Best and Worst Cities for Staycation

With summer arriving and 52% of Americans reporting having unused vacation days last year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations as well as accompanying videos.

To identify the best spots for staying local, WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 43 key indicators of a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation. The data ranges from movie and bowling costs to spas and wellness centers per capita to cost of house-cleaning services.

Best vs. Worst

  • Orlando, Florida, has the most zoos & aquariums (per square root of population), 0.0135, 45 times more than in New York, the city with the fewest at 0.0003.
     
  • Portland, Maine has the most parks (per square root of population), 1.2931, 21 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.0616.
     
  • Honolulu has the most tennis courts (per square root of population), 0.3495, 24.1 times more than in Gilbert, Arizona, the city with the fewest at 0.0145.
     
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada, has the lowest cost of house-cleaning services, $73, 7.1 times less expensive than in St. Paul, Minnesota, the city with the highest at $518.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit: 
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-for-staycations/4341/

We’re actually doing a staycation this year. Pittsburgh actually has a lot to do. Being a smaller city I’m surprised it didn’t make the list with how many things there are to do. We’re planning on taking the kids to the National Aviary next week. We will be attending a preview event for the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s film festival next week as well.

IF those things aren’t up your alley there’s also the Children’s Museum, PPG Zoo and aquarium, Carnegie Science Center, Gateway Clipper, Catching a Pirates, Penguins, or Steelers game, Riverhounds soccer games, several malls, Andy Warhol museum, Kennywood park, Sandcastle, Phipps Conservatory, Catch a show at the Benedum Center, shop at one of the best known outdoor markets at Market Square, Rivers Casino, …I really could keep going but that gives you an idea. Honestly I live fairly close to Pittsburgh and I still haven’t done everything there is to do.


2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival

Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival. Join us July 26 – August 1 for week-long line up of children’s films that range from blockbuster hits to fun and quirky international flicks.

The festival will feature several Pittsburgh premiers, as well as the best short films from the 2019 New York International Children’s Film Festival. Complimentary special events, guest appearances, and hands-on activities are planned throughout the week.

The festival will be hosted at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, which will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid friendly snacks at select screenings. In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.


SAVE THE DATE July 26-August 1 – International Children’s Festival – Save the Date!! Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival.
https://www.usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13899&dealid=3813


Going Into Debt For Vacation? Wallethub’s Latest Survey

We all need a vacation. Some people seem like the live to travel but is it worth going into debt for? With the proper planning you don’t have to go into debt. In fact I wrote a post about 5 Ways To Save For Summer Vacation the beginning of the year.

Going into debt or even getting behind on bills to go on vacation doesn’t make your vacation very relaxing. Especially knowing when you come back you have to figure out how to catch up.

According to Wallethub’s latest survey though, 48 million Americans would skip a credit card payment over skipping vacation. According to their latest financial survey:

Key Findings:

  • 19% of people would skip a credit card payment over a vacation.
     
  • 29% of people say travel usually gets them into debt.
     
  • 32% of people are scared to fly this summer because of the Boeing airplane issues.
     
  • Travelers are more than twice as likely to worry about money than terrorism.
     
  • 46% of people think about post-vacation credit card bills while on vacation.
     
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card is the best credit card for summer travel because it offers an initial bonus worth $700 in travel for spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.
     
  • Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees save international travelers an average of 9.3% versus airport kiosks and 7.1% compared to local banks.

Survey: 48 Million Would Skip a Credit Card Payment Over a Vacation

It’s been a long year, and Americans need some summer travel to decompress. Just ask the 48 million people who say they’d rather skip a credit card payment than a vacation, according to a new survey by the personal-finance website WalletHub. That’s roughly 1 in 5 Americans who are willing to trade in the grace period on their credit card and pay sky-high interest rates just to get away for a while. The question is, does this display good common sense or bad money management?

“Well, we know from research that a vacation usually has a very positive impact on the body and mind – and can often make us more productive when we return to the office,” Simon Hudson, endowed chair in tourism and economic development at the University of South Carolina, told WalletHub. “So paying off that credit card after a vacation may not take too long!”

Still, it’s better to avoid putting ourselves in such a predicament. And there are indeed ways to enjoy the fruits of a vacation without the financial jeopardy. “My advice is to do everything in moderation and find a happy balance,” said Audrey Guskey, a professor of marketing at Duquense University. “Take the vacation. Take the time off, but keep the debt down by finding a cheaper alternative for your vacation plans. Stay closer to home. Find cheaper hotels or Airbnb. Travel at off peak times.” There may be even more reason to stay close to home this year, too.

Despite all of its relaxing properties, summer travel still weighs on the minds and wallets of millions of Americans in a variety of ways. We worry about everything from the weather to whether we’re flying in a new Boeing airplane. In fact, roughly one-third of people are scared to fly this summer because of Boeing’s recent issues.

“Obviously this was expected. However, travelers need to understand that those planes are not flying yet, and Boeing is addressing the problem before these planes will be back into service,” said Abraham Pizam, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. “The U.S. federal authorities (FAA) and similar authorities in Europe and other countries are also much more careful in certifying the planes after the new modifications will be put in place.”

Money matters are actually more likely to put a damper on summer fun. And that can happen leading up to a vacation, while you’re away, or after you get back. Travelers are more than twice as likely to worry about money than terrorism, WalletHub’s survey found, and 46% of people think about post-vacation credit card bills while on vacation.

“Plan the vacation you can afford, and you won’t have to worry as much about the cost,” said Thomas P. Sweeney, an assistant professor of recreation and tourism management at Georgia Southern University. “Your vacation should be a time to relax, recharge, and have a good time. If you’re worrying about your bills, chances are you’ve overextended yourself financially. Before you plan anything, put together a realistic budget and stick to it.”

What we spend on vacation doesn’t stay on vacation, after all. It can come back to haunt us if we’re not careful, and too few of us are. Just ask the nearly 1 in 3 people who say travel usually gets them into debt. Or, better yet, ask what they’re doing wrong.

“They are not planning,” said Russ McCullough, chair of the economics department at Ottawa University. “Before committing to a trip, spend five minutes sketching out the expenses you will incur. If you don’t have money, find some ways to make enough before you go.”

There are many ways to make vacations more affordable, from turning them into staycations to getting a little help from your payment method. For example, applying for the right rewards credit card offer could get you $500 or more in free travel. And taking steps now to save later will really pay off.

“The better you plan financially the less stress you have about spending the money,” advises Stephen Barth, professor of hospitality law at the University of Houston.


5 Road Trip Apps You Need This Summer

When we take a road trip, especially across states, we want to be as prepared as possible. Anything that can save us time getting there, help get us there safely, or find us a bathroom in a hurry is ok in my book.

That’s why I wrote the Top Road Trip Apps article for Reedman Toll. These are apps that’s I’ve found to be helpful for my family of 6. We’ve used them for our 500 mile drives to Top Sail Island, NC and for our 2 our drives to Pittsburgh

What apps did I miss? Do you have a favorite that I didn’t list?


5 Budgeting Tips for Living in Florida

Summer is coming up, so it’s no surprise if you are looking to save some extra money for a
vacation or simply looking to enjoy the season without financial strain.
Living in Florida, this can be a little tricky considering the inflated prices in wealthier or more
tourist-heavy areas.
To help keep your wallet from emptying, here are five great tips to budget well and save some
extra cash while living in Florida.

Publix Coupons
While Publix may not always have the cheaper options compared to places like Walmart, Trader
Joe’s or other on-a-budget grocery choices, knowing how to work their coupons can make a big
difference (and allow you to enjoy the Publix experience).

One of the most effective and modern ways to do this is to download the app where you can
plan your shopping trips ahead, browse coupons for inspiration, manage prescriptions and even
order online.
While the best part of downloading the app is giving yourself the ability to browse coupons and
deals at the tip of your fingers, the other features are a fantastic bonus.
Plus, Publix has new deals every week that can help you save money, and the way they
structure their shopping experience helps to give you a lot of inspiration on meals for the week
so that you can further plan things out according to your finances.

Beauty on a Budget
Summer is approaching, and it’s completely normal to want to start looking into beauty
treatments and options to get you feeling beach-ready.
For common skincare and spa treatments, you can save money on this by doing it at home and
avoiding high prices at salons and day spas.
For more complicated treatments that may require doctors or medical spas (laser hair removal,
vein treatment, etc.), you might have to put a little more effort into researching the places by
you.
The good news is that at this particular time of year, most medical professionals are really
pushing to bring in new clients since we are approaching swimsuit season, so it’s definitely
possible to browse available coupons on deals.
The most important thing to remember is that any form of beauty treatment is really about
feeling healthy and confident in the skin you’re in, so take a moment to really reflect on what
might help bring you closer to that and narrow down your options from there.

Vacation for Less

One of the perks about living in Florida is that you get “Florida
Resident” discounts on most theme park options, giving you a
range of choices for your next vacation.
Instead of splurging on expensive cruises or out-of-state
adventures, plan your vacations right at home and think ahead to
further save money.
Buying tickets ahead of time online, planning vacations for less
popular months like February or September, packing your own

meals and making sure to check out free attractions are all great ways to further make the most
of your experience.
Plus, you can have even more fun by investing in multi-day passes for most of the theme parks
to spend less on each individual day (especially if you were planning on a full week or weekend
anyway).
Above all, make sure you stock up on gas far away from places like airports or theme parks as
you plan out your road trip – these will have exorbitant prices in comparison to other locations.

Be Smart About Housing
If you don’t already have a permanent residence in Florida (or you are looking to move soon),
considering the location of your home can save you BIG bucks in the long run.
Living in downtown areas, picking locations close to the water or living in big-name cities can
cause your rent to skyrocket.
While the location will affect rent in any state, the range of prices is extreme in Florida. For
instance, if you are looking to live in the Miami area, you will pay a great deal more to live in a
suburb like Coral Gables or in Downtown Brickell than in areas that are even just a few blocks
away in some instances.
Definitely do your research beforehand and consider choosing cities that are on the outskirts of
bigger areas and that won’t have extremely high pricing.
After all, you will likely still be able to enjoy all of the same great things that Florida has to offer
without living smack in the middle of it (plus, it may even be a little less crowded).

Avoid Shopping in Those Expensive Areas
As mentioned, the cost of living can fluctuate wildly between different areas in Florida, and this
doesn’t only apply to housing.
One of the biggest things to remember about Florida is that it is a tourist state, so many places
(Miami, Destin, Tampa, Orlando, etc.) will have inflated prices to take advantage of that.
In some instances, gratuity will even be included on tabs, so you will have less control over that
part of bills and also will need to be careful about accidentally double-tipping.
Ultimately, you should try your best to avoid shopping, dining, stocking up on gas and generally
spending money in these more tourist-heavy areas so that you can avoid paying these tourist
prices.

By just enjoying all of your leisure activities in surrounding areas or generally less pricey
neighborhoods, you will realize that your financial stresses will decrease immensely.

In Summary
Everyone wants to save money, even in places like Florida that can have a wide range in terms
of cost of living.
By just remembering these five tips, you should have some extra spending money in your
pocket this summer:
● Become a Publix coupon expert
● Spend wisely on beauty treatments
● Save money on vacationing
● Choose a low-cost housing option
● Don’t shop in tourist-heavy areas
For more great budgeting tips to help you save money, be sure to check out our other fantastic
posts!

About Our Guest Writer

Katherine (Tori) Lutz is a graduate of Florida State University and current student at Columbia University. Professional, she is a writer and editor with a great deal of freelance experience surrounding articles, marketing, and other various areas. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and hopes to one day be a journalist.