It’s a wrap: Tips for making gifts look great all year long


A beautifully wrapped gift truly enhances the gift giving experience. If you’re wrapping that birthday or anniversary gift in drab paper or (worse yet) the Sunday comics, it’s time to rethink your wrapping techniques. With a few simple tips, it’s easy to create great-looking, personal gift wrapping that is as much fun to open as it is to receive.

Add flair with unexpected wrapping materials

Ribbons don’t actually have to be made of ribbon. Go above and beyond traditional wrapping paper and bows by using non-traditional materials to wrap your gift. Delight the fashionistas in your life by using fun, colorful belts to keep boxes secure (and sneak them an extra accessory too). When giving cookware, wrap the package in new kitchen towels. For a going away party, wrap the gift in maps or images of the recipient’s destination. Attending a high school graduation party? Stick the gift box shut with a fun bumper sticker from the grad’s soon-to-be college or university. Make bows out of raffia, use leftover wallpaper instead of wrapping paper, or tie a scarf around the handles of a gift bag to add something extra special to your present.

Choose an alternative to clear tape

Amp up the style of your gift with printed packaging tape. A fun substitute for traditional clear tape, EZ Start Packaging Tape from Duck brand is available in nine decorative, trendy patterns – everything from funky Black Olives in lime green and pink to Midnight Paisley in sophisticated black and white – that are perfect for keeping wrapping paper in place while also adding an unexpected touch to gifts. Add the Pink Zebra print over solid wrapping paper to delight any birthday girl, or gear your gift for guys with the Graffiti Skulls pattern.

Create a one-of-a-kind container

Forego wrapping paper entirely and decorate the box itself. Create a unique design using stickers, stencil a monogram or pattern on the top, or decoupage it with images that remind you of the recipient. EZ Start Packaging Tape can also help makeover your gift package – completely cover the box in the tape, or use it to create stripes, chevron, checks or other patterns. To make the gift extra special, choose an unexpected item or shape to hold your present. Buckets, hat boxes, or (new) take-out containers can make for interesting packages. And, once it’s been personalized, the container itself serves as an added element of the gift.

Look to the occasion for inspiration

Theme your gift wrapping around the special occasion or holiday that you’re celebrating. Bridal shower? Use wedding traditions to inspire your wrapping – make sure it includes something borrowed (perhaps a beautiful pin to tie the ribbon), something blue (tissue paper), something old (include a photo of you and the bride on the box) and something new (the gift). On birthdays, be inspired by the recipient’s age – on a twelfth birthday, divide the gift into twelve small items, or wrap the present in an item that represents that number, like pages from a calendar. At graduations, wrap the package in the colors of the grad’s new college or university.

Make shipped items special

Even when loved ones are far away, it’s simple to make the outside of their package special and personal. Besides helping to glamorize gift wrapping or boxes, EZ Start Packaging Tape is also perfect for its original use: shipping items to loved ones away from home. Use the Camo pattern to send a gift to a friend or family member away in the military, or inspire some relaxation in stressed-out college students with a care package wrapped with the Tie-Dye or Green Peace tape patterns. It will make the package stand out and keep items safely secured.

Whether you’re a gift-wrapping pro or just learning to tie a ribbon, these easy tips will help you to give stylishly wrapped gifts for all of your special occasions. Pick up a few materials and let your imagination go – the present and the wrapping are sure to doubly delight your next gift recipient.

6 simple steps for you to follow for a clean and organized garage


Your garage’s main function is usually to safeguard and store your car, truck or motorcycles. That can’t take place if your garage has turned into a glorified storage unit, stuffed to the rafters with boxes, toys, tools, bikes, strollers and everything else you either don’t have room for or just don’t want in the house.

Below are 6 easy to follow steps that will help you clean and organize your garage and seize control once again.

Step 1 – get everything out of the garage and sort it all into groups. Categorize it all and put everything into groups with like items. For example, toys with toys, carpentry tools with carpentry tools, yard tools with yard tools etc. Make a pile for trash, anything you don’t want that you can sell in a garage sale and items to give away.

Step 2 – Get the appropriate organizational tools and supplies. After you’ve grouped everything, decide on exactly what tools and resources will help you organize these items better.

For example,do you need shelves? If so what kind… a free standing shelving system or shelves mounted to the wall? Do you need storage bins, cabinet systems, tool chests, peg boards, hanging roof systems, hanging bike racks, hooks etc.

Step 3 – Clean garage. As soon as you empty your garage it’s important to take time to sweep out all the loose debris and remove cobwebs. You’ll appreciate your garage much more if it’s clean so make sure to sweep and dust routinely.

Step 4 – Decor. This does not mean you need to remodel your garage into pseudo-living room, however you could think about a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Next think about the floor?

Lots of people prefer to paint and seal the floor of their garage to protect it from stains and also makes cleaning easy. Transforming your wall and floor surfaces will have a enormous effect on the appearance of your garage.

Step 5 – Arrange Items For Storage. As soon as you are done with cleaning the garage (floor and walls) now’s the time for you to put everything back. Place those items that you use on regularly within easy reach.

Put items less frequently used further back in the garage or higher up on shelves or in cabinets. Putting labels on shelves, bins and boxes will make it a lot easier for you to find what you’re looking for.

Step 6 – Lastly, make some rules for yourself and family members and implement them. Rules along the lines of, “Always return the items you used back to where you got them,” needs to be put into practice at all times if you plan on keeping your garage clean and organized.

If you follow these 6 simple steps, in no time you will have a clean and well organized garage. Not only will you be able to park your car in your garage but you’ll also be able to find anything want when you need it. One more thing, don’t forget to have a garage sale to help get rid of all those unwanted items and put some cash in your pockets!

by: Walter Jensen

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7210.shtml

Turn fall festivities into a fundraiser

 Fall is an ideal time to get back to cooking comfort foods, reconnecting with loved ones after summer trips and appreciating the beauty the season has to offer. Fall is the perfect opportunity to host a gathering, and since October is breast cancer awareness month why not support a great cause while you do it – host a Cook for the Cure party. Whether it’s an intimate candlelit dinner or full-fledged family affair – here are a few tips to get your party started:

1. Host a party for a cause – October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a great time to turn entertaining into fundraising by hosting a Cook for the Cure party. Cook for the Cure, presented by KitchenAid asks guests to make a donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in place of a traditional hostess gift. The size of the donation is up to your guests. Register your party at www.cookforthecure.ca and KitchenAid Canada will donate $50 to help the cause. All proceeds support research, education, community care, and advocacy to create a future without breast cancer.

2. Pick your theme – A festive theme sets your fĂȘte apart. Whether you go classic autumn with rich colors or stick to a monochromatic look, once you determine the look the rest of the party will fall into place. Add fun touches like placing planters and urns outside to welcome guests and kick the party off on the right foot. Whether you go with casual or formal, trendy or traditional, a festive theme will help bring your seasonal party to life.

3. Set the mood – Music sets the tone of the event. Spend time crafting the perfect playlist to put your guests in the party spirit.

4. Make it personal – From customized drink skewers to personalized place cards, dress up your party with thoughtful details that leave a lasting impression. Mini pumpkins and gourds will add a pop of color to your table. Write guests’ names on business card sized pieces of paper and attach with a pushpin and you’ll have place cards that serve double duty as a takeaway after the dinner.

More information is online at www.pinterest.com/KitchenAidCa and at www.facebook.com/kitchenaidcanada.

Avoiding five mistakes that even good homeowners make

But next time, you might not get so lucky. A simple “uh oh” could lead to thousands of dollars in damage to your home. 

 
“We recommend homeowners adopt a mindset of thinking about the consequences of things, of what could go wrong,” says Dr. Tim Reinhold, senior vice president of research and chief engineer for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

 
Here are five tips to avoid common homeowner mistakes: 

 
Tip 1: Clean out the filter on your clothes dryer
Why? Fire. Those wads of lint that get caught in your dryer’s filter can pose a major fire hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that dryers cause more than 15,000 fires a year.
Your strategy: Be sure to completely empty the lint trap every time you use your dryer. Also, make sure your dryer ducts are metal, since they’re less likely to sag and allow lint to build up. 

 
Tip 2: Trim tree branches that hang close to your home 
Why? Roof or other property damage. A storm or high winds could sweep through your neighborhood and knock those branches onto your roof, causing serious damage. 
Your strategy: Consult an arborist or tree surgeon about any trees in your yard that might present a hazard. 

 
Tip 3: Don’t put cardboard boxes from recent big-ticket purchases out on the curb with the garbage
Why? Theft. By placing boxes in a visible location, you’re sending a signal to burglars that you have valuable items in your home.
Your strategy: Cut boxes up and put them into the garbage or recycling bin.

 
Tip 4: Make your house look occupied when you’re on vacation
Why? Theft. An empty home can be an easy target for thieves.

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Your strategy. Have your mail and newspaper deliveries suspended or have a trusted neighbor retrieve and safeguard them until your return. “Not only do piles of mail signal that a house is vacant, but thieves can sift through letters to steal your identity,” says Joe Vahey, vice president at Erie Insurance.  “You also may want to arrange for someone to maintain your lawn if you’ll be gone for more than a few days, and consider installing central alarms, motion detectors, or timed lights that will illuminate the area around your house at night.”

 
Tip 5. Check appliance water hoses
Why: Water damage. Hoses for washers and refrigerators wear out and need to be replaced before they spring a leak. The water supply line to the icemaker can also be a water leak waiting to happen.
Your strategy: Replace washing machine hoses every five years. If you see the plastic line along the back of the refrigerator becoming discolored (yellow or brown), have an appliance repair expert check it out.

 
Despite your best efforts to properly maintain and protect your home, accidents and mishaps still happen, which is why it’s also important to know what your homeowners insurance does, and doesn’t, cover. For example, no homeowners insurance will cover flood damage from natural disasters, so you may want to seek federal flood insurance if you live in an area prone to flooding. In addition, check to see if yours is a guaranteed replacement cost policy, which would pay to rebuild your home if it’s severely damaged or destroyed. The coverage is rare, but some companies like Erie Insurance include it in their standard homeowners policies.

For more information on homeowners insurance, visit www.erieinsurance.com/homeowners.

Tips for men to look and feel their best all summer long

(BPT) – Let’s face it: summer is the season when everyone wants to look and feel their best. Warm weather and long days mean everyone’s heading outdoors, hanging with friends and enjoying the best of the season. Even the guys are looking great – from relaxing at the beach, to putting down the golf greens, to walking the city sidewalks.

This summer men can look and feel perfect all day long with the following helpful tips. Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy experts Dr. Francesca Fusco, a leading dermatologist who specializes in scalp and hair care, and celebrity stylist Jen Atkin, share some helpful tips for men as they head into the summer season.

Protect the scalp: One area men often forget about protecting is the scalp and any and all outdoor activities call for a generous application of sunscreen. “It is important to think of the scalp as an extension of your face. The skin on your scalp is highly susceptible to UV rays,” says Fusco. When spending time in the sun, especially between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Fusco recommends dispensing sunscreen on a cotton swab and dabbing it along the part and hairline. Prolonged sun exposure can cause damaging burns that lead to a dry and flaky scalp. Fusco says that guys’ best bet is to “apply generously and often. If no sunscreen is around, wear a hat for foolproof protection.”

Lather, rinse, repeat: When out and about in the summer,perspiration is highly likely. “It is important to shampoo after working up a sweat because inadequate scalp and hair hygiene can lead to buildup of oil,” Fusco says. Reach for a shampoo that is packed with nourishing ingredients. “A clean, well-nourished scalp is a thriving scalp,” Fusco says. CLEAR Men Scalp Therapy is enriched with Bio-Nutrium 10, a combination of natural ingredients including ginseng, tea tree and natural mint. It leaves hair feeling great, and has an amazing fragrance so men will be rushing to the shower.

The perfect style: Don’t be afraid to switch up your look to reflect the easy-going nature of summer. One of the easiest ways is to change up your hair cut. “Many guys are nervous to try something new, but changing up your look is simple and can help to boost your confidence,” says Atkin. “Most men go right for the clippers and buzz it all off when the weather gets hot.” Not ready to take it all off? “Another great option is to go for a style with shorter sides but keep length up top. It is easy to maintain and will grow out nicely too.” Complete the transformation with some new clothes to complement the new look.

Stay hydrated: When heading out for an early morning jog or any outdoor workout, don’t forget to grab a bottle of water. Fusco recommends drinking at least two liters a day during the summer to replenish fluids lost by sweating. Your overall health, from your skin to how you perform in your sports game, will also benefit from the extra hydration. Opt for an insulated water bottle to keep water cool while out in the heat.

For more helpful tips and information visit www.facebook.com/clearmen.

Buying a fixer-upper? How to make the most of your remodel


With current home prices and interest rates, it’s a great time to be in the market for a fixer-upper.  By buying a house that needs some work, you can achieve your dream home for less than you would probably pay for a move-in-ready abode.

To ensure you’re making the most of your investment, however, it pays to take a look at your credit before you buy and begin your remodel. You’ll not only need credit to cover the purchase price of the house, but you’ll need it for renovation expenses as well.

The first step you should take in your bid to buy a fixer-upper is to check your credit report and score. Websites like www.creditreport.com can help you understand your credit. Understanding your credit will help you know whether or not you can afford to buy a house that needs work and if you’ll be able to pay for the needed renovations.

You should also carefully research what your options are for financing your remodel. Learn what your options are, from traditional fixed mortgages to home equity lines of credit, and decide before you buy which type of financing will be best for you. Getting a handle on your financing before you buy can help ensure you stay on budget when you’re in the middle of renovations.

When you’ve got a clear picture of your credit status and financing options, you can start looking at fixer-uppers. When you find a good prospect, have your remodeling contractor walk through the house with you so he can give you a rough estimate of what needs to be done and how much the work will cost.

If you’re buying a house that’s in basically good condition but just looks dated, you’ll have to make some decisions about where to invest your money. Focus on improvements that will not only look good, but will also enhance the value of your home. Resources like Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report can give you a good idea of how much of your original investment you’ll recoup on different remodeling projects at the time of resale.

Once you’ve signed all the paperwork and the house is yours, it’s time to get to work. If you’re handy, you may be able to save money by doing some of the renovation work yourself. Projects like painting, adding crown molding and even putting down new flooring are well within the skills of most do-it-yourselfers. More complex projects like drywall, plumbing or electrical work may be best left to professionals.

Whether you do the work yourself, or hire contractors, you’ll need to carefully manage all aspects of the renovation to ensure your remodel stays on budget. The excitement of remodeling a house into your dream home can make it easy to get carried away on spending. Keep in mind that remodeling estimates are just that – an estimate. The final tab is rarely exactly what your contractor predicted it would be. Build in at least 10 percent extra to cover emergency overruns, and avoid making any unnecessary changes to the plans while the project is underway.

Celebrate the dairy days of summer by keeping products cool and fresh

(BPT) – Nothing says summer like dairy products from the number one dairy state, California. From scoops of cold, creamy ice cream to melted cheese atop juicy grilled burgers, dairy and summer menus go together like sweet corn and butter. But nothing spoils the summer fun like spoiled milk, which is why it’s important to know how to store your dairy products – especially in the hotter months.

Before bringing dairy products home from the store, ensure all items are securely sealed. Do not leave fresh dairy products in a hot car where they can lose freshness. Refrigerate immediately to keep them at the appropriate temperature.

Cheese

Keeping cheese fresh after opening depends on the type of cheese you have. Follow these guidelines to keep mold at bay:

* Fresh cheese such as Queso Blanco or Ricotta should be refrigerated in its original package.

* Soft-ripened cheese like Brie, Camembert or breakfast cheese will keep up to several weeks if properly stored in its original plastic wrap.

* Cheddar, Feta, Cotija, Mozzarella and other hard or semi-hard cheeses can remain enjoyable for four to eight weeks if properly stored. If you don’t consume all the cheese in one use, re-wrap in parchment or waxed paper and store in a plastic container or a resealable plastic bag.

* Very hard cheeses such as Asiago or Romano are much lower in moisture than other cheeses and will keep for months if stored the same way as semi-hard cheeses.

* If you do see mold growing on your semi-hard or hard cheese, don’t immediately toss. If the mold is located in a place it can be cut out, cut 1/4 of an inch below it and plan to consume your cheese in the next few days.

Yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, creme fraiche

* Yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and creme fraiche should be refrigerated in their original packaging and discarded as soon as any mold is spotted. Be sure to use a clean spoon that hasn’t touched other foods if you won’t be using the entire container so you don’t introduce any contaminants that may shorten shelf-life.

* These containers are stamped with a “sell by” date, which refers to how long the retail store can keep the product for sale on the shelf.

Butter

* Some butter packaging is stamped with a “best used by” date, intended to tell how long the product will be at top eating quality.

* Butter can be frozen for up to four months.

* Store butter in the refrigerator tightly wrapped or in a covered dish.

* Keep butter away from highly aromatic foods so it does not pick up foreign flavors.

* Butter can be kept at room temperature for short periods of time, but should be refrigerated to maintain peak flavor.

Milk, buttermilk and cream

Fluid milk is rich in important nutrients like calcium, protein and minerals. Studies show that the calcium found in nutrient-rich milk strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.

* Store fresh milk in the refrigerator, which is typically set at 38 to 40 F. Keep it in the closed container in which it is sold to prevent absorption of other flavors.

* Milk and other fluid dairy products are stamped with a “sell by” date, which refers to how long the retail store can keep the product for sale on the shelf.

* No matter what the “sell by” date says, if milk has an off odor or taste, it is best to discard it.

* Freezing these products is not recommended as it causes undesirable changes in the texture and appearance.

* In the case of buttermilk, separation normally occurs as it sits, so shake well before using.

* Ultrapasteurized cream keeps several weeks longer than pasteurized cream or half-and-half, but once opened, it should be handled like pasteurized cream and used within one week.

Enjoy a scoop of ice cream or a yogurt parfait and celebrate National Dairy Month and Ice Cream Month all year long. Make sure to look for the Real California Milk and Cheese seals to guarantee you’re getting products made with 100 percent California milk from California’s more than 1,500 dairy families. For more recipes and entertaining ideas, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, like RCM at Facebook.com/RealCaliforniaMilk, follow at Twitter.com/RealCalifMilk, pin at Pinterest.com/RealCalifMilk and Instagram @RealCalifMilk.

Courtesy of BPT

The future of the family road trip


For families, time on the road is a part of life, whether you’re going for a family vacation or traveling to visit grandparents for the holidays. While time in the car together is nothing new, the way families are spending their time in the car and the tools that help get them safely to their destinations are rapidly evolving.

Nowadays, kids are less likely to pass the time playing 20 questions than they are to watch their favorite movie on an iPad. And while you might have once reached for the atlas to find your way, GPS systems or mobile phones have long since replaced your paper maps.

Each day new car and mobile technologies are improving the way families travel. New safety features, tools to help with directions, finding amenities, and increased entertainment options are available for passengers. But what if all of these helpful tools were integrated into one easy-to-use system within the family car?

Comprehensive in-vehicle systems designed to provide drivers with useful information may soon be the norm. Technology experts at Intel are currently working with automakers on in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that have the potential to make the family road trip safer and more entertaining for everyone involved.

It is estimated that automobiles will be among the top three fastest growing Internet connected devices for Internet-based content by 2014, according to technology research form Gartner. This should come as no surprise given consumer demand for access to their digital lives anytime, anywhere, since the average American driver spends 18 hours a week behind the wheel. That’s over two months every year spent in the car.

So how exactly could this type of technology help traveling families? Here are a few examples of the types of travel-friendly features that experts at Intel are exploring with leaders in the automotive industry:

* Cars could have a driver’s side display that would be able to offer alerts about upcoming traffic signs and relay images about blind spots from cameras placed in a car. Alerts about upcoming stop signs or exits would be especially beneficial when driving in unfamiliar territory.

* What could be worse than a flat tire while on vacation? Emergency sensors connected to the car’s infotainment system could alert you immediately when a tire loses pressure, giving you time to safely pull over or make it to the next exit for help. The intelligent infotainment system could also provide directions to the nearest repair shop.

* Like to travel with other families? New connected cars will offer you the ability to connect with other cars in your caravan through GPS tracking.  No need to describe your location over the phone or two-way radio.

* Have you made a habit of streaming your children’s favorite shows through a subscription service like Netflix? Soon, these types of entertainment options could be standard in the car’s in-vehicle infotainment system, and music and video files could be kept in one place. You could even stream different movies on each of the backseat screens to accommodate everyone in the family.

To see more of what your family road trips might look like in the future, visit www.intel.com/automotive.

Courtesy of BPT

Make the most of one’s living space


Is your living space a place for show, only utilized when you are entertaining? Living rooms, as their title suggests, should not only reflect who you are towards the outdoors world, but they should also be lived in. Here are some recommendations for getting your living space warm and inviting for visitors as well as functional and comfy for household members.

In case your living space is large, divide it into smaller locations through the positioning of furnishings. You would like the “conversation pit” to become cozy – a couch and loveseat and a couple of chairs close to a large cocktail table will seat many people, yet they’ll all have the ability to hear what the others are saying. A great place for household meetings as well as for entertaining. Make certain all seats are within reach of a table – someplace to arrange those drinks and chips!

Face the couch to an architectural focal level, something like a fireplace or a large window that looks out to your garden or even the city lights. If you don’t have an architectural component to work with, produce one by hanging large photos or a mural on a wall. This allows people to admire the artwork and it’s safer than hanging something large over the seating (especially in locations susceptible to earthquakes!). Hang cloth wall hangings or little photos on the wall behind the couch. Don’t, however, hang a mirror where people will see their reflection all of the time. Not everyone is thrilled by his or her picture.

If you divide your living space in two or 3 seating and/or eating locations, use rugs to outline the talking space, another beneath the eating table, and another space to exhibit the Buddha you brought back from Thailand, or a wall of bookcases that not only maintain your books but additionally display your assortment of antique toys. Area rugs work well, more than waxed hardwood floors or neutral, wall-to-wall Berber-style carpeting.

An ornamental space divider, like Japanese shoji screens, can be utilized to separate a large space right into a living space and a Tv space. In a smaller place, face the couch to a wall unit that holds the television – it’s certain to turn out to be a preferred gathering spot for the household.

The days of covering the “good” living space furnishings with plastic are over! Leather or even the new microfiber fabrics are simple to clean, look great, and can survive visitors, children, and pets. If the furnishings are in neutral colors, add colorful ornamental pillows. Remember to keep a couple of throw blankets close to stay cozy on cool nights.

In case your living space walls are painted in mild neutral shades, you’ll have the ability to change the furnishings and ornamental touches easily. Other ways to change the look of one’s living space are by including tall plants or a silk tree, a permanent flower assortment in a basket or tall vase, and even a fountain or little pond in a sufficiently large area.

Don’t overlook lighting! Floor lamps, especially in darkish corners, can brighten large locations, while desk lamps can provide good light for the preferred reading/knitting chair. An assortment of candles on the mantelpiece or a desk adds ambiance to your living space. Now go ahead, live inside your living space.

by: Amy Wells 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6822.shtml 

Road trip tips: How to plan a memorable vacation and save money



(BPT) – Americans enjoy the fun and relaxation of traveling: 77 percent of domestic trips are for leisure purposes, according to the U.S. Travel Association. If you want to vacation with friends or family, hitting the pavement for a road trip can’t be beat, and with a few money-saving tips and organization tricks, you’ll plan an awesome trip packed with memories.

Step 1: Get everyone on board

Planning a group-travel trip can be complicated when it comes to deciding on a destination. Start with a brainstorming session where everyone offers an idea of where he or she would like to go. Research different destinations and visit websites dedicated to travel, such as www.LiveLifeLocal.com. With a focus on car, RV, boat and motorcycle travel, the site makes it easy to search for fun locations – whether an hour or a day’s drive away. It’s a breeze to search by geography, vehicle and tags – for example, you can search for information on boating in the San Diego area, but designate only fishing-related posts. You’ll find valuable content from everyday users as well as authors and bloggers passionate about travel.

Step 2: Build an itinerary and save travel documents

Once everyone agrees on a location, it’s time to get organized. Whether camping or staying at a hotel, make reservations well ahead of time to avoid the seasonal rush. When you call, ask about available discounts. Many places offer deals to lure visitors and win your business. Whether you’re traveling locally or cross-country, create a folder and save all travel documents for easy access.

Step 3: Drive smart and slash gas costs

Getting there is half the fun of a road trip, but if you’re traveling a long distance, it can also mean expensive trips to fill the tank. Slash your gas costs with a few important tips. Start by only filling up in bigger towns – remote gas stations often have higher prices. Utilize your cruise control – it’s convenient plus it regulates gas usage. And remember to use air conditioning sparingly because it is a huge gas guzzler. Crack those windows and enjoy the breeze and open road.

Step 4: Create a meal plan

Eating out is one of the most expensive parts of traveling. Save cash by planning meals ahead of time. If you’re camping or staying in an RV, pack easy-to-cook foods like pasta, stew and canned vegetables. Then pack a cooler with basic necessities, like cold cuts, cheese and milk. A little forethought with food can mean hundreds of dollars in savings, plus it can be a lot of fun to cook in the great outdoors. If you’re staying at a hotel, you can still cut down on meal costs by packing bags of snacks and a small cooler with basics for breakfast or lunch. Plus, look for a hotel that offers free continental breakfast.

Step 5: Be a compact packer

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, the more you haul the more you’ll pay. Reduce how much you pack and you’ll reduce how hard your vehicle has to work to get it there, conserving on fuel. Pack what you need, but don’t go overboard – you can probably survive on two pairs of shoes rather than five. Pack multipurpose items, such as a coffee maker that also makes hot water for tea, and a sleeping bag that also works as a picnic blanket. Vacuum bags work well for bulky pillows and jackets to save space and provide you and your family a more comfortable ride.

No matter where you go, a few proactive steps and planning tricks will ensure you have an awesome vacation. Whether it’s your adventures on the road or the memories you make when you arrive at your destination, your time offers unlimited travel potential.

Courtesy of BPT