The Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Safe and Budget Savvy Staycation

Here are some good ideas for a Staycation by Jesse Clark of Soulful-Travel.com - I figured they'd help with planning a positive experience as we really can't travel all that much these days:

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Des Moines River in the Fall

Even though vaccinations are progressing, travel could still be off-limits for the next several months. If you love to explore new destinations, this can put a real damper on any vacation plans, but you can still find safe ways to relax and recharge. In fact, you can do so without crossing any social-distancing boundaries by planning a staycation in your own town. 

Taking a “trip” locally can also save you a small fortune, which you can put towards future travels when things are a bit safer. If you need ideas for planning the perfect staycation, these dos and don'ts can provide inspiration. 

Don’t Take Chances With Home Security 

There are plenty of ways to save money on your staycation. Cutting corners with home security shouldn’t be one of them. A home invasion could leave you with $2,000 or more in losses and priceless damage to your emotions. These costs just aren’t worth any savings. So if you plan on leaving your home, even locally, make sure it is safe and secure. 

Lucky for you, there are ways to effectively protect your home without having to spend a small fortune. Smart home devices that can help include video doorbells, automated lighting, and programmable locks. You can already pick up popular and state-of-the-art video doorbells for just around $100. 

Do Treat Yourself to Shopping Savings 

Now that you’re not stressing out about your home, you can find other ways to relieve tension during your staycation, which could include a little retail therapy. As long as you keep your purchases under budget, shopping can be good for your mental health. Unplanned shopping trips can be especially satisfying, so set aside money for these excursions. 

You can use shopping as a form of self-care without any guilt by taking advantage of coupons and promo codes. With a quick online search before checkout, you can access deals and cashback offers for stores like American Eagle, so you can indulge with less financial stress. 

Don’t Overlook Free and Safe Activities 

Staycations can mean either traveling locally or sticking to your own home. If you choose the latter, you could end up saving even more money. That’s because there are so many safe, relaxing, and completely free ways you can enjoy yourself at home, all while social-distancing. 

You could curl up on the couch for a few hours with a good book or some good music, for one. Or if you decide to get out for some fresh air during your staycation, just make sure that you are able to practice social-distancing. Spending time in nature can also be a powerful way to unwind and refresh, so you could even plan your staycation around safe outdoor activities that are budget-friendly, like going for walks or making s’mores in your own yard. 

Do Focus Your Plans on Self-Care and Fun 

Comfort is important for relaxation. But in order for your staycation to feel like a vacation, you also need to do something fun and adventurous. Finding adventure in your home may seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be if you get creative with your plans! 

For example, while you can’t travel to far off places right now, you can still explore them online. Doing so is bound to be much friendlier to your budget too, since so many locations, attractions, and museums are offering free virtual tours to help keep people entertained during the pandemic. You can explore the Guggenheim Museum in New York or the Musée d’Orsay in Paris or even the world through JourneyZing’s gallery — all without ever having to leave your living room. 

Staycations don’t have to be boring! Plus, they can keep you safe while helping keep your budget in check. You can use those savings to fund your next real-world adventure, once travel has been declared safe once again. Until then, have fun and try to find ways to unwind at home. 

 

See what JourneyZing can do to help you make the world your oyster from your home. Get in touch today.

 


Thought I would report back on my efforts, so far, to trim my email

A few days ago I posted about my plan to cut down on things which land in my email Inbox.  I have done this in the past, but not as single-mindedly as this year.

First, I have my computer[s] backed up of course and I also use a program [EmailArchiverPro] to regularly back up to PDF my emails.  So I've spent the past few days basically deleting as many emails as possible from my email program since I do have a copy of them also saved in PDF and easily searchable. [I also get rid of some of these PDFs as time goes on and I realize I don't need them.]

Second, in Mail I create a Smart Folder called "unsubscribe" which collects inside it every email/newsletter which comes in with the "unsubscribe" link - as of right now I have 70 emails in that folder - am unsubbing where possible but it's slow going because I really do want to receive some of these newsletters.  But am trying to be more dedicated to unsubscribing.

Slow going, but progressing and a good way to start the new year.


Year-end and Year-beginning Goals. . .

At the end of each year, I try to cut down on emails, newsletters and the like.  I didn’t say I was successful, just that I try to do it, and have for the past several years.  Basically I delete as many old emails as possible and unsubscribe to as many emails/messages as possible.  For some messages I do a backup before deletion, for others which I can find via Google search, I just delete them.  As I was researching this topic I came across this rather simple, straightforward and helpful article on backing up your Mac[s].   The day will come when your Mac/Device is lost, stolen, breaks, is destroyed - and if you don’t have a backup there is absolutely nothing you can do.  For that reason, one end of the year prescription is to Back Up your computer[s].  Then go on with your cleaning!
 
How to back up your Mac 2020 | iMore

Ideas for Positive Social Distancing....

I've been practicing it since 3/15 [we were on a trip and flew back and since then have remained indoors other than as below]

  1.  Stay indoors but if at all possible get outside each day for a walk, remembering to keep social distance = the fresh air is really a nice change.
  2. I am trying to follow the Pomodoro Technique:  set a timer for 25 minutes of focus, after which you get a five minute break.  During each break try doing a different exercise - anything that gets your body moving is good.  Full discussion of Coronovirus Work-from-Home Wellness Plan [highly recommended]:  Elemental Work from Home
  3. Use the opportunity to do some cleaning, maybe a room a day?
  4. Practice Yoga and/or Meditation [loads of apps to help with that]
  5. Read a good book, listen to music, create music, add some art to your life.
  6. Clean out your various email boxes - how much of that stuff do you really need to save?
  7. Go through your computer/iPad/iPhone or such and clean them out, delete apps. you don't need, back up and then clean off data if you don't need it.
  8. Phone a friend, audio telephone or video, renew connections.

Hope this helps....

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from Trellis Restaurant

Quote from a friend --

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination. - John Schaar

 

[which reminds me of the Crisis/Opportunity quote by John F. Kennedy - 

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” —John F. Kennedy


Ideas for spending time at home...a few thoughts and suggestions

I'm following the CDC/etc. guidelines and staying home and, as I do so, trying to be creative in the use of my time [note I said Creative not Productive].  I gather we can go outside to catch the air/sun, but keep our distance and be sensitive to others.  The 'social distancing' idea is, after all, to help others and is unselfish in concept.  So, did a little thinking and research [which is a good way to continue to put off that ToDo List even further. . . ]

In addition to the ToDo list there's always household chores:  Clean out shelves, cabinets, closets and drawers [so called "deep cleaning"] and other worthy things, but for sanity's sake I was looking for ideas to keep the mind active [might be particularly relevant for kids etc., in a more kid-like format certainly].  The following are a few suggestions - 

Review and Clean out and Unsubscribe from emails, newsletters and other things which just multiply over time [I do this at year's end but it probably should be done twice a year given how many new offerings come in.  

There are books:  the paper ones you have, the audio books you have or can get [the Overdrive app, and others, can access your library account], the iPad/tablet ones you have, going through all your magazines and reading or recycling what you can.

There is, of course, a plethora of choices of streaming TV [we've exhausted Vera and Brunetti among others but are finding quite a few more offerings]

For your audio enjoyment as you tackle the ToDo list or household chores, there's radio, your music library [mine needs some culling anyway]

And for more visual entertainment - virtual tours of places you want to go to/see:

 

    [My search was ‘Virtual Tours’ and I’m sure others can do something more detailed or relevant]

Hope this is helpful... In the meantime, enjoy a view of nature far away:

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     Sintra-Cascais Natural Park Portugal

 


Taking back your life, Part II. De/Un-cluttering in a way.

As I recently wrote, at the end of the year I go through emails, newsletters, subscriptions etc. and jettison that which I can.  It is now 1-2 months since I started that process:  so far, I have not re-subscribed and I have continued to de-subscribe.  So far so good, still too many emails [particularly in a political year] but fewer than in the past.

Another process I have started - especially since the snows/ice/fog tend to keep one quietly in doors - has been to go through and organize my various 'digital assets' and delete whatever I can.  I have now used some larger [2-3TB] hard drives as storage for [1] music [iTunes, downloads, CDs saved from disk, etc.], [2] Client items [no longer needed currently but securely saved for the required time], [3] Financial info, [4] general reading, etc.  Actually I'm focusing on getting the music onto a drive so it's saved somewhere and I can delete items if I don't really need them currently.

I did have an epiphany the other day, though - I have PDFs from various articles, readings, etc. dating back at least 10 years and, if I wanted to really search for them, perhaps farther back.  There is no way in heck I am going to EVER be able to read those PDFs!  So, I'm also in the process of [1] getting rid of duplicates [I do tend to duplicate items 'just in case', and don't regret doing that] and [2] re-saving the most interesting, pertinent, useful ones and trashing all the rest.  If I haven't had cause to read an article since 2013, saved in pdf to disk, it's obviously not needed now == it's rather freeing to be getting rid of things I will never read, much less find time to read them = and which are findable on the Internet anyway.

So, another suggestion - don't let these things pile up so you have to do what I've been doing and clean things out.  And for your pleasure on a grey, snowy day = sunset in the fall, Urbandale, IA.

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Taking back your life....a good way to end the year, each year.

This is something I have done each January but now I'm starting in December and hoping there will be positive results in the new year.

Basically, I go through all the emails I receive as they come in [and then work back through those which have piled up] and if they are from non-personal/friend&family sources, decide which I want to still receive in the new year.  I then unsubscribe to as many as possible.  After all, if I miss the newsletter I can always sign up again.

I have an app which is part of Mail [MailButler] which does much of the unsubscribing for me, but I also have used Unroll.me - a website that will do much the same thing.  There are no doubt other ways of handling unsubscriptions, but this is what I do at the end of the year.

As for snail mail, that's a different thing to tackle, and a separate post.  In the meantime, a little hint of spring to keep people smiling.


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