Posts tagged with: vacation

Planning is Key to Staying Within Your Vacation Budget

According to an Auto Club of America survey, almost one-quarter of polled travelers said they plan to spend less money on summer trips this year than they did last year, compared to 20 percent in 2008 who said they planned to spend less than in 2007. For those planning to spend less in summer 2009, 54 percent cited concern about the economy as a reason, 40 percent cited reduced income, 18 percent mentioned concern about their job stability and nine percent cited the loss of a job.

Julie Casserly of ChicagoHealers.com says, “Position yourself to be lucky to spend the amount of money you actually have for vacation, instead of going into debt and later on having to pay for past choices. No one likes having what I like to call a “spending hangover”…it takes all the fun out of going on vacation in the first place”.

Ms. Casserly continues, “It’s all about what free cash you have to be able to afford a vacation and about what is right for you and your family, there is no right or wrong, it’s about what you have chosen as your financial priorities and making sure that you create a positive energy flow from your spending (spending on a cash basis) and not a negative energy flow (spending with debt).”

Ms. Casserly gives these tips for making your vacation memorable without paying for it until next summer:

  • Last Minute Deals – We live in a world where there are so many things to do and many, many options. Many of the travel websites will have last minute trips at a deep discount, particularly today with this economic environment. Decide, OK, we have $2000 to spend on vacation and then search online for an all inclusive trip for the long weekend that falls into that number. The exciting part is that you are leaving yourself open to trying a new adventure or a new place.
  • Look At The End, First – Steven Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind”. I couldn’t agree more. Decide what are your priorities for your vacation, what amount your will choose to spend, then build your plan out from there.
  • Choose the Day – Choose to travel on cheaper air fare days, say Tuesday – Saturday
  • Name Your Price – Rent your car, hotel, or your airfare through www.priceline.com where you can name your own price. I have tried a 30% lower price than the market price and most times I am successful.
  • Pack the Snacks – If you’re taking a road trip, pack a cooler!!! No need to spend extra money on those high cost, high calorie snacks.
  • One Stop Shopping – Buy in bulk, get airfare, hotel, and car from one vendor.
  • Locals Know Best – Talk to the locals once you get somewhere, go to the restaurants where the locals eat, they’re not tourist traps with higher costs, and many times better.
  • Set the Plan and Open an Account – If you don’t have a vacation planned, set those financial intentions by opening up a separate savings account that is ONLY to be used for your vacations. If you’ve decided you want to spend $3000 per year on a vacation, then make sure you put $125 per check (if paid twice per month) into that savings account straight from your paycheck. I’ve met so many people who want to go on vacation, but they don’t because they don’t plan on it….this is a really easy thing to do to go have some fun in life!

About ChicagoHealers.com

Chicago Healers (www.chicagohealers.com) is the nation’s pioneer prescreened integrative health care network, offering a comprehensive understanding of each practitioner’s services, approach, and philosophy. Our holistic health experts teach and advocate natural and empowered health and life choices through their practices, the media, educational events, and our website. With close to 200 practitioners and over 300 treatment services, Chicago Healers has provided nearly 400 free educational events for Chicagoans and has been featured in 300+ TV news programs and print publications. For more information, visit www.chicagohealers.com


Plannning for Summer Fun

Summer is here. This means all of the kids are home and you are probably already hearing “I’m bored.”
I have found that, if I plan well then summer doesn’t have to be expensive or boring. By planning I don’t mean scheduling every minute of every day, that will drive you and your kids crazy, I do mean planning something everyday.

Sit down with your summer calendar and first write in any vacations you have planned, visitors coming into town, VBS’s & camps they are going to and other commitments you may have. Now see how much time you have left. Try and plan 1 activity a day, that is appropriate for your child’s age. It could be a craft, trip to the beach/pool, rent a movie, go bowling whatever. I try not to put too many events that cost money in one week.

Make good use of the free/low cost experiences your town, church and county offer. Does your library have special summer programs? We have 2 movie theatres that show free movies on Tuesdays all summer long-how great is that? Do you have a state/national park nearby? They offer amazing programs year round. You may have to spend some time researching what is available in your area but when your kids have activities to look forward to it makes those stay-at-home days much more manageable.


Travel Products for the Family Dog

According to the 2009/20010 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, on average dog owners will take their pet on three car trips per year and cat owners will take their cat on five car trips per year. Now, pet product manufacturers make everything under the sun to make a trip with your pet safer, more convenient and enjoyable.

Here are a few must-have products recommended by APPA for your next trip with you pet:

* The Tote’N Store by PetSTEP International sets a new standard for portability in the Pet Ramp category. Weighing in at a mere 6 lbs and opening to 5 feet in length when fully unfolded, Tote’N Store is the easiest ramp to carry and store. The Tote’N Store will fit in virtually any vehicle, leaving plenty of room for people, pets and cargo and is especially great for medium to small dogs that have difficulty jumping due to age, recent surgery or other physical factors. It is also perfect for elderly consumers who have trouble lifting their dogs or handling larger, bulkier ramps. www.petstep.com

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* Relaxed Dog Travel Calm Formula by Veterinarian’s Best helps reduce stress and tension caused by travel or loud noises, including those caused by fireworks and thunder. Travel Calm also helps ease any discomfort caused by motion, and is all natural. This is great for pets that may not be so comfortable with traveling. The formula contains Ginger, Valerian Root, Tryptophan, Pyroidoxine (Vitamin B6), Potassium and Magnesium and comes in 40 chewable tablets. www.vetsbest.com

* The Skybox Booster Seat by Kurgo offers a safe and secure way for Fido to accompany you in the car. The Skybox Booster Seat straps on to the car seat and provides an elevated view out the window for the important pup. The Booster Seat safely straps pets in for minimal distraction to the driver and safe travels for your pup. www.kurgo.com

* The To Go Bowl by Furry Travelers is a great travel bowl for both cats and dogs. This plastic water bowl, available in many different colors holds up to a liter of water and fits snugly into most cars’ cup holder consoles, allowing dogs and cats to drink at their own leisure throughout the trip. The To Go Bowl even has a splash-guard to prevent spills and a removable cup holder base to store your pet’s favorite treats! Not only is the To Go Bowl perfect for cars, but also boats, RV’s and even golf carts. www.furrytravelers.com

* The Hydro-Go by Veterinary Ventures is the perfect accessory for outdoor camping and hiking trips with your pet. It is the first and only pet canteen with a fold-out funnel bowl. The bowl and canteen work together to form a funnel, easily allowing any unused water to be poured back into the canteen. The Hydro-Go™ is a great product for those who enjoy hiking, walking, camping, fishing, hunting, car trips, visits to the park or any other place you and your pet may go. More importantly, it ensures that you have enough water when you and your pet are away from home! www.petfountain.com

**Mommy Babble is not a dog owner and has not used any of these products. All of the products are recommended my the American Pet Products Association**