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Clever Mom Hacks and Traveling Tips from Autotrader (giveaway ends 12/21/15)

 

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Over the river and through the woods, to grandmothers house we go…

How many readers are doing a lot of traveling this holiday season? Are you going on vacation for the holiday? Are you visiting friends or family far away?

We’re fortunate that we’ll only be visiting my father and step-mother this holiday season and they only live 50 minutes away (each way).

In years past we did A LOT of travelling during the holiday season – most especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The last thing you want to have happen is something to go wrong with your car while you are far from home. You also don’t want to find out half way into your trip that you forgot something at home (I’ve done that before – I left a gift at home!).

Autotrader has some great tips for consumers when it comes to travelling this holiday season (or any time of the year).

If you are not familiar with Autotrader, here is a little bit of information about the company.

Autotrader logo

Autotrader is the most visited third-party car shopping site, with the most engaged audience of in-market shoppers. As the foremost authority on automotive consumer insights, Autotrader makes the car shopping experience easy and fun for today’s empowered consumer looking to find or sell the perfect new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car.

Here are some of their great tips for travelling by car.

Prepare your vehicle. Do a quick check on the essentials before you head out. Check the wear and pressure on your tires, and be sure your fluids (oil, coolant and wiper fluid) are topped off.

Make it an adventure. Just because you have an ultimate destination doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fun stuff in between. Check your route for family-friendly stops along the way such as a zoo, park or even toy store to give kids something to look forward to while breaking the trip into manageable pieces.

Keep the little ones engaged. Technology features like built-in screens and DVD players can be saviors on the road, but if your car doesn’t come equipped with these, consider bringing along a handheld device on which little ones can play games or watch videos. And if technology isn’t your thing, remember that magnetized board games and word games can work just as well.

Bring snacks. Greasy food isn’t the best for staying alert — or feeling good — while road tripping. Instead of relying on fast-food, bring along lots of smaller, healthier snacks to keep kids (and adults) content. Fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat and easy on the mess, like carrot sticks, bananas and apples, are great options.

Have patience! Between road congestion, frequent stops and the sometimes-bad weather that plagues many areas this time of year, holiday travel time can take longer than anticipated. Allow—and plan for—extra travel time, and you’ll have a better chance of arriving safely and stress-free.

These are excellent tips. I would also like to add a few of my own.

car travel

Map out alternate routes. Just in case you come across road work or a car accident that might cause you to sit in traffic for long periods of time – most especially if you need to be some place by a specific time. Back in 2002 my family and I were going to Florida and needed to get to the airport. Thankfully we took a car service because we encountered a massive traffic pile up on the way which would have caused us to miss our flight. Our driver knew an alternate route and was able to get out of the traffic and get us to the airport in time. If we had drove down we wouldn’t have known about the alternate route and we would have missed out flight.

Know rest stops along the way. Trust me… when you have children you need to have a general idea where rest areas are in case “nature calls.” I remember once coming back fro the Jersey Shore when our daughter had to go to the bathroom really bad. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic and we just made it to the rest stop on the highway, narrowly avoiding an “accident.” Had we planned better we would have known what exits to get off at in case somone needed the facilities.

These days when we are travelling long distances and see a rest area we stop even if no one needs to go. It’s always a good idea to at least try and “go,” plus it gives you a chance to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.

Don’t forget water. You should keep yourself hydrated when travelling.

Make sure you have emergency equipment. Make sure you have a first aid kit, extra blankets, non-perishable food, water and other essentials in the event you find yourself stranded. With crazy winter weather  you just never know when you might get stuck somewhere. Also, make sure you have a back up charger for your phone in case your car doesn’t have a live battery you can draw from.

Travelling with children is not always easy. My husband and I talk about it all the time how when we traveled as children it seemed to take forever to get to our destination. As an adult it doesn’t seem that way. Even an hour long trip can be boring for a child. That is why it’s important to not only keep them entertained, but also to help keep your sanity.

Check out these great Clever Mom Hacks for Driving with Kids. I like the tip about re-purposing DVD cases for art supplies. I was thinking this could work well with a VHS tape case too. I’m sure we have a few of those lying around.

I also LOVE the tip about using a plastic cereal container as a garbage can. I love having a clean car – both inside and out. I need to make one of these for my car.

PHOTO SOURCE: Autotrader

PHOTO SOURCE: Autotrader

Using small muffin cups for change and other small items is a great idea as well. I think it’s also a great way to keep dust, dirt and debris from collecting in the cup holders too. I wonder if they will keep the cup holders clean from coffee cup drips too?

When it comes to travelling with kids I have some other tips to share.

Books on tape. Purchase books on tape to let your kids (and family) listen to on long trips. You can even records yourself reading your child’s favorite books to listen to. Adults can enjoy books on tape too.

Keep snacks with reach of your children. That way you don’t have to pull over to hand it to them or try and pass it back to them while driving (which is a safety hazard). Use lunchboxes to store snacks and drinks that way everything is together and the kids known which belongs to them.

Take driving breaks. Stop every so often so that everyone can stretch their legs and get some fresh air. I think it helps make everyone less grumpy and it gives the driver a break for a few minutes.

Go “old school.” There is nothing wrong with doing the things we did as kids with our families such as singing songs together (100 Bottles…) and playing classic games like “I Spy” and the License Plate Game.

I hope you found these tips from me and Autotrader helpful.

If you would like to learn more about Autotrader please visit Autotrader.com. You can also check them out on social media – FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and YouTube.

Check out the hashtag #MomHacks for more great ideas.

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Autotrader would love to give a lucky reader a fun travel “kit.” The kit contains the following;

  • Charger
  • $25 Visa gift card
  • Tote
  • Seat Back Organizer
  • Selfie Stick
  • First Aid Kit
  • Single-use Wet Wipes
  • Snacks

The retail value is $75.00. Thank you Autotrader!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 12, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what was your favorite tip – OR – share a travelling tip of your own.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Autotrader to bring you this information. I will be receiving a similar prize package in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. 

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Free Entry to All National Parks to Celebrate the National Park Service’s 99th Birthday on August 25, 2015

 

My family at one of our favorite spots at a local park.

My family at one of our favorite spots at a local park.

My family and I truly enjoy visiting parks. I’m not talking about playgrounds but rather local, state and national parks. We enjoy picnicking, hiking (on easy trails), taking in the fresh air and enjoying the beauty that is all around us. I especially love to take pictures of nature and the landscape.

Did you know that on August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act creating the National Park Service (NPS), a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established (now there are 408 national parks!).

I didn’t know that. That means next year the NPS will be celebrating 100 years. But that doesn’t mean the celebration can’t start a bit earlier.

To celebrate the upcoming centennial of NPS in 2016, the National Park Foundation (NPF) launched their Find Your Park campaign to encourage everyone to get up, get out there and #FindYourPark – no matter your interest.

To help get you interested in checking out the national parks, here is a list of 99 ways you could celebrate NPS’ 99th birthday on August 25, 2015 and get ready for NPS’ big 100th birthday next year. Founders’ Day also marks fee free day to all national parks.

99 Ways to Find Your Park (courtesy of NPS).

Every few years we have our kids sit on the same rock at a local park and take their picture to see how much they have grown.

Every few years we have our kids sit on the same rock at a local park and take their picture to see how much they have grown.

http://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/nps99.htm

  1. Go climbing
  2. Write poetry
  3. Be an urban hiker
  4. Visit a National Heritage Area
  5. Dance
  6. Learn about climate change
  7. Discover a culture new to you
  8. Experience silence
  9. Walk through a doorway of a historic house
  10. Find inspiration in the story of a civil rights leader
  11. Go on a ranger-led tour #rangerspointingatthings
  12. Hug a tree
  13. Make a memory
  14. Earn a Jr. Ranger badge
  15. Relax on the banks of a scenic river
  16. Celebrate innovation
  17. Find life in a desert
  18. Get inspired by a First Lady
  19. Stand on a mountaintop
  20. Bring a kid to a park
  21. Paddle a water trail
  22. Take a photo that matches a historic one #retrogram
  23. Try something new
  24. Channel your inner Bill Nye—become a citizen scientist
  25. Walk a historic main street
  26. Find your park in Spanish #encuentratuparque
  27. Explore a cave
  28. Go green
  29. Brush up your national park trivia skills
  30. Scout a park, boys and girls!
  31. Make art in a park
  32. Celebrate Native American heritage
  33. Come sail away
  34. Take a picnic and dine al fresco
  35. Be bear aware
  36. Hit the road
  37. Enlighten yourself at a historic lighthouse
  38. Go biking
  39. Explore Asian American and Pacific Islander culture in America
  40. Feel the sand between your toes
  41. Share your story
  42. Learn about endangered species
  43. Join us
  44. Follow NPS on social media
  45. Follow the footsteps of a woman who made history
  46. Get in the know about H2O
  47. Bee pollinator friendly
  48. Get VIP status
  49. Catch a wave
  50. Immerse yourself in a living history program
  51. Hit record
  52. Get prehistoric
  53. Improve your health—get a park Rx
  54. Use your free active military pass
  55. Get reel—Visit a park featured in your favorite movie
  56. Join a trail clean-up
  57. See the sea
  58. Discover a traditional tribal cultural practice
  59. Let Elmo and Murray be your guides
  60. Mail a postcard
  61. Discover history around you
  62. Make new friends
  63. Raft down a river
  64. Pay your respects at a national cemetery
  65. Pick a POTUS
  66. Take a mini-cruise
  67. Plan ahead and prepare
  68. Walk nature’s treadmill
  69. Pose for a family photo in a park
  70. Recognize women who made history
  71. Reflect on our most difficult stories
  72. Stamp your park passport
  73. Ride on a historic carousel
  74. Run
  75. See history from a different perspective
  76. Renew your spirit
  77. See how NPS helps transform your community
  78. Go fish
  79. See the starry, starry night
  80. Make a splash
  81. Share a #tbt park photo
  82. Discover the beauty of our nation’s other public lands
  83. Sleep outside
  84. Spread the love—thank a park volunteer
  85. Plan the best field trip ever
  86. Visit our international sisters
  87. Trash Your Trash
  88. Find a monument and decode history
  89. Travel the Underground Railroad
  90. Use the buddy system!
  91. Visit for free on our 99th birthday
  92. Wander an American battlefield
  93. Watch wildlife
  94. Take a deep breath
  95. Go wild: Experience wilderness
  96. Use a national park lesson plan
  97. Play
  98. Take a sunrise selfie
  99. Get ready to celebrate with us in 2016!

There are a lot of great ideas, even if you don’t get a chance to visit a National Park this summer.

Do you like to visit parks? What is your favorite thing to do in a park?

My husband and daughter enjoying paddle boats at a local park.

My husband and daughter enjoying paddle boats at a local park.

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Check out Spiders Alive! A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History

 

AMNH Logo

PHOTO SOURCE: American Museum of Natural History

One of my all time favorite places to go is the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. My mom took me there a few times when I was a young girl. The first time I visited the museum I fell in love with it. I truly enjoy exploring every corner of the museum. I’m one of those people who enjoy reading about each and every thing that I see – much to the dismay of my kids. They just like to look and move on to the next thing. Not me. I like to learn about what I am looking at.

My family and I haven’t been to the museum in six years. We kept meaning to go back but something always came up. This summer we had it planned that we were going to visit it no matter what.

There is a new exhibit at the museum right now called Spiders Alive! The exhibit will be at the museum until November 29, 2015.

Spiders Alive

OK… I know what you are saying. Who in their right mind would want to go and see real live spiders on display. Most people are not overly keen on the eight legged creatures. Trust me, spiders are not my most favorite creature either. In fact, my mom died from complications to the venom from a Brown Recluse Spider bite.

I don’t freak out when I see spiders, but I am weary of them, especially because some can be deadly. None the less I was curious about them.

My husband, son and I went to the museum to check out the exhibit, as well as the other exhibits at the museum. Our daughter was supposed to go with us but she had to work and couldn’t change her schedule.

Inside the Spiders Alive! exhibit you’ll find real live spiders from around the world – some of them are HUGE too. It was kind of creepy to see these spiders up close.

One of the spiders at the exhibit is a Mediterranean Brown Recluse Spider. I was not too happy to see that one, but at least there was no way it could hurt anymore.

Brown Recluse

Did I mention the spiders in this exhibit are ALIVE (thus the reason why it’s called Spiders Alive!).

My apologies for the photos not being that great. You cannot use flash photography in the exhibit and I don’t have a macro lens on my camera.

Check out these other creepy crawlies currently on display at the Spiders Alive! exhibit.

Spider 1

Spider 2

Spider 3

Spider 4

Spider 5

These are things nightmares are made of. Ha Ha.

There were also photos on the wall of other spiders from around the world (very interesting and unique ones) as well as other displays like a spider web.

Pix 1

pix 2

web

As creepy as it was the exhibit is very educational and gave us a better understanding, and dare I say, appreciation for spiders. There was even a hands on demonstration where the educator used a real, live spider.

The spider the demonstrator was using as also displayed on the screen behind her head so that people in the back could see just as well as those upfront.

demo 1

demo 2

The Spiders Alive! exhibit is an extra fee (it’s not part of the general admission) however if you are interested in spiders, or even a wee bit curious, it would be worth the visit.

There are other special exhibits and films currently going on at the museum too, as well as their permanent displays. You might want to check out Life at the Limits, Nature’s Fury and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean.

Tickets for the museum can be purchased at the museum or you can order them online and pick them up at the Will Call window. PLEASE NOTE the line for the Will Call window is very long. It took 47 minutes online to pick up our tickets. When we left for the day the link for the Will Call window was still very long. Please keep that in mind so you can plan your day accordingly. We were pressed for time so we had to give up one of the exhibits we wanted to see due to the time spent online.

General admission has a suggested price which allows you entry into all 45 halls and the Rose Center for Earth and Space. To gain entry into the special exhibits you need to purchase different tickets. I would personally recommend the Super Saver option so you can see all the exhibits and films. It’s well worth it.

If you have never been to the American Museum of Natural History and are planning a trip to New York City, or live near the city and are looking for a “day trip” activity, I would highly recommend visiting the museum and planetarium. It’s filled with so many amazing things.

The planetarium is AWESOME! Currently the show at the planetarium is about Dark Matter. I personally found it incredibly fascinating, but my husband and son said it was a bit too “deep” and hard to understand. I feel it might be too complicated for little ones to understand.

There are plenty of tours you could take in the museum. There is even an app that can help make your visit more educational called Explorer. It’s free to download from iTunes and Google Play.

If you are planning a visit I would suggest you allow yourself several hours. There are so many places to explore in the museum. There are also places to eat, shop and plenty of restrooms to make your visit comfortable and more enjoyable.

I don’t want to give away too much from the museum, but here are some of my photos from our visit. I will forewarn you that my favorite exhibits are the animals and dinosaurs, so most of my photos are of them.

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Flash photography is not allowed for several of the exhibits. Be sure to read signs to make sure flash photography is allowed. When it doubt you can always ask one of the museum representatives.

I did use flash on the Whale vs. Giant Squid display because there was no way I could get a photo otherwise (it’s very dark).

I think I too about 200+ pictures that day, if not more. I really love the museum. It’s like every time I go we stumble across something we didn’t see before.

Young and old alike can delight in all the wonderful things that can be found within the walls of the museum. The museum is also located across from Central Park so you could take a leisurely stroll there after your museum visit.

For more information please visit www.AMNH.org. You can also find the museum across all the social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…). All of the links are found at the bottom of their website.

Have you ever been to the American Museum of Natural History? Do you have a favorite display or exhibit? What do you think about Spiders Alive! Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.

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Kimberly

*We received free passes in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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BJ’s Benefits Beyond the Club

 

Shopping cart

Do you belong to a wholesale club?

If you are a member of a wholesale club you can often score great prices on the products you buy on a regular basis. That is because you are buying the items in bulk and often bulk purchases cost less than if you purchased the products individually.

My husband and I visit our local wholesale club at least once a month to stock up on the essentials. If we had a bigge condo we would love to buy a free standing freezer so we could stock it with bulk cuts of meat.

Having a membership to one of these clubs is key to saving money on the products you buy often. If you are BJ’s Wholesale Club member your benefits go a lot further than just buying goods in bulk. Your membership card can help you save money on travel, car rentals, health and auto insurance and even purchasing a new car.

BJ’s offers quality and value on services for your home, business and personal needs.

Escape

In addition to saving money on the services that you need, you can also get additional “perks.” For example, BJ’s Travel already gives you great deals on cruises. If you book a cruise through them right now you can get a $500 BJ’s gift card. WOW! I would love a $500 BJ’s gift card.

They have travel discounts for Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and other well know, popular cruise lines. Some of the other perks offered through BJ’s Travel include FREE upgrades, FREE excursions and even up to $1,600 in on board offers.

It’s not just cruise lines.  You can find great deals and more perks if you book your hotel, car rental and even booking your entire vacation through BJ’s services.

Auto

I was very surprised to see that having a BJ’s membership can also help you save money when purchasing a new car. When we were at our local BJ’s the other day I noticed some signs about the extended services as well as their car buying program. The sign said you could save up to $3,500 on a new car. I don’t know if that applies every where in the country, but locally that is the deal. It even mentions which car dealership works with BJ’s.

The funny thing is that we just bought a new (used) car a little over a month ago. Had I known about BJ’s services we might have been able to buy a brand new car with the extra savings we could have received. Oh well. We’ll look into it in a couple of years when my husband will need a new car.

BJ’s even works with brands like Verizon and DirecTV to offer members extra savings.

I’m amazed at how much is offered to BJ’s members – home improvement services (windows, basement finishing…), discounts on eye glasses and hearing products, discount on tires, check printing and stationary services, extended warranties and so much more.

Car Rentals

Did you know you can also order Deli and Bakery platters from BJ’s services?

The next time you are shopping at your local BJ’s don’t forget to think about the other things you need in your life, not just paper towels and bulk packages of meat. Think about all the other great membership perks you get for being a BJ’s member.

For more information about BJ’s visit BJs.com. You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The links are found at the bottom of their website.

To check out all the services offered to members visit the Travel + Services page.

Are you a BJ’s member? If so, were you aware of all the discounts and perks you get on other services?

BJs-Logo

Kimberly

*I received a BJ’s gift card in exchange for this post. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Don’t let motion sickness spoil your fun

Carnival Rides

I used to love the swing ride at the Dutchess County Fair

When I was a young I loved to go on rides at amusement parks. It didn’t matter if the ride wen upside down, backwards or did flips… I loved them all. I especially liked the rides that would spin you around and around at high speed.

Fast forward to when I was pregnant with my daughter. I don’t know why it happened. I attributed it to being pregnant but even a ride on a carousel made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t go on any rides.

Growing up I went on A LOT of road trips with my family and relatives. I was always in the backseat of the car. It never bothered me at all. For some reason these days I cannot ride in the backseat of a car or even ride in a bus. I found that out the hard way when I was a chaperone on a class trip with my daughter. Riding home on the bus I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn’t move or even open my eyes. It was awful.

I found out that riding in the backseat of cars is equally has horrible.

I attend a lot of events in New York City which require me to use a car service - there is no way I'm driving myself in the city.

I attend a lot of events in New York City which require me to use a car service – there is no way I’m driving myself in the city.

Once I was going to an event in New York City. The company sent car service to take me to/from the event. I was so car sick when I got to the city that I had to dash to the nearest drug store to purchase medication for an upset stomach and I was sucking on peppermint candy throughout the event to settle my stomach.

Car sick is actually motion sickness. It effects millions of people. More than half of those affected are women (54%).

What causes motion sickness? Why are some people effected but not others?

Motion sickness happens when cues from our vision, touch and vestibular or inner ear systems to the brain interpret using chemicals called neurotransmitters. Motion sickness occurs in one of these cues that does not match. There are several modes of transportation that can cause motion sickness to occur, such as cars, planes, trains and boats. Even playing video games or watching IMAX or 3-D movies can cause motion sickness.

Years ago a friend of mine recommended that I try Dramamine. Dramamine helps to prevent the nauseous feeling you get when motion sickness kicks in. Just be aware that the original formula can make you feel drowsy. The brand does have non-drowsy formulas. I would use the original version if you’ll be traveling for a long time and don’t mind taking a nap when traveling. If you are traveling and have things to do I would suggest the non-drowsy formula. That way you are alert when you need to be.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals

PHOTO SOURCE: Dramamine

Dramamine recently introduced a new product to their ever expanding product line – new Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals. I received a package of the new Dramamine to test out.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals;

  • Contains the clinically tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness. Other sources of ginger, including candies, gums, or ginger ale, may not contain a full clinical dose.
  • Prevents and treats the symptoms of motion sickness (nausea and vomiting) without drowsiness.
  • Non-Drowsy Naturals is safe to use every day you travel since it’s made from natural ginger.

Check out this brief video about the new product.

 

I actually like ginger. I like the way it tastes. I’ve used ginger candy and gum to help an upset stomach. When I was little my mom would always give me ginger ale soda when I had an upset stomach.

You cannot taste the ginger in the Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals, it’s just made out of ginger.

I was asked to take on a challenge to see if the Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals helped with motion sickness. I hadn’t had any plans to go to an amusement park, or travel into New York City for an event, but I did have the opportunity to try out the new Dramamine when my family traveled to Pennsylvania for a family party. I took the Dramamine “Take a Road Trip” challenge. We live in New York and my cousin’s party was in Pennsylvania. It’s a three hour road trip – 2 1/2 of those hours are in New York.

It was a 50th birthday party. We couldn't miss it.

It was a 50th birthday party. We couldn’t miss it.

Our daughter had her road test coming up and needed more practice driving. She’s only driving on local streets and wanted the opportunity to try driving on the interstate. Since two and a half hours of our trip was in New York (where she had a learner’s permit – she couldn’t drive in Pennsylvania), we let her drive that portion of the trip (to PA – it was dark on the way back so my husband drove). Having her drive a portion of the way meant my husband or I had to sit in the backseat. Since I get nervous when my daughter is driving I volunteered to sit in the back of the car with my son.

Knowing that was going to be the driving arrangement to start off with (as least for an hour or so into our trip) I knew to take the Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals a half hour before we got in the car to allow for the product to make it’s way into my system. Adult dosage is two pills.

Low fog in the mountains on the ride back home (PA to NY).

Low fog in the mountains on the ride back home (PA to NY).

Having our daughter drive on the interstate was certainly an experience (I think I had my eyes closed most of the time – LOL).

I am happy to report that I didn’t feel sick or “off” when we arrived at my cousin’s house for the party. In fact I felt fine, may be bit frazzled from our daughter driving (she had never driven on the interstate before), but physically speaking I felt fine. I wasn’t even tired. The Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals worked perfectly. I survived the ride in the backseat and I wasn’t sleepy. Two thumbs up from me!

My daughter and cousins enjoying the lake in Pennsylvania.

My daughter and cousins enjoying the lake in Pennsylvania.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals is available in a 12 count travel vile and a 36 count box.

For more information about Dramamine products please visit Dramamine.com. You can also find the brand on social media – Facebook.com/Dramamine and on Twitter @DramamineBrand.

Do you suffer from motion sickness? Does motion sickness prevent you from enjoying things like traveling, amusement parks or simply sitting in the backseat of a car?

Have you ever tried Dramamine? What do you think about Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

 

Kimberly

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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9 Road Trip Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

 

Family Travel

Are you going on a road trip for Memorial Day weekend? Normally my family stays home but this year we are going to Pennsylvania for my cousin’s 50th birthday celebration. The idea of being on the road during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year doesn’t sit well with us, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime event that we don’t want to miss.

If you are traveling this weekend, or any time during the summer for that matter, these tips from author Andrea Woroch** are especially helpful.

As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day weekend is often celebrated with a road trip to the lake, beach or mountains. AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this holiday, representing a 4.7% increase from last year and the highest travel volume for Memorial Day in 10 years.

With so many people hitting the road during this peak travel time, planning ahead will ensure a smooth trip with lots of savings. Here are several tips to ensure a carefree and budget-friendly Memorial Day weekend getaway.

Prep your car. Heading out on a road trip takes a little more prep work than simply typing an address in the GPS. You should get your vehicle serviced to ensure a smooth trip, check the air pressure in your tires for optimal gas mileage, pack a cooler with refreshments and snacks, and make sure you have chargers for all your necessary gadgets like smartphones and navigation guidance. For more ideas, review 10 things to check before you hit the road.

Call your bank and credit card company. Planning ahead doesn’t end with car maintenance. You also have to call your bank and credit card companies to alert them of your upcoming trip. Provide a general route or cities you’ll be visiting so they don’t think there’s any fraudulent activity. Otherwise, you may experience interruption of service or a hold on your accounts, which means you won’t have access to your funds.

Beware of skimmers. Fraudulent activity is especially rampant during peak travel season, so it’s important to monitor your online bank and credit card statements daily. Thieves use “skimming” devices to steal bank and credit card data, often placed inside credit card slots on gas pumps and ATMs. If any swipe machines look like they’re been tampered with, pay with cash or go to another rest area or restaurant. It’s wise to withdraw some cash to cover gas purchases and small travel expenses before you leave home, too.

Research gas prices. Use the GasBuddy website or download their free app to research fuel prices along your route to find the cheapest price per gallon. Then review your credit cards to figure out which one offers the best rewards for fuel purchases so you can maximize cash back or travel points during your trip.

Rear-side view of car

Decode lodging deals. Waiting until the last-minute to book a hotel isn’t recommended during peak travel holidays, but there are still options for saving money at the eleventh hour. You can find discounted luxury digs from hotels looking to fill unsold rooms via the HotelTonight app, or you could buy someone’s unwanted reservation for less through the site RoomerTravel. Otherwise, check CouponSherpa.com for travel deals at third-party hotel booking sites like Hotels.com, BookIt, HotelWiz, or score a free night through VRBO.

Pitch a tent. With warmer weather upon us, sleeping under the stars is a less expensive alternative to hotels, especially since room rates peak during popular holiday weekends like Memorial Day. Research camping spots along your route at ReserveAmerica.com and make a reservation before you hit the road.

Make the most of the drive. Get your family and friends to use their mobile devices for more than just social sharing during the drive. Download the Roadtrippers app to find fun activities along your route or the Field Trip app to discover cool spots like historic sites and quaint shops. The app even offers a special “nearby deals” feature to help you save money on dining and shopping. When you’re on an endless stretch of flat terrain with nothing to see or do, have fun by quizzing each other about U.S. travel with the Road Trip Trivia Game app.

Mind your data use. Though I recommend using your smartphone for enhancing your trip, keep an eye on your data use to avoid potential overage fees that will send your bill soaring! Download maps or any apps from your home or hotel before hitting the road, enable your WiFi locator to find free connections en route, and turn off push notifications from social media and email apps. Use My Data Manager app to track data use across shared and family plans.

Plan a staycation. If you decide traveling this Memorial Day weekend is simply out of the budget, save money and stress by staying home. While laying around your living room isn’t glamorous, you can make it fun and memorable with a little creativity. Plan a staycation that involves pitching tents and roasting marshmallows over a fire pit in your backyard, or recreate your favorite destination by cooking meals you enjoyed most on the last trip. You can even book a room at a hotel downtown to feel like you’re escaping for one night while still keeping it cheap.

These are great tips!

Do you have any tips that you would like to share. Feel free to leave a comment on this post and share your best travel tip for others.

Kimberly

Andrea Woroch

**Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

This post was shared with permission from the author.

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