Restless. Tired of the walls in our homes. We’ve been confined for far too long and we want out! That’s the motto this summer! Summer travel is about getting out of town and away from your home, even if it’s only an hour away.
The good news is we can enjoy summer travel!
Conversely, the bad news is, our lives are not quite back to ‘normal’ yet and this unto itself is creating some over-the-top drama for summer travel.
Rather than dwell on the negative effects, we’ll take a quick look at them, and replace summer travel issues with some pragmatic solution essentials to swing back at whatever vacay tosses at you!
Honestly, I can’t wait to leave, and the kids are already packed.
In my world, this is a totally abnormal year. Generally, I would be on trip No.3 by now, as we do a big, and a few short day-trippers too. That’s when I thought about this article and all the highs and lows I’ve had when planning and challenges my friends have run into as well!
Summer Travel: Know Before You Go
Yes, I am a travel writer and the last thing I would ever say is, “don’t travel!” Why? Because traveling is good for the mind and the soul and it takes you to a new place. We need a change of scenery it does a body good!
However, in light of having my own travel issues this year, and then hearing about all the crazy drama from other’s summer travel plans, well, it was time to crank out the article that is the ‘tell-all’ without scaring you!
The more you know, the more you go. The more you go, the less an issue plays into your vacation! You can travel people, do it and support tourism! Don’t let these little summer travel issues stop your roll!
It’s is truly the year of summer travel or bust! With 13 Crazy Things To Know Before You Go so you can be prepared for whatever is launched at you!
Summer Travel Or Bust
We are at the Mid-Summer season of vacay, and if you listen to the news you know that we’ve all gone stir crazy and busted out! Therefore, as we bust out and indulge in summer travel, naturally, things will happen.
Generally, summer travel provides a great time away with our loved ones and often an additional fun ’round the campfire’ or ‘drinking story!. After all, what would travel be if uneventful?
Anywhere But Here = Summer Travel
For those that have put off going to some more local options, this year has become the ‘time to put that thought aside and book it instead!’ RIght? Perhaps you normally have gone to the Outer Banks, but when you tried to book there, you found that there were -0 properties available.
Who even knew -0 was a number right? It’s the one you don’t want to see when you are attempting to BOOK a vacation rental reservation!
Then maybe you can get back to your favorite vacay spot?
For those that are planning summer travel or planned summer travel
Anywhere besides here right? This year, however, anywhere but here, might be a here for now and anywhere later kind of deal because vacay is not coming without ‘issues’ for many attempting to get out of town!
Keep the following in mind all through your travelers this summer. Positive and Truthfulness go farther every time!
- Build travel back up, help the industry.
- Leave honest reviews, don’t whine.
- Understand the new normal we are in.
- Be kind to the staff, they are trying and often overworked.
- Remember to valiantly tip.
- Be happy we are OUT Of our homes! Celebrate life again.
Here’s a bit more insight into what’s going on with vacationing this year.
No. 1 Gas & Getting The Best Price for Summer Travel
You are going to drive and then you start budgeting in your gas. Wowza. Did that really say $3.65/gallon or is that just a Pennsylvania gouging thing? Yes, it’s true the price of gas is sky-rocketing. Demand?
I mean, didn’t the gas companies have so much unused fuel because we were ALL locked down for a year? So now you have a surplus but you are treating it like it is less than enough and creating Pain at the pump!
Did you expect those HIGH prices at the Gas Pumps? Well, then I hope you are one of those lucky recipients of a stimulus check so you can use that to pay off your gas bills!
- Gas App
No. 2 Summer Travel + Driving
You are ready to roll, but you want to take the WHOLE family. Rather than drive your car, you want to rent a car, a van, an SUV. Or, perhaps you have flown off to a popular destination such as a beach, or another popular travel area?
It starts with a phone call or an online check as you begin the reservation process. STOP right there because you’ll be lucky if you can FIND a rental car. If you do happen to find a rental, it might be seriously over-priced.
Your next pragmatic solution is a newer way to rent a car is a faster, more effective solution! IN fact, you might NEVER go through an Enterprise of other car rental service again!
In fact, you are still renting a car, but it’s contactless and almost like the Airbnb version of car rental, just without (to date) the insane and crazy issues that Airbnb has been having! Read the fine print, learn the details of the rental and go!
No. 3 Mega Traffic + Summer Travel
I won’t even pretend I have a solution to Traffic, but I will say this. Stay positive, keep your car filled with gasoline and keep going. While you may have a stoppage in travel, a slight delay, you are still going. Be positive and move along.
Last, you’ve got a navigation system of some sort, use it, detour, take a different road, you might find things you never knew you would see and experience and that’s all goo!
No. 4 Hotels
Don’t focus just on hotel stays, because there are still not enough rooms, or staff to service the rooms.
First, hotels may be trying to overcommit and be understaffed at the same time, just roll with it.
When you don’t find enough towels in your room, walk to the front desk, it’s easy to get a few more. The hotel won’t have enough staff to bring them to you, (or they may have staff but then it will take a while).
Don’t give a negative hotel review online over lack of towels. solve the issue, with your 2 feet and mouth. Walk. Ask. Return. Do us all a favor and don’t be a Karen/Debi Downer.
No. 5 Hungry While At Your Hotel?
Next, breakfasts may or may not be included right now. Get in your car, and go local, support a business. They’ll support your hunger in return. Or, if you are in an area with Uber eats, go for it.
Don’t bother with a negative review because all the hotel was offering was toast and cereal, be happy they were offering that. Or solve the issue. With a lot of great options generally within a hotel area, you are sure to find a way to help yourself.
What Would You Review The Hotel For?
Since hotels are reopening, and understaffed, you might have other things you could be helpful in reviewing. Things that lead MORE of us to a great hotel and help the managers of a hotel improve what is lacking. Not about food, or one set of towels.
Realistic Issues that help the rest of us decided on that hotel stay such as:
- Were the beds clean?
- Sheets – clean or not?
- No Bed bugs?
- Toiletries in the bathroom?
- Working A/C?
- Are luggage Valet Carts available?
- Plentiful Parking?
- Contactless Check-IN?
- Is the room ready on time?
The idea with hotel stays now, is to use your reviews to either share the really positive, or the really negative attributes of the establishment, not the food. We need to build things back again and negative reviews based on overworked staff at a 2 AM check-in or lack of a breakfast buffet is not what we are going for. Be helpful to all of us.
No 6. To Fly Or Not?
When you listen to the news or read the news, you might happen to find some serious issues that will make you reconsider flying to a destination. Well, remember the news will find the person who had the ABSOLUTE worst experience and expound on it until it travels like a virus (sorry)!
- Yes, flights are being canceled
- there are also a lot of ‘In-Air’ incidents
- No alcohol is being served on flights
- Flight prices are higher than normal, but so are gas prices when driving –
Consider the truth in Flying Now
However, for the mass amounts of travelers, summer travel has gotten them from Point A to Point B. Almost 100% of rentals are filled, and not EVERYONE is driving! Hello, flying!
Masks are fine to wear if it helps get you there.
No alcohol, no problem as patrons of the flights are stopping at the bars in the airport ahead or after.
You’ll get to where you are going faster because you are flying and then when you get there, you can start your vacay faster, a true summer travel win!
No. 7: Summer Travel At Destinations Around The USA with Food + Dining
Tee up the right expectations for those you are traveling with. There are so many ways to access food + beverage, so use them. You can go out, dine in or do a combination.
Just understand there are pragmatic solutions to each of the listed travel items below.
For Vacation House Rentals/Apartments/Condos/Studio Rooms/Hotels
Summer Travel Expectations: Dining + Food
- Expect longer food waits
- Harder to find reservations
- Less staff in a restaurant
- Grocery stores with fewer lanes open
- Expect to find fewer menu options
- Don’t expect all hotels to serve breakfast or have ALL restaurants opened
- Expect adjusted hours that may not align with ‘the old normal’
- Don’t expect to linger longer at a table, some time restraints might be in place at restaurants to turn the tables be respectful.
Instead, try these options:
If you are headed to a vacation rental and driving:
- prep meals ahead, freeze, and bring along!
- Shop before you stop at your rental. Seek out a grocery store and pick up as much as you will need (fewer trips back)
- Bring along some other oddities like sanitizing wipes as well as paper products and toiletries.
- Fuel up, once you get to your destination, so you are ready for the week without hassles! (has nothing to do with food, but often food and gas are purchased in very close proximity to one another so more of a summer travel vacay tip than a food tip!
If you are flying, do all of the above once you get your rental vehicle.
Other alternatives to Food + Dining during summer travel no matter where you are staying
Use food service deliveries so you don’t have to leave your rentals! Here are some examples
- Uber Eats
- Order food delivery services of restaurants that have their own delivery too
Prefer to cook your own food, but you don’t want to go to the store?
- Walmart Home Delivery
- And there are so many more.
- This will keep you at home, in the lake, pool, beach, boat, cabin, round the fire pit, etc without leaving!
Everything you need, from the grocery store, such as marshmallows for s’mores, chocolate bars, popcorn, steak, fruit, veggies!
Don’t forget to Also Seek Out…
Farmer’s markets and food trucks. These each support the local businesses as well as provide a fresh take on what you are consuming each day!
No. 8 Vacation Rentals – VRBO – Summer Travel Insight
So, for me, after a few feather-ruffling moments, VRBO is the go-to for home rentals, but being honest, the pricing currently aligns with the demand and it’s not pretty!
- Try to seek locations that are not in the mountains, lakes, or beachside, you might have better luck and better rates.
- Dumb down your ‘want list’ and modify it to be the best without all the best: if you wanted a pool, and a beachside, settle for a pool and a short drive to a beach.
- For those seeking more bedrooms, pair it down to fewer rooms, and ask if you can bring along a few air mattresses, that work well, and often owners are very receptive.
- Get what you want without ‘over getting may be the ONLY way to GET anything at all this year!
- Travel closer to your home, instead of farther.
- Consider a modified version of your trip, like 3 days rather than a week, because often there are 3 days slots, you’ve just got to find the mojo combination of that, and there are plenty of those out there (trust me, we’ve sought after them and found on VRBO).
- Take a smaller trip now, and take a FALL getaway! You’ll find more STOCK on rentals available then!
- Last and maybe most important, if beachside, make sure you find one that is refundable in case of impending weather called out the WEEK before you go so you can cancel without penalty.
Knowledge Tip: A few years ago, we rented through VRBO, and we were midweek and at that point had a bit of a rough beginning:
It was not a keyless entry and the lady that was to meet us did not show up on time. We sat there for an hour or better waiting. There was no one else to call as the owner lived far away.
The refrigerator (per the owner via personal email communication) was stocked with treats for us, to avoid a first-night grocery store stop for hungry growing boys, yet NOTHING was in the refrigerator. (my photo upon arrival) Yes, it was just an added bonus, but one I was happy to know we had waiting, yet we ended up back out to the store for food after a LONG day of travel.
The Remote to the garage was broken and no way to fix it.
Our pool heater would not work.
We told the cohost and nothing was done, and we lived with ALL the issues all week, until, suddenly…
Midweek the microwave stopped working and I said, “this place just is awful, they should not be able to list on VRBO” and not 2 minutes later we had a phone call. Why? You can figure this out I am sure!
The owner called to apologize for ALL the stuff that had gone wrong. Then went on to tell me, that they had learned that the cleaning person/key person had taken all the food they had stocked and that the cleaning/cohost had broken the door opener, etc. But in my moment of upset, a CALL, impeccably timed, to the point I could take no more.
TO this point, we had NEVER communicated ANY Of this to the owner nor spoken with them. Then we found out she was able to see & hear us when in the kitchen! Plus, her words, “after review”, what ‘review we had no discussion at that point. Suddenly, ‘after review’ all the issues that were confirmed happened in the kitchen.
From midweek forward, we discussed NOTHING in the house. Now the house is no longer a rental, and I am sure we were not the only one that had issues!
No. 9 Summer travel and Air BNB
Seeking: A great place to stay that is not VRBO
Well, how about Airbnb? New to the forum? It’s very similar to the VRBO search but you’ll find better prices, but lots of detail issues you NEED to ask that may not be written, depending on the tenure of the host.
Great spaces abound, as do more fair pricing than a VRBO. Flexibility is a bit better if you want 5-7 days and not a strict 7 days.
Travel Tip You May Not Know
Do note, many places listed on Airbnb are also on VRBO, and I have compared the 2 in my own personal travel life and found that if you prefer booking Airbnb through VRBO (the same listing) and the price is less on Airbnb, the VRBO listing can be ‘price matched!’ True story, we had the offer made for an OBX find!
Here are summer travel + all-year travel Airbnb tips you should have!
I’ll be honest, to date, this has been my least successful route, and while the news does sensationalize, there are some REAL Issues with what you are missing when you book, if you don’t ask questions, you’ll not get answers.
- Parking (on-street, off-street, where? How many vehicles? )
- Couches (beds or not? how old and how comfortable)
- What were ALL the ratings, not just the most recent? (these do count tho, see below)
- Real proximity of the home to everything? Does it really state that?
- Are there cameras installed? Where?
- Noise ordinance?
- Beach passes
- Community pool
- Beach/lake equipment recent photos and recent comments count too because it is what is in the here and now!
Most Info like this: find it on the VRBO website, and sometimes you will find it on an Airbnb but DON’T count on it. ASK.
Also, keep Airbnb as an option for finding some great places to stay at better prices than VRBO, but, just err on the side of caution, it’s glitchy still!
Booking and Airbnb
When you go to inquire and then get offered to book, does it keep telling you that there’s been an error and the owner keep saying impossible EVEN with a screenshot? ) Yes, We had this happen endlessly with an AIRBNB offer and it left me questioning the validity of a possible rental. Especially when the host kept saying it was not possible that the message was there and it was available. It was NOT available and the associated screenshots provided it was ERROR.
Another Recent Personal Experience with Summer Travel
We enquired about a place (since the place WAS NOT BOOKED) if we could shorten the stay. We didn’t have enough days to take for summer travel and since the place had not been booked, we asked. I was less than dazzled by the owner’s response. Based on a $279 a night place, he said, I can take off $75 and you can leave any day you want.
I want to know exactly where $279 translated to $75? When I asked the ‘owner’ no response. As per his other reviews, “He’s slick, and once booked, non-responsive, watch what he promises, as it does not translate to what is provided!”
So We walked away. Personal experience tells me what I need to know!
But I do know Airbnb can be quite reliable and perfect as well, so, there’s good and bad with everything, take it in stride! We just kept looking.
Do Know Hosts of Airbnb can Cancel Your Reservation
More often than not, Airbnb reservations Don’t get canceled, yet media hype falls to those who got canceled. So you will hear More Negative than positive but these small businesses run smoothly as a whole. So I’m not saying AVOID Airbnb, just proceeded cautiously and KNOW Before you Go!
Perhaps a water heater broke
The Airbnb was not able to be cleaned
Pervious numbers exceeded the hosting and the home is trashed
Storms destroyed premises.
Need more reasons why? Read this great article for reference!
9 Pragmatic Solutions To Summer Travel
Whatever creeps up on you, you already are armed and ready for. Do know that summer travel, no matter when is never without its issues. After all, what is a trip without a good summer travel story?
The stories that we recant, share insight but speaks depths to our strengths as a person. Preparedness ahead of any issues makes a smoother transition into the next field of play so to speak. Bookmark this page for reference. Use it in time of need.
Planning is a strength and it helps you look like a rockstar in ‘the moment!’
Enjoy your summer travel ~ Dana XO