Money Saving Ideas for Your End of Summer Staycation

If you had to cancel your travel plans this summer due to COVID-19, and are trying to make the best out of the last couple weeks of summer while vacationing at home and saving money – keep reading. With a bit of creativity and an open mind, spending your time off at home can still be just as fun and just as rewarding. Plus, you won’t have airfare or hotel bills to pay!

Turn Your House into a Hotel

You can enjoy the experience of staying in a hotel right at home. Indulge in hot chocolate at night with a fresh baked cookie, create a mini bar in your bedroom, and leave a folded luxurious robe and new pair of slippers out for yourself and enjoy a bubble bath. To add to the vacation resort feel, turn on the spa station on Pandora or find a relaxing music station on TV and keep it playing in the background. You can also buy tropical beach or spa scented candles or essential oils to increase the resort getaway feel, without ever leaving your house.

Around the World Theme Night Dinners

Convert your kitchen into a foreign destination with a themed dinner – a different one for every night of the week, if you so choose. Research the cuisine of each country you pick, play cultural music in the background, and serve drinks, appetizers, dinner and dessert all from the nationality of the day. To add to this idea, you might choose to get a bit competitive with other family members. Have each person make a certain dish, set a time limit, and vote on the best one!

Backyard Camping

Put up a tent in your backyard, and have a family camping experience equipped with sleeping bags, flashlights, cook on the grill, tell ghost stories, and make s’mores. You can also still have just as much fun with a living room camping experience with sleeping bags and flashlights too!

Hold a Yoga Retreat

This can also take place in your living room or outside in the backyard with yoga mats, infused water, and relaxing music. Search on YouTube or Google for simple poses and how-to videos to help guide you.

Watch a Broadway Show – Virtually

Broadway might be closed for the rest of 2020, however did you know that https://www.broadwayhd.com/ includes a free 7 day trial? There are also monthly and annual subscription service options if you want to watch them all!

Hold a Movie Marathon

Rent movies or create a line-up of ones you’ve wanted to see but haven’t had the time for. Stock up on popcorn and other movie theater style snacks. If the weather is nice, you could even hold an outdoor marathon using a projector and screen and watch from the backyard.

Get Creative

Reconnect with your inner child (or your actual children), and hold a drawing or painting class. You will probably need to order some supplies in advance (paint, canvas, drawing pencils). The most important thing to remember is to be creative. If the weather is nice, paint or draw outside! If your creations turn out better than you hoped – you’ll even have new artwork to display inside.

Go Outside

Visit a local park, beach, go for a bike ride – just get outdoors. If you plan to spend the day outside, bring supplies like sunscreen, snacks, water, and other necessities.

Learn a Skill

Was there ever something you have always wanted to learn but just never found the time? Maybe you’ve always wanted to focus more on baking or cake decorating, grow a garden, etc. See if you can find a local class during your staycation and make your dream a reality.

Assist a Charity

There are many charities and non-profit organizations who have been especially impacted by COVID-19 (think food pantries). Seek out one that’s local to you and spend the day volunteering. You’ll feel internally rewarded!

Travel Virtually

You might not be able to get on a plane and tour world landmarks or go on an island getaway right now, but you can travel virtually. If you’re a museum enthusiast, many museums around the globe also are featuring virtual online tours. Zoos, aquariums, and even theme parks have virtual experiences too – get out your laptop or tablet and start searching for the spots that interest you the most.

Article Source: TowerFCU.org

NJ Day Trip Ideas for a Local Staycation in Summer 2020

As summer starts to come to an end, are you realizing you won’t get to vacation like usual this year but still want to experience something out of the ordinary and save money at the same time? Check out the following New Jersey day trip landmark ideas for a day of summer family fun (during a pandemic).

Asbury Park Boardwalk

Asbury Park’s boardwalk includes a variety of shops, places to eat, and historic spots (such as Convention Hall). Don’t miss the iconic Asbury Park pedal boats on Wesley Lake either! Just past the pedal boats, head into Ocean Grove – a charming little beachfront town right next to Asbury Park.

Battleship New Jersey

Located in Camden, if you’ve never seen the 887-foot-long battleship in person – you might want to consider taking a drive. The ship is over 11 stories high and is one of the longest battleships ever built, as well as the most decorated in the country. The ship was closed during the pandemic but is now open everyday through Labor Day. Be sure to check it out!

Cape May Lighthouse

This lighthouse is 161 years old, and once you climb 199 steps – you’ll get amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, and Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal. This is a sight located within Lower Township’s Cape May Point State Park that you won’t want to miss!

The Delaware River

If it’s a nice day and you’re looking to take a scenic drive – think about driving along the Delaware River in Hunterdon County through Lambertville, Frenchtown, Milford and Stockton. Don’t miss the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge for a gorgeous view, and outdoor dining in Lambertville and New Hope.

The Great Falls of the Passaic River

Why drive all the way to Niagara Falls when the Great Falls of the Passaic is practically right in your own backyard in Paterson? The Great Falls of the Passaic are part of the National Historic Landmark District. Park grounds are currently open, however the welcome center is still temporarily closed. Learn more here.

Lucy the Elephant

Located in Margate City on Atlantic Avenue – you can’t miss the 6 story, 90-ton elephant that boasts a 140 year old history. Perfect for keeping your social distance, Lucy the Elephant is one of the oldest roadside attractions in the country! Guided tours are also currently taking place, with proper protocols like face masks while inside or in the gift shop.

Palisades Parkway

Located in Alpine – you can take a scenic 42-mile drive along the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge to the Bear Mountain Bridge. You’ll get to see the New York City skyline, and there are three different lookout areas to stop and get out to appreciate the gorgeous views. Find out more here.

Pinelands National Reserve

Located in South Jersey and touching 7 counties, you’re bound to hit a section of one million acres of berry farms, historic villages, forests and wetlands – plus fresh air. Find out more at https://www.nps.gov/pine/index.htm

Red Mill Museum

Located in Clinton in Hunterdon County, the Red Mill is a NJ icon which sits on the Raritan River and was built in 1810. While some of the grounds might be temporarily closed, the Red Mill is featuring live outdoor concerts and car shows on various dates. Learn more here. In town you’ll also find shops, eateries, and tree lined streets.

With great day trip ideas like these – you can hit them all during your end of summer New Jersey staycation!

Article Source: Mycentraljersey.com

How to Plan an End of Summer Road Trip or Local Vacation this Year

As summer starts to wind down, are you realizing it’s almost back to school time and while vacationing looks very different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – you’d still like to plan a road trip or local getaway? Here are a few tips to preparing for an end of summer localized vacation or road trip.

Know Before You Go

If you choose to hit the road and travel out of state, make sure you check current state guidelines first. There is a list of over 30 other states that are under a NJ travel advisory and when you return, you’ll need to do a 14 day self quarantine. This might require you to re-think your travel plans, so be sure to check https://covid19.nj.gov/index.html for the most up to date information before you get on the road. It is also recommended that if you or any members of your travel party are feeling sick, or any of you have been around someone who has tested positive within the last 14 days – that you don’t travel. Keeping all that in mind, if you do still plan to embark on your out of state road trip – remember that NJ rest stops require a face covering, and most likely you will not be able to eat indoors.

RV Getaways

You may opt to take your end of summer road trip by renting an RV (recreational vehicle). Traveling by RV is comfortable, avoids having to sleep outdoors or set up a tent because you’ll be able to sleep inside the RV within an RV park, and makes social distancing overall more convenient for traveling this year. All you have to do is plan your destination by researching national or state parks, and you’ll even stay safer by being able to bring your own food to prepare meals, your own bedding and towels, and the like. Find out more about RV rentals at https://gorving.com/

Hotels and Resorts

Most major resorts in the tri-state area are open. Have you looked into Pocono, PA waterpark resorts like KalahariCamelback Mountain Resort and Great Wolf Lodge to book your stay? Spa resorts like Crystal Springs in Hamburg, NJ and Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY are also open, however you might find that some spa services and steam rooms still remain closed. Mohonk Mountain has 85 miles of hiking trails for all ability levels, which makes it possible to be socially distant while also enjoying the outdoors. Crystal Springs is a popular golf destination, so if you’re a golfer – bring your clubs and prepare for a nice day out on the course.

Private Rentals

Airbnb and VRBO have been popular private rental services as of late, where you’ll get to stay in a private rental house with your group. You’ll get to choose your destination and also bring your own food. You’ll also have control over who comes into your space during your stay. Many private rentals have required vacancies between clients and deep cleaning rules in place, and some are only renting for longer stays – to minimize the number of guests in spaces.

Camping

You might choose to check out a local campground this summer, and sleep outdoors in a tent. Many campgrounds also have RV parking sites, so if you are traveling by RV – you may very well find yourself staying within a campground. Jellystone Park Camp Resorts has multiple locations in Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania – this might be a great place to check out if you are considering going somewhat locally. Many campgrounds also have pools, sporting activities and hiking – so this might be a great way to plan an end of summer family trip that has a little something for everyone.

The moral of the story is that as we all know, it’s been an unprecedented year. Wherever you travel – you’ll need to be patient and expect the unexpected. Keep reading up on state and local guidelines for wherever you are planning to go, and try to always make a reservation whenever possible. Though your family summer vacation probably looks a lot different this year, you can still find ways to have a great time and by traveling locally – save money in the process!

Article Source: njfamily.com

 

Check Yourself Before You Rec Yourself – Tips for RV Purchases

It is fair to say that summer 2020 is also shaping up to be…unconventional. It may seem as though your summer fun is quickly becoming summer none, but a solution may be in reach. Enter: A recreational vehicle. Whether it be a boat, an RV, or even an ATV – summer excitement may just be on the horizon.

How do you decide which one is right for you and your family?  Do you want to take to the road, the water, or forested trails? Here’s a little insight on this thrilling (but important) decision.

RVs

Picture this: You and your family are on the open road. Your destination is ahead of you. Your children laugh as they play a card game at the table behind you. Best of all, you don’t have to stop for bathroom breaks.

A recent study found that RV vacations cost much less than other travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and RV ownership cost. According to the study, there are cost savings of between 21-64% for a four-person travel party, while a two-person travel party may save 8-53%. That’s some serious savings if you do it right. You can instead spend that money on food, experiences, and souvenirs from your trip.

Before purchasing an RV, be sure to do your research. There are multiple packages and floor plans that may not be right for every family. Be sure to shop around to find the RV that fits your needs the best.

Keep in mind that, like all motor vehicles, an RV will also require maintenance and upkeep. This is an expense that must be factored into RV ownership.

Boats

Did you know, Vitamin D deficiency affects 50% of the population worldwide? What’s an excellent source of Vitamin D? Sunlight.

There are many ways to get under the sun, but one of the most fun is boating. Not only that, but taking to the water can be as relaxing or as exhilarating as you want. Gently float along soaking up that Vitamin D, or test your balance on a wakeboard. The possibilities are endless.

2019 saw a 6% increase in the number of people who purchased personal watercrafts, bringing the U.S. total to approximately 73,000 new boats on the water.

The next logical question, “what type of boat is right for me?” There are so many options you can choose from. Do you want a sailboat or one with a motor? If you opt for a motor, what horsepower should you choose? What size boat is perfect for your needs? Will you take your boat to the lake, river, ocean or all of the above? Consider all of these factors before purchasing a boat.

Four-Wheelers (ATVs)

Gritty. Dirty. Fun. Four-Wheelers can be a major source of excitement, but they can also be dangerous if you are not careful. Before purchasing an ATV, be sure to do your research and brush up on ATV safety. There are also other things to consider – like your four-wheeler brand, size, and tire size. Fun fact: At low speeds, a four-wheeler’s wheels move in opposite directions to make parking and maneuvering easier.

What will you do with your Recreational Vehicle Loan?

There are many things to consider when purchasing a recreational vehicle, and we are here to help with one of the most important – financing. We offer recreational vehicle loans that make funding your summer fun (and beyond) more accessible than ever, no matter which type you choose. We’re your credit union, contact us today if you have questions about RV loans – or you can learn more and apply online 24/7!*

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial RV, ATV, Boat or Motorcycle loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

Financial and Preparedness Tips for Summer Roadtrips

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, as bigger trips get cancelled and flights are limited – some may be considering road trips to other states as this year’s family summer vacation. While the CDC still urges limited travel, those who decide to take a roadtrip should consider the following before hitting the road:

  • What’s actually open? Planning is especially important this summer because many state parks and businesses in certain states may still be closed. Do your research ahead of time.
  • Face masks – Bring one for every passenger, and wear them in public. Even places where it looks like social distancing is in force can become crowded in a hurry.
  • Call ahead – Be sure to confirm any potential restrictions for where you are traveling.
  • Call the hotel – If you plan to stay overnight at a hotel, call ahead to make sure it is still open and will have rooms available.
  • Stop early and often for fuel and breaks, just in case. Check online to see which state-run highway rest stops are open and which facilities are operational.

Auto Maintenance Tips for Traveling by Car:

  • Bring your own protective equipment – This includes gloves for pumping your own gas, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Some gas stations/rest stops may be limited in what they have available, so be sure to bring your own just in case.
  • Prepare in advance – Be sure to stay up to date on oil changes and have your tires checked before you go. Also check your windshield washer fluid level, coolant, light bulbs, battery life and so forth. Book a service appointment for your vehicle prior to leaving.
  • Do you have a roadside assistance plan? If not, you may want to enroll in one before your trip.

Packing and Preparedness Suggestions:

  • Don’t overload your car, and store the heaviest items low (or opt for a rooftop cargo carrier).
  • Be sure to bring a car phone charger, basic tools, road flares, a flashlight, spare tire and changing kit, and jumper cables.

Did you know that First Financial’s mechanical repair coverage can help you limit out-of-pocket costs should you ever have a covered breakdown? Be sure to check it out before you hit the road this summer. To research, compare, and buy Mechanical Repair Coverage, visit creditunion.forevercar.com/firstffcu or call 855.927.0224

*Mechanical Repair Coverage is provided and administered by Consumer Program Administrators, Inc. in all states except CA, where coverage is offered as insurance by Virginia Surety Company, Inc., in WA, where coverage is provided by National Product Care Company and administered by Consumer Program Administrators, Inc., in FL, LA and OK, where coverage is provided and administered by Automotive Warranty Services of Florida, Inc. (Florida License #60023 and Oklahoma License #44198051), all located at 175 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago Illinois 60604, 800.752.6265. This coverage is made available to you by CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Inc. In CA, where Mechanical Repair Coverage is offered as insurance (form MBIP 08/16), it is underwritten by Virginia Surety Company, Inc. Coverage varies by state. Be sure to read the Vehicle Service Contract or the Insurance Policy, which will explain the exact terms, conditions, and exclusions of this voluntary product.

Article Source: Patch.com

3 Ways to Save on Your End of Summer Vacation

August is only two weeks away, but you still have some time left before the kids go back to school. For some of you, that may mean one final road trip or vacation with the family. Sometimes, the decision to take an August vacation boils down to whether or not you’re willing to spend the funds at a time when you have to pay for back to school items. But don’t worry, you can probably still take that trip and make it as affordable as possible.

Here are three ways you can save on your final getaway of the summer:

Stay close: You don’t have to stay at a hotel across town, but try to pick a destination that isn’t more than a couple hours away. You’ll end up spending less on gas and you can also buy food at your local grocery store before you go. Avoid buying anything at your destination that you could have brought from home. If you’re going to a main tourist spot, you’ll also be able to avoid paying marked up prices on things by getting them at home in advance.

Find freebies: Instead of taking another beach trip, find a place that has fun things to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg. If you’ve enjoyed free activities around your town, look for similar or low cost events in other cities near you.

Relax: You may love a summer vacation that’s packed full of outings and delicious restaurant meals. But for an end of summer vacation, remember what the purpose of the trip is – to take it easy one last time before it’s back to the grind of the school year. Cook all your meals, put your feet up with a book, and have a relaxing time with your family.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com