Tag Archives: travel

5 Tips for Getting your Finances Vacation-Ready

Learn how managing your money this summer can make travel season even easier

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

Planning for summer travel means choosing a location, booking your stay, and counting down until vacation time. It also means effectively managing and protecting your money so your anticipated getaway doesn’t turn into an unexpected staycation. Follow these simple tips for keeping your financial life in order before, during, and after vacation. 

Notify your financial institution before you hit the road. Nothing could ruin a vacation faster than a lack of funds due to a limited cash supply and/or a frozen credit or debit card because of suspicious-looking account activity. Letting your financial institution know that you’ll be traveling helps keep your accounts safe and avoids interruptions in your credit or debit card services, especially if you’ll be out of the country. Many financial institutions offer a simple online form that you can complete ahead of your travel.

Record card information and other important documents. Before you leave, record card numbers and customer service contact information, your passport, and insurance cards. Take photos of each item or write the information down on paper and keep it in a safe location, like a hotel safe. You can also store the information on your computer or email it to yourself. As long as you can locate an Internet connection, you’ll have quick access to this information in case you need to report that it’s been stolen.

Pay for larger purchases with cards. A credit card in particular offers the most security because, unlike a debit card, it’s not linked directly to your bank account—so there’s no risk of fraudsters gaining direct access to your money. Plus, purchases made with a credit or debit card might be replaced by the card company if the item is stolen. 

Don’t carry all your money at once. One tactic to keep cash safe is to split it up. Keep a certain amount in your wallet and another amount stashed away for later. Overall, the best approach is to carry a combination—a credit card for the majority of purchases, another card as a backup, and cash. While cash can be easily stolen, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount on hand in case you encounter a merchant or service that only accepts cash. 

Review your bank and credit card statements. Upon returning from your trip, look at your bank and credit card statements to check the accuracy of transactions. Get a receipt for every transaction made while on vacation and compare this to the total charged to your account. Receipts are also helpful to have on hand in case you have to dispute a charge with a vendor. 

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Single Girl Travel

A few tips for exploring the world around you this summer

Traveling alone can be a little intimidating. However, with a little planning and some research, it is possible to plan a solo trip that you will never forget. Keep the following tips in mind as you plan your next adventure, and check out www.lovelybella.com for more tips throughout the summer!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

 

Plan, then train.  Know approximately how far you will be walking. Work your way up to walking the distance you’ll need to walk to enjoy the places you want to see. Start small, and remember to stay active every day. If you work through the discomfort in your muscles now, your body will thank you later. 

Be frugal.  Traveling solo does not have to be expensive. For example, at the time this article was written, you could ride a Greyhound (www.greyhound.com) bus from Roanoke to Miami (one way) for $107 on June 1. The trip includes one hour (approx.) stops in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Savannah, and Orlando. The trip will take around 26.5 hours total. An Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) trip, with the same destination, was $157 for one reserved coach seat and takes approximately 32 hours with a three-hour transfer in Washington, D.C.

Want to travel outside of the United States? The trip may be more expensive, but you can still save money if you do it right. Great Value Vacations (www.greatvaluevacations.com) is a fantastic place to find and plan the trip of your dreams. At the time this article was written, you could purchase a six-night trip for one person to explore Ireland’s Wonderful West: Adare Villa for $916. This includes airfare, airport taxes, accommodations, full-size car rental, and tours.

Stay safe, but not afraid.   We are surrounded by reports of violence on television and social media. All of these stories can keep us from living our best lives and experiencing all that the world has to offer, but they don’t have to have such a powerful influence. The important thing to remember is to BE ALERT. Know your surroundings from the moment you step off a plane. Resist the urge to wear headphones or be distracted by your phone. (Really, you shouldn’t be scrolling through your newsfeed on vacation anyway). Being alert does not mean being fearful. In the same way that you would look both ways before crossing a street, be aware of the people around you. Learn how to avoid danger (and how to respond if it can’t be avoided) in Fearless by local author, Logan Doughty. 

Travel light.  Believe it or not, you can fit a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, and basic necessities for one person into a standard backpack. This is great for road trips with friends or a small group, and it is even better if you are traveling by plane! As soon as you arrive, you simply throw your backpack over your shoulders and exit. There is no hassle in waiting for your luggage or digging through everyone’s belongings to find your suitcase. You are ready to begin your adventure from the moment you arrive. For more information on packing like a minimalist, visit www.theminimalists.com. To see minimalist travel in practice, check out www.thetravellinglight.com.

Let’s Travel… Locally!

Adventures are waiting for you—maybe even in your own backyard! 

Looking for a fun mini-vacation this month? Why not use this opportunity to support the local economy? There are plenty of fun places to visit and spend time with family and friends in Southwest and Central Virginia. Check out our favorites below…we may just see you there!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve – This is a beautiful experience for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. With over 12,000 acres of hardwood and mixed pine forests, 60 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and more than 11,200 acres protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history, this is a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the reserve, take advantage of free-ride downhill trails, boat rentals (kayaks, 14’ boats, and paddle boats), stand up paddle boarding, and fishing opportunities. Hop on the free ride downhill trails or the cross country single track. Pack a lunch, and take a friend! www.roanokeoutside.com

Fairy Stone State Park – Warm weather is here, and that means it’s time to break out your camping gear! Fairy Stone State Park is the perfect place to spend a long weekend enjoying the scenery (including the 168-acre lake adjoining the Philpott Reservoir!). Attractions include cabins, a campground, group camping, an equestrian campground, a conference center, hiking trails, lake swimming, rowboats, canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, picnicking, and two playgrounds (one of which is in the water!). This is a great mini-vacation for children of all ages, as the park is one of few places in the world where you can find the legendary Fairy Stones. There are all kinds of superstitions attached to these stones, but the best part about them will be the special memories attached to the ones you find. www.dcr.virginia.gov

Apple Ridge Farm – You may already know Apple Ridge Farm for its reputation for providing environmental education and camping experiences for more than 70,000 youth, many from Roanoke’s inner-city neighborhoods and public housing projects. However, it’s also a great place for adults to relax and unwind! This unique location is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and five miles of hiking trails to take advantage of during your stay. The best part? Guests can book their stay in an actual train caboose car! Specifically, a remodeled 1978 Norfolk Southern Caboose Car. Outfitted with a queen size bed, sofa, table for two, and an attached outside deck, it provides a unique aesthetic you won’t soon forget! Your stay will include a complimentary breakfast basket, and all proceeds provide funds for Apple Ridge’s mission to “Help Kids Grow.” Book your stay on Airbnb. www.appleridge.orgBedford, Virginia – While we are on the subject of Airbnb, there are plenty of beautiful locations to choose from if you are interested in exploring the Bedford area. In Bedford, you can truly experience what it means to eat and shop local, supporting local farmers, artisans, and small business owners every step of the way. On the weekends, start your Saturday off right at the Forest Farmers Market. The selection may vary, but in the past vendors have offered fresh local fruits and vegetables, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more! For lunch, head to Town Kitchen Provisions! They offer specialty and deluxe deli sandwiches and super deluxe green salads in addition to espresso drinks, beer, and wine. Spend your afternoon on the Bedford Wine Trail, which includes Hickory Hill Vineyard, Peaks of Otter Winery, Ramulose Ridge Vineyards, Seven Doors Winery, LeoGrane Winery, and White Rock Vineyards. Or, visit the Bedford Visitors Center to learn about Bedford’s rich and intriguing history. Head to dinner and Olde Liberty Station, where you’ll choose from local cuisine options like steak, pork chops, and chicken paninis. www.visitbedford.com

Floyd, Virginia – FloydFest isn’t the only time of year to visit and support Floyd’s local economy! Start making your trek up the mountain this month, and check out the small businesses that offer products and experiences you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll love the wood fired pizzas at DogTown Roadhouse (www.dogtownroadhouse.com). On the weekends, they offer live music as well! There are many dining and shopping options to choose from in downtown Floyd. Set up your tent or RV at Chantilly Farm and spend the weekend exploring everything this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains has to offer! At Chantilly Farm, you can wake up and enjoy bike riding, walking, and running in their wide open spaces. They also offer a wooded hiking trail, two disc golf baskets, and rentable corn hole boards. www.chantillyfarm.com

Abingdon, Virginia – There is nothing quite like a stay at the Martha Washington Inn and Spa in Abingdon, Virginia. A short road trip from Roanoke, the inn sits right on Main Street, allowing visitors to experience the relaxing environment of the spa before spending a day (or night) on the town! Take a ride on The Virginia Creeper Trail and return to the Martha in the evening for a generous glass of port wine at the front desk. If you stay at the Martha, use their complimentary town bikes to ride down Main Street, relax in a therapeutic salt water heated pool, and unwind by the fire-pit. Dine at one of the many excellent restaurants in Abingdon before catching a play at the Barter Theatre. Visit the restored train station now known as The Arts Depot, where you can mingle with working artists. You could easily spend a whole week in Abingdon and still find new things to do every day. www.visitabingdonvirgina.com

Profile: Melissa Aldana

Tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana will perform at the Jefferson Center on February 17 at 7 pm and again at 9 pm. A rising tenor saxophone star, Aldana recently released her second trio album (and fourth as a leader). “Back Home” unveils a powerful musical creation by Aldana and her illustrious bandmates. Not so much reminiscent of a specific place, “Back Home” evokes something a little deeper for Aldana.

“Back Home is a tribute to Sonny Rollins, who has been a huge influence on me since I was ten years old,” she explains. “It makes a reference to the first time I heard him playing back home in Chile. I completely fell in love with the sound of his tenor. He is organic and funny. Those are some of the most important elements in music. It’s like he’s having a conversation with you, and you can hear how he’s taking risks and trying new things. Those are the elements I want to have in my own playing.”

Aldana describes her relationship with the tenor saxophone as a lifelong commitment. The journey with the instrument has allowed her to mature as an artist, and her dedication to it remains. From New York to Montreal (and around the world), she carries that pivotal moment when she first heard Sonny Rollins play with her in addition to the lessons she has learned from other artistic influences. In this way, she can allow the music she creates to tell the story of her travels, experiences, and personal growth.

On “Back Home” she includes a track called “Time” that is a “meditation on her life since departing Chile.” She has described the nostalgic track as a reflection of the last nine years of her life. As the tenor saxophone carries the listener through the ups and downs of the accumulated time, it is not hard to give over the memories of one’s own adventures. This is exactly the impact Aldana hopes to have with her work.

“I hope [the audience] has fun and goes on a trip with the music. Also, I hope they enjoy it as much as I did when I recorded the album,” she adds.

Joining Aldana for her February 17 show are Sam Harris on the piano, Thomas Crane on the drums, and Pablo Menares on the bass. Together, they project an “uncommonly full orchestral sound, rich in spiritual intensity, all in the absence of a harmony instrument.” The experience is one that Roanoke audiences are unlikely to forget, and Aldana is excited to introduce both new and returning fans to her new music.

To purchase tickets, visit www.jeffcenter.org. For more information on Melissa Aldana and how to purchase her music, go to www.melissaaldana.com.

The Magic of Getting Lost

As a senior in college, I find the question “what are your plans for after graduation?” completely agonizing. Although a little hectic with senior seminar, work, trying to decode my math homework, and trying to make it to the gym at least once this week, my day is going along just fine. Then, someone dares to ask about what I plan to do with my life after college. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you know exactly what you want to do. If you’re like me, and most other college students, you have absolutely no idea.

So, naturally, I email my advisor immediately to make an appointment on how my life is going nowhere because I can’t seem to figure out what to do with it. As usual, he calms me down and tells me that I’m exactly where I need to be and that it’s completely natural for a college student to have absolutely no idea where they want to take their diploma. As he always says, “Look at me, I came in as a music major and now I’m an English Professor.” However, this time I came to my advisor’s office for my monthly freak out, he had something else to give me; The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman.

As someone who is very organized, a master of To Do Lists, and needs to have a plan for almost everything in her life, this book was perfect for me. The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost is a coming-of-age memoir about the amazing journey Friedman embarks on when she, a college grad, surprises herself and everyone around her by purchasing a ticket to Ireland. Never having been to Ireland, the good girl who had always done what she was supposed to now finds herself in a strange new country, making friends with a free-spirited Australian who loves nothing more than a good adventure. While abroad, Rachel travels from Ireland, to Australia, and to South America where she discovers her love for travel; all the while finding her true self.

Not only was this book warmhearted, hilarious, and honest, but it offered an amazing insight into what it’s like to travel abroad. This book is a fantastic read and highly recommended for anyone who feels like taking a trip and getting lost for a little bit. Even though my advisor had assured me many times before that it’s perfectly fine to be a little lost right now, I never truly accepted that until I read Rachel Friedman’s memoir. The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost taught me that it’s okay to be unsure of yourself sometimes. It’s okay to be lost. Rachel shows us that in momentarily escaping some of life’s hardest decisions and living for the moment, getting lost allows us to find ourselves.

 

Written by Taylor Ward