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

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

 

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