You set the alarm and lock the door as you head out on your family vacation this year. You are protecting your home, but are you protecting your finances while traveling? As you go out of town whether for a day, week or month you need to think beyond just having your home secure. You need to make sure you are also protecting your finances at home and on the road. Some simple things are recommended to protect your accounts from theft or unauthorized charges.
Contact your bank and credit card companies. First thing you need to do is alert your banking institutes that you will be traveling and using your cards at different locations than normal. Many people find themselves at a gas pump and unable to put gas in their car because their bank thinks it is a fraudulent purchase since it is out of state. Letting your bank know you will have different charges will keep you from being stranded with your card being declined.
Use pre-paid credit cards instead of bank debit cards. This is something that we have used in recent years and really like doing. Instead of taking our bank debit cards that have access to all of our funds, we purchase a pre-paid credit card through a local retailer. For most pre-paid credit cards, you are able to transfer money directly from your bank account to the card and have it loaded within a few hours. You pay $5-$10 for he card up front, then as you need more money on it, you simply choose to load from your bank account. This leaves your bank and regular finances safe from theft should your card be lost on the road.
Don’t carry large amounts of cash. This is an obvious tip that bears repeating. Carrying large amounts of cash is always dangerous. Once that is gone you won’t have any protection to refund you like you would with your debit or credit cards. When carrying any cash, avoid large stacks of bills.
Keeping your wallet in a front pocket. Simple step that will protect you a bit more from petty theft is to keep your money and/or wallet in your front pocket. For many men this may feel awkward at first, but it is much easier for a thief to grab your wallet out of a back pocket than a front pocket. For women, skipping the purse and only carrying what is needed in front pockets is smart for many reasons. If they aren’t comfortable without a purse, choose a cross bod style with a zipper that would be harder for a thief to grab and run with.
Have pertinent account information stored safely with easy access for you. Knowing things like your bank account number, credit card number, dates these accounts were opened and simply the telephone number to call should they be stolen is tough to think of right off hand. This information isn’t something you want to have in a pocket, but you can store online in Dropbox, Amazon Cloud or another secure online storage format that you can easily access from anywhere using your account logins. Keep a spreadsheet with this information for all of your bills, as well as your bank and credit accounts for easy access in emergencies.
Invest in travel insurance. This may be the best investment you make for protecting your finances while traveling. Travel insurance protects a lot of things for you. Typically it will be there to cover your belongings while on the road, your vehicle or rental and can help should you lose a debit or credit card. Research insurances to find what fits your needs, but also remember to consider the upgrade for roadside assistance.
Protecting your finances while traveling isn’t difficult. It’s all about planning ahead and being proactive. From simple changes to making a few phone calls, you can easily have your finances secure no matter where you are traveling.
In case you didn’t know it, Wisconsin is one of the best states in the country to view magical Christmas lights. There are excellent displays to visit no matter what part of the state you reside in.
If you are hoping to take your family on a tour of Christmas lights and you are wondering what the best places are for you to visit, check out this great list of Christmas Light Displays throughout the state. Below you will find some of the best public Christmas light displays as well as residential lights and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.
Public Light Displays
The Rotary Winter Wonderland in Marshfield – Featuring over 1 million lights, a Santa and horse drawn carriage rides
Festival of Lights in Ladysmith – This display features thousands of lights, a live nativity scene and and music
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights in Caledonia – Featuring thousands of light displays that stretch over a mile, a Santa and a gift shop.
Country Christmas Light Show in Waukesha – Features over 250 displays and over 1 million lights.
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – 3 separate parks in Milwaukee are transformed with thousands of lights. You can even take the Jingle Bus for a narrated tour.
Rotary Making Spirits Bright in Sheboygan – Featuring a drive through display over 1 mile long with large choreographed displays.
La Crosse Rotary Lights – This display features an impressive 3 million lights along with Santa and his reindeer, hay rides and live music. Oh…don’t forget about the Ugly Sweater 5k!
Phoenix Park Lighting Display in Eau Claire – While there are a somewhat small amount of lights (around 30,000) in this display, the trees in Phoenix Park are lit up beautifully lighting the way to the Phoenix Park Bridge.
Candy Cane Lane Light Display (Milkwaukee, from 96th to 92nd). This neighborhood display began in the 80s as a way to raise money for a neighborhood child with cancer. It has grown exponentially since then.
The Ackmann Home (Greenfield, 104th St). A single home with almost 30,000 lights and a 15 minute synchronized light show.
- University Avenue at University Bay Drive
- North Yellowstone Drive
- Nightingale Lane (Cottage Grove)
- Lacy Road (Fitchburg)
Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations
- The Holiday Tree at the Capitol in Madison is a favorite and led by the governor.
- The Christmas Tree Lighting in Cedarburg is led by Santa, Mrs. Claus as well as locals.
- The Tree Lighting Ceremony in Sun Prairie is led by Santa (who arrives in a Fire Truck!)
Epcot is one of the most popular of all the Disney parks around the world, and for good reason. While there is plenty to ride here, the park is so much more than just rides and it really appeals to guests of every age that are able to make a day at this park all their own. If you are going to visit Epcot while at Walt Disney World, make sure to get in these five things every guest must do while there.
Walk the World Showcase
No matter your age, everyone likes to walk around the world Disney style, and you can do it relatively easy with the World Showcase. From great food, to unique drinks to fun entertainment, you’ll feel like you really are traveling around the world seeing all that there is to see. Disney does a great job of creating an authentic atmosphere that you can just immerse yourself in so take this chance to travel around the world in a day.
Very few people get the chance to take flight with very little between them and the ground, and most of us are too afraid to do so even if we had the chance. Disney gives guests the ability to soar over the country on this part glider, part screen ride that makes it feel like you are really outdoors and seeing these sites in person. Soarin quickly became one of the favorite rides at Disney when it was introduced and it’s easy to see why once you’ve done it.
Space Ship Earth
Everyone has to ride this Epcot and Disney World classic before they leave the park, not just because it’s inside the geosphere, but because it is a really cool ride. Slow by standards, when you compare it to what you would think of when you talk about theme park rides, the track takes you through the human experience in communications and tech innovation. It really is a new way to see how far we’ve come and what else we can be working on in the greater scope of things.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
There is a lot happening under the water at Epcot, and while the tanks and shows are great, and better than most you will see in other places, there are a lot of things like Nemo and Friends that are unique to this park. Hop in a clamshell and head out into the open sea on a chase to find Nemo with the help of all the other fish. The tech used on this ride keeps it interesting and anyone that loves Nemo will love following along as you make your way through deep ocean.
Illuminations Firework Show
A lot of people would argue that Illuminations is a better firework show than Wishes, and when it comes down to the work involved to put this show together, they might be right. Illuminations features a huge amount of pyrotechnics, elaborate and superbly timed storytelling with fireworks, color and a great soundtrack. There are some really great spots to sit and watch this show, but anywhere in the park with an unobstructed view is a great spot when your attention is entirely dominated by the show.
When you set out to head on vacation or to see friends and family, these reasons to travel by bus come to mind. While traveling via Greyhound or other cross country bus systems may not be the ideal road trip for a family, it is a great way for singles and couples to cut costs while traveling.
The cost is cheaper.
For many locations, taking a bus is much less expensive than driving or flying would be. However, you must keep in mind that taking a bus may not always be cheaper, and will limit your freedom to do tourist things on the road. In many instances, you can take the bus all the way to your destination without having to pay out of pocket for hotel costs along the way. This coupled with gas expenses and the high prices of flights will help keep the costs down.
Convenient for those who can’t drive long distances.
Many people are unable to drive, or don’t have a vehicle at their disposal. Taking a bus is a great safe alternative for most people. If you prefer not to drive, or are unable to drive taking a bus is a great decision. You can even travel by Greyhound inexpensively within your own state for short weekend getaways to a different city.
Great for seeing more of the country.
Taking a bus has a lot of the advantages of road trips. You’ll get the chance to see a lot of beautiful countryside, landmarks and cities. While you won’t have time to do a lot of site seeing, you’ll be able to watch out the window and take advantage of being able to take pictures and really look at the scenery as it goes by.
Not having to worry about the car, other drivers on the road or the cost of fuel can really relieve a lot of stress from your travels. This can give you time to relax, read, listen to music, watch movies or just chat with your spouse. Not having to be in charge of driving takes a lot of stress from you.
Meet amazing new people.
One of, if not the best reasons to travel by Greyhound bus is the chance you get to meet new people. Taking a bus isn’t a scary thing. It can be a great way to reach out and get to know someone new. Learn about different people, states and even cultures just by chatting a bit with the person in the seat next to you.
These reasons to travel by Greyhound bus are great reasons to save you money, lower your stress and make your next trip amazing. They are especially awesome when you only need to go a few hours away, but just don’t want to drive the whole way yourself. An extra bonus is you can easily travel overnight and sleep on the bus so you can arrive at your destination earlier than you might otherwise!