(Family Features) For many people, traveling is about exploring new cultures, landscapes, cuisines and ideas. However, the cost of the trip is still one of the most important considerations when booking a vacation.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by Slickdeals, a one-of-a-kind online community of shoppers working together to shop smarter and save more, 81% of respondents listed total cost as their top consideration followed by a desire for kid-friendly experiences at the destination and discounts or deals on transportation and lodging.
Even amid reported concerns about inflation (56%), increasing flight costs (51%) and gas prices (49%), 84% of families plan to spend the same amount or more on travel this year as last. Among the respondents, 42% plan to spend between $1,501-3,000 and 15% plan to spend $5,000 or more on travel.
While traveling is undoubtedly an investment, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Consider these tips from Pete King, deal expert for Slickdeals, to save money as you begin planning your next excursion.
Set your budget with hidden costs in mind. When setting budgets, many people stop at the basics like transportation, accommodations and entertainment. Make sure to factor in additional costs such as pet care, food, checked luggage fees and airport and hotel parking so there are no surprises at the end of the trip.
Look for deals. Being open to a variety of destinations and travel dates can help you score the best deals. If you’re tired of switching between booking sites or searching online for bargains, consider browsing the latest travel deals on the Slickdeals Travel Page where community members share some of the best travel deals on the internet, which can save you time and effort when looking for savings on your trip. You can even set deal alerts to be notified when deals pop up for your desired destination.
Bring an empty water bottle. While Transportation Security Administration regulations don’t allow you to bring most fluids through security checkpoints in airports, packing an empty water bottle in your carry-on or personal item can save you from high costs inside the terminal. Once you’re through security, simply fill your bottle at the nearest water fountain. An added bonus: You can take the full bottle on the airplane to stay hydrated during the flight without having to rely on the small complimentary beverage on board.
Pack less than you think you’ll need. Many people overpack, and that can be a costly mistake. A single checked bag can cost as much as $50, and some airlines charge extra for a ticket that includes a carry-on. For a weekend trip, keep it simple with a carry-on or backpack, and for longer adventures, keep in mind nobody at your destination will likely know you wore the same jeans two days in a row.
Find the right rewards credit card. If you have a rewards credit card, you could get cash back when you make certain purchases. You could get a percentage back on groceries, travel, dining and more. For example, with a travel rewards credit card, you earn points or miles that can be redeemed for future travel plans. General travel cards earn points or miles on virtually every purchase, regardless of airline or hotel chain, while co-branded cards that align with a specific airline or hotel reward users with more points for loyalty spending and provide additional benefits like free checked bags or a free night’s stay on your card anniversary.
Find deals on travel and more at Slickdeals.com/travel.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
METROLINK RELAUNCHES LOW-INCOME DISCOUNT PROGRAM AS “MOBILITY-4-ALL”
LOS ANGELES – Metrolink’s low-income discount program was relaunched today as the Mobility-4-All program. Metrolink passengers with a California Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card are still eligible for a 50 percent discount on all Metrolink tickets and passes. Riders can use their EBT card at any Metrolink station ticket machine to validate and unlock the discount.
“Since we began the program in September 2022, we have sold more than 80,000 tickets with the discounted fare,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “Thanks to a generous Caltrans grant, we have made Metrolink an even more affordable option for people. Renaming the program to Mobility-4-All reaffirms our commitment to make public transportation more equitable, without reference to socioeconomic status.”
Funding for the discount is made possible by a grant from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), administered by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
A California EBT card is required to validate the discount, while an alternative form of payment is needed to complete the ticket transaction.
Hollywood Writers Strike Ends: Guild Approves Contract with Studios
Hollywood writers strike ends as guild approves contract with studios, bringing production back after months of halt. Scriptwriting resumes.
After nearly five months of uncertainty and halted production, the Hollywood writers strike has finally come to an end. The governing boards of the Writers Guild of America, representing both the eastern and western branches, along with their joint negotiating committee, have approved a contract agreement with studios. This decision marks a significant milestone for the industry, allowing the resumption of scriptwriting and the gradual return to normalcy.
Key Highlights of the Contract Agreement:
The contract, spanning three years, encompasses several vital victories that writers had fought for since the beginning of the strike. These wins include improved compensation, longer employment terms, increased staff sizes, and control over artificial intelligence. The agreement closely aligns with the initial demands of the writers, reflecting a compromise between both parties.
Compensation and Employment:
The writers’ union sought higher pay and future residual earnings from shows, and the compromise deal resulted in a raise ranging from 3.5% to 5%. Additionally, the contract introduces new residual payments based on the popularity of streaming shows, ensuring writers receive adequate compensation for their contributions to highly watched properties.
Staffing and Artificial Intelligence:
The contract addresses the issue of staffing, with a requirement that shows intended to run at least 13 episodes must have a minimum of six writers on staff. The number of writers will be adjusted based on the episode count. While the initial desire for guaranteed staffs of six on shows yet to be ordered was not achieved, a guaranteed minimum of three writers was agreed upon.
Furthermore, the agreement grants writers control over the regulation and use of artificial intelligence. AI-generated storylines will not be considered “literary material” or “source” material, protecting writers’ creative contributions and avoiding competition with computer-generated content.
The end of the Hollywood writers strike brings relief to the entertainment industry, allowing the resumption of production and the creation of new scripts. The approved contract represents a significant achievement for the Writers Guild of America, securing important gains in compensation, employment terms, staffing, and control over emerging technologies. As late-night talk shows prepare to return, the agreement paves the way for the gradual comeback of scripted shows as negotiations continue. The Hollywood writers strike, while disruptive, ultimately led to a more equitable and sustainable future for the talented individuals who shape the narratives we love on screen.
For more on the writers and actors strikes, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/hollywood-strikes/
Source: Associated Press
Punctuate Your Day with Humor: National Punctuation Day
“Embrace the power of punctuation on National Punctuation Day and let your words dance with clarity and humor. #NationalPunctuationDay”
Attention, grammar nerds and word enthusiasts! Today, we celebrate the unsung heroes of the written word: punctuation marks! It’s National Punctuation Day, a time to pause, take a breath, and appreciate those tiny symbols that bring order to our sentences.
Imagine a world without punctuation. It would be utter chaos! Sentences would blend together, leaving us scratching our heads and desperately searching for meaning. Take a look at this sentence: “Let’s eat grandma.” Now, add a simple comma, and voila! “Let’s eat, grandma.” Crisis averted!
Punctuation marks have the power to change everything. They can turn a statement into a question, add excitement or urgency, and even make us sound sarcastic. Just one exclamation point can transform a dull sentence into an enthusiastic proclamation! “I’m going to the store” becomes “I’m going to the store!”
Let’s not forget the semicolon, the mysterious and underappreciated member of the punctuation family. It’s like the James Bond of punctuation marks—sophisticated, elegant, and capable of connecting two independent clauses with effortless grace.
So, on this National Punctuation Day, let’s raise our pens and give thanks to these unsung heroes. They may be small, but they wield a mighty influence over our words. So, use them wisely, cherish them dearly, and remember: without punctuation, we’d all be lost in a sea of confusion. Happy National Punctuation Day!
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