Its Summer, and the mind turns to vacation. Heading out on the open road, seeing new sights, living the good life, letting the kids experience new things, meet new people, share new ideas. Or not. Will you be taking a vacation or a staycation?
I just got back from Orlando and the UK and the summer travel season hit me right between the eyes. Traffic, Airports, Hotels, Theme parks. They are jammed.
Americans are noted for not travelling outside our country. Brits, Europeans, Canadians and those from Oz and Middle Earth all take long trips to fairer climes and love to sit on beaches and swill drinks filled with umbrellas and fruit. They look askance at those of us who stay within our borders but admit that we have a lot to offer within driving distance.
They are right. Talk about broad vistas, wonderful beaches, a terrific wine country, cities filled with jazz and great food, places to visit Mickey and have a great time, we have them all. Plus they are fairly easy to get to. But is there a down side?
Air Travel: Airports are jammed with people unclear on the concept. Road Warriors know how to pack, how to deal with the TSA, how not to set off that metal detector, how to have the ID and boarding pass in their hands when they meet the officer, not to begin the search when he asked for them. Plus a family of five doesn’t move through and airport at the speed of light. Airplanes are jammed. That extra seat next to you is filled with a 10 year old who loves to bounce around while playing video games. And don’t get me started on the airline’s inability to have a flight crew arrive before the time your plane is scheduled to leave.
The Weather: You leave Minneapolis with its high temperatures killer humidity and head to Orlando, or New Orleans, or Houston, or Miami, or Chicago, or Phoenix or New York or DC, all with their high temperatures and killer humidity.
Cars: Gas prices seems to jump automatically by about a buck between June 1 and Labor Day. Plus the local state highway department brings out the construction crews and close lanes across the fruited plane. This minor inconvenience plus the extra 10 million folks on the highway makes for traffic only a statistician could love.
Did they forget to tell you there are thunderstorms in the summer almost everywhere? Those things spawn Tornados. Hotels that told you one thing on Expedia tell you another in real life. Did you know that tickets for Disneyland for a family of four for two days cost $1600?
I know I sound a bit grumpy, but is exposing oneself to the living hell of summer vacations really worth it? That staycation is looking better and better.