summer vacation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9429/all en-US 4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beale_street_at_night.jpg" alt="Beale street at night" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Time to travel is one of my greatest privileges and I'm always excited to explore a new destination. I'm keen to see the whole wide world, but more often than not I opt to stay local(ish) and set off on an adventure around our own beautiful country. America has many world-class destinations, for sure &mdash; New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Vegas &mdash; but I've always had an expectation-exceeding time in smaller cities that are frequently overlooked when people are planning their vacations.</p> <p>This summer, skip the major metro areas and pop into a city with a more down-to-earth and affordable appeal. Here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning, each with a dynamic draw all their own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>Detroit, Michigan</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/comerica_park.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>When I visited Detroit on my birthday last spring to catch a Tigers game, I expected to see an economically challenged city (as it is often portrayed), but what I experienced was an epicenter ripe with activity and promise. Millennials took advantage of the pleasant weather to exercise outside; business people moved in and out of shiny new restaurants; and construction crews worked diligently on projects, including commercial refurbs and new condo developments.</p> <p>I found so many things to love about Detroit &mdash; like the Tigers' stunning Comerica Park, one of the best burgers I've ever eaten at the casually upscale Town house restaurant, and the quality selection of vinyl record stores (where I picked up a few Motown albums, of course) &mdash; but what really piqued my interest was the undercover real estate opportunities in the area. Has anybody told the Millennials that they could have their avocado toast (and eat it, too) from the inside their newly constructed or renovated homes at seriously affordable prices? And with the median <a href="https://mic.com/articles/177299/the-5-best-us-cities-for-millennials-buying-their-first-home#.E4E7UDXr4" target="_blank">home value in Detroit being $138,700</a> with a forecast appreciation of 3.2%, you might want to consider relocating altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>Columbus, Ohio</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/the_shoe.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Recently I was invited by Experience Columbus to visit its fine capital city so I could meet local entrepreneurs, dine in the city's diverse restaurants, and participate in activities that featured hands-on, take-home projects that anyone can enjoy. I had never been before, and I enjoyed all parts of the trip, but it was the latter focus that deserves attention here. I just <em>love</em> little craft projects!</p> <p>The activities in which I participated included: metal stamping keychains and necklaces in a jewelry-making class at The Smithery, designing my own scented candle at The Candle Lab (my signature scent is ginger ale, cilantro, and grapefruit, if you're interested in recreating it), and felting an alpaca- and sheep-fleece scarf after an afternoon excursion to a farm to meet the animals. All these activities are included on the Made in Cbus trail created by Experience Columbus.</p> <p>If you're dedicated to shopping local, it's also worth noting that Columbus's entrepreneur and maker community is extremely tight-knit. Like, thick as thieves. There's an uncommon amount of cross-branding and -marketing along with a palpable feeling of support for each other's work. It's the kind of thing that'll make you feel proud to spend your money there.</p> <h2>Memphis, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/beale_street_at_night.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>I was drawn to Memphis, Tennessee for two reasons: The flight was cheaper than the one to Nashville, and Memphis is the native home of my musical fave Justin Timberlake. Don't judge.</p> <p>I enjoyed plenty of music while I was in town, along with delicious food and a minor league baseball game courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds. I also discovered, to my surprise, a working community dedicated to helping each other while improving the environment. I spent my birthday volunteering on a farm that grows and harvests food specifically to feed those in need. If you'd like to get your hands dirty in Memphis, browse the available opportunities on <a href="https://www.volunteermatch.org/" target="_blank">VolunteerMatch.org</a>.</p> <h2>Asbury Park, New Jersey</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/asbury_park_boardwalk.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>I bought a home in Asbury Park four years ago because I saw the property-value growth potential, but it was also a nice place to kick back and relax when my life in Manhattan got too hectic. Two years ago, I gave up life in the big city to live in this quirky little city by the sea full-time. I'm glad I did.</p> <p>Asbury Park has a long and legendary history &mdash; from its heyday in the early 1900s up to the Great Depression to its association with Bruce Springsteen to its full-steam-ahead comeback that's been mounting for the past five years following the economic decline.</p> <p>Today, the city, which spans just 1.6 squares miles of the Jersey Shore, is home to an assortment of can't-go-wrong restaurants, a destination-worthy music and art scene, hotels the press can't stop talking about, retail shops with interesting and often handmade merch, a thriving night life and LGBT scene, and, of course, the sand and surf.</p> <p>Best of all, this &quot;Brooklyn by the beach,&quot; as it's been dubbed by locals is just a short car or train ride (less than two hours) from NYC, Philly, Atlantic City, the Poconos, and more. Come for a visit. You'll be impressed, I promise.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Underrated%2520U.S.%2520Cities%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520See%2520This%2520Summer.jpg&amp;description=4%20Underrated%20U.S.%20Cities%20You%20Need%20to%20See%20This%20Summer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Underrated%20U.S.%20Cities%20You%20Need%20to%20See%20This%20Summer.jpg" alt="4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer">8 Exciting Ways to See the Country This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel best U.S. cities frugal travel local travel summer travel summer vacation travel tips Fri, 30 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1974321 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_s_road_trip.jpg" alt="Family&#039;s road trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got your budget-friendly destination. You found the best hotel rate. You've got activities and meals in mind that won't eat up your savings. But what about the expense of the actual travel? From snacks to fuel to entertainment to handling the unexpected, these tips will help you keep costs low while you're on the road.</p> <h2>Be strategic with fuel</h2> <p>There's not much you can do to control the cost of fuel, but you can make sure your vehicle is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage?ref=internal" target="_blank">as fuel-efficient as possible</a>. The best way to do that is to keep your car well maintained. Keep up with regular oil changes and tire alignment, and your car will run cleaner, cooler, and have less drag.</p> <p>Also, don't wait until your tank is on empty and you're forced to use the nearest gas station. Instead, use a service like <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com" target="_blank">GasBuddy</a> to find nearby gas stations with the best fuel prices. Plan your stops accordingly; if you're traveling with young kids, chances are one of them will need to use the restroom, anyway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-road-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>Pack snacks and beverages</h2> <p>The most cost-efficient way to have plenty of snacks on a road trip is to bring your own. You can't be sure what fast food joint or gas station offers will be available. And how much beef jerky can you eat before you start to regret it? Buy or make your family's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-easy-to-make-grab-and-go-snacks?ref=internal" target="_blank">favorite snack foods</a> in bulk before you leave, then package into single servings. Choose snacks that make the least possible mess. It's much easier to vacuum up crumbs than it is to clean gummy, sticky stains from car upholstery.</p> <p>Water is the best beverage for road trips. Take a cooler with ice and a couple of one-gallon jugs filled with fresh water. Refill individual bottles as needed. Juice, tea, or soda will lead to endless needs for bathroom breaks. Coffee, of course, fuels many drivers, as well. I prefer to start the journey with my own home-brewed coffee in my travel mug. You can also pick up coffee to go from any restaurant or gas station for very little. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-15-road-trip-snacks-make-it-all-about-the-journey?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 15 Road Trip Snacks Make It All About the Journey</a>)</p> <h2>Bring on-the-go entertainment</h2> <p>The biggest challenge for road trips with children is keeping them entertained. As with food, bringing your own entertainment options from home saves time and money.</p> <p>You don't need special items for road trip entertainment; you just need portable options. Mess-free art materials are great: colored pencils, washable markers, and sketchbooks. Download a selection of audiobooks before you go; <a href="https://librivox.org/" target="_blank">Librivox</a> offers hundreds for free. Update your music playlists, and download movies for them to watch on tablets you bring along. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Must Do If You're Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Travel based on time of day</h2> <p>The best time of day to travel depends on time of the year, personal preference, destination, and the length of the trip. Many parents of young children find it easier to travel at night, when the kids will sleep for most of the way. That's a great option if the driver can stay awake.</p> <p>During the summer, driving at night can also keep the temperature lower, meaning less stress on the engine and better fuel efficiency. The calculable savings is minimal, so compare it to the increased coffee you'll require to drive all night before you make a decision.</p> <p>The other factor to consider is traffic. If your timing will have you entering a major city at rush hour, change it. Leave earlier, leave later, or plan an extended rest stop along the way. Sitting in traffic is uncomfortable and stressful, and the stop-and-go movement is hard on your car and fuel efficiency.</p> <h2>Prep for travel emergencies</h2> <p>Take <a href="http://amzn.to/2sdUPDD" target="_blank">baby wipes</a>. I cannot stress enough how handy, no, <em>how essential</em> a pack of baby wipes is in any car. Don't have a baby? Doesn't matter. Baby wipes will save the day in so many ways.</p> <p>Coffee spill? Baby wipe. Messy face? Baby wipe. No napkins from the takeout place? Baby wipes. Smelling a little less-than-fresh after eight hours on the road? Baby wipes.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-first-aid-kits" target="_blank">first aid kit</a> is essential, too. Buy a pre-packed one, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-items-you-might-have-forgot-in-your-emergency-kit?ref=internal" target="_blank">make your own</a> and keep it in the car. You can include the essential items you know you'll use the most, as well as any specialized care items you might need.</p> <p>The other item that can save you from excess stress and cost is a car emergency kit. You should have the supplies to change a tire as well as a spare tire, flares, and jumper cables. It's helpful to have a <a href="http://amzn.to/2tj2cd0" target="_blank">flashlight</a> and basic tools on hand, as well. I've found it's also helpful to have someone who's adept at changing tires. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a>)</p> <p>Regardless of your skill level, though, preparation can save you in many ways. When you're prepared with snacks, entertainment, and emergency supplies you'll spend less and be more relaxed. That makes for a much better road trip.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Have%2520a%2520Fun%2520Family%2520Road%2520Trip%2520Without%2520Breaking%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Have%20a%20Fun%20Family%20Road%20Trip%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Have%20a%20Fun%20Family%20Road%20Trip%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel family vacation frugal travel road trip saving money summer vacation travel vacation tips Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 1974320 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Exciting Ways to See the Country This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_waterfall_happy_547051294.jpg" alt="Woman finding exciting ways to see the country" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tired of the same old vacation routine? Looking to explore new destinations without leaving the U-S of A? Shake things up this summer by stepping out of your comfort zone and see the country with these exciting summer travel ideas.</p> <h2>1. Set off on a surprise excursion</h2> <p>Recently I met the owners of travel company <a href="http://www.packupgo.com/">Pack Up + Go</a>, and I was immediately intrigued when they explained what set it apart from other tourism outfits. The gist of their operation is that they plan three-day surprise getaways for their customers based on a few criteria &mdash; like travel budget, travel dates, preferences, and personal information &mdash; so they can book all your transportation and accommodations for you.</p> <p>A week before you leave, you'll receive an email with the weather forecast for your secret destination, recommended items to pack (like bathing suits or down parkas), any luggage restrictions, and when and where to catch your transportation. A few days before your trip, an envelope arrives, and you are <em>not</em> allowed to open it, lest you ruin the fun. Inside the envelope that you shouldn't even peek in until you arrive at your transportation hub are directions to your accommodations and a curated list of recommendations for everything from cafes, to restaurants and night life, to rainy day activities.</p> <p>While this may not be the ideal option for hot- or cold-weather adverse travelers &mdash; you get no say in where you end up (though the planners do take into consideration where you've already been) &mdash; Pack Up + Go is a fresh, fun option to explore a new area you may never have chosen to visit yourself.</p> <h2>2. Sleep over with Airbnb-style camping</h2> <p>I love Airbnb <em>and</em> camping, which is why I'm an early adopter of <a href="http://www.tentrr.com">Tentrr</a>, a new app-based travel service that helps connect would-be campers to property owners who have erected high-quality campsites on their properties with the help of the Tentrr crew. Currently there are 55 sites available, mostly in New York, which will certainly expand outside the state and across the country as the service gains popularity and continues to grow.</p> <p>Adhering to the standard setup guidelines provided by Tentrr, each site includes a large canvas tent, generally equipped to fit five or six campers (though some sites allow up to eight campers); a fire pit, picnic table, five-gallon water container, outdoor camp toilet, queen size cot, metal grill, two lounge chairs, dry food storage, and an outdoor sun shower. All you have to do is bring the food, drinks, games, and whatever else you need to stay comfortable for a couple days in the great outdoors.</p> <p>There are properties available to please every type of traveler, including those close to beaches, forests, meadows, ponds and lakes, rivers and streams, and breathtaking views of the surroundings. I personally booked a trip later this summer at a mountain hideaway with a private pond. Activities in the area included canoeing/kayaking, hiking, road biking, white water rafting, fishing, golf, wineries and distilleries, a local flea market, and more. Most sites are available for between $120 and $150 total per night. The price doesn't increase based on the number of campers; instead it remains a flat rate that you can split with your friends to make your trip an incredibly low-cost, but memorable getaway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a>)</p> <h2>3. Hit the road on a rental motorcycle</h2> <p>You'll never get me on a motorcycle (I can barely operate an electric can opener without hurting myself), but if you're a dedicated biker <a href="http://www.eaglerider.com">EagleRider</a>, the world's largest motorcycle tourism company, can help you achieve your sightseeing goals. With your monthly membership in Club EagleRider ($29/month, plus a $29 sign-up fee), you receive one free rental day and free or discounted rates on additional rental days.</p> <h2>4. Cross the country via train</h2> <p>I had almost given up on rail travel because of the increasing prices &mdash; trips from my home in Manhattan to visit my family in Baltimore were sometimes over $300 round-trip, compared to below $50 for a round-trip bus ride &mdash; but when I heard about supersaver <a href="http://dereklow.co/across-the-usa-by-train-for-just-213/">Derek Low's four-day $429 cross-country rail trip</a>, starting in San Francisco and ending in New York City &mdash; the idea was worth revisiting. Thanks to his 15-day, eight-ride Amtrak rail pass, Low efficiently traveled from coast to coast in less than 96 hours &mdash; and enjoyed sightseeing at a few cities in between, like Denver, Salt Lake City, and Chicago &mdash; while still having several trips remaining on his pass to visit a few more quick destinations on his way back out West.</p> <p>If you don't plan to make any stops, however, and just want to observe nature from the comfort of your train car, you can shave a couple hundred dollars off what he spent to bring it down to about $213, according to Low's account of his adventure. If you don't think you're savvy enough to score these deals on your own, Low offers to arrange your entire trip for you for a fee of $49. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips?ref=seealso">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a>)</p> <h2>5. Deliver cars, campers, and RVs to their owners</h2> <p>Did you know that you can save a ton of money and subsidize your road-based vacation transportation costs by renting RVs, campervans, motor homes, and cars for as low as $1 day? Rental site<a href="http://www.imoova.com"> imoova.com</a> works with traditional rental companies to offer its customers one-way travel opportunities to desired locations. How can that be, you ask? Simple. You're not just embarking on your own travels; you're also helping the rental companies save money on hiring expensive drivers to return the vehicles back to their home bases by doing it for them.</p> <p>If you're considering a road trip this year, check imoova to see what you can come up with. The hundreds of dollars you could save will leave you with more money for better dinners, a couple more drinks, and more exciting activities along the way.</p> <h2>6. Self-tour a new area on foot</h2> <p>If you like to investigate new cities and neighborhoods on foot, download the<a href="https://www.sidewalk.guide/blog/2017/5/23/sidewalk-is-here-come-walk-with-us"> Sidewalk app</a> to tap into a free library of city walks that you can do on your own time. These insider-curated walks provide a local's perspective on your surroundings (they're created by the very people who live there) giving you the money-saving freedom to be your own tour guide. The app just launched this spring, but it already contains 60 walks you can enjoy in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, with more cities coming soon.</p> <h2>7. Follow the beaten paths</h2> <p>When you prefer the seclusion and meditative opportunities of nature, enlist <a href="http://www.alltrails.com">AllTrails</a> as your travel companion. The free web- and app-based service gives you access to 50,000-plus trail maps (hiking and running) along with directions directly to the trailhead from wherever you are. You also can filter trails by difficulty, distance, rating, amenities (like waterfalls), and identify kid- and dog-friendly trails. When you're done, leave a review and share photos of your experience to enhance the experience for others.</p> <h2>8. Challenge your mental and physical abilities</h2> <p>Unlike many other fitness challenges, which last a few hours or less, <a href="https://www.cotopaxi.com/pages/events-questival-home">Cotopaxi Questival</a> is a 24-hour adventure series that turns this sometimes-hardcore genre into a community-driven social event.</p> <p>Teams of two to six are tasked with hundreds of challenges over the 24-hour period, from Foodie (eat a taco with no hands), to Community (send a postcard to a veteran, or pick up trash at a local beach), to Adventurous (camp under the stars, run a mile in fancy dress), and more.</p> <p>There are 50 locations all over the country from which to choose that are held individually throughout the year. Challenges can change to suit the location, too, so you won't know what's coming your way until 24 hours before your own event.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Exciting%2520Ways%2520to%2520See%2520the%2520Country%2520This%2520Summer.jpg&amp;description=8%20Exciting%20Ways%20to%20See%20the%20Country%20This%20Summer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Exciting%20Ways%20to%20See%20the%20Country%20This%20Summer.jpg" alt="8 Exciting Ways to See the Country This Summer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget travel road trip see the country summer travel summer vacation travel tips Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:31:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1973972 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_summer_vacation_496796385.jpg" alt="Family using credit for a cheaper, safer summer vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer travel season has arrived! Whether you&rsquo;re going to the beach, the lake, the mountains, or &ldquo;The Happiest Place on Earth&rdquo; (at least from the kids&rsquo; perspective), summer vacation can be expensive. It also can put you at risk for theft &mdash; both of your personal belongings and your identity.</p> <p>According to Experian, the average per-person cost of a vacation is $2,275, and half of this expense is put on a credit card. Planning ahead, setting a budget, and saving money in advance are essential for a debt-free vacation. Even after putting in the time and effort to start a vacation fund at the bank, using credit can be a smart financial choice. Here are seven ways using credit as a financial tool during your summer travel can help you have a safer, less-expensive vacation without taking on debt.</p> <h2>1. Convenience</h2> <p>Figuring out foreign currency can be like Harry Potter counting Muggle money. Using a credit card can eliminate uncomfortable stares from the locals, who you know are thinking, <em>Yup, they&rsquo;re tourists,</em> while you and yours hold up the line deciding whether the gold coin with the lady on it or the silver coin with the man is the right change. A credit card can also automate the calculation of exchange rates. Look for cards that don&rsquo;t charge a foreign transaction fee. Finally, credit cards hold up much better than cash when you drop your wallet in the pool.</p> <h2>2. Travel insurance</h2> <p>Some credit card agreements provide travel insurance when you book flights or hotels. You&rsquo;ll be glad you didn&rsquo;t reserve those nonrefundable tickets with cash when the hurricane blows through two weeks before departure and takes your hotel with it.</p> <h2>3. Purchase discounts</h2> <p>Branded credit cards may offer discounts for purchases on the resort property or in stores and restaurants in the area. The right logo or cute cartoon character on the card can leave you with a little extra cash in the bank back home.</p> <h2>4. Rewards and incentives</h2> <p>Airline miles, hotel points, and cash back can add up quickly on a cross-country road trip or overseas vacation. Using a credit card could put a bit of money back in your savings account, get you a free room for a night, or earn a seat upgrade on a long overnight flight.</p> <h2>5. Identity theft protection</h2> <p>Your identity may be your most valuable possession. Using a credit card for vacation purchases will protect you when your identity is compromised. Because losses due to fraud are limited to $50, if your identity is stolen while on the road, you won&rsquo;t lose any cash. In most cases, even the $50 is waived by the credit card company.</p> <h2>6. Theft deterrence</h2> <p>Want to put a bullseye on your back? Pull out a big wad of cash in a crowded vacation spot. Flashing loads of lucre can make you a prime target for thieves and pickpockets. Eliminate bulging pockets and use a credit card instead of cash. If you do have your pocket picked, simply call the credit card company to have the account blocked and a replacement card delivered to you.</p> <h2>7. Expense tracking</h2> <p>Using a single credit card for all your vacation purchases can be a good financial management tool. Designating a single card will give you a complete record of your expenses when you get home &mdash; in the form of your monthly statement.</p> <p>You might also consider applying for a new card expressly for your summer vacation. That makes expense tracking even easier &mdash; any spending on the card is automatically &quot;vacation spending.&quot; If you choose your vacation card carefully, you may be able to boost your rewards and savings, too. Before applying, check your Experian credit report and <a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/score-basics/" target="_blank">score</a>. Knowing what&rsquo;s in the report will ensure there aren&rsquo;t any surprises when you apply.</p> <p>Of course, you can&rsquo;t just charge it and forget it. You still have to monitor your spending along the way, stick to your budget, and use your vacation savings to pay the balance in full when you get home. But if you use credit wisely, you may be able to leave a bit in the account to use next year.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Ways%2520Using%2520Credit%2520Can%2520Help%2520You%2520Enjoy%2520a%2520Cheaper%252C%2520Safer%2520Summer%2520Vacation.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20Using%20Credit%20Can%20Help%20You%20Enjoy%20a%20Cheaper%2C%20Safer%20Summer%20Vacation"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20Using%20Credit%20Can%20Help%20You%20Enjoy%20a%20Cheaper%2C%20Safer%20Summer%20Vacation.jpg" alt="7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rod-griffin">Rod Griffin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer">8 Exciting Ways to See the Country This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever">14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget travel cheap travel saving money summer travel summer vacation travel Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Rod Griffin 1969124 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don't Have a Vacation Fund http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_and_their_two_children_on_the_beach.jpg" alt="Parents and their two children on the beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Oops! It's already summer, and you have yet to save for a summer vacation. No worries. There are many ways you can still enjoy a family getaway on the cheap. If you get creative, adjust your expectations, and put in a little extra effort, you can get some much needed rest and relaxation without going into debt.</p> <h2>1. Gather last-minute funds</h2> <p>Maybe you haven't done your big spring clean-out. You can host a yard sale this weekend and get some cash for your old treasures. Check out local resale shops for clothing, children's items, and more. I've made a couple hundred dollars after a big clear out of toys and baby clothes to put toward time away. My husband is a teacher and has taken on summer gigs (like being a camp counselor) to make money to put toward travel.</p> <p>Sit down and write up a list of any and all the ways you think you might be able to make some quick cash. Other ideas include selling clothing on sites like Poshmark, finally rolling all that loose change, selling your unwanted event tickets on StubHub, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-money-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Ways to Make Money Today</a>)</p> <h2>2. Adjust your expectations</h2> <p>Consider approaching your usual vacation in a new way. Why not skip going out to eat and save a ton by trying to cook your way through each day? If you reserve a room or suite with a kitchen, this will be much easier. Try spending no more than you would on a normal week of groceries at home. Also, don't get sucked in by high-priced tourist attractions &mdash; many beaches and parks you'll find at your destination are free.</p> <p>There are many ways to cut dollars along your journey. If your hotel offers a free breakfast, take advantage. Call ahead to see if there are any perks included in your reservation, like free transportation, reduced ticket prices to local attractions, or special nightly events. If you have yet to secure your room, try staying a little farther away from the most alluring towns and attractions. Even driving 10 to 15 minutes can save you hundreds.</p> <h2>3. Check out your state</h2> <p>I recently researched everything the great state of New York has to offer in the way of travel. And I found plenty. Fresh water beaches on Lake Ontario. Majestic lake and mountain views in the Adirondacks. Romantic castles in the Thousand Islands region. Wineries and waterfalls in the Finger Lakes. There's so much to do within a couple hours of my front door, and I didn't even know it.</p> <p>Skip the pricey plane ticket and check out your state. You could plan a road trip visiting different regions, spending just a day or so in each area. Or you could choose the coolest thing you find and spend a couple days there. If you're not going to the more traditional vacation hot spots &mdash; the beach, for example &mdash; you may save a good chunk on hotels and eats.</p> <h2>4. Scope out campgrounds</h2> <p>If you have yet to try camping, you're missing out on an extremely inexpensive way to see the world. Try camping out at some of our country's National Parks. In fact, you can stay for an entire week at some of them for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks" target="_blank">less than $200</a>. Can't afford to go far? Check out state or even county parks. One of my favorites is in the Finger Lakes. Camping is dirt cheap, yet the setting gives you million dollar views and free swimming to boot.</p> <p>If you're not the outdoorsy type, some campgrounds offer glamping, aka glamorous camping, in cabins, yurts, and other accommodations that will feel more indoors than tent camping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a>)</p> <h2>5. Go in with a friend (or two)</h2> <p>My family is actually taking a trip with another family this summer. We're both on a limited budget. Our kids are the same ages, and we like doing a lot of the same things. So, we hunted around to find a house rental to split in the Catskills. One of our shared interests is cooking, so we've already planned our homemade meals for the week. The house is close to the municipal pool, so that will be great for cooling off and it only costs a few dollars for a weekly pass.</p> <p>What do we plan to do for entertainment? Mostly just hang out. If you are close enough to certain friends or even family, sharing space can be a huge money-saver. And you'll have so much fun being together that you won't need to spend money to find things to do. If you're really strapped, your friends may even offer to let you come visit them for free. We've also done that in the past, and it was so much fun.</p> <h2>6. Consider day tripping</h2> <p>Who says you have to spend the night to get away? There are tons of places you can pack up and go for the day and get some much-needed R&amp;R. I like to go the old fashioned way and look at a physical map of my area. I have drawn a radius that gets us places in two or three hours (or less). In my circle, I can hit up gorgeous gorges and wineries in Ithaca, NY. Spend the day trekking around Philadelphia or New York City. We can even jaunt down to the Crayola Factory or Hershey Park for the kids.</p> <p>One of my close friends cannot afford to go on a full vacation in the summer. So, she takes her family on an incredible day trip most weekends. She packs lunch and snacks, too. Her kids absolutely love the adventures they find, and it keeps the fun going all summer long.</p> <h2>7. Research housesitting</h2> <p>Another friend of mine recently offered us her apartment near the Flatiron district of NYC because she needs a house- and cat-sitter while she backpacks around Europe. Unfortunately, we're not able to go. But seriously! What an amazing opportunity to spend a week in the heart of the City for basically nothing.</p> <p>Did you know that people post house-sitting gigs online? It's a great way to get a super awesome vacation, and fast. Try searching around on Craigslist or targeted sites like House Sitting America or Care.com. You can even put out a call on your Facebook to see if any friends are in need of this service. Gigs vary from place to place, but many will let you bring your pets and family. Some even pay you for your caretaking services. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Affordable%2520Family%2520Getaways%2520When%2520You%2520Dont%2520Have%2520a%2520Vacation%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=7%20Affordable%20Family%20Getaways%20When%20You%20Dont%20Have%20a%20Vacation%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Affordable%20Family%20Getaways%20When%20You%20Dont%20Have%20a%20Vacation%20Fund.jpg" alt="7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don't Have a Vacation Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel family trips family vacation frugal travel getaways summer vacation travel tips Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1961114 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623691410.jpg" alt="summer travelers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to get away this summer? Conserve your cash on general expenses so you can spend more on the things you'd like to do. Some pricey travel hiccups are unavoidable, but most of them you can definitely sidestep with a little bit of planning. Here are 12 tips on how to avoid costly travel mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Booking your entire hotel stay with one reservation</h2> <p>Like the stock market, nightly hotel rates fluctuate based on demand, time of year, and other factors, which means that you may not be getting the very best deal if you book the entire length of your stay in one reservation.</p> <p>In fact, you could save up to 40 percent off your entire stay by playing with your booking dates within the reservation system before you commit. For example, a five-night reservation at a popular hotel may book for $190 per night, but if you book the transaction as a one-night <em>and</em> a four-night reservation, the nightly rate drops to $127 the first night and $126 per night for the additional four nights. A great site to help you master this technique is <a href="https://findoptimal.com/en/" target="_blank">FindOptimal.com</a>, which will use its patent-pending technology to optimize your saving potential by providing cost-cutting solutions over two reservations instead of a single booking.</p> <h2>2. Overbooking your activity itinerary</h2> <p>I'm a planner through and through. My vacation days are jam-packed the moment I arrive at my destination, sometimes to the dismay of my travel partners who prefer a more leisurely approach to new-area exploration. While staying busy and active on vacation is my idea of a good time, I can admit that my tight schedule has hit a few snags in the past. Things don't always go according to plan and I've lost money on activity reservations because I was just too tired to do one more thing that day. Avoid this mistake by creating a loose itinerary ahead of time &mdash; do your research but don't lock down everything hour by hour unless it's something that's only offered on specific dates and times, or is in danger of being sold out. Once you have what you'd like to do on paper, fill in when you'd like to do them once you've arrived and are settled.</p> <h2>3. Over-packing things you don't need</h2> <p>Over-packing can present several dilemmas over the course of your trip, starting with the cost of exceeding the 50-pound checked bag limit before boarding your flight. If you're unable to transfer the overage to other bags you may be carrying, you will be required to pay up. Not a great start to your vacation. Then you have to lug that luggage around with you wherever you go, and you'll curse the day you bought that extra pair of shoes when you're hunched over like Quasimodo because you've carried the equivalent of a well-fed preteen on your back for miles.</p> <p>Let's not forget the trip home either. Now you have to buy an additional bag or leave clothing and accessories behind to make room for the items you've acquired during your travels. You can avoid all this hassle by editing your bag before you ever leave your house. Pack it, let it sit for a day so you can think about everything thing that's in it, then revisit it and pare down to only the essentials. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-pack-in-your-carry-on?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On</a>)</p> <h2>4. Racking up international transaction fees</h2> <p>While abroad, you could get slammed with international fees for both your credit and debit cards. Call your card providers to understand their international fees, and consider getting a new card if your current ones don't have good rates for overseas purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards with Zero Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Be sure to set a travel notice for your credit card so that your provider doesn't lock your account on suspicion of fraud,&quot; adds Benjamin Glaser, features editor for shopping-comparison site DealNews. &quot;For debit cards, find your bank's international ATM partners. You will still get charged a fee every time you withdraw money, but you will avoid an additional fee for going out of network.&quot;</p> <p>It's also a good idea to keep at least $100 cash on you at all times during vacation for emergency situations. You don't want to be S.O.L. if your card is declined or if it gets lost or stolen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>5. Traveling solo</h2> <p>I thoroughly enjoy dining alone and going shopping or to see a movie by myself, but when I travel I prefer to have a partner. For starters, how spectacular will my trip be if I don't have anyone with whom to share my experiences? Secondly, traveling with a companion cuts almost all expenses in half, including lodging, grocery bills, ground transport fares, and more. The buddy system is always a more economical option if you practice good personal finance, in my opinion.</p> <h2>6. Waiting to book ground transportation at your destination</h2> <p>A few years ago I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, for my birthday and decided to book the car at the destination airport. <em>It's Memphis</em>, I thought to myself, how many people are renting cars here? Big mistake. Murphy's Law dictates then when I think something stupid like that, all the cars are sold out when I arrive. As such, I had to pay a premium for the car they were able to find me, which was a major letdown and an expensive annoyance.</p> <p>Booking ahead also applies to chauffeured transportation to avoid higher-than-standard rates on the ground.</p> <p>&quot;In many cases you can order a shared or private transfer at a lower cost than taking a taxi,&quot; says Isar Meitis, president of travel-booking site Last Minute Travel. &quot;Plus, you can have a designated driver waiting with your name, saving you a lot of time, and, in many cases, money. Also, many tourist attractions are cheaper if you book them prior, compared to a 'walk-in.' For a family with kids, these savings add up very quickly. In addition, these tickets can usually be picked up from a will-call kiosk or booth, which also means you don't have to wait in lines.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Dining out for most meals</h2> <p>One of the most budget-draining parts of your vacation is food, especially if you're eating out for most of your meals. You already know this. But you can cut the fat &mdash; literally and figuratively &mdash; by taking advantage of the complimentary breakfast that may be included with your hotel stay, locating free happy hour snacks and deals in the area (many hotels are now offering a free wine reception in the afternoons for guests); and buying groceries locally that you can make in the kitchen at your accommodations. And I always consult Groupon and Restaurant.com for discounts before choosing where I'll eat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Secrets to Eating Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>8. Leaving the hotel fridge stocked</h2> <p>Minibars are problematic if you have self-control issues, or children. It's easy to ravage these goodies when you're famished, and eventually you'll give in to your kids begging to get at the gummy bears in the bear-shaped bottle. Your resistance is futile, in fact.</p> <p>&quot;Hotel fridges can come in handy, but they can also be expensive &mdash; especially with hungry little ones looking for a drink or snack,&quot; says Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of travel-review site Family Vacation Critic. &quot;Many times, the cost of a single in-room water bottle is the same cost as what you'd spend on a full case of water &mdash; so take advantage of that. Ask your hotel to clear out the in-room fridge &mdash; they can do that &mdash; and then fill it with your own supplies.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Assuming you're locked into your original reservations</h2> <p>Airlines and travel-booking sites have given us cause to pause before canceling our reservations, because they hit us straight in the pocket if we want to make an amendment to our itineraries. But that's not always the case, and it's worth investigating the fine print of your reservations if you've since found a way to save additional cash.</p> <p>&quot;Most hotel bookings today are refundable, up to almost the very last minute,&quot; Meitis says. &quot;Even after a booking was made, if a traveler can find a better deal, they can make the same reservation for less, and then cancel the original reservation. Obviously, the traveler needs to first verify he or she is not within penalty at the time of cancellation.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a>)</p> <h2>10. Traveling to popular summer destinations during peak season</h2> <p>The term &quot;peak season&quot; is enough to keep me away, and you should avoid the high time at popular destinations, too. Not only will you pay far and above for just about everything you would during the offseason &mdash; from transportation to lodging to gas &mdash; but you'll have a heck of a time getting around and staying sane. If traffic and hourslong waits in line at amusements don't drive you crazy, your restless companions will. Do yourself a favor a book the road less traveled.</p> <h2>11. Failing to budget for extra costs on cruises and at resorts</h2> <p>While you might have snagged a great cruise or resort fare, it's important to keep in mind additional costs when budgeting for your trip. You never want to be caught off-guard when you're just about broke at the end of your journey. Avoid sticker shock by familiarizing yourself with all additional costs on a cruise or at the resort in advance.</p> <p>&quot;Gratuities are one of the top costs that can catch travelers by surprise,&quot; explains Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of CruiseCritic.com. &quot;While it can be quite convenient not worrying about tipping while onboard, remember that gratuities are automatically added to your final bill, generally on a per person, per day basis. The total cost can add up to hundreds, maybe more, depending on the number of guests in your party and the number of days you're sailing.&quot;</p> <p>Take that cost into account when budgeting for your trip to be sure that deal really is as great as it seems. Other added costs to consider include beverages, internet, shore excursions, and alternative dining. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>12. Overreliance on your mapping apps</h2> <p>I traveled to Costa Rica once where my husband and I rented a car to drive from our first stop at a resort below the Arenal Volcano to a beach resort a few hours away in Guanacaste. We decided to follow new friends on their newly planned scenic route, but when it turned out to be much longer than anticipated, we broke off from the group to get back on an easier path. We plugged the destination into Google Maps, which we assumed would choose the most efficient route, but our choice was ill-advised. The service cut us across the country through about 30 miles of very rocky and mountainous rural terrain that, frankly, scared us half to death.</p> <p>Asad Raza, co-founder of the travel blog Off the Beaten Trails, offers a similar warning against relying too heavily on mapping services when you're in foreign territory.</p> <p>&quot;We planned to go to Hoota Cave in Oman and decided to check the route on Google Maps and follow it,&quot; he recalls. &quot;Unfortunately, the route given was only accessible with a four-wheel drive and we just had a saloon car [<em>that's a sedan in the U.S.</em>]. It wasn't until we consulted with a local that we found the right route to follow. We ended up wasting four to five hours.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We learned that we should not <em>only</em> rely on Google Maps, but also should do plenty of research and always be ready to consult with locals,&quot; Raza adds.</p> <p>Sound advice for staying alive while traveling, for sure.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Avoid%2520These%252012%2520Summer%2520Travel%2520Mistakes.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Avoid%20These%2012%20Summer%20Travel%20Mistakes"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Avoid%20These%2012%20Summer%20Travel%20Mistakes.jpg" alt="How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-exciting-ways-to-see-the-country-this-summer">8 Exciting Ways to See the Country This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel costly mistakes frugal travel saving money summer travel summer vacation travel budget travel hacks travel tips Thu, 08 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 1961856 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-521079240.jpg" alt="Mother entertaining her daughter on the cheap this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School will be out before we know it. As a parent, I understand that reality can be terrifying. After all, what are you going to do with the kids all summer? Will they spend another summer break playing video games and watching TV?</p> <p>I don't know about you, but my kids do better when they are active and entertained, and I aim to keep them busy. Here are some ways I'll be keeping my kids moving a little more this summer, and how you can, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Throw a water party</h2> <p>Kids of all ages like to play with water. I'm planning a couple of days when my kiddos can each invite a few friends over and go water-crazy for an afternoon. We'll have water guns, water balloons, the sprinklers will be going, an old school <a href="http://amzn.to/2qQEjry" target="_blank">Slip 'N Slide</a>, and more. It will be a blast, won't cost too much, and they will run around all afternoon.</p> <h2>2. Show them how to grow veggies</h2> <p>Having a garden takes some work, and I plan to put my kids in charge of (at least part of) mine. Digging, weeding, and watering are all active tasks and, even better, they get the kids out of the house. I'll give them each a small plot in the garden and put them in charge of picking what to grow and the actual planting, watering, weeding, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>3. Have them create a funny video</h2> <p>Rather than have my kids watch videos, they'll be making their own. I'll encourage them to write the script, come up with costumes and props, and even shoot as much of it as they can themselves. It's cheap, it will keep them busy, and they'll have to exercise both their brains and their bodies to get it done.</p> <h2>4. Cook together</h2> <p>Most kids don't know how to cook, but I've found that they usually like to learn. As long as they don't feel like it's a chore and they aren't left entirely to their own devices, most kids are surprised to learn just how easy and satisfying it can be to throw a meal together. Plus, you'll finally have help with meal planning and preparation!</p> <h2>5. Teach them a new sport</h2> <p>Learning doesn't have to take place inside the confines of school, and kids can remember this over the summer. Take the time to learn some new activity with your kids. Try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking if you want to do something outside. Not only will you and your kids get out of the house and move, but you'll learn a new skill that will keep you active.</p> <h2>6. Wash the car</h2> <p>Going back to the idea that everyone loves to play in the water, put your kids to work washing cars, bikes, scooters, etc. The job has to be done anyway, so you might as well use it as an excuse to get your kids moving. They may resist at first, but after the hose comes on, most kids are more than happy to do these particular chores.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-cheap-summer-date-ideas">23 Cheap Summer Date Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family family time family vacation kids activities kids games saving money summer summer activities summer fun summer vacation Thu, 01 Jun 2017 08:30:19 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1944521 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-628109306.jpg" alt="Woman using best sites for last-minute airfare deals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Pricey flights are the bane of every traveler's existence. But once you become a frequent traveler, you pick up a few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=internal" target="_blank">flight booking tips</a> that'll save you tons of cash.</p> <p>But if you have the type of schedule that just won't allow you to plan ahead a few months, you might be in for sticker shock. In that case, it's smart to find the best sites for last-minute airfare. If you're flexible on where you travel, you can scoop up some amazing deals all over the globe. And even if you're not flexible, you may be able to whittle down the last-minute price tag tremendously.</p> <h2>1. Hopper</h2> <p><a href="https://www.hopper.com/" target="_blank">Hopper</a> is a mobile app that lets you search for flights, compare travel deals, and figure out the best time to fly. Search for your preferred flight dates using colored blocks. From there, you'll get predictions on the <em>exact dates</em> your flights might be cheapest.</p> <p>You'll receive a notification to wait for a better fare if the app believes prices will drop, along with ongoing notifications when your fare hits the bottom. Or you'll get a notification to &quot;buy&quot; because your airfare is the lowest it will go.</p> <p>While Hopper can work great for fares in the future, it can also help you decide when to pull the trigger on a last-minute trip. At the very least, it can show you the cheapest day to fly within your preferred range of dates.</p> <h2>2. Airfare Watchdog</h2> <p><a href="http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/" target="_blank">Airfarewatchdog</a> lets you save on last-minute travel in more ways than one. First, the website lists last-minute travel deals from your home airport or any airport of your choosing. If you're flexible on where you travel, this tool makes it easy to see the best deals from your airport within the upcoming month.</p> <p>Second, you can set up alerts to notify you when a last-minute airfare deal you've been looking for finally appears. Lastly, Airfare Watchdog offers tips on amazing airfare deals via social media daily. By following them on Facebook or Twitter, you can get the inside scoop on airfare deals all over the world.</p> <h2>3. Secret Flying</h2> <p><a href="http://www.secretflying.com/" target="_blank">Secret Flying</a> is a resource that's perfect for the last-minute traveler who has some flexibility in where they go. The site, which uses software to find unbelievable airfare deals across the globe, unleashes an array of last-minute flight deals nearly every day.</p> <p>On any given morning, you could wake up to find you can fly round-trip to Paris next week for less than $400, or to Bali for a flat $350 in coach. The catch? Secret Flying deals usually last no longer than a few days, and you typically need to travel within a few weeks of booking.</p> <h2>4. The Flight Deal</h2> <p><a href="http://www.theflightdeal.com/" target="_blank">The Flight Deal</a> is another site that rolls out unbelievable daily deals on airfare. On some mornings, you may find you can score a round-trip flight to New Zealand for $500. Another day, you might discover a crazy, cheap bucket-list trip to Maui or South Africa or Belize.</p> <p>Of course, most of these crazy fares come with a catch, in that you generally need to book within 24 hours and travel within weeks. But they can be a huge boon to those who are flexible with destinations and dates.</p> <p>The Flight Deal shares discounts on domestic trips, too. So if you're only looking for a last-minute trip to Florida or Colorado, you'll uncover deals on those destinations, too. You may just have to wait a while.</p> <h2>5. Expedia</h2> <p>Expedia offers a several ways to spend less on airfare, including a <a href="https://www.expedia.com/g/c/lastminute?mcicid=deals.topdeals.92048819&amp;" target="_blank">last-minute travel deals</a> page that shows cheap fares from your home airport. Destinations vary depending on the date and your departure hub, but they typically include cheap, last-minute flight deals to some domestic big city hubs along with top vacation spots like Hawaii and Cancun.</p> <p>Expedia also offers a selection of flight and hotel packages that let you save on both. For example, as I'm writing this, they're offering package deals to destinations like Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Las Vegas, Miami, and Los Angeles, starting at just $599 per person.</p> <h2>6. Last Minute Travel</h2> <p><a href="https://www.lastminutetravel.com/" target="_blank">Last Minute Travel</a> offers exactly what the name promises &mdash; timely airfare deals on trips departing within the next few weeks. The downside here is that you need to join the site and purchase a membership to get the best deals. The upside is that they promise last-minute airfare deals worth up to 60 percent off.</p> <p>Membership costs just $50 per year, and that gets you members-only rates on airfare, exclusive hotel deals, 24/7 assistance from travel experts, and a members-only rewards plan. If you don't save at least the cost of the membership ($50), Last-Minute Travel will refund the cost in the form of a travel voucher.</p> <p>If you don't want to join, the site still offers competitive pricing on all of your travel needs, but especially on last-minute airfare and hotel deals.</p> <h2>7. Orbitz</h2> <p>Orbitz is a travel aggregator that makes it easy to shop for last-minute flight deals and compare prices across airlines. Like Expedia, Orbitz also offers a page with daily and <a href="https://www.orbitz.com/g/un/deals" target="_blank">weekly travel deals</a>. These discounts can apply to airfare, hotel bookings, and travel packages.</p> <p>Occasionally, special deals with specific airlines are available. For example, you may find discounts on last-minute travel with American Airlines or Delta Air Lines one week and Air France the next. Generally speaking, any included deals on special airfare only apply to last-minute fares taking place within the next 30 days. But if you're flexible, you can find round-trip airfare for less than $200 to select destinations within the U.S.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Best%2520Websites%2520for%2520Last-Minute%2520Airfare%2520Deals.jpg&amp;description=7%20Best%20Websites%20for%20Last-Minute%20Airfare%20Deals"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Best%20Websites%20for%20Last-Minute%20Airfare%20Deals.jpg" alt="7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip">10 Things to Leave Behind During Your Midsummer Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-affordable-gifts-for-travel-lovers">15 Affordable Gifts for Travel Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip">7 Travel Hacks for an Affordable Summer Road Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel flight tickets last-minute airfare saving money on flights summer vacation travel deals vacation vacation deals Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 1940331 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508921978.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the past week, I have experienced Polar Vortex-level temperatures in the upper Midwest and then back-to-back wind and rainstorms in California. I have not seen the sun in days. All this weather has got me dreaming about what my family will do this summer.</p> <p>But I can't just dream an epic summer into existence. I need to plan and prepare. Here are some things you &mdash; and I &mdash; can do in the gloom of winter to lay the groundwork for the best summer ever.</p> <h2>1. Reserve a Campsite</h2> <p>In some states, like California, state park sites book up devilishly early. In fact, a quick search of a couple of favorite beach campgrounds found them already booked for weekends throughout the summer. So if you haven't already booked any summer camp-outs, go to <a href="http://www.reserveamerica.com/" target="_blank">Reserve America</a> and snag them before it's too late.</p> <h2>2. Arrange a Home Exchange</h2> <p>If you're able to take a sabbatical or work from home, consider swapping your house with someone far away for a change of scenery, even without using vacation time. If you have to report to work every day, try a temporary relocation to a different part of your region. For instance, since my husband has a 40-mile commute to his Silicon Valley job, I'm eyeing swaps with families who live within the same distance from his work, but in other directions, on <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10774433" target="_blank">HomeExchange</a>.</p> <h2>3. Send the Kids to Camp</h2> <p>If you're a parent, time away from your job might not be as relaxing as time away from your kids. I should know, I have three little buggers of my own. Fortunately, there exists a wonderful institution to give you a vacation from parenting: sleep-away camp. Camp catalogs go out soon. Girl Scout, Boy Scout, church, and YMCA camps offer some of the best values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>4. Book a National Park Trip</h2> <p>The big-name parks book up fast. In fact, a random check of <a href="http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/" target="_blank">Yellowstone lodges</a> for June showed that rooms are already getting hard to find. If you're planning to stay in &mdash; or even near &mdash; a National Park this summer, get going.</p> <h2>5. Buy Baseball Tickets</h2> <p>It's not as if it will be impossible to get seats in most ballparks after Opening Day, but still, wouldn't it be nice to see a big circle on the calendar around a July day and know you'll be spending it at the ballgame? My family received tickets to a Cubs game as a Christmas gift, and I'm already looking forward to that August event.</p> <h2>6. Figure Out Where You'll Be for the Solar Eclipse</h2> <p>In case you haven't heard, there will be a total solar eclipse August 21, but the full monty will only be <a href="http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/01/nasas_new_map_can_put_you_righ.html" target="_blank">viewable from certain parts of the United States</a>. You'd better believe that campgrounds and other lodging in the path, which will follow an arc from Oregon to South Carolina, are selling out fast. August 21 is a Monday, so if you can do a long weekend and get there, it should be a sight to see as the moon takes a big bite out of the sun and then blots it out entirely, bringing out the stars in the middle of the day. We haven't had a total eclipse cross the whole country like this for about 100 years.</p> <h2>7. Plan Your Garden</h2> <p>Your dirt may be buried under snow, but that doesn't mean you can't sketch out new garden beds (there's even <a href="http://theselfsufficientliving.com/7-vegetable-garden-planner-software-for-better-gardening/" target="_blank">gardening software</a> to help you do that now), ordering seeds, and starting seedlings indoors.</p> <h2>8. Research Major Summer Purchases on Your Wishlist</h2> <p>Is this the year you buy a boat or a camper, or even an inflatable dinghy? Most of the boat and <a href="http://www.rvpark411.com/rv-shows-camping-expos.html" target="_blank">RV shows</a> are in winter and spring. Even if you're just going to dream, walking through a boat show can help pass chilly days with dreams of fishing and snorkeling.</p> <h2>9. Get Medical Procedures Out of the Way</h2> <p>This may not be as fun as booking vacations or boat shopping, but think about it: If you need a knee replacement, do you want to be laid of up for six weeks in summer or now? Might as well get those bunions removed while you're stuck inside anyway.</p> <h2>10. Learn to Scuba Dive</h2> <p>If you live near water, you might love exploring the underside of it this summer. Did you know you can start learning even if it's too cold to jump in right now? First of all, scuba certification involves a classroom portion, which you can <a href="https://apps.padi.com/scuba-diving/elearning/purchasecourse.aspx" target="_blank">take online</a>. Then, there are <a href="http://www.dolphinscuba.com/scuba-diving-classes/overview.html" target="_blank">classes you can take in heated pools</a> to get you ready for dive season.</p> <h2>11. Buy Tickets to a Summer Theater Festival</h2> <p>For me, one of the highlights of summer is watching Shakespeare out in nature, whether it's at Wisconsin's <a href="http://americanplayers.org/" target="_blank">American Players Theatre</a> or the <a href="https://www.bard.org/" target="_blank">Utah Shakespeare Festival</a>. Tickets are already available for some of these festivals, and even if they're not, the schedule is probably posted, so you can decide which shows you'll see. And if you're unable to travel to see these, check for local shows in your area.</p> <h2>12. Book Amtrak Tickets</h2> <p>Even more than flights, Amtrak trains can fill up early, especially those sleeper cars that make the journey more pleasant. Buy it now or you may find yourself sleeping in a seat.</p> <h2>13. Buy Theme Park Season Passes</h2> <p>Early bird discounts can net you some real savings on these. For instance, Six Flags Great America in Chicago is selling season passes for $75-$93 right now; full price runs $189-$250.</p> <h2>14. Work Out</h2> <p>I'm not talking about a &quot;get your beach body&quot; weight-loss program, because all bodies are welcome at the beach. I'm talking about cardio and strength training to build your endurance for those summer hikes and swims you're going to do. You won't regret it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever.jpg&amp;description=14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever.jpg" alt="14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel book a trip camping family vacation saving money summer shopping summer travel summer trip summer vacation winter Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:30:39 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1888422 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things to Leave Behind During Your Midsummer Trip http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85572493_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="Leave these things home on vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the price of travel going up and the amount of luggage you can carry going down, packing can no longer be a last-minute activity. Spend time making sure you don't bring anything you don't need. When I traveled home for a month after spending a year in New Zealand, I only had a backpack, which contained everything I needed &mdash; including a first aid kit.</p> <p>Here are some obvious (and not so obvious) items to leave at home when you head out of town. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free?ref=seealso">14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Coffee/Tea/Coffee Maker</h2> <p>Almost everywhere you go, whether it be a hotel or an Airbnb, will likely have coffee, tea, and something to make it in. If you're going for an Airbnb or VRBO, make sure to check the description or send a message to the owner to see what is available.</p> <h2>2. Towels</h2> <p>Unless you're in <em>Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy</em>, you don't need a towel when you travel. Make sure towels are provided ahead of time, as some hostels don't provide them. A friend and I didn't make sure we had enough towels when we went to Paris and we had to use hand towels. Check ahead!</p> <h2>3. Full-Sized Toiletries</h2> <p>Don't bring full-sized toiletries with you, because you absolutely don't need them. The 3-oz. rule is applicable only for carry-ons, but you should implement it either way. Buy a small refillable bottle that you can use over and over. I have one for every toiletry and refill it whenever I need to. Make sure they're labeled though. I have been known to style my hair with face wash.</p> <h2>4. Hair Dryers and Irons</h2> <p>Hair dryers and irons are usually provided in hotels and most other rental places. If you can't find them in your room, call down to the front desk. While you're at it, they also usually have toothpaste, toothbrushes, sewing kits, and a myriad of other things you might've forgotten.</p> <h2>5. Full-Sized Pillows</h2> <p>There is absolutely no need for a full-sized pillow on a trip, and even most hostels will provide these. Pillows can be cumbersome and difficult to stuff into a bag. Again, make sure to check a website or call the place you're staying to make sure a pillow is available. I don't even travel with my travel pillow anymore, because besides the during plane ride, I don't use it.</p> <h2>6. Workout Clothes</h2> <p>Unless you actually plan on working out, bringing an extra pair of sneakers, socks, and workout clothes just takes up room in your bag. I've taken these multiple times on business trips and I've only used them once. In general, make sure you're only taking what you need or that you'll actually use what you take.</p> <h2>7. Uncomfortable Shoes</h2> <p>Unless you're in a wedding or attending a gala, taking uncomfortable shoes on a trip makes no sense. There are plenty of cute, comfortable options besides the four inch heels you were thinking about taking. Plan ahead and make sure you won't need them, and if not, leave them in your closet.</p> <h2>8. Speakers</h2> <p>Most hotels provide bluetooth or iPhone speakers, so you don't need to bring your own. If you're traveling to a hostel, having speakers can be rude because of thin walls and shared rooms. Check with your Airbnb and VRBO host to see if they have speakers. Taking an audio cord isn't a bad idea though, as sometimes I've noticed the speakers in my hotel room only work with the first version of the iPhone.</p> <h2>9. Expensive Items</h2> <p>Be it jewelry, bags, or computers &mdash; don't pack anything you don't actually need. Not only do you have the chance to lose them, but someone might steal them from your room. The most recent Powerball winners from Tennessee took their winning ticket all the way to the <em>Today Show</em> in New York before cashing it in back in Tennessee. Don't do that.</p> <h2>10. Credit Cards, Social Security Cards, or Other Important Documents</h2> <p>If you're not traveling abroad, don't take your passport. If you don't need your work credit card, don't take it. There should be no real reason to have your Social Security card or birth certificate on you. The reason to not take these items is simple: Replacing them can be a nightmare.</p> <p><em>What do you leave at home when you travel?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%20Things%20to%20Leave%20Behind%20During%20Your%20Midsummer%20Trip.jpg&amp;description=10%20Things%20to%20Leave%20Behind%20During%20Your%20Midsummer%20Trip" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Things%20to%20Leave%20Behind%20During%20Your%20Midsummer%20Trip.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/family-friendly-hotel-and-resort-chains-where-kids-stay-free">Family-Friendly Hotel and Resort Chains Where Kids Stay Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-can-travel-on-30-a-day-or-less">7 Countries Where You Can Travel on $30 a Day or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Shopping Travel amenities hotels midsummer travel summer vacation travel checklist travel hacks vacation Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1743313 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_laughing_85809327.jpg" alt="Learning how to save money on child care this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out for the summer, and your kids are probably bouncing off the walls with excitement. However, not many jobs offer the same summer break perks, leaving you with the costly decision of finding summer child care.</p> <p>Here are some solutions to try to save money on your child care costs this summer.</p> <h2>Swap With Someone Who Has a Summer Break</h2> <p>If one of your friends is a teacher or school administrator, then they probably have a good portion of the summer off. Ask a teacher or a stay-at-home mom friend who is willing to watch your children for a few hours a week in exchange for you watching their kids on the weekend. Since many teachers and stay-at-home moms will have to stay home with their children during the weekdays, they might enjoy a weekend break.</p> <p>Just make sure that the agreement is benefiting both of you, instead of being a burden on one of you. One summer, my mom asked my neighbor to watch my sister and I. The neighbor had six children that stayed at home as is, so my sister and I were barely noticed. We had a blast hanging out with our friends, and the mom just kept her schedule as she always did. We even did chores and went to local home schooling conventions.</p> <p>In exchange, my mom was able to give her money each week, and it ended up benefiting us all. The neighbor made a little bit of extra money, my mom paid less for child care, than she would have if she sent us to day camp, and my sister and I had a blast.</p> <h2>Try Working a Flex Schedule</h2> <p>Many times your employer can be more understanding of your need for a flexible schedule during the summer months. Try to work it out with your spouse's schedule so that there will always be someone available to stay home. For example, your spouse can go into work earlier and come home earlier, while you can go in later and work later hours. Perhaps you can even work the weekends so that you have two free days to watch your children during the week.</p> <p>I have witnessed many couples do this successfully, and work it out so that their schedules overlap the majority of the time. You can then fill in the gaps with the use of a family member or a baby sitter. While this schedule will take planning and getting used to, remember it is only for a few months.</p> <p>Of course, many people do not have flexible jobs, but it is worth looking into. Even if you can work from home one day a week or come in two hours later, that is time you do not have to pay for child care.</p> <h2>Look for a Tax Break</h2> <p>Take a look at your benefits to see if you have access to a dependent care flexible spending account. If so, you can use up to $5,000 in pre tax dollars to pay for child care expenses.</p> <p>If your employer doesn't offer an FSA, you can claim the child care tax credit when you file taxes. This credit is good for $3,000 to $6,000 in expenses, depending on how many children you have.</p> <h2>Get the Most Out of Your Babysitter</h2> <p>A baby sitter might be a better deal for the summer, especially if you have more than one child. Be sure to do a background check and to find a sitter that will keep your kids engaged each day rather than parking them in front of the television.</p> <p>When you are going through the hiring process, specify certain tasks/jobs you want done. Obviously it would be unfair to request they deep clean your home, but if they can manage light cleaning, simple dinner prep, grocery shopping, or the kids' laundry, that will take the stress off your shoulders. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on?ref=seealso">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a>)</p> <h2>Look Into Camp Scholarships</h2> <p>Ann Sheets, former national president of the American Camp Association said, &quot;About 90% of resident camps and 89% of day camps offer scholarships.&quot;</p> <p>Start your search today and apply to any camp you think your child would be eligible for. Don't forget to apply for higher-end camps too, since their scholarships might cover more than you think. Try to stay flexible with your camp dates. Not sure if a camp offers a scholarship? Just contact them and ask. You might have a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship if not many people know about it.</p> <p>While kids live for summer vacation, it can be hard to deal with the costs. Most professionals will admit that their kids' summer plans look like a mismatched quilt. That is okay! Be creative and stay flexible, knowing that this is only a brief season.</p> <p><em>What are your child care plans for the summer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break">9 Frugal Winter Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family activities baby sitters camp child care kids scholarships summer break summer vacation tax breaks Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1733677 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Travel Hacks for an Affordable Summer Road Trip http://www.wisebread.com/7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_camera_car_38688948.jpg" alt="Woman using travel hacks on summer road trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A family road trip can be an amazing bonding experience and memory builder with your kids. It can also be really expensive when you start adding up fuel, lodging, and entertainment costs. But with just a little bit of planning and forethought, you can easily save a big chunk of change and actually end up seeing more sights for less. Here are the secrets you need to know to plan an amazing road trip adventure this summer. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-road-trips?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards to Use on Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plan With Roadtrippers</h2> <p>When it comes to planning your summer road trip, be sure to use technology to your advantage and download the&nbsp;<a href="https://roadtrippers.com/">Roadtrippers</a> app (free for&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roadtrippers-road-trip-planner/id944060491">iOS</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.roadtrippers">Android</a>). Not only will it save you money by helping you find lodging deals, but it'll keep you organized and let you plan your trek one day at a time.</p> <p>Once planned, you can even share your road trip across devices and with friends so they can add itinerary suggestions to make it even more memorable. Perhaps the coolest feature of the app is the ability to help you find quirky roadside attractions as you approach them. After all, any experienced road tripper will tell you that some of the most memorable moments are made when finding fun stops along the way to your final destination.</p> <h2>2. Book Hotels Directly and Save</h2> <p>When planning your summer trip this year, consider calling hotels directly to book your room. Online booking sites like Expedia and Orbitz charge hotels a 10%&ndash;15% fee, so many hotels would rather bypass these sites entirely and book directly with you. But before you call, check the travel sites to see the hotel's current rate. Then when you call, politely ask if the hotel can beat that rate by 10%. In many cases, they'll happy beat their online rate and even throw in some free upgrades like a better room or beverage and food credits.</p> <h2>3. VRBO Last-Minute Savings Trick</h2> <p>Vacation Rentals by Owner, also known as&nbsp;<a href="https://www.vrbo.com/">VRBO</a>, puts travelers in direct contact with homeowners looking to rent out their houses, condos, or apartments. If you shop around carefully, roadtrippers can score some great deals, often cheaper than hotels, which are typically much more accommodating for a larger family.</p> <p>But if a homeowner doesn't rent out a particular weekend, they don't make a penny from their vacation rental. So as a smart roadtripper, use this information to your advantage when making your initial VRBO inquiry. Politely ask about the possibility of a 15% discount on the asking nightly rate, especially when inquiring about a last-minute stay. In many cases, homeowners will jump all over this and happily give you a last-minute discount to avoid their place sitting empty. By &quot;last-minute,&quot; I mean within a week of your arrival, as that's when reality sets in for most homeowners that their place is probably going to sit empty.</p> <h2>4. AAA Premier Membership</h2> <p>There's no arguing the fact that an AAA membership provides great peace of mind when hitting the road for a long trip, especially with a family. Emergency roadside assistance like towing after a breakdown, tire changes, and battery jumpstarts are just a few of their useful services. But when planning a long summer road trip, look into upgrading to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aaa.com/aaa/045/pioneer/membership/premier/comparison.htm">AAA Premier</a> membership for $118 annually, up from $58 for the basic membership. This is because Premier comes with up to 200 miles of towing, $1,500 for meals/lodging in the event of a breakdown, and 100 miles of emergency medical transportation.</p> <p>Last summer, I upgraded to AAA Premier just before embarking on a long road trip across the western U.S. with my parents' RV. Sure enough, the RV broke down 75 miles west of Needles, CA on a 115 degree day in the Mojave Desert. Not only did we get a free 75 mile tow, but all lodging and food was paid for as we waited for a new fuel pump to be delivered and installed. AAA ended up reimbursing us close to $700 for the trip interruption. This year I simply downgraded our membership back to the basic, but I'll definitely upgrade it again before our next long road trip.</p> <p>Also, don't forget about AAA discounts that will save you money on hotels, airfare, rental cars, shopping, and entertainment. By getting in the habit of always inquiring about an AAA discount, you can easily pay for your annual basic membership of $58.</p> <h2>5. GasBuddy App</h2> <p>If you're not arming your smartphone with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/">GasBuddy app</a> (free for&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gasbuddy-find-cheap-gas-prices/id406719683">iOS</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gbis.gbandroid">Android</a>) before you leave home, you're bound to overpay at the pump. Not only does the app help you find the cheapest gas stations along your journey, but you'll even earn points for reporting gas prices that could you score you a free $100 gas card. A good GasBuddy strategy is to access the app when your tank gets about a quarter full and search for upcoming gas stations. By doing it this way, and not waiting until your &quot;get gas&quot; light comes on, you'll be able to take advantage of a larger radius of stations and ensure the lowest price per gallon.</p> <h2>6. Drive Early in the Day</h2> <p>Another trick that I learned on our last family road trip was to hit the road early. This allows you to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and fresher eyes for the driver. If you can start your driving by 6 or 7 a.m., not only will you be able to keep the A/C off and enjoy the cool morning air, but you'll be much less likely to overheat your vehicle leading to potentially costly repairs. Not to mention the better gas mileage that you'll get by having the A/C turned off.</p> <p>Financial benefits aside, the early start typically makes it easier to drive long distances and avoids fatigued eyes as they day winds down. Plus, you'll end up at your next stop much earlier in the day, leaving you ample time to explore your surroundings.</p> <h2>7. Find Free Attractions</h2> <p>Perhaps the best way to save money on your next family road trip is to search for free, or almost free, attractions and activities that everyone will love. The best way to do this is to access&nbsp;<a href="http://www.roadtripradar.com/">RoadTripRadar</a> and tell them where you're headed and how far you're willing to travel off your route to see attractions. You can also pick the types of attractions you're interested in, things like museums, parks, farms, outdoor play areas, hiking trails, and camping &mdash; many of which are completely free of charge. Once you have your route all planned out, you can save it for later use, and even enhance it via YouTube videos and save it directly to your GPS unit via a satnav file. They currently support Garmin, TomTom, Navman, and Google Navigator.</p> <p><em>How do you save money when you load up the car and head out on a long road trip?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Travel%20Hacks%20for%20an%20Affordable%20Summer%20Road%20Trip.jpg&amp;description=7%20Travel%20Hacks%20for%20an%20Affordable%20Summer%20Road%20Trip" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Travel%20Hacks%20for%20an%20Affordable%20Summer%20Road%20Trip.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-travel-hacks-for-an-affordable-summer-road-trip">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-do-la-on-the-cheap">10 Ways to Do LA On the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations">8 Great, Cheap Summer Vacations</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Travel AAA driving expedia hotels Orbitz road trips summer vacation tourism travel deals vrbo Wed, 15 Jun 2016 09:30:42 +0000 Kyle James 1728424 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Little-Known Ways to Save When Booking Spring Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-known-ways-to-save-when-booking-spring-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-little-known-ways-to-save-when-booking-spring-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_vacation_000062041066.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to save when booking spring travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As the warmer weather finally starts to creep in, it's hard to not get excited about traveling this spring or summer. With the cheaper gas prices and lower overall airfare, it just might be a good year to finally book that family vacation you've been considering. Here are a few insider tips that'll help you stretch your travel dollar as far as possible. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free">7 Ways That Anyone Can Travel for Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Book Airfare on a Tuesday</h2> <p>According to FareCompare.com, which helps travelers compare airfares to find the best deals, Tuesday around 3 p.m. EST is the best time to book a flight. They found that this is when many airlines release the majority of their sales, which then encourages other airlines to lower their fares to stay competitive. In contrast, try not to book airfare on a Friday morning as you'll end up paying&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hopper.com/articles/2450/does-time-of-day-matter-when-booking-flights">3% more for fares</a> on average.</p> <h2>2. Fly Out on a Tuesday or Wednesday</h2> <p>If you can be flexible in terms of the day you fly out, you can definitely save some money. According to Airfarewatchdog.com, if you can fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday you'll find lower overall airfares. While not a perfect science, these two days <em>usually </em>yield lower airfares. For example, CheapAir.com found the difference between a Sunday round-trip flight and a Tuesday round-trip flight to be $58 on average. Also, when booking air travel for a week-long vacation, book Tuesday-Tuesday or Wednesday-Wednesday, as it is by far the cheapest way to fly.</p> <h2>3. Book Hotels Directly This Year</h2> <p>Online travel sites like Expedia and Hotels.com charge hotel chains a hefty 15% fee for an online booking. As a result, many hotels are trying to avoid this booking fee and are willing to negotiate a deal with potential travelers who call them directly. For example, if the Expedia rate is $100 a night, call the hotel and ask politely if they can beat that rate. Since the hotel has to pay around $15 to Expedia, they'll often give you the room for $90/night. It's an extra $5 in their pocket and they've made you a happy camper in the process.</p> <h2>4. Vacation Where the Best Deals Are</h2> <p>Clark Howard is one of my favorite frugal gurus. Every year he takes his staff on a big trip, and how he selects the destination is pure genius. He goes online and figures out what destination currently has the best travel deals, and that's where he takes everyone. By booking travel this way, he has visited every continent except Antarctica and every state except North Dakota. I love his perspective on this travel tip: &quot;I don't pick a destination that I have to go to. I wait for a deal somewhere, buy the deal, and then figure out why I want to go there.&quot; To make it happen, Howard suggest using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kayak.com/explore/">Kayak Explore</a> as it lets you find the best airfare deals for your specific budget.</p> <h2>5. VRBO and Airbnb &quot;Last-Minute&quot; Hack</h2> <p>It's pretty obvious that vacation homeowners using VRBO and Airbnb to rent their place don't make a cent if their place lies empty for the weekend. Because of this, many owners are willing to lower their rate a little bit for last-minute travelers. By last-minute, I'm talking about those trying to book a place within a week of arrival. So the next time you attempt to plan a last-minute getaway, consider politely asking for a 15%&ndash;20% discount when using either website. You stand a great chance of negotiating a deal.</p> <h2>6. Hotel Check-In Trick</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered if it's still possible to get a room upgrade when checking into a hotel? According to many hotel employees, you can absolutely still do it, and slipping the front desk attendant a $20 bill is still highly acceptable. There's almost always a better room available, or cool upgrades like free movies, free room service, or late checkout &mdash; and sending an Andrew Jackson across the counter is a great way to make it happen.</p> <p>Also, the same hotel employees share that online booking sites like Expedia, Hotwire, and Orbitz are often going to get you the worst rooms available. The reason is because hotels see these guest as &quot;non-loyal&quot; travelers simply looking for a really low rate. They're not going to give you the rooms with the best views and overall features.</p> <p><em>How do you ensure a great deal when booking your travel plans?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-little-known-ways-to-save-when-booking-spring-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Little-Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20When%20Booking%20Spring%20Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Little-Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20When%20Booking%20Spring%20Travel" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Little-Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20When%20Booking%20Spring%20Travel.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-known-ways-to-save-when-booking-spring-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-costly-flight-booking-mistakes-you-make-all-the-time">8 Costly Flight Booking Mistakes You Make All the Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/caribbean-island-vacations-anyone-can-afford">Caribbean Island Vacations Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-students-can-travel-abroad-for-less">7 Ways Students Can Travel Abroad for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fly-out-of-these-airports-and-save-big-on-airfare">Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Airfare flying holiday hotel hacks spring break summer vacation trips Thu, 10 Mar 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Kyle James 1670417 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Relaxing Ways to Enjoy Your Kid's First Day at School http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_beach_000060463902.jpg" alt="Woman finding relaxing ways to enjoy kid&#039;s first day of school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hear that sound, moms and dads? It's the silence you've been craving &mdash; oh, I don't know &mdash; since about 72 hours into your kids' summer vacation. What to do, what to do? You probably already have your time-to-relax schedule all planned out for the first day back to school, but if you've been slacking in that regard, here are a few ideas to make the most of your well-deserved downtime.</p> <h2>1. Hit the Beach (If You're Near One)</h2> <p>I live on the Jersey Shore and the days to enjoy an afternoon on the beach are dwindling. If you're in a beach town (or near one), get out there and enjoy the sand and surf before the chilly weather starts to roll in.</p> <h2>2. Take Yourself Out to Lunch</h2> <p>Like an adult lunch. No grilled sandwiches or ramen or Tyson chicken whatever &mdash; you know, the stuff the kids ate all summer and you nibbled on because you didn't feel like making a separate meal. Put your good pants on and have a proper lunch containing real food.</p> <h2>3. Go Back-to-School Shopping for Yourself</h2> <p>Don't you think it's just a bit unfair that you spend all that money on back-to-school clothing and accessories for the kids &mdash; because they haaaaave to have it! &mdash; and you walk away with nothing? Nope, not on my watch. Head to your favorite store and pick up something new. If you need justification for your purchase &mdash; besides the fact that you've kept the little beggars alive and well for this long &mdash; think of it as something you need for an upcoming PTA meeting, parents' night, or (most likely) a cocktail party.</p> <h2>4. Finish an Open Project</h2> <p>Everybody has something around the house that they meant to finish, but got sidetracked and forgot about. Get after it!</p> <h2>5. Meet Your Friends for Coffee (Or an Adult Bev!)</h2> <p>I mean, sure, if coffee's your thing, that's what you should order. But if you're trying to celebrate your nine-to-three freedom properly, you better make it Irish. And so you're not sipping alone, invite along a few friends.</p> <h2>6. Go to the Cinema and Catch a Movie</h2> <p>You've undoubtedly been to the movies this summer, but it was probably to see a flick about little talking Twinkies, superheroes, or dinosaurs. If there's a more &mdash; ahem &mdash; grown-up movie you've been meaning to watch, today's your day.</p> <h2>7. Crack Open That Book You've Been Meaning to Read (Finally!)</h2> <p>You brought that book everywhere you went this summer with every intention of reading it and then starting its sequel. But you never go to it because somebody was always screaming your name for mostly unimportant things that they could do themselves. Sound familiar? Now's your chance to get lost in literature &mdash; at least until mid-afternoon.</p> <h2>8. Relax on the Couch and Catch Up on Your DVR</h2> <p>Heck, even without kids, watching a ton of TV isn't something many of us do in the summer. So I know all you parents out there haven't had time to catch up on your DVR since about the third week of June. Find out what's up with your favorite characters and make some room for the new fall schedule.</p> <h2>9. Bake &mdash; Then Indulge</h2> <p>I like to bake because the end result is so delicious. If I'm baking for one to soothe my sweet tooth, I usually pick up prepared cookie dough, pop it in the oven, and stuff my face with the whole lot of the ooey-gooey confections. Along with a tall glass of ice-cold milk. And absolutely no shame. NO SHAME!</p> <h2>10. Get Intimate if You're Both Home</h2> <p>You don't need instructions for this. It's how you got into this situation in the first place. But it's still nice to have some alone time without somebody barging in.</p> <h2>11. Nap!</h2> <p>...Naaaaaaaaap!</p> <h2>12. Work Around the Yard</h2> <p>For some people, gardening is a great way to relax and think and let their mind wander. If you keep a garden, harvest some of the produce, or, since fall is just around the corner, tidy up your space a bit so raking and bagging isn't such a daunting task in a few weeks.</p> <h2>13. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>To wherever you want &mdash; around the neighborhood, downtown, to the park. Just get movin'.</p> <h2>14. Participate in a Class at the Gym</h2> <p>I love my gym classes. I never consider them a chore because they're totally fun. If you haven't checked in to any of the classes your gym offers, do it now. You could find yourself a new hobby.</p> <h2>15. Treat Yourself to a Salon or Spa Service</h2> <p>Get your hair or nails done. Schedule a massage. Kick back in the steam room and sauna. Let your cares drift away until you have to snap back to reality.</p> <h2>16. Hang Out at Your Local Library or Coffee Shop</h2> <p>I find both of these places equally relaxing. I usually take a few of my neglected magazines and sink into one of the comfy chairs for a few hours while I unwind.</p> <h2>17. Mediate/Do Nothing at All</h2> <p>I don't really know how to meditate &mdash; I mean, besides sitting with my legs crossed and chanting 'Om' (which doesn't appeal to me). However, as a former college student, I know how to do nothing at all quite well. I consider myself an English major with a concentration in Sitting and Staring at the Sky, as it were. Nonetheless, either of these activities could work for you, and I'll only look at you strangely for one of them.</p> <h2>18. Practice Your Yoga Skills</h2> <p>There are plenty of online yoga resources that you can watch so you don't even have to leave your house. Or you can find a class in your area (perhaps even at your gym for free) if you need a change of scenery. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes?ref=seealso">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a>)</p> <h2>19. Take the Dog to the Park</h2> <p>You know who's just as happy that your kids are back in school? The dog. He can finally get back to his eat-sleep-sleep-eat schedule without as many interruptions. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't like a leisurely afternoon with his buddies first. Plan a date to the dog park to exercise your favorite friend while enjoying the pleasant weather and other pooches.</p> <h2>20. Pack a Picnic and Find a Nice Space Outside</h2> <p>There's no rule that picnics can't be by yourself. In fact, some of the best picnics I've attended have only had one guest &mdash; me! Pack up some of your favorites foods, bring a blanket and some reading material, and lay back and watch the world pass you by.</p> <h2>21. Drift Away in a Long, Hot Bath</h2> <p>Candles and a glass of wine are just as appropriate for a long, hot bath at 11 a.m. as they are at 11 p.m. Plus, nobody's around to judge you. Enjoy it while you can.</p> <h2>22. Pump Up the Jams and Dance Around the House</h2> <p>This summer has produced a few hot bangers that I like to shake my thang to. Turn up your Spotify and let loose in your living room. If you've never done this before, step outside your comfort zone. You'll be glad you did.</p> <h2>23. Run Away and Never Look Back</h2> <p>Or just daydream about it. You know they wouldn't last a day without you.</p> <p><em>How will you relax and enjoy your kids' first day back to school? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-life-skills-your-kids-wont-learn-in-school">7 Life Skills Your Kids Won&#039;t Learn in School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle back-to-school downtime kids parenting relaxing rest summer vacation Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:00:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 1532897 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons July Is a Great Month for Stocks http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-july-is-a-great-month-for-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-july-is-a-great-month-for-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_working_beach_000040378062.jpg" alt="Man realizing July is a great month for stocks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you think traders are off summer vacationing, think again. There's a lot of action in the markets during the summertime, particularly in July, which makes it a great time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-a-stock-is-about-to-tank">rebalance your portfolio</a> &mdash; or pull the trigger on the trades you've been scheming about. No doubt, timing the market perfectly is practically impossible. But the historically well-performing month of July is better than many for making positive returns.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of reasons why July is a great months for stocks.</p> <h2>1. School's Out</h2> <p>Okay, so we lied. Some traders really<em> are</em> on vacation in the summer. But that's good news for you. Here's why: While they're off teaching their toddlers to swim, surf, and make sand castles, the market's value tends to drift higher from where it should be.</p> <p>&quot;During&hellip; summer, professional investors are collectively less focused on news and as a result, information is incorporated into stock prices more slowly,&quot; MIT researcher Lily Fang said. This effect is particularly strong for negative information because taking advantage of negative news by, for instance, short-selling, is more difficult and requires close attention &mdash; a scarce resource in July. &quot;Think about how traders spend their summers,&quot; Fang said. &quot;They're on the beach with their kids. They're traveling overseas with their friends. They're rightfully enjoying the holidays and as a result not paying as much attention to market news.&quot;</p> <p>Just beware of the &quot;after holiday effect.&quot; Stock prices tend to do the <a href="https://mitsloan.mit.edu/newsroom/press-releases/2014-school-holiday-breaks-global-stock-lily-fang.php">worst in September</a> &mdash; when summer vacation's over &mdash; because investors' kids are back in school and they once again have the time to monitor the markets obsessively, according to Fang's research.</p> <h2>2. Midsummer Rules Dow Jones</h2> <p>The Dow Jones industrial average has posted a <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/30/the-hottest-stocks-of-july.html">positive July return</a> in seven of the last 10 years. The average gain during that time span was almost 2%. That's a pretty spectacular indication that July is the golden time on the Dow to invest.</p> <h2>3. Historic S&amp;P Data Shows Positive Returns</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneychimp.com/features/monthly_returns.htm">July's market returns</a> have been up 35 of the last 60 years since 1950, according to S&amp;P 500 data. The average return over that period was 0.8%. That's pretty good, but the kicker is that in recent years the month has performed even better. Since 2005, July has had six up years with an average return of 1.6%. A whopping 80% of all trades have been positive in the last decade on the S&amp;P 500 Energy Sector. So if you're planning to invest in July, you'll do well to pick an energy industry stock.</p> <h2>4. Nasdaq Comes Alive, Too</h2> <p>The Nasdaq composite, which averages a 2.1% gain for the month of July, has posted a positive return in six of the last 10 years.</p> <h2>5. Chinese Stocks Bounce Back</h2> <p>For the last five years, the MSCI China index has been one great big slump in the first six months of the year, typically losing about 10% of its value. Ouch. But July has proven to be the <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11322368/Investment-calendar-2015-Tips-and-tricks-to-play-stock-market-trends.html">bounce back month</a>, marking the start of a season of strong returns that more than make up for those earlier losses. In 2014, the index fell 3% in the first six months, but then gained more than 10% starting in July.</p> <p>&quot;There is no denying that a pattern has emerged in Chinese equities in the last few years,&quot; said Damien Fahy of the consumer website Money to the Masses. &quot;Its roots lie in the Chinese New Year and corresponding government stimulus which tends to rally markets.&quot; Although this July has been unusually tough for Chinese stocks to date, the month isn't over yet.</p> <p><em>Do you invest in July? Why or why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-july-is-a-great-month-for-stocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 11 Dividend Stocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tesla-six-flags-and-9-other-adventure-stocks-worth-investing-in">Tesla, Six Flags and 9 Other Adventure Stocks Worth Investing In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-invest-in-start-ups">Should You Invest in Start-Ups?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Dow Jones NASDAQ portfolio positive returns s&p stocks summer vacation Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1499559 at http://www.wisebread.com