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Cheap Flights for August Vacations

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello
January 12, 2022
San Francisco
Ivy Tseh / Dreamstime.com
Think it’s too late to nab a bargain summer vacation? Think again. How about a flight to San Francisco for $210? Or to Maine for $206? Read on for more spectacular deals.

No plans for a summer vacation? No problem. Our friends at Skyscanner.com have got big plans for you: They’ve crunched the numbers on August airfares to deliver some truly amazing deals. Your only challenge will be to pick one of these dreamy destinations and book now. 

Washington, DC to Denver, CO
Wednesday, August 2 – Tuesday, August 8
Starting at $238

Dallas, TX to Fort Lauderdale, FL
Thursday, August 3 – Monday, August 7
Starting at $230

Seattle, WA to Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, August 10 – Sunday, August 13
Starting $210

Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, August 15 to Sunday, August 20
Starting at $211

New York, NY to New Orleans, LA
Wednesday, August 16 to Sunday, August 20
Starting at $280

Boston, MA to Austin, TX
Thursday, August 17 – Monday, August 21
Starting at $254

Los Angeles, CA to Atlanta, GA
Friday, August 18 – Tuesday, August 22
Starting at $213

Atlanta, GA to Portland, ME
Monday, August 21 – Friday, August 25
Starting at $206

Minneapolis, MN to San Diego, CA
Thursday, August 24 – Monday, August 28
Starting at $234

Phoenix, AZ to New York, NY
Friday, August 25 – Tuesday, August 29
Starting at $258

Skyscanner is a travel search site offering a comprehensive range of flight, hotel, and car rental deals. To find more bargain fares like those listed here, visit Skyscanner.com.

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Travel Tips

Why You Should Take All Your Vacation Days This Year

It’s one of the first question people ask when they land a full-time job: how much paid time off do I get? The answer, however, may not actually matter, as according to recent studies, Americans aren’t necessarily taking all the time off they’re given. Chalk it up to fear of looking like you’re not motivated enough or anxiety around of being replaced, or just chalk it up to being on perpetual overload and the fear of drowning in work upon return, but the bottom line is that American workers are essentially handing money over to their employer, and having less fun while they’re at it.  AMERICANS DON'T TAKE HALF THEIR VACATION DAYS The average U.S. employee who receives paid vacation has only taken about half (54%) of those days in the past 12 months, according to a survey of more than 2,200 employees, released in May by Glassdoor, a job site. That number hadn’t changed much since 2014, when employees reported taking 51% of allotted days. READ: Lonely Planet's "Best in 2018" Will Surprise and Inspire You This is consistent with Project: Time Off, an initiative funded by the U.S. Travel Association which surveyed 5,600 full-time workers and found that in 2016, more than half (54%) of Americans didn’t use all their vacation days, up dramatically from 42% in 2013. That’s amounts to 662 million vacation days that went unused. A study released by Society for Human Resource Management, a trade organization, dives deeper into the nitty gritty of what PTO actually means. Among organizations that do not allow vacation rollover, 77% report that most employees (81-100%) use all of their vacation days each year. Among these organizations, 64% report an average of up to two unused vacation days and 31% report three to five unused days. Among organizations that allow rollover, 31% indicate that most employees (81-100%) use all of their vacation days each year. One-quarter of these organizations (26%) report an average of up top two unused vacation days, 39% report three to five unused days, and 34% report six or more unused days. READ: Travel 101: Best Credit Cards for Travelers ON VACATION, BUT STILL WORKING But even when Americans use their vacation days, the Glassdoor study found, 66% reported that working during off-time. That’s up from three years ago when that figure was 61%. Project: Time Off delved deeper, finding that 78% of employees want the piece of mind to be able to connect while away. They also found that that preference is not a generational issue. Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials voiced that attitude 77%, 82% and 75%, respectively.  Looks like more Americans need to head to Europe during the vacation time they do take. Europeans legendarily get at least four weeks of paid vacation each year. That’s by law. We can learn a lot from their work ethic. 

Travel Tips

Summer Vacation Tips: Your Ultimate Guide to Safety, Adventure, and Fun

Summer is a time to relax and regroup somewhere else. Anywhere else. But before you set off on your sun-filled journeys, we've put together some must-know intel and helpful tips to make your vacation easier, safer, and, of course, more fun. 1. Swim Safely Even the most skilled swimmer can encounter troubles in the ocean, so when water is on your agenda, safety should be top of your list of things to remember. (Right up there with a portable grill, hot dogs, sunscreen, and towels, of course.) We checked in with BJ Fisher, Director of Health & Safety for the American Lifeguard Association (americanlifeguard.com), for tips on how to stay safe in the summer. The most important is probably the most obvious: no matter how much at ease you are in the water, always swim where there’s a lifeguard and never, under any circumstance, swim alone. “Swim with a buddy,” he insists. “Many drownings involve single swimmers. If you can’t find someone to swim with, at least find someone to watch from the side of the pool or on the beach.” It’s easy to be lured by the open expanse of the ocean and forget just how suddenly and drastically the ocean floor can change. That said, best not to use flotation devices, like inflatable rafts, in unfamiliar areas or places where you might not be able to swim. If you fall off, that’s trouble, informs Fisher. And then there’s the ocean’s stealth sneak attack: rip currents. If you’re caught in one, he says, don’t fight it. “Swim parallel to the shore till you reach a spot where the current is weak. Most rip currents are narrow,” he instructs. And for those who like to tackle the water head-on, protect your head and neck when diving and body surfing. For divers he advises, “check for depth and obstructions and remember that feet first is far safer than head first. When body surfing, make sure you have at least one hand extended in front of you.” And, needless to say, if you’re at a pool party or a beach fiesta, don’t drink and dive. Alcohol is a huge factor in many drownings, he says. 2. Get Ready for the Road For most drivers, cruising down the highway is a matter of reflex. But a long road trip requires a completely different frame of mind. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, you might say. One of the biggest problems on the highway is drowsy drivers. More than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related accidents experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel, according to the American Automobile Association. “Drivers shouldn’t rely on their bodies to provide warning signs of fatigue. Instead, they should prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep into their daily schedules,” says Tamra Johnson, AAA spokesperson. Other rules of thumb: travel at hours when you’d normally be awake, schedule breaks every two hours or every 100 miles, avoid heavy foods and travel with alert passengers. Even better: take turns driving. And then there’s that other major traffic risk: distraction. On city streets and highways, texting and driving has become astonishingly common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving—everything from texting to eating—is a factor in more than 10% of crashes. Nearly one in three drivers admit to typing or sending a text message or email in the past month, according to an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey. It also found that 40% of drivers report reading a text message or email at the wheel in the past month. It’s a risk that is all-too easy to eliminate. “Safe driving is a complicated task that requires your full attention, so drivers need to put down their phones and focus on the driving task,” Johnson said. Best tactic: designate a passenger as the chief navigator and texter. Solo drivers should take care of everything before turning the key. Adjust the radio, phone, and GPS system, decide on your route, then take off. Speaking of GPS, AAA offers a free app that travelers can use to map route, map a route, find up-to-date gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Even in our high-tech world, though, nothing is 100% foolproof 100% of the time. Road atlases and maps still work as effectively as they did for our parents and grandparents. Invest in a good one. And as an added bonus, it's a pretty dependable way to keep kids engaged and entertained. 3. Enjoy the Great Outdoors Summer is a prime time to heed the call of the wild. But while nature can be relaxing and rejuvenating, there are also plenty of factors that can put a damper on what would otherwise be a perfect trip. Most, however, are avoidable. Justin Wood, Manager of Program Development and Operations at REI Adventures (rei.com), an active-adventure travel company at REI, the outdoors retail behemoth, has some ultra-helpful hints. He breaks them up into three categories: before, when you get there, and when you’re ready to leave. The before-you-go phase is easily the most important. “About 99% of how your trip pans out is determined by how you planned. Research so you can craft your experience to meet your needs,” he says. First, check up on the site you want to visit. A lot of places require a reservation and can book up six months in advance. There are, however, lots of first come/first serve sites, but plan smartly. Try to get there mid-week to avoid the rush. Need to learn about options in a particular area? He recommends Hikingproject.com, which drastically reduces the legwork you have to do by providing information on an assortment of trails and cool destinations in any area for any level of experience. But first: to pack. Use a checklist. It’s worth the extra few minutes to download and print one. Get your gear—your tent, your stove—ahead of time so you can make sure everything works properly and all the pieces are there. “The worst thing that can happen is you get there and realize something’s missing. It could be a small thing, but it can really waylay a trip,” he says, noting that REI has a program where you can rent gear, like tents, to try them out before you invest in one. Of course, sustenance is not least among importance when it comes to deciding what to bring. “Planning a menu is an important part of camping—what to eat, how to prepare it, how to store it. Storage is critical, especially if you’re in bear country or if there’s mice around the camp,” he says. He notes that dehydrated food has come a long way with lots of great options ranging from Thai and Indian fare to classic American grub. Dehydrated foods are a great way to keep it simple, which helps with prep and cleanup. Regardless, however, “everything tastes better outside,” he asserts. And good news for the caffeine-fueled outdoorsy types: you don’t have to give up coffee. There are so many great solutions for brewing gourmet coffee in camp, Wood assures, like French presses and pour-over options. Once you arrive set up tent in an established site, not on a hillside or anywhere there are rocks around. Look overhead to make sure there are no branches over where you plan to pitch your tent. And whatever you do, make sure your tent isn't too close to your fire pit. Embers will burn holes in the tent. And definitely pay careful attention when using knives and stoves. Most injuries from cooking and cutting things, Wood notes. Being weather-ready in the winter time is obvious: bring layers and a warm sleeping bag. You can always pile on more clothes to stay warm. Staying cool in the summer is a bit trickier. Of course, make sure you hydrate. At night, it’s important to set up a tent with the rainfly off to keep airflow moving through. In warm weather, ignore that rule about avoiding cotton, an imperative in the winter because once it’s wet it stays wet. That’s exactly what can help your stay-cool cause in the heat. "There's a misconception that camping means rouging it—but it can be such a comfy, wonderful experience. And the best, most experienced campers are always comfy," says Wood. "If you have everything, you never have to worry about being comfy. That means the right size tent—do you want to stand up in it? Does it have enough room for everyone sleeping in it? Can you properly ventilate it? Stay dry inside? Bring a bag that's rated for the right temperature at night.” When you're leaving, do one last sweep to make sure you have all your gear for next time. It's easy to overlook a chair behind a tree. And the cardinal rule of camping: dispose of all your waste and leave the site better than you found it. Follow that wisdom and you're guaranteed the happiest trails. 4. Include Every Family Member in the Fun According to AAA, most American are planning to travel as a family this summer. That means a whole lot of hours of kids asking if you’re there yet. And kids, of course, are the toughest—and usually most honest—critics, so once you get there, you’d better be ready to impress. It helps, of course, when they have some skin in the game. “Make sure to get the kids involved in planning. This will get them more vested in the whole vacation and will likely lead to much less complaining,” says Rainer Jenss, President and Founder of the Family Travel Association (familytravel.org). “Letting the children choose activities will ensure they'll be more interested!” He also suggests getting actual cameras for each child, which will get them off their phones and tablets and much more actively engaged in where they are and what they’re seeing and doing. When they’re in the car, however, reading is obviously a better way to pass the time than movies and video games. “Bring along information on your destination, including low-tech options such as TourBook guides and maps, to make the most of your trip and as a source of entertainment for kids,” says Julie Hall, spokesperson at AAA. Jenss recommends Lonely Planet’s kid guides, a suggestion we wholeheartedly endorse, not least because Lonely Planet is Budget Travel's parent company.For travel inspiration, know-how, deals, and more, sign up for Budget Travel's free e-newsletter.

Travel Tips

Have You Booked Your Summer Vacation Rental Yet?

Panama City is at it again—topping everyone’s summer vacation list. According to a recent study by TripAdvisor Rentals, the town, which boasts 27 miles of shoreline, takes top billing for most popular spot for a summer escape. Florida cities occupy four positions on the top-ten list based on data gathered on TripAdvisor bookings through March 28, 2017. It reflects rentals on properties for June, July, or August. Median July pricing is for two-bedroom rentals in a given destination. Beach destinations, to be sure, make up eight of the ten vacation spots. Ocean City, Maryland clocked in at number two with Destin, Florida; Myrtle Beach, North Carolina; Kissimmee, Florida; and Orlando coming up close behind. Rounding out the list are Alabama’s Gulf Shores; Virginia Beach; Davenport, Florida; and the increasingly popular North Myrtle Beach. Hotels, of course, are plentiful in each of those towns, but if you’re planning to take some serious downtime this summer, you’d be better served renting a house. After all, you can save money by eating in and if you’re traveling with a group, it’s an economical way to plan a long stay. More than half travelers in the Trip Advisor survey book their stay three to five months in advance, which means now’s the time to lock something in while there’s a decent amount of inventory available. And if you’re wondering just how worthwhile a vacation rental is, we’ll tell you that you can get a two-bedroom rental during July in perennially popular Panama City for around $1,843. Myrtle Beach has accommodations for about $1250 and quaint Davenport, Florida, has rentals for under $700. Condos that hover around $1000 for the week actually make Orlando an affordable choice for a family. 

Travel Tips

Cheap June Flights to Book Now

The warm spring weather is whetting our appetite for summer fun, and our friends at Skyscanner.com are serving up a feast: They’ve crunched the numbers on June airfares to deliver some truly amazing deals. Your only challenge will be to pick one of these dreamy destinations (including Boston, Miami, Charleston, New Orleans, and Vegas, baby!) and book now. Atlanta to BostonFriday, June 23 – Monday, June 26Starting at $172 Boston to MiamiThursday, June 1 – Monday, June 5Starting at $179 Chicago to CharlestonMonday, June 5 – Thursday, June 8Starting at $299 Chicago to Fort LauderdaleThursday, June 22 – Sunday, June 25Starting at $247 Houston to New YorkThursday, June 1 – Monday, June 5Starting at $224 Los Angeles to MiamiMonday, June 12 to Friday, June 16Starting at $292 Los Angeles to New OrleansThursday, June 15 – Monday, June 19Starting at $237 Miami to DenverThursday, June 15 – Tuesday, June 20Starting at $163 New York to DenverSunday, June 18 – Saturday, June 25Starting at $199 New York to Las VegasWednesday, June 7 – Saturday, June 10Starting at $269 Seattle to San DiegoFriday, June 23 – Monday, June 26Starting at $228 Skyscanner is a travel search site offering a comprehensive range of flight, hotel, and car rental deals. To find more bargain fares like those listed here, visit Skyscanner.com.