Presidential Road Trips You Can Take This Weekend

Road trips taken over the weekend can get us away from our normal routine and surroundings without a lot of planning or cost involved. Some people would like to get away from election season ads on television, websites, newspapers and magazines. Others are really into the process of selecting the next president of the United States and look for ways to feed their addiction. Here are some easy fixes for travelers who just can’t get enough of the election year hoopla.

Stop by any 7-11 store and cast your vote by simply buying a drink to participate in their 7-Election. A blue or red cup choice counts as your vote for either candidate and can contribute to a historically precise way of predicting the election outcome.

2004, the 7-Election predicted Bush would defeat Kerry 51 to 49 percent.
Actual vote: Bush 50.7 percent, Kerry 48.3 percent.

2008, the 7-Election Obama would defeat McCain 52 to 46

2012 election running totals are posted on the 7-11 website.

The Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, features exhibits, special events, and educational programs. Like other presidential libraries and museums, replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room are a highlight of a day-trip visit.

Permanent exhibits utilize documents, photographs, videos and interactive stations. The National Archives has information on all the presidential libraries, mostly located east of the Rocky Mountains.

The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository has a permanent exhibit featuring films, photographs and artifacts that chronicle President John F. Kennedy’s life, death and legacy.

Another exhibit in Dealey Plaza, has been designated as a national landmark. The grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza is a small, sloping hill inside the plaza that became infamous following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The birthplace of President Grover Cleveland in Caldwell, New Jersey, has historical significance dating back to 1881 when Cleveland was running for governor of New York. Like other presidential birthplaces, the Grover Cleveland site preserves artifacts from Cleveland’s early years including his cradle and original family portraits.

Even those with no plans to travel (except out of the United States if their candidate does not win) have some help. JetBlue’s Election Protection will fly about 1,000 disappointed voters out of the country (and back) the day after the election.

“We decided to give people a chance to follow through on their claim to skip town if their candidate comes up short,” Marty St. George, senior VP of Marketing for JetBlue said in a Time report.

Still, if a road trip this weekend is in your plans, here are some tips for making it a great one.

[Photo Credit: 7-eleven]

Travel Like The President? New Series Shows How

The Travel Channel kicks off its newest series of specials called “Travel Like…” next month to
take us behind the scenes with “Travel Like a President,” hosted by NBC’s Peter Alexander.

Going along for the ride on Air Force One and beyond, the hour-long special shows us what it takes to keep the commander in chief on track with a demanding travel schedule.

“We are excited about the ‘Travel Like…’ umbrella series as we will have the opportunity to explore and share many unique travel experiences from a fresh and unexpected perspective,” said Andy Singer, General Manager, Travel Channel in a Broadway World article.

“Our first special, ‘Travel Like a President,’ is designed to give viewers an all-access, unprecedented look at the enormous level of detail and thought that comes with the territory when you are the leader of the free world,” said Singer. “It’s meant to be informative yet entertaining … and perhaps inspire our viewers to embark on their very own presidential trip.”

Future specials in development include working titles such as, “Travel Like an Icon” and “Travel Like a Movie Star,” which will look at travel through the eyes of celebrities, rock musicians, actors and personalities, sharing their own stories of travel along with memories from the road.

“Travel Like A President” premieres on the Travel Channel Tuesday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT

… or you could watch this hour-long YouTube video from our friends at National Geographic, “Inside: Air Force One.”

[Flickr photo by Aram K]

When supply and demand becomes gouge and pilfer

January 20th will be a pretty big day for any business in the Washington DC area. It probably doesn’t matter whether you are selling doughnuts or special inauguration plates, people will be heading to DC in the millions ready to buy whatever it is you are selling.

With that many people, it is only logical that many of them will plan to stay the night, so naturally that drives the price of accommodations up a little. However, it appears that most hotels in the area have taken “a little” to a whole new level, way beyond what they usually do for special events.

Take for example the Crown Plaza Hamilton, a fairly basic 3 1/2 star hotel in the downtown area. This hotel normally charges between $85 and $100 for a standard room. Care to guess what they want for a night in a standard room during the inauguration?

That’s right, $1000 bucks. And not just anyone can get that rate, you’ll need to reserve at least 3 nights to get that “special rate”.

In their defense, they are by far not the only ones cashing in on this event, even suburban 1 star hotels are charging a staggering $699 a night (compared to their usual $59 rate).

Inauguration package to Washington D.C.: Ballroom, hotel room, parade, bling and more

With Barack Obama’s election win finalized, here’s one subject to consider. How does a person snag a place at the inauguration festivities? Cinderella needed a fairy godmother to get her to the prince’s ball. Although you don’t necessarily need a fairy godmother, it could help if you want to go high end. Consider this option.

For $50,000, the “politically correct” inauguration package at the Ritz Carlton can be yours. What will this cool cash get you–never mind that you might have seen more than that disappear from your financial portfolio, if you have one, in the last months?

You can get:

  • a 4-night hotel stay at the Ritz Carlton (duh) during the inauguration festivities
  • two front row seats to the Inaugural parade
  • two tickets to one of the official Inaugural balls
  • a “Heart of the Nation” pendant made of white gold, diamonds, rubies and blue sapphires
  • a 24-hour on call driver who’ll tootle you around town in a hybrid car
  • a fancy dinner
  • clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Hmm. politically correct? In this economy? Part of the price tag cost is donated to charity. Oh, in that case. . .

(Deal found in this article in the Wall Street Journal. The Ritz Carlton website doesn’t list the package, but here are more details at Elite Traveler. The photo is from glass)

The traveler’s plea to the next U.S. president

If you’ve followed Gadling for any length of time, you’ve probably caught on that topics range from the serious to the not so serious–from the straight-forward to the downright loopy. Throughout the bounty are our thoughts and interpretations of what it means to be a traveler in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading just a few blocks from where you live to the farthest corners from where you were born. The point is movement outwards.

In this past year, there have been oodles of stories of travelers’ woes and concerns, many that have moved our readers to add comments. Problems with TSA, high gas prices that created a nose dive to vacation plans, shifting airline regulations, airline shutdowns, and reduced amenities on certain flights have lengthened the list of issues that might make a traveler say, “I have a bone to pick with somebody.”

Christopher Elliot who gave us tongue-in-cheek, but kind of serious, ideas for items a plane might ditch has been thinking again. In his essay, “Dear Mr. President” in this month’s issue of National Geographic Traveler he outlines the bones to pick issues–the ones that he would like to take up with the next U.S. president. As Elliot sees it travel related concerns can be divided into the following categories and have relevance to the bigger picture concerns of economics and freedom of movement.

Here they are:

  • Gas prices: High gas prices kept many people staying closer to home or not traveling at all. High fuel prices wrecked havoc on airlines.
  • A weak dollar: This made travel to Europe and other popular vacation hot spots incredibly expensive, thus many didn’t go there.
  • Struggling airlines: Airlines struggling to keep afloat have not been a picnic when it comes to flying.
  • Security hassles: Passport regulations, border issues, and TSA lines to name some have enticed people to just stay home.
  • Travel Restrictions: How about loosening those travel restrictions to Cuba for starters?

In conjunction with Elliot’s essay, and with the U.S. election today, Intelligent Travel is asking readers to present their own ideas on what the next president should consider when it comes to those issues that affect travelers. Here’s today’s section, and here’s yesterday’s where you can comment away. Or comment here, and we’ll pass on the message. [photo by d.c. John]