Surfing is a sport intrinsically tied to the California psyche. It captures that be-in-tune-with-the-universe craving that draws so many dreamers out to live along the Pacific-fed West Coast. It’s a chance to get a great work-out, be outside in a spectacular setting, and look super cool while doing it. And one of the best places in California to experience surfing in all its glory is the seaside city of Santa Cruz, where surfing is so hallowed that there’s an entire museum dedicated to it.
Domestic airfare is 15 percent higher than last summer. Hotel rates, too, are on the rise, not to mention soaring gas prices. A traveler on a budget may think the only affordable option for summer travel is the dreaded staycation.
Travel experts, however, know the secret to an affordable summer vacations lies in what the travel industry calls ‘value adds’ and what the average traveler recognizes as freebies. Ranging from free nights to free breakfast to tours to resort credits and almost anything else travel-related, the offers are on the rise.
Most frequently found at hotels and resorts, these freebies can add up to big savings when booking a summer vacation. Value-add offers are typically found in destinations entering the low season and used to attract travelers without slashing rates. In other words, while a free night promotion is a likely offer on Cape Cod hotels during the winter months, don’t expect to see it during the summer.
I grew up thinking that sand only came in one color. The sand of sand paper. The sand of tract housing garage doors. The sand of doctor’s office waiting rooms. Every beach I’d ever been to featured sand the color of paint swatch “sand,” and it wasn’t until I started thumbing through island guide books and devouring beach-heavy Flickr feeds that I realized the sand of SoCal’s golden beaches wasn’t the only sand out there.