USA Tourists 2012 Hotel and Car Rental Discounts

USATourist News Magazine

July 2003

In this issue:

All of us at USATourist hope that anyone visiting the USA this month had a chance to see some of the wonderful Fourth of July fireworks displays or parades. Almost every community, large or small, has special events on Independence Day. Even if you missed spending the Fourth in the USA, we've got so much going on this summer that it will be difficult to choose where to go and what to do.

Air Travel Advice

We've tightened up security a tad and the Transportation Security Administration offers a bit of advice to make it easier for you and your baggage to get through the screening:

  • Pack shoes on top of everything else in your suitcase. Shoes often set off alarms and if they are on top, they are easier to get to for inspection.
  • Don't stack books or files in your bag. Instead, spread materials out within your bag.
  • Place personal items in clear plastic bags so that screeners don't have to handle every item. Food storage bags work well for this.
  • Don't pack food or beverages in checked baggage.
  • Avoid over-packing your bag, so it's easier to close in the event it must be opened.
  • Carry undeveloped film on board with you. Screening equipment may damage it. It's actually better to buy film in the USA, it's not very expensive here and there are plenty of stores that can process it within an hour so you shouldn't have to worry about ruining your photos.
  • Leave gifts unwrapped until you arrive at your destination.

And I'd like to add a bit of advice from my own recent travels:

  • Don't wear boots or complicated lace up shoes; you're better off with slip-ons because most airports make you remove your shoes at security checkpoints.
  • Ladies should wear bras without under wire for travel.
  • Keep medication in its original prescription packaging.
  • Cosmetic items are best carried in a purse or carryon whenever possible, the chance of spills when you struggle to re-stuff your bags post inspection is too risky.
  • Keep a checklist of everything electronic in your luggage from camera equipment to electric toothbrushes, it will help you provide information if you need to do so.

Change to USAirways Meals

USAirways no longer serves complimentary beer and wine to coach class travelers on transatlantic flights. They are still available but you must pay for them. Many USAirways domestic flights now offer the option of purchasing a meal on flights where there was not prior meal service. In-flight Cafe meals may be purchased on board, initially with cash only, and a receipt will be included with each meal. All of USAirways domestic flights that offer meals do so for a cost of $7 for breakfast and $10 for the lunch or dinner selection in coach class, in first class in-flight meals are still complimentary. Transatlantic coach class travelers still receive an in-flight meal without added cost.

The National Black Arts Festival

If you are in Atlanta this month, you're in time for The National Black Arts Festival. Starting this year the festival changes from a bi-annual to an annual event. Running from July 18 through July 27, 2003, this year's festival offers visual arts, music, theatre, spoken-word, dance, hip-hop, literature, and film. A huge favorite festival event -- the official NBAF Artists' Market at Greenbriar Mall will be back as will the Gallery Crawl. The National Black Arts Festival is expanding into the evenings this go round with Soul Suite at Underground Atlanta featuring Festival artists and some of the hottest talent in Atlanta. Underground Atlanta will also host the Official National Black Arts Festival Vendor Marketplace, where approximately 100 vendors will sell high-quality wares that reflect the African Diaspora. You can get more information about the Festival on their website or by calling their office at 404-730-7315. You'll find a lot of lodging options in Atlanta in all price ranges.

The Heart of Spain

Where? Frequent readers have heard me sing the praises of Cajun and Creole country and know that I recommend a side trip from New Orleans to this interesting area. If you are thinking that you might want to visit Louisiana plan your visit for sometime between September 1st 2003 - November 30th 2003 just so you can take advantage of The Heart Of Spain exhibit at the Alexandria Museum of Art.

With several years and a lot of love going into the planning, the Heart of Spain exhibit is a joint effort of The Minister of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Spain; The Secretary of State of Culture, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports; The Patrimonio Nacional; Fundacion Lazaro Galdiano; The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Commission. What you will be able to see is a thousand years worth of religious art in a variety of mediums. From tapestry to paintings to artifacts the treasure of the spiritual and the spirit have been gathered in a groundbreaking exhibition. Many of the pieces have been hidden from the public for years. It's a once-in-life-time opportunity for art lovers. Adult admission will be $18. You can contact the box office at 866-456-7556, tickets are also available at ticketmaster.

Florida, California and Hawaii remain favorite destinations for sun seekers . . .

The best things about these three sun and surf spots are the wide range of things to see and do when you aren't working on your tan. And another wonderful surprise is the range of accommodations from luxury resort to budget basics. If you are planning travel, start with our web pages on each of these states.

Our Hawaii page offers a link to America West Vacations where you'll find great deals on Aston Hotels & Resorts; they've been around for over 50 years so they really know how to help you make the most of your trip to Hawaii. They've got hotels and resorts from budget to luxury on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii. Right now at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel they're running a special where every fourth night of your stay is free, in addition you get breakfast, a luau ticket and airport transfers included with your room.

If it is a case of "California here I come", you can see the state from beaches to California Wine Country in style and comfort if you book a 17 or 19-foot van camper complete with camping kit, roadmaps, and KOA campground guide starting at only $60/day! The campers sleep up to four people and have power steering, auto transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM radio with cassette, two-burner range, microwave, sink, refrigerator, flush toilet, hot water, shower and cab-over bed. With your rental you'll also get complete camping equipment including sleeping bags, pillows, linens, pots and pans, dishes and silverware. Insurance, tax and 125 miles per day are all included, you can find out more about Happy Travel Campers-recreational vehicles and camper vans for rent in California on the web.

Many readers are frequent Florida travelers and have a lot of favorite places in the sunshine state. Most visitors will want to take a day or more at Disney World, Universal Studio, or Sea World and of course you'll spend time on the beautiful white sand beaches. But, if you are looking for some shade and solitude, check out Washington Oaks Gardens State Park at 6400 North Oceanshore Blvd in Palm Coast, Florida. It's a short drive from Daytona and should be on the must-see list for avid gardeners, if you've ever wondered what would happen if the principle of English formal garden design were transferred to a tropical climate, here's your chance to take a look. The park covers over four hundred acres and in addition to the formal gardens has a protected beach dune system with coquina rock formations. At low tide you'll be able to observe shore birds feeding in the tidal pools. The park's interpretative center has ample information about the area wildlife and plant life. Picnic areas are available. While there are nature trails, this gem of a park is suited for the stroller who wants to stop and smell the abundant flowers. The gardens were originally designed for a private home and today are often used for weddings. Roses, camellias, and azaleas feature prominently in the garden design. The park is two miles south of Marineland.

You really don't want to miss Marineland. After all, it was the world's very first oceanarium and some of the world's oldest dolphins are Marineland of Florida residents. Marineland was where the first training of sea mammals using reward (instead of punishment) took place making an amazing change in how people and animals get along. Marineland was a traditional honeymoon destination for decades since it opened in 1937. Among other firsts it had the first underwater filming studio and the classic horror movies about the Creature from The Black Lagoon were shot there. If you are not adventurous enough to want to swim with the dolphins, Marineland offers a touch and feed experience where you can meet the friendly mammals and take home of photograph of the moment. The dolphins at Marineland have expanded into the arts and they've taken up painting. In the just-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it class of event you can see the sea dwelling artists and even purchase a painting to take home.

During the summer, travelers are often a tad concerned about the possibility of a hurricane spoiling fun. Hurricane tracking systems are pretty amazing these days and evacuations normally occur long before there is any possibility of danger. You can also keep track of summer storms at National Hurricane Center and Tropical Prediction Center website.

Elvis Week

August 9th through the 17th is Elvis week in Memphis. On the night of Saturday the ninth the event kicks off with events on Beale Street. You can get tickets via the official Elvis website and make arrangements in advance to take tours to Tupelo, where Elvis was born and other significant sights.

Shopping Tip

Lots of folks love to Shop in the USA you can find some great bargains particularly on clothes. While the link to our shopping page does provide some size information, I need to caution ladies shopping for clothes. US women's clothes sizes are not standardized. If a size ten fits you in one garment you may wear an eight or a twelve in the next thing you pick up. Please try everything on before you buy it.

Good-bye until next moth and please email MsTravel (email address no longer active) with any questions, comments or advice you'd like to share. If you want to know about a particular area or attraction please email. If I don't know the answer, I'll hunt it down.

Diane Goldberg


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