4 Tips for Planning a Summer Road Trip

Road trips allow you to enjoy the journey and not just the destination. However, planning for a road trip can be a daunting task, especially if you have never been on one yourself. With these four tips, you can make your road trip go smoothly while enjoying your vacation.
1. Plan Your Route and Stops Before You Start Your Trip

When you take a road trip, you will be spending a large amount of time in your car no matter how far you are going. Some people are able to spend eight or more hours in the car each day while others, especially children, may not have that sort of stamina. As such, knowing your main route and where you will be spending the night can help prevent stress, keep you on track and ensure that everyone can make it through the trip while enjoying themselves.

If you are using GPS-enabled devices, it is recommended that you bring two. GPS services can sometimes be inaccurate and can leave you in a lurch. Further, even though we live in the age of technology, bringing along an up-to-date paper map can be a life-saver if you find yourself lost without cell service or battery power. If you or your friends or family members do not know how to read a map, this is a great chance to learn.

2. Know Your Budget

Budgeting for a road trip is incredibly important. On top of budgeting for hotels, food, fun and souvenirs, you should also ensure that you have budgeted some emergency money in the event that something goes wrong with your car. You do not want a blown tire to be the end of your trip.

There are also a few ways you can save some money. Some phone apps and GPS devices can help you find the gas stations with the cheapest prices. Also, gas stations that are located at exits with multiple fast food restaurants often have lower prices due to the competition. When it comes to food, packing some snacks can help keep your food costs down. Visiting a fast-food restaurant or diner every time you are hungry can get expensive quickly.

3. Schedule Some Exploring Time

The best part about road trips is that you get to travel on roads you never would have traveled on otherwise. This means that you may come across national gems that you never knew existed. Depending on where you are going, some roadside attractions, like gem mines, living farms and specialty museums can take a few hours to visit.

Having some extra time in your schedule also allows for the unexpected. For example, you could encounter road construction, accidents and even unclear directions while you travel. Since you have the extra time available, you will not have to stress too much about getting behind schedule.

4. Get Some In-Vehicle Entertainment

Spending several days on the road can get boring pretty quickly, especially if you have little ones with you. While movies and video games are probably the easiest to throw in the car, kids can miss out on the sights. Bringing along books, non-messy supplies, like paper and colored pencils, and non-electronic games can help some of the time go by. Road trip bingo games are perfect for this, as it gets them interested in their surroundings while still occupying them.

Summer road trips are a fantastic way to experience more of the world first-hand. By using these tips, you can get a strong plan together that will allow you to remember your first road trip fondly.

 

Will Buying an Electric Vehicle Save You Money?

With the Tesla Model 3 release day looming and with the Chevy Bolt already available to the public, interest in purchasing and owning an electric vehicle is picking up. These vehicles have a number of exciting advantages over traditional gas cars, with the main ones being no more gas and no more major impact on the environment. However, both the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt start in the $35K range, so while they are certainly more affordable than other electric cars, they still cost a pretty penny. In order for these types of cars to be viable for many, they have to save people money.

For example, Tesla claims that the Model 3 will save you anywhere from an average of $6,000 to $9,000. If this is true, the Model 3 could potentially save a person money. Likewise, giving up gas with the Chevy Bolt should also provide some sort of savings for drivers.

In Reality, Calculating Savings Can Be Tricky

Using the Model 3 as an example, it is important to note that the starting cost may include estimated savings you may get as a result of tax credits and other incentives. Tax credits, rebates and other applicable incentives can vary state by state, so it important to consider this. However, tax credits and rebates do run out, meaning the cost of the vehicle will go up for those who wait to purchase.

When it comes to fuel savings, the actual amount of savings will depend on how far the vehicle is driven and the cost of electricity. For example, driving a similar gas vehicle 15,000 miles every year with an average of 25 miles an hour and with gas prices at $2.50 will cost approximately $1,500 per year. A Tesla driver who drives 15,000 miles per year could see a rise in their electric bill by about $600 annually. While this still results in about $900 in net savings, buyers looking to purchase a new vehicle will have to determine if these savings make the initial cost of the vehicle worth it.

Some drivers may also see savings in a weird place: insurance. California and Illinois have some of the lowest insurance rates for Tesla owners. To get the full amount of savings from insurance, be sure to compare rates as you may find additional savings.

How Much Will You Save?

Ultimately, the amount of money that you may or may not save if you decide to reserve a Model 3 or purchase a Chevy Bolt depends on where you live and your unique situation. If savings are the most important factor in purchasing a new car, opting for a less expensive vehicle is going to save you the most. If a $35,000 vehicle is exactly what you are looking for, then a Model 3 or a Chevy Bolt may be something to consider as you will save on gas at the very least.

Is it Worth Reserving a Model 3?

As of June 2017, almost 400,000 people have reserved a Model 3. If you have not reserved your Model 3 yet, you may be waiting until mid- to late-2018 to get your vehicle. By that time, the incentives may no longer be available. If savings are your main priority but you want to get an electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt may be your best bet. It is important to note, however, that the real goal of the Model 3, the Chevy Bolt and the more luxurious EVs are not to save you money. Instead, the goal is to provide an eco-friendly option for those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint. If this is something that you are passionate about, reserving a Tesla Model 3 or purchasing a Chevy Bolt will be worth it.

Beat Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration by Staying Cool This Summer

There is no better way to enjoy the summer season than by spending your free time outside in the sun with your family. However, your summer fun could end in catastrophe if you and your loved ones are not careful when spending the day out in the heat.

Identifying Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when someone becomes dehydrated and ill due to heat. Some of the symptoms include headaches, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, excessive sweating and fatigue, among others. If not treated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency that can result in a coma or seizures.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, there are several steps that can be taken to cool the individual down:

  • The person should be moved to a shady place or indoors where air conditioning is available.
  • Any excess clothing should be removed to help the person feel more comfortable.
  • You can pour old water over the person from heat exhaustion. You can also pack icepacks around them if they are available.
  • If their symptoms persist or you cannot get them cooled down, it is essential to contact emergency services.

Identifying Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when someone’s body does not have enough water or electrolytes to function properly. Most of the body’s water is lost through sweating on hot days. Someone who is experiencing dehydration may have a number of symptoms, including sudden headaches, nausea, dizziness and even shortness of breath. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. Symptoms for severe dehydration include extreme thirst, unconsciousness, fever, low blood pressure, rapid breathing and an inability to sweat or urinate.

There are simple treatments for mild dehydration:

  • Water intake should be increased by frequently drinking small amounts. Drinking a large amount of water or other fluids all at once could lead to illness and vomiting.
  • Sucking on ice chips can ensure that fluids are going back into the body slowly.
  • Eating ice pops can help balance electrolytes. Popular sports drinks also have electrolytes, but they also contain a high amount of sugar. Therefore, these should be avoided by young children or individuals suffering from diarrhea.

For severe dehydration, the person may require an IV to replace fluids at a hospital or in an emergency room.

Tips for Staying Cool

Drinking water and staying indoors in the air conditioning are easy ways to beat the heat. However, everyone wants to enjoy the summer while it lasts. You don’t need to suffer episodes of dehydration and heat exhaustion to enjoy the great outdoors.

While keeping yourself hydrated is a must, here are several additional ways to stay cool when temperatures skyrocket:

  • Make Your Own Popsicles: One of the easiest ways to stay cool is to eat something cold. By making your own popsicles, you can even get the kids involved. Experiment with different healthy fruit juices and fruit pieces to create a tasty snack that will get everyone to sit down and take a break to cool off.
  • Stick with Cold Foods and Drinks: Keep your meals light and full of chilled fruits and vegetables. Eat small amounts during the day rather than one big meal. Digestion generates body heat and eating less more frequently will keep you cooler.
  • Leave the Kitchen Appliances Off: The oven generates quite a bit of heat. Avoid cooking foods that require the oven during the hottest parts of the day to give your air conditioner a break. Use a slow cooker for your big meals.
  • Use a Cold Cloth: If you find yourself outside working in your yard or garden, placing a cold cloth on the back of your neck will cool you down. You can also soak a cloth headband in ice water and wrap it around your head.
  • Use Ice with Your Fans: If you use floor fans, placing ice behind the fan will cool the air that is being blown into the room.

By staying cool, you and your family will be sure to have an enjoyable and memorable summer this year.

 

Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer

With the summer heat quickly approaching, it is time to get your air conditioner ready to take the heat. However, if you want your air conditioner to be reliable throughout the summer season, you will want to ensure that you provide it with the maintenance and care it needs to run efficiently even when the temperatures soar.
Set Up an Air Conditioner Checkup

While it may seem like overkill to have a professional like us come check out your air conditioner, now is the time to do it. Not only will a professional be able to do on-the-spot repairs and maintenance now so that you know your unit will turn on when you need it, but you will also see advantages in the long run. Air conditioning units that are regularly maintained generally last longer than those that do not. This means that your air conditioner will be more reliable for longer. Click on the link above to request an appointment.

However, if you need your air conditioner before you have a chance to get a professional out to give it a checkup, you can do a quick inspection of your cooling equipment yourself. Keep in mind that you will still want to have a professional come out to give your cooling unit the maintenance it deserves.

Inspecting Your Air Conditioner

Before you turn your cooling unit on, you should conduct a visual inspection of all of the equipment. Start with any exposed ductwork that your home has. Look for wear, like holes or thinning pieces of metal. Worn ductwork can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to keep your home at the desired temperature as cooled air may be lost before it reaches you. The harder your air conditioner has to work, the faster it will wear itself out.

Second, go through your home and check all of the vents. Remove anything that may be blocking them. If you have pets, you may want to remove the vent and vacuum around the opening of the duct. This will prevent pet hair and dander from being blown about your home when you first turn your cooling unit on.

If you have an outdoor unit, ensure that the condenser unit is not blocked by any items, twigs and other foliage. Blockages of any sort can have a drastic effect on the unit’s ability to cool your home. This is something that is easily done when you do your spring yard cleanup.

Finally, check the refrigerant lines and electrical wiring. If you see wear on the refrigerant lines or electrical wiring, do not attempt to fix them yourself. Just be sure to make a note and avoid turning your air conditioner on until a professional comes out to do maintenance. Refrigerant is flammable and faulty wiring could cause a fire, so it is best just to avoid those potential hazards altogether.

Consider Upgrading

If you have had your air conditioner for years and it is just not keeping up with your family’s needs, it may be time to upgrade. The cost for R-22 refrigerant has risen dramatically in the last couple of years and will soon be obsolete. Repairing old systems can be impractical because of cost. Click on the link above to view our current a/c sales price.

Replace your old air conditioning system with new R410a this Spring and save! Many newer systems are designed to work efficiently as save energy, which gets passed on to you in the form of saving money on your electricity bills.

Enjoy Your Summer without Suffering

Once you have checked your equipment and you have ensured that everything looks to be in good shape, it is time to turn your air conditioner on. Set your thermostat to your desired temperature, turn your air conditioner on and go outside. Listen to the fan on the condenser to make sure that it sounds like it is running normally. Within 10 to 15 minutes, your home should begin to feel cool and comfortable.

 

Adding a New Dog to the Family

Have you been thinking about getting a dog but just haven’t pulled the trigger? While walking into a pet store and picking out a dog based on its breed and coloring may be an easy option, consider looking at a shelter or rescue group for your new family member.

Adopting from a Shelter

There are plenty of great reasons to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group versus buying a pet from a pet store or independent breeder. First, adoption costs are much lower than purchasing a dog. In fact, buying a pet can easily cost upwards of $500 or more, especially if you are looking for a specific dog breed. Although you are more likely to find mixed breeds at shelters and rescue groups, these dogs generally live longer and have lower vet costs over the course of their lives.

When you adopt from a shelter, you may not know the dog’s full history. However, when you purchase from a pet store, you may also not know where the dog came from. It could have been a puppy mill dog, meaning you may find your new pet to be inbred, leading to increased vet bills. Finally, shelters and rescue groups often have resources available to help you with your pet since they are more dedicated to finding the animal a forever home.

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Different breeds and individual dogs can have very different personalities. In some cases, dogs may not show their full personality until after they have been brought home and have a chance to open up. While it is always fun to see shelter dogs come out of their shells as they become part of the family, it can make it more difficult to find the right dog for you.

When you are in the process of picking a shelter dog, it is fine to be picky. If you pick too fast without doing your research and seeing what else is available, you may end up with a miserable dog and family or a dog that will need to be taken back to the shelter in the future. This is not good for you and your family and certainly not good for the dog.

Picking the right dog starts with knowing what you want. Avoid choosing your new dog based on its breed. Focus more on the dog’s energy level and sociability. Check to make sure the dog has been tested to see if they are kid-safe if you have children. Second, when you actually get a chance to look at the dogs, you will want to watch their body language. Take some time to learn about dog language before you go so that you know what to look for and identify the language that you are seeing.

Finally, take care when picking the shelter. Open-intake shelters often take in so many animals that they are unable to get to fully know each one. Limited-intake shelters only take in a certain number, so rescuers generally get to learn a little more about the animals they rescue. If you have specific needs, such as a kid-friendly pet, limited-intake shelters may be a better bet.

Enjoying Your New Dog

Once you have made your decision and finish up with the adoption process, you are ready to begin enjoying your new family member. Whether your new family member is quiet and loves long walks in the park or energetic and is happy to go on long excursions, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

How to Get Kids Involved in Gardening

When it comes to spring, growing flowers, herbs and vegetables are a joy that many people look forward to. Even though it can take time and lots of love to get your flowers and shrubs to grow up strong and healthy, it is a fun outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Reasons to Start Gardening with the Kids

There are many reasons to get your kids involved in gardening early. Not only does it give them a chance to get their hands dirty, but it gives them something that they can take ownership over. Some kids may even enjoy getting the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of their labor. After all, there is nothing more delicious than getting a taste of a tomato that they grew themselves. Further, they get to learn about nature and be a part of sustaining it.

How To Get Them Started

Tip 1: Give them a space to grow

If you have the space, giving your kids a plot of their very own to work with will get them more invested. Whether it is a small strip near the fence or a nice-sized spot, they can have the power to plant what they want where they want it. As their vegetables and flowers grow, you can talk to them about what they planted and make plans for next year.

Tip 2: Create a job list

Although growing things is pretty easy, the plants still need care to grow. Creating a job list for the kids to follow can help them ensure that they do not miss a step. Make sure to include watering, weeding and adding mulch to the list.

Tip 3: Provide kid-friendly tools

If you are getting younger kids started in gardening, having kid-friendly tools is a must. Smaller hand trowels and kid-sized gloves can make the work easier for them and reduce any frustrations they may have, especially if they are too small to handle adult-sized tools.

Tip 4: Involve them from start to finish

Children love being involved in the entire gardening process. By giving them the ability to pick out what they want to grow and where they want to grow it in their gardening space, you may find that they will be so much more invested in the process. Further, you may be able to get them excited about gardening in the spring if they have time to think about what they want to grow.

Tip 5: Let them decide what to make with the harvest

Harvesting the vegetables and herbs that they grew is always fun. However, they may enjoy it even more if they get to help pick what to make with their bounty. Pizzas are always fun, but the kids may even have other ideas that might surprise you. Best of all, of course, is that you will not have to beg or trick them into eating healthy foods.

Apartment Gardening

Getting kids involved in gardening can be a bit more difficult if you don’t have the gardening space. However, there are a couple options. You can always plant in pots that can be kept on the balcony or in the kitchen. Otherwise, your city or community may have communal plots that are available for you to grow herbs and vegetables.

Enjoy Your Garden

By getting your kids involved in gardening, they get to be outside away from computers and gaming systems while learning skills that will be useful throughout their entire lives. Not only will they get to learn about where their food comes from, but they can also learn about the joy of growing it themselves.

 

Tips for Dealing with Spring Allergies

Although you may be happy that warmer weather has finally arrived, you may be frustrated with the allergy symptoms it may bring with it. Unlike food allergies or allergies to certain types of animals, spring allergies often occur when the trees, flowers and other fauna are in bloom.

What are the Common Allergy Symptoms?

Spring allergy symptoms can range from the sniffles to coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. In severe cases, they can cause a person to trouble breathing and can affect their ability to concentrate. Allergy symptoms can make a person feel ill and have a negative impact on their school or work performance.

Identifying the Causes of Allergies

If a person believes that they have allergies, it is highly recommended that they go to a specialist who can help them identify exactly what they are allergic to. An allergy specialist may give you a skin test or a blood test. Skin tests often include pricking the skin with a small amount of the suspected allergen. If you are allergic to that particular allergen, you will form a red bump at the site of the prick.

Tips to Prevent Allergy Symptoms

If a specialist is able to identify a particular allergen that is causing you trouble, they may have medication that you can take that will reduce the symptoms and make you feel better. However, if your symptoms are not severe enough to warrant prescription medication or they are more troublesome than normal, there are some natural remedies you can use to keep your symptoms at bay.

For example, nasal irrigation may potentially help clean out the sinuses, which could make breathing a little bit easier. To do this, you will need to mist up a solution of warm distilled water, a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. A neti pot or squeeze bottle is then used to administer the solution into the sinuses. It is important to note that this works for some and not for others, so if you do not see any improvements, you may need to find alternative treatments.

Spring Cleaning to Get Rid of Allergy Symptoms

If you are allergic to pollen and other types of biological allergens, you can help make yourself feel better by making sure your home is free of them. Vacuuming at least once a week and doing the occasional dusting can keep your exposure levels at bay. Be sure to change out or wash your furnace filters, depending on the type that you use, on a regular basis so that you can be sure that the airborne allergens are being removed from the air that you are breathing. You can also install a whole-home air cleaner like these to improve your indoor air quality.

You can also prevent some allergens from getting into your home by removing your shoes before you come inside. If you spent the day outdoors, a quick change of clothes can prevent you from transporting pollen and other allergens all around your home. Finally, you may find it appropriate to shower before jumping into your sheets. This way, you can breathe a little easier and get a refreshing night of rest.

Stay Healthy and Productive

When you find a system of keeping the allergens at bay that works for you, you will be amazed at just how much better and more energized you feel. Note that, in addition to keeping pollen and other biological allergens out of your home and taking medical precautions, it is always helpful to eat a healthy diet, stay active and stay positive.

Four Tips to Make It To The End of the School Year

For many students, getting through the final few months of school can be difficult no matter what grade they are in. As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, they would rather be spending quality time outdoors or engaging in hobbies and sports instead of preparing for math tests. However, there are a few tips available that can help students stay focused and get the grades they need.

1. Get a Homework and Bedtime Routine Down

As summer draws near, it is very easy for kids to become more relaxed about getting their homework done and trying to get a later bedtime. However, this can cause a student’s grades to slip and, in worst-case scenarios, could result in the need for summer school. Sticking to a consistent homework schedule and bedtime will keep the student on track and prevent them from going to school frustrated and tired. Depending on your student, you may even work out a snack or break schedule that helps make the task feel smaller and easier to complete. Keeping a consistent routine down at home can also help the student wind down from field trip days and other unusual activities.

2. Work Outside

If the weather is nice and sunny, taking homework outside can boost a student’s motivation. Finding fun ways to incorporate outdoor activities with homework can be fun for younger children, like using sidewalk chalk to work out simple math equations. Older students may enjoy spreading out their work on the back porch so that they can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. If there is no good work space outside, moving the desk or table closer to a window can help them keep their spirits up.

3. Stay Organized

Many students start out the school year fully organized and ready to go. As the school year progresses, they may become less organized over time. This can cause them to lose homework or even completed papers. Since students generally perform better in school when they are organized, have them take an hour every week or so to get their backpacks, desk and other homework area cleaned out. This way, they can ensure that they have everything they need for the week. If you find that you have a student who is just messier than normal and has a difficult time staying organized, reducing the number of items they keep with them can help. For example, one folder for all homework and completed assignments can help your student keep their most important assignments all in one place.

4. Enjoy Your Weekends

Getting through each week can become more and more difficult for students. As such, giving them a break from dealing with school stress can help them relax and de-stress. If their homework load is low, let them take Friday afternoons and nights off so that they can just enjoy being kids. Have them complete all of their homework on Saturdays so that they have Sundays completely free. This way, they have at least a day and an afternoon when they do not have to think about school at all. If you enjoy family outings on Saturdays, ensure that students get their homework done early so that they can have the evening free before having to jump right back into work the next morning.

Making it to the end of a school year is a huge accomplishment. By helping your student stay motivated to the very end, you can set them up for a fun, stress-free summer vacation.

Keeping Your Home Safe While You are Away on Vacation

With the vacation season just around the corner, it may be busy planning where you want to go to relax. While you are researching your desired destination, do not forget to take precautions when it comes to keeping your home safe. The time when you are away for an extended period is when your home is at the most risk, so spending some time protecting your home and possessions will allow you to relax a little easier.
1) Hire a House Sitter

One of the easiest ways you can protect your home while you are gone is to hire someone to look after your home. A relative who you trust may be your best bet, though you can always hire a house or pet sitter through a professional agency. Even if the person is not staying in your home full-time, it will look like someone is occupying the home as long as they bring in the mail and the newspaper. If you do not have someone you can trust with your property, put a hold on your mail and stop the newspaper delivery until you return.

2) Make It Look Like Someone is Still Home

Your home should always look lived in even when no one has been at home for a couple of days. This illusion can actually be very easy to create by installing timers that will turn lights on and off at normal times. If you have a neighbor who will be around for a few days, see if they can take out the garbage can on the normal pickup days. If the landscapers normally come on Saturday, keep a visit scheduled so that your lawn looks cared for. Ultimately, you want it to look like your home is operating as it normally would.

3) Avoid Talking about Your Trip on Social Media

Although it can be difficult, avoid talking about your upcoming trip on your social media pages. By posting about your upcoming plans, acquaintances of friends who have access to your Facebook page or Twitter account may decide to mark your home as a target. Ensure that your kids are careful about revealing plans as well, especially if they are teenagers. Teens who are staying in town during any school breaks or over the summer may decide that your home would make a great place to hang out when no one is there. Once you get back from your trip, you can get more enjoyment out of posting your pictures and telling stories about the fun places you got to visit.

4) Save Money by Unplugging Electronics

When your electronics are plugged into your outlets, a small amount of electricity is still running through your home even if those electronics are not turned on. To reduce your utility bills, unplug all of your electronics and appliances with the exception of your refrigerator. You can even unplug your automatic garage door opener to prevent anyone from gaining access.

5) Install a Home Security System

If you do not have a security system installed, now is a great time to have that done. In fact, some of the new systems let you view your front door and certain rooms inside your home right from your smartphone. Many of these systems also connect to lights and other home systems, meaning you can keep an eye on your property when you are away. Even better, the system is useful when you get back by deterring burglars at night or during the day while you are at work. For an extra bit of security, make sure to leave a home security sign on your lawn or in your window to deter thieves even more.

6) Do Not Hide a Key

Finally, ensure that you know where all the keys to your home are located. If you want to leave a key behind just in case, make sure that you leave it with your trusted neighbor or relative. Leaving a key somewhere around the home is asking for trouble as many burglars are aware of all the good hiding spots. If you seem to be missing a key, you can always change the front lock before you head out the door.

Taking a vacation is all about having fun and relaxing. By ensuring that your home is properly protected, you will not have to spend your time away from the world worrying about your home.

 

Making the Most of Your Staycation

Traveling to a new place for spring break or during the summer can be fun and exciting. However, is can also be an expensive endeavor. It can also be quite stressful, especially if you have to fly to your destination or spend hours of your precious vacation time in the car. Staying in town can be just as fun and relaxing, especially if you only have a few days to enjoy yourself.

Financing Your Staycation

Whenever you go on a vacation, you generally have to work out a budget. Between plane flights or the cost of gas, food and activities, financing a destination vacation can be expensive. If you are staying home, give yourself a budget to work with. Staying home can absolutely save you money, but focusing on spending as little as possible can also take over your focus and prevent you from having fun. Budget for nights out and for any activities so you feel more encouraged to actually make a vacation out of your time.

Turn Off the World

When you spend vacation away from home, you are probably more likely to put all of your work on hold. Your staycation should be no different. Set up an “out of office” message on your work email and let it. Turn off your cell phone and only check the messages occasionally as needed. Shut down your computers and do not turn them back on until your staycation is over.

Pamper Yourself

Part of the fun of going on vacation is to not have to cook or clean while you are away. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this right at home. Treat yourself to a one-time maid service at the beginning of your staycation so you can enjoy a spotless home. If you like the idea of having someone else make dinner for you, you can go out to eat as you please or keep a stack of your favorite take-out restaurants nearby. This is a great opportunity to try new places.

Explore Your Neighborhood

There are always fun things to do no matter where you are. If you are staying at home for a few days, take the chance to just explore. Visit your local parks and spend the day reading and playing with the kids under the sun. Hop on the train or in the car and head downtown to see what you can find. Many towns and cities have their own museums and points of interest. Go to your local historical society to learn about the place you live. Visit the local shops to support your city’s artists and small business owners. If you need an adults-only night out, visit your local breweries to try some craft beers. You may even get to join in a game of trivia and meet new friends.

Spend the Night In

If relaxing at home is more your thing, there are plenty of ways that you can still relax. If you love to read, set up a comfortable place where you can sit and relax all day long. Make a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade, pull up a comfy chair and let your book do your traveling for you. Movie festivals are also fun ways to spend time. Pick a theme and have your friends and family contribute movies to watch. Grab a bunch of snacks, turn off the lights and enjoy the show.

The most important part of staycation is to have fun and get refreshed. During your staycation, do what makes you happy, whether that means leaving the house to go exploring or staying at home to enjoy your time away from the world.