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There’s way more to fall than a new TV season and readily available Halloween candy. Especially in Los Angeles, when the city comes alive with incredible eats, cultural events and picture-perfect scenery. Consider this your autumnal agenda.

H.Wood Group

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1. It’s open only on Thursday nights but so worth fitting into your packed social schedule: Poppy is the new boîte noir on La Cienega that’s like a surrealist storybook come to life, with roving storytellers, sketch artists and people in mermaid costumes. Take it all in with one or two of the creative cocktails.

2. The Institute of Contemporary Art has relocated from Santa Monica to swank new digs (with a café and retail) downtown. See the fascinating Martin Ramirez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation, about the California émigré artist who was institutionalized (perhaps wrongly) for schizophrenia (through December 31).

3. Shop the new Fred Segal flagship at Sunset and La Cienega, where 22,000 square feet of shops-in-shop include Ralph Lauren’s Double RL, ready-to-wear brand Libertine and a space devoted to the CFDA, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the group that puts on the fall fashion shows in New York.

4. Beat the still-considerable heat with Swim Team, the new 45-minute full-body workout that has you swimming short laps, doing sit-ups using the pool edge and basically getting the toughest core workout ever to some fierce hip-hop beats (yep, waterproof, wireless headphones are involved). 

5. Feel all smarty-pants and see a Greek tragedy in the jaw-dropping Malibu amphitheater at the Getty Villa with Iphigenia in Aulis (through September 30).

Big Horse Corn Maze

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6. It’s harvest season; so why not bring the family along to get lost in the state’s largest corn maze? The Big Horse Corn Maze is an all-day farm affair in Temecula.

7. Plan a staycation at the new Dream Hollywood — dine downstairs at Beauty & Essex, then wake up to your choice of the Hollywood or DTLA skylines.

The Broad

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8. Be poised at noon on October 2 to get tickets to Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Broad. That’s because the trippy kaleidoscopic installations are so Instagram-friendly and beloved (by Adele, no less), they brought down the museum’s server when they first went on sale in September.

9. Any interiors enthusiasts out there? Discover trending paint colors, new collections of luxurious fabric and tips on capturing the glam of California’s manses in your own home at the PDC’s Fall Market (October 5), in which to-the-trade showrooms open their doors for panel discussions with noted decorators.

10. Beginning October 5 through Halloween, the hit horror podcast (and upcoming Amazon series) Lore comes to life as a scary interactive performance in which small groups are led though a darkened house in DTLA. Rooms contain the real-life inspirations behind vampires, changelings, werewolves, séances and possessed dolls — what’s not to freak out about love?

11. It’s not fall without a night at the Greek Theatre; we vote for Laurel Canyon resident Father John Misty, who’ll perform songs from his masterful Pure Comedy (October 13).

12. House tours! A-frame houses! Midcentury antiques sales! It’s all happening in Palm Springs’ Modernism Week Fall Preview, the weekend of October 19-22.

Heidi Duckler

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13. They dance atop library stacks, hillside bluffs and now at noon on October 24, the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre comes to Maguire Gardens in DTLA in a free homage to Edouard Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass.”

14. Want a more macabre take on Halloween? Embark on a Haunted Tales of Downtown Los Angeles tour that will take you up close and personal with the Chinatown Massacre of 1871, the L.A. Times bombing and the Black Dahlia murder.

15. Still waiting to nab Hamilton tix? Opt for the smart, silly musical parody Spamilton at the Kirk Douglas Theatre while while you wait for prices to go down (opens November 5).

16. Check out Dead Pilots Society, the stage version of the popular podcast about unproduced television series. We’re excited to see Patton Oswalt star in Red State, Blue State, written by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman) and Chris Henchy (The Campaign, The Other Guys). It’s at the intimate Largo at the Coronet theater (Nov. 12).

17. They pioneered dance-punk. They were Grammy nominated. They produced a workout tape for Nike. They broke up. Now LCD Soundsystem’s back together and better than ever with a five-night residency beginning November 17 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Seven Magic Mountains

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18. Take that road trip you’ve been meaning to do to the Nevada desert, just outside Las Vegas, to see Seven Magic Mountains, the fluorescent rocks art piece by Ugo Rondinone nearing the end of its two-year installation in 2018.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Tagged: California, Destinations

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Hawaiian Airlines has announced a major sale. Like, major. LAX flights direct to Oahu, Maui or Kauai start at $229 one way (that’s less than $500 round trip). So book travel through September 30 for shoulder season (January 10 to March 22) and then start planning your getaway with these cost-cutting — but still fab — itineraries.

RELATED: Here’s how to see Hawaii for less

Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

Oahu

Why: It’s the new hipster destination, with a revitalized arts district in Waikiki and major wellness tourism thanks to the island’s mana (healing spirit). Also, there are killer waterfalls.

What Not to Miss? Meditate on the site of a 16th-century heiau (temple) and visit a mysterious cave on the leeward side of the island where legend says man was created. Oh, and be sure to explore the Waimea Valley (a sort of waterfall-laced North Shore version of colonial Williamsburg, except for the fact that it’s appealing).

Thrifty Spot to Stay? The Courtyard Waikiki Beach has partial ocean view rooms for $215 per night — including your own balcony.

Christian Joudrey/Unsplash

Maui

Why: A little something for everyone, including a gazillion microclimates (high desert to tropical lowlands) and a lot of sporty action.

What Not to Miss: Driving the Hana Highway, 64 miles of roadside waterfalls and thrilling cliffside switchbacks.

Thrifty Spot to Stay? The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa has suites that sleep four and start at $370 per night in early 2018 (that’s less than $100 per person). The hotel has a vacation’s worth of free entertainments from taro pounding to the iconic cliff dive ceremony (splashing nightly since 1963). There’s also a ukulele lender program, where guests can borrow ukuleles and get free lessons.

Casey Allen/Unsplash

Kauai

Why: It’s the Garden Island, which means miles of dramatic jungles with perfect hiking trails cut into cliffsides.

What Not to Miss: The feeling of pre-touristed Hawaii, from the wild chickens on random little sandy beaches to driving the many one-lane bridges on the North Shore.

Thrifty Place to Stay? You can nab a two-room suite (with its own dine-in kitchen) for $209 per night at the centrally located (and recently remodeled) Plantation Hale Suites.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Tagged: Destinations, Hawaii

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Affordable luxury? We’re listening! The following advice will help you travel like a rock star while stretching your dollar further. Looking for even more ways to save? Book hotels and airfare at CheapTickets.com.

Whether you have the money to vacation like a rock star or not, traveling is all about the experience. And while there are plenty of travelers out there who can afford blow-out vacations (we’re looking at you, Chrissy Teigen and Pippa Middleton), some of the most seasoned explorers know you can have a life-changing experience without draining your savings account.

Here are a few tips from the professionals on how to get the most value — from dollars saved to experience points earned — out of your vacation.

Find out where the locals eat.

That stylish restaurant/lounge in your lobby may be calling your name, but Christina Pedroni, senior vice president of Liberty Travel, recommends always venturing outside of your hotel if you’re looking to save money. Dining off-site, she noted, also adds an air of authenticity to a vacation.

“One of my best tips for customers is to speak to hotel staff and find out what their favorite local restaurants are,” she told Travel + Leisure. “I have received some of the best recommendations from hotel bartenders. Finding that local gem gets you an amazing meal without the premium hotel restaurant prices.”

Spend happy hour wisely.

While five-star accommodations may not be in the budget for a long vacation, you can still dabble in luxury by visiting an upscale venue around cocktail hour time, advises actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy.

“If staying in an apartment or cheap hotel, I’ll slip into the fanciest hotel around at cocktail hour and order a $20 sparking water and have a great time basking in how the other half lives, and eating the free pretzels and chips — then I’m always glad to leave and get back to the real people,” he told T+L.

Know when to fly.

The founder of The Luxury Travel Expert, who goes by “Xavier,” says that by traveling when business season slows down, you may be able to score business class airfare for an economy price. He explained that during school holidays, airlines struggle to fill their business class seats as the demand for economy booms. Watching airfare and deals around those times could be the ticket for an upgraded flight without the added cost.

“British Airways had a sale a couple of months ago in which transatlantic business class seats for summer 2017 were offered at the same price as economy class tickets,” he said. “So subscribe to the newsletter of your favorite airlines, and don’t ignore the business class sales. If you are traveling with family or a companion, you should keep an eye out for 2-for-1 business class sales that are occasionally launched by some airlines for a limited time only.”

Jack Ezon, owner of Ovation Vacations, added that timing your flight bookings either well ahead of time or at the last minute can result in savings.

“Booking way ahead, as in one year, allows you to take advantage of early booking bonuses,” Ezon said. “On the other hand, booking last minute, as in one to 15 days prior, gives you leverage to negotiate rates on leftover space. Of course, this means you have limited options, but it can save you big.”

Think about amenities before booking a hotel.

When selecting your hotels, comparing your needs with amenities is an easy way to save money, Pedroni says.

“Not all ratings — or hotel properties — are created equal. In Europe, a five-star rating often indicates a set of hotel features such as a fine dining restaurant, spa, pool, etc. It is not solely based upon the quality of the room and service,” she said.

When booking a stay in Europe or a city, she advises considering a smaller three- or four-star hotel that excels at what you many consider a luxury experience: a large comfortable room with plush furnishings, a great location, and stellar personal service. For a beach vacation, she said to prioritize your desires and book accordingly.

“If you plan on eating and drinking to your heart’s content, all-inclusive will be the best value. For those who prefer a nicer hotel and enjoy getting out and exploring and dining in the destination, an EP hotel would be best,” she said. “Lastly, for those looking to relax in plush accommodations who don’t mind doing a bit of cooking and cocktail making on their own, check out villa-style accommodations for the best value.”

Always visit the local tourism office.

“They know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. Use this resource,” said Matthew Kepnes, founder of the travel blog Nomadic Matt.

He also added that asking local hotel/hostel staff for recommendations on free or budget-friendly things to do will add to your experience.

“They deal with budget travelers all day, every day. They know exactly where to go for cheap meals and attractions,” he said.

Travel to emerging destinations.

Trending travel destinations are popular — and expensive — for good reason. However, choosing an up-and-coming destination can allow you to save big on travel without compromising too much on luxury.

“A few countries… on my radar to visit in the near future, before the crowds — and with that a rise of room rates — are: Cuba, Iran, Madagascar, and Mongolia,” Xavier said.

Two words: shoulder season.

Ezon said to look at shoulder seasons for viable vacation opportunities. While traveling in the off season can mean exploring some places in the bitter cold or dodging hurricanes, shoulder season usually has similar weather and experiences to peak season, he said.

“There are amazing values to be had during this time. For example, you can snag a room at one of the best five-star hotels in St. Barts for €800/night in mid December for the same room that sells for nearly €3,000/night one week later,” Ezon said.

However, Pedroni adds that off-season travel is worth considering as well, as it may save you even more money and give you more time to experience a place without waiting in lines and dealing with crowds.

“If your schedule allows, avoid holiday weeks and popular long weekends. Your dollar will go farther when avoiding the high-volume travel times. Because you are traveling off-peak, there will be less crowds at the iconic cultural sites, giving you almost a VIP experience,” she said.

Stay at a new hotel.

New hotels are looking for customers and reviews, said Xavier, and will do whatever it takes to get you to book a stay — sometimes even allowing you to negotiate your own price.

“That’s one of the travel tricks that I have been using for years. I always try to stay at luxury hotels that just opened to make use of their opening offers to lure guests,” he said.

This article was written by Emily Cappiello from Travel & Leisure and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Off-season, Tips & advice

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Solo, group or romantic travel with your sig other? However you decide to go, travel smarter and cheaper by booking hotels and airfare through CheapTickets.com.
 
Making friends can be hard. In true 21st-century fashion, technology can be used to ease the process. See how an app can help create meaningful friendships, and hear about one of its success stories. 

Solo travel is not for everyone. Personally, I am more likely to enjoy a trip when I am not shouldering the burden of navigating and communicating in a foreign place. The pressure to avoid getting lost and staying safe stresses me out, and I find myself being much less adventurous and daring when I have no one else to rely on to keep things moving smoothly.

That being said, it doesn’t keep me from booking. Case in point: I had a random week off this past spring, and found a super cheap round trip flight to Mexico City on the low-cost Mexican airline Volaris. I had to book it. I was settling into my uneasiness over the prospect of a week alone when it dawned on me to reach out to Alex.

alex at palace

Alex at Chapultepec Castle.  Photo by Tess Chapin.

I met Alex on an app called Hey! VINA. This past fall, after I graduated from college and spent the summer in Central Asia, it looked like I’d be home in NYC for the foreseeable future. I was feeling lonely and frustrated with my social situation. I literally Googled “how to make new friends in NYC” and realized that this is an issue many young people struggle with. How do we make meaningful interpersonal connections in a world increasingly full of impersonal interactions? I read about the app’s mission to help women develop supportive, inspiring female friendships by geographic location. Kind of like Tinder for friends, there are profiles and swipes to advance friend dates.

I downloaded the app and felt a bit awkward and embarassed about it. But the constant stream of dynamic, interesting, and friendly women opening themselves up to the virtual community was compelling.

After texting for a few weeks, Alex and I got together for frozen margaritas and Mexican food one cold November night in NYC. We hung out for hours, both surprised at how well we clicked. We continued to get together, going out, trying new restaurants, and texting weekly. Little did we know we would be hanging out on the streets of Mexico City a few months later. Alex was totally game. She booked a ticket on my flight — and we started planning our adventure. Alex has since moved to Spain, but we keep in touch — and are planning a trip to Asia in the near future.

ditto

The Takeaway

This app is great for the modern woman seeking to expand her social circle to like-minded peers. Use it to find friends to grab coffee with, or to grab a flight to a different continent. The possibilities are endless.

Get It

Download for free on iTunes, and check out the other content produced by the VINA team at vina.io.  An Android version of the app is coming soon. 

 

This article was written by Tess Chapin from Fathom and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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If you love going on vacation, but dread the planning, you’re missing out on all the fun. Seriously, according to a recent survey, pre-trip planning is often the happiest part of vacationing. Who knew? Planners, that’s who!

RELATED: How to travel cheap when you’re not in your 20s anymore

From choosing where to go to packing your bags, the best vacations start with good planning. Sure, you can’t control everything (and probably wouldn’t want to), so think of pre-trip planning as the map that will help you get there and back with the least amount of stress. Here’s how non-planners can help ensure smooth travels while saving money and still allowing for free-spirited fun.

Delegate travel arrangements

Some credit card companies, like American Express, and membership programs, such as AARP, offer free travel planning to help you get the best deal on travel arrangements and manage the planning process. Alternatively, you can share the responsibility of making travel arrangements by delegating part of the planning to your traveling companions.

Get the best deals

Be prepared to spend top dollar to go to popular destinations during peak seasons. Book with CheapTickets.com to make sure you’re getting the best deals available, and then consider scheduling your trip to coincide with shoulder seasons when airfares and hotel prices are considerably lower. Booking your vacation as a package deal is a good way to reduce the cost.

Even better for non-planners? Book an all-inclusive getaway that simplifies your travel planning while also allowing you to budget for expenses more easily. If you decide at the last minute that you want a quick getaway, consider booking weekday versus weekend travel for better availability and better deals. When booking a room directly, always ask: Is there a discount available?

ALSO: Unpack major hotel savings with CheapCash—here’s how!

Pack like a boss

What do you need/want to bring with you? Make a packing list that includes daily vitamins and meds, sleepwear, underwear and socks, toothbrush, phone charger and other essentials. Star or highlight items you need to buy such as a new bathing suit, travel-size toiletries or packing aids.

Speaking of making packing easy, VELCRO® Brand fasteners come in handy for a variety of packing needs. Wrap your chargers and power cords together and secure them with a VELCRO® Brand One-Wrap Strap. You can also use VELCRO® Brand tape and fasteners to attach your luggage tag, bundle clothing inside your suitcase or create a custom travel bag that organizes your essentials.

Avoid overpacking by limiting footwear and choosing clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Maximize space in your suitcase by stuffing small items inside shoes, rolling your clothing in bundles and by planning to wear your jacket and heaviest shoes, rather than packing them. Leave valuable jewelry at home.

Get the inside scoop

Before booking your lodgings, whether it’s a hotel or house rental, make sure to read reviews from travelers who have been there so you’re prepared for your arrival. Start an itinerary by looking up “top 10 things to do” at your destination and bookmarking your favorites. If there are popular activities that you know you want to do for sure, try purchasing tickets in advance, especially if availability is limited. Once you arrive, ask locals about their favorite things to do. You might learn about some hidden gems!

Donna Smallin Kuper is organizing guru and the author of a dozen bestselling books on decluttering. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna shares some insightful ways to organize your life, from using VELCRO® Brand hook and loop fasteners to hold your chargers in place in your suitcase to separating your clothes in individual bags. Click here to see VELCRO® Brand fastener options.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Flights, Off-season, Seasonal, Tips & advice

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman's Day.
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Living out of a suitcase for a week—or even longer—is not as hard as you might think. Seasoned travelers will tell you that the secret is not just what you pack, but how you pack it.

The best part is you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy packing cubes, high-tech luggage or other packing aids. Here are seven proven strategies that will bring out your inner road warrior.

RELATED: 8 tips for flying with a baby or a toddler

  1. Make a packing list

Start a list of things to pack and keep it handy so you can add to it easily as you think of things. Be sure to include some of the most often forgotten items, such as daily vitamins and medications, sleepwear, underwear, socks, toothbrushes and phone chargers.

Plan your wardrobe based on anticipated activities, such as business meetings or special events. Draw seven columns on a piece of paper for your seven days (or more columns for more days) of travel. What activities will you engage in each day? Do you plan to work out? Maybe relax in the hotel hot tub? Make a note to bring “x” sets of gym clothing or a bathing suit.

  1. Simplify your wardrobe

Consider simplifying your life with a travel “uniform,” which could be several pairs of black dress pants to wear with different colored tops. That way, you only need to bring black shoes. Compress neat stacks of clothing with suitcase straps or, for a tighter fit that will keep everything together, use VELCRO Brand straps to maximize space.

Avoid overpacking by limiting footwear and choosing clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits or layered for warmth. Only bring items of clothing you can wear more than once (unless it’s for a special occasion), and consider wearing the same jewelry every day.

  1. Maximize space

Maximize space in your suitcase by rolling versus folding clothing. (This is something you can even do at home to save drawer space.) Stuff small items, such as socks and belts, inside shoes.

Travel Space Bags help to save space by compressing clothing, especially bulkier items like sweaters. Place items inside the bag, roll out the air and seal it. Bring a spare bag to keep your dirty laundry separate from clean clothes and make a little extra room in your suitcase to bring home a souvenir or two. For a long-term solution, organize and secure small items with homemade travel pouches attached to the inside of your suitcase with VELCRO Brand fasteners for easy removal.

On travel days, wear or carry your coat, sweater or wrap. “Pack” your scarf, hat or gloves in your coat pockets or sleeves, and wear your heaviest shoes.

ALSO: Don’t leave home without CheapCash—earn on hotels with every flight!

  1. Minimize creases and wrinkles

It’s best to bring clothing that resists wrinkling. However, there’s a little trick that helps prevent dress shirts, pants and suit coats from wrinkling—pack them inside plastic dry-cleaning bags. Lay the bag flat and then insert items into the bag. Fold clothing lengthwise in thirds and then in half. Pack these on top of everything else.

To remove any wrinkles that do occur (and to freshen clothing for a second wearing), bring a small spray bottle of wrinkle releaser with your toiletries. Lay the item of clothing on the bed and lightly spritz the fabric. Alternate between smoothing the fabric with the palm of your hand and pulling the fabric taut in both directions, then hang it up until it’s completely dry.

  1. Contain yourself

Eliminate the need to rummage through your suitcase by packing smaller items such as underwear in clear plastic sealable bags. Use the same technique to store cables and chargers for your electronics.

Here’s an inexpensive trick to keep cords from tangling: Wrap them with VELCRO Brand reusable ties. These are also the easiest way to neatly wrap cords for your hair dryer or flat iron. If you decide to bring delicate necklaces, you can prevent the chains from tangling by threading them through straws and fastening the chain on the other end.

Bring only the toiletries you will need in the smallest size containers possible. Purchase a set of travel bottles in various shapes and sizes with labels. Pour from your full-size containers the amount of product you’ll need for a week, or whatever the length of your trip. Label your containers and place in a sealed plastic bag.

  1. Know before you go

What amenities will be available to you? For example, if you’ll have access to a washer and dryer, and think you’ll need to do a load of laundry, pack a detergent with fabric softener pod.

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before packing. Check it again before leaving so you can add or remove any last-minute items if necessary.

  1. Settle in when you arrive

Unpack upon arrival at your destination. Hang up clothing, set out your shoes and move your toiletries into the bathroom. Settle in and make yourself at home for the duration of your trip.

Donna Smallin Kuper, an organizing maven and author, is currently writing for The Home Depot and other publications. Donna loves to travel and give extremely useful tips for living on the road, including using VELCRO® Brand fasteners to organize your suitcase. Check out the hook and loop fastener selection at The Home Depot.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Tips & advice

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman's Day.
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Growing up doesn’t mean growing out of your wanderlust, it just means making smarter decisions. One piece of advice worth considering: Find budget-conscious airfare, hotels, car rentals and activities at CheapTickets.com.

Maybe you never got to take that gap year back in the day, but now that you’ve got some life experience under your belt, you’re ready to take time off and do the whole wanderlust thing. So…how exactly do you travel without bunking in a hostel next to rowdy 18-year-old study-abroad students or blowing your savings account? Here’s everything a grown-up traveler needs to know.

 

Twenty20

Research, Research, Research
We’re not saying you need to have a complete itinerary down to the hour, but planning in advance means you can shop around for good rates, read reviews to get a sense of which places are grown-up-friendly and account for any pricier activities you might want to do (like museum admissions or an overnight boat tour).

Choose Your Destination Wisely
It may seem obvious, but figuring out where your money will go farthest is key. That’s not to say to avoid more expensive places entirely; just be conscious that the cost of two weeks in Norway might be two months in Vietnam.

Set a Budget
If you’re able to take off for more than just a week or two (lucky you), try to sketch out a rough budgeting plan: how much you can spend each day and still be comfortable. Then let that guide your priorities. You may decide that you’re willing to be thrifty on accommodations if it means staying abroad longer — or you may realize a slightly shorter trip is entirely worth it if it means a private place to sleep every night.

Bargain Like a Pro
Outside of hotels and hostels, you can usually negotiate the price of lodging — particularly during low seasons. As a responsible “older” traveler, you’ll be more appealing to hosts on Airbnb or other home-rental sites (and thus more likely to talk them into a deal).

Columbia Pictures

Take the Long Way
If you’ll be moving around to multiple places, keep in mind that the slower forms of transport are usually the cheapest. But sometimes trains and buses take you through beautiful or fascinating areas you’d never otherwise see — for as low as a few bucks. (We can’t guarantee you’ll be sitting next to Ethan Hawke, though.) 

Maximize Your Money
Do not, we repeat, do not get cash at those airport currency exchange kiosks — they notoriously have the worst exchange rates. Your best bet is withdrawing directly from the ATM. Better yet, get a debit card that reimburses all international ATM fees. (Side note: It’s always good to have $100 in USD socked away in case of emergency.)

Twenty20

Get Cooking
Sure, bouncing from restaurant to restaurant is a pretty great way to spend a vacation, but it can add up fast. If you’re staying in one place for a few days, try to find lodging with a kitchen and aim to cook at least a few meals at home. (You will survive without a fancy breakfast, we promise.) Bonus: Hitting up the neighborhood market is a great way to get some insight into the local culture.

Don’t Fear Hostels
Yes, some of them are filled with spring breakers who haven’t stopped drinking since they left American soil. But others are filled with like-minded, sensible travelers just looking for an affordable place to sleep. A few guidelines: Seek out places with reviews from other older folks, look for rooms of four bunks or less and avoid booking the absolute cheapest option (which tends to attract the partiers).

But Know When to “Splurge”
One of the perks of being a grown-ass woman is having the means (and the sense) to prioritize your well-being. And if that means shelling out for a nicer rental for a few days — or sleeping in instead of sightseeing — go for it.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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It’s hard enough to keep your family organized at home. Hitting the road makes it even more challenging when you add in frequent stops, hotel stays and nonstop activities. But with a little pre-planning and a few family-tested tips, you can keep the chaos to a minimum. Here’s what to bring on your next vacation, what to leave at home and how to pack up the family roadster to help ensure smooth travels.

RELATED: 6 family-friendly trips to take over Memorial Day

Pack with a Minimalist Mindset

Waiting until the last minute to pack is a surefire way to forget something important like clean underwear or the charger for your phone. You’re also more likely to over pack, so get started as early as possible.

One week or more before departure, start a “Don’t Forget to Pack” list and add to it as you think of things, including anything needed for planned activities. Check the weather forecast for your destination before packing and double-check it again the day before.
Bring clothing that is versatile. Select outfits that you can dress up or down and layer, as well as separates that you can wear as part of more than one outfit. Leave behind clothes you never wear at home; you probably won’t wear them on vacation, either. You should also leave valuable jewelry at home as a safety precaution.

Here’s a nifty trick for packing children’s clothing: Assemble small bundles that make up a complete outfit. If your children are very small, you can place each outfit inside a gallon-sized re-sealable bag and write your child’s name on it.

Organize the Junk in the Trunk

Whether you’re hitting the road in a minivan, SUV or sedan, you’re going to need plenty of room for suitcases and other gear. Clean out your trunk before loading it up for your vacation.

Just because you can bring more when traveling by car doesn’t mean you should. Consider limiting each family member to one suitcase for clothing. What else will you be bringing along? A cooler, perhaps? Beach gear? Bicycle helmets? Organize all these extras in cube storage baskets with handles that make it easy to grab and go. Or, invest in a folding car trunk organizer—a handy item to have for both vacation and everyday use.

ALSO: Fuel your trip with Orbitz Rewards—it’s free to join!

BYO Food and Beverages

The cost of eating out quickly adds up. A big advantage to taking a road trip with your family versus flying is that you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of your vacation by bringing some of your own food and beverages or purchasing them from a supermarket at your destination.

Bringing food and drinks not only saves money, but it’s also far more convenient to reach into a bag or cooler for a snack or cold drink than to stop at a restaurant along the drive. Consider packing cereals, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, veggies, nuts, granola bars and even microwave popcorn. Keep prepackaged and non-refrigerated snacks in a small, open storage bin in the backseat for easy access in the car. You can easily grab the bin and take it with you when you head into your hotel.

Be Prepared

Pack a small first aid kit just in case. Don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen, aloe vera (to treat the inevitable sunburn) and mosquito repellent. Reusable shopping bags double as beach bags and dirty laundry bags. If you plan to do laundry while you’re away, fill a small plastic zippered bag with detergent pods and another with fabric dryer sheets and toss it in your luggage.

While GPS will get you where you’re going, a paper map makes it easier to plan your entire route. Free mapping services are available to AAA and other automobile club members. The other option is to buy a good road map and use a highlighting pen to mark your intended route. Plus, paper maps often point out picnic areas and rest stops you otherwise might have missed.
Happy travels!

Author of several best-selling books on decluttering Donna Smallin Kuper is a professional organizer who writes for The Home Depot. Donna will help you organize your car in preparation for a long road trip, by using organizing accessories such as storage cubes and plastic bags.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family, Types of Travel

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Donna Smallin Kuper | Home Depot

Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman's Day.
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Yes, you can stay active and healthy on vacation and still enjoy a poolside cocktail or two, and no, it’s not as punishing and difficult as you might imagine. The advice below provides a friendly reminder that you’re never more than a simple stretch or two away from an active getaway. Speaking of getting away, book your next healthy vacation at CheapTickets.com.

How many vacations start with the best of intentions and end up with a week’s worth of regret? You start out hopeful: I’ll finally have the time to work out like I’ve always wanted to; I can actually focus on eating well. But one poolside margarita turns into a no-shower happy hour, and the next thing you know, you’ve spent the whole week lounging around, indulging a little too much, and abandoning your best-laid plans for a healthier getaway.

These days, there’s no reason your vacation can’t serve as both an escape from the 9-to-5 and an opportunity to jumpstart some healthier habits. Sure, there are plenty of pre-planned fitness and wellness retreats out there to choose from, but if you’re on your own, there are also a bunch of easy and affordable ways to hack it yourself. We asked top experts for their travel fitness tips, so you can make the most out of your vacation and return home feeling better (not more bloated) than before you left.

1. Consider Your Company

An active vacation calls for like-minded people. Are your college friends more into gin than the gym? Skip them this time. Is your S.O. more into fast runs than fast food? Bring them along. Does your mom love a Wild-style hike? Make it a bonding trip. “Planning an active trip with a gang of travelers who are equally keen to both exercise and explore is a great way to get moving,” says Maria Eilersen, spokesperson for Topdeck, a travel company that designs epic trips for 18- to 30-somethings. “You’ll feed off their energy and keep each other motivated. With a bit of creativity, it won’t feel like a chore: Opt to walk around instead of taking public transport — that’s when you stumble across a city’s hidden gems— or make it your mission to climb every staircase in an urban neighborhood to find out which one has the best view.”

Can’t coordinate a crew? Go alone. Seriously. You will be so pleasantly surprised at how enlightening and empowering solo travel can be. Taking a trip in which you invest in your body, health, and mind will leave you feeling renewed, refreshed, and ready to take on whatever real life has to throw at you when you return.

2. Set Yourself Up for Success

With more and more people foregoing the typical week-away for a runcation, fitness retreat, or post-marathon moon, hotels, resorts, and even airlines are all catering to healthy-minded travelers. So if you want to make fitting fitness into your trip easy, consider the amenities of your accommodations.

Westin, a pioneer in healthy travel, offers concierges for a variety of activities, including running, tennis, golf, yoga, Zumba, cycling, and hiking at select locations. The chain has also partnered with New Balance to lend guests workout gear for a small fee (so you won’t return home with a suitcase full of smelly clothes) and Peloton to offer guests access to indoor cycling bikes. “If you’re not looking for a retreat, and you’re just looking to travel, we want to help you not lose the routine you have at home,” says Chris Heuisler, a RunWESTIN concierge.

Similarly, Hilton hotels have partnered with Wattbike indoor cycling bikes to up their fitness offerings this year. Want to bust out of the hotel? Select Kimpton hotels offer PUBLIC bikes for guests to cruise around on, and Priority bikes supplies fleets to a variety of hotels and resorts. New and improved offerings like this allow you to shake things up. “Repeating the same workout every day can become mundane and methodical,” says Jodi Sullivan, Hilton Worldwide’s senior director of global fitness. Making sure you have what you need to prioritize exercise is key. “Or if exercising outdoors motivates you, take a long walk and explore your travel destination,” Sullivan says.

3. Get Up Early

You know how vacation goes: The days can get away from you. And while there are plenty of ways to incorporate activity on a trip (walking around all day, playing on the beach, etc.), if exercise is important to you, get it done first thing. “If you look at the time frame between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., that is the exact time when someone feels like they have the most control over their day,” Heuisler says. Making sure you fit in some exercise—even if it’s just a morning walk or some yoga—is your chance to start the day off on the right foot.

Not a morning person? Why not take this time to test it out and get up an hour earlier? “If you know you’re setting your alarm for 5 a.m., you’re probably going to pass up that nightcap,” Heuisler says. “And after that workout, I guarantee you won’t regret waking up early. Whatever it is, you won’t regret it.” Besides, if you really can’t roll out of bed, you can always hit snooze. There’s no office to run to while you’re on vacation, but at least you gave it the old college try.

4. Find a Healthyish Balance

Checking exercise off the list early means you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want, whether that’s exploring a new city or hanging poolside with a good book. A proper vacation is a time to give your body what it needs most — including that glass of wine. “Incorporating an active element into your vacation is not about weight loss but more about well-being — as well as way to not feel guilty about all the local food you’ll want to try!” Eilersen says.

It’s important to find balance in all areas of your trip, even the schedule. “Don’t kick yourself if you’re not a big fan of planning,” Eilersen says. “There’s no shame in outsourcing it! Let someone else deal with the headache of organizing the best accommodation, but remember to leave some time for spontaneity. Whether you’re getting tips from locals or other travelers you meet on the road, you’ll want to keep an open mind and some flexibility in your itinerary to allow for those impromptu decisions that lead to lifelong memories.”

5. Don’t Forget the Retreat Part

Let’s be real: A “fitness retreat” is just a fancy way to describe a trip or vacation that incorporates activity and some R&R. The retreat part can be as indulgent or as reasonable as you like. Thinking big? Spoil yourself with a spa treatment or an excursion like visiting natural hot springs. On a budget? It can be as simple as trying a few minutes of meditation each morning or packing a suitcase masseuse (a.k.a. a foam roller) like Heuisler does. “It’s like dental floss for your muscles,” he says. The whole point is to unwind and de-stress.

Heuisler also has a rule to never raise his heart rate while he travels. “Late taxi to the airport, plane is delayed, bag doesn’t show up, whatever it is, it will get there,” he says. “It offers me my own sense of peace and mindfulness. If you’re going on a trip, take a deep breath when you leave the door — most things are out of your control now anyway,” he says.

This article was written by Molly Ritterbeck from Greatist and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Tagged: Tips & advice

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Chicago is our kind of town anytime of year, but especially in summer when locals make a mad dash for the city’s beaches, outdoor cafes and lakefront path and transform the entire town into one giant urban playground. Do the City of Big Shoulders exactly like its residents and don’t forget to book hotels and airfare at CheapTickets.com.

Sometimes, the best city to visit is your own. You get to look at your hometown with fresh eyes AND you have all the insider intel to tour it like a pro. From the skyscrapers to the comedy scene, this is how we do Chicago better than the tourists.

 

Scott Thompson

Instead of Willis Tower Skydeck: Cocktails at The Signature Lounge

Yes, Willis Tower goes ten stories higher than the Hancock, but the latter’s got the edge in terms of wait time. Skip the lines and grab a cocktail at The Signature Lounge on the Hancock’s 95th floor. Along with your time, you’ll save yourself some money. (Skydeck admission is $23; a drink at The Signature Room runs $10 to $15.) And definitely excuse yourself to powder your nose, because the view from the women’s bathroom is one of the best in the city.

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Instead of Second City: TJ & Dave at iO

Shoot west of Second City on North Avenue and continue on to iO (formally Improv Olympic). It’s here that T.J. Jagodowski (that guy from those hilarious Sonic commercials) and Dave Pasquesi (basically a Chicago theater icon) perform their long-running, entirely improvised show every Wednesday night. For an hour, they roll deep into a variety of characters, plots and subplots, which all interconnect in wild and hilarious ways. You will be awestruck. Guaranteed.

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Instead of Chicago Architecture Tour: Chicago Water Taxi


Save money, skip the crowds and see a piece of the Chicago River we bet you haven’t. How? Take the Water Taxi from downtown to Chinatown. You’ll disembark at Ping Tom Memorial Park, where dim sum at Ming Hin and sesame bubble tea from Joy Yee’s await. If you’re really dying to know all the lore behind Marina Towers, download an audio tour here.

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Instead of The Bean: The Bean at Night (Yep)

OK, Cloud Gate is actually pretty cool. But good luck trying to get a photobomb-free shot of it during the day. Come back after sunset, when the crowds are smaller and the city lights bounce off it in some pretty amazing ways. While you’re out there, wander south to Michigan and Roosevelt for a shot of Agora, a staggering assembly of 106 headless iron figures.

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Instead of Navy Pier Fireworks: Neighborhood Fireworks

Shhhh, you can actually see Navy Pier’s free Wednesday and Saturday night fireworks even better from Montrose Beach up north. Grab your crew and a picnic. On the Fourth of July, you’d be remiss to skip the massive displays put on by residents around Winnemac Park in Ravenswood.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Tagged: Chicago