Summer travel tips
With the return of sunshine and spring, people are turning their attention to travel brochures and maps as they ponder summer vacations.
Maybe you’re dreaming of a peaceful week in a mountain cabin or a beach house. Perhaps the family is set on a Kentucky state park or heading off on a Rocky Mountain horseback trip. And don’t overlook ski resorts, which offer mountain beauty and low rates in July and August. Park City, Utah, for example, has a summertime menu of festivals, concerts, and more than 300 miles of hiking and biking trails. The town’s expensive condos and private homes go begging in summer.
For a different type of vacation, consider renting a recreational vehicle. A motor home will cost $70 to $170 a day, while a camping trailer will cost $50 to $120 a day. Consider how you will use the RV—the length of time you will travel and how many people will sleep in it at one time.
The Internet makes finding the ideal getaway easier than ever, and allows you to search by location or by activities, such as golf, tennis, or fishing.
Consider using a travel agent, especially for last-minute bargains or to make certain there are no snags in foreign visits. The agent can also help you with new passport rules that went into effect in January, with more to follow in January 2008.
If you’re going oversees, avoid Venice in the summer: the heat and humidity, plus poor sanitation, make it smelly and unpleasant. Pick another time of year to visit. Consider Vietnam and Cambodia. You’ll find five-star luxury resorts, cheap prices, and get the unforgettable experience of riding an elephant into the Angkor temples. The bird-flu fear is pretty much a thing of the past.
Planning ahead for next winter: consider trips to areas where prices drop in early to mid-April, such as southern Italy and parts of the Caribbean. Think Argentina, where it is summer when it’s February and March here.
Try to spread the cost of vacationing over the entire year by including a “travel” line in your monthly budget and putting aside a fixed amount.
Planning to do a lot of driving? Throw a few extra bucks in your budget to cover higher gas prices.
Before leaving home
Before you leave home, review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to make certain it will protect your home and possessions against vandalism or theft while traveling. You may also want to consider flight or car-rental insurance.
But before buying extra insurance, check your regular homeowner’s or auto policies, which may provide adequate coverage.
Also, turn down the water heater to save a few pennies, and stop newspaper delivery. Notify credit card companies before you travel to prevent your account from being frozen because of unusual charges.
Make certain someone at home knows your itinerary, in case of emergency. You should also let a family member or friend know the whereabouts of important papers, including your will, in case the unthinkable occurs.
ONLINE TRAVEL RESOURCES
www.earthwatch.org: to volunteer for research projects, from sea-turtle study in Malaysia to an archeological dig in Virginia
www.lastminutetravel.com or www.priceline.com: for low rates on car rentals
www.cruisediva.com: for good deals on cruises
www.smartertravel.com: offers a free Deal Alert newsletter that rounds up the best travel deals
www.azworldairports.com: to learn what airlines service what foreign cities
www.vrbo.com: to locate Vacation Rentals by Owners
www.parks.ky.gov: make reservations at Kentucky state parks, as lodge rooms go quickly