Vacationing Luxuriousely For Less – It CAN be done!



Vacationing Luxuriousely For Less – It CAN be done!

OK so you’re thinking of taking the family or perhaps your special squeeze or maybe just yourself on a much needed get the heck outta Dodge vacation. Good for you! Problem is, like many, you work for some (idiot) that doesn’t pay enough to make the bills, much less a vacation of any sort. So, how can you make this work? Well, here’s a few tips to help stretch those bucks and help you have a good time.

Plan ahead. This has to be the biggest number one tip I can give anyone. If you do your trips last minute you will pay and pay and pay. Hotels and fun places KNOW this and they hike the prices accordingly. So think and plan ahead. if ou’re a member of AAA go get their trip books, maps and talk with one of their trip advisors. This along could be worth the price of your annual membership with them. Plan what you want to do, where you want to go and when the best time to go – based on what you want to do and best prices. Also, once again, Google is your friend.

Watch for venu specials and promotions. Most of the places you want to visit know when the soft spots in their traffic flows are and they push promotions to keep the bodies flowing during those lulling times. Know this and work it to your advantage. The times I like are either just before or after a major holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Xmas have been great times for me and the first half of January when the kids are all back in school also tends to be nice. Study the university schedules for when their breaks and major exam schedules are. Trust me kids aren’t going to be going on vacation in any large groups when they have final projects due and exams coming up…and neither are their parents. May is also a nice time for me as students are finishing up school work almost accross the board and places can be empty.

Shop your tours carefully. Tour vendors like Grayline can add alot to your trip with their local tours of major sites. Use them and other tour options strategically. Face it, you can get yourself from here to there faster and cheaper than a tour company can. So once you’re there, use them there for what they know and do best. Also you may get better deals if you book your tours for during the week versus the weekend. There’s usually less traffic and demand during the week.

Plan your meals and food wisely. Throw a small cooler in the trunk and use it for drinks, sandwiches, yogurt or whatever you like to eat. Many hotels offer breakfast as part of the deal. Personally, I really like Hampton Inn’s for this as they are totally family and business friendly. I can a few pieces of fruit, yogurt, put together a trail mix, etc., and take it with me. Finding a small grocery on your travels is usually easy to do. Use that cooler strategically for drinks, sandwich fixings, etc., and you can save a small bundle of chow expenses.

Choose where you stay carefully. You can enjoy your stay and vacation just as easily at a place that is cost effective as you can at one that is woefully over priced and under delivered. There are some chains that are clearly marketing their name and have over priced their product and deliver the same if not less than much better priced options. Personally, this is one of the reasons that I tend to avoid Marriott facilities.

Watch for resorts and venues that offer more family friendly options. Some have special kid friendly events and programs that are specifically designed for kids and the family.

One of my prefered websites after the AAA site is nps.gov. This is the page for the national Park Service. You will find an incredible wealth of information here of places to go, things to do and see that are incredibly affordable and an incredible amount of fun. If you look at the park system, also give serious consideration to the annual pass. I can save you a tidy bundle on the parks with entrance fees. Also check you state web sites and counties for their park systems as well.

Read the travel sections of your local paper with a very discerning eye. Keep in mind that most of those articles you’re reading with all those nice pictures of places to see are probably written by somebody’s public relations group and printed as if they were a feature article. They’re little less than an over written advertisement. They CAN have some really good and useful information, but read them with a big eyes wide open filter.

I hope you do your research and have a great trip.

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.



Family, Food, Restaurants and Eating Establishments, Vacation and Get Aways

Holiday Toy Shopping – Some Ideas To Make Life Easier …



Holiday Toy Shopping – Some Ideas To Make Life Easier …

OK, so we’re being inundated already with everyone out there schlepping their schlock for you to buy as gifts for people that for some reason you think you should be buying stuff for at this time of year. For some reason lemmings come to mind. October is hardly over any already you can’t walk through Walmart because the aisles are just over filled with xmas schlock that someone from Arkansas thinks you should be spending your money on.

So, I’ve picked up a few ideas that may be able to help you endure the rites of the season when it comes to getting what you’re wanting for those that you’re wanting it for…

GET THE HOT STUFF EARLY. Yeah, vendors know what’s hot and they’re sure to make sure the prices are highest earlier in the season but if it’s something you need for your list, your best advised to get it while the getting is good. Beating the rush will also let you get in and out of stores with a minimum of battle fatique.

Consider store services. Many stores, including the ubiquitous Walmarts, Targets, Sears, etc., offer local pickup for online purchases. Some use these services for groceries and perishables, but the same service is also available for most anything they sell. If you don’t want to risk a package being left on your front door or having UPS drop your package off at a house you haven’t lived at for a long time, ask the vendor if they have in store pickup. It can also save you time standing in line especially if you’re dealing with a place like Walmart which never seems to have more than 3 lines open for checkout.

Consider layaway. This can be be a good way to lock in a purchase for later pickup and/or payment, thus assuring you have what you need when you need it, especially if you don’t have the cash or credit line to buy it now…or if you just don’t want the little monsters sniffing around boxes to see what the Easter Bunny is going to put under the tree. Yeah, I said Easter Bunny – he’s as real as Santa is…. No, I’m not against Christmas. I just think it’s an over hyped, over marketed day of the year that tends to last for three months each year. I’m one that thinks the TRUE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT is one that should be practiced 365 days a year, regardless of what day in December it is. Perhaps I’m odd that way.

Watch your sales. Many times stores have “sales” which amount to little more than telling you they’re selling something that you already know they’re selling, but the price really hasn’t changed if at all. Be a smart shopper. Compare shopping to the max! Just because stores blast you with “SALE!” doesn’t mean the price has been lowered, it just means they’re selling stuff and have stuff for “sale”. Caveat emptor!

Use the online services like Amazon, Craigslist, etc. Make sure you’re careful who you buy from and I would suggest you use a credit card as much as possible to give you an additional buffer of security if there’s an issue with the purchase. You may even find something in those ever more frequent and annoying spam “suggested postings” on things like Facebook. Gold is where you find it. These items also generally arrive in a generic brown package so the little monsters have less of a chance of knowing what’s really inside.

So, sit back, relax, pop open a cold one and let your fingers do the walking…or maybe your mouse.

And a Happy Humbug to one and all…may the Good Lord bless us all…every one… 🙂

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.



Christmas, Holidays

Fighting Chance of Saving Your Lost Thumb Drive



Fighting Chance of Saving Your Lost Thumb Drive

OK, so if you’re like many of us you have at least one of those ubiquitous small thumb drives(aka Memory Sticks). Also, chances are you’re not backing it up and you have half your life and other critical data on it. And, oops…damn, but you just forgot it in the PC drive at the library and now it’s maybe gone forever!

Well, since so many people are using and losing thumb drives, I’ve suggested that my students insert their thumb drive in the PC, bring up the windows browser and RIGHT CLICK on the thumb drive “drive” identifier and SELECT PROPERTIES.

Once in the properties panel for the drive, they can change the volume label and put their name and cell# in it, and hit APPLY when done. Once they do this, every time that drive is inserted and accessed it will be with their name/cell# as the device volid. This doesn’t guarantee that a lost thumb drive will find it’s way back to an owner, but it’s a fighting chance.

The amount of space they have to play with will vary depending on if it’s formatted FAT32 or NTFS, with NTFS giving them more space.

It’s no guarantee, but it does give you a fighting chance at maybe getting your thumb drive back…here’s hoping luck is in your favor.

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.



PC Stuff, Software, Wish I'd Thought Of That!