If there's a friend or a person at the office who can't stop blathering about how much he loves the heat and wishes summer would never end, feel free to throw as much ice on his dreams as possible.
No, not everyone loves sweating through every open pore for months at a time. No, not everyone loves it when the kids are out of school, everyone else in on vacation and every beach or boardwalk you step on is teeming with humanity. In fact, their are city residents who absolutely love it when these people turn a federal holiday into a three day weekend, go to some remote hotspot and leave all the parks, movie theaters and restaurants to everyone else.
If they do so last-minute, all the better. A recent survey of TripAdvisor Rentals travelers revealed that while most travelers book their stay in a vacation rental 6 to 12 months in advance (40%), a combined 54% of travelers book 3 to 5 months out (34%), or 1 to 3 months out (20%). A survey from AAA indicates that, in all, 42% of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 - with most planning trips to warm-weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. Approximately one-third (30%) of U.S. adults say they are more likely to take a vacation this year compared to 2016.
"There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel," says Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing. "Whether they're taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today's travelers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive."
Take the kids with you while you're at it. More than one-third of Americans (35%) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year. While most family travelers (70%) are planning to take one or two vacations, there is a significant increase this year in the number of Americans who say they are planning to take three or more vacations. The 28% of family travelers who will take three or more trips this year is 13 percentage points higher than in 2016.
"Families continue to see the value of traveling as a way to bond and reconnect in today's busy world," Sutherland says. "The best way to wrap up a family vacation is to start planning the next one, as more and more Americans are starting to do."
That puts families with Apple (AAPL) iPhones in hands on a whole lot of road trips (79%), visits to national parks (51%) and theme-park excursions (40%) this year, far outpacing the number of families spending on international travel (33%), guided tours (22%) and ocean cruises (20%). Compared to 2016, 10% more families are expected to take road trips this year. Rick Seaney, chief executive of travel site FareCompare.com, notes that the last week in August is about the only time you'll find summer travel bargains. Children go back to school, older leave for college and parents spend their time back-to-school shopping and shuttling, leaving the travel calendar open for the unencumbered. During that time, demand for hotel rooms and flights plummets, recovers briefly for Labor Day and then slides into autumn.
"As for airfare prices, they can drop as much as a third or more over summer airfare," Seaney says. "For my money, autumn is the best time of the year for a vacation: it packs the one-two punch of great weather and great airfare prices."
As travel site Hopper figured out last year, booking a late-August trip cuts summer travel costs costs significantly. Domestic airfares that hover around $375 for July and August weekend dates drop closer to $300 during the last two weeks of August, with the best fares available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. With international flights, you can save as much as 17% as airfare drops from an average of $1,100 in July to $850 in late August.
The issue, however, is that it's likely still going to be hot and you'll still have to put up with a who's who of "How's about this heat?"-spewing knuckle draggers if you head to favored destinations like Cape Cod; Ocean City, Md.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Miami; or Gulf Shores, Ala. Even if you manage to take advantage of the low season in Las Vegas, the pools will be packed with electronic dance music aficionados in heat and the air outside the air-conditioned casino floors will rate somewhere between "oven" and "newly formed star."
If you loathe the smell of sunblock and anxiously await the day you can put on woolen socks and consume pumpkin-spiced everything, you aren't alone. With help from travel sites and our own years of avoiding the heat, we've put together a list of ten places that are great for escaping the higher reaches of the mercury and avoiding a meltdown.
Average high July temperature: 75 degrees
Granted, we've been here during summers where temperatures have topped 100, but generally it's a lot cooler than much of the country.
Seattle's temperature is pretty moderate and is only helped by its position along Lake Union and Lake Washington and the Puget Sound and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. The rain cools things down a bit as well, but July and August tend to the most reliably sunny months on the calendar and a great time to be outdoors.
It's one of the few times that out-of-towners can get across to Seattle's Alki neighborhood - the site of the city's first incarnation of New New York - and walk along its rugged beaches combing for crabs and snails in the sand, trying to spot killer whales in the sound or just sipping on a frozen latte from Tully's and strolling along. It's also a great opportunity to fly a kite over the water amid the industrial relics of Gas Works Park, take a long ride out of town and past the Microsoft campus on the Burke-Gilman Trail or head out on the water in one of the city's ferries.
Now, you'll be far from alone just about anywhere you go -- especially with islands from nearby Whidbey to the upper San Juans coming alive with vacationers this time of year -- but if you can bypass national parks, Pike Place Market, Seafair and some of the other tourist-saturated sites and spectacles, you're in for a treat. Take a ride through the Cascades and stop for some trout fishing, canoeing or just a view of the silty emerald waters of Ross and Diablo for views of Mount Baker, Rainier and Olympus. Head out to the peninsula and take in the rain forest and the oft-cool (if somewhat bleak) Oregon coast. Whatever you do, just don't head too far east. The lush Cascades yield to desert steppes and buttes near the Grand Coulee Dam and punishingly hot vineyards and wheat fields as travelers press into Eastern Washington.
Average July temperature: 71
If you'd prefer not to take your chances at a latitude as low as Seattle's, head up to Vancouver and bypass bustling Vancouver for slightly more laid-back Victoria.
An oft-overlooked Pacific Northwest destination that's accessible by discount carriers including Frontier and JetBlue via Seattle and a $25 round-trip ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria is teeming with architecture dating back to the 1800s and strong floral scents emanating from Beacon Hill Park, Butchart Gardens and other plots in the "City of Gardens."
The inner harbor has sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains and great people watching thanks to the boatloads of tourists and travelers unloading there, but the best street scenes belong to the city's Chinatown, the second oldest in North America behind San Francisco's. The cool climate also makes it a lot easier to get out of town and go exploring in the sprawling nearby Okanagan Valley wine region. Roughly 10,000 acres of vineyards ring Okanagan Lake and form a Canadian Napa complete with cozy bed and breakfasts and wine country-quality restaurants in the nearby city of Kelowna.
Average high July temperature: 69
If you think you're going to like it on these six million acres during the summer, just wait until you see how the horned Dall sheep, moose, caribou and bears react to some of the warmest temperatures of the year. The glaciers and tundra look especially lovely along the trails at this time of year, as are the lava fields and ash flows in the Polychrome mountains. It's Denali National Park's 100th birthday this year, which means there are going to be all sorts of special events awaiting you if you head up, but prepare to be disconnected for a while. Some of the lodges have no televisions and there isn't a whole lot of mobile phone service in the area. Even the mountain features we discussed have to be accessed by air taxi. There's a reason Into The Wild ends in the northermost reaches of this park, so be forewarned that this isn't going to fit a whole lot of "summer" or "vacation" criteria.
Average high July temperature: 63 degrees in the Upper Negro River Valley to 35 degrees on Tierra Del Fuego
July in both Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia is like January in much of North America -- a relief for folks who dig January.
While one of the more common ways to see Patagonia is to take a cruise, stop in some select spots and call it a day, the die-hards who were backpacking the region before Luicano Bennetton and Sylvester Stallone bought land there know the most effective way of seeing the best sites is on foot. It's worth strapping on the crampons and braving the cold to get an up-close look at the 240-feet-tall, three-miles-wide Perito Moreno Glacier or the similarly vast, but shrinking, Upsala Glacier in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park.
The Valdes Peninsula on the Atlantic Coast, meanwhile, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the scores of sea lions, elephant seals, fur seals, giant armadillos and Magellanic penguins that call it home. While the glaciers, rivers and rock formations of Chile's Torres de Paine National Park and the soaring peak of Mount Fitz Roy are cool in both the literal and figurative senses, the best Patagonian cold-weather vacation spot has to be Tierra Del Fuego. It's capital of Ushuala, Argentina, is the southernmost city in the world, is home to the iconic "Lighthouse at the End of the World," has a harbor dotted with tiny primary colored buildings and is just across the Beagle Channel from islands dotted with seals, sheep and penguins.
Average July temperature: 66
It isn't exactly off the beaten path, being a city nearly 300,000 and all, but we're in this for the cool temperatures -- not necessarily the solitude. Besides, checking out the Hanseatic wharf buildings of Bryggen that date back to the 1700s and strolling a city that has roots in the early 1070s isn't such a bad way to spend your time. Especially when that city is awash in street art, multiple art museums, various music venues, Henrik Ibsen's first playhouse and cruise ships full of tourists from around the world. Much like its sister city Seattle, however, many of Bergen's greatest attractions are beyond city limits. You can take the funicular or tram up into the mountains and get a better view of the surrounding mountains and fjords, or you can take ferries and water taxis into some of the surrounding fjords. The landscape is breathtaking, but it's the combination of the contoured landscape and city culture that makes Bergen worth the visit.
Average July temperature: 79
While the temperatures can occasionally creep into the mid-80s and even low-90s and scare tourists off of hot plates of poutine for a while, the mild climate offers some amazing people watching from the Parisian-style outdoor restaurant seats and car-free thoroughfare of Place Jacques-Cartier and the Old Port.
Visitors can duck into the air-conditioned Bonsecours Market, but the cool breezes from beneath the cross at Mount Royal park offer a better view of the city. The temperatures also drop considerably at night, which does wonders for the city's summer festivals including the Montreal International Jazz Festival in late June and early July and the Montreal World Film Festival in mid-August.
It's also worth staying outside not only for the diverse architecture and vibrant neighborhoods including the city's Chinatown, Latin Quarter and Shaughnessy Village, but for the city's annual Fireworks Festival that pits teams from various countries against each other and keeps the city popping with pyrotechnics from June until the end of July.
Average July temperature: 52
There are fewer than 57,000 people in the entire country, and 17,000 live here. It's the size of a middling U.S. town, yet it's the most bustling metropolis this Danish constituent country has to offer.
However, we wouldn't advise coming all this way to visit the one art museum, the one sports venue or the one multipurpose venue that might happen to be having a concert this year. No, there's a lot of frozen country to explore to the north of this city, and we'd suggest taking one of the many walking/helicopter tours of the area. There are fjords, glaciers, icebergs and frozen rivers throughout, and the high temperature in the more northern reaches can dip near freezing. In fact, one of the nation's biggest tourist draws lies on Greenland's West Coast just north of the Arctic Circle in Ilulissat. Greenland's third-largest city has just 5,000 people, but its Icefjord allows tourists to gawk at a nation-sized glacier as it hacks off giant icebergs and sails them through the fjord. Some of the more enterprising hoteliers in the area allow guests to stay in igloos on the fjord, but we can't advise staying there for all that long. It's worth your time, but eventually you're just waiting for ice to crack.
Average high July temperature: 56
Greenland has the ice around this time of year, so naturally Iceland looks nice and green.
During July, Reykjavik gets about 20 hours of sun a day. The sun comes up around 3:30 a.m. and sets at around 11:30 p.m., giving summer visitors lots of time to check out the city's beaches surrounding former U.S. and British military installations unused since World War II, stroll the city's harbor or pop into one of the coffee houses or bar's along the city's Laugavegur main drag. If visitors stop in on the weekend, they're free to stay until closing time - which doesn't come until 6 a.m.
Travel deals to the suddenly popular layover stop usually include packages including rooms in the hotel that was once the nation's main airport -- and still serves as a stop for domestic flights. It also involves tours of Iceland's "Golden Circle" of waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, tectonic plate divides, volcanoes and the Thingvellier valley that became the site of the world's first parliament in 930 A.D. Be prepared for just about every cabbie, bartender and hotel concierge to ask you if you've been to the Blue Lagoon natural hot springs and spa just outside Iceland's Keflavik Airport and be further prepared to look at fellow tourists who say they've gone and have an image of them in hot-tub attire seared into your head for the rest of the trip.
The safer and equally recommended stop is Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand near the harbor that serves a spicy red frank topped with sweet mustard, fried onion and a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. In a town that serves whale as a dinner entree, a pylsa is easily one of the best things a tourist will eat during his or her trip.
Average July temperature: 58
Buenos Aires can begin July with low temperatures in the upper 30s, but its cold winter months are a great time for tourists. Those looking to trace the footsteps of Eva Peron, Jorge Luis Borges or even the thousands of tango dancers who came before can do so at a discount as the temperatures drop.
It's a bit less expensive than Europe at this time of year -- yes, even with the falling euro. The pastel-painted buildings along the Caminito, the museums and gardens along Avenida del Libertador and the cafes and street performers in San Telmo are still every bit as vibrant in the winter months. Come hungry, however, as all that cold weather makes the hot asado barbecue and bottles of malbec nice options for keeping warm.
Average July temperature: Varies
There are few better places to hit the slopes during a North American summer than the resorts in Chile's Central Andes.
While resorts in Colorado, Vermont, Utah and elsewhere try luring tourists with mountain biking and other eco-tourist adventures, Chile's El Colorado ski center near Santiago has discounted packages at hotels like the Aspen Apart that are comfortable and close to the lifts. Travelers looking to take in the ruins at Machu Picchu without missing too much time on the slopes can stay just as close to Santiago while staying at resorts like the French-inspired Valle Nevado with its 23,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain and somewhat more extreme heli-skiing elevations.
Somewhat less challenging and more luxurious, but still within striking distance of Santiago, is the La Parva resort and the smattering of condos, restaurants, bars, clubs and ski schools in the namesake village below. Those seeking the greatest challenge Chile has to offer, however, should make their way to Portillio for both the tough runs and the gorgeous Inca lagoons. A midsummer ski may be a relatively new concept to most travelers, but for Olympic and World Championship skiiers, Chile is a mandatory off-season stop.