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5 Ways To Ruin Your Summer Vacation

Or, how to save money and be happy at home.

By Rich_Maloof Aug 1, 2012 2:39PM

Photo: Vegar Abelsnes Photography/Getty Images“No matter where you go, there you are.”

For a lot of people, the joke in that old Steven Wright line is a cruel one. You can plan a getaway from work and obligations, but you're still going to pack up your psychological baggage and strap it to the roof of the car with the beach chairs and the dog.

Matt Richtel, a tech reporter for the New York Times, penned a piece earlier this summer explaining how he spoiled his last vacation by stressing about his pool back home and lamenting the rain that sprinkled his week in Hawaii. Setting aside a few nagging questions for Mr. Richtel (how can an NYT writer afford a week in Hawaii? Or a pool?), he’s come up with some sage advice for salvaging the next trip. Hoping he’s still away and won’t catch us putting a new spin on his work, here are some surefire methods for self-sabotaging a summer break.

Plan for Perfection
Chances are good that your destination will share the characteristics of other places on Earth, including such features as weather and other humans. To ensure a bad time, allow the presence of clouds and slow restaurant personnel to gnaw at your insides like a parasite from the Mexican water supply.

Expect More of the Kids
When you have small children, vacation is a lot like being back home except that you have to pay $10.95 for mac ‘n cheese. Offspring under the age of 6 should be expected to recline silently in the shade reading printed materials for a minimum three hours daily, and should not express the need to urinate until dinnertime.

Remember the Clock is Ticking
Don’t rush your mental slide into the vacation mindset. The proven formula for pacing a week-long vacation is to spend the first three days telling yourself to relax, and the last three days dreading the end.

Cram in All Possible Relaxation
On trips to foreign cities, schedule visits to all historic sites, major galleries, recommended eateries, places of worship, graveyards, and seats of government. Do not leave the hotel without having mastered the language. In tropical locales, go scuba diving whether or not you’re comfortable in deep water, and be sure to visit with local villagers to be reminded your budget for sunscreen exceeds their monthly allowance for food.

Be Reachable
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean your smartphone deserves a siesta. Time wasted in a museum or admiring a sunset may be better spent chipping away at the mountain of texts and spam awaiting your return. Remember, you’re American.

Photo: Vegar Abelsnes Photography/Getty Images

Sep 28, 2012 4:22AM

Rain is a fact of life in Hawaii. It's always raining somewhere there. Does the fact that the athletic teams at Uof H are called the RAINBOW Warriors give you a clue? Grow up, you nerd.


Depending on your age & your fitness level and that of your traveling companions, plan 2 or 3 things in a day. One more thing: plan 2 things for the same time sequence on your days. A rainy  day excursion, which will be indoors), church, museum or the like. And a clear day excursion: an outdoor sculpture museum or a famous graveyard.


It's fairly simple, just think it through.


And, hey, as a 14 year resident in Mexico Neither my husband or I ever got Montezumas's revenge. The water supply is fine; it's what happens to it afterward that can be a problem.

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