Summer travel woes? How about a staycation?

Summer vacation season is upon us here in the United States. Normally the first day of June is our green light to pack a bag, jump into the SUV or hop on an airplane and head out for some well deserved time off. But a variety of forces are conspiring this summer to hold some of us back – high gas prices, continued airline surcharges, and high food prices. It’s been enough to inspire its own trend – the “staycation.”

Several newspapers have been reporting on the phenomenon, in which many Americans are choosing to travel much closer to home this summer on shorter weekend trips or even just maximize their time in the backyard by investing in outdoor furniture or backyard grills.

Are you kidding me? This has to be one of the lamest trends in recent memory. I understand times are tough but there are plenty of creative ways to make that trip to California or even, YES, Europe, happen this summer. Use your frequent flier miles. Cut back on that bottle of wine at dinner. Pack a picnic lunch instead of eating out. Skip a few trips to the bar. My point is this – travel is one of the most important experiences you can have during your lifetime. If there’s a place you really want to visit – don’t let finances or getting time off at work or fears of terrorism be your excuse.

And if you still need inspiration, just look at blogger Grant, who is considering a 4 day trip to Shanghai for the Fourth of July. If he can make it happen, so can you!

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of December 24

Before you start rattling off with excuses about how the family was visiting from Buffalo or how you got tied up under the mistletoe, please do me one small favor. Spare the sob story. I don’t care why you couldn’t get here or what could have been more important than getting your travel fix, but you’re lucky that I’m nice and feeling the holiday spirit for I’m giving you the gift of checking out what you missed!

5. Would You Like Polonium With That?:

Folks following the case of the Russian spy that was poisoned might be interested in filling their mouths with the very same cuisine the spy was noshing on when things went awry and sour in his stomach. Iva informs us that the Itsu in London isn’t doing so well at the moment and one can understand why, but the newest location in NYC is thriving. Someone daring enough to try the hamachi?

4. He’s BaaaaaacK! Michael Jackson in Vegas:

I’m not going to say a whole lot here. Erik already did a fine job of that, but in short the King of Pop shall be performing in Vegas. C’mon you know and I know you’re dying to see Mike!

3. Emirates Airlines to Allow Cell Phone Talk on Flights:
Starting in January 2007, Emirates Airlines will be the first to allow cell phones use during flights. If you’re not a fan of cell phones in general or someone babbling in your ear it may be time to invest in some ear plugs.

2. Expense Reports: The Bane of Travel Writers:

Okay, this is funny because if you’ve ever needed a receipt for any job, not just travel writing you can relate. Expense reports are just not fun, but such is what must be done when traveling on the company’s dollar.

1. Not Taking Vacation! Shame on You!:
This is too hard to believe. There are people (American people) who actually don’t take their vacation days off. It is just jaw-dropping. We’re not saying take the one or two weeks and go to Tonga, but geez, give yourself the opportunity to kick back at home and watch the Discovery Channel for crying out loud. Take a break!