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Summer Travel on a Budget

Today on Live at 9 in Memphis, I talked about what travelers can expect this summer and how to stay on budget amid rising fuel costs and added fees. Travelers can expect two things for sure: higher airfare and crowded planes. The high cost of fuel is one of the main factors driving up summer airfares, so to stay on budget, travelers are going to have to be smart and find other ways to save.

One way to find a great deal is to try booking at the last minute. Since last minute travel inventory is unpredictable, this option is ideal for people who know they want to get away for a long weekend, but who don’t have their hearts set on a particular destination.

When Vacations Don’t Go Exactly As Planned

Let’s say you get the flu as soon as you step out onto the beach. Or, your romantic hotel room is right next to a family with screaming toddlers. Often, you can find hidden opportunities in these small tragedies. Maybe the flu that keeps you inside also keeps you from getting sunburned like the rest of your family. Or, the screaming toddlers later befriend you in the hotel pool and you spend a giggle-filled afternoon seeing the world through their eyes.

Just over three weeks ago, my friend Brooke and I set out from Denver for a Vail vacation. Brooke and I have known each other since college at U of M, and we spent much of the nighttime Rocky Mountain drive catching up with one another. One minute, we were laughing and reminiscing, and the next minute we hit a spot of black ice, lost control of the car, smashed into the left guardrail, spun across the interstate in circles, got hit by two other cars, and finally landed front impact in a snow bank. We were stunned, terrified, badly banged up and bruised, and very lucky to be alive.

Obviously, this wasn’t supposed to happen.

The Keepers of Local Color

Every city has its characters. They’re the eccentric local fixtures whom everyone knows by name; they’re the self-appointed representatives of their cities’ imaginations; they amuse and sometimes frighten tourists; to encounter them anywhere outside their cities would be difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. In my eyes, they’re the lifeblood of a city’s local color—encountering them, knowing them, and occasionally spotting them around town make me feel more at home in a city than anything else.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member alex_nyc

Viva the New Las Vegas: Luxury Abounds at The Palazzo

They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and I’m sure that’s true in more ways than I’d ever dare to imagine. But with the Strip’s increasingly luxurious resort hotels, intoxicating nightlife, and fanfare-worthy entertainment, Las Vegas is becoming the vacation destination that you can’t help but tell everyone about. Why have the time of your life in one of the most daydreamed-about places on earth, and not boast about it to your buddies?

Case in point: Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of staying at The Palazzo, a brand-new, all-suite resort hotel and casino nestled between The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas. Now, I’m not the most ardent Vegas vacationer out there–I generally just tag along for the odd bridal shower or birthday. But I soaked up every second of this trip, and left yearning to return as soon as possible.

Speak Up: Your Tips to Survive Red-Eye Flights

Yesterday while loading my upcoming trips into my calendar I realized a scary, scary trend: all of them involve red-eye flights. Living in California is brilliant most of the time, but it stinks for globetrotting. Sure, I probably could have avoided the red-eye to Atlanta, but the red-eyes to Paris and Thailand could not be helped. In fact, when I go to Paris, I will lose almost an entire day. Oh la la!

In short, I’m panicking. Growing up on the East Coast, I got spoiled by being so close to the rest of the world. The longest flight I’ve ever taken was a measly six hours, and even that was no walk in the park (skies?) thanks to my hyperactive tendencies and tiny bladder.

I’ve started researching red-eye flight survival guides, but so far none of them contains an “aha!” tip that seems like it will make all the difference. And some of the advice is just plain impractical. It might be nice to sleep leaning against the window, but there’s no way I’m asking the person next to me to move every time I need to use the restroom or stretch my legs for fifteen hours straight.