This month’s “Idiocy in Travel Writing” award goes to…


The editors of Southern Living, Coastal Living, Sunset and Cottage Living. They’ve published an article that I’ve now read four times, and I cannot believe that it ever made it to press. Then again, they’re in the business of publishing travel stories, regardless of how inane they are, so I guess they’re just doing their jobs.

The article itself isn’t all that bad. It gives some sample itineraries for 3-day trips to Charleston, SC; Santa Fe, NM; Destin, FL; San Francisco, CA and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. But the basis of the article is just ridiculous. The idea is to help people spend their $1,200 tax rebate. On travel. I’m sure that the government hopes that people spend it on something frivolous, but I’d think that maybe paying off the credit cards is a way better use of the money. Even more entertaining is the opening two paragraphs of the article:

From laid-back Florida beaches to guided mule rides in the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, our editors picked these getaways with the average American family’s tax rebate of $1,200 in mind.

We budgeted each trip for a three-night stay, meals and activities, but did not account for travel expenses.

That’s right, folks. Here’s how to spend your $1,200 refund, PLUS more money just getting to the vacation destination. Turns out that apparently travel is so expensive they can’t actually do a weekend getaway for $1,200 any more. Of course this isn’t actually true. There are plenty of weekend deals all summer long to places worth visiting that can be done for less. Apparently these travel editors aren’t really worried about that. And they actually leave plenty of budget room for flights and/or fuel to drive to the destinations, but it sure does read funny when they’re talking about budgeting a vacation and they don’t include the transit costs.

Of course, it wouldn’t be any fun if CNN.com let the folks writing the article have all the fun, so their editors tossed in their own little nugget at the top of the page:
Yeah…I’m a big fan of number three on the list.

This article makes about as much sense to me as the comment I saw on a message board last week:

In general, I think the real downturn is yet to take effect. Yes we have seen a big crisis in foreclosures, but this will have a temporary beneficial effect, as those people will now be freeing up their mortgage payment and can spend that on leisure pursuits.

That’s right, folks. Instead of looking for a new place to live after their home is foreclosed on, people are going to be spending their money on a vacation to Disney!

I fear for the future of society some times.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .
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