Act 360

Take precautions if you’re away for a few days

We will be heading off for a few days to spend time with family in the next town over. Before we leave, I’ll be sure to take a few precautions. Turn down the heat. Check that the water isn’t dripping. That the stove is off, that the Christmas lights are turned off, that the dishwasher has drained. I’ll make sure our neighbours knew we’ll be away too.

It’s such a busy time of year, you might feel rushed to get away in time. But it’s worth the extra 10 to 15 minutes to do a proper tour around the house. The last thing you need is an insurance claim to deal with when you get home.

Safe and happy travels!

Act 213

Get off the beaten track

While our cross Canada highway system is a marvel to say the least, you could conceivably go from New Brunswick to British Columbia thinking Canadians drink only Tim Horton’s coffee and eat only fast food. The value of a meal on the road is not just in price and convenience. Consider getting off the beaten track. We detoured into Hudson QC this morning and enjoyed great coffee and freshly baked pastries for the same price as a Timmie’s stop. Leaned a bit about the town and even peeked in a few shop windows. A great stop is a good start to any day.

Act 209

Give your kids an allowance on vacation

This is a tip from my good friend. Good advice. Tourism operators are to be given credit for their expert merchandising techniques. Take Cows Ice Cream on PEI for example. They have retail locations at every hot spot and friendly staff to assist. The ferry, the boardwalk in Charlottetown, in Cavendish, in Summerside. I don’t know how much ice cream they sell but they sell their fair share of themed t-shirts. My boys would not do without. So long as they understood that they had a set allowance for their vacation, they chose one shirt and they chose carefully.

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At an artisan chocolate shop in Victoria PEI, my son would have bought the entire inventory if I were paying the bill. But with his budget, he chose a loonie sized chocolate for a loonie and bought one for his brother. He got the experience without emptying his wallet. It’s a good tactic. One I’ll implement from here on in.

Act 208

Your money’s not on vacation even if you are

It’s always amazed me that some people on vacation seem to take a vacation from common sense when it comes to money. Your money’s not on vacation even if you are. So today, I shopped for deals. Got the breakfast special on the ferry, chose the least expensive of three accommodation options, bought a few coupons to the amusement park rather than the wrist bands and ordered take out pizza for dinner rather than eating in. Still had just as much fun but spend alot less money.

Another way to save a bit of money on vacation is to bring your own coffee and filters so you can enjoy a fresh brew in the morning without having to deal with the yucky hotel coffee or stop in at the drive thru or worse, pay a premium price for an average brew at a hotel restaurant. It’s less convenient but convenience can be expensive. So leave it behind and enjoy what vacations are made for. Fun. And fun is not measured by how much you pay. At least it’s not for me.

Act 207

Share trip expenses with a trusted travel buddy

I’m traveling with an old friend. We’re not old (yet). We’re just good friends from a long time ago. Over the years, we’ve been away together many times and have come to appreciate the art of co-traveling. I buy fuel, she buys food, we split accommodation. We’ve logged literally thousands of kms together in many countries and we’ve always been within about 5 bucks of what either of us owe each other (because we keep track).

On this trip, we’ve ventured from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia with PEI in our sights. Our strategy remains the same, share expenses, including a motel room or cabin. Bring what you need, pick up the rest along the way. Avoid restaurants. It works. We’re here in Nova Scotia with a trunk full of groceries in an adorable cabin in Pictou County with our little travel companions. The cabin was $100 – the gas was $50 and tomorrow, the ferry to PEI will be free (you only pay to get off the island). That’s an affordable debt defying weekend to say the least.

Happy travels!

Act 170

Pack a snack

If you’re headed on a road trip, as I am (or a work sleep over as my kids like to call it) pack a snack. It’ll save you money along the way and during your stay.

Consider bringing some basics from home. A cutting board, a pairing knife, a fork and spoon, a ziploc bag or two in order to shop at the grocery stores rather than opt for more boring, overpriced options. This way, you spend more time enjoying the trip, and less time eating dull overpriced food. And you can keep your food budget for something more exciting and memorable.

Bon voyage et bon appetit!