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Stretch the budget with a trip that does double duty
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The travel issue

Have a grand ole getaway in Nashville, Tenn.: Fill your vacation with music and family-friendly activities.

Argentina holds beauty, power: Searching for something exotic? Try a trip to the waterfalls of Argentina.

A quick getaway: Looking for somewhere closer to home? Try one of these day trips.

When it comes to summer vacations, North Georgia residents are getting resourceful.

Feeling the pinch from the economy, many are looking to make their vacations do doubly duty, taking a side trip while on a vacation to visit family. Some have had a traditional vacation sidelined as they travel to other areas of the country for medical reasons.

Or, if you're Mary Ann Wood of Sautee, you're taking a late summer trip to Italy, but also using it as a time to be closer with God.

"It's a pilgrimage to Assisi and a small central area and Rome," said Wood of the 11-day trip she's planned. She's been to Italy before, she said, but never to these spots, and it means a lot to her to be able to see them.

Kathy Risch, a Gwinnett County teacher, and Cornelia resident Evelyn Marshall visited family this summer, but that's the extent of their summer travel plans. And for Brooke and Juan Carlos Arroliga, the cost of a trip kept them home this summer - although, if they could pick a dream spot, they agreed it would be the beach.

"If it's just us, we could go to the beach," Juan Carlos said.

Greg Laskoski, public relations director for AAA Auto Club South, said there is still a significant number of travelers who are opting to drive long distances to see the country's national parks this summer. Many families are still trying to do a family vacation, but are opting for destinations closer to home this year.

Cruises, too, are rising in popularity, he added. Especially European river cruises, where cruisers are starting to realize they can see small-town Europe without getting on a large cruise ship.

Cruising and classic European vacation destinations — like Prague or other capital cities — were also two of this year's travel trends noted in the January issue of Travel + Leisure magazine.

But perhaps juggling two vacations in one — for example, stopping by Wild Adventures park in Valdosta while visiting family in South Georgia or Florida - is another way Americans are getting better at multitasking.

"People are pretty resourceful and they recognize traveling for one purpose doesn't necessarily mean traveling for that purpose has to be the only purpose," Laskoski said. "The main purpose is to visit family and friends, but at the same time they'll do things that let them enjoy leisure travel."