Leaving for Vacation With Nowhere to Go

  • Mike McCurry
  • 01/10/17

From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, January 5, 2017

With 13 cards left in my hand, someone shouted “UNO!”

No! How could this be? I usually own this game and am the first to go out. I know it’s a silly game of cards, but I don’t like to lose – even to my own children. I have no choice but to pass along the dreaded plus-4 card to keep the game going.

In Uno, there are some really dastardly cards through which you can force your opponent to draw more cards, and effectively keep the game alive. After all, it’s a rainy day on vacation, so this game must continue.

Most people I know plan their vacations, securing their travel and lodging well in advance of leaving from home. Not me – for what I’m about to tell you, you will most likely think that I’m crazy, and it will probably make you a little uncomfortable.

In my 17 years of being married and vacationing in Florida for winter break, we have only booked lodging in advance twice. On a few occasions, we have secured a place while driving down, but mostly, we don’t know where we’re going to land until we pull into town – confession over.

I realize that most marriages would not last, and don’t recommend this type of travel planning for the faint of heart. I’m not only lucky that I have a very patient wife, but also lucky she has stuck with me over the years in spite of this crazy vacation behavior. There have been a few moments, however, where I’ve heard my full name spoken in a stern voice to simply pick a place and make it happen.

The benefits of riding by the seat of my pants, I believe, are overwhelmingly compelling. And because of my vacation shenanigans, we have stayed at some of the most luxurious beach properties, for at least half off of the retail price. Yes, there are vacancies everywhere, and when you find them, the owners are willing to deal. If they haven’t rented their unit by the time you pull into town, it will stay vacant for another week, and they will lose the revenue.

Doesn’t everyone love a deal?

In the art of negotiations, there is a term called “win-win”. Both parties win, and when you are courteous and respectful of the process, there usually is a big “W” and pay-off.

We also get to see the product before we buy it. Most vacationers rent sight-unseen and don’t know exactly what they’re getting until they’ve unpacked. On one of the rare occasions we ordered in advance, we were disappointed to find the pool was in the shade, all but for 45 minutes of the day (a shaded pool in January is not a popular pool). I’ve been handed multiple sets of keys (by rental agencies) to go check out the properties before we decide. Imagine the possibility of getting to pick out the property of your dreams at half the price

The sun came out, and we’re back to the pool, and then to the beach. The UNO game was not good for me, and I came in dead last. The kids enjoyed their dad’s contorted losing expression on his vacation bearded face.

As far as the vacation rental, we did secure a sweet spot on the beach – in the nick of time, while pulling into town.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business, or announces school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.


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