I love summer, and I love weekend travel. But the two together? Not so much. Here are five reasons why I think summer weekend getaways basically suck.
1. The crowds and traffic. Summer road trips are always romanticized, but the reality is that if you’re planning to depart on a Friday and return on a Sunday, you’re going to spend a significant amount of time staring at brake lights. When the destination is an hour away, it’s not a big deal. But when a four hour drive turns into an eight hour drive, it’s practically not worth it. Don’t even get me started about the time I was trapped on a bus from Boston to New York City for NINE hours.
And the traffic doesn’t stop once you get out of the car – I went to Paris for two days at the beginning of summer once, and it was practically pointless. While I certainly got my fix of baguettes and wine, I didn’t make it to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and countless other attractions because of the hordes of tourists and hours I’d need to spend waiting in line. Everyone and their mother (literally) go on vacation during the summer, meaning it’s going to be super crowded everywhere from the beach you were hoping to relax on to that restaurant you’re probably not getting a reservation at.
Trying to bike the boardwalk while hordes of children dart out in front of you is not ideal.
2. It is unbearably hot. If you’re going to the Hamptons, great. If you’re trying to explore a new city? Good luck. Walking around and playing tourist when it’s 95 degrees out is Not. Fun. At. All. Not to mention the fact that you’re going to look like a sweaty hot mess in all your photos. I felt like I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion while visiting Chicago last month. I can’t imagine visiting a place that’s even more stifling in the summer like the southern US or Africa.
Seriously, only go places in the summer where you can be in the water, all day.
3. Prices are sky high. To me, spending $300 per night on a hotel just because it’s in a beach town and it’s a summer weekend is absurd. Especially where I live, in New England. My thought process: I could just save this money and fly to Puerto Rico in the middle of winter for the same price and swim in water that’s actually warm enough to take a dip in! Flights are also ridiculously expensive in the summer. We’re talking $600 cross country and $1200 to Europe… no thank you.
“Beachfront” aka $$$$
4. There’s little time to actually, you know, RELAX. Last month I traveled every weekend. I spent the 4th of July visiting friends in New York City, the following weekend on the Cape, the next I was in Chicago for three days and then finally I wrapped up July with a four day trip to Ocean City, Maryland. I was on three planes and spent a total of 24 hours in the car. During the week, things didn’t slow down: I struggled to maintain a schedule that included almost nightly dinner and/or drinks obligations because it’s patio season and I can’t waste a beautiful evening holed up in my room, right? At the same time I needed to hit the gym regularly because, well, bikini season. The result? My apartment looks like a disaster zone of unpacking and repacking, my toes haven’t seen a pedicure chair in way too long and I’ve neglected a few projects that I really need to complete. My point is, summer is the most social of seasons. Add traveling to the mix and you’re probably going to wind up frazzled and exhausted. Not quite the point of vacation, amiright?
Staying home in the summer doesn’t look so bad!
5. It’s the one time of the year I actually enjoy living in the northeast… so I should probably stick around and enjoy it. Come winter, I’m going to be complaining nonstop about freezing temperatures and how much snow I have to shovel. That’s the time I’m going to really wish I was on a plane destined for a beach, preferably somewhere tropical! I joke to my friends that I hibernate in the winter, but I’m really not kidding – I barely left the house other than to go to work from January to March this year. This summer I live a few blocks from a beach and a 20-minute walk to waterfront bars and restaurants. Summer is the best time to be in Boston, and by running away every weekend, I’m missing out on a ton of cool things.
This beach is literally 4 blocks from my apartment. It’s not great. But 4 blocks.
I’d rather spend my Friday afternoons swinging and drinking at The Lawn on D than in line at the airport!
I’ve had some awesome summer trips that I wouldn’t trade for anything – you won’t catch me skipping my annual Ocean City weekend with my family, ever – but I really don’t understand the mad rush to “escape” every Friday afternoon.
Despite how much I really hate summer weekend travel, it’s also like an addiction I can’t quit. My company offers summer hours, meaning we can leave after 2 p.m. on Fridays, and those extra three hours immediately get my mind ticking with travel possibilities (reality: I spend them in traffic). It’s also hard to resist the countless invitations to join friends on trips they have planned (when it comes to travel, I rarely say “no”). But next year’s summer weekend resolution? Stay put for three weekends out of the month. Every time I’m tempted to spend a fortune on a weekend getaway, I’ll remind myself that the money could go much further in the fall, winter and spring. Heck, this past winter I flew to Europe TWICE for $750 – half of what it costs for one round trip ticket in summer!
Summer travel: I’m over you. I’m staying put for the rest of August. Come September… well, that’s a totally different story. See you then, Logan Airport!
What are your thoughts on weekend travel in the summer? Worth it? A total waste of money? Let me know!
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