About 6 years ago our neighbors suffered an unthinkable tragedy. Their daughter, who was heading to her prom, did what so many teenagers do – replied to a text. Unfortunately she was driving at the time and lost control of the car. She never made it to prom, but miraculously survived the disastrous events that followed.
Watching this family go through the pain and suffering that they did was an eye opener. Their daughter will never be the same (she suffered from a traumatic brain injury) and neither will their lives. The story could have ended so much worth, and I know how grateful the family is that it didn’t. If you have a teen driver, or even if you yourself have a habit of reading/responding to text while driving please read this.
There is no text important enough to risk your life or the lives of those around you. Texting can wait until you are safely parked. Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while under the influence (not recommended either). Some more facts about texting and driving:
- A driver who is texting loses at least 5 seconds of attention to the road. A lot can happen in 5 seconds.
- Texting makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
- Teens who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane.
- According to AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey, 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43% do it anyway.
- 40% of teens say that they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone.
I came up with a list of safe alternatives to texting while driving that I hope will help keep others safe. If you have any suggestions of your own to prevent others from texting and driving please leave a comment! Be sure to talk to your teens, friends, and family about the dangers of texting while driving.
Whether you’re planning an escape from the dreary cold winter weather or are seeking to save a bit of money traveling in early spring, it’s never too early to start planning for your upcoming getaway. Even if it’s just for a few days, a cold weather vacation can promote numerous mental and physical health benefits.
I created a list of Winter Hacks for BMW Drivers that you have to check out! For everyone else here are some great tips on planning your cold weather getaway.
Depending on your budget and preferences, you may choose to embrace the winter months and grab a few friends together for a winter getaway at a premier ski resort. If you’d prefer to put a bit more distance between yourself and the brutal cold, however, your plans could very well involve a trip to a much warmer and sunnier vacation destination. Regardless of where you choose to go, it’s crucial to adequately prepare for your cold weather getaway, especially if it involves hopping on a plane.
It’s no secret that winter weather wreaks havoc on roads and highways, making traveling by vehicle quite difficult, if not impossible. While winter weather may not always ground a flight, it can slow down or even completely halt air travel. From extensive delays to cancelled flights, even smaller winter storms can have a tremendous impact on your air travel plans.
These problems can certainly affect direct flights, but they may negatively impact connecting flights as well. In some instances, bad weather at your connecting flight airport can be enough to significantly delay or even cancel your trip. If you must fly at least one connecting flight, continue to check the weather at each connecting city along with all departure and destination airports. If the weather looks ominous you can contact your airline ahead of time to see if it can reroute you.
Choosing the Right Luggage
When it comes to selecting the most appropriate cold weather travel luggage, you’ll want to find something that is practical yet offers enough space. A compact day pack is easier to carry than a wide body spinner, but it might not adequately hold your belongings. One larger jacket can take up a lot of room, leaving just enough space for a few essentials.
Depending on where you’re going and how much traveling you need to do to get there, you can narrow down possibilities based on features. For example, you might select a two wheel luggage piece or an expandable one. There are even selections based on the duration of your trip, such as one to two days or two to five days. The best carry on luggage often involves lightweight pieces, which are ideal for trips that involve frequently carrying, lifting, and transporting your bags.
Plan in Extra Time
Travel delays are common throughout the year, whether you’re traveling in the middle of winter or the peak of summer. From storms to general delays, it’s best to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your cold weather destination. The weather is only half the battle, as delays are common in security lines and departure gates. Delays can quickly add up in the winter, particularly when de-icing or snow clearing measures are involved.
As your cold weather getaway draws closer, you want to be prepared. You can’t control the weather, but you can make the trip a bit easier by planning ahead. For example, scheduling a non-stop flight instead of a connecting one and selecting the most appropriate luggage for your trip can help simplify the process. Remember to give yourself plenty of extra time, especially if you’re heading to the airport.
Visiting New Orleans was the highlight of my summer and I didn’t even get to do or see everything the Big Easy has to offer. We knew that having only 2 1/2 days would limit us so we packed as much in as possible while still keeping the trip enjoyable.
Below are some of our favorite New Orleans experiences and the things I recommend you do at least once while you’re in New Orleans.
The first thing we did after unloading our carry on bags (the airport lost our luggage, which we got on the second night) was walk to Bourbon St. We stayed in the Marigny -/Bywater area so the French Quarter was only a few blocks away.
Since it was my birthday I had a dollar pinned to my shirt and nearly everyone we passed wished me a happy birthday. It was very exciting, especially when they started throwing beads!
We ate, we listened to great jazz music and we breathed in the deep smell of – well, the smell wasn’t the highlight of Bourbon St.
Many locals swear by Frenchmen Street as the best place to hear the best jazz music and have the most fun without the crazy atmosphere of Bourbon Street. We did hear jazz music; great jazz music; but there is so much more.
Jazz. Reggae. Blues. There’s no telling what you’ll hear within the 2 blocks that make up Frenchmen Street but it will wow you. There is music on the street and music in any of the 12 jazz clubs found on Frenchmen Street.
The drinks are cheaper, there are no neon lights and the atmosphere is much more laid back than Bourbon Street.
Cafe Du Monde
Can you go to New Orleans and not visit the world famous Cafe Du Monde? I’m sure you could but why would you?! The Cafe Du Monde in the Riverwalk Marketplace is my personal favorite locale.
There’s AC, places to sit and no wrapped around the corner lines to get a bag of beignets or coffee. You cannot, under any circumstance leave New Orleans without at least trying the beignets.
The good thing about stopping in at this Cafe Du Monde is you can do some shopping on the cheap while you’re there!
If you could only go to one zoo in your life time it should be this one. The architecture and scenery alone are breathtakingly stunning.
The Audubon Zoo is filled with diverse cultures of animals and plenty of gift shops and eateries to please you along the way.
Be sure to read about my Audubon Zoo visit.
Not only is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas filled with beautiful fish and sea life, but you can go snorkeling as well!
Watch the performing penguins. Take advantage of the many photo opportunities. Snap a photo with the giant blue catfish. These are just some of the fun things you can do at the aquarium.
Be sure to read about my visit to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
If you’ve ever found yourself craving gourmet bugs then this is the place to get them. Make sure you stop in to Bug Appétit for the Cajun spiced crickets or chocolate “chirp” cookies. I couldn’t do it myself, but I’m sure there are some brave souls out there!
You’ll also get to see beautiful butterflies amongst other beautiful and interesting insects at the Audubon Insectarium.
Make sure you read about my trip to the Audubon Insectarium.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
If you can’t be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras World is the next best thing I am sure.
Filled with past, present and future Mardi Gras floats that you can get up close and personal with, Mardi Gras World is truly where the magic happens.
Be sure to read about my Mardi Gras World visit.
Tour the City
Hop on and Hop off at 7 different New Orleans hot spots. The bus will take you along a narrated tour route while you take in the scenery.
Be sure to read about my City Sightseeing Bus Tour experience and reserve one for yourself.
Take the Streetcar
Whether you hop on the Canal, Riverfront or St. Charles Avenue streetcar you’re in for a treat. Ride through and see the gorgeous homes and buildings. Each ride is $1.25 (must have exact change) or you can get an all day RTA pass for $3.00.
I think the St. Charles Avenue streetcar (the green one) was my favorite.
Remember, a trolley is a wheel attached to a pole, used for collecting current from an overhead electric wire to drive a streetcar or trolley bus. Sitting on that wouldn’t be comfortable (wink, wink.)
Visit the CVB
The New Orleans CVB isn’t just a place to grab a map and go. They have lots of historic memorabilia inside as well as an introductory video of New Orleans.
Stopping by the CVB gives you an instant glimpse into the New Orleans of yesteryear as well as information on some of the famous figures who come from the Crescent City. You can also get your Hop On, Hop Off passes here!
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free
There isn’t much that can compare to taking a family vacation. Whether it’s just you and the spouse or a few kids in tow your vacation will undoubtedly be an adventure. Adventures are meant to be enjoyed and remembered and Best Buy has some great tips to help that happen.
I think one of the most important things is staying connected. I know, I know – many people like to ‘unplug’ on vacation but what if there’s an emergency?? Making sure you have cell service regardless of where you are can seriously mean the difference between enjoyment and disaster.
So, even if you plan to ban the internet and all communication with the outside world, consider keeping your phone on and connected.
Shop cellular signal boosters ›
Shop smartphones ›
Shop GPS devices ›
Another issue that can prevent you from having the time of your life is worrying about what’s happening back at home. Did you lock the doors? Turn the stove off? Unplug the iron? Maybe you are having second thoughts about the house sitter you chose. These things can really put a damper on your family vacation but they don’t have to. Best Buy has an amazing selection of home monitoring products.
These include security cameras that allow you to ‘check in’ whenever you are in doubt. This is another time when staying at least somewhat connected comes in handy!
Shop security cameras ›
Shop smartphones ›
Shop Modal bags ›
To get even more ideas on how to make the best of your family travels check out the Best Buy Travel Tech Ideas page. You’re sure to find something useful to make your next family adventure perfect.
This is a sponsored post – opinions remain my own.
How many times have you looked at your insurance policy and shook your head? You hardly ever use the car yet you’re paying out the wahoo for a ‘Oh no!’ moment that will likely never happen. But there’s no other choice, right?
Metromile is a pay-per-mile insurance that only charges you for, you guessed it, how many miles you drive. If you drive less than 10,000 miles per year you could save hundreds on your car insurance using a pay-per-mile insurance carrier like Metromile.
The average Metromile customer saves $500 when they switch!
Metromile offers all the key levels of protection that the big auto insurance companies do, including:
- Bodily injury
- Personal damage
- Unisured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Personal injury protection
- Rental reimbursement
- Emergency roadside assistance
- 24-hour customer service
Deductible options are $250, $500, and $1,000.
Metromile pay-per-mile insurance is currently offered in California, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Metromile also gives you a more informed driving experience which can help you save time and money. Using data gathered from Metromile Pulse, (an OBD-II device that plugs into your car’s computer system), you’ll only pay a few cents per mile and have a low monthly base rate for full coverage! Features include:
- Car health information (diagnostic trouble codes)
- Car location
- Customizable trip logs
- Mileage tracking for expense reporting
- Driving trends
If you’re not in an area where pay-per-mile insurance is available you can still test drive Metromile with their free beta app. When you sign up you receive the Metromile Tag, a small device that wirelessly connects with your phone via iBeacon technology and delivers many of the valuable insights that per-mile insurance customers enjoy.
With the Metromile Tag you’ll get the same driving details as with the Pulse. You’ll have your car’s health information, location, trip logs, mileage tracking, and driving trends right at your fingertips. My favorite thing about the Tag is there’s no installation. You can keep it in the cup holder, glove compartment, your pocket, or anywhere in your car. As long as your phone is on (with Bluetooth enabled) everything is tracked.
To help you get motivated we’re giving away a Metromile swag bag to one lucky reader. The bag includes the following items:
- $50 gas card (Shell)
- Notebook & Pen
- Phone Charger
- Tire Gauge
- Air Freshener
- Bumper Sticker
- Tumbler (for hot and cold beverages)
Metromile Prize Pack
You don’t need to wait for the giveaway to end to get started with Metromile. Head over to their website to get pay-per-mile insurance or test drive the Metromile Tag for free.