A Summer Rest, For Less

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Backyard Hammock by bowena/
Backyard Hammock by bowena/

It’s a buyers’ market for vacation travel this summer — and still, an awful lot of Americans are just staying home.

The economy’s lousy. Jobs are lost or wobbly. Money’s short. How ‘bout a “staycation”? Maybe a campfire in the backyard?

We all need recharging. Rejuvenation. The restorative pause from work and everyday life that brings back the glow.

What are your plans this summer? We’ll hear from travel pros this hour about great deals out there, and about making the most of your own backyard if you’re not hitting the road.

This hour, On Point: Restorative vacation strategies on the cheap, in the summer of the Great Recession.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Joining us from Los Angeles is Catharine Hamm, editor of the Los Angeles Times' Travel section, where she writes the "On the Spot" column.

From New York, we're joined by Nina Willdorf, editor-in-chief of the magazines Budget Travel and Girlfriend Getaways.

And from Santa Monica, Calif., we're joined by Joe Robinson, a work-life coach and author of "Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life."

More links:

If you're searching for travel deals, a couple of our staff favorites are Travel Zoo and Kayak.

The LA Times' Daily Travel & Deal blog is worth a visit, along with's Frugal Traveler blog. And The New York Times' Practical Traveler columnist Michelle Higgins is full of good tips.

And in the Detroit Free Press, Ellen Creager writes about "staycations" as "thrifty summer adventures." Some interesting facts she pulls together:

- Only one-third of Americans will take at least a week's vacation away from home this summer, according to a new Harris Poll.

- One in six won't even take their earned vacation days off. One in 5 workers are actually afraid to take a vacation because they might lose their jobs, according to the jobs listing service Career Builder.

- Nearly two-thirds are considering replacing a regular vacation with a vacation in the backyard, according to the National S'mores Vacation Survey conducted for the Hershey Co.

And Creager adds this reassuring note to parents:

Year after year in the Detroit Free Press' annual "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" contest, children mention the same highlights. And they're not trips to Europe.

They are, in order: making s'mores at a campfire; river tubing or canoeing; visiting a zoo; having a sleepover in the yard; jumping on a trampoline or inflatable moonwalk; horseback riding; fishing; hiking with Dad or Mom.

This program aired on July 10, 2009.


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