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Summer is officially here. Have you planned your vacation? There are great deals everywhere due to the weak economy so take advantage of the deals. If you can get away on short notice you can really find bargains. How about a trip to Disney World? I have not been there in years and I’m like a kid in a candy store in places with people dressed in costume.


Do you love Las Vegas as much as I do? There are deals galore in Sin City. If you want to be surprised you can log into a site and let them chose what hotel you will stay in. You can determine if you want to stay in a three- or four-star hotel. Do you want a king size room or suite? Just pick something.

Is cruising your thing? It’s the ultimate all-inclusive vacation. Hotels and ships are hurting right now and they would love to have you as a guest. If you don’t want to fly you can drive to Baltimore or New York and board a cruise ship. That really sounds like fun; you can combine a trip to the Inner Harbor or do some shopping in New York before or after your cruise.

Have you ever taken a vacation by yourself? Is there something you have wanted to do that your friends or spouse has no interest in? I want to go to the Mall of America. The mall is complete with an amusement park, comedy club, hotel, and plenty of stores and restaurants. I’d also like to visit some of the premier consignment shops in New York. I’ve been saving an article about them for years. A visit to those stores coupled with a Broadway play and some fine dining would be pure nirvana.

Just once I would like to take a vacation and totally surprise myself. I would wait until the very last minute and go to the cheapest place listed on my weekly travel e-mail. I met a couple once that did that while I was working at John Heinz History Center. They selected Pittsburgh and were having a ball visiting museums and points of interest around the city. Now that could be one of the best vacations, right in your own back yard.

If I know some of my fellow Pittsburghers there are tons of places right in your own home town that you have never set foot in. You ride by it and wonder what goes on in that place. Save that airfare and cost of a hotel and sleep in your own bed and do some things you have wanted to do. Play golf, go swimming, get dressed up and dine out. Go to a movie or the theater, find a pottery shop where you can make your own pottery and now you have a souvenir from your stay-at-home vacation. Come to think of it, I haven’t been to Kennywood or Sandcastle in a while—that would make a good vacation. A menu of cotton candy, Potato Patch fries and hot dogs on a stick, a ride or two on the Thunderbolt and I would be a happy camper.

Don’t let the summer go by without recharging your batteries; you’ll be happy that you did.

(E-mail the columnist at deb­bienorrell@aol.com.)

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