Best Summer Travel Tips from Thrillist’s Staff Writers and Editors

Best Summer Travel Tips from Thrillist’s Staff Writers and Editors

Planning a vacation this summer? You, me, and everyone else. Those sun-soaked dog days are the perfect time to hit that national park you’ve only seen from a science textbook; take that road-trip that’s existed way too long on your bucket list; or make a patch of sand your temporary home. But as exciting as it is, plotting those warm-weather travel plans can be an especially stressful time. There’s so much to consider during summer travel season, from navigating crowded tourist hotspots to finding ways to beat the heat. Luckily, us frequent travelers at Thrillist are here to share all that we’ve gleaned from our past summer adventures, whether that’s the best way to save money on international flights, the sunscreen that will change your life, or the simple reminder that you don’t need to go big in order to feel like you’ve escaped your ordinary routine. Here’s our staff-sourced, editor-tested summer travel survival guide.

“If your summer schedule is flexible, it’s always a good idea to book your vacation at the start of the month, because many cities around the world celebrate first Fridays or Saturdays, and it’s likely you’ll run into some cool block parties, art gallery hops, free museum days, and more.” Jessica Sulima, Staff Writer

“I always plan my travel around the cheapest flight tickets I can find, then book everything else from there—once I can find a flight that is within my budget (typically $350 or less) I know that I can figure out how to plan the rest of my trip. This has been the best for group trips, when the biggest goal is just to go somewhere. Trips to Mexico, Colombia, France, and South Florida were all successfully born from this method.” – Opheli Garcia Lawler, Senior Staff Writer

“My biggest summer travel tip is to make absolutely sure that you do it in some form or fashion, regardless of how much available budget or time off you have. Even if it’s just a long weekend away at a vacation rental a few hours’ drive away from your house. Or staying with a friend one state over for a few days to go to a street festival in their neighborhood, catch up and watch some reality TV on their couch, and hang out with their kid you’ve only previously seen on a holiday card. It’s so important to have that time away from your daily routine as a reset, during a time of year when the weather is typically pretty lovely.” – Joe Erbentraut, Editorial Director

Staycations count and often offer the unique chance to simply enjoy your surroundings anew. Whether cosplaying as a tourist in your own town (think hitting up The Met on an overcrowded summer Sunday) or daydreaming of a different life (think walking a few blocks away to enjoy a deserted Upper East Side and perhaps a martini at Bemelmans), further exploring your own stomping grounds or those adjacent is a fun way to remind you why you live where you do.” – Becca James, Senior Editor

“Here’s a summertime travel tip for New York City: Summer is a great time to visit because the city is empty of New Yorkers who are away on trips of their own. Whether it’s to the nearby Hudson Valley or Hamptons or a different continent, many local residents flee the Big Apple for extended periods. This is especially true for weekends and major holidays. That means snagging a spot to the city’s top eateries and attractions is a lot easier. And for the locals who are still hanging around town, you’ll mostly find us picnicking at a city park.” – Tae Yoon, Senior Editor

Get the one-way ticket. If I’m traveling domestically, I can bounce from one city to another and it might cost about the same as if I bought a roundtrip (depending on where I’m flying from or to). But if you have flexibility in your travel dates, it’s nice to tack on another stop before heading home—at least I like to!” – Rosin Saez, Senior Editor

Young couple paddling on stand up paddleboards against the yacht in the seaYoung couple paddling on stand up paddleboards against the yacht in the sea
Maria Korneeva/Moment/Getty Images

“If you have the stamina and you feel it’s safe to do so, drive at night for long haul trips, especially along popular corridors. You’re much less likely to hit debilitating traffic jams, and it’s so nice to wake up at your destination vs. spending all morning driving to get there. If you have kids like I do, it also means they sleep through a lot of the ride and we can avoid the inevitable ‘Are we there yet?’ questions.” – Amanda Kludt, Publisher

Try to pack light, but not at the expense of summer-specific essentials—even those that feel a little fussy on the surface. Alongside cute leather sandals that can take you day to night, be sure to throw in a hearty waterproof pair of sandals for sandy excursions. Sunscreen is a must, of course, but you’ll be glad you brought an extra everyday tube for your face or even a special product for your hairline so you don’t burn while drinking al fresco. Even an anti-chafe product is worth the extra luggage space when you’re trekking up the steep streets of Porto or exploring Grecian cliffsides—trust.” Liz Provencher, Editor

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Travel team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Planning a vacation this summer? You, me, and everyone else. Those sun-soaked dog days are the perfect time to hit that national park you’ve only seen from a science textbook; take that road-trip that’s existed way too long on your bucket list; or make a patch of sand your temporary home. But as exciting as…

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