How to Save Money on a Family Road Trip

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How about going on a road trip this summer? It’s lot’s of fun and won’t cost you a fortune is you follow these tips on how to save money on a family road trip.

My brother lives in Europe with his family and they recently went on a family road trip that included 21 hours of driving…ONE WAY!   He has two kids (10 and 8 years old, girl and boy respectively) and from the reports  received, everyone loved it!  Family road trips can be a great experience for young and old alike, but it can easily go over your budget. It’s important to plan ahead so you can save money on your trip.  Read on to discover how to save money on a family road trip.

Road trips can be economical if you follow these eight important tips:

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan.  It’s essential that you plan everything carefully at home. It’s better ( and easier) to make plans ahead than to come up with last-minute solutions while you are on the road trip. When planning your family road trip, google, bing, and yahoo search are your BEST friends. You can find a variety of deals and information online about your destination and the best route to get there.  If you plan to travel during busy times of year, make sure to book your arrangements as early as possible.  Booking ahead ensures that you will actually be able to use your vacation to relax.
  1. Evaluate gas prices. Another one of the best ways to save money on a road trip is to compare as prices often fluctuate from one area to the next. Use apps and websites to see the gas prices along your route. You can compare gas stations and read reviews.
  1. Reduce the cost of food. Fast food is convenient, but the cost can quickly add up during a road trip. You may want to bring your own snacks and meals.
  • Consider getting a large cooler with ice to pack food and beverages. Your cooler may hold enough food for a couple of days, but in most cases you’ll still want to eat out sometimes. This is another opportunity to do research ahead and find the most economical restaurants.
  • Restaurants aren’t the only option. You can also make pit stops at grocery stores to fill up your cooler with more snacks and meals.
  1. Check twice to ensure you’ve packed essentials. Did you remember to bring all of your medication and other medical supplies? You can save money by avoiding a trip to a pharmacy. Do you have enough clothes and shoes for everyone? Are you prepared for emergencies? Avoid having to shop for a new pair of sneakers during the road trip because your child’s feet are cold. Follow these 7 steps to plan a stress-free vacation!
  1. Check out free events and attractions. You’ll find that many museums, events, and other places have free admission. You can add these to your plan as you put together your list.
  1. Carefully check your car before you leave. Inflate your tires to the pressure that’s recommended in the car’s manual to maximize gas usage. Also, consider the car’s weight. Heavier cars burn more gas, so just pack the essentials and avoid bringing unnecessary items.

You can avoid costly roadside assistance and towing by doing recommended maintenance that you know will be needed soon. Do you need an oil change or minor repairs? Do them before you leave on your trip!

  1. Find flexible cancelation policies. Are you making reservations ahead of time? Road trips can be eventful, and the best plans cannot prevent all possible emergencies. Search for hotels and restaurants with flexible cancelation policies to avoid adding extra costs to your trip. If you’re late and miss a reservation, some businesses charge you.
  1. Look for coupons and additional discounts along the way. These money-saving items can reduce the cost of your trip. Coupons and discounts may be available from hotels, restaurants, and other places. Museums and shops may also offer them along your route. Stock up on additional savings.

Road trips can stay under a budget with the right plans. If you consider the costs of common items that occur during a trip, you can save money.

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Summer Picnic Ideas : 5 Tips For Planning A Summer Outdoor Get Together

I love a good picnic! Who doesn’t? It could be me, but in my humble opinion, food always tastes better outdoors. Add to that being in the company of people who you like and enjoy, like your close family and friends, and you are bound to have a memorable and relaxing time together.

Image: Amazon.com

 

For Stress-Free Picnics, You Need To Plan and Prepare

For some folks, organizing a successful picnic only requires a moment’s notice, but for me ( and perhaps for you too), some thoughtful planning and preparations are necessary beforehand. Here are three easy tips for summer picnic ideas to ensure a stress-free time together.

Tip #1—Find A Good Location

The first thing to do is decide on the location because that could make a difference for all your other decisions. Select an area that has covered picnic area or be prepared to bring a shade tent. Another important consideration for location, is that you check to make sure that there is running water for hand-washing. If not, plan to should you bring wipes.

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Tip #2—Monitor your Invitation List

You need to decide in advance how many people will be invited to the picnic. My picnics are usually just me and my immediate family. That’s easier since I know their tastes and how much they’ll eat. But if you plan to invite friends to come along, then you’ll want to know more about the kinds of food to have and the proper amount. Since you do not want to be cooking all day, make sure to ask your invited guests what are they planning to bring!

Tip #3—Plan a Good Picnic Menu

For me, the food is always the highlight of the picnic, so I usually take some time figuring out to put on the picnic menu. It’s important that you do that too. Do you want just cold food or are you planning to grill meat at the picnic? Make it more interesting by trying out some new recipes and bringing something different than your usual picnic fare.

Tip #4—Create The Perfect Picnic Ambiance

First impressions count, so make sure to accessorize your picnic. Here are important picnic accessories to remember:
1. a tablecloth
2. cooking and serving utensils
3. silverware & napkins
4. salt and pepper
5. pack a vase and let the kids pick some wildflowers to put in it for the table centerpiece
6. …anything else you might require
7. pack lawn chairs for lounging around afterwards
8. pack toys a d fun games for all. (e.g. frisbee-throwing, impromptu games of flag football, hula hoops or scavenger hunts. )

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Tip #5—Keep Your Food Safe

Its vitally important not to overlook the need to keep your food safe in the heat of the day. Here 3 food safety factors to keep these in mind when picnicking:

1. Cold food needs to stay cold. Keep the food in a cooler with ice until it’s time to serve it. Then return it immediately to the cooler. Food poisoning is no picnic!

2. Foods made ahead of time should have plenty of time to chill in your refrigerator before being packed into the ice chest. It’s job is to keep things cold that are already cold.

3. If there is still ice in the cooler when you get home, the food is probably okay. When in doubt, throw the food out!

Are You Ready For Some Picnic Fun?

Use the tips above when planning your picnics and enjoy your family, friends, and food in a special outdoor location. If you’ve never held a picnic before, I promise you that you are in for a lot of fun!

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5 Barbeque Party Ideas: Summer Style Entertainment For Busy Women

If you’re like me, you’ve been busy with outdoor preparations for a fun, enjoyable, stress-free summer! How about sitting back and taking a few moments to appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into the yard?

I cannot think of a better way to show off my tomatoes plants, pepper trees, stone decorations, over-flowing flower pots and lush, green grass than to entertain my friends among the fruits of my labor! How about you?

Barbeque party ideas abound.

You can plan a barbeque and invite everyone you know. And you won’t have to spend hour, after stressful hour cooking to provide all the food and drink yourself. I have found that people are more than happy to bring a side or dessert. You can even make it BYOB party!

I bet it would be a lot of fun to do an impromptu get together. Ask your mom to bring a side, your neighbor to bring the dessert, your friend to bring drinks and you can do the brats and burgers! Voila! Done!

Not so fast. If you want your barbecue party ideas to turn out to be a slam dunk success, there are a couple more things you need to in mind as well.

Image: Amazon.com

1. Plan fun activities. Talking and catching up is okay to a certain extent, but who wants to just sit around and talk all day? Make sure to plan some fun activities as well. You can set up a volleyball net, or get the squirt guns ready! Better yet, why not purchase a bocce ball set? The options for outdoor fun activities are endless. Young and old alike will appreciate a variety of outdoor fun activities to choose from.

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2. Provide sufficient seating! Successful barbecue party ideas include food of course, so having enough seating available is a good idea. Make an inventory of what you already have, then, if necessary, add additional kitchen chairs, lawn chairs, benches, or ask guests to bring their own. Most young people will be happy sitting on the porch steps or the lawn, but older guests appreciate proper seating. I know I would, and I am not even “that” old.

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3. Develop a Plan B. As much as you may plan you outdoor event to a “t”, there is still some things that may go wrong. No need to stress if you have a Plan B. For instance, if the weather chooses not to cooperate, make sure you made arrangements for a tent or a covered patio. If renting a tent is not an option and you do not have a covered patio, then your plan B could simply be to move the party indoors. It’s always a good idea to clean your house ahead of time just in case you need to implement Plan B!

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4. Pest control is a must. Where I live, mosquitoes are a major problem for outdoor entertainment. I get large citronella candles and place them strategically near eating or where folks may gather to chit chat. Be sure to have some bug spray available for your guests to use once the sun sets and the mosquitoes come out. If wasps are a problem, hang a trap and/or give them their own plate of food at the other end of the yard. :-)

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5. Location, Location, Location. Your backyard is not the only spot for outdoor entertainment. How about hosting a neighborhood party out on your front driveway? Another barbecue party ideas could include reserving the covered picnic area at your local park. I know lots of folks in my town do that. The local park is an excellent venue for a BBQ, with lots of space for kids and adults to engage in fun activities.

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These are just 5 easy barbecue party ideas worth considering. But there are tons more. Whatever you do, make sure to stay safe and have fun!

Summer Jobs For Teachers & Teenagers

When it comes to summer jobs, most people think of teenagers and their desire to make some dough over the long school break. But summer jobs are for adults too, and there are lots of summer jobs for teachers.

Besides teachers, there are other professionals who may also take a two or three month hiatus from their regular positions and take a summer gig. It’s something I have often considered doing myself.

Personally, I am interested in summer job opportunities, because I want to explore other professions. Furthermore, I welcome a change of scenery and would love want to travel and help somewhere on a volunteer vacation. Others may want more flexibility and time to spend with their kids who are home for the summer. Whatever the reason, there are summer jobs for teachers, for teenagers and for everyone in between.

Image: Amazon.com

 

8 Summer Job Opportunities For Teachers

If you are a teacher, there are some positions that may be particularly attractive for you:

1. A camp counselor gets to go to camp, eat camp food, enjoy the great outdoors, and be a leader to kids.

2. An instructor teaches what they love, be it surfing, scuba diving, yoga, or cooking. They get to share their passions with others and get paid for it.

3. A paid volunteer works on a specific project that is near and dear to her heart. This could be something like running a fundraiser or organizing disaster relief.

4. House painters work hard in the summer months and earn money making houses look pretty, building up their forearms, and getting a tan.

5. Being a tutor means tutoring on location, going abroad, or traveling with a wealthy family with kids who need tutoring.

6. Writers can put out their shingle as a freelance writer and provide content for websites, or submit articles to magazines.

7. People who like to get physical and get their hands dirty gravitate to a summer landscaping position.

8. Companies that move people will pay for drivers to drive their cars across the country. This is good for those who want to see more of the country from behind the wheel of a car.

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3 Summer Job Opportunities For Older Teenagers

1. Pet sitters are in demand in the summer because of people taking vacations without their animals. Pet sitters get to play and walk dogs morning, noon, and last thing at night.

2. There are plenty of opportunities for tour guides, especially for summer-only nature trips.

3. Many vacationers on extended trips don’t like to leave their houses sitting empty for that long and want the services of a house sitter.

Something for You?

From the lists above, you should be able to choose a type of summer job that can keep a teacher or an older teenager busy. Of course, there are many other options as well. If you are looking who a natural break in your career or if you just want to take a break and do something different for a few months, then a summer job may be just right for you.

Fun Summer Activities— 3 Enjoyable Things To Do In Nice, Sunny Weather!

Summer is here! Finally! So it’s time to venture outside for long periods of time, to enjoy the great weather. In case you are having a hard time thinking of things to do, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of fun summer activities anyone can do, including you!

Summer is the most fun part of the year where kids enjoy a good break from school and families can have a great opportunity to bond in good weather with some fun activities for everyone to enjoy and remember. Which one of these fun summer activities do you enjoy the most?

Image: Zazzle.com


Try bird watching

Although this may sound boring at first, it can be pretty fascinating and enjoyable. Bird watching forces you to slow down and enjoy the beauty and grace of the birds. You may not have to go too far either. If you have a backyard with flowers and tress that attract birds, all you may need to do is venture outside your door. Investing in a bird feeder would entice birds to visit you too. You can actually do bird watching on your own, but for even more fun, or join a bird watching group. For a great backyard bird-watching experience get a pair of good binoculars. Whether you are a casual or professional bird watcher, a beginner or experienced one, you are bound to have a ton of fun using the Bushnell binoculars for bird watching when the weather is nice.

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Ah…The Joys of Hiking

Become a tourist in your own hometown or somewhere near by, and discover scenic trails outside your town. You are bound to be delighted with the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. The small of fresh air, combined with the gorgeous weather is pure rejuvenation for body, mind and soul.

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Be sure to invest in a pair of comfortable hiking booths that will make your climb a fun and enjoyable experience. If you are looking for an all-around great pair of women’s hiking boots that would be great for hiking in spring, summer of fall, then check out the Nevados Women’s Boomerang II Mid V1082W Hiking Boot.

Sleep Peacefully Under the Stars

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Yes…literally under the stars. No tent! Picture just you, your sleeping bag, and the stars. What a delight. I tried that in my backyard once, and it was wonderful. Impossible to fully describe in words. I did not have a sleeping bag, so I dragged a mattress outside, laid it under a tree, and laid down and gazed up at the starts and beautiful moonlight until I fell asleep. Simply fantastic!

If you need a good sleeping bag for sleeping under the stars when the weather is nice outside, try this Coleman warm, heavy weight sleeping bag. Happy customers report that the material feels great and the sleep is comfortable!


More Fun Summer Activities To Do In Nice Weather

Bird watching, hiking, and star gazing not for you? Try these other fun summer activities.

• dozing in the shade – Take your lounge chair under a tree and relax!

• squirt gun fight – It’s not just for kids!

• Frisbee golf – Courses are popping up all over. Challenging but fun.

• zipline – All the craze, you might find one fairly close to you if you look.

• roller blading – Burn some calories while going places.

• cycling – Casual riding or hard core, it’s always a good time.

• ice cream fest – Host your own and invite your neighbors to bring a topping.

• neighborhood block party – Get together with your neighbors over good food and drink.

• camping – Get away for the weekend or a whole week.

• bocce ball – Best played with good friends and favorite beverage in hand.

• badminton – Get your aggressions out by whacking that little birdie.

• picnicking – Throw some food in a cooler and head to the park!

• barbequing – Invite friends over to grill meat and vegetables.

• flea market – Treasure hunting for very little money.

• swimming – Find a pool, lake, or ocean and get some refreshing exercise.

• gardening – Grow beautiful flowers or vegetables and de-stress while doing it.

paint the fence – (just kidding)

wash and wax the car – (ditto)

• Fishing – Man vs. fish, who will win this time? Good luck!

• you-pick fruit or veggie farm – Save money by picking your own when it’s in season.

• Zoo – Go early or late for best times to see the animals awake.

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I am sure you could come up with a few more great fun summer activities to do when the weather is nice. Just use my list above to get started. Just get outside in this nice weather and have fun! There is nothing better than the great outdoors for natural stress relief!

Beach Trip Checklist–Remember These When Going to the Beach…

You wouldn’t think that anything would ruin a fun summer day at the beach right? Be sure to remember to do the following and bring these things along just to make sure you have the perfect day at the beach.

Everyone wants their day at the beach to be fun filled, relaxing, and above all…stress free! You don’t want hassles and disasters at the beach. So what do you need to do to ensure that perfect time at the beach this summer?

 

Remember to Use Sunscreen

Getting sun burnt is not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous for your skin as well. Therefore, you should always apply sunscreen to your body before heading out to the beach.  It is important to not only apply it once before leaving the house but to also re-apply it from time to time according to the directions on the bottle. Sunscreen doesn’t last a whole day. So you have to always re-apply sunscreen from time to time to ensure healthy skin and a great time at the beach without the sun hurting you. Be sure to select the sunscreen for the right age group, with the right SPF level.

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 Bring a Sun Shade

A sun shade could be perfect to set up to keep everyone shaded on the beach. No matter how much sunscreen you use, you might not just be able to stay in the open sun for hours. So a nice sunshade can keep you shaded and protected from the sun when you are not playing. Take a look at these sun shades and find the best one that is easy to carry to the beach for long hours of shaded fun at the beach.

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Don’t Forget the Swimsuit

I know this sounds obvious! But there are times when we forget to pack our swimsuits and end up getting into the water with our clothes on. This can certainly be very uncomfortable when your clothes bubble up, drag you down, or stick to your skin. If you are at the beach to swim, be sure you enjoy a great day and bring your swimsuit with you!

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Bring Something To do at the Beach

You can’t possibly just lie on the beach all day without doing anything FUN! You’ll get bored. Bring something to do! Whether you are by yourself or with the family and friends, there are lots of fun things you can do at the beach! So…don’t forget to bring a book to read, or a Frisbee, ball or other toys to play with. Kids would love sand toys to build the greatest sand castles ever. Here are some fun beach toys that everyone would enjoy at the beach.

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 Bring Some Food and Drinks to the Beach

Don’t assume that there will be a food joint there with food and beverages for you to enjoy while on the beach. Always bring something light to enjoy while you are on the beach. You wouldn’t want to get up and leave just because you are hungry. Make it even better with healthier snacks like watermelon and other fruits. And be sure to always stay hydrated while under the hot sun at the beach. It is important to have plenty of water while you are out in the sun.

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Also while eating on the beach, be aware of flying birds! That can sometimes be an issue for beach-goers. Do not attract their attention with the foodstuffs…unless you actually want to play with the birds. And also clean up after yourself so others coming after you can have a nice time at the beach too.

There are a few more pointers to remember and follow so as to ensure that you have the greatest time at the beach this summer. First, be sure to adhere to all safety signs and protocols to ensure that your trip to the beach is a happy and safe one. Be sure to follow all warnings and directions. Be aware if there is a lifeguard on duty, or if there are any fish to worry about, or high tides, or infestations. It is important to be safe if you want to truly have a fun time at the beach with no disasters to ruin it.

Also, always check the weather report for your area before heading out to the beach. You wouldn’t want heavy winds and dark clouds to dampen your day at the beach. Plan ahead and be sure that the weather is perfect for a day out at the beach.

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These points and tips are not tough to do, and they can do wonders in ensuring that you have a perfect time at the beach this summer. All it needs is some good planning and you can have the perfect day at the beach. I am sure that you would love to have a relaxing time at the beach to unwind this summer. I know I would!

What was the one thing you forgot to do when going to the beach? What do you do to make sure you have the best time at the beach? I sure hope these tips help you enjoy many stress-free, relaxing days at the beach this summer, filled with fun and laughter.