Tag Archives: budget

Planning a Road Trip: What You Need To Do

5 Mar

Sitting around bored one frozen night in January, enviously chatting about our friends’ spring travel plans, Vince and I jokingly brought up a road trip to Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla. We joked about how nice it would be to get out of town, escape to sunny beaches and warm days, while watching our favorite sport and MLB team practice for the upcoming season.

At some point during our verbal daydreaming sesh, we looked at each other and asked, “why couldn’t this be real?” After all, nothing was holding us back. Finances were good and we still had time to save more. I had plenty of vacation time from work and he’d be off school for that week anyway. Neither of us had been to spring training before and baseball is what brought us together. Excitedly, we agreed to begin planning our special getaway.

After the initial “YES!” the thrill slowly began to fizzle once we realized just how much work it was to plan a road trip. There are so many things to consider: hotels, gas, travel, tickets, the list goes on. So after weeks of research, and some serious Pinterest digging, we’ve planned our four-day, 1400-mile road trip for two and we’re ready to hit the road Florida-bound! 

Here’s a list of things we considered (and you should too!) when planning our road trip:

Hotels/Lodging

Lodging is typically the most expensive portion of traveling but it doesn’t have to be. With sites like Expedia and Hotels.com, you can get members-only specials regularly as well as sales. Another form of lodging to consider is camping! This can add a fun and adventurous twist to your road trip. Try using All Stays, a mobile app that allows you to locate and sometimes reserve campsites in your area.

Many hotels and campsites offer certain amenities such as hot tubs and free parking. You should clarify with your lodging provider the amenities they offer and more importantly, whether those amenities be available during your stay. If you’re choosing a certain hotel because they have a hot tub, make sure it’ll be open and functioning during your stay. Free parking is a hot commodity. Search for hotels that offer free parking, no matter the check-in time.

Most important when it comes to lodging: shop around! Don’t jump at the first special price. Read reviews. That’s where you’ll learn the truth about locations but keep in mind that everyone has a different opinion.

Also, be sure to read the details for cancellation fees. Make sure you can cancel your reservation if needed. In case of inclement weather or a change of plans, you wouldn’t want to be charged for a trip you didn’t take.

Route

Growing up on the east coast, we both had been up and down Interstate 95 plenty of times. We decided to take the road less traveled by following another southbound route. Roadtrippers, an online tool to plan road trips, was a big help in this. The site, which also offers a mobile app, provides a gas calculator, historical and entertaining destinations along the way, a full itinerary and much more! Consider using it for turn-by-turn navigation, too. This handy tool can house all sorts of information like addresses, phone numbers and directions in one organized location.

Gas

Thanks to AAA’s gas calculator and Roadtrippers gas calculator, we were able to figure out the approximate price of gas for our road trip and planned accordingly. We’ll also use the Gas Buddy mobile app, or something similar, to find cheap gas as we trek around the country.

7

Family

Having family and friends scattered across the US can be tough when it comes to maintaining those relationships. We considered the option to stop and visit in with any friends and family who may be on our way. We’ll be stopping to visit Vince’s grandparents and great aunt along our trip.

Documents

Get organized! If you’re taking your car, you’ll need an updated insurance card, as well as proof of registration. Obviously, don’t forget your driver’s license, but also bring your health insurance card in case of a medical emergency. Create and bring along an approximate travel itinerary. If there is an accident, this will help response teams to know where you’re coming from and/or where you’re headed. It’ll also help keep you and your family on track! Bring all receipts and confirmations. This includes hotels, tickets to events and other reservations or orders. Bring a printed list of addresses and phone numbers for the places you plan to stop or stay. You may also want to store this information in your mobile app.

 

Budget

Expenses are very important for any roadtrippers, especially a young couple like us. The key is to stay within budget while having a blast. Be sure to set comfortable spending limits on certain items. Consider the necessities like food, lodging and gas while making room for fun activities and miscellaneous expenses. If you drive by an outdoor concert, you can’t pass that up! Just as you pay attention to the spontaneous events, consider setting aside just-in-case money. This way, if you get a flat tire, you can afford it. Try using this vacation budget worksheet by Living Well, Spending Less.

Memories

Most of all, a trip like this is about creating memories that last a lifetime. Make sure all camera memory cards have plenty of space and bring along the charger for any device you plan on using. For an extra memorable trip, bring along milestone cards to mark down the different locations you stop at. I designed my own but they were inspired by these road trip printables by The Dating Divas. I put a rating and review section on the back of my cards for Vince and I to write a little bit about the location/stop and rate it using stars out of five. These are a fun way to track your trip and generate conversation between you and the other passengers.  They can be paired with photos in a scrapbook or photo album upon your return.

 

As you can see, much planning ahead is required but you know what makes it worth all the stress? An awesome trip. have a great one!

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DIY Valentine’s Day: 14 Days of Valentines

23 Jan

One of the biggest consumerist holidays is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day! Despite the societal pressure to spend tons of money on big extravagant gifts and romantic gestures, Valentine’s Day is a lovely holiday. Sure we should be showing each other this love year-round but the fact of the matter is, we don’t! Things get in the way and unfortunately some relationships get put on the back burner. So, it is what it is. Plus, Valentine’s Day comes at such a dreary time of the year – dead of winter – and its a great emotional boost to get you through those last few weeks of cold.

Since I am taking a vacation to Florida in March, we’ve decided to go cheap on Valentine’s Day. Well that doesn’t sound romantic at all! You’d be surprised, actually. Pinterest really came to my rescue when searching for DIY Valentine’s Day gifts. Good news – they’re all edible! Here’s my list of favorites and suggestions:

1. Hooked on you!

♥ Fill a mason jar with gummy worms to look like bait♥ -Thanks The Dating Divas!

2. Will you “chews” to be my valentine?

♥Use a pack or piece of gum♥ -Thanks It Happened Like This!

3. You light up my life!

♥With a candle, a new lighter, birthday candles, or a flashlight♥ Great valentine for anyone! Thanks Real Simple!

4. I love you to pieces!

♥Jar of Reese’s Pieces♥ This would be an adorable gift from daughter to father. – Thanks The Frugal Girls!

5. We just fit.

♥Puzzle pieces♥ Cute gift idea for a couple who have been dating long-term. – Thanks Real Simple!

6. You’re my main squeeze!

♥Bottle of orange juice♥ Give this unique valentine to your best friend. Thanks See Vanessa Craft!

7. We’re a perfect match!

♥Pack of matches♥ Could work for best friends, sisters, or a couple! Thanks Real Simple!

8. You’re the king/queen of my heart.

♥King/queen from a deck of cards♥ Perfect diy valentine card for a husband or wife. – Thanks Real Simple!

9. You’re one in a million!

♥Jar full of a colored candy with one candy of another color♥ Use M&M’s, bubblegum balls, skittles, anything! -Thanks Knocked Up and Abroad!

10. You’re a great catch!

♥Gift bag of Goldfish♥ Easy diy valentine for classmates or close friends. – Thanks Rock Paper Cricut!

11. You’re so juicy! (or) Love Juice

♥Bottle of water with crystal light packet♥ Clever diy valentine for a boyfriend. – Thanks At Second Street!

12. You make me hot. (or) You’re a hot tamale.

♥Gift bag of hot tamales♥ -Thanks Poofy Cheeks!

13. Don’t ever change.

♥Bag of candy change from the dollar store or fake change or real change♥ Could be a meaningful valentine from son to mother. – Thanks Jacolyn Murphy!

14. Blow me a kiss!

♥Bag of bubble gum balls and hershey kisses♥ Cute father-to-daughter diy valentine. – Thanks The Frugal Girls!

The great thing about most of these valentine’s is they don’t always have to be for a significant other. They can be used for father-to-daughters valentine’s or friend-to-friend. Have fun!

Design, Design, Design and Compromise

8 Aug

With the upcoming move, or so I hope, I spend a lot of free time thinking about how I would like to decorate our apartment together! Typical 22-year-old girl, right? I thought I’d share some of my inspiration with you and get your feedback! Themes aren’t really my forte so I stick with color schemes. You see, I’ve only ever decorated a bedroom and that was as a teenager so you can imagine the neon-infested, pattern-clashing designs my mother had to endure. Obviously this is all a little premature but I just can’t help myself!

 Bedroom

Yellow/Gray/Black/Blue – Love the cozy and simple look with a pop of color. Also, it isn’t too girly for a couple’s bedroom. (You’re welcome, Vince) The rugby stripes are bold and easy to match while. The blue adds a hint of youth and freshness.  

Flip Flops & Pearls Design

Glakes.net

Bathroom

The story with the bathroom design is ridiculous. Vince decided to buy this weird blue bathroom rug. It isn’t navy, it isn’t royal, it isn’t turquoise or aqua. So yes, it is a weird blue. He is desperate to keep this rug, even though his only connection to it is the $14 he spent on it. But in an effort to compromise, I’ll see what I can do. What are your thoughts on these? The chevron print is another bold print I like while the gray and white creates endless possibilities for color schemes…and that wretched rug.

Amazon

Popscreen

Kitchen/Living Room/Laundry Room/Balcony to come!

Please be honest in your feedback! What are your thoughts on colors? Prices? Compromise? I’d love to hear from you all ♥

Cheers!

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