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    Bet you never imagined the words "knee defender" would become a part of our collective lexicon. But thanks to one passenger who recently placed an actual device on the back of the airline seat in front of him just so he could prevent the woman in front of him from reclining her seat, we have all been forced to live in a world that's slightly more idiotic than it was a week ago.

    While I would never defend throwing your drink at someone -- as the female passenger reportedly did to get back at the man seated behind her -- anyone who thinks he or she has the right to tell another passenger what to do with a seat she paid to rent for a few hours has clearly forgotten that he is not John Travolta, nor does he own a share of the airline.

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    If you're not at all prepared for pumpkin spice coffee drinks and changing leaves, you're not alone. In fact, plenty of us plan on snagging our last ditch chance at beach time ASAP.

    An estimated 34.7 million Americans plan to travel this Labor Day weekend, according to the Auto Club AAA. Thankfully, whether you're sneaking in your last summer trip now or later in the month with the kids, extended family, friends, or just your spouse, pulling together an impromptu getaway is a lot easier than it sounds. 

    The key: Casting a wide net with your search -- and striving to be open to a variety of options.

    "Everyone is heading for the beach or the lake, but if your kids are like mine, any pool [even at a local hotel or in a country house] would also work," says Tom Gilmore, CEO of

    Whether the consolation is where you're going to sunbathe or how you'll get to your destination, Gilmore recommends expanding your search for the best deal.

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    Not enjoying your stay at a hotel is one thing, being threatened by management to keep quiet about it is quite another. But that's exactly what some guests say happened to them after sharing a negative Internet review following a visit to the Union Street Guest House.

    Catapulting itself out of utter obscurity, the guest house, located 120 miles north of New York City, is gaining notoriety for allegedly telling people it will charge them $500 (deducted from their deposit) for each derogatory review posted on the web. 

    Say what? After a firestorm of negative reviews filled Yelp, TripAdvisor, and the inn's Facebook page, the proprietors posted a notice saying that its policy was made "tongue-in-cheek" years ago following a wedding and was never enforced.

    Still, who does this and thinks, even as a joke, that it's good for business? 

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    My 2-year-old nearly got me kicked off a plane. The reason? She refused to sit in her seat during takeoff, and that was just takeoff. How would I survive the next five hours? Suffice to say, long plane flights with kids can shave years off a parent's life. Children just aren't designed to stay in the cramped confines of an airplane seat for hours, and even an endless stream of on-demand movies can only entertain for so long. That's why British Airways conducted a study on the best toys for plane trips with kids, placing 30 youngsters aged 2 to 10 on a flight with a selection of toys, then observing what happened. (Believe it or not, the iPad paled in comparison to more basic options.)

    Here are the toys that occupied the kids for the longest amount of time.

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    Like a lot of people out there, my father hates to fly. He would rather spend 24 hours traveling by bus or train than to hop on a flight. I always thought he was being ridiculous until I came across the TSA Instagram account. You won't believe the types of things people try to get aboard planes -- even in this day and age of heightened security. Take a look at these incredibly scary and dangerous accessories passengers are caught with.

    More from The StirAlec Baldwin’s Baby Selected for Pat Down by Airport Security – WHY?


    Image via tsa/Instagram

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    Ah the stages of packing for a vacation: From excitement to procrastination to the good start to the panicked tossing of everything in your suitcase, and off you go -- only to find out you packed all the wrong stuff. How do you make the whole process simpler and still end up with the right clothes?

    For me, packing for a summer vacation is all about reading the weather report, picking out separates in the same color family (so you can mix and match), planning to repeat a few things, and preparing for a few surprises. Here is my essential summer vacation packing list.

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    Talk about a role reversal. A trucker pulled over an Illinois state trooper he saw driving recklessly. According to the big rig driver, the officer was talking on his cell phone and going well over the speed limit on the rain-slicked highway. He honked his horn until the cop stopped and their entire exchange was caught on a cell phone camera.  It has over 3,000,000 views in the week since it was uploaded to YouTube. Once you watch, you will see why.

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    Summer vacation with the family is always a mixed bag. Making memories to last a lifetime comes with its fair share of cost -- most of which involves whining, putting up with annoying siblings, and some degree of hauling ridiculous amounts of luggage. A small price to pay, right?

    And those are the good vacations.

    Of course, small, petty annoyances are one thing. For some, vacations end up being much worse. In fact, some trips turn out to be an absolute debacle. The irony is: it's sometimes those messy vacations -- the ones with stories that last a lifetime -- that create our most enduring memories. We polled parents across the country to share some of their biggest vacation snafus with us. We got some doozies. Here are 10 memorable, hilarious vacation fails that somehow became classic family tales:

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    Is there anything better than camping during the early summer months? The temperature is nice during the day and gets just cool enough at night. You have an excuse to gather your family around a roaring campfire and cook meals while exchanging terrible knock-knock jokes and just laughter in general.

    But sometimes it can be tricky to find ways of keeping those younger campers in our parties entertained! There are only so many times you can send them to collect kindling for the fire before they claim slave labor. Never fear, for we are here! And we've brought with us 5 free printable campfire games perfect for the wee ones.

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    If you've ever been on a plane with a toddler, then you know all too well that doing so could probably be used as a form of torture.

    Sure, flying with a baby is tough too, but air travel really goes to a whole new level of suck once they grow up a little and become mobile. It's like the minute you sit down in the seat, they're all, "You mean I can't climb onto the floor and/or run up and down the aisles? Oh, HELL NO."

    Here's a general rundown of what flights with toddlers in tow are really like for moms.

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