The Fourth of July is the height of summer festivities; picnics and barbecues, family vacations, swimming and fireworks. Consumers and businesses alike are planning for what’s often seen as the crown jewel of summer. With so much excitement in the air, being safe and smart isn’t always at the front of our minds. That’s why your local Better Business Bureau is here with helpful tips and reminders for everything you need to know to prepare for the holiday.

Travel

Whether you visit friends and family, road trip to the best fireworks show or just get out of town for the holiday weekend, July 4 offers a lot of reasons to travel. Preparing before you leave can keep you from having to spend valuable vacation time on unexpected travel problems.

• Inspect your car. If you are taking your car on a long trip, have it inspected before you go to catch any problems that could arise during a long drive. This could save you from both minor inconveniences and major accidents. You can visit bbb.org to find accredited mechanics.

• Book hotels through their direct sites. If your travel plans include staying in a hotel, book your room through the hotel’s site rather than a third-party site. This will cut down the risk of reserving your room on a scam site, but it doesn’t hurt to call ahead to confirm your reservation.

Sales

If you hear “Fourth of July” and think “incredible deals,” these may be the tips for you. The following terms are common in sales, and it can be helpful to know exactly what they mean and what questions you should ask before you buy.

• Lowest price. Sometimes, the “lowest price” is only available to certain customers. For example, if you are looking for a car, the lowest price may only be available to someone with excellent credit. Most major auto brands run Independence Day sales on new cars, so if your plans for July 4 lead you to a dealership, be sure you qualify for the best offer.

• Limited-time offer. Sometimes sales run for a limited time but multiple times a year. Ask employees if this sale or a similar sale will run again this year not just around Fourth of July.

Festivities

Fireworks and barbecues are vital parts of many Fourth of July celebrations, but you should be sure you’re celebrating safely and legally.

• Follow local rules. Rules change from area to area and could include bans within city limits. If you aren’t sure what the local fireworks regulations are, contact local fire officials.

• Find necessary permits. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, permits from the local fire department are required for fireworks shows of 50 people or more. Similar rules may apply to barbecues in public places, and those questions can also be directed to your local fire department.

For more tips, visit bbb.org, and from everyone at BBB serving the Heart of Texas, happy Independence Day!


Emily Gaines is the public relations coordinator for the Bryan-College Station office of Better Business Bureau.

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