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You. Your car. And the open road. There’s nothing quite like an all-American road trip. Whether you’re traveling thousands of miles from skyline to coastline or a few hours for a quick rendezvous, being prepared is key. Between the chaos of organizing your itinerary, packing your bags and everything in between, it’s easy to overlook planning for your actual time in the car. Below are some simple tips to help make sure your adventure is less about the destination and more about the smooth, care-free journey.

RELATED: This is the California beach road trip you’ve always dreamed about

Prep your car

This one might seem obvious, but beyond topping off the gas, you’ll want to make sure your car is in top shape to take on the bumps and curves of unfamiliar territory. It’s a good idea to get a fresh oil change and routine checkup (ensure tires are properly inflated, windshield wipers work, etc.). Plus, if unexpected surprises happen along the way, knowing how to jump start your car or change a tire can easily save the day.

Prep an emergency kit

Pack a generous emergency kit filled with water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, batteries and extra phone chargers. Flares are helpful, too, just in case you have to pull to the side of the road. Be sure to also toss in a few blankets and pillows in case you have to do some last-minute car camping.

Gather your documents

This is also an ideal time to make sure your car’s registration and insurance is up to date. Double check to see if you have adequate coverage and make adjustments as needed. Get familiar with your insurance company’s roadside assistance program—many include towing. Look for coverage that will help you get out of a jam if anything happens along the way. It may come in handy if you break down in a not-so-great area. Once you’ve got your insurance set, print out your ID cards or have them ready on your smartphone. Heads up: Some states don’t accept electronic ID cards as proof of insurance, so it’s smart to have a paper copy.

ALSO: Earn CheapCash on select flights, use it toward hotels—it’s that easy!

Download the best apps

Your smartphone is a wealth of knowledge. Use it! You can navigate your entire trip through GPS or Google maps, but if you’re headed to a rural or mountainous area, be sure to download your map so you can use it offline: Just search for your destination on the map and then tap the name or address of the place, select “download” and voila! Another great option for road warriors is a travel app like CheapTickets—book last minute hotels or even activities in destinations along the way, with just a few taps. Plus, sign up for CheapCash and you can earn rewards on select flights that you can use toward your next hotel, right in the app. Plus, you can stay in the know with real-time updates. And while technology is great, it’s always smart to pack a paper map, just in case. No cell phone service could mean no directions … and that would be no good.

Load up on healthy snacks

We’ve all been there. You’re driving along when suddenly hunger strikes. It may be tempting to pop into the nearest convenience store or zip through a fast food restaurant, but a lot of times, that means extra time, money, calories and the much dreaded road-trip gut rot. Save time by saving any major stops for lunch or dinner when you need to take a real break. The best snacks to pack are non-perishable, easy-to-transport items like trail mix, nuts or pretzels. If you have room for a cooler, toss in a few bottles of water, fruit or cheese. Remember to grab napkins and hand sanitizer and you’ll be set.

Tune your playlist

Every epic road trip needs a great soundtrack, right? There are plenty of “car-inspired” songs out there, but assemble a playlist with tunes that you know your passengers will love, too. If you’re heading somewhere warm, maybe reggae or tropical tunes will get you in the mood. Or if you find yourself on a bunch of dirt roads, try some country. There are always podcasts, audio books or comedy channels if you get sick of music. Try downloading some of these to your smartphone beforehand so you can still listen to them if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and lose your coveted cell signal. And if nothing else, you can always usually count on the radio to offer, well, something.

Finally, hit the road!

Your bags are packed, the car is ready and it’s time to take on the open road. Go confidently knowing you’ve got everything covered. Happy travels!

Alicia Liken is a senior copywriter at Esurance, writing about all things related to auto insurance. She spent most of her career in the Detroit advertising community before making the move to Chicago and most recently, San Francisco. She’s road tripped all over the United States but her favorite excursion will always be Michigan to Florida in the spring.  



Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family, Tips & advice, Types of Travel

Alicia Liken

Alicia Liken

Alicia is a senior copywriter at Esurance, writing about all things related to auto insurance. She spent most of her career in the Detroit advertising community before making the move to Chicago and most recently, San Francisco. She’s road tripped all over the United States but her favorite excursion will always be Michigan to Florida in the spring.
Alicia Liken

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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 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.


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.


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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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.





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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 Home Depot, picnic, tailgating, RV
Great fun happens on a tailgate—especially if you don’t take a detour into the land of too many chores.

After all, as lovers of RVs we know that when your home travels with you, so does some of the work you do at home. Since you’ve looked forward to chilling out and having a great time on your trip, anything you can do in advance to make life on the road easier is a plus.

Getting organized before leaving home is one way to maximize the fun parts of your time away. With some before-you-go tips and tools, you can plan on a clean and organized tailgate.

RELATED: The 5 coolest ways to watch football on a cruise

Home Depot, cleaning, tailgating, RV

Start out clean
It’s just the simple truth—starting out with a clean RV makes everything easier. You’ll have clean spaces to sleep, eat and bathe in, and you’ll be ready to share those spaces with company. Plus, you don’t want to arrive at the fun and have to start cleaning. Do a deep-clean before you leave so you’re ready to enjoy the game as soon as you get there.

To get the most done in the fastest time, apply top-down cleaning techniques just like you would in your home:

  • Use a microfiber duster and dust from the top ledges to the baseboards.
  • Put out clean sheets and towels.
  • Wipe kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Clean the floor.

Declutter your camper
Less stuff equals more space—and this is especially important in an RV. Clear out accumulated clutter from storage areas so that it’s easier to load the necessary tailgating supplies. This also allows you to quickly stash them back in the right spots when you head home.

Make a list
As you begin to pack for your tailgate, start a master list. Every time you head out, you probably pack the same items. Having a master list to turn to makes packing super fast. Keep that list handy on your phone so you always have access to it. It’s also a great way to make sure you take home all of your belongings when tailgating with a big crowd.

Organize supplies
If you don’t store your tailgating things in your motor home, then make sure you store them all in one location at home. Create a tailgating center in your garage or storage closet so everything you take with you can be found in one spot.

ALSO: You know what’s even more rewarding than a clean RV? Signing up for Orbitz Rewards!

Home Depot, RV, tailgating

Stop dirt at the door
Keep your home-away-from-home cleaner by stopping as much debris at the door as possible. Travel with an outside doormat to toss down when you park. Choose one with a rough surface that will scrape dirt off of shoes. Inside, add another doormat to catch even more dirt. Finally, add a runner rug down the length of the RV that can be easily removed and cleaned as needed.

Be prepared for messes
Even though you started out clean, messes can happen along the way. Make it super easy to clean them up fast by stocking your camper with essentials. Carry extra trash bags, paper towels, cleaning rags, wet wipes, all-surface cleaner, a mop and a small vacuum.

Avoid the risk of spills
Choose containers with tight-fitting lids to use for storing opened food packages. Even if they bounce around during travel, they will stay contained. Likewise, use travel mugs and cups with lids to keep liquids from spilling.

Be rain ready
Inclement weather tends to bring messes indoors in an RV. The more you stay dry, the more your home-on-wheels stays dry. Make sure to pack umbrellas and rain ponchos. Having extras aboard for guests to use is a great idea. Roll up and store a few absorbent bath mats to put down on rainy days. This will help contain the moisture as folks move in and out.

Pack up dirty dishes for later
You might be shocked at the suggestion to take your dirty dishes back home with you, but if you are tailgating with a hungry crowd, your small RV sink may not be able to handle the load. Pack an empty plastic tub with a tight-fitting lid to hold dirty grilling tools and dishes. You can deal with them later at home, where you can toss them in your dishwasher or let them soak in a big kitchen sink.

Home Depot, tailgating, barbecue

Create an outdoor kitchen
Setting up an outdoor kitchen at your tailgating spot can help keep the inside of your RV cleaner. Folding tables, a camping sink and grill will mean much of the food prep will be done outside and the bonus is hanging out with your friends while you cook.

Lea Schneider  is a professional organizer who provides home and travel organization advice for The Home Depot. She gives lots of great tips, from using a door mat to stop dirt from entering your RV to finding ways to make doing the dishes easier. Visit The Home Depot to find more ways to keep your space clean, including door mats.


Tagged: Seasonal

Lea Schneider

Lea Schneider

Lea Schneider is a professional organizer who provides home and travel organization advice for The Home Depot. She gives lots of great tips, from using a door mat to stop dirt from entering your RV to finding ways to make doing the dishes easier. Visit The Home Depot to find more ways to keep your space clean, including door mats.
Lea Schneider

Latest posts by Lea Schneider (see all)

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If you’ve ever been tasked with planning a group outing—be it a guy’s weekend in Vegas, a gal pal gathering in South Beach or a weekend camping excursion with your old college besties—you know that it’s preferable to having a root canal while being forced to watch Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas on continuous loop. Fear not. Next time you’re tasked with heading up a group getaway, here are the answers to your most vexing group-travel planning challenges.

ALSO: The 7 best trips to take as soon as you graduate

camping, woods, nature, group, vacation

Q: Where to go?

A: Cabin in the woods
UPSIDE A gathering in the woods is a mythologized U.S. tradition—think Big Chill—and can perfectly bring together a large group for an intimate weekend of cooking meals, playing charades and trading stories while connecting with Mother Nature.
DOWNSIDE Before booking a Big Sur escape, find out: Does the cabin have WiFi? Will people have to share rooms? Who’s going to cook meals? How far away is the nearest airport? Most importantly, will your dedicated city dwellers be bitching the entire time?

A: Beach getaway
UPSIDE An option that gives groups a much-needed dose of vitamin D without the risk of mosquito bites is a beach vacation. Beaches are often clustered near resorts—especially in popular spots like Punta Cana—and resorts are designed to do the work for you. Even better, those resorts usually have swimming pools.
DOWNSIDE Of course, if you have that one friend who cringes like a vampire every time she steps into the sun, a resort-based vacay may not work. Also, ask yourself this: Is a beach getaway such a novelty for invitees who are already living on one of the coasts?

A: The big city
Big cities like Chicago, LA or New York make for ideal group outings because there’s always a major airport nearby, everyone can pretty much get around on their own, and numerous culinary and cultural options will please even the most finicky among the group—and also guarantee alternative activities when the weather turns sour.
DOWNSIDE Cities also have disadvantages. They tend to be expensive, unfit for unwinding (Houston’s sprawl hardly screams relaxation) and if your crew is already scattered across all the major metropolises, it might be hard finding just the perfect place.

money jar, money

Q: How do we divide up costs?

A: Pick a hotel with lots of room options
Your investment banker friends can rent a poolside suite on their own while the penny pinchers in the group can share an interior double room with no view. Unlike restaurant tabs, hotel bills tend to divide neatly among a group of four sharing a single room. As for airline tickets, if you’re booking together (which is helpful if you plan on getting seats together), sites like now offer Affirm, an online payment option that allows you to pay in installments, so the sucker charged with buying all the tickets doesn’t have to pony up until all group members pony up.

A: Estimate a budget in advance
This one actually works. Plan out ancillary expenses (dining, ride shares, admission prices, etc.) and build that into the per person cost of the trip. For example, if the estimated daily cost for a resort weekend is an additional $100 per person, then simply have everyone pay the group leader that amount in advance so that nobody but the leader has to take out money during the entire trip. Leftover funds can be returned via Venmo later.

A: Choose an all-inclusive
Ahh, the benefits of booking a stay at an all-inclusive resort where the cocktails flow freely and money never once needs to change hands. Another route is to rent a condo or cabin where cooking is encouraged and thus the headache of adding up a bill at the end of every meal is ditched in favor of splitting a onetime grocery tab.

vacation, beach, group, men

Q: When should we go?

A: Determine schedules first
This is often the hardest part. Are there teachers in the group? They tend to have summers off while anyone working in retail is going to be slammed during the holidays. Figure out whose schedules need to be the most tended to and ask your work-from-home or flex schedule friends to bend to the needs of those with stricter time off.

A: Think about where your squad resides
Does the group primarily live in a cold weather climate? If that’s the case then January through March is usually the perfect time for a winter thaw. Conversely, it can be a novelty for folks living in the sunbelt to experience autumn in New York, a winter wonderland in the Rocky Mountains or a cold summer weekend in San Francisco.

Q: What kind of lodging should we choose?

A: A hotel
Big hotels are great because they offer privacy, terrific amenities, a variety of room options and default dining choices.
DOWNSIDE In large hotels, groups can sometimes be separated by multiple floors. (Think a sprawling resort in Las Vegas.)

A: Vacation rentals
Vacation rentals are intimate, often infinitely more charming and usually cheaper than a traditional hotel.

DOWNSIDE Most rentals put a strict limit on how many guests in total are allowed and often these cozy quarters mean guests will be in each other’s grill at all times, so you’d better really like each other.

family, vacation, kids

Q: What if there are children involved?

A: That’s called a family vacation. Leave the little ones at home.

dining, group, friends, travel

Q: Where will we eat?

A: Dine out
UPSIDE Restaurants are great because they allow for a variety of choice and, importantly, others are doing all the work for you.
DOWNSIDE Ask in advance about everyone’s dietary restrictions. Food sensitivities are part of the world we live in and the last thing you want is to book a table at a low country boil only to find that half your group is allergic to shellfish. Also, restaurants are pricey.

A: Eat in
UPSIDE Cooking meals at your condo or cabin inspires bonding and is ideal for finicky friends since supermarkets offer endless food options and all you have to do as leader is pick up whatever your allergy-prone companions want to meet their dietary needs.
DOWNSIDE Who will cook? Who will set the table? Who will clean up? Assign out these responsibilities in advance of traveling. You don’t want to be miserable because you’re doing all the work.

seniors, travel, group, activities

Q: Who will lead group activities?

A: If you’re traveling with a crew of type B peeps, you’re in luck. You have complete control over the vacation’s itinerary and if everyone is willing to blindly follow along, this is where leadership pays off.

A: If you’re traveling with a pack of alpha dogs, consider putting each one in charge of planning a different day. This establishes fairness and gives control freaks little to complain about when it’s not their turn.

A: Gently remind everyone that it’s okay for folks to go their own way. You may suggest that everyone has the afternoon to themselves, but have the gang circle back for dinner and drinks later that night. If your squad is large, this may be your best bet.


Tagged: Tips & advice

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Root, root, root for the home team! But make sure you do so in style. No matter the sport you’re celebrating, or whether you’re traveling to the big game, hosting a viewing party or are just in tailgating mood, make sure your travel trailer is party-ready with some of our go-to travel essentials. Keep reading for designer-approved ways to prep your travel pad for all of the action-packed game day activities.

RELATED: The 8 most epic Super Bowl halftime shows ever

Protect your pad with area rugs
Whether your party is adults only or kid friendly, there are sure to be a few spills and scuffs during the main event. By layering area rugs over your travel trailer’s flooring, you’ll help prevent staining and permanent scuffs that always seem to occur during parties and celebration. To ensure an easy cleanup before, during and after the game, opt for indoor/outdoor area rugs that are durable and spill-proof. Consider a rug with a low-pile and darker coloration for a quick and simple way to prevent spills from landing on your trailer’s carpet or hardwood.

Provide plenty of surfaces
Between your top-secret nacho recipe, your best buddy’s margarita mix and a platter of antipasto and veggie dips, there are sure to be a few plates, cups and napkins cluttering the counter top. Help your guests relax while preventing spills and messes by ensuring there are plenty of tabletops and multi-functional pieces of furniture at your viewing party. Use ottomans as a surface for setting down food and drinks, or convert it to a seating option for moveable game-day viewing. Stools, consoles and tables should also be sprinkled throughout, so guests have a place to sit and set down their favorite football-inspired bites.

Layered lighting is key
Even though all eyes will be on the TV screen, there will be plenty of time spent socializing, walking around or gathering in the kitchen space to grab another bite to eat. With people moving around and squeezing into different areas of your travel trailer comes the risk of someone falling, tripping or being unable to see their next step. Help prevent a stubbed toe, spilled drink or dangerous fall by adding layered lighting throughout your space. Recessed lighting on dimmers, table and floor lamps and overhead statement lighting like pendants or chandeliers are key to illuminating your pad.

ALSO: Score big with CheapCash, good towards your next trip!

Add detail with easy decor
Chances are that if you’re celebrating a game, one of the teams playing is your favorite. Instead of decking your halls with sports-inspired decor that you’ll only use once, consider adding fashion and flair via your team’s colors, their hometown roots or a combination of both. If your team rocks red, white and blue, use tones of navy and cream as your space’s anchor and add pops of red throughout. Use easy-to-clean surfaces and textures and layered lighting to add visual interest and a comfortable landing spot for friends, fans and guests to root for their favorite team.

Already started decorating for your game day celebration? Home decor and design specialist Kerrie Kelly shares her decorating tips online for The Home Depot. Kerrie’s interior design firm, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, regularly advises clients on decor solutions for all parts of their homes. For rugs and flooring options that are family-friendly, visit the Home Depot website.


Tagged: Cheap Tips, Food & drink, Tips & advice

Kerrie Kelly

Kerrie Kelly

Kerrie Kelly

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