summer trip and maybe save some money while you're at it.
Unplug from your day job
Really. No emails, phone calls or checking in. Chase and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) conducted a survey in which Americans shared that the top reasons why planning a trip is difficult are budgeting and unplugging or getting time off work. Unplugging allows you to focus on enjoying the moment. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to dive back into work if you allow your mind and body to relax on vacation.
Check out travel apps
Whether you’re planning a trip or already on vacation, there are so many helpful apps out there that will ease your travel woes. From finding a nearby gas station or restaurant to booking the best deals on airfare or hotels — apps can help you do it all!
Get a credit card with a hotel rewards program
The points add up faster than you can say "free vacation." But you have to look for the right card, because not all cards are created equal. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card from Chase sets a new standard for credit card benefits. You can earn 10 points per $1 spent on purchases at IHG hotels, like Holiday Inn®, Hotel Indigo® or Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, plus additional travel benefits like an anniversary free night stay, automatic Platinum Elite IHG® Rewards Club member status, Global Entry and TSA Precheck credit. Plus, you receive a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for any stay of four or more nights.
A hotel credit card like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is an easy way to earn more points on everyday purchases while getting you on to your next vacation faster. And for a limited time for new cardmembers, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus IHG points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months on your Premier card!
Slow down when traveling
Have you ever come back from vacation more exhausted than when you left? Try slowing down when you travel. Instead of marching around from attraction to attraction, squeezing in as many sites or cities as possible, slow down. Get to know the neighborhood where you're staying like a local. Savor coffee or a glass of wine in a cafe and fully take in your experience while soaking up the local culture.
Look for freebies or discounts
You can have a day at the beach for the price of sunscreen and an umbrella, but there's a whole host of other things to explore for free wherever you go. Hiking trails get you out into nature. Window shopping on Chicago's Magnificent Mile doesn't cost a dime. Many museums are free, and if they’re not, some may offer free days. In LA or New York City? Score free audience tickets to talk shows. Speaking of New York, if you're wanting to see a Broadway show but wincing at the ticket prices, check out one of the four TKTS booths around the city. They offer discounted (often half price) same-day and next-day tickets to shows. Ticket lotteries, often run by the shows themselves, offer $10 seats to same-day shows. (Yes, even for “Hamilton.”)
Give yourself a buffer day (or two)
Don't come home Sunday night if you have to work bright and early on Monday. Give yourself a day to unpack, decompress and relax before jumping back into your routine.
Recharging for even a few days is good for your mind, body and spirit. As an IHG® Rewards Club member, you get free Amazon Kindle books. Extend your vacation by escaping into a book.
So, gather all your loyalty credit card points, download your favorite travel apps and start using your stockpiled PTO! The whole wide world is waiting.
About IHG® Rewards Club
With more than 100 million enrolled members globally, IHG® Rewards Club is the first and largest guest loyalty program in the hotel industry. Named Best Hotel Rewards Program in the World for the 13th consecutive year as voted by the readers of Global Traveler magazine, IHG® Rewards Club offers sought-after benefits and is easy to use. Members qualify for Your Rate by IHG® Rewards Club, an exclusive rate offered when they book direct. In addition to flexible features like No Blackout Dates for Reward Nights, Points & Cash and free Internet with IHG® Connect, IHG® Rewards Club members have hundreds of options for redeeming points including: Reward Nights, Flights Anywhere™, Cars Anywhere, digital downloads, brand name items and retail gift cards. Enrollment in IHG® Rewards Club is free. Guests can sign up by visiting www.ihg.com/rewardsclub, calling 1-888-211-9874, downloading the IHG App or by inquiring at the front desk of any of the more than 5,300 IHG hotels worldwide.
IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, including Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo®, EVEN® Hotels, HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, voco™ Hotels, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Holiday Inn Club Vacations®, Holiday Inn Resort®, avid™ hotels, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,400 hotels and 810,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with nearly 1,800 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, our global loyalty programme, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 375,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally.
Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: www.ihgplc.com/media and follow us on social media at: www.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg and www.youtube.com/ihgplc.
Sponsored by Chase.