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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Six Helpful Tips for Making the Most of Your Trip: Planning Your Time and Budget [Guest Travel Blogger]

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Take A Leap Travel Tuesday is pleased to welcome once again Joe Laing. He was a previous guest blogger in December 2013

When you prepare to go on vacation, you want to do everything you can to maximize your time away and minimize unnecessary expense. To that end, we offer six suggestions to help you plan your trip. We include some of the newest smart phone apps to aid you in your journey.

1) Take your “loaded” smart phone along
You want to take your smart phone with you and be sure to load it with some of the best apps for traveling. I would include Google Maps, Four Square, Face Time (or Skype, for non-Mac or IPhone users), Yelp and Gas Buddy. In addition, remember to take your phone chargers along as well. Once you have pre-loaded your phone, you are ready to launch! A special note about Yelp: if you plug in a certain type of restaurant or shop, it will sort by price, by features, or by highest ratings. You can find out a lot about places before you even go to that town just by reading the reviews you find in Yelp. This is a good resource and you can get to it by just typing in their web address:

2) Plan your itinerary
The second thing is to plan and even print out an actual
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itinerary and route ahead of time. For this, Google Maps on your home computer is invaluable. Here, you can see all the sites you may want to visit before you leave the comfort of home. You can estimate how many miles you would like to drive in a day and how far you want to go in total. If you are renting a mobile home for your journey, be sure to estimate how much gas you will be using. Use Gas Buddy to see the best gas prices where you are going. Plan an efficient route.

3) Sightseeing on a Budget
What sights do you like to visit? Of course, you want to see some of the best sights while you are traveling. Which ones you choose to visit is really up to you. Are you traveling with children? You can plan appropriate sightseeing ahead with the help of Google Maps. You can access state parks and county parks if you like to be out in nature. You can look at the best shopping around any area before you arrive. You also may want to dine out a few times while you are on the road, so plan and time your sightseeing to stop at some local dining establishments. Use to help you figure out which stores or restaurants are rated highly by the locals and to stay within your budget.

4) Clip Coupons
When it comes to planning and saving, nothing helps save you time and money like clipping coupons in advance. If you wish, you can go to a site like Groupon or Amazon Local Deals and see what they offer in the area you are planning to visit. You can sometimes get online coupons for some staples like a stop at an Einstein Bagels store for your morning coffee and bagel or a dinner at a favorite chain. Research who has the best coupons and print them out or download them to your smart phone before you leave home.

5) Be sure to leave your home safe and sound
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Make sure you leave your home well secured. Stop your mail and newspaper or ask a neighbor to collect it for you so it isn’t obvious that no one is at home. Empty houses can attract burglars! Do not leave your house dark all the time. Set a timer to put inside lights on and off at various times of the evening so it looks like someone is there. Make sure you make adequate arrangements in the event of any emergency. Leave a key and your phone numbers with a neighbor. Make sure your pets are taken care of as well. If you will be gone a while, consider taking your pet to a nice pet spa or place they can get lots of exercise. If you are traveling in an RV, you may have the opportunity to take your pet along. Check with your RV rental company and any prospective campsites ahead of time to see about their pet policies.

6) Check the Weather
Check the weather forecast at your destination ahead of time and pack appropriately. Make sure that you have done all the necessary car maintenance if you will be driving your own car. If you are renting an RV, the company will take care of the maintenance for you.

About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company.

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