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  • Writer's pictureMichael Wellings

Quick Tips for a Summer Vacation

Summer is in full swing, and that means that traveling is in full swing as well. The kids are out of school, the weather is (mostly) nice, and autumn is right around the corner, so you had better get out the door and on vacation before September rolls around! The question is, where to go? The answers to that question are legion, and each one has a different financial commitment, but we believe traveling and vacations are very important. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to think about when traveling, whether abroad or at home, and we hope you find them useful!

Vacation #1 – International

            International travel is the goal of almost everyone we speak with. Whether it’s for cultural purposes, popular sightseeing attractions, or simply a way to get away from everything at home, international vacations are in high demand. If you want to embark upon a foreign journey, you might want to consider following these tips: First, consider the cost. It’s summertime, so beach vacations are popular, and if cost is a driving factor in your decisions, perhaps a vacation to Cancun or Belize is more appropriate than one to Fiji or the Maldives. Choosing an international destination that has a favorable exchange rate is always a must, and can help a lot when cost is considered. Second, check the State Department for any travel warnings issued for your intended destination.It’s no secret that the world is a dangerous place, and if your heart is set on a destination, be sure to check if there are outstanding travel warnings issued. The State Department is pretty good about keeping warnings up to date, and they give a good list of things to consider if traveling to the affected regions. A link to their current warnings can be found here. Third, be smart. Admittedly a broad suggestion, it is meant to encompass everything you do in another country. As Americans, we tend to be easily recognizable, and therefore are obvious targets to pickpockets, street thugs, or even terrorists. When traveling abroad, try to blend in. Wear inconspicuous clothing. Avoid large gatherings or demonstrations. Wear a money belt. Have good situational awareness. There’s a myriad of things to do in the “be smart” category, these are just a few.

Vacation #2 – Road Trip

            Who doesn’t love grabbing the kids or other relatives and driving off to some faraway destination? Road trips are almost (in our opinion) an American tradition, and are one of our favorite vacations. Long hours on the road jamming out to some good music and talking with loved ones is a recipe for a good time. A word to the wise, if you want to visit a state park like Yellowstone or Denali, the wait for a campsite is quite a while. Book your spot in advance. Also, car maintenance is of the utmost importance. There is nothing worse than being on a road trip and breaking down, so before you roll out, here’s a few things to check: First, check your oil. Make sure you have a good amount and, if necessary, get it changed. Road trips can cover thousands of miles, and many vehicles require oil changes every 3-5 thousand. Second, check your tires. Pressure and tread, you need to be sure they both are good. To check your tire pressure, you might need a gauge or your car might be able to tell you. If they need air, the recommended PSI can be found on the inside of most tires, right along the rim, or possibly on the inside of your driver’s side door. For the tread, the penny test is always reliable. As the saying goes, when you stick the penny in the tread, you shouldn’t be able to see Abe’s head. If you do, consider getting new tires. Third, map out gas stations on your way. Knowing how far your vehicle can travel on a single tank of gas is a pretty good piece of information to have. This way, you can map stopping points for gas refills. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend looking for a place to fill up when you hit one quarter of a tank full. This gives you a good cushion in case you’re a good distance away from a station.

Vacation #3 – Staycation!

            Who doesn’t love a good staycation? Having time off at home gives you the chance to get caught up on all those home goals you just don’t have time for regularly. Need to clean the gutters? Want to build a new shed outside? Start a woodworking hobby? Staycations are just the right thing for homebodies, and can be immensely relaxing. We’d definitely recommend this if you just want to start something new or get caught up on chores.

            Whatever you do, plan for it the right way. Financially and safety-wise, vacations can be a bugger if not done properly. If you have any questions about planning for vacations, budgeting, or anything else referenced earlier, just give us a call! We’d love to hear what you think, and happy vacationing!

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