- June 1st (Technically, not quite summer yet, but why not get a jump on it?)
- July 26th
- August 31st
- September 20th
Don’t fly on Sunday.
- Plan for the most peak experiences. Perhaps you’re break away from another beach vacation and go hang-gliding or white-water rafting. Before the trip, talk about the details of any special outing with your travel mates to stir up excitement. And make sure everyone has the equipment and training they need for the adventure.
- Plan for a mishap. Once-in-a-lifetime trips often take you far away to remote locations. Guess what? There won’t be a hospital around the corner, and even if there is it probably won’t take your health insurance. Consider buying medical evacuation coverage, which provides emergency transport to a top facility.
- Plan for a change of plans. A last-minute life change can force you to delay or cancel your carefully planned (and expensive) bucket-list trip. Understand which parts of the trip are refundable and under what circumstances. Cover the rest with trip cancellation insurance. That way you’ll get the chance to plan it all over again—and do it even better next time.
- How it works: If you need only to check email and social media occasionally, the cheapest option is to turn off data altogether and use Wi-Fi instead, whether at your hotel each night or at other hotspots during the day.
- What you’ll need: Email works fine on Wi-Fi, as do Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. For calling and texting, though, you’ll have to use the same app as your loved ones. That could be iChat and FaceTime (for iPhone users), or Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, which work on any type of phone.
- Bonus tips: For getting around, the Stay.com app has city maps that list attractions, restaurants, and Wi-Fi hotspots; they’re available even when you’re offline. Heading somewhere more remote? Maps.me has downloadable maps for over 345 countries and islands.
- Costs: Minimal, but aim to find free Wi-Fi rather than paying for access.
Get a SIM Card
- How it works: With most newer smartphones you can unlock your device and swap your existing SIM card for a local version. Before you leave, call your carrier to unlock your phone and freeze your account for the duration of your trip.
- What you’ll need: When you arrive, purchase a SIM card at an airport vending machine or a local electronics or convenience store. That gives you a local phone number, plus some calling time and set amounts of texting and data.
- Bonus tips: To bump up your allowances, you can buy (and redeem) a card for extra minutes and data.
- Costs: They vary. A card alone costs $6 in Rio de Janeiro, or you can get a SIM starter kit, with chip and some preset time/data limits, for around $45 in much of Europe. You’ll need a separate card for each country you visit.
Keep Your Plan
- How it works: If you’re on the Big Four, you can get an international plan from your carrier. Texts and data are free (albeit slower) on Sprint and T-Mobile Simple Choice, but if you have one of the other two (or want faster speeds), you’ll pay extra.
- Costs: AT&T’s pay-as-you-go option starts at $30 a month, with unlimited texting and discounted calling and data rates. Verizon’s monthly option starts at $25 for reduced talk, text, and data rates. Alternatively, the carrier’s TravelPass lets you use your existing plan for $10 a day in most countries (or $2 in Canada or Mexico).
Thos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family. Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.
The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at theHarraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.
Participants in the program begin by selecting a Thos. Moser design for their camp project. Then, working with a professional cabinetmaker, they learn, step by step, how each signature piece is made, all the way from selecting the raw materials to rubbing the last coat of oil into their finished project. Over the course of the week, the apprentices log about 30 hours of shop-time alongside their mentor on the piece, learning the tools and techniques of artisanal woodworking. The Customers-in-Residence also get to meet and discuss their hobby with Moser family members, many of whom work as designers and artisans in the business.
The cost of the Customer-in-Residence program starts at $3,500, plus the retail price of the item you select to make. The rate includes nightly accommodations at the Inn, daily breakfast and lunch, plus two group dinners, transportation between the Inn and the woodshop in Auburn, additional excursions, and the instruction. And, of course, you get to bring home the piece you create, signed in a special ceremony at the end of your stay.
Only the November 7 session still has openings, but the company has scheduled eight sessions in 2011, from April through November. For more information or to put a name on the waiting list for the program, please visit Thos. Moser’s website.