Good Life

Planes, trains and automobiles make for great vacations

Editor’s note: This story is part of the Road Trips special section.

Get outta town.

No, really, get going. It’s time for a vacation. You’ve earned it. You need it. What are you still doing here?

According to Fortune, Americans don’t use up all their vacation days, leaving about 429 million of them unclaimed every year. That’s a lot of fishing trips and spa weekends.

But your boss appreciates it, right? I mean, the company’s not ponying up a paycheck for a week at the Grand Canyon. What’s not to like?

Productivity. The same article tells us that 40 percent of surveyed employers want you to take your time off because they think you’ll get more done when you are on the clock.

So seriously, get going. Check out the options, make some reservations and pack already. Hit the road.

Oh, but wait...

Are you going to be hitting the road? Just how are you going to get from Point A to Point B and back again?

Road trip!

Central Pennsylvania is a great place to start a trip because we are pretty darn close to a whole lot of America’s major arteries. Interstate 80, after all, runs across Centre County, and you can ride it all the way from San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean to Teaneck, New Jersey, just a bridge or so away from the Big Apple.

Interstate 99 can take you north into New York’s less urban areas or south to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, opening you up to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, plus connecting you to Interstate 95 and all points up and down the eastern seaboard.

But maybe you don’t want to just get there. Maybe you want to take your time. Maybe for you, vacation is about the journey, not the destination.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development’s got you covered. At, the good people in charge of Keystone State tourism have planned out a variety of leisurely jaunts around the commonwealth, tied to interests like food, booze, shopping, ghosts, history and more.

The friendly skies

But if the idea of sitting in a car for hours, or days, or a week makes you relive childhood fights with your brother about who gets a window seat, there are other ways out of town.

Centre County is home to several airports. There is Mid State Regional Airport in the Black Moshannon State Park north of Philipsburg and Bellefonte Airport, but both of those are more about private planes. There’s the Ridge Soaring Gliderport in Julian, but that’s a little more recreational.

If you’re leaving on a jet plane and don’t know when you’ll be back again, it’s University Park Airport that you are probably going to visit.

The airport is home to flights from Delta, United Express and US Airways. With those, you can get to thousands of flights going to hundreds of cities in more than a hundred countries around the globe.

Have someone drop you off and you can save the cost of parking while you’re gone, but if you need your car handy when you come back, leave it in the lot. A whole week at University Park Airport is $54, versus $59.50 in Harrisburg or up to $77 in Philadelphia.

Riding the rails

But those aren’t your only options. You can also hop a train.

Yes, I know. There isn’t a train station in State College, or anywhere in Centre County for that matter. But that doesn’t mean it’s off the table. There are several train stations just a hop, skip and a jump from the Centre Region.

The closest would be in Huntingdon or Tyrone. Altoona, Lewistown and Harrisburg are also possibilities for a quick, easy trip to Philly, New York or Washington.

It’s an affordable option for one of those destination hubs, too. An Amtrak ticket from Huntingdon to Penn Station in New York is as low as $85, and comes with the convenience of not dealing with traffic in one of the busiest cities in the country, or paying tolls.

But there are even more ways to get away. Buses and boats and motor homes and, hey, don’t forget the staycation.

The important thing? Take some time to yourself and try new things, by yourself or with your family or friends. A vacation is a terrible thing to waste.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce