Cleveland and Philadelphia are both historic and inviting all-American cities—and you should avoid them like the plague this month. Unless, of course, you plan on attending, reporting on, or protesting the Republican National Convention in Cleveland from July 18 to 21, or the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28. Both cities are expecting an influx of about 50,000 out-of-towners, meaning that hotel rooms will be hard to come by, and if you do happen to find one anywhere near either location, the rates are likely to be, as one candidate would put it, HUUUUGE.
The crowds in both towns will probably be smaller than when the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated their NBA championship with a parade in June, or when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia last fall. But remember: those throngs were mostly well wishers. In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, convention traffic is far more likely to involve disruptive protests, security checks, and other obstacles that don't exactly make for pleasant vacations.
As one travel analyst told the New York Times, "To be very honest, if you don't have a reason to be in Cleveland or Philly for these conventions, stay away."