Cash Vs. Debit and Some Travel Tips

It's awfully convenient to use that debit card. Just a quick swipe and you're on your way. But sometimes, it's a smarter choice to use good old fashioned cash. Here's why:

Generally, merchants are not permitted to charge more for using a credit or debit card. But they can offer a discount for using cash. This is especially evident at gas stations, where there's a different price for cash and credit purchases. Hopefully, the station will have signs that clearly identify the conditions for each form of purchase. And, also notice, that the price on the street sign must match the price on the pump. In Massachusetts, earlier this year, the Division of Standards upheld fines against two gas stations for not abiding by this rule. Given the high gas prices (I don't care if the cost has come down slightly in recent weeks — .it's still too high), be advised to pay attention at the pump.

And you might also want to pay attention to the following, to save money on your summer traveling costs:

Avoid filling up if you see the delivery tanker at the station. Sediment in the tank can get stirred up when new fuel is added. That might end up in your tank, which would not be a good thing

Change your air filter periodically. A dirty air filter will reduce your gas mileage

In the summer, fill up in the mornings when the temperature is the coolest. Doing that will avoid any possible expansion or evaporation of propane in the tank. (In the winter, filling up midday provides the warmest temperature so pumps and machinery won't freeze)

Check the pressure in your tires. Under-inflated tires can make your car's engine work harder and burn more fuel

I hope these ideas will help you save money. I'm sure you can find other uses for it! Until next time, here's to good planning!

Het more great advice from Diva Toolbox Contributor, Rosemary White on her website at www.MoneyTipsOnline.com…

Find the Best School for Travel Nursing

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You won't find the same education in one place that you will find in another, which is why travel nursing students should look for the best schools before submitting applications. Although you might not be able to conceivably attend the very best school, you also shouldn't start at the bottom of the barrel. Follow the tips below for finding the best school for travel nursing.

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Decide whether you want to attend school in- or out-of-state. If you know that you will be staying in your home state, it limits your search considerably.;

Attend a college fair at your high school or in your community. Representatives from dozens of schools will be there to pass out literature and to answer questions.;

Take brochures and pamphlets from all of the schools that seem promising, and ask the representatives about the nursing programs. In most cases, they will be honest.;

Talk with local healthcare staffing agencies and ask for their recommendations concerning schools. They will have worked in the industry long enough to know which schools are the best for travel nursing.;

Look through all of the brochures you have collected and select your top three. They should be schools that you can reasonably afford and that are within your geographical parameters.;

Call an admissions representative for each of the schools and let them know you are interested in their nursing program. Find out if they have any additional literature that they can send you.;

Share the information you have collected with friends, family members and your counselor at school. Ask for advice about choosing the best school, though the final choice should be yours alone.

Avoid looking at schools you can't afford, unless you think you have a reasonable chance at obtaining a scholarship. It's best to focus on schools that are a real possibility.;

Schedule a tour of your top three schools so that you can get a first-hand glimpse of their facilities and programs.;

Visit the US News website and look at their 'America's Best Colleges 2020' list. They have a registered nursing section.

www.usnews.com…

Travel Horror Story: Instant Mommy in London

About ten years ago, I visited London on a ten day vacation. Most of the trip went well until the last two days. I had met up with a friend from Canada, and she took me to visit a family she had befriended a few years earlier.

The family of four seemed nice enough, but within about ten minutes of arriving, their young daughter began calling me “mummy.” I have always been uncomfortable around children. I kept saying, “You already have a mommy.” The daughter would reply with, “If something happens to our mummy, will you be our ?” The mother sat next to me, and seemed unaffected.

The next afternoon, I happened to be standing in the hallway when the parents walked in with their daughter. The second the girl saw me, she ran up yelling, “MUMMY!!!!” and threw her arms around my legs. I looked up, and the mother said, “I think you’re making our guest uncomfortable,” then walked in the other room.

Later, I found myself sitting with the daughter on one knee, the family’s dog on the other, and their cat on my back. My friend, who loves both children and cats, sat there begging the cat and the girl to come sit with her. While I missed the girl and her family when the trip was over, it was one of the most uncomfortable situations in which I have ever found myself, and I was very happy to get out of there.…

Traveling with Kids: Valley of Fires Recreation Area

Our family recently visited Valley of Fires Recreation Area while on vacation to the Southwest. Traveling with kids always presents unique challenges. But we found that Valley of Fires in New Mexico was exciting not just for our two children, but for me and my husband as well.

Location:

Near Carrizozo in the Tularosa Valley of Central New Mexico.

Cost Per Day:

  • $5 per car carrying two or more
  • $7 to camp
  • $12-$25 for RVs, shelters, etc.

Activities:

  • Visitor's Center with literature and gifts.
  • Paved trail with interpretive displays.
  • Picnic tables and restrooms.

What We Liked:

  • It is one of the first outdoor recreation spots you'll reach coming into New Mexico from the East or Northeast. It came at just the right time for us – when we really needed to stretch our legs.
  • The path is exciting, but not dangerous. I could let our three year old get a few yards ahead without fear and they could safely jog and skip.
  • The abundant, shiny hunks of black lava are unlike anything most people have seen. The kids are amazed and curious, but so are parents.
  • There is a lot to learn at every level. Parents can delve into the ecology of the terrain and the complex geology. For kids, there are simple lessons to learn through observation: the unique adaptations of desert plants, the ripples in the rock that show how it was once liquid, the animals and bugs scurrying into cracks and holes in the lava.
  • The scenery is gorgeous. The whole Tularosa Valley is spectacular before and after Carrizozo. You definitely want to take a look up from the path once in a while and appreciate the beauty of the whole area.

What We Didn't Like:

  • Although the picnic shelters were very nice, the restroom stalls didn't have flush "potties", sinks, or hand sanitizer. Everything was clean, however, and well maintained. Acceptable for what is was, but expect to be changing diapers in your car and pack Purell.

Horrifying Travel Experiences? Be Sure to Thoroughly Review, Before You Decide to Stay

After having spent the past few years traveling throughout Europe with my family, I have learned a few key lessons about traveling. One of the foremost being: thoroughly review a facility before you decide to stay the night there.

We were up Norway sightseeing for our summer vacation. As always, mom had already researched and booked places for us to stay during our travels. In most cases, it was a hostel or perhaps a hotel, depending on what type of area we were in. Well this time it was just a little hostel ran by a middle aged woman. Everything looked nice and homey from what we had seen in the pictures online… it was homey all right. So we arrive there finally after hours of driving, and it turns out that it is just a house. Confused, we approached the door and inquired if this was the right place. Sure enough it was. The exterior of the house was decent and well maintained, but the inside… yikes! Okay, this lady was a packrat. Random things and junk were everywhere inside the house. On top of that, we discovered that we weren't the only tenants in the house. There were 13 in total. -Now you must understand that this house was not meant to be an apartment. It was a standard house with perhaps five or six bedrooms and two floors. Looking back it was definitely a trip to remember. The house was noisy and chaotic for the entire time. The people downstairs enjoyed partying and watching movies all night long. We ended up staying at that house for three or so nights. No one was sad to leave when the time came.

From that experience I learned the value of thoroughly reviewing the places that you are thinking about staying at. Sometimes it's worth it to pay a bit more money and be assured a safe and hospitable facility to spend the night in.…

Mid-Summer Nightmare: The Hazard of Travelling Alone

Maybe it was just traveling alone, but an eerie feeling was in the air. It was July 4th weekend and I was on a road trip. Having a hard time , I headed into the heart of town. A flashing red “Vacancy” sign stating $19.99 caught my eye. I cautiously looked around and decided to give the place a try.

I was greeted by a clerk straight out of “Bates Motel.” As he spoke, his beady eyes and quirky smile sent shivers up my spine. As he took my information, he asked, “How many in your party?” I replied, “One.” “What an idiot move,” I thought later. To my dismay he gave me the room right next to the office. I looked for a hidden doorway that would allow him to sneak in and reinforced the door with a chair. As I lay down I remember thinking, “I can’t wait till morning.”

What seemed only minutes later, I awoke to loud banging! The police were yelling for people to get down! I heard someone scream about a gun! I was frozen in terror. I listened, trying to figure out what was happening, when I heard the most peculiar thing. It was the sound of a commercial. I looked around the room, trying to decipher what was going on.

The noises I had heard were from the television I had left on. The whole incident was part of a movie. In my paranoia, I had dreamt the whole thing!…

Traveling on the Berlin U-Bahn for the First Time

There Are No Turnstiles or Gates – Berlin's U-Bahn is based on an honor system. The ticket machines are on the platforms, but there seems to be nothing stopping you from boarding the train without your ticket. However, police patrol the subways constantly, sometimes disguised as civilians and randomly check passengers for their tickets. If you do not have a valid ticket or lost your ticket, then you have to pay a very high fine. If this happens the 3rd time, you have to go to court. Do not risk this, and always travel on the U-Bahn with a valid ticket.

You Have to Manually Open the Subway Doors – This concept is awkward for foreigners who are used to the subway cars opening automatically. On the Berlin U-Bahn, you have to either pull a latch or press a button to open the train door, either from the inside or the outside. If someone presses it first, then you are free to enter or exit.

The Train Stations are Very Long – Berlin is a very large city and the trains are very long. Therefore there is an entrance to the U-Bahn at one end of the subway platform and at the other end. These entrances are a long distance apart, so if you get out at the wrong exit, you may have to walk far to get where you really wanted to go.

The Ticket Machines are Finicky With Cash – The ticket machines in the U-Bahn do not like making change, so paying for your ticket in exact change or close to exact change is preferred. It also only accepts very crisp new Euro bills. You can alternatively pay with a debit card, but not a credit card where you would have to sign.

The Trains Run Very Frequently – If you miss a train as you enter the station, relax, because the next one will come within 2-5 minutes. You will typically wait no more than 10 minutes for a train, but most come every few minutes, and are rarely delayed. Since the U-Bahn system is largely dependable, you can time your commute fairly well once you travelled it once.…

Travel Inspirations: The Most Famous Movie Locations in Washington, D.C.

According to the Washington Post, over 185 movies have been filmed in Washington, D.C. And while many families choose to vacation in our nation’s capital for obvious historical and cultural reasons, movie buffs have a lot to enjoy while spending time in the city as well.

If you have a trip planned to Washington in the next few months, make sure to check out these famous film locations located in our nation’s capital. Getting your kids excited about American history can be tough…getting them excited about their favorite movies is easy!

  1.  Union Station

As seen in: “Minority Report”, “Hannibal”, and “Head of State”

In real life: Union station is both an active train station and a shopping mall area, meaning you will have plenty of locations to pick souvenirs from while you reminisce about your favorite movie scenes filmed at this spot.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington also featured a scene at Union Station. However, this film contains no scenes shot on location; the entire movie was filmed on a soundstage.

  1.  The National Archives

As seen in: “All the President’s Men”, “JFK”, and “National Treasure”

In real life: The National Archives Building is located on the National Mall, and is home to copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Bill of Rights. Interestingly, there is also a copy of the Magna Carta.

  1.  Riggs Bank

As seen in: “Transformers” and “The Pelican Brief”

In real life: The Riggs Bank is famous for its gold dome, making it iconic and instantly recognizable. You may want to limit the time you spend within the bank as a courtesy to workers and customers, but you could take plenty of exterior snapshots.

  1.  The Lincoln Memorial

As seen in: A vast list of films, including “Thank You for Smoking”, “Forrest Gump”, “G.I. Jane”, “Independence Day”, “Armageddon”, “Nixon”, and “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, among many others.

In real life: The Lincoln Memorial is a very popular tourist attraction in the city. Lincoln is one of our most beloved presidents, so it comes as no surprise that this landmark is popular among visitors and film directors alike.

What are some of your favorite film moments that take place in DC? Do you have a favorite film location I overlooked? Let me know in the comments below!

Murphy was My Traveling Companion

Imagine traveling for an important interview in Las Cruces, New Mexico and having Murphy as your traveling companion. Everything that could go wrong from late flights, missing connections, lost reservations, and even the personal purchase of a new ticket besieged me on this journey. The trip from hell and back is funny years later.

I must admit I made a horrible impression at the interview. All stressed out from both the airport and driving, late from no sense of direction and almost ending up in Mexico explains the deer in the headlight look I gave the interviewers. I walked in with sandy eyes and a cotton filled head, the clothes from the day before makes me wonder what coherent answers if any, I provided.

Returning to the airport, Murphy remained with me. With a hot day, no air-conditioning, stinky stockyards, traffic that was so slow I could have walked faster to the airport and an errant bumblebee I wondered if Murphy hated me. And believe me, when that bumblebee flew in the car, I almost had a heart attack wondering where it landed.

Oh yes, the airport goodness, somehow I managed to get THE last seat on the airplane next to a silent woman who kept sniffing me suspiciously as my deodorant failed. I must have not smelled like roses and the journey lasted several hours. Upright and grateful, I flew home wiser for the experience. And no I did not get the job.…

Top Five Must Have when Traveling

Your mobile phone/camera phone

Lately everyone has a cellular phone to carry around; this became more or less our way of life. Also, don't forget that is a safety device we carry on for emergency. If you have the Internet activated on your phone is even much better. Camera phone can be great for instant takes, you just never know what you run into or who.

Your airfare tickets

If you fly, you definitely want to make sure you have the paper tickets or your confirmation flight number and time of departure. Or, you should make sure you have the info on your phone.

A photo ID card/passport

Most likely in the States you identify yourself with your driver license; however, if you travel overseas, make sure you have your passport with at least within two months expiration date.

Copies of your wallet/money purse belonging

We got so hooked to use Credit Cards, everyone does and it make sense; for traveling purpose, have a separate folder with copies of all what you carry in your wallet including your passport. in case that get stolen, you will have the proper information to report. also, have a list with those cards issuers phone numbers.

Emergency list

Make a list with your itinerary, route and an emergency contact person that is not traveling with you. Also, list any medication you are on and are critical to your well being, in case something bad happens.

These are must have of course, besides your luggage with your belonging. Have your police station informed of your time out of the property and provide them with your contact information while you are out of town.…