Let's Co-Vacation!

May 30, 2013

Summer's finally here, and we're all thinking about a little time off—maybe heading to the beach, or to the mountains, or just staying around town and relaxing.

While luxury home sales in the Hamptons are soaring, an affordable summer vacation feels increasingly out of reach for most workers. Summer rental? Too pricey. A vacation home? Forget it.

Since when did summer become just for the 1%?

Middle class workers used to have places to go in the summer. Think of the summer retreats up in the Catskills, where families would come together and build a whole summer life, complete with outdoor activities and social events.

We can bring back that tradition by pooling our resources to build destinations we can own together.

It’s not that far of a leap: Freelancers have shown that co-working spaces can thrive...so why not co-vacationing?

There’s rich history of collective summer retreats, and some are still going strong.

Take the cooperatively owned Bay Terrace Country Club, in Bayside, Queens. It was started in 1960 by about 400 families looking for a summer escape from the city -- without leaving the city.

Or the member-owned Knickerbocker Field Club tucked away behind large apartment buildings in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where members have played tennis and barbecued together for more than 120 years.

Then there's the Three Arrows Cooperative Society, founded in the 1930s in upstate New York, where generations of families have piled into 75 bungalows on 125 acres every summer since.

By joining these types of communities, people who weren’t wealthy could own their own little piece of a summer place. And what’s more, they had a ready-made social network, where the kids spend could their summers with other kids and people felt connected.

Why rent a hotel room for a few days when you could own a slice of an entire summer retreat? By pooling our resources, we can own summer again.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of these cooperative summer retreats in more detail. If you know of similar summer communities, please share them in the comments or on Twitter (#SummerTogether)

Sara Horowitz

As the founder of Freelancers Union, Sara has been a voice for freelancers for over two decades.