Summer is one long memory factory. File back through childhood highlights, and many if not most are tied to summer: last day of school, sleep-away or day camps, the swim club or your neighbor’s backyard pool, the ice cream truck, Fourth of July fireworks, Reds games, family vacations.
We were one of those families that did the same vacation every summer. We’d pile into the station wagon and head to a small beach town nearby—and kept going there even after we moved 800 miles away. Those gatherings with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins were as anticipated each year (and cherished in hindsight) as Halloween and Christmas.
When I got married and started my own family, I defaulted to this familiar vacation approach and formed a tight rotation of usual destinations, including that same small beach town. One day my young daughter asked, “Can we go on a vacation where we don’t just visit family?” She was angling for Disney World, which we never did visit, but she got us to open our horizons and break routines. A subsequent trip to the Grand Canyon remains one of my favorite vacations ever.
If you’re looking to open your vacation horizons, spend some time with our cover package on summer travel recommendations both near and far—from overnight camping at the Cincinnati Zoo to a quick getaway in Chicago via Ultimate Air Shuttle. Jenny Wohlfarth, who teaches magazine writing at the University of Cincinnati, tried out WOW air’s low-cost flight to Iceland (recently launched at CVG) and offers tips for exploring Reykjavík over a couple of days. Several of her best students contributed to our travel package, including interviews with local customer service folks who interact with those vacationing in Cincinnati.
Here’s a great way to start your summer vacation planning: Would you rather go some place you’ve always wanted to see or revisit a favorite destination to explore deeper? The question has led to heated arguments and surprisingly philosophical discussions in my household. The correct answer, of course, is “both.”