Although the calendar date of summer is still a couple of weeks away, once school is out and Memorial Day has come and gone, most people feel like summer is here. There are vacation plans to make, kids to keep entertained, outdoor dining to enjoy, and more.
Gas prices should stay reasonably low this summer, prompting many people to hit the road for a getaway. If you are lucky enough to work someplace with flexible summer hours, a road trip that beats Friday traffic is a great way to kick off your weekend! One thing to be mindful of if you are making travel plans for the 4th of July (which falls on a Monday this year, making it likely that many people will go ahead and take off Friday, July 1st, for an extra long weekend) is surge pricing. It’s basic supply and demand, but airlines and even ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft are known to increase rates when more people need them most, like busy holiday weekends or other peak travel times. Heck, even Amazon does it to their sellers, except they give them some advance warning.
So you’ve got your vacay all mapped out, now how to keep the kids entertained? The travel itself is pretty painless these days thanks to the wonder of electronic devices, but just because you manage to avoid the cursed “are we there yet?” chorus doesn’t mean that your patience won’t sail out the window at the first mention of out-of-town boredom. Although travel by car affords the opportunity to pack with wild abandon, keep it simple with easily packed, non-tech items, many of which can be picked up at the $1 store, leaving more money in your budget for important splurges like flip flops with a built-in flask. Just add water and a bag of balloons quickly transforms into a water balloon war; a frisbee is equally home at the beach or in the park; outside of their obvious water uses, pool noodles can do double duty in jousting contests as well as a javelin toss; this ice cream ball provides kids with a “cool” reward after just 20 minutes of play time; other favorites include sidewalk chalk, kites, and bubbles. And if you’ve got a group of 8 and feel like splurging, we think this set of pizza slice rafts that combine to make a whole pie are a pretty good way to do so.
To keep you on track with healthy summer eating, consider investing in a spiralizer and swapping out zucchini noodles (aka “zoodles”) for pasta or just adding ribbons of colorful sweet potatoes to your otherwise drab salads. Who knows, you might even get your kids to try something new because they’ll be so worn out from all of their old-school, outdoor play time.
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