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.


Things You Need On A Family Road Trip

I recently wrote an article for Northpointe Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge in Seneca, PA for their website.

As a family of 6 keeping everyone happy, entertained, and as comfortable as possible is a big priority for any road trip. Whether it’s a 2 hour drive to Pittsburgh or a 10 our drive to Topsail Island we follow the same rules.

I made a home made “find-it” game we keep in our car. It’s been in there for years and the kids still play with it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying baby wipes either. They come in handy for everything from sticky hands to clean up if someone gets sick.

If you want to check it out I’d appreciate it. Read “10 Things You Need In Your Car On A Family Road Trip” I don’t think comments are enabled on that post so let me know here if there’s anything I’m forgetting. I want to know what your must-have items are on a road trip.


National Aviary in Pittsburgh: Summer Staycation Series in Western PA

This year, our family of 6 decided to do a “Summer Staycation”. We only go away for vacation every other year at this time. When we do our staycations we love discovering, or rediscovering things in western Pennsylvania. There is so much to do in western PA so narrowing it down can be hard. I realized we had never taken the kids to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

I remember going to the aviary on a field trip with the school when I was in elementary school. I remember enjoying my time there. It’s something different that you just can’t find everywhere.

For a family of 6 we actually found it was slightly cheaper just to go ahead and get a 1 year membership. When you get a membership you can visit as many times as you like, you get free parking, and a 10% discount in the gift shop.

Sea Eagles in the background (yes they’re real)

We went on a Tuesday. It wasn’t very crowded at all. We got there around 11 am and there was a surprising amount of parking available. There were different themed areas like the Grasslands, the Wetlands, Condor court and more. It was an immersive experience. Some birds could roam around freely in each room.

Birds running freely in the Wetlands

Birds would fly past you. There was lots of greenery. Very lush and natural looking open habitats.

The Wetlands with Cranes and Scarlett Ibis. There were also flamingos and many other birds.

There are lots of extra experiences you can do if you choose. One I highly recommend is the Lorikeet feeding. For only $3 a person you can get in line to feed the Lorikeet. You’re given a cup of nectar and allowed in the room to feed the Lorikeets. These birds will land right on you and drink from the cup. I had one climb up my arm onto my shoulder and then onto my head. But the birds are small and very gentle. My 6 year old was a little nervous at first but she loved it. She even asked if she could do it again.

Me feeding a Lorikeet and my son in the red shirt.
My 6 yr old participating in the Lorikeet feedings. She loved it.

Another affordable experience that ended up being my husband’s favorite was the SOAR! Birds of Prey presentation. For $5 per person you can go to the sky deck on top of the building. Trainers give a presentation on different birds of prey. Our presentation included a falcon, vultures, and black kites. The birds are well trained. They swoop in and catch treats, perch on the trainers arm, and more. You are not able to touch the birds but you get pretty close.

Vultures taking treats from the trainer.

If your budget’s a little bigger you can get in on experiences like the Sloth Experience, Armadillo experience, Penguin feedings, and more. There is also a theater on premises that shows different films and presentations.

There are two small gift shops and a food court available as well. If you’re not doing any of the added experiences you only need about 2 hours to see all the birds. If you are doing the experiences add at least 30 minutes for each experience. We got there around 11 am and left about 2:30.

If you want there is also the beautiful Allegheny Commons park surrounding the Aviary with a playground area, picnic tables, ponds with bridges, and lots of shady spots for a hot day. We let the kids stretch their legs at the playground and explored the park a little before heading out.

The National Aviary is located on the North Shore and is close to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and not too far from the Carnegie Science Center, It’s also only a 15 minutes drive from Phipps Conservatory.