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Business Travel Travel Industry

Most American Employees Don’t Do This Anymore

As we approach summer, it’s hard not to daydream of the adventures the next few months hold. But interestingly, the idea of the American vacation may be on the way out the door. Last year, Americans left a total of 429 million vacation days unused.

Four-in-ten American workers (41% on average) consistently fail to use all of their time off. That is a total of $224 billion total that Americans are forfeiting by not taking these days. Strangely enough, both employees and employers understand the importance of taking time off. Almost every worker and manager in this study reported that vacation time is important for maintaining team energy levels and productivity. So, what’s happening here?

For 25 years, from 1976 to 2000, American workers used an average of 20.3 days of vacation every year. Starting in 2000, the numbers began to drop and continued steadily though the Great Recession. With economic troubles, a lack of vacations is not unimaginable. But surprisingly, this this trend continues to decline, even as our economy improves. Today, Americans report using just 16.0 vacation days in 2014, almost a full work week less than compared to pre-2000.

Looking further into the reasons why, Skift found that 62 percent of their survey group stated they would not be taking a summer vacation in 2015. Of this group, about half stated they could not afford it, while the other half said they were too busy to take those days. Of the remaining pool, only 15 percent stated they would be taking a longer vacation over the summer, with a larger majority of 22 percent taking short vacations on the weekends. Perhaps the biggest issue here, is that though we may be not using these days in an effort to save money, we are actually throwing money away. The U.S. Travel Association calculated this “vacation liability” to be an average of $6,400 per U.S. employee, not including the health and wellbeing benefits of taking time off.

This trend is so startling, that the U.S. Travel Association has launched an initiative to bring vacation time back to American culture, claiming our economy is losing $160 billion by us not taking these days. Their Project: Time Off campaign provides additional statistics and tips to discuss the importance of time off with your employer.

What about you? As a busy professional, are you making time for yourself and your family? Let us know in the comments below, or start the discussion on our Facebook page. Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, known for our innovative travel technology and cost-saving solutions.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

South African Adventure Travel

I just returned from a trip to South Africa. I visited Cape Town, a city famous for its harbor and the well-known landmarks Table Mountain and Cape Point. The city has over 20 five-star hotels. We drove along the coastal road of the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, and then on to Simonstown to see the penguin colony on Boulders Beach.
This region is also well known for their wineries. We visited the village of Franschhoek, which is nestled amongst the mountains and can easily be mistaken as being in Switzerland.
Then we were off on an adventure to Kruger National Park where we stayed at Thornybush Waterside Lodge. We enjoyed an afternoon and early morning game drive in open Land Rovers. The reserve has 147 mammals including the “Big Five”, 1,134 reptiles, 507 birds and 336 trees.
Next we visited Johannesburg where we had a tour of Soweto and Pretoria, and visited Nelson Mandela’s home and the Regina Mundi Church – the site of many underground meetings of the then-banned political parties. The 15 hour non-stop plane ride on South African Airways from New York City was really quite easy with their award-winning comfort and service.
I would highly recommend a vacation to South Africa. The country has beautiful modern cities to explore, plus great opportunities to view animals roaming freely on their own land.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Safe Travels! 30 Ways to Make it Happen

Did you know that you should sit behind the taxi driver so that you can see him but he can’t see you? Or that you should be aware of staged car accidents as they are meant to catch you off guard?  Or that you should never wear name tags in public?
In today’s world it’s more important than ever to think about what’s going on around you, near you, and to you. Here are 30 tips from the TSA to help ensure safe travels on your next trip:

30 safety tips for traveling

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.
2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.
3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.
5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.
6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.
7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.
8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.
10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.
11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.
12. Do not wear name tags in public.
13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.
14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.
15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.
16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.
17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.
18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.
19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.
20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.
21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.
22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.
23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friends or relatives contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.
24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.
25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.
27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.
28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.
29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.
30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
 

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite

Here’s some news to make your skin crawl: Bedbug infestations will explode this year, particularly in the summer, experts say. The bloodsuckers are already entrenched in the city and, like cockroaches, tend to thrive in July, August and September, said Jeffrey White, a research entomologist for BedbugCentral.com.
“I firmly believe that this year is going to be worse than last year,” White said at a recent bedbug seminar. “If we combine the seasonal trend, with the bugs getting more and more embedded in our community, that allows the bugs to make that resurgence all the more stronger.”

Here are 8 tips when looking for bed bugs:

1- Inspect hotel room mattresses, bedding, furniture and closet hangers for signs of infestation.
2- Never put clothes in hotel drawers or on a hotel floor.
3- Travel with resealable bags large enough to hold clothes.
4- Use dissolvable laundry bags when traveling. The bags can go straight from your suitcase to the washing machine.
5- Check your laptop. The bedbugs are attracted to the heat and body oils on the computer.
6- Periodically inspect headboards and under the bed for signs of bedbugs. “After they’ve fed at night, they go and hide in the cracks and the crevices of the headboard and wait for you to come back to bed,” said Gemma Holmes, owner of the Nashville-based Holmes Pest Control.
7- Check the alarm clock on your nightstand, along with electrical outlets. “It’s a warm spot,” Holmes said.
8- If in doubt, after a trip don’t bring belongings in the house. Treat them for bed bugs first.
Though a bedbug’s bite is thought not to spread disease, the thought of having your blood sucked while asleep can be psychologically devastating, White said. “I’ve seen people completely emotionally crumble from dealing with it,” White said. “People just need to be educated. It’s not going away anytime soon.”
“The big problem is not getting bit, it’s bringing them home,” said Adam Greenberg, president of BugZip, a $10-$20 plastic covering that shields luggage in hotel rooms might give you more peace of mind than you think.
My advice would be to ask the hotel when the last time they treated for prevention of bed bugs. If they look at you with a blank stare you might want to turn and run the other way. Not all hotels that don’t treat for bed bugs have them but upon arriving home and finding you brought a few new friends with you, don’t be “bugged” about it. You have been warned!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Four Seasons The Biltmore – Santa Barbara Nov 5- 7

Wine Lovers,  Romantic Getaway

or BFF Weekend!

The Biltmore, Santa Barbara

November 5 -7, 2010

Take advantage of this fabulous offer for the Four Seasons Santa Barbara.

Located on the beach, 90 minutes north of LAX and minutes from the center of town.

Andavo guests receive these added values:

  • Upgraded room on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily continental breakfast for up to two in-room guests.
  • Lunch for 2, once during stay, excluding alcohol and gratuity.
  • Welcome amenity in room on behalf of Andavo Travel.

AND…

  • A $100.00 per day, per room, credit to spend for Spa, restaurants or sundries shop.

This is nearly $230 in savings per day! Only our exclusive preferred partner relationship with Four Seasons allows us to offer you these special values!

Contact:  Collette Peck  801-327-7609 collette.peck@andavotravel.com

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Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Combining Business Travel with Leisure Travel

Have you ever been on a business trip and wished you could see more than just the inside of a plane, rental car, hotel room, conference room, etc.?  Well, here is your solution, at least if your business travel takes you to the beautiful state of Utah.
Did you know that Utah has 7 national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, Great Basin and Natural Bridges), with many more national parks nearby including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde?  We also have 7+ national monuments and plenty of national forests.
Utah has enough to keep everyone happy and busy including everything from snow skiing to water skiing, caving to climbing, cycling to hiking, sailing to flying and ballooning to rafting.  You already know that we have the greatest snow on earth and you can be snow skiing in the morning and hiking Zion National Park in the evening all during the same season.
When you come to Utah, don’t miss out on the natural beauty that is easily within a day’s drive of where ever you may be doing business.  You also won’t want to miss out on some of our great restaurants, Café Diablo near Capitol Reef, the Bit and Spur near Zion National Park, and the scrumptuous local restaurants in the Salt Lake area such as Faustina, The Oasis, The Tin Angel, The Rio Grande and many more.
For more information, please visit the websites of the Utah Travel & Tourism or the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Center
For travel arrangements for business or pleasure the travel agents with Christopherson Business Travel and Andavo Travel will be happy to assist you with the highest level of service.  Please contact us at 801.327.7700, 866.327.7650.   Prepare yourself for an adventure that you’ll never forget and start enjoying your business trips!

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Car Rental Companies – Covering It All

With the recent announcement of Hertz purchasing Dollar & Thrifty, all three major car rental companies now cover everything from corporate business to leisure travel business. The purchase announced earlier this week is in the amount of $1.17 billion in cash and stock. The purchase of Dollar & Thrifty will significantly expand the vacation/leisure portion of their business.
Hertz is already the world’s largest car rental company by locations and with this latest transaction it boosts their total to 9,800. “Together we will be able to compete even more effectively and efficiently against other multi-brand car rental companies, offering customers a full range of rental options in the U.S.,” Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement.
The three major U.S. car rental companies, each with two or more large brands are Hertz, Enterprise Holdings Inc. (Enterprise & National) and the Avis Budget Group. Enterprise Holdings Inc. has 7,600 locations, the Avis Budget Group has 6,900 and Hertz now has 9,800.
Competition is always the name of the game and Monday’s announcement comes after the Avis Budget consolidation in 2002 and Enterprise’s acquisition of Alamo and National in 2007. Advertising, marketing and commercials seem to be on the increase as well, follow these links for a little entertainment (some old, some new). To rent your next car, contact Christopherson Andavo Travel at 801.327.7700 or 303.740.3000

Categories
Vacation Travel

Sweet Vacation “DEALS”

As winter is wrapping up it’s season with snow and rain scattered with a little sunshine here and there, put away your snow shovels, boots, coats and gloves. It is time to break out the swim suits and suntan lotion and pack your bags for some rest and relaxation. There is no better time then now to take advantage of these vacation “Deals”. Here are just a few of those sweet “Deals” available to you!

  • Save up to $200.00 to Maui and Lana’i
  • Save up to $225.00 at the Ka’anapali Beach hotel in Maui
  • Save up to $250.00 to Aruba
  • Save up to $200.00 to Aston Hotels Resorts in Hawaii
  • Free airfare to the Bahamas
  • Save up to $150.00 at RIU Hotels Resorts
  • Save up to $250.00 to London

Of course there are some restrictions to these “Deals”. If you are flexible with your travel dates and looking for a great vacation don’t wait to cash in on these great savings. Call your Christopherson Travel Vacation team today. 801-327-7600

Categories
Vacation Travel

Wishing you could be somewhere warm right now?

It is a great time to travel to that longed for warm destination. There are many discounts available. Instead of spending hours upon hours searching online for the best vacation value, just pick up the phone and call one of Christopherson’s Vacation Travel Advisors. We receive numerous promotional offers daily. These offers are for you who are looking for a great value in a vacation.

Just a few examples:

  • Free 5 category upgrades on cruises.
  • Up to $1500.00 off on a transatlantic cruise
  • A free day at Disneyland for a day of service
  • Disney World giving up to $750.00 gift cards
  • Shipboard credits from $100.00 to $300.00
  • AND MANY MANY MORE

Call today to take advantage of these time sensitive offers.

801-327-7600 or 866-327-7600

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor vs. online booking

On numerous occasions I have received a call from a “should-be” client saying that they have a problem with their reservation and asking for my help. When I ask, “Which agent assisted you?” their reply is “I booked it myself online” then I just cringe. I tell them that I cannot touch their online booking. I can offer suggestions to a solution but most of the time there is not much that can be done.
There is great value in using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor. We will not only save you time, but we will spare you the complexity and anxiety of the planning process.
The trusted Vacation Travel Advisors at Christopherson Travel have a world of resources at our fingertips thanks to our membership in Virtuoso, the leading network of top luxury travel agencies. We are able to offer privileged access, exclusive amenities and generous upgardes that you can’t get on your own. We specialize in designing a one-of-a-kind travel experiences for our clients. Coordinating a special travel experience is the goal of every personal advisor.
The next time you are planning a vacation use a personal Travel Advisor and save yourself many headaches.

Categories
Vacation Travel

NEW 7 Wonders of the World

First, I will familiarize you with the Original 7 wonders of the Ancient world.  This list is thought to be compiled in the 5th century with the Greek historian Herodotus.  This list was later compiled in the Middle Ages, even though most of these sites have been destroyed.  IN 2007, MORE THAN 100 MILLION PEOPLE VOTED ON THE NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, WHICH IS POSTED AFTER THIS ORIGINAL LIST.

Original 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon-  75 foot high multilevel gardens were supposedly built  600 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar.  If existed, it is said to be destroyed by earthquake near Bagdad after the 1st century BC
  • Statue of Zeus at  Olympia-  Built by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435-450 BC.  This 40 foot statue is believed to have been destroyed by fire in the 5th century.
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus-  A series of temples to honor Greek goddess Artemis built around 550 BC.  It was burned down by fire in the 5th century.  Its remains are now in Turkey.
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus-a white marble tomb, 135 ft high, buit in about 350  BC.  Built as a burial place for Mausolus, the king in the Persian Empire.  It was damaged by an earthquake around 15th century.
  • Colossus fo Rhodes-  100 foot statue of the Greek god Helios built around 280 BC, and took more than a decade to built was destroyed by an earthquake 60 years later.
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria-  Built on a small island near Alexandria called Pharos around 270 BC.  It was about 380 feet high, three tiered and was one of the tallenst structures on Earth.  Destroyed by earthquakes at the end of the 14th century.
  • Great Pyramid of Gisa-  The only 7 Wonders of the Ancient world still standing. Built circa 2550 BC as the tomb for 4th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu.  Its base of 13 sq acres and height of 450 feet took 2.3 million blocks of stone to build

New 7 Wonders of the World

A  must see for all world travelers

  • Great wall of  China-  The great wall is a succession of multiple walls spanning approx 4,000 miles, making it the world’s longest manmade structure.  Built to protect the borders of the Chinese Empire from invading Mongols, between 5th century BC and 16th Century.
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue-  You can see this in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The 130 foot concrete and soapstone statue was built  at a cost of approximately $250,000, in which most of the money was donations. Since 1931 it has been an eternal blessing for the Brazilians and awesome sight.
  • Machu Picchu-  An Inca city thought by scholars to have been a sacred archaeological center for the Incan capital of Cusco. It is between two towering Andean peaks built in the mid-1400’s.  It was abandoned and rediscovered in 1911.  The site can only be reached by foot, train or helicopter.
  • Chichen Itza-  In the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, near Cancun, lies these ruins.  Built by the genius and adaptability of the Mayan it is believed to be a powerful trading  and political center for cloth, slaves,honey and salt .
  • Roman Colosseum-  In Rome, Italy this colosseum is the most sought after tourist site.  It was built between 70 & 80 AD and was used for over 500 years. It sat 50,000 spectators, who watch the gladitorial events and other public events.  Earthquakes and stone-robbers have left the colosseum in a state of ruins, but is being restructure and is  remains open to tourists.
  • Taj Majal-  In Agra, India stands this mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.  Built between 1632-1648, this white marble mausoleum represents Persian, Islamic, Turkis and Indian achitectural styles.  It also encompasses formal gardens, sunken flower beds and a linear reflection pool.
  • Petra-  In Jordan, it likely was in its prime from 9 BC to AD 40. This early civilization proved to be experts in manipulating water technology.  It is constucted of intricate tunnels and water chambers.    It consists of a number of incredible structure carved into ste, a 4,000 seat amphitheater and the El-Deir monastery.

If you liked this list, stay tuned for other Natural Wonders list of amazing WATERFALLS, BRIDGES, BUILDINGS, LOST CITIES, AND MORE.

 

Categories
Vacation Travel

O’ahu Hawaii what to see and do

For many vacationers traveling to Hawaii, O’ahu is a quick stop over for a couple of days before flying on to Maui, Kauai, or Hawaii. The most often requested attraction is Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. While I agree that these two attractions are a must do, there is so much more to see and do while in O’ahu. One could easly spend a week exploring the island and still not see it all. Most all the attractions can be pre arranged by your travel consultant. It is recommended to prebook these activities before you get there so that you will not be disappointed if they are sold out. Rest assured that if you prebook an activity and then find that your plans have changed you can change the time or date without a penalty. Christopherson Travel’s vacation consultants have experienced first hand many of these tours and can assist in finding the right tour for anyone.
Here are just a few examples of the many activities that are available on O’ahu.
Two Good Kayaks: A paddling tour that takes you over the reef-protected waters on Kailua Bay.
Hans Hedemman Surf School: Learn how to surf the waves from a professional surfer during a 2 hour private lesson.
Home of the Brave: A unique military historic tour with access to many points of interest not accessable without special permission from the government.
Island Seaplane Tour: A fun and exciting way to see and experience the beautiful island of O’ahu. It is offered as a 30 minute tour or a full hour tour.
Dolphin Quest Encounter: Swim and play with dolphins in a natural lagoon. Each Dolphin encounter is unique based upon the guests, trainers and dolphins.
The next time you are planning a vacation to Hawaii consider spending a few days on O’ahu and experence the many activities available to you.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Venice, Italy’s floating city


I just returned from Venice Italy, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Arriving in Venice by water taxi is amazing and scenic, the buildings are so delicately placed / suspended above water, it is a stunning city glistening on the water.  Venice’s major water way the Grand Canal runs through the entire city, lined with palaces, churches, medieval buildings and gondolas.  Venice is a walking city, with over 400 bridges, the Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous spanning the canal.  Visit Piazza San Marco, the Basilica, enjoy your favorite drink while listening to the orchestra.  Walk the bridge of sighs and the Rialto.  The best way to see and get a feel of the Grand Canal is by enjoying a Venetian Gondola ride.  Explore Burano, a charming picturesque fishing village, a great place to spend an afternoon, have lunch, shop, and take in this peaceful colorful island from Venice.  The average stay in Venice is three to four days, you will find the finest welcoming accomodations, a favorite is the Danieli, historical and luxurious.  Treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the Terrazza Danieli on the top floor offering exclusive views and delicious cuisine.  Venice is romantic and magic, sure to please and exceed your expectations, make it your city of a lifetime.

Categories
Travel News

Need Miles? Here some ideas

With summer vacations fast approaching and wallets seemingly thinner than they should be, more people are turning to their frequent flyer programs to help lower the expense of their vacation.  Some folks are discovering that their miles have been devalued over the last year or two and suddenly need a few more miles in order to secure the flights that they want.

Here are some options that may allow you get a few more miles.

US Airways is offering double qualifying miles.  The offer runs through April 30th, 2009.  You do need to register prior to traveling.  The url is https://www.usairways.com/awa/Content/dividendmiles/promotions.aspx.
United Airlines has a variety of offers which can be found at: www.United.com/mileageplus under the Airline Promotions section.  These range from bonuses of 10,000 miles for flying on specific routes to triple miles in some markets.  You do need to register in order to gain these benefits. Most of these offers require that travel is completed by late April or early May so you will want to get started as soon as possible.
American Airlines is offering members of the AAdavantage program the chance to earn double elite status miles from now until June 15th, 2009.  You do need to register at www.aa.com/dbeqm in order to get these miles.
Delta Air Lines is currently offering bonuses for flying between Cincinnati and select cities.  The have a weighted or scaled approach to their bonuses.  Travel must be completed no later than the 12th of May, 2009.  The first roundtrip is worth 3,000 bonus miles and by the time you complete your fifth trip you will get 10,000 for your trip.  You do need to register for this trip at: www.delta.com/cvgbonus.
Continental is offering a variety of promotions, including double elite qualifying miles.  Most of their current promotions require travel to be completed no later than May 31st, 2009.  You will need to register at www.continental.com/onepass and go to News and Offers for the specifics.
Other strategies for enhancing one’s miles can including using specific car rental agencies, staying at hotels and participating in their frequent guest programs, or one can get miles by taking advantage of various credit card offers or there are the shopping and service options. 
The car rental agencies typically offer some set number of miles per rental, regardless of the length and cost of the rental.  Generally these offers range between 250 and 1000 miles per rental.  You can use rentals to help build your miles incrementally over the course of a year.
The hotel programs generally allow you to convert their points into frequent flyer miles.  Depending on the program, it may not be worth converting the points to miles since the points can be used for free night stays.
The credit card programs frequently have hidden costs ranging from fees to utilize miles, to higher interest rates or fees to transfer points to miles.  My advice is to do your homework to make sure that the program works for you before signing up.
The shopping and services option that most airlines now are can be a gold mine of miles.  You can get miles for purchasing everything from music at iTunes, to buying dinner, to purchasing electronics at Best Buy.  Plus you can get miles for using Netflix, or Brinks Home Security or T-Mobile or for using partners when you do your mortgage or when you make investments through select brokerage firms, just to name a few options.  If you are going be spending the money for shopping or if you need to get a mortgage or you are buying an investment or any number of other services, why not get miles for it.
Last but by no means least, you can purchase a limited number of miles directly from the airlines.  So if you find that you are short by 1000 or 5000 miles, you can buy enough miles to get you to that next award level. 
Hopefully you will find that some or all of these ideas are helpful and allow you to maximize your miles and allow you to enjoy your summer vacation at little or no cost to you.