Look for appealing things to do this week or this summer in recent entertainment, lifestyle and travel sections of the paper. See who finds the most.
Look for other travel ideas or information on the paper's website -- such as park directories, concert schedules, festival listings, photo galleries and a travel blog or reader forum.
Summer break isn't just about trips. Look for local programs, recreation activities, leagues or other groups that seem interesting.
It's getaway season, but these days a road trip can cause a big rip in vacation budgets because of record-high gas costs. Pump prices above $4 a gallon nationwide, along with air travel hassles, have more than a few families rethinking where they'll go this summer.
In-state campgrounds or resorts, regional beaches or theme parks, and other nearby attractions gain appeal when each fuel stop costs at least $50 -- or as much as $100 for a recreational vehicle. Savings from shorter drives can buy a lot of ride tickets, snacks and souvenirs. Traveling close to home even earns nicknames - a staycation or brief daycations.
Ads echo that message as state tourism promoters pitch vacation and weekend destinations to residents and regional neighbors. In Florida, a new Tours on a Tankful promotion features heritage, nature and cultural highlights for 28 trips. The Visit Florida website has a fuel calculator for each outing and lists 20 offbeat things to do at familiar locations -- a campaign called Been There, Haven't Done That.
Similarly, Iowa promotes one-tank trips with ads in 37 daily newspapers there. "We took the average fuel economy -- 20 miles per gallon -- and the average fuel tank size -- 16 gallons -- and planned trips within the 320-mile range ... of each newspaper," says a tourism office representative. And in the Northeast, the New Jersey Shore puts out a welcome mat for "vacation orphans" from Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York. The seaside resort strip is within one tank of gasoline for tens of millions of people - though they better not all come at the same time.
Travel executive says: "States have to fight against the tendency for people to stay at home. People see gas prices are high, and they'll say, 'I'll put off that trip.' " - Mike Pina, Automobile Association of America (AAA)
Travel writer says: "A lot of times, people have a list of things they want to do nearby that they never get around to. There's certainly a good incentive this year to do that." -- Tim Leffel, author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune
Park the SUV: To cut fuel costs, some vacationers head out in a rental car so they can leave costlier SUVs and vans at home.
Front Page Talking Points is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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