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The Perfect Vacation

  • Where Should We Stay?

    If you're planning to sightsee, consider choosing a home base  -- a condominium, cabin, or campground  -- where you can settle in and unpack your gear. From there, you can take day trips.

    When deciding whether to pay more for a place that provides meals and housekeeping, consider the value of your labor. Danon Middleton, a mother of three in Atlanta, has gone to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a week every other summer since her sons were babies. She prefers a condo for its savings, privacy, and room to romp. But she and her husband have had to prepare all their meals. To ease the load, Middleton freezes meals at home and takes them in a cooler. She also stockpiles such basics as cereal, sandwich fixings, and drinks so that she doesn't have to spend the first day of vacation grocery shopping.