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Book now for summer car ferry reservations

It’s January and you’ve barely gotten over the holidays, much less thought about where you want to spend your summer vacation. But if you don’t starting planning now for certain island destinations, you might miss the boat completely.

Isolated by water, islands may be the perfect escapes for pure seclusion. However, that same benefit means limited options for getting there, especially for popular places such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in the summer.

If you have high hopes of checking into that perfect, hard-to-find vacation rental and bringing all your BBQ and beach gear along, you’ll have to know one thing: Make your car ferry reservations in January. In 2008, the Steamship Authority, for example, is opening up summer bookings to both of these islands for non-island residents on Monday, January 14. You can reserve either by mail or online (phone reservations open on January 22). From personal experience, I’ve learned the hard way that waiting just a few weeks could mean settling for inconvenient departure times or not getting the dates you want at all.

Though not all islands (or other ferry-bound destinations) require advance car reservations this early, it’s still a good idea to reserve your space as soon as your plans firm up. Foot passengers can often buy walk-up tickets, but it’s best to check with the ferry company to see what it recommends. Good luck—and I hope you make the boat!

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