Why Choose Extended Stay America?

When searching for family friendly, pet friendly, affordable accommodations for a trip or vacation it seems like it can be a lot to ask for. We’re a family of 6. Most hotels can’t accommodate all 6 of us so we’d have to book 2 rooms at least. I feel like often time we have to give up amenities just to keep the cost down. In the end it really doesn’t help anyway because most hotel rooms don’t have a way to cook in the room other than a microwave if you’re lucky. Which runs into money eating out for all the meals with a family of 6. If you can find a room with decent amenities to accomodate a family then asking if you can take Fido or mittens along too, you may as well forget it. Then you have to look at hiring a pet sitter or boarding your pet which…again…runs into more money.

There is one place though that will save you all the hassles while being surprisingly affordable. Extended Stay America.

With Extended Stay America you can enjoy the benefits that you’d expect to find in a hotel like housekeeping services, clean rooms, convenient locations, and wifi, mixed with things you’d expect to see more in a condo or vacation rental like: a kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, and stove top, on-site guest laundry.

Think of the money you’d save not having to eat all your meals out. Oh speaking of which, many Extended Stay America locations also offer FREE grab-and-go breakfast so there’s one of your meals taken care of already!

There are flat screen tv’s in all rooms so after a long day of having fun and exploring you can relax with your favorite show before bed or catch the news to plan your next day’s adventures.

While you’re relaxing you’ll notice the upgraded bedding with extra pillows to help ensure a good night sleep. So comfortable you might forget you’re not at home especially when Fido is whining to be taken outside. Which brings me to another point.

Extended Stay America knows a vacation just isn’t a vacation if you fur babies aren’t with you. Or if your staying temporarily until your new home is ready. That’s why Extended Stay America allows up to 2 pets per room at just $25 extra per pet to stay for cleaning service. Even at that, still a lot cheaper than boarding your pet.

With so many locations you can find one close to your destination. I saw there is one in Wilmington, NC. We keep thinking about visiting Wilmington again to check out the beaches. I’d love to go back to the plantation house in Wilmington again. They offer blacksmithing classes that my husband is interested in.

Rooms start at just $65 per night! Honestly I just did a search for June for the Wilmington area and was surprised to see there are still several room choices available and the most expensive one I saw was $114/night but that will all the bells and whistles of daily full service housekeeping and a sleeper sofa in addition to the 2 beds in the room.

Check out Extended Stay America for your upcoming vacation or business trip and book here:

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links. Any opinions expressed are my own.


National Cheese Lover’s Day With Wisconsin Cheese Monday January 2020

When you think about the US and everything it’s known for, a lot of things come to mind. When you think of Hershey, Pennsylvania, for instance, you might think of chocolate. When you think of Philadelphia you might think of cheesesteaks. When you think of Florida you might think of Disney World or the miles of beautiful beaches. When you think of Wisconsin you might think of the Green Bay Packer or cheese. After all, they do call them cheese heads right?

Wisconsin has earned its reputable name in the cheesemaking industry with a legacy of over 175 years – before Wisconsin was even a state! Differentiating itself from other cheese-loving states, Wisconsin is home to one of only two Master Cheesemaker programs in the WORLD – making it a hub for high quality, top-notch cheese shops and enthusiastic cheese lovers.

Here are just some highlights on our virtual cheese tour through Wisconsin today:

–          Andy Hatch’s Uplands Cheese (Dodgeville, WI)

    Upland farm’s location and layout is specified to curate the most flavorful and fresh cheese by producing cheese in accordance to the season. Cheesemaker Andy Hatch spent years making cheese in Europe before returning home to Wisconsin to create his award-winning varieties.

–          Marieke® Gouda Store & Penterman Farm (Thorpe, WI)

    Known for its’ modern twist on family farming and award-winning Marieke Gouda, created by Master Cheesemaker Marieke Penterman who came to the U.S. from the Netherlands and essentially earned her green card from cheesemaking!

Marieke Penterman Wisconsin Cheesemaker

–          Dane County Farmers’ Market (Madison, WI)

   America’s largest producers-only farmers’ market with specialty products from approximately 275 vendors throughout the year, this is a can’t-miss stop overlooked by the beautiful Capitol building.

–          Emmi Roth Cheese (Monroe, WI)

   Visit the leading provider of specialty cheeses inspired by two distinct cheesemaking regions – Emmi, imported from Switzerland and Roth from the State of Cheese™, Wisconsin!

–          Fromagination Artisan Cheese Store (Madison, WI)

   Iconic WI cheese shop that offers an array of artisanal cheeses and leaving guests with a truly immersed cheese-loving experience.

–          Widmer’s Cheese Cellars (Theresa, WI)

   Operating for more than 80 years, Widmer’s is renowned for producing the finest Brick, Cheddar and Colby cheese in the world. You’ll be greeted by Owner Joe Widmer, the third of three generations of Master Cheesemakers in the Widmer family.

–          Carr Valley Cheese Company (La Valle, WI)

o    Operating for over 100 years, with over 8 locations throughout WI, Carr Valley has won a variety of awards on the basis of tradition and taste. Owned and operated by the Cook family, including Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook who is a fourth-generation cheesemaker.

–          Wisconsin Cheese Mart (Madison and Milwaukee, WI)

    Wisconsin Cheese Mart carries over 150 cheese varieties and ships cheese to all 50 states. Cheese Marts efforts to provide its customers with both quality and quantity does not go unrecognized, as they carry an array of award-winning cheeses.

Julie Hook Wisconsin Cheesemaker

–          Roelli Cheese Haus (Schullsburg, WI)

    Roelli prides itself on four generations of Roelli family cheesemaking. Chris Roelli is a fourth-generation cheesemaker and in 2015, became one of Wisconsin’s distinguished Master Cheesemakers – cranking out over 135,000 lbs. of cheese per year at Roelli Cheese Haus!


33 Million American Can’t Afford Winter Travel According to Wallethub

I dream about escaping the below freezing temperature of Pennsylvania in the winter. More so around February time frame. I get sick of the snow, ice, bad roads, layering, shoveling, short days, etc. There are a lot of factors that play into us not being able to do that though.

For us all 4 of our kids are in school so they would have to miss school. Then there is requesting time off from both our places of work and hoping both of use get approved. Add in the fact that we provide Christmas for 4 kids and the financial aspect is there too.

Travel is something my husband and I want to do closer to retirement. For now we just do a family vacation every other year, usually to a beach on the east coast.

Wallethub collected some states on winter travel. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 4% more people are planning to travel this winter than last winter, and 79% of them are planning to spend at least as much as last year.
     
  • 1 in 3 people don’t plan to travel this winter, and 38% of them – a total of 33 million people – say they can’t afford it.
     
  • Millennials are 6X more likely than baby boomers to apply for a new credit card to save on winter travel.
     
  • Weather and cost are the leading concerns for more than 8 in 10 winter holiday travelers.
     
  • Capital One Venture is the best credit card for winter travel because it has an initial bonus worth $500 in travel for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and gives at least double miles on all purchases.

Q&A with WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou

What do WalletHub’s survey results indicate about how confident consumers feel economically?

“The results of WalletHub’s Winter Travel Survey show reason for economic optimism in the sense that slightly more people are planning to travel this year than last year, and 79% of winter travelers say they’re going to spend at least as much as they did last year,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “When people are feeling strain financially, you generally don’t see travel increase.”

Why do you think so many people say they can’t afford to travel this winter?

“It should be no surprise that 33 million Americans say they can’t afford to travel this winter. Even though unemployment is near record lows and the stock market is near record highs, there are a lot of things weighing on consumers financially right now. For one thing, we’re racking up credit card debt at a pace reminiscent of the run-up to the Great Recession. Student debt clearly is a problem. And there’s a lot of political uncertainty,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “It’s also important to point out that people who recognize they can’t afford a big trip are doing the smart thing by staying home and saving up. Far too many people think a vacation is a necessity worth going into debt for.”

Is it worth paying an annual fee for a credit card in order to get better perks?

“It is worth paying an annual fee on a credit card if the card in question will save you more money at the end of the day, after factoring in the fee, than the best no-annual-fee alternative. Unfortunately, the results of WalletHub’s new survey show that only one-third of consumers seem to recognize that,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “You don’t want to pay for a card if you’re not going to get your money’s worth. But you don’t want to automatically rule out cards with annual fees, either. They can be worth the investment and then some. For example, the average person could earn more than $1,000 in net rewards value – after subtracting annual fees – with the best travel credit cards over just two years of use.”

Why are millennials so much more likely to apply for a credit card to get winter-travel savings than baby boomers?

“Most millennials have grown up in the age of free credit scores and reports, and online credit card comparison. So they may be a bit more comfortable applying for new credit cards, seeing their credit scores dip then recover, switching billing information for services they pay for with their cards, etc. Younger people also tend to be more cash-strapped than older folks, which makes them more inclined to look for savings opportunities,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.

So do you do any winter travel? Do you have any winter travel plans this year?


Who Knew An Apple Butter Festival in WV Was So Popular?

Living in Pennsylvania, our family vacations are usually beach vacations. The whole family enjoys it. We always drive. I’m not a fan of the beltway so we tend to take the more scenic route to Topsail Island.

My hubby and I love the little town of Berkley Springs, WV. A quite, pretty town along US-522. We’ve often admired The Country Inn in the middle of town on our way through. We’ve said on more than one occasion that it would be a nice little weekend getaway for us.

Photo Credit: InthePanhandle.com

The idea really took shape when I drove through one year in September. I saw signs up for the apple butter festival during Columbus Day weekend. Apple butter festival? That would make an awesome addition to the weekend getaway idea. I told my husband about it and he liked the idea too.

This year, around the beginning of August we decided we were going to do it. We wanted to stay in The Country Inn in the middle of town, go to the apple butter festival, and take a short drive to Shawnee Springs Market. It was going to be my birthday gift this year. I was disappointed to see that the inn we wanted to stay in was completely booked up or that weekend. I searched multiple booking sites and not one site had a room available. Then I double checked my work schedule and realized I had to work that weekend anyway. Who knew an apple butter festival in West Virginia could be so popular? It is such a cute town though.

Who knew an apple butter festival in West Virginia could be so popular?

Me – thinking I’m the only one who ever though of it lol

We decided we’re definitely going next year and we’re going to book early. Our kids are starting to get older. My oldest is driving and my middle son will start driving towards the end of the year. My husband and I are realizing we have a little more time to relax. We’re realizing all the things we want to do together. We were never able to take a honeymoon so I think traveling more is in our future.

Another places we’d love to see is the Mohican Treehouse cabins in Mohican state park in Ohio. I can only imagine how peaceful it could be. We want to try island hopping on the Lake Erie Islands. Oh just so much we want to do. We like to try things that are different and not well known.


Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness on Road Trips

I get car sick some times. It’s a lot better for me when I drive. Unfortunately my daughter now also gets car sick. I also have a niece that gets car sick. Having Dramamine handy in my car (both adult’s and children’s) has become a staple for us. A road trip just isn’t enjoyable if you’re nauseated or have to stop all the time due to motion sickness.

We’ve found ways to prevent motion sickness and what to do if motion sickness strikes unexpectedly on a road trips. There are certain things that never worked for me like the motion sickness bracelets. There are other things that really seem to help. Check out my guest post on Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge website on Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness.

I’d love to know your tips. Do you have a special technique that works? Maybe a drink that works better for your nausea? Share them here.