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Trying to plan a road trip? Here are the cheapest & most expensive states for gas

Gas prices have fluctuated significantly in the US (& the wider world), therefore, drivers will be paying very different prices for gas. Missouri is the state with the cheapest gas prices - it is now $0.13 more affordable than previous leader Mississippi. Despite this, prices have still risen by over a dollar in the past year. Kansas now ranks as the second most affordable, with a gallon of fuel costing a total of $3.80. Oklahoma is classified as the third most affordable state: a gallon of fuel costs just $0.01 more than in Kansas. Top 10 states with Cheapest gas prices: Missouri $3.78Kansas $3.80Oklahoma $3.81Arkansas $3.81Maryland $3.81Texas $3.86Nebraska $3.87Iowa $3.89Mississippi $3.91North Dakota $3.92Minnesota $3.92South Carolina $3.92 The study also looked at the most expensive states for US drivers: California was found to be the most expensive state for drivers. Fuel prices in California have risen 29.53% since last year, making it the most expensive state by $0.66. Top states with most expensive gas prices: California $5.91Nevada $5.25Hawaii $5.16Alaska $4.74Washington $4.73 To see more of this study click here.

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5 Financial Mistakes Parents Should Avoid When Traveling With Kids

Traveling, while enjoyable and fulfilling, takes a lot of expenses. It will take the use of strategic planning, different budgeting techniques, and financial confidence to make a limited budget work, especially when there are a lot of people traveling together such as with your family and with kids, at that! When you’re traveling with kids, the game changes and adjustments have to be done. Before making that next big trip, parents and guardians should consider several strategies so that their hard earned bucks are also well spent for them and their kids, ranging from finding affordable flights to bringing their own forms of entertainment. One efficient strategy is by “reverse engineering” your finances (or knowing the things that can potentially go wrong, instead of the ones that you should do right). That said, below are some of the financial mistakes to be avoided when families travel with kids. We hope that this guide prevents parents (like us) from making the same mishaps. 1. Not Being Prepared for Medical Emergencies Traveling is best done when precautions are in place. The first step in being prepared for medical emergencies is having travel health insurance. Getting you and your family covered will save you the trouble of paying for emergency medical expenses when traveling. Depending on the plan the family has, the cost will either be reimbursed within the plan limits or covered altogether regardless of injury or illness. Unfortunately, not many families come prepared with this, not even the parents themselves. It doesn't take a while to be acquainted with options, though, be it a comprehensive travel insurance plan that covers several problems (including baggage loss, trip delay, and trip cancellation), or a standalone medical plan limited to dental and emergency medical fees only. The bigger mistake is opting out of the travel insurance fee and then ending up spending more let alone on a different country when faced with medical expenses. 2. Not Prioritizing Convenience Over Ticket Price While flights can be as affordable as they can go, it is still best to be wise when choosing cheap ones but one that can compromise convenience. After all, going through delays and panicking one's way into making the connecting flight, with jet lagged children, toddler gear, and several pieces of luggage, is not an ideal experience when traveling, even if it allows youto save a little bit. For instance, don’t fall prey to a lap arrangement. It is recommended to buy a ticket for your child in order to prevent breakdowns and also have someone on your lap for an extended period of time. Parents, you will need all that muscle strength while traveling. Save your energy while in transportation. Also, isn't giving your family a bit of fun, convenience, and comfort a good thing to aspire for while traveling? If one can do this within a good budget without overspending, then it should be done. 3. Not Having Essential Items It is better to bring your children's essential needs, such as diapers and clothes, instead of buying them at the travel destination. After all, the availability of your children's needs, especially in terms of brand, may not always be around in certain countries. Securing these needs will save the unnecessary expense of buying something other than souvenirs and the experiences that should make the trip, not new baby clothes, prescription medicine, or diapers. A way to ensure doing this is to have firstaid kits and packing cubes. A firstaid kit and having it onboard is a nonnegotiable, and it should include items such as medicine for allergies, stomach ache, cold, flu, motion sickness, fever, and rehydration, as well as antiitch cream, thermometer, and bandages. Packing cubes, on the other hand, are fabric containers with zips. These can be packed with the basic clothes needed, including socks, as well one for dirty laundry and some detergent in case clothes need to be washed at the hotel. Imagine all the savings by dodging all those unnecessary expenses! 4. Not Bringing Enough Entertainment for Children It is a must to engage children of all ages when traveling. Otherwise, parents will find themselves with unnecessary expenditures on snacks, toys, and even inflight WiFi. It is best to pack some activity sheets, portable art materials, and even some books for the children to carry on their bags themselves. Be strategic when picking toys that won't be too missed in case they are damaged or lost. Make room for calming downtime activities too, so that the children can recharge and avoid having to ask for other things that are not needed. 5. Not Planning Properly Lastly, not planning properly for almost everything in the trip is a sure ticket to disaster. There are so many decisions to make. Lodging, for instance, is crucial for comfort, convenienceand affordability. Will it be better for you to book a hotel room? Or should you choose a spacious rental with kitchen access instead? More importantly, what are the activities you have planned each day? It would be best to keep things scheduled so you can avoid unexpected expenses and decision paralysis. Other Tips to Consider When Traveling With Kids Finally, don’t alienate your kids from the planning process. You’ll be surprised by how insightful their opinions are. Just remember that when it comes to choosing activities, your interests should come first, with the destinations as a second priority. Don’t forget to account for younger children as well. For example, going to a theme park with really young kids might not be the best idea since they will have limited ride options. Cruises, on the other hand, have a variety of activities for school age and teenage children. Family friendly cruise lines have added perks, too. Lastly, parents and seasoned travelers alike advise that less is really more. If the parents try to cram too much in a day, the trip might end up as a chore and not as an enjoyable way to spend time with the family. The Bottom Line At the end of the day, how much you wish to spend on your family travels is still up to you. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to strike a balance between cost effectiveness and overall, the fun, happy times that you signed up for. Safe travels! Jim Hughes is a freelance writer based in Sheridan, WY. Jim has significant experience covering financial and businesstopics. He’s been a financial advisor and also provided consulting and advice. At the moment he is the Director of Content atOpenCashAdvance.com

Travel Tips

First Trip Together As A Couple? Beware - Dating.com Finds Nearly Half of Couples Break Up After A Trip

Whether it be a domestic weekend getaway or a lengthy trip to a far away destination, traveling as a couple for the first time can be just as stressful as it is exciting. When taking a first trip together, for the first time most couples experience truly uninterrupted time together. Side by side at every moment, many people will learn things about their significant other that they may not have previously known - and that they might not want to know. Dating.com, shared the top reasons for breakups following a couple’s first vacation. Their most recent survey has revealed the top reasons why couples trips can strain relationships, many of which some people might not consider before taking their first trip with their partners. Their findings offer insight to what you may unexpectedly experience while traveling with your partner for the first time, as well as some tips and tricks to avoid turmoil in paradise as a result. A recent survey of their members revealed the following insights on what commonly causes a couple to break up after their first trip together:IStock - RichLegg Weird habits: With travel may come the revelation of certain habits that our partner has that we simply cannot stand. 47% of survey respondents reported that they had a previous relationship end due to a quirk that emerged during a trip, one that they just couldn’t accept in a long-term significant other. Many respondents cited habits including:Leaving cold or raw food on the counter until it became lukewarmPlacing dirty laundry on clean sheets instead of in the hamperWearing “outside” clothes on the bedChewing loudly with their mouth openWaking up oddly early for no particular reasonStrange obsessions: Spending an extended period of time together can bring some obsessive compulsive traits to light. The top reported strange habits to cause conflict between couples included:Annoyance with their partner over the way they organize their suitcaseNot budging on seat preference on the flightNot compromising on their preferred side of the hotel bedPunctuality: Having an idea of activities and sights to see is important to keep the trip exciting, but it should also still be relaxing for the two of you. Putting too much pressure on your schedule can take the fun out of your time together. 31% of couples have ended their relationships after being woken up too early every morning and 38% called it quits over showing up late to dinner reservations. Some respondents also noted that they stopped seeing their partner after arriving late to the airport, resulting in a missed flight.Sharing a bathroom: Sharing close personal quarters like a bathroom can be a real test for couples if they are not yet fully comfortable with one another. 40% of respondents reported their partner leaving toothpaste smeared in the sink and forgetting to replace the toilet paper while on vacation was too disgusting to forgive after they returned home. Seeing your partner’s true colors: On vacation there are bound to be moments of disruption and inconvenience, from flight delays to language barriers, foreign stomach bugs, food poisoning, seasickness as well as lost luggage and travel documents. A person’s true colors come out in moments of frustration, and 31% of respondents reported that watching their partner snap at a flight attendant, tour guide, waiter, or even at themselves was a big enough turnoff to break up shortly after. Incompatibility: Many people have had the unpleasant surprise of discovering big differences in their seemingly compatible partners while on vacation together for the first time. 44% of respondents reported learning about such differences on their first couple trip. Istock - Deagreez “A couple’s first trip together is a major relationship milestone, whether it happens in your first six months of dating or on your honeymoon,” says Maria Sullivan, Vice President and Dating Expert of Dating.com. “Spending several hours with someone isn’t the same as spending several days with them, and even spending weekends together isn’t the same as spending several weeks together.” “Upon your return, it’s possible that you decide to split up,” continues Sullivan. “But it’s also possible that you are still a couple and love each other even more than before. Plan your itinerary thoroughly and prepare yourself emotionally for either outcome. A couples trip is a journey worth taking: in order to get to know your partner better, and to learn if you might want to take on life and the world with someone new.” Maria’s tips to ace “the first trip test” as a couple include: Don’t plan activities without your significant other: This is a definite ‘don’t’ on your first trip as a couple. It’s okay to have some alone time every once in a while, but make sure to give your partner a heads up. Disappearing can cause panic and a feeling of isolation for your partner during what’s supposed to be an enjoyable trip. The purpose of the trip is to spend time together, so creating plans to enjoy without them – or without keeping them in the loop - is sure to cause some issues.Make sure that the vacation is within both of your budgets: Giving a nice vacation as a gift to yourselves is romantic, but going into debt over it? Not so much. Financial friction can oftentimes cause problems in relationships, so it’s never a bad idea to consult your partner on what they’re comfortable spending (even if only one partner is paying).Book in your own name: Dating.com found that 25% of people broke up right before a couples trip. If your former significant other broke up with you right before a trip and caused disruptions and cancellations of your travel plans, it’s easy to understand why you might want to avoid a similar scenario the next time around. Any vacation, big or small, is a financial investment, and you should consider booking flights, accommodations and experiences in your own name. If your partner joins you, then you can enjoy the vacation together and arrange reimbursements with each other later. If you break up, you can still go it alone - and if you do, then you should be open to new discoveries and even new relationships on your journey.

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Travel Tips on Getting to (and Around) Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the preferred summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around island during your visit. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard: 1.There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane. 2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The good news is that the Steamship Authority ferry operates many times a day, every day of the year. The bad news is that, while you can walk onto any of their ferries without a reservations, all car reservations must be made in advance, and space on ferries in July and August can fill up quickly. 3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time!​ 4. Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $25-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has more than 35 miles of paved, off-road bike paths, so it’s the perfect way to explore.​5. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! The VTA public buses are a clean, safe and reliable way to travel around the Vineyard. The daily bus pass cost is $8, on/off as much as you like. Children under 6 ride for free, and seniors 65+ get a reduced rate of $5. Bus passes can be bought at the Steamship Authority terminal, and, if you have exact change in cash, right from the bus driver. 6. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for lobster rolls and ice cream cones! 7. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.8. Don’t want to do any of the above? You’re in luck, because ride share, such as Uber and Lift are both available, as are local taxi companies. CARD WIDGET HERE

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Travel Tips

Which road trip snacks are the most popular?

This road trip season, it's not just about the destination. It's all about the journey ... and the snack foods along the way! The team at Upgraded Points wanted to take a closer look at which road trip snacks are the most popular. Using Google Trends, they mapped out the most popular choices for each state. Here’s what they found: The potato chip was America's favorite, with ten states selecting it as the go-to munchie.Close behind are Combos, Rice Cakes, and Sour Patch Kids, which were all the top-choice for at least five different states.Trail Mix, arguably the healthiest snack on our list, was the most popular choice in just one state. Go North Dakota!Unsurprisingly, Pennsylvania chose Pretzels as its favorite road-trip snack. The popular pretzel company UTZ is headquartered in the state. Courtesy of Upgraded Points You can view the full report and your state’s favorites here.

Road TripsTravel Tips

Our Best Tips for Traveling By RV

Ever think about taking an RV vacation? You aren't alone. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, RV shipments for 2021 were the highest in history at 600,240. 2022 is expected to be around 600,000, a -1.5 percent decrease since 2021, but will still be the 2nd highest year on record. 11.2 million households in the US own an RV, 22 percent of those are between the ages of 19 and 34, and 31 percent are 1st time owners. If you're eager to give RV camping a try, renting/sharing is, of course, your best intro, and over the years Budget Travel editors have compiled a number of tips to ease newbies into the driver's seat: What to expect: The most popular RV rental is the class C "cabover" model, which starts at about 22 feet long and has a front that resembles a pickup truck and a double-bed loft over the driver's seat. Most RVs come with a small sink, refrigerator, stove, and microwave. Class C - Courtesy of RVshare How many people will fit? A 25-foot class C cabover model will sleep three adults and two young children. Larger classes (B and C) may hold up to seven people. How much does it cost? RV rental rates fluctuate the way conventional car rental rates do, depending on time of travel, rental model, and when you make your reservation. In general, the earlier you make the reservation the better the rate, but you should expect to pay at least $300 per day once you factor in the daily rate, taxes, fees, and mileage. License and insurance: You can rent an RV with your regular driver's license, and insurance will work the same as for rental cars, typically covered by your credit card or auto insurance. Where to park: RVs are welcomed at more than 16,000 campgrounds in the U.S., often in state and national parks. Fees typically start at $40 per night (where you'll get a parking spot and possibly a barbecue grill) and go up to about $100 (pricier campgrounds will generally offer more amenities, such as laundry facilities, hot showers, and playgrounds). RV parks should have water and electricity hookups and somewhere to empty your sewage. Class C at night - Courtesy of RVshare In a pinch: You can often park your RV in a Walmart parking lot; just check the signage to make sure it's cool with that particular store. Know before you go: Plan out an RV-friendly route using GPS so that you don't run into overhead clearance problems or routes that don't allow propane tanks. Consider bringing bicycles: Think about it. You don't want to have to pack up the RV every time you want to look for a trailhead or trout stream, right? But if you're going to park your RV for a few days, be sure to run the engine for a few minutes each day to keep the battery charged. Content Presented by RVshare, the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace with more than 100,000 RVs to rent nationwide. RVshare brings RV renters and RV owners together by providing the safest and most secure platform for booking an RV rental. Find the Perfect RV Rental at RVshare

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Tips For Taking The Kids To Mardi Gras

Are you ready for Mardi Gras 2022? Parades start taking place around New Orleans every weekend starting Jan. 6th, leading up to the main event Tuesday, March 1st, historically the day before start of the Catholic season of Lent. While most of us may envision wild teenagers and scantily–clad women when the phrase Mardi Gras is mentioned, it is traditionally a family season of celebration. Many New Orleans natives have been known to attend the festivities with the whole family, letting the kids collect beads, toys, and other goodies. Here are a few tips for those of you planning to make this year's event a family affair. Stick to the Garden District: The good thing about Mardi Gras is there is something for everyone. The official website for Mardi Gras New Orleans recommends families stick to the calmer garden district where crowds are smaller and there is a more family–friendly atmosphere, particularly along St. Charles Ave. between First St. and Napoleon Ave. It's also a good idea to check out local area parades happening in Metairie for other toned–down celebrations. Be sure to check the day's parade schedule before you head out. Be prepared for fast-changing weather: Make sure you and your family wear layers, as typical New Orleans weather can be rather unpredictable. Help your kids get their share of the goodies: Bring a ladder so that kids can have a "box seat" and be higher up to catch more prizes thrown from the floats. Most importantly, bring along a few tote bags to carry all the beads, stuffed animals, and other goodies you're bound to catch during the parade. Be careful that the youngsters are catching them from the air, not picking up discarded beads on the grounds, which might be broken and sharp. Breathe new life into old Halloween costumes: Dressing up is half of the fun! Use the parade as an excuse to break out that old Halloween costume or make it an arts and crafts opportunity and construct the most creative, feathery, sequined mask you can imagine. Don't get lost in the crowd: Odds are, whichever parade you chose will be pretty crowded. Choose a meeting place just in case one of your group gets separated from the rest, and write your child's name and phone number on their shirt tag or give them a card with that information on it to keep in their pocket for the day. Stay in touch with older kids with a cell phone and check in with each other throughout the day. Teach your children well: Use Mardi Gras as a learning opportunity. Teach everyone about the historical and traditional significance of the parade, masks, and colors—gold for power, green for faith, and purple for justice—or take them to Mardi Gras World to learn about krewes and see how the floats are built. (Tickets are $22 for adults, $14 for children ages 2 to 11, and $17 for students with a valid college ID and seniors over age 65). Be sure to check websites for current Covid Guidelines/Restrictions.