If You Experience Cold Winters, You Probably Keep These Things In Your Car

I have two fairly new drivers in my family. My oldest son has been driving for about a year and a half. My middle son just got his license in June. Living in Pennsylvania, our winters can get pretty bad. Snow, ice, occasional blizzards, occasional subzero temps. Not only do I worry about them hitting a patch of ice but I also worry about them breaking down or getting stuck when it’s 10 degrees outside.

While at the grocery store I pick up a jug of kitty litter. I bring it home and tell my oldest son to put it in the trunk of his car. He looks at me funny. Then I realize he probably doesn’t understand the purpose. I also realize that for people that might not live in a colder climate, they might not do the odd things we do when prepping for winter. Whether you’re on your way to work at car dealership in Yonkers, NY, taking a drive in Duluth Minnesota, or going to the grocery store in the Laurel Highland of Pennsylvania, here are things people in colder climates keep in their vehicles and why.

Kitty Litter or Bags of Sand

Seriously, a lot of us that live in areas that get frigid winters keep either a bag of non-clumping kitty litter or bags of sand in the trunk of our vehicles. For those with only front or rear wheel drive it helps to weigh down the vehicle a little bit for traction. But mostly it’s used for when your vehicle get stuck in some snow or wheels are spinning on an icy patch. Pour some sand or some kitty litter in front and behind each tire. This helps to gain traction.

Emergency Shovel

Most of us have small shovels to throw in the trunk or back of our vehicle. A small metal one is best. If you look up emergency shovels you’ll see what they look like. This can be used to serve several different purposes. It’s not unheard of to park your car at work, have snow dump down while you’re working, and come out to your vehicle buried in snow. Having an emergency shovel makes life a little easier to dig your car out. A good metal shovel can also be useful when freezing rain happens to break up ice around tires or pry things out of the ice.

Blocks of Wood or Wooden Boards

I don’t personally do this but I know people that do. Some people keep blocks of wood or shorter wooden boards in their vehicle or truck. This one I didn’t really know about until recently. The blocks can be placed in front of the tire if stuck in a ditch, mud, or a snow drift. Wedge in front of the tire. Hopefully it lift your vehicle up enough to get out of where you’re stuck.

Emergency Blankets

My husband had actual emergency blankets from a survival kit in his vehicle. Some people just throw an extra fleece blanket or two in their car. The idea, if your car breaks down, it might be a while until help arrives in bad winter weather. You can’t keep your car running forever. If you’re low on gas this statement is very true. Emergency blankets could mean the different being ok until help gets their or going straight to the emergency room once help arrives do to hypothermia or frostbite.

Bottles of Water and Energy Food

Ok so maybe this one isn’t so different but it hits different when it’s 20 degrees outside and you’re broke down in the middle of nowhere. Foods that store for a while and might be considered energy food are helpful. Things like protein bars, nuts, or granola bars. Again if you’re gonna be there a while you grab your emergency blanket and have water and food for at least a little while.

Yes it’s true the water bottle can freeze but it will typically start to melt while driving hopefully having melted enough by the time a car breaks down. It’s also helpful if your car is overheating.

Vehicle De-Icer and/or Winter Washer Fluid

Vehicle De-Icer comes in handy a lot. De-icing windows, frozen locks, windshield wipers froze to the windshield, etc. They typically come in convenient spray cans or squirt bottles to make de-icing easier.

There is also special winter windshield washer fluid that can help melt snow and ice while cleaning your windshield. Some people will fill their washer reserve with the winter wash fluid and keep a container of vehicle de-icer but the washer fluid can also help de-ice locks in a pinch.

Closing Tips

Whether you live in a cold climate or not, have a car emergency kit is always a good idea. Most include things like emergency triangles, jumper cables, a couple basic tools, roadside flares, flashlight, etc. Some more elaborate ones will even have the emergency shovel I mentioned and air compressors. It’s a good idea to keep your phone charged and even carry a back-up battery or power bank with you in bad weather. Have the name of your mechanic or roadside service handy just in case. Always let someone know where you’re going and approximate time of return so if you do break down or get stuck there’s a better chance someone will know where you are to get you help.

These are just a few things I know people do to prep for winter driving emergencies. If you have idea I’d love to hear them!

This post is sponsored by Central Ave DCJR . This post also contains some affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my posts.


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.


3 Amazing Things To Do Near Westgate, New York

The city that never sleeps is full of things to do, no matter what your schedule looks like. The neighborhoods around Westgate are full of local flavor and culture that can give a unique experience to travelers. Here are some of the top things to do when you are in Midtown Manhattan. 

1. Visit Tudor City Greens

Tudor City Greens has been described as a peaceful oasis that takes you away from the business of the city. Located at Tudor City Place, this peaceful garden is used by vacationers and locals alike to take in the beauty of nature. Two well-kept gardens offer bistro chairs and benches for a quiet, peaceful lunch or meeting. Built as a respite from the pollution and noise along the river during the 20s, Tudor City Greens has continued to be a place of serenity for inhabitants of the city. The local residents love this park so much that they actually lined up in the streets to save it from demolition in the 80s. 

2. Take A Westgate Walking Tour

At its Westgate NYC site, this beautiful resort offers a variety of walking tours for visitors to take part in. This is a great way to see what the city has to offer without having to wing it on your own. Guided tours have an advantage because the research is already taken care of for you. Choose from these options to see what the city has to offer:

  • Manhattan Off-The-Beaten-Path Walking Tour
  • Sunday Funday: A Boozy Brooklyn Tour
  • 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero Walking Tour
  • EmptyMet Tour
  • High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour
  • Gargoyles in Manhattan Walking Tour

If you’re looking for a guided tour that doesn’t include so much walking, the Westgate resort also offers a New York Landmarks Cruise, and a Big Bus New York tour. Please click here for more information on The Westage NYC Hotel.

3. Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market is a European-style shopping experience that offers a gourmet shopping experience. Made up of local businesses, this market specializes in high-quality and gourmet meats, produce and bread that is freshly baked on the spot. With over 400 various types of meats and cheeses, food lovers will not be disappointed. 

There are so many great things to do in this city that sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to choose. Use this guide to plan a low-stress day taking in the sights.

This post was made possible by Valued Voice.


OnMyWay App Paying People For Driving Safe?

I’m all about a legit app that helps me earn some extra money. If there are other benefits to it, I’m definitely interested. A friend of mine posted on facebook about the OnMyWay app. But was it legit?

The site says it pays you 5 cents for every mile you drive without texting. Refer someone and earn 2 cents for every mile your referral drives without texting. When you sign up you immediately get $10 deposited into your account.

It didn’t require a lot of personal information to set up the account and it was pretty quick to set up. I was surprised when it seemed to track my driving miles fairly accurately.

I noticed that the cents were adding up pretty quickly and within a week I had over $20 in my account (counting the $10 starting deposit) That’s when I started to really question if this was for real. So I started looking through the OnMyWay app FAQs on how to get paid. You can input your paypal email or Venmo to received payments (no passwords) but it didn’t seem like I could just simply cash out the “money” I earned. After reading through the FAQ it seems I had to complete what they call “marathon deals” These are long term deals. There’s a $250 one that required 250 referrals. Then there was a $1000 one that required you to earn $10,000 in mile money/referrals and make at least 10 purchases. See the app also works like a cash back site. And the mileage money earned almost sounded more like “points” to me than actual cash.

I was a little disheartened by this but I also read that they were going to add short term marathon deals the next month. Surprisingly within a week the short term deals appeared with much more reasonable cash outs like $10, $50, etc. The catch on this one? There seems to be a limited number of rewards at a time. It seemed there were a lot of people able to cash in on the short term deals so that made made me feel better about it. You can see an example of one of the marathon deals in the screen shot below.

So in the end, I think it is legit I just feel they could do a better job communicating exactly how the rewards and app works. I think it’s a little misleading at face value.

I do think this could a nice incentive for teens to drive without texting with the knowledge there could be an earned reward for it. I think it would be a nice compliment for Uber or Lyft drivers to have the potential to earn a little extra on their fares or maybe even taxi drivers. So I will continue using the app. The app is free other than any cash back purchases you may want to make through the app but they’re not required.

If you’re interested in the On My Way app you can use my referral link and get $10 in your account just for signing up.


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?