How to enjoy a real summer vacation
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.
Enjoy a relaxing summer vacation with these travel tips.