Author: W. K. Hayes
Advice for the traveler
Maybe you're think about taking a long over-do vacation. I know I could use one, desperately bad. Fact is, on average, I put in a hundred hours a week, or more, trying to stay on top of writing books, building websites, web-logging and the list really does keep going on and on. Still, this isn't about my zombie-fied self. This is about you wanting to get out and have some fun.
First things first, plan your vacation. Being spontaneous has it's place and your vacation is so not one fo them. Seriously! If you rush out the door and take off for the beach or mountains, you'll regret having failed to make plans.
So, plan how long you will be gone. That is the absolutely most important step. If you have nine days off, use the first seven for the vacation and the last two, to recover with. What's the point of taking a vacation just to wear yourself out?
Next thing you need to plan is where you are going. If you're going to the beach, figure out your travel time. If the beach is within five hours from home...take the drive. If it's longer than that, buy prepaid flight tickets a month or so in advance to give yourself the best deals. No sense in paying $300 for a plane ticket when planning a head can cut that price tag down to $100 or less. Flying might seem like taking a short cut versus the ole family drive but be realistic. You only have seven days to enjoy the beach so why spend two of those days in a car?
Once you know where you are going, you'll need a hotel. Most places have seasonal lodging. So, here's my recommendation. Hit the beach after Labor Day, you'll get nearly everything at half price, including your hotel rooms. Not to mention, you'll have more of the beach all to yourselves and it's still plenty warm enough to enjoy swimming and other outdoor activities.
Let's talk about food along the way. If you are rich, you probably won't care for this advice but since most of us are anything but rich...here it goes. When you get to your vacation destination, hit the local grocery store and grab stuff to make sandwiches. If you opted to drive, take a cooler and pack it full of drinks and sandwich fixins. You'll save a bunch in food costs and although this suggestion may sound redneck...I'd rather have a lobster dinner at the beach versus two meals from a fast food joint I could find back home.
Here is a super huge hint to people going on vacation. Be extremely nice to anyone in the customer service business. If you eat a restaurant, be really nice to your waitress and waiter. Trust me, they can give you great insight on places to visit that are off the beaten path and considered a, 'town secret'. Some of them might even hook you up with a mom and pop diner that is to die for. Oh, and leave a good tip. Waiters and waitresses barely make above $2 an hour...they rely heavily on tips!
Here's another suggestion...stop by the local pawn shops. You can get some of the best deals and rarest finds in a pawn shop. The person running the place will even haggle with you but avoid trying to get something for nothing...it won't happen and you will offend the person running the place. (This advice comes from years of experience).
Another great idea is make sure you ask your waiter or waitress if there are any parts of town you should avoid. being safe is key to a successful and very happy vacation. Whatever you do, carry your money in your front pocket. Ladies, leave your purse at home and do the same as your husband. Leaving your purse in your room while touring around is a very bad idea. carrying a purse is also a great way of asking for trouble. Sad but very true.
Ultimately, resist the urge to do too much. Sure, you are there but the most important thing to remember is why you are there...to have fun and rest. Thanks for reading my article. In an upcoming article, I'll make suggestion about some great places I've visited throughout the years and trust me...I've been nearly everywhere in the United States. Only 11 more states to visit. Have a great day!
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