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Summer Road Trips on a Budget

Over the past several months, we’ve talked a lot about the silver lining in this gray recession cloud. That is, all the great travel deals that are out there. For the summer, we’re seeing airfare that has dropped more than 17 percent over last year and hotel rates that have declined a good 13 percent.

But, there’s more to the silver lining than just deals. Travelers are getting back to the basics, seeking to experience the world on a budget and taking the time to explore their own backyards. For many, that means hitting the road.

Take a look at the map below for road trip inspiration from your hometown. We’ve highlighted the cities that have the best average hotel rates on the continent and found some local-recommended festivals that are worth checking out and will help to keep you on budget.

Stress-Free Summer Travel

Life is stressful — your vacation shouldn’t be. After all, most of us go on vacation to escape the stress of daily life. But given the economy, rising unemployment and seemingly constant changes in the airline industry, it almost seems like we’d be better off throwing in the beach towel and staying home.

Almost, maybe. But not quite. Followers of The Window Seat know if there is one thing I really can’t stand it is a certain word that begins with a “s” and ends with a “taycation.” Especially now, when the deals are so good and it’s unclear how long they’ll last.

We’d love to hear from you — what stresses you out on vacation and what do you do to solve it? Discuss.

Follow Friday: Be inspired by Michael Theys

Editor’s Note: Inspired by Follow Friday on Twitter, I am profiling (in far more than 140 characters) extraordinary travelers who you, too, should follow! Through these profiles, I want to introduce you to globetrotting souls that follow their hearts to places near and far, so join me each Friday in my quest to be inspired by some of the most intriguing adventure seekers on our planet!

Be inspired by: Michael Theys
Follow him at:
@Africafreak

What’s the Best Travel Guidebook?

Are you sitting down? Because I have some sad news to tell you. Lonely Planet and I broke up. Now, now. Don’t worry. I’m going to be fine…in time. It was for the best, really. We’ll be happier now. I’m ready to play the field again, see what’s out there.

What happened? Well, we got in a bit of a row while I was in Thailand. You see, LP mentioned in passing that we might experience “high winds” in Koh Samui in November. I live in San Francisco! High winds are nothing! I laugh in the face of high winds.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: Quite Literally, Actually

So it seems that in the world of gung-ho pursuits, there’s adventure travel, and then there’s adventure travel. You might think your skydiving and SCUBA diving trips are pretty hardcore, but have you met the people who pay to be shot at by pirates?

Oh yes, it’s true. Luxury ocean liners in Russia are now giving new meaning to the term shore excursion by offering tourists with more money than sense the opportunity to patrol the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast with the hope of engaging in battle. Has someone seen Pirates of the Caribbean a few too many times, perhaps?

For the grand sum of around $5,800 a day, participants are let loose in some of the most dangerous waters in the world, armed with an arsenal of lethal weapons, including machine guns and grenade launchers. Pony up an extra eight bucks and get an AK-47 thrown in—you know, just for kicks.