Tag Archives: Mathews McGarry

5 Tips for Planning a Memorable Family Vacation on a Budget 

By Guest Blogger, Mathews M.

5 Tips for Planning a Memorable Family Vacation on a Budget

A memorable family vacation does not mean you have to break the bank. If you ask me, some of the best vacation moments are those that are the least extravagant and luxurious. Plan ahead when it comes to where to go, what to bring, and what to do once you arrive at the destination. This is the key to managing the money properly and at the same time, having the family time of your life.  Of course, you are going to need to work together to keep the vacation on track with the budget.

Here are some tried-and-tested tips to keep things under control.

A game plan

To jumpstart the process of planning, gather as much information as you can. Use this as a reality check to validate your expectations. Select your destination based on research or the recommendations you receive. Try to think outside the box. Ensure that the whole family is onboard when it comes to the budget and travel itinerary: have an open conversation about everything.

In particular, let the kids get familiar with the activities and attractions that could tickle them pink and naturally, give preference and book those that are free or nearly-free.

Time on your side

Many people overlook that timing has an important role to play and that being flexible about it is something that pays dividends aplenty. Traveling prices are all about supply and demand. So, if you book your accommodation just before or after peak season, you should be able to snatch some good deals, for example through a series of spring flash sales.

Steer away from unnecessary expenses and those that take a big bite out of your budget and find an affordable family getaway on time. Then again, note that last-minute traveling can also turn out to be a huge money-saver.

Eat your way to frugality

To squeeze out extra value from your vacation, save money on food. One way to do so is to carry a picnic kit with you as well as to prepare wholesome meals back home. Furthermore, limit yourself to eating just one meal per day in a restaurant (the kids dislike sitting at them anyway). To make this happen, make sure you always stay at a place with a fridge and kitchen.

Hotels that offer a free breakfast are worth your attention as well. Or instead, in the morning, crush some ice cubes in a blender, add banana, strawberries, and yogurt and then blend it. This becomes a quick, inexpensive meal to enjoy while sitting or on the go. Finally, remember to always keep yourself hydrated with reusable water bottles.

Handling the transportation

The most economical vacations entail your family hitting the road in a car or opting for a fly-and-drive trip. In the latter case, take advantage of airfare bargains. Of course, driving your own vehicle is preferable, but you still need to spend some money on gas.

To trim spending in this area, never leave the motor idle during stops and refrain from satisfying your need for speed. Keep your eyes on your fluid levels and purchase quality oil products online from brands like Castrol. Also, make sure to have spare wheels and maintain an adequate tire pressure.

What about accommodation

You may not fancy it, but camping is one of the most frugal ways to organize a vacation and it can also be one of the most rewarding family adventures. Wilderness areas and national parks provide plenty of thrilling opportunities for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, outdoor recreation, etc.

You can have magical moments sitting around a crackling campfire under the star-studded night sky. Just make sure you take as many home comforts with you as you can. And in case camping is not up your alley, consider cheap motels and hotels.

The world is your oyster

The meat of your plan revolves around keeping down the costs, not impeding your experience and enjoyment. Thus, tackle the major areas of vacation spending and identify smart ways of navigating the minefield of financial decisions.

Do not spend more than you can comfortably afford. Know your destination and route like the palm of your hand. Make good use of money-saving deals. Why go to an expensive theme park if you can spend a comfy morning in a hotel bed, watching cartoons together?

Tia, and TipsfromTia.com  is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram.

 

6 Ways to Hack into Our Happy Chemicals

By Guest Blogger Mathews M.

6 Ways to Hack into Our Happy Chemicals

 

Have you noticed how you always feel better after certain things, such as a laugh, a hug, a game of basketball, buying a new book, or being immersed in your hobbies? When you feel disappointed or sad in life, these things can always cheer you up, and you can start working again – stress-free and happily.

It’s likely that the thing you do is your happy chemical hack. There are four chemicals in us that are responsible for our happiness – serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. There are ways that we can cause them to flow intentionally, and get ourselves into a positive state. They have a great impact on our wellbeing, productivity, and motivation.

Serotonin

Serotonin helps eating, digesting, and sleeping. It is considered a natural mood stabilizer and it impacts everything from your motor skills to your emotions. We feel less anxious, calmer, happier, and more focused and emotionally stable when our serotonin levels are normal. Serotonin is the reason behind our mood swings, and depending on whether we have a high or low level of it in us, we feel in a good mood or sad and depressed.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the treat we get after a job well done. This chemical motivates us to take action and gratifies us with a surge of reinforcing pleasure when we achieve our goals. Low levels of dopamine are responsible for our lack of enthusiasm, self-doubt, and procrastination. Instead of allowing your brain to celebrate only when you hit a big goal, break big goals into smaller ones to create a series of little celebrations. This will cause a frequent release of dopamine, and to ensure a consistent dopamine-experience pattern, you need to create a new goal to achieve before you hit the current one. Celebrate with a dinner at your favorite restaurant or a bottle of wine.

Oxytocin

We need oxytocin to build healthy relationships, because it creates intimacy. It is released by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding, and during orgasm. Often referred to as the “cuddle hormone”, its cultivation is essential for better social interactions and strong bonds. This is why a touch improves the immune system and reduces cardiovascular stress – it raises levels of oxytocin.

Endorphins

The body’s natural painkillers, these morphine-like chemicals trigger positive feelings and help diminish our perception of pain by acting as a sedative and analgesic. They’re released from the brain’s pituitary gland during orgasm, pain, emotional stress, and strenuous exercises, inducing feelings of euphoria or pleasure. If you’ve ever experienced a runner’s high, know that endorphins are to be held responsible for it. Even if the things we love doing are tiring, we don’t feel tired at all while doing them, but get hyped up.

Whenever you feel sad, blue, or depressed, remember that this is how you can trigger your happy chemicals:

  1. Get out in the sun. The production of serotonin can be boosted by sunlight. Whenever you find the time, go out for a walk and soak in the sun.
  2. Happy memories. Whenever you go through a happy memory in your head, you boost the serotonin levels in your brain. Our prefrontal cortex, which controls our emotions and self-reflections, requires serotonin in order to work right.
  3. Get or give a hug. A long hug calms you down, making you feel fuzzy and warm, because oxytocin gets released. It calms down your fear alarm, the amygdala, reducing stress and anxiousness.
  4. Laugh as much as you can. You can get happier by just opening your mouth and letting out a chuckle, or giggling when you think or hear something funny. It’s a healthy way to release emotions, attract people (because it’s an attractive expression), and release endorphins that make you feel less stressed.
  5. Don’t forget to smile. Just like laughing, smiling is a simple thing to do to improve your mood. You feel happier if you smile just like you smile because you feel happier. The face both creates and displays emotions, which means that it’s an equal in the emotional process.
  6. Have some green. Yes, you can boost your dopamine with green tea, but probably not as much as you can with a few puffs of weed. Long-term stress can reduce the production of endocannabinoids (chemicals that affect emotions), which marijuana can restore, stabilizing your mood. Many states in the US have decriminalized it’s use, such as Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and more. So, you can get your favorite strain of medical marijuana in Las Vegas, and have an occasional smoke or a bit of an edible.

In the end, spending time around other people is a simple way of boosting the production of your happy chemicals. Go to a book store or sit in a coffee shop, and just share the same physical space (you don’t even have to talk to them). If there’s someone you can chill and chat with all the better and more beneficial, of course. Oxytocin is released during social interaction, supporting the serotonin system, making us feel good thanks to the benefits of both chemicals.

Tia, and TipsfromTia.com  is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram.