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Saving Money on Camping

Summer is here and that means that soon families all over the country will be heading out on family vacations. One of the many fun and exciting family activities for the summer time is camping. Camping with the family can be a rewarding experience for all to enjoy, but if approached in the wrong way can get pretty expensive. In this post we’ll cover some ways that you can save money on camping which will allow you to use that money that you would have spent on your family vacation to build up your family savings incase any unexpected expenses come up. These tips will also allow you to go camping without it costing as much as a stay in a four star hotel.

Many families use camping as a way to go on a family vacation because of its rewarding properties of bonding and experiencing the wilderness. Not to mention that camping is a far less expensive alternative to staying in a hotel, and with the often free activities that surround a camping family, entertainment costs for a family vacation are typically reduced to zero.

But with all of the positive aspects and cheap costs of camping, there are still ways for a family to save on costs while undertaking family camping trips this summer. One such way is to find discounted or completely free camping areas.

Look For Free Campgrounds

For generations past, paying for camping may seem a sin against nature and against the very activity of camping itself, but the realities of today’s wildernesses is that there is typically a fee associated with camping in a manicured and well groomed camping space. Campgrounds that have been built for the sole purpose of making money of campers have sprung up across the country and charged people and families a modest fee for their use.
These places of paid camping should not be discounted while making family camping plans, however. They provide a distinct service, and again, at a cheaper rate than a hotel, and can be used to great effect by those families who wish to use them.

Paid camping areas or camping companies, like KOA, offer families the opportunity to camp, save money on a hotel, and still stay close enough to big cities or other attractions so as to allow the family additional vacation areas without increased cost. A family can save more money on their vacation if they will use discounted promotions offered by KOA and other privately owned campgrounds to plan their vacations around.
But it is not only these privately owned interstate camp sites that charge a fee for camping, the federal government too asks campers to pay per night at their groomed camp sites. National forest will often be home to many kept up camp grounds and campsites that a family can enjoy while being in a federally protected wilderness.

These camp sites are often more rugged than the privately owned campgrounds discussed before, and will allow the family to experience the outdoors in a more traditional way. Another benefit of federally operated campgrounds, beyond being out in the wilderness, is that they are often offered at pennies on the dollar to other campgrounds and, again, especially hotels.

While it is true that even paid for camping sites are far less expensive to stay at per night than a hotel for a family, at about a quarter of the cost in most cases, there are still ways for a family to camp for absolutely free. Completely free campsites can be found in most wilderness areas, it just may take a little hunting before one can find them.

Go to The Backcountry

In addition to free pull up camping spots that are scattered across the wildernesses and forestlands of the country, there are also many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of camp sites that can be accessed through hiking and backpacking. Backpacking into a campsite will often take more camping skill than simply camping out of a car, as all that is required for camping while backpacking must be carried in and out on one’s back.
But the benefits of backpacking into a campsite include typically totally free camping and an even greater experience with the outdoors. Beyond looking for discounts on chain camping areas, finding free pull in camping, and taking a hike to free campsites, there are a few additional ways a family can save on their summer camping trips.

Save on Camping Gear

One such way is to save on camping gear. Ask any father who takes his family camping and they will tell you that camping gear is essential and not cheap.
But a family, even an over-exuberant father, can save money on their camping gear by simply shopping intelligently. For example, it may be difficult to pass over the sleeping bag rated to fifty below, but the reality is that it will seldom dip below freezing in the summer in most camping areas so the less expensive thirty above sleeping bag should do just fine.

By saving on family camping, a family can take meaningful and enjoyable camping trips this summer. As they do so, they will be able to save money on vacation costs while still having quality family time with each other.

Are Timeshare Investments Worthwhile?

It’s that time of year again when everyone gets sick of the cold weather that winter has to offer and they start to day dream of warmer times and locations. For those of us you that plan ahead, winter can be one of the busiest times of year for vacation planning. Most vacation rentals open up their schedule around the first of the year and in most cases its first come, first serve to try to get your favorite cabin, condo, or camping spot. In the midst of all this vacation planning madness it can be tempting to start looking into “investing” in a timeshare.

If you’re not familiar with timeshare properties, these are properties that are typically resort style condominium units that you can buy rights to use. In exchange for your investment you are given a set amount of time (typically one week) each year that you get to use the property.

It’s easy to get sucked into timeshare sales pitches, some of the top time share companies in the nation will travel from city to city offering free dinners, discounted vacations, and other gifts and prizes for just attending the seminar, once they get you there they will lay out a very convincing sales pitch by illustrating things that time shares will do for you and your family such as:

  • Create Family Memories
  • Locations from Myrtle Beach to Snowy Colorado
  • A Wise Investment for the Future

It’s important to understand though that the sales reps at these seminars work on a commission so sometimes you’ll get sales reps that will either tell you half-truths or just flat out lie to you about what you’re getting in to. Most timeshare owners that are dissatisfied with their purchase are unhappy because of lies that were told to them during the sales process.

Some of the most common lies include:

  • Timeshares can save you money
  • Timeshares are a financial investment
  • Timeshares can easily be rented or sold at anytime
  • Exchanging a timeshare is possible at any time, any place
  • The timeshare offer is only good for today

As you consider investing your money in something like a time share it’s important to pull the emotional side of things out of the equation. It’s easy to let yourself think that if you don’t move forward with an investment like this you’re a bad spouse or parent because you don’t care about investing in memories with your family but it’s important to understand that you can still have amazing family vacations and oftentimes for less than the cost of a time share.

You see, what most people don’t understand about time shares is the fact that when you purchase a time share, once the initial investment is paid off, you still have the maintenance fees for as long as you “own” the property. These fees can oftentimes cost anywhere from $1200 – $2000 per year which is more than a nice annual family vacation would cost.

Something that most people don’t understand about timeshare properties is that they aren’t necessarily designed to just replace hotel expenses as they are pitched, the system itself is designed for people who might like to own a second home but maybe not be able to afford a full vacation home or similar resort facilities. So if you’re not at the point in your life where you have the additional income to pay a second mortgage, then timeshares are definitely not for you.

Some of the reasons we recommend NOT “investing” in a timeshare are:

First, it’s not an investment. The term investment would imply that you’re going to be able to sell it, ideally for a profit, at a later date and you can’t give the things away once you own them. All you are doing essentially is pre paying your hotel bill for the next 20 years in advance and those of us that know anything about money know that you’d be much better off putting that money in an investment and the investment would produce enough for you to be able to pay your hotel bill.

People like the idea of a condo and having a place that they can go. They’d probably even like to use a condo as a family thing being a place that they can go to, a traditional location that they can go to every summer. But it’s important to understand that people have done that for years without time shares. You can still go to the lake, but rent the lake house or beach condo for a couple weeks instead of tying yourself down to a lifetime maintenance fee.
The problem is that you are locked in, and while some of the time share people give you the ability to trade back and forth but even then they’re telling you where you can stay even after you’ve “pre paid” your hotel you are just stuck in these things. In a recent survey of people who had gone through the process of purchasing a timeshare they had about a 98% dissatisfaction rate.

Second, they are almost impossible to get rid of. If you are able to sell your property you will never get the initial $5,000 – $50,000 that you originally invested. Usually at best you’ll be able to find someone willing to take over your annual fees. We did a search in the completed listings section of eBay recently and out of the hundreds of people who

What if you’ve Already Invested in a Timeshare?

If you’ve already invested in a timeshare property then there are several options for you. The first option is to simply enjoy it. By simply remembering why you purchased it in the first place and make sure you get your use out of it each year. However, if you’re like the vast majority of timeshare owners that are trying to get rid of their properties then below is some information for you.

Beware of Companies That Approach You about Selling Your Timeshare

Unfortunately, timeshare owners have become a large target for scam artists. They realize that in this down economy people are desperate to get rid of their timeshare properties and would be open to having help in selling these properties. What typically happens is a person will call you knowing that you are a time share owner, they will then say that they can help you sell it or that they might even have a buyer already lined up but that you need to pay them for their services in advance.

Once you’ve paid them for their services they will most likely say that the sale fell through but that they will continue to search out buyers. Usually months or even years will go by without these companies ever delivering an interested buyer or refunding your money.

Another Option Is Donating

While some timeshares can maintain or increase in value over time, the vast majority of them decrease in value down beyond what you might be paying in annual fees. Now these timeshares can be almost impossible to get out of in fact a lot of the time you will see them selling for $100.00 or less on eBay because people just want to get out of the expensive annual fees. One way that people have found to get out of these timeshares is to donate them to charities.

Now it’s important to understand that this isn’t a guaranteed way out of your time share but it’s a way that you can get rid of your time share and have a nice tax deduction. In fact you will be able to get the full appraised market value of your time share as a write off even though the timeshare itself will probably sell for much, much less when the charity that you donate it to turns around to sell it.

Now there are some guidelines, you can’t donate properties that current have a mortgage on them or if you’re behind on your maintenance fees. When it comes to these types of donations a representative from the National Associates for Cancer Research called these types of donations a “win win” because the donor is reliever of the responsibilities of paying costly ongoing maintenance fees for a time share that they no long want and the charities are able to fund their programs. Now it’s important to point out that this isn’t a fast process. It can take up to three months to get the paperwork put together and process your time share so if you’re thinking of a tax deduction you’ll want to act sooner rather than later.

The Best Fall Lawn Care Guide

Fall Lawn Care

Fall is just around the corner and it is time to begin preparing for the coming seasons.

We want your lawn to be in top form this coming year. Here are some great tips to add to your fall lawn care guide this fall. Be prepared to have the best looking yard in the neighborhood this upcoming season.

Taking Care of the Leaves

Although the changing colors of the leaves are beautiful, it is important to start thinking about the way you will take care of your lawn when those beautiful leaves start to fall. It is very important to take care of leaves as soon as is possible. There are a few excellent options you can take when it comes to taking care of fallen leaves:

First, there is the option of bagging them. Many people use this option every year, because it allows for a clean way of getting the leaves off of the lawn. Doing this can be a bit time intensive, not to mention it can be a little inconvenient at times.

Second, mow the leaves. You can either mow up leaves with the grass or you can use the leaves for mulch.

Last but not least, use the leaves as a covering for other parts of your garden or lawn. Spreading fallen leaves on garden beds will insulate and fertilize during the winter months.

Fertilizing

Though the fall leaves may be the most troublesome part of the coming fall, there are a few other things you will need to accomplish to adequately prepare your lawn for next year.

Fertilizing is something you will want to add to your fall lawn care schedule. Fertilizing is one of the most important tasks you have to do. As you prepare for the coming cold, make sure to fertilize your lawn for the winter. This will improve growth in the spring months and make spring prep much easier.

Seeding

Fall is also an excellent opportunity to seed your lawn. The cold months will give you the chance to put down seeds that will sprout in the spring giving you a beautiful lawn!

Many people forget the importance of seeding in the fall. It can save a lot of trouble as winter comes around and eventually turns to spring.

Keep Track of the Fall Weather

Although fall will certainly lead to winter, there may be important changes in the climate before winter comes. This means that it is essential for you to pay attention to the changes of weather as they come.

If you have a particularly mild fall, you may be able to get a bit more preparation and gardening done before winter comes. On the other hand, if the coming autumn is particularly cold, it might be a good idea to get started as early as possible.


No matter what, you will want to be prompt with the care that you put into the lawn and the leaves. Being prompt and attentive with your efforts will yield much better results overall. Be on top of things, and rest easy knowing that your yard is going to be ready for winter with this fall lawn care guide.

12 Fun Fall Activities You Need to Know

Now that fall is almost fully here, it is time to shift from summertime enjoyment to fall related activities. You may be sad summer is coming to an end, but we have great news! There are a lot of options out there that will make for a fun and engaging fall experience.

Here are some fun fall activities to help you have a great fall:

First of all, it is important to note that the normal activities a lot of people enjoy will still be available during the fall season- they are just going to be a bit different due to the change of weather and scenery. For example, activities like running, hiking and biking are all great activities to do during the fall. The cooler temperatures and pretty scenery makes for an enjoyable experience that is easier for the body to regulate, so more people can get into it.

Go Fish- Fishing is a great fall activity. Fishing is a great way to be around the water during the fall season. The fish are going to be more active due to the changing seasons and the cooler temperatures, so this is a prime time to get things done.

Sail Away- Another good option for those who want to try out new things is sailing. Lakes and reservoirs will have less power boats on them as the weather cools, meaning that water and conditions are going to be better overall for sailing.

Climb a Rock- Rock climbing is another great option to try out as the weather cools. One of the big issues with rock climbing during the summer is the mix of hot rocks and sweaty hands, leading to a more slippery and difficult experience. Cooler temperatures allow for maximum enjoyment when rock climbing. It is important to rock climb with professionals, so you can be as safe as possible.

Fall Leaves- One of the most beautiful parts of fall are the beautiful fall leaves. You can wander the local park, or head into the mountains to see the beautiful fall leaves. As you look at the leaves, you can gather a few of the most beautiful leaves, press them and keep them as a delightful remembrance of the fall. Watching the leaves turn is one of the really fun fall activities.

Fall Fests- Most communities have many fall festivals. Pumpkin Fests have become a staple in most parts of the country. You can gather pumpkins, buy locally grown produce, hear some good music and perhaps grab a bite. If you are having problems finding something for the young ones, we have you covered. Going to a pumpkin fest is one of the best fall activities for preschoolers.

Farmer’s Market- Fall is a great time to head off to the local farmer’s market. You can wander through the stalls, buy freshly grown produce, and shop for artisanal items. Most farmer’s markets have music and local eateries. If you are looking for a fun family activity, the farmer’s market is a keeper.

Apple-Picking- Some local apple orchards will allow community members to pick their own apples. This can be a fun and educational activity for younger and older ages. The best part of apple picking is the apple pie you make at the end.

Take a Hike- There are so many fun fall activities, but nothing is like taking a good hike. Your local or state park will have nature hikes that are perfect for a fall day’s excursion. You can take a stroll, or a flat-out hike. The main thing is to get yourself out into the nature and enjoy the perfect fall weather.

Corn Maze- Go to a local corn maze. Most farmers will turn their corn fields into a spooky maze during the fall. Like the Pumpkin Fests, you can usually find other attractions with the corn maze, so every member of your family will have a great time! When looking for good fall activities for kids, a corn maze is a great option.

Haunted House- Haunted houses are a fun way to spend a spooky fall evening. You can take a special someone, or chaperone the kids. A haunted house can either be a great couple’s activity, or a fun family outing.

Decorate Your Yard- Decorate your yard, or apartment. You can stuff old clothes with newspaper for a local scarecrow, stretch icky spider webs, and other spooky decorations. Your local market or dollar store will have many decorating possibilities. The only limit is your own imagination.

Concerts- Most cities have concerts in the cooling-off fall months. You can relax to great music, buy some souvenirs, and chill with other concert goers.

We hope you have enjoyed our fun fall activities. Thank you for reading!

Being Responsible when Camping

If you are planning on going camping soon, it is essential that you understand the importance of being responsible. Being outside and camping and enjoying nature is a privilege, not a right. Responsible camping makes for a more enjoyable experience while keeping these locations in good shape. Therefore, being responsible helps things to look better, and keeps the environment much healthier overall.

Responsible camping involves using common sense and better ways of having such experiences in order to make things better. The goal of these measures is to have people leave their campsites in better condition than they found them, without causing damage to nature in the process.

One of the most basic ways that you can be responsible when you are camping is to adopt the policy of “Leave No Trace”. This process involves packing out your own gear and trash, using the existing grounds to suit your needs, and generally straightening up when you leave. Doing this leaves the site clean for the next person.

Responsible camping emphasizes common courtesy and doing what is best for the environment. As such, you should consider how you can make a positive difference at your site. For example, bringing in your own wood to burn means that you do not have to strip the trees of branches, so you leave the site as natural as possible.

Any trash that you bring ion should be packed out in a garbage bag, so that you don’t leave anything behind. Should there already be trash on site, then you can go the extra mile and take it with you in that bag. Another thing that you can do to make a difference is to only use the existing fire pit where you are at, so that you are nit creating any more blackened spaces.

Doing these measures will lead to a better experience overall, and will help out the environment. Try it out!

Great Ways to Leave No Trace While Camping

Enjoying Nature

The outdoors are filled with endless adventures and activities. From hiking, rafting, fishing, and camping, the possibilities are endless. Camping is a very fun and popular outdoor activity that brings great memories with loved ones and can help relieve stress.

Camping has become an outdoor treasure for American’s to do. There’s nothing better than going out into nature, setting up the family tent, playing games, and building a campfire to roast marshmallows.

One of the forgotten aspects of camping is the impact you make on the space you visit. Whether you are backpacking across the mountain range or staying at a campsite, you should always leave no trace.

We are here to show you the methods you can take on your next camping trip to assure there is no trace left behind.

7 Principles To Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics established seven great methods for individuals, families and friends to participate in to assure low-impact on the environment while camping. They hit on these 7 key principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Camping the Right Way

It is important for you to enjoy and make the most out of your camping experience, while still making it environmentally friendly.

There’s nothing greater than coming back to the campsite you’ve gone to for years seeing it hasn’t changed because you took care of it. No trace camping leaves the beauty of the outdoors. Take the time to do the right thing and help out the environment in any way you can.

One of the most important parts of camping is the impact you have on the space you visit. Whether you are backpacking across the mountains or merely pulling into a campground for the night, you should always strive to leave no trace that you were ever there.

Leave No Trace camping emphasizes picking up your garbage and carrying it out in a bag, rather than burying it or throwing it elsewhere. It may be out of sight for you when you do that, but it is very harmful for the environment and disrespectful. Carrying out everything you brought in allows the space to be as natural as possible. In fact, Leave No Trace camping also emphasizes leaving an area better than when you got there. Therefore, if someone else has left a mess, then the effort you make to clean it up will make things better than before. Leaving a campsite better than when you got there is one of the great leave no trace activities.

Respect the Land

We all know the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Think of this in a camping perspective. It is important to respect the land, visitors, wildlife, and others that will be camping after you. The outdoors have so much to offer, so it’s important to leave no trace so we can all keep enjoying it.

7 Important Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Avoiding the Dangers of Heat Stroke

Now that it is getting hotter outside and the sun is shining, a lot of us are going to be spending more time outside. Doing things outdoors is part of what makes summer so fun and so memorable. However, while we fully encourage all of you to go out with friends and family and have a great time, there are some important things to keep in mind. Above all else, it is important to be safe while you are out playing in the sun.

Being out in the sun is always fun and warming, but at the same time we need to be careful when we are out in it. If we do not properly prepare or spend too much time out in the sun, then we can run into some serious health consequences. Sunburn is one thing that may inevitably happen, but heat stoke is far more serious. In fact, heat stroke is the most serious heat-related condition, and it’s important to know the common causes and symptoms of this sickness so you can take necessary steps to prevent it.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is both dehydrated and is overheating. This commonly happens when people are exercising out in the sun when it is hot. Not only does the body begin to heat up due to the effort being exerted, but it also has to deal with the increase in temperature outside. When this occurs, the body will lose water and salt far more readily, and will possibly lose its ability to regulate temperature.

Seeking Medical Attention if Experiencing Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can quickly turn deadly, since high body temperatures (over 104 degrees F) can damage brain, heart, muscle, and kidney tissues. If you witness heatstroke symptoms in someone, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or local emergency numbers. Here are some important symptoms of heat stroke, according to WebMD, include:

  • Body temperature of 104 degrees F or higher
  • Confusion, irritability, delirium, slurred speech, and even slipping into a coma
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin turning red. Skin may dry out if heatstroke is caused by hot weather, or it may be moist if it is caused by exercise
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat, increased pulse
  • Headache

While waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, do everything you can to lower the temperature of the person experiencing heat stroke. This includes:

  • Removing warm clothing
  • Moving the person indoors or into the shade
  • Cooling the person off with water, ice, moist towels/cloths, a fan and cool mist, etc.

Preventing Heatstroke

Drinking water constantly is going to be the first big thing you can do. Even if you are not feeling thirsty, you should be drinking water in order to cool the body and to keep it hydrated. Regular breaks are also recommended, so that the body does not get to the point where it is over exerting itself.
On hot days, or during the hottest part of the day, avoid strenuous exercise. If strenuous exercise cannot be avoided, then take breaks often and keep drinking water and liquids as much as possible. It’s also important to protect yourself against sunburn with sunscreen, hats, etc.

On hot days when you’re spending a lot of time outside, be sure to wear appropriate clothing. This includes loose fitting, lightweight clothes that allow your skin to breath and cool itself.
If you should feel sick or hot, tired and drained, then it is likely that you are in the early stages of a heat stroke. At this point, it is important to sip water that is tepid, rather than guzzling it. The point is to slowly get back into good shape, rather than shocking your body any more.
Doing this should prevent heat stroke when it starts occurring. Prevention is always better than treatment, and heatstroke is both predictable and preventable.

If you know you are going to be at risk for heatstroke, take extra precautions and look out for the people around you, as well. The very young and the very old aren’t as capable of regulating their body temperature, and so they may be at higher risk for heatstroke on hot days. Absolutely never leave a child alone in a hot car, and help those around you to stay hydrated and cool if you think there might be even the slightest risk of heat stroke.

Starting Running Again? 4 Great Tips to Help

How to Successfully Begin Running

Running can be a great way to get into shape and relieve stress. There are many benefits of running; in fact, running benefits virtually every part of your body, from your muscles to your brain.

But let’s face it, running can be difficult to stay motivated. Many of us are able to go for a few weeks, and then we simply stop running regularly. Pretty soon it’s been months or years since we’ve gone for a run.

In order to reap the benefits, you have to run regularly (2 to 4 times per week). As seasons change and your circumstances evolve, it can be difficult to keep up a running routine—but it is possible. Just remember: pretty soon you’ll have the runner’s body you’ve always craved, and you’ll be feeling great. Here are some great tips on how to start running again.

Don’t Start Too Strong

If you’re starting back up after a long break of no physical activity, then you need to ease into it. Don’t hit the pavement at a full-on sprint (that’s never a good idea even if you’re a seasoned runner; a warm-up is always important). Start with some lunges, go into a brisk walk, and then see how your body takes a light jog. If you feel like you’re dying, then it’s probably a good idea to stop and give your body a chance to recover. Pushing yourself too hard at first puts you at higher risk of injury, as well.

You won’t be able to run for miles when you’re just starting off, so don’t try to. Instead, push yourself a little further each time you run. Try to go one more time around the block, or go just a little further up the trail. You have your whole life to go running—you don’t need to overdo it at the start when your body is just getting used to being active again. This is really important to help you start running again.

Pace Yourself

Running is a cardio workout. That means that the primary benefit is in the way it strengthens your heart. While you’re also strengthening your muscles by running, you’ll need to lift weights and do resistance training to truly build muscle.

The art of cardio is in pacing. You want your heart to get up into that sweet spot, where it’s pumping fast but not necessarily pounding out of your chest. According to the American Heart Association, your target heart rate depends on your age. If you are 20 years old, you want to get your heart in the 100 to 170 range for a good cardio workout. 40 years old? Shoot for 90 to 153 beats per minute.
When you overexert yourself, you’re risking your heart by pushing your heart rate above the recommended zone. Instead, pace yourself and let your heart rate slowly rise into the target zone and then keep it there. You will most likely be able to run longer and enjoy your time running much more.

Proper Equipment

When you are a beginning runner, it is important that you go about running in the proper way. You want to be safe while you are running and you want to be sure that you get the workout that your body needs. You will want to start by purchasing the right equipment.

Start with the shoes that you are going to wear while you are running. Stop by a running store to get your feet fitted for the right type of shoe. Having the right fit is very important.

Stay Motivated

After you have your shoes, make sure that you are going to be able to stay motivated. Join a running group, sign up for a race or create a schedule that you know will keep you motivated as you are running. Make sure that you stay positive as you are running. Although it can be frustrating at first, you have to understand that progress may be slow but it will come. Make small goals for yourself and do not be afraid to celebrate when you reach your goals. Take the time that you need to be sure that you are setting yourself up for success as you begin to run.

Hiking Tips for the Active

If you are planning on doing any hiking now that it is warm, it is important that you be as safe and as practical as possible with the experience. Hiking is a fun and engaging activity that offers physical challenge and great views. It is a great way to stay in shape as well.

As long as you take the time to be prepared and you employ good technique, your hiking experience should be a safe and enjoyable one.

To begin with, it is critical to always bring water. Even if you are planning on doing a relatively short distance and the temperature is cool and inviting, water is a must. Your body will lose fluids even if you do not notice any sweating or incredible thirst. Staying hydrated and being careful with it is always worth it.

Next, always be ready for the hiking trail. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather and temperature and expected foliage. This may be tricky to understand, but it is essential that you never bring anything you are not ready to lose! If you must bring your wallet and keys and phone, then secure them to you or in a special pocket, so that they will remain with you no matter what.

Wearing sunscreen and covering your head is recommended. If the sun is up, it can burn your skin no matter how hot it feels outside, and protecting your head will allow you to go for a longer period of time.

Last of all, always go with someone else! Not only is the buddy system safer because it allows people to watch out for each other, but it also helps to motivate every person there to go for longer periods of time. All in all, taking a buddy along is always worth it, both for the company and the safety it brings.

7 Awesome Block Party Ideas

As we are finally starting to see the end of winter, the excitement for summer is inspiring many people to start planning for block parties.

Throwing a block party for your neighbors can be a stressful task, but if you have the right tools in hand, it can be a great opportunity to have fun and enjoy your neighbors. Here are some great block party ideas to help you plan your party:

1. Start Planning Early

A block party is no small affair, and that means you should get your planning started as early as possible. Because this kind of party will involve many guests from your entire neighborhood, you have a lot to plan for, and it can be a huge responsibility.

If you start early, you will have more time to get things organized with your neighbors and set up a date that will work for everyone.

Planning early will also give you the opportunity to buy some of the necessary ingredients and items on sale. Planning early is both a financially beneficial, and can relieve serious stress.

2. Work with Your Neighbors

If you have to tackle the huge responsibility all on your own, you will probably find yourself overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. But with the help of a couple neighbors to cohost (and others to help provide food), you can relieve a lot of stress.

Make sure to ask your neighbors for help so that you can all work together to make the party a success.

Together with your neighbors you can assign different tasks to each host, which will make the responsibility much easier to bear. Just make sure that every duty is taken care of and every host knows what they need to take care of and how to do it. Having help is one of the best block party ideas.

3. Check with City Hall

One thing you have to make sure of in your planning is that everything you prepare for is legal. There are some regulations that you may run into as you are planning your party, so it is always a good idea to check with the folks at the city hall first.

If you plan early enough, you will be aware of noise ordinances so you can stay on top of things, and you may also be able to close off a portion of the street, decreasing traffic and making things safer and more fun for the entire crew!

4. Invitations

Once you have done your preliminary planning, it is time to get the rest of the neighborhood involved. Whether you send your invitations via email, on social media, or handing out physical copies, it is important to get to every neighbor, and let them know early.

You can list on the invitations the opportunity to prepare food or bring side dishes. Then ask guests to rsvp and accept or decline food assignments.

5. Plan the Main Dishes

Although you can assign out sides, desserts, and drinks, main dishes are the responsibility of the hosts, so be sure to start planning out your main dishes menu in advance.

The perfect block party foods are easy to make, prepared in advance, and can please a variety of palettes. So as you plan your main dishes try to choose options that are manageable and interesting for all of your guests.

Make sure to talk to your invitees and ask them if they have any dietary needs you should be aware of. From allergies to sensitivities and food intolerances, you should provide options for each and every one of your guests.

6. Plan Activities

The majority of block parties are spent talking with neighbors and having a good time simply being together. However, it is always a good idea to have a few activities on hand to occupy the children and encourage group participation.

7. Enjoy Yourself

Every party should be enjoyed by all of the guests, and the hosts. So make sure to enjoy yourself on the day of your block party. Be aware that some things will probably go wrong, but don’t let it bother you.

We hope you got some great block party ideas, and be sure to keep following the Check City blog for more great tips.

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