Great Places to See the Fall Foliage

Anywhere there are deciduous trees is a good location to see the fall colors. But every region has leafy spots that are particularly good for fall touring. In the Northeast, Travel & Leisure suggests Bar Harbor, Maine, the Catskills, and Stowe, Vt. In the Midwest, there’s the Wisconsin Dells, and the South has the Ozark National Forest. And in the West, Aspen, Colo., and the Columbia River Gorge are top options. Many of the country’s Scenic Byways are great for seeing the fall colors, too — so schedule a drive or a hike for an afternoon or weekend soon.

Why the Leaves Change Color

With fall officially underway, the leaves on many varieties of deciduous trees are starting to change color in northern climes. Why? Because chlorophyll production is declining, and as a result, the leaves lose their green color and reveal their true underlying color, says SmokyMountains.com. Beta-carotene produces orange leaves, anthocyanin produces reds and flavonols yellows. To protect themselves from winter’s harsh temperatures, perennial trees cut off leaves’ supply of water and nutrients to hibernate.

Celebrate Your Achievements With a Day Off

Conceived by union labor movements, Labor Day is “an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Celebrated since 1882 with parades and picnics, it marks the ceremonial end of summer, and offers a brief respite from the typical workweek to shop, travel and relax. Whether you decide to road-trip or venture no further than your own back yard, make the most of Labor Day by shutting down your screens and trying one of 23 suggestions from Country Living.

Packing for the All-American Road Trip

After a long #pandemic year, lots of people are anxious to get out of the house and #travel. They want to see new sights, visit friends and relatives, and generally shake things up a little bit after spending an extended time in quarantine.

While airline travel has become less daunting now that more than half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, rental cars are prohibitively expensive. That makes a #roadtrip in your own car a good option, even with gas at $3 per gallon.

Start with a clean, roadworthy car. If your car has unaddressed mechanical issues you think might affect your trip, you’ll want to get them checked out before you go. At the very least, you’ll want to check all tires and top off the fluids.

Once you’ve vacuumed the car’s interior and cleaned its windows, you can begin to pack. You and any companions will spend a lot of time inside the car during the trip, so bring only what you need and can keep organized.

Pack clothing and other items you won’t need until you reach your destination in the trunk, along with a roadside emergency kit. Inside the car, a cell phone mount, charger(s), and a small cooler for drinks and snacks are essential, says the travel blog A Dangerous Business.

If you start the trip with a fresh car, the main challenge will be to keep it organized for the duration of a trip. If you’re traveling with children, give each a bin, packing cube or over-seat organizer to keep their chosen road trip essentials in.

Good things to pack include sunblock, a blanket, bath towels, paper towels and cleaning wipes, and a refillable water bottle. Passengers might like to add a neck pillow, window shades, and other items that can help them travel in relative comfort.

To manage the trash you produce during the trip, have a garbage receptacle handy, and empty it whenever you stop for gas or a restroom break.

Thrift stores supplied by your generous #donations to ClothingDonations.org often have used items that can be repurposed for your road trip. Check them out before you go as a good source of inexpensive travel accessories.

Then, be on your way. Have a #safe and #orgnaized trip!

Planning Summer Travel in 2021

Not so long ago in 2019, the unofficial beginning of summer was the beginning of summer travel season. COVID-19 put a stop to that last year, but now that the United States is (mostly) vaccinated against the deadly disease, pent-up demand is fueling summer trips large and small.

Air travel is at almost 90% of prepandemic numbers, and with more countries overseas easing lockdowns, international travel is starting to creep upward. But as you plan your summer trips, don’t expect the fine-tuned machine that served travelers in ’19.

For one thing, you may not be able to rent a car — or afford one in your chosen vacation spot. Auto rental companies slashed fleet inventories during the pandemic to stay solvent, the Washington Post says, and may not replenish them until next year at the earliest.

Business travel is expected to rebound late, leaving the leisure traveler with plenty of options in hotels and accommodations. Rooms may be somewhat more expensive in popular locations, USA Today says, but change and cancellation fees have largely disappeared during the panemic.

For travelers who are still wary of crowded indoor environments, the great outdoors beckons. Roadtrippers.com suggests booking campsites now to avoid disappointment as pretty much everyone tries to get safely back to a new normal, travel-wise.

The road trip is still perhaps the best option for summer travel in 2021. Pack the car and take off to visit the friends and family you couldn’t last year; gas prices are up due to the Colonial Pipeline hack and other supply issues, but it remains a great way to see the sights.

Roadtripper’s planning tools allow you to build an itinerary that will suit your budget and checklist, whether your ideal trip is city or country, active or 100% R&R. The Organizing Blog can offer advice on keeping your vehicle #neat, #clean and #organized during long stretches on the road.

If you pick up any #tchotchkes or #souvenirs on your summer trips, make sure they are things that you want to use every day; otherwise, they will quickly turn into #clutter. If you are already overburdened with #stuff, take only pictures to remember your travels.

As you pack, set aside any stuff you don’t use and contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a free, contactless #donation #pickup. It will clear your head before you take off on a leisurely weekend or bucket-list trip — and make your home a welcoming place to come back to.