Never keep up with the Joneses.
Drag them down to your level.
-- Quentin Crisp
The word "vacation" shares ancestry with the word "vacant," which is what your head must be if you approach this traditional summer diversion without considering all your options.
Option No. 1: Taking along the kids.
I don't want to tell you your business, but taking children -- used to having free run of a house, yard and neighborhood -- and cooping them up in motel rooms, violates not only a couple of laws of physics but also community standards of common sense.
It's like taking two or three Chihuahuas and bunking them in a shoebox.
Solution: Unlike our four-legged friends, kids cannot be left at the kennel while you're out of town. So try the next best thing.
Option No. 2: Getting there.
Old hippies used to say the journey was more important than the destination.
Well, what else would you expect from a generation that didn't know where it was going?
The truth is you want to get wherever you're headed as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Solution: If you can afford to fly, take a plane. If you have to drive, stick to the interstates. If you don't have a car, take a bus.
You get the point.
If the journey was so all-fired important, then we'd all just walk.
Option No. 3: Reservations.
Any place worth going this summer is probably already booked.
If you haven't made your reservations, you'll end up with the same experience I had last week.
I called a popular Florida resort and got an answering machine that told me all operators were busy helping others.
It was 5:30 a.m.
They said to leave my name and phone number and they'd call me back.
They did. The next day.
And they seemed to find it amusing that I thought they had anything in my price range available.
(Well, no day is wasted if you found a way to make someone laugh, I always say.)
Solution: Boldly go where no one else goes. If for no other reason, to find out why.
Option No. 4: Luggage.
Got a dictionary? Mine says the word "luggage" comes from two words: "Lug" (meaning a dimwitted fellow) and "age" (meaning old.)
Well, any old dimwit can tell you that you won't need half the stuff you cram into the car or onto the plane.
Solution: As you get ready to leave, carefully take all the suitcases and line them up beside your front door.
Then leave half of them.
Trust me. You'll be OK.
In case of emergency, here's a tip -- they have clothing stores in other states.