NEW YORK — Who knew the calendar could cause so much vacation heartburn?
For the first time in five years Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, leaving travelers unsure when to celebrate and worrying those who make a living off tourists.
"The midweek holiday seems to have travelers confused," said Anthony Del Gaudio, vice president of hotel sales for Loews Hotels, which isn't seeing the normal July Fourth spike in bookings.
Those who sell vacations say this year's calendar gives Americans more options: Tack on Saturday through Tuesday or Thursday through Sunday to the holiday, or just take the entire week off.
But consumers' confidence has been waning. Now, some aren't happy about having to burn an extra vacation day or two to get that long weekend. From 2008 through 2011, the work holiday fell on either Friday or Monday, so employees and their families got an automatic three-day weekend, similar to Memorial Day and Labor Day.
"It's irritating because everybody wants those three, four-day holiday weekends," said Tom Donohue, who runs an HIV awareness program based in Charlottesville, Va.
In recent years, he's traveled to see family in Pennsylvania, including his father whose birthday is on July 2. There's swimming and boating on the Susquehanna River and — of course — fireworks.
Not this year. Donohue plans to stay local, savings those days off "for an actual vacation," a Caribbean cruise in October.
Others are determined to have their summer holiday no matter what.
Alicia Hutton, her husband and their two daughters are flying from Boston to Baltimore to see family. The parents had to take two extra days off from their jobs to make the Wednesday-Saturday trip work.
"It's not ideal because normally we would tack on one day to a long weekend," Hutton said.
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