When we were kids (WAY back in the day), summer meant packing everyone up in a hot station wagon and making the long trek south to a crowded beach—where we would all get sunburned and cranky, do cartwheels on the beach and eat too many deep fried clams.  Ah, good times.

A lot has changed since then. Nobody drives station wagons anymore (thank goodness), we’ve cut back on our deep fried clam intake (again, thank goodness), we use sunscreen AND we don’t have to spend  two days in the car to have some summer family fun that includes sun, pool time and a great hotel stay. (Although some of us might still be able to pull off a cartwheel, if pressed.)

One thing that hasn’t changed? We still want our summer vacations!

According to a recent study conducted by Orbitz, most of us taking summer vacations in 2012 will be spending more than last year and likely will be traveling by car. Not so surprisingly, most of us will be weighing the increasing price of gas when making our decisions on which destination to visit. The BEST piece of advice found in the article? “Book a package deal.”  Amen.

Whether you are traveling across the country or just taking a “staycation”— here is the #1 GOLDEN TIP from your friends who work in tourism:  find the package deals.

Convention and Visitors Bureaus are DESTINATION MARKETING ORGANIZATIONS. That means that year-round, we are showcasing the best of our destinations to lure you to visit us. We track where people are going, when they are visiting, what their travel preferences are and how they are spending their travel dollars. So, we can tell you where to go and where to save. For example, every summer—we watch our Kids Eat FREE Columbus Zoo/COSI Getaway package numbers increase exponentially.  Why? Because visitors (a) want to visit the #1 Zoo and #1 Science Center in the nation, (b) they like discounted attraction tickets and free kids meals (c) they don’t want to spend 2-4 days of their vacation driving in the car with the kids and (d) they want a great experience.

So, look before you book. Start with your targeted destination’s convention and visitors bureau.  CVBs KNOW their areas. Really well.  Visit their web site. Call them for insider tips, ticket deals, hotel specials. Yes—you can do your own research—but why wouldn’t you talk with a local first? They’ll tell you their favorite restaurants, who has a half-price admission on Wednesday, and where the free factory tours and best splash pads are located.  Then pack the car (and your sunscreen), unplug and GO HAVE FUN!  And, if you happen to end up in Dublin, Ohio — be sure to stop by the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau and say ‘hi!’

~Post by Mary

SundaysAtSciotoLowResThe Sundays at Scioto Summer Concert Series started last Sunday night. I hate that I missed the New Orleans funk, performing jazz and R & B. Oh well … I’ll just try to attend as many of the other upcoming SAS concerts as I can.

These concerts feature outdoor entertainment from some of the best musicians in the Central Ohio area.  They are presented by the Dublin Arts Council and take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Sundays (through July 26) at the outdoor amphitheatre at scenic Scioto Park, 7377 Riverside Dr. in Dublin.  Best of all, they are free.  Upcoming concerts include:

-June 14    The Z-Sharp Big Band (Classic big band swing)
-June 21    The Conspiracy Band (Funk & R&B)
-June 28    The High Street Stompers Dixieland Band (Dixieland jazz)
-July 5       Brass Band of Columbus (British Brass Band)
– July 12    Arnett Howard (Creole, Cajun & Zydeco)
– July 19    The Bearded (Original old-time string and jug band)
– July 26    British Invasion (British pop/rock)

Bring a picnic (or purchase Jeni’s ice cream on site), lounge on the grass on blankets or chairs – and sit back and enjoy!!  Scioto Park (home of Dublin’s famous 12-ft. high Chief Leatherlips sculpture)  is located on Riverside Drive,  just north of Emerald Parkway, on the left.

-Post by Kay