Camp Like a Champ

For several years now, I’ve thought about writing a book about camp. I worked at a couple across the country in my early twenties. Now that I am working part-time at one again, I figured now is the time to write! As I busy myself with that, enjoy this post about camping!

If you are looking for an inexpensive holiday that won’t result in your kids getting loads of screen time, why not think about going camping? It’s a great way to help your kids connect with nature, and you won’t have to spend a load of your cash on expensive hotels and activities.

Don’t worry if you have never been camping before; even total newbies will get the hang of it in hardly any time at all. Here are some tips that can help you camp like a champ even with kids in tow!

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https://pexels.com/photo/yellow-tent-under-starry-night-45241/

Research The Site

If you haven’t camped before, it’s best to leave the wild camping to the pros. For now, while you try and build up some experience, stick to campsites. First of all, make sure you find one that allows children as not all of them do. Researching the best site for you will ensure you find one that has all of the facilities you will need and you’ll also find out whether there are any on-site activities that you can entertain the kids with.

Get A Good Tent

Even though camping can be relatively cheap, it’s important to invest in a top-quality tent. You can find out all of things you should look out for in a tent on http://tentsandcampgear.com/things-consider-purchasing-tent/ and it’s important that the one you choose meets all of these requirements. If you can’t afford a decent tent, at the very least, it needs to be big enough for you all and waterproof. Remember to pack a few ground sheets as well, as these can make the ground slightly more comfortable to sleep on.

Pack Plenty Of Warm Coats And Blankets

It’s important that you pack plenty of clothes and blankets so that your kids are always warm throughout the entire trip. You’ll probably already know how quick children are to complain once they get a bit chilly, so make sure you have lots of spare jumpers so that they can always pull on an extra one in the middle of the night if they get a bit cold. You can find some super comfy kids clothes at http://gap.com.When you are going out for the day, make sure you dress the kids in layers, especially if you are planning on staying outside all day.

Plan For Rain

It’s a good idea to try and arrange your camping trips for during the summer while the weather is nice. However, no matter how hard you try, it isn’t always easy to predict the weather, and you could end up facing a day or two of rain. Of course, you won’t be able to take the kids out in that weather, so you need to make sure you have a plan for rain up your sleeve. Pack a few board games and books so that you can keep the kids entertained in the tent if you need to.

As you can see, camping like a champ is super easy. Have a great camping trip!

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Eating on a Budget When You’re Traveling 

When we’re on holiday, we’re usually considered tourists. We’re tricked into buying ridiculous things and the sums of money we pay for simple necessities can be overwhelming. Food is one of the most expensive purchases when we go on holiday simply because we don’t know the local area. We just go where our nose takes us, and that can get pretty expensive after a couple of meals. So to help make your holiday a little cheaper, here are some tips to help you eat on a budget.

Image Credit

Don’t eat at your hotel

Hotels usually charge ludicrous prices, especially if you’re booked into a fancy one. Although it may be tempting because of the location, it’s generally not a good idea purely because it’s so pricey. The food you get from a hotel can easily be matched by local spots and at a fraction of the price. In fact, many hotels attempt to replicate cuisine that you might be used to from around the world. Hotels tend to cater to the tastes of their guests, which means that the food itself may be different from what you’d expect the locals to eat. This is important if you’re travelling to a food destination such as Singapore or Italy. The best food is usually the local dishes that have been perfected in local restaurants and cafes, not the glamorized variety you’ll find in a hotel.

Explore local spots

Every city in the world has some kind of food guide. You can find the best places to eat no matter where you are by looking on the internet and searching for your location. Restaurants are ranked with a star rating and you’ll get plenty of reviews and previews of the menu directly on your phone. You might be surprised to find some hidden gems tucked away in back alleys and empty streets, and these should all be listed on the internet. However, some places are so well-hidden that they won’t be shown on the internet. This is usually the case when it comes to less-developed parts of the world, or areas where there isn’t much documentation such as rural areas. If you really want to find a cheap culinary gem, then you’ll need to ask the locals and make friends.

Learn the pricing

Even if you’re travelling from one European country to another European country, the pricing could be completely different for something as simple as a slice of pizza. Learn what the average price for food is in the country you’re staying in so that you know what a bargain is and when you’re paying far too much.

Be adventurous

If you’re going to travel you should embrace unique and wonderful foods. When it comes to local cuisine, it’s a good idea to try everything out. Many of the budget eats in places like Southeast Asia or South America are going to be local delicacies. If you can’t stomach certain things then it’s understandable to skip out and pick foods you’re more comfortable with. However, if you’re just scared of trying something new, then it’s time to get brave and immerse yourself in the culture of the country you’re visiting, starting with the food.

Road Tripping the Right Way

If you’re planning on going on a road trip soon, there are so many pieces of information out there you can use to ensure your trip is a successful one. However, there are a couple of essential practices every single person should bear in mind, regardless of what you read elsewhere.

Whether you’re road tripping alone or with your kids doesn’t matter. What matters is you follow the tips here:

Staying Safe

Staying safe should be your number one priority on the road. This means doing the appropriate trips on your car before you set off, to make sure it’s as safe as possible. It also means having food, drink, a container for gas incase you break down, a spare tyre, and other essentials with you too. You think it won’t happen to you, but it happens more often than you think. Make sure you also have a fully charged phone, emergency numbers, and other things that can give you peace of mind and keep you safe.

Staying Flexible

Staying flexible is important on a road trip too. Having a loose plan can help to give you direction, but being too rigid with it will mean having no fun at all. Remember to plan toilet and rest breaks, as you don’t want to have any accidents while you’re on the road. Apart from that, be prepared to stop if you spot something interesting! Enjoy every moment.

Staying Comfortable

Staying comfortable is crucial too. For this, you’re going to need the right car. Whether you rent, buy, or lease the car is up to you – the infographic below can help.


credit to auto.loan

A Sizzling Staycation: Gulf Of Mexico Delights

When it comes to travel, it’s easy to overlook the destinations that are closer to home. With your mind enchanted by images of the Far East or the promise of the Australian outback, it’s easy to forget the rich delights right here in the US.

If you decide to consider staying within the US borders for your next vacation, then you’ve made a good first decision. However, that decision isn’t an end in and of itself; you now have to make the choice about where in the US that you want to go.

There’s so much to choose from here, from the ski slopes of Colorado to the scorching heat of Arizona– how can you possibly narrow down your choices? Well, here’s a little helping hand: why not consider these stunning locations that surround the Gulf of Mexico?

Destin, FL

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Chances are that you haven’t heard of Destin, a community that sits in the Florida panhandle. However, Destin is a place that you’re going to want to get familiar with. As you can see when you visit SterlingResorts.com, there’s truly fantastic accommodation on offer that will delight even the most seasoned of travelers. With your accommodation sorted, what are you going to do while there?

Well, you’ve hundreds of options. There’s the gorgeous beaches to enjoy, overlooking the crisp blue waters of the gulf. If you like holidays with a twist of history, then the historical military site of Fort Pickens will call out to you for attention. Or you could take your time enjoying the famous Destin Harbor Boardwalk, where you can enjoy live music, a variety of restaurants, and even fireworks on special occasions.

Galveston, TX

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Galveston is a small island just off the Texan coast, and offers a rich variety of delights for any tourist who ventures near. There’s plenty of accommodation on offer to suit every budget, so Galveston is well worth considering for a Gulf retreat with a difference.

First and foremost, consider the beaches; Galveston has some of the best beaches in the US, but so few people know about them! If you want to enjoy perfect sand, well-maintained beaches complete with showers and bathrooms, then Galveston has you covered– and you won’t have to share with thousands of others, either!

After a day sunning yourself, spend the evenings enjoying Galveston Pier. Rise early the next morning to explore two of the stunning historic houses on the island; Moody Mansion and the Bishop’s Palace. Though be careful when you visit the latter; brazoriaresearch.com insists the Bishop’s Palace is haunted!

New Orleans, LA

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Okay, okay, okay– New Orleans isn’t technically on the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s New Orleans! If you’re going to stretch a definition, then New Orleans is wonderful enough to justify it.

New Orleans offers a cornucopia of delights that any culture vulture won’t be able to resist. From the music and nightlife of Bourbon Street to the bayou cruises complete with alligator spotting, there’s so much to see and do here that one visit will never be enough!

So while the world is waiting to be explored, don’t forget some of the wonders that the US has to offer an eager traveler. Enjoy the Gulf! 

Broadening Your Travel Horizons: A Guide For Globetrotters

Traveling is so much more than taking a vacation. If you live for the day you can pack a suitcase, take a trip to the airport and climb on board an airplane, it’s so important to make your time out count. Most of us would love to travel more, but time and money often put pay to our plans. If you’re keen to broaden your travel horizons, here are some tips to help you achieve this without breaking the bank or losing your job.

Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/weekend/?image_type=illustration

Research the location

It’s so beneficial to do some research about the location you intend to visit before you go. We often have an idea about destinations, but this can be very different to what you get when you actually touch down on terra firma. If you’re visiting Ibiza, for example, you may be expecting endless stretches of bars and clubs, and it may be a surprise to discover that the vast majority of the island is incredibly tranquil. Do some reading online at sites like https://www.lonelyplanet.com/, get some tips from other travelers and be open-minded. It’s always worth trying to find information about what locals do and where they go. Hiring a car or using public transport to get around can open you up to a whole host of experiences you may not have been able to enjoy if you didn’t have insider information.

Leave the pool

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than spending the day soaking up the sun’s warm rays by the pool. However, if you want to get more out of your vacations, create an itinerary that enables you to see the sights and try new things, as well as basking in the sunshine. You may think that marooning yourself on a desert island like Grand Cayman may be all about chilling out, but you’d be wrong. You’ll find a host of activities and experiences you won’t want to miss at ChristopherColumbusCondos.com. Take a sunset cruise, go swimming with dolphins or hold a baby turtle. Be willing to think outside of the box, even if you plan to have a relaxing break. A beach vacation doesn’t just have to involve lying on a sun lounger for 2 weeks.

Ask for tips

Often, tourist guides will give you information about best-selling attractions and bucket list favorites, but there’s often a lot more to see and do. The best advice is to ask resort representatives or reception staff for recommendations. If you’re visiting Rome or Paris, for example, they’ll be able to tell you about lesser-known gems that don’t always feature on the must-see list and restaurants that aren’t packed with visitors from overseas. Local knowledge can be a really useful resource.

Image sourced from https://www.flickr.com/photos/tir_na_nog/4847181686

For many of us, opportunities to travel don’t come around often enough. This is why it’s so important to make the most of the time you do have. Do some research, be willing to explore and get some advice from people who’ve visited the location and those that have local knowledge and insider tips and tricks.

No-Spend September Staycation

After my August Adventures, I decides to take a month off of traveling. Why?

-I may have overspent on travel.
-My car needed a break. It seemed to be racking up mileage very quickly this summer.
-With a slight change in work, I knew it would be best to tighten my budget during the transition time.
-There were a few projects near home that I needed to eventually get to.
-I needed to reemphasize that there are so many adventures to be had in your own backyard!

So how did I spend a month with zero dollars in my travel budget?

I thrift shopped.

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In September I bought two ebelskivers, polished them up, and sold them for a nice little profit.

Thrift shopping is my favorite kind of shopping! It’s kind of like a treasure hunt. Even though there were a couple times I walked out of the store empty-handed, it was still worth it to see new stores and the kind of things that were on sale. Since the first weekend of September is the official yard sale weekend in a couple cities near me, I spent half a day checking out yard sales in a rich town and ended up getting some great deals!

Although my initial secondhand purchases were funded by my shopping budget, the things I ended up buying saving or making me more money than I had spent on them. At the yard sales, I bought a pasta cooker and a popcorn air popper. I’ve already used the popper tons to make batches of delicious, healthy popcorn for just pennies. I haven’t used the pasta cooker yet. However, since it doesn’t require electricity, I know it will come in handy while camping and even saving energy at home.

My goal with going to actual thrift stores was a little different. I decided to start flipping cast iron cookware. So even if the pieces were caked-on or rusty, I took them home, restored them, and then posted them on local Facebook sales groups. I sold two cast iron ebelskivers!

I loved the library.

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One of the library books I read in September.

I usually visit the library at least once a week anyway, but this month the library allowed me to fully enjoy my time at home. I explored the DVD selection for some new interesting movies to watch. I also wanted to watch a couple TV series, despite the fact that I don’t have cable, Netflix, or Hulu. (I do have PureFlix, which I watched a few movies with.) Although these shows weren’t in stock at my library, I was able to request several seasons from other libraries in the county. I had them shipped to the library closest to me, so I didn’t have to burn gas going to out-of-the-way places.

Of course, libraries have more books than DVDs, and I enjoyed reading a lot of those too. I call reading an adventurous book a “bookation“, since I can deeply explore a new destination from my own home. (This often backfires, since I usually end up wanting to visit the destination described in the book!)

I went geocaching.

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Can you find the geocache in this picture? (Hint: look for a piece that sticks out.)

Another adventure was to be had right outside the library! I used to be really into geocaching, but I haven’t done it in over a year now. Since September was about exploring new things closer to home, I realized geocaching was a wonderful way to do this. All this time, I’ve been walking by a bench outside the library, and never realized there was a micro geocache attached to it! Although I only ended up geocaching once, I have a list of other caches to eventually get to that I found on geocaching.com.

I took two-hour vacations.

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Hanging in my hammock on Roxy Ann Peak

Have you ever gotten off of work, only to have another job, appointment, or commitment to get to just two hours later? You don’t want to get there ridiculously early, but since you live a half hour away, it’s not worth going home during that time, either. What do you do? I’ve started filling that time with something I call “Two-Hour Vacations”. (Exact time may vary.)

Ever since I got a hammock, I learned that I can relax and vacation just about anywhere. I took my hammock to several different parks in the area. I even did a hike and hammock on a mountain up the street from where I work. When I babysat this month, we’d often go to playground. If they were conveniently located, I would sometimes choose a playground I hadn’t been to for a long time.

Not all my two-hour vacations were outdoorsy. Last week I had to go to Grants Pass, and was there for about an hour with nothing to do. Since this city is the home of the famous Dutch Bros, of course there was a coffee stand on the same block as me. (Thankfully I had an old Dutch Bros gift card with me, making this an essentially free experience!) As mentioned above, sometimes these two hours were spent enjoying the thrift store or library. Even church is a free experience that is beneficial, relaxing, and can fill one or two hours. And as I’ll mention below, this isn’t limited to regularly-scheduled church services.

I attended a retreat.

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Stephanie Strom was the speaker at this September retreat

My mom’s church offered a free one-day women’s retreat mid-September. I signed up to go. Although you could buy a boxed lunch and purchase books from the speaker, that was completely optional. It was fun to spend time with hundreds of other people and be inspired by the presentations.

I entered travel contests.

Anita Renfroe
I entered a text-to-win contest that appeared on this screen. (I didn’t end up winning that one.)

Having a zero-dollar travel budget doesn’t mean not traveling the world! A couple months ago, I decided to start entering more travel contests. Giveaways pop in my social media every now and then (and if you click on them a lot, the online algorithms will show you more similar contests!), so I decided to take advantage of any that had a remotely interesting prize. This month I entered contests for several all-inclusive vacation packages. I haven’t heard back from any of those yet, but here’s hoping!

To balance those out, I entered some smaller contests as well. These weren’t necessarily travel prizes, but could ultimately save me travel money since I could pack them or spend less money at home by using them. I got a couple small free prizes this month. My second favorite prize was Thieves essential oil. (I’ll probably use all the oil at home, but the small bottle is perfect for travel toiletries!) And my favorite prize was…

I went to a comedy show.

Anita Renfroe Selfie
Part of Anita Renfroe’s show included a bit of poking fun at millennials. So during intermission, this millennial asked her for a selfie.

The furthest I traveled this month was to Klamath Falls. It’s nearly two hours away, but I could still make the journey and stay under my gas budget for the month. I decided that this trip would still fit into my staycation goal since I won tickets to see comedienne Anita Renfroe. (The only thing I knew about her was that she performed the YouTube hit “In the Muthahood”.) It was definitely worth it. I even got to meet her during intermission! Like the retreat I went to earlier in the month, I made this cost-free by ignoring the sales table and bringing my own food and water bottle.

 

What do YOU do to make your time in and around home feel more like a vacation? Let me know in the comments!