Countdown to Summer

How to get the most out of the best months of the year.

While the official start of summer is June 21st, these balmy temperatures from coast to coast have us daydreaming about our favorite season already. From backyard barbecues and boating trips, to beach days and bold outdoor adventures, summer invites us all outside for three blissful months of sun and fun each year.

But if you feel like it always seems to be over in a flash, you’re not alone. After all, time flies when you’re having fun. To truly maximize these very best months of the year, a little preparation goes a long way. Here are a few of our favorite ways to prep now, so you can get the most out of the summer ahead. 

Remember: Things Book Up Fast

Travel is back in a big way in 2022, and there are far more travelers on the roads (and in the open skies) now than in the last several years. With the increased demand, some of the better options for flights, hotels, rental cars and restaurants are already going fast, particularly in top summer destinations along the coasts. Try to book your transportation and lodging—the “big two” in travel—as early as you can. And don’t forget the dinner reservations! Many restaurants are still operating at reduced capacity despite the surge in demand, and you don’t want to miss out on those sensational summer bites you’ve been dreaming about all winter long. 

Request Time Off Now

With remote and hybrid schedules on the rise in recent years, work and personal time have truly blurred. So it’s easy to forget to request time off these days—especially if you aren’t physically in the office in the first place. To get the most out of your vacation days, plan ahead and choose specific days you want to get away, then arrange to have that time off from work (or whatever other commitments you have) right away. Generally, it’s easier to shift existing vacation days around if needed, than it is to spring a last-minute trip on your coworkers, families, and friends.

Leave Room for Spontaneity

That said, sometimes it pays to throw caution to the wind. If your work and home life allow for some flexibility, you just might score the best summer experiences of all, thanks to last-minute travel deals. From flights looking to fill empty seats, to hotels with high inventory that want to tempt travelers their way, summer deals actually abound if you’re open to where and when you go. The same goes for staycations, with restaurants and attractions often serving up big savings to locals who are flexible to come in during non-peak days and times. 

Map Out Routes—and Have a Plan B

Nothing can sink a great summer trip faster than a canceled flight or rental car. When your plans hinge on a specific mode of transportation, it pays to have a backup plan in mind. If your flight falls through, is your destination drivable in a pinch? Or if your hotel reservation is somehow missing in action when you try to check in, do you have an alternative place to stay? Having a variety of last-minute travel apps on your phone—and knowing how to use them—can mean the difference between a quick change of plans, and a major summer bummer.  

Browse (and Create) Inspiration Boards

There’s a reason Pinterest and other vision board-oriented apps have fared so well over the years: when it comes to planning just about anything, the human brain simply loves visuals. So, don’t hold back now—start browsing for trip inspiration based on your destination. From the vibrant neon and Art Deco vibes of Miami’s South Beach, to the whitewashed walls and cerulean seas of Santorini, your summer spot tells a story. There’s no better way to get in the mood, and to start mapping out your packing list, than with a vacation inspo board. 

Tackle Your To-Do List

When summer arrives, the last thing you need is to worry about your usual to do’s. With weeks to go until summer officially kicks off, try to knock out that list that’s been weighing you down. Schedule that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off, hire the landscaper to reimagine your backyard now, or just plan ahead so you can clear your schedule when it counts. The fewer things you must do this summer, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy what you want to do. 

Amass Your Summer Reading Material

Whether you’re a Kindle devotee or you’ll never part with your paperbacks, summer is a time for pleasure reading. And while some readers prefer popcorn-fiction page-turners, and others can’t get enough non-fiction biographies, the point is to make sure you’re ready with options, ideally tucked into your beach bag or carry on. The same applies to those who prefer streaming over reading. Download content in advance and be sure to keep any devices fully charged. 

Organize (and Restock) Your Closet

Summer is a great time to simplify your closet—and your wardrobe in general. Advice for organizing and paring down possessions is plentiful on the Internet, but one of our favorite tips includes keeping a seasonal-specific wardrobe in your closet: summer clothes come out in the summer, and winter clothes get tucked away. This gives prominence to your warm-weather wardrobe—and helps you quickly and easily spot any gaps in what you own. Once you have your basics, don’t forget to pick out some new jewelry to round out your summer style. 

Load Up on Sunscreen and Other Sun Protection

This tip goes without saying, but don’t forget the sunscreen!  Invest in a season’s worth of sunscreen now, so you’ll always have some on hand. And be on the lookout for UPF rated hats and clothing that offer an added layer of protection while spending most of your time in the sun. 

With summer prep in the rearview, you’ll be ready to make the most of the season—and maybe even get a jump start on it. After all, with longer days and warmer temps already here, why wait for June 21st to start celebrating?