How to en­joy a real sum­mer va­ca­tion

The Western Star - - TRAVEL - BY PAULINE FROMMER

Re­mem­ber when sum­mer re­ally meant va­ca­tion? I’m talk­ing, of course, of the time be­fore you were able to vote, when sum­mer meant free­dom from school and ei­ther ad­ven­tures at camp, a fun sum­mer job, or long lazy days do­ing very lit­tle. How­ever you did it when you were younger, sum­mer was a break from the daily rou­tine — and a wel­come one.

But for most of us, sum­mer now means the same com­mute, the same job and the same re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but with tan­ta­liz­ing sun­shine glit­ter­ing on the win­dow­pane, re­mind­ing us of what we’re miss­ing. So it’s more im­por­tant than in other sea­sons that, when able to carve out a week or two of es­cape, we do it right. Here are a few sug­ges­tions for the sum­mer of 2018.

Get time off (re­ally off): Alert your co-work­ers and boss that you’ll be tak­ing your va­ca­tion time ... and ac­tu­ally va­ca­tion­ing. That might mean some ad­di­tional work be­fore you head out, but prep­ping oth­ers to help with your job while you’re away will trans­form your trip into a true hol­i­day.

Choose a des­ti­na­tion that speaks to you: Where that will be will be dif­fer­ent for each per­son. Some love to visit old stand­bys and re­live spe­cial mem­o­ries. Oth­ers pur­sue hob­bies when they travel, sched­ul­ing cook­ing classes, trips to the homes of their fa­vorite au­thors or chal­leng­ing hikes. Other trav­el­ers pre­fer vis­it­ing new places with ev­ery trip, and if you fall into that cat­e­gory, I highly rec­om­mend you go to www. f rom­mers. com/ best­places2018 for a list of spots that will be es­pe­cially in­ter­est- ing to visit this year.

Strate­gize your air­port time: If you’re fly­ing, know that you’re go­ing to have a LOT of com­pany, par­tic­u­larly this sum­mer. In­dus­try group Air­lines for Amer­ica is pro­ject­ing that 4 per­cent more peo­ple will take to the skies be­tween June 1 and Aug. 31 this year than last year. That trans­lates to some 246 mil­lion bod­ies wait­ing in se­cu­rity lines and squeez­ing into too- nar­row seats (a new record!). So cush­ion your ar­rival time at the air­port, es­pe­cially if your hub has lim­ited park­ing and long se­cu­rity lines.

You also might con­sider fi­nally shelling out for TSA Precheck. It’s go­ing to be eas­ier to ap­ply for the pro­gram in 2018, thanks to of­fice- sup­ply mega­s­tore Sta­ples. The com­pany has part­nered with the TSA and will be open­ing 50 cen­ters in their stores this sum­mer for ap­pli­cants (in New York, Bos­ton, Seat­tle, Chicago, Dal­las and Los An­ge­les). So in­stead of hav­ing to trek out to the air­port to do an in­ter­view, you might be able to do so in your own com­mu­nity. (Sta­ples ex­pects to open TSA Precheck cen­ters in other ur­ban ar­eas af­ter the ini­tial test roll­out.)

Prep your car and phone: Be­fore any road trip, check your flu­ids ( es­pe­cially coolant in sum­mer) and make sure your spare tire is in­flated. For fun - and safety - pack a cooler with snacks, bev­er­ages and lots of wa­ter. It can be deadly to break down in some of the hot­ter, more re­mote ar­eas of North Amer­ica with­out hav­ing suf­fi­cient wa­ter.

Gas prices are go­ing up, so equip your phone with the GasBuddy app, which will alert you to the least ex­pen­sive gas sta­tions in the area you’re driv­ing. We’re also fans of the Au­to­mo­bile Club of Amer­ica’s Fuel Cost Cal­cu­la­tor at https:// gasprices. aaa. com/ aaa- gas­cost- cal­cu­la­tor/. You’ll in­put your itin­er­ary, plus the make and model of your car, and it will give you a cal­cu­la­tion of fuel costs for the en­tire trip, al­low­ing you to bet­ter bud­get for all your ex­penses.

Note to the reader: Please be sure to con­firm all rates and de­tails di­rectly with the com­pa­nies in ques­tion be­fore planning your trip. The in­for­ma­tion in this col­umn was ac­cu­rate when it was re­leased, but prices are com­pet­i­tive, some­times lim­ited and can al­ways change with­out no­tice. Pauline Frommer is the Edi­to­rial Di­rec­tor for the Frommer Travel Guides and From­mers.com. She co-hosts the ra­dio pro­gram The Travel Show with her fa­ther, Arthur Frommer and is the au­thor of the best-sell­ing Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City.

JORGE QUINTEROS

En­joy a re­lax­ing sum­mer va­ca­tion with these travel tips.

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