Summer is officially upon us and that means ¾ of the country will be traveling somewhere. I don’t make this up – it’s an actual factual statement! That is a good portion of the American public packing up their things and vacationing for several days to several weeks. Of course, that also means that a lot of places – the beach, the mall, the pool, any theme park or water park, museums, zoos – will be overrun with tourists, and even locals. And those places aren't stupid either. They try to suck as much money out of you as possible. The hotels and airlines get in on the action, too. Actually, they might be the start of the action, and the rest follow suit because they know you will pay $22 for a bottle of sunscreen if you forgot yours at home and are already at the beach and probably won’t go back, put on pants and drive to Target to get some at a quarter of the price. Your wallet weeps, the seller cheers and so goes the sounds of summer. In case you need a more realistic description, it’s you going “Gah! $22?!” and then the happy “ching” of the cash register.
Now that you’re frantically scribbling down “sunscreen” at the top of your packing list (with three underlines and an exclamation point), lest you forget it and be an example to others, I am here to bring you some links to things I also find useful or thought-provoking this week. If you still haven’t planned a summer vacation yet, but are dying to go somewhere to spend your hard-earned dollars, here is a good breakdown of where to go this summer to save big and still have fun. (These are suggested by the good folks at HomeAway):
- June – Yes, it’s almost over, but there’s still a week to go and I know there are plenty of travelers planning road trips, so these are still feasible: Yosemite, Phoenix, Santa Monica, Oregon (woot!), Atlanta, Seattle, Santa Cruz, Connecticut, Boston and Great Lakes (Michigan). That’s a lot to choose from with completely different landscapes and things to do.
- July – AAA estimates that cheap gas prices are going to encourage more travelers to get out on the road over Fourth of July. If you want to be among them, check out these affordable destinations: the Jersey Shore, Miami Beach, South Padre Island (Texas), Kennebunkport (Maine), Long Island, Santa Monica, Dayton Beach (Florida), Cape Cod, Hilton Head (South Carolina) and Pebble Beach.
- August – It’s getting hot now, so it’s so much easier to pack lighter on an August trip. Here’s where to save some bucks (and lose some) this month: Carmel, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Buffalo (New York) and Chesapeake Bay (Maryland).
Speaking of road trips, there are a bunch of apps that can make car travel so much easier. With everyone having a smarty phone nowadays, Techlicious has rounded up their favorites to help you make the most of your time crammed in with your loved ones, from finding cheap gas to finding things to do while you’re on your asphalt adventure. Make sure to remember your car charger!
While you’re driving across this great country of ours, you'll want to pack some food stuffs, because stopping at greasy spoons and fast food joints not only gets old, but it also gets expensive and unhealthy. A good old fashioned road trip should include a big cooler full of eats from home. I like stopping at nice rest areas, national parks or scenic overlooks and busting out my sandwich making skillz. Citibank’s blog also suggests these things.
Have you ever misplaced your cell phone and started freaking out that your “whole life was in there!”? You’re not alone. In fact, according to a study, more people get upset over losing their mobile than they do about losing their wedding ring. On that list are many other techie flip-out moments, like “outlet rage”. How attached are you to your gadgets when you travel? See if you are in the new norm, according to Intel Corp.
Sears wants you to travel more…and also make more money off you. Starting in July, they’ll be offering select vacation packages that you can purchase through their site SearsVacations.com. The catch? You can put your vacation on layaway, make payments and make it more affordable…or think it’s more affordable if you make payments and end up paying more than you can actually afford. This is where you will definitely want to price compare. It’s always better to put away funds and still save money on your trip than pay over time and spend more.
Are you in need of luggage for your next trip? FareCompare wants to make sure you get the right carry-on bag for your needs. I am very picky about my bag and with good reason. I use it, a lot. If I don’t want to look at it and it’s inconvenient (not enough pockets, no compartments, wonky handle height), then I’m not going to get my money’s worth out of it before I start shopping for a new one. Make sure you learn before you buy. Rick Seaney wants to help!
So, have you found anything cool or interesting on the interwebs of late? If so, make sure you link up in the comments!