BRADENTON -- The economy is creeping back to life, but who doesn't feel a little light in the wallet these days? Fear not, I've devised a way for you to save money on airline tickets, avoid the misery of airports, and give a boost to local tourism by getting your R&R at home. This year, skip the vacation and try a "staycation," right here in Manatee County.
I like airports and airlines about as much as I like dentists and proctologists. It's become standard to charge $20 for each bag of luggage, as if a clean change of clothes and a toothbrush are something extra, and you've got to go fist-class to Monaco before you even have a shot at a hot
Photo by Mark Anderson
meal. Some airlines are even talking about a fee to use the john and considering the puny size of the bottles of water they hand out, it's not as if you've got options.
Those are just some of the hassles you'll have getting off the ground. Airlines chronically overbook their flights, offer less direct flights, and schedule connections with impossible interval times, making it so that getting to your destination anywhere near the scheduled time requires divine intervention.
In many cases, when you add up the hours from your commute to the airport, your early arrival to clear security, your flight, your delay, your extended layover, the hassle at baggage claim, and your nightmare at the rental-car desk, you would've been better off driving.
A day is lost getting there, another getting back, as it seems that only 6:00 a.m. departures are anywhere near affordable, and by the time it's all over, you need... a vacation. Get over it people. We live in paradise. You don't have to leave Florida to get away, and in fact, you don't even have to leave the local area.
I'm making a stand. This year, I'm taking a staycation and over the next several weeks, I'll be inviting you to do the same. Every Saturday, I'll be taking you to one of the best local getaways to find out why so many outsiders keep coming back for more.
We've had a long, cold winter and the oil spill is hurting the local tourism trade that is the lifeblood of our community. Unemployment is still high, and too many local businesses are closing shop. Plus, our local governments are starved for revenues and worried sick that tax receipts will wither further. You can help the cause by keeping your dollars local, and I'm going to show you that you won't miss a thing.
Tune in tomorrow for Stacation Volume 1: Linger Lodge Campground and Resort.