5 Hot Tips for Saving on Summer Travel


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of Summer. Summer is meant for adventure, but don’t let your money melt away during your trip.

WAFF talked with LeJuan George at Redstone Federal Credit Union. He offered these five tips for saving while still enjoying the journey and the destination.

  1. Pack light: Most airlines charge for checked bags, so keep your luggage light. Bring only a carry-on. You’ll speed up the check-in and arrival processes and start your summer fun sooner. Remember to review the airline’s policy for luggage weight and dimensions to avoid unexpected delays or fees.
  2. Use surcharge-free ATMs: Redstone gives you access to surcharge-free ATMs across the globe. Go to redfcu.org/location to find one near you.
  3. Plan ahead: If you’re planning on a road trip, schedule a routine checkup for your vehicle before heading out. Taking precautions helps you avoid a roadside breakdown. You don’t want to spend your vacation, budget, or time in a repair shop!
  4. Find the free stuff: You may be surprised how many free, fun activities you can find with a quick Google™ search. Look for “free activities” where you’re vacationing.
  5. Limit restaurant meals: Choose one meal each day to enjoy at a restaurant and purchase the rest of your food at a local grocery store. At a hotel, take advantage of any complimentary breakfast items and snacks. If you’re driving, pack food in a cooler.

Bottom Line: With a little forethought, you can save on expenses while savoring summer.

For more ways to save, be sure to tune in at noon every Friday for WAFF 48′s “Financial Friday” segment.

Copyright 2022 WAFF. All rights reserved.



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Hot temperatures to recede, crashes slow traffic, more news


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Here’s a roundup of recent announcements and incidents from Ventura County agencies:

Toasty temps to retreat

VENTURA COUNTY — High temperatures that rose to 20 degrees above normal in some areas Saturday were expected to drop to more comfortable levels by Sunday, forecasters said.

The short heat spell pushed temperatures in some areas near Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley into the mid-90s as of early Saturday afternoon and were expected to creep into the mid- to upper-90s later in the day, said Joe Sirard, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

Ventura County’s inland areas in general were forecast to reach the upper 80s and lower 90s Saturday, he said.

Closer to the coast, including at the weather agency’s office in northeast Oxnard, temperatures had already started falling by early afternoon from a high of 81 degrees after a sea breeze kicked in, Sirard said.

By Sunday, with an onshore flow cooling things down, temperatures will be in the 70s along the coast and the 80s inland, he said.

Crashes slow traffic

VENTURA COUNTY — Several accidents slowed traffic on area roads Saturday, though no major injuries were reported.

At around 11:40 a.m., an accident at the intersection of Telephone Road and Olivas Park Drive outside Ventura slowed motorists on the stretch. A Ford Ranger pickup truck ran into a utility pole during the incident, according to the California Highway Patrol, causing some damage to the signal at the crossing.

Patients were taken to Ventura County Medical Center and Los Robles Regional Medical Center, officials reported, with three vehicles involved.

About 10 minutes later, an accident involving a motorcycle and a vehicle impacted northbound Highway 101 near Las Posas Road in Camarillo. While the CHP ultimately classified the incident as causing only minor injuries, northbound motorists were delayed for a time through the corridor.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m., an accident in Montecito involving motorcycles and vehicles had backed up northbound 101 into Carpinteria. The crash occurred near the Sheffield Drive ramp north of Summerland, where lanes in a construction zone are lined with K-rail. The northbound corridor remained jammed as of 2:45 p.m.

At around 4:20 p.m., traffic was slow in Newbury Park after a wreck on southbound Highway 101 north of Lynn Road. Northbound motorists were also slowed in the area.

In Ventura, a car fire around 4:30 p.m. on the northbound 101, south of Telephone Road, slowed drivers as lanes were temporarily shut by firefighters due to smoke, CHP reports show.

Items will be updated if new information becomes available.

Lifeguards back at Ventura Harbor beaches

VENTURA — Seasonal lifeguards are on hand for the summer at three beaches near the Ventura Harbor on Spinnaker Drive, officials said.

Lifeguards will be on hand through September at Harbor Cove Beach, South Beach and Surfers Knoll Beach.

A  roughly $140,000 contract with the California State Parks division through the Ventura Port District, which oversees the harbor, will cover the lifeguards’ presence over the five-month period.

Harbor Cove, which is sheltered from offshore waves, is the designated safe family-friendly beach, Harbormaster John Higgins said in a statement.

A mile-long stretch south of Harbor Cove is protected by lifeguards but subject to rip currents, making it suitable for experienced swimmers and surfers, he said.

Harbor Patrol personnel and state lifeguards have performed numerous rescues together over the years, officials said. The agencies take part in cross training and assist each other year-round on routine and emergency calls.

Gunshot victim uncooperative

OXNARD — A man shot early Saturday in Oxnard was not cooperative with investigators, authorities said.

The shooting was reported shortly after 1 a.m. in the 100 block of Magnolia Avenue, said Oxnard Police Department Sgt. Jose Diaz. The site was in the parking lot of a commercial area near a 7-Eleven on the west side of Oxnard Boulevard, south of Cooper Road.

The victim, said to be about 22 years old, had been shot in the buttock, officials said. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

As of noon Saturday, investigators knew little about the circumstances leading up to the shooting because the victim was uncooperative, Diaz said.



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Travel stocks are hot. But it’s not all smooth sailing


By Julia Horowitz, CNN Business

Summer 2022 will be huge for travel, as people in the United States and Europe dig out their swimsuits and happily set off on long-postponed vacations.

That’s the message from companies like Marriott, Airbnb, Booking Holdings and Trivago, which have been telling investors that after a difficult two years, business is booming again.

“Sentiment is getting better and better,” Trivago CEO Axel Hefer told me. “This year will be a lot more normal than last year, from our perspective.”

Adding to that optimism: Marriott said last week that it expects an important metric of revenue to reach pre-pandemic levels in the United States and Canada for the rest of the year.

Airbnb — which saw bookings hit a record high during the first quarter — said it is “seeing strong demand for summer bookings and beyond.”

And Trivago is confident enough in the business climate to start ramping up spending on TV ads again.

Investor insight: Travel stocks haven’t been immune to the recent market tantrum. But Wall Street has been rewarding companies in the industry for strong earnings and rosy outlooks. Marriott’s stock rose almost 5% after it reported results, while Airbnb popped nearly 8%.

Yet despite a newfound optimism, the travel sector isn’t entirely over the hump.

Wounds inflicted by the pandemic still haven’t healed. Airlines and airports are struggling to staff up as they grapple with ongoing shortages of workers, forcing carriers to cancel flights. That could hurt the industry’s ability to take full advantage of a surge in demand this summer.

British Airways now expects to fly just 74% of its 2019 capacity this year as it works to “build operational resilience this summer.” EasyJet just said that it will cap some flights at 150 passengers so it only needs to fly with three cabin crew members.

The highest inflation in decades also carries the risk that some people will cut back spending on non-essentials.

“Inflation is obviously picking up everywhere, in the Western world in particular,” Hefer said. “That means people are overall more cost-conscious.”

He doesn’t expect rising prices to really eat into travel demand until next year, however. And Hefer emphasized that companies like Trivago, a platform that focuses on cost comparisons, could actually benefit from increased thriftiness.

Further ahead: While travel companies gear up for a red-hot summer, it’s harder to paint a picture of the fall and winter seasons given the possibility of a seasonal surge in Covid infections.

“There will be a new variant, that’s a given,” Hefer said. “We’ve seen it now for two years, that the infections are rising when the weather is getting worse.”

Trivago plans to keep its fixed costs down just in case there’s another slump, he continued. But, he added, “there’s only so much you can do.”

China faces ‘complex and grave’ job market, official warns

One of China’s top leaders has painted a grim picture of the job market in the world’s most populous nation as widespread Covid lockdowns slam the brakes on the economy.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang — the No. 2 ranking official in China’s ruling Communist Party — called the employment situation “complex and grave” over the weekend, my CNN business colleague Laura He reports.

In a statement on Saturday, Li instructed all levels of government to prioritize measures to boost jobs and maintain stability. That includes incentives that encourage people to start their own businesses and unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.

“Stabilizing employment is critical to people’s livelihood, and is the key support for the economy to run within a reasonable range,” Li said.

Step back: His remarks come at a time when the country’s jobless rate has climbed to the highest rate in almost two years, according to data from the government.

Each year, China needs to add millions of new jobs to keep the economy humming. The government set a target of creating at least 11 million jobs in towns and cities in 2022, and is aiming as high as 13 million.

But that effort has been made harder by a slowdown in growth, which has been exacerbated by Covid lockdowns. China’s exports slumped in April as efforts to contain spread of the Omicron variant interrupted supply chains.

Li, who looks after economic management in China, has made repeated calls to stabilize employment in recent weeks.

Investor insight: China’s yuan has plunged as traders have rushed to assess the impact of restrictions in top cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It’s now at its weakest level against the US dollar in more than a year.

Bitcoin can’t seem to break its fall

Fans of bitcoin hope that one day the cryptocurrency will serve as “digital gold,” and that investors will stock up on it as a store of value in hard times.

But that promise has yet to deliver. As risky investments like stocks have churned this year, bitcoin has, too. It’s now trading below $33,000, its lowest level since July 2021.

Bitcoin has dropped 26% year-to-date. The S&P 500 is 13.5% lower.

“Bitcoin is now approaching the bottom of the 16-month range,” Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at the digital asset broker GlobalBlock, told clients on Monday.

Down but not out: Even as the price of cryptocurrencies remains volatile, businesses are taking new steps to accept them as payment, a sign they believe adoption will continue to grow.

Gucci recently announced that it will begin accepting crypto payments in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas, calling itself a “digital-first luxury brand.” High-end handbags in the metaverse, anyone?

Up next

BioNTech, Lordstown Motors, Palantir and Tyson Foods report results before US markets open. AMC Entertainment, SmileDirectClub and XPO Logistics follow after the close.

Coming tomorrow: Earnings from Fox Corporation, Peloton and Hyatt.

The-CNN-Wire
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Here are some etiquette tips if you are planning to visit Japan’s therapeutic onsens (hot springs):


If you’re sore from hiking or tired from Izakaya-hopping in Japan, there’s a perfect way to unwind—sink into one of the many warm and fuzzy onsens (hot springs). Rooted deeply in the Japanese culture, these baths are considered therapeutic, mystical and holy.

How they came about is not clear, but they are believed to date back to the first century. One finds their reference in the Nihon Shoki, the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history. Once the railways developed in the island nation, onsens moved up in status from being a traditional endowment that could only be accessed by the nobility and warrior clans, to one of the island nation’s top touristy attractions today, gathering name, fame and carving an identity for itself.

Back in the day, these baths were called ‘health resorts’ and were a thing of luxury, especially in the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333), also the time when feudalism was gaining root in Japan.

While there are hundreds of onsens in Japan, some of the best ones are located in the country’s northern island of Hokkaido. Owing to a lot of geothermal activity (hot springs are heated by geothermal heat) in the area, there are several peaceful ones to choose from. But mind your etiquette before you take a dip.

* Swimsuits, wraparounds, and towels should not be taken into the water. Even though some of the modern ‘konyokus’ or mixed-gender baths, allow bathers to wear wraps, traditionalists cringe at the thought. These springs are traditionally meant for nude bathing.
* Do not jump into the water. Ease yourself in. Onsen’s should not be treated like swimming pools. Do not wear goggles or swimming caps.
* You are expected to remove makeup before entering an onsen. Most baths will provide a cleansing oil, but you can use your own too.

Wash before you head into the waters. This is done to maintain hygiene and to prevent a heat shock upon entering, as bathing before will neutralise the body’s temperature. Be careful as to not occupy the washing space for too long.

* Tie your hair in a ponytail or bun if you have long hair.
* Certain onsens prohibit people with tattoos as the social stigma around them is very strong, however, things are changing.
* Do not be noisy: Locals enjoy these baths for relaxation. Loud chatters can be disturbing.
* Phones should not be carried in the bath nor should they be used in the changing room. It is. 
* People with BP conditions should consult their doctor before heading to an onsen. In the hot water, blood vessels widen and blood pressure decreases. But when you leave the water, these blood vessels contract, increasing pressure immediately.
* Do not use other people’s shampoos if you see them lying around. Only use the ones provided by the resort or carry your own.  
* Do not carry liquor or tobacco into the water.
* Running around or creating a nuisance of any kind won’t be taken kindly. 

Once you have check-listed the above, you are free to enjoy the many benefits of the healing waters. It is especially great for those suffering from rheumatic conditions and sleeping disorders. Because the water has a high concentration of silica, a chemical compound that promotes the production of collagen, it treats rough or eczema-prone skin very well. Need any more reason to travel for to experience one?

Fact check

* Just because there is a warm body of water, does not mean it is an onsen. It has to be a certified bath to be considered an onsen.
* The water temperature must be over 25°C.
* An onsen derives its therapeutic value through its mineral content. These include calcium, sulphur, iron, and magnesium.
* There is no standard colour of an onsen’s water. It can range from clear to cloudy.

Once the railways developed, onsens moved up in status from being a traditional endowment that could only be accessed by the nobility and warrior clans, to one of the top touristy attractions today



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DESTINATION BALI: Travel tips and hot deals for an Indonesian holiday


Our resident travel expert Megan O’Sullivan has given us the green light to finally return to Bali for a Holiday

In this segment from The Juice Megan chats about the different aspects of travelling to the Indonesian holiday destination and information about luxury resorts on the island!

Megan’s agency, itravel The Junction, also has a cheeky little deal happening for people keen to travel to Bali at the moment. You can check it out here, and listen back below for more Bali holiday tips.





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‘Summer travel cheat sheet’ offers tips on cheaper flights, hot destinations


Travel website Expedia says its data show August is the cheapest summer month to fly, with average ticket prices nearly 10% lower than July, and 5% cheaper than June.

Those looking ahead to a summer getaway, and who haven’t booked anything yet, may want to eye a trip later in the season.

Travel website Expedia says its data show August is the cheapest summer month to fly, with average ticket prices nearly 10% lower than July, and 5% cheaper than June. The numbers were part of Expedia’s “summer travel cheat sheet.”

It says the Independence Day weekend is particularly pricey, with average fares for the Friday before the Fourth of July coming in about 25% higher than the overall average for summer months.

In fact, Expedia says it’s best to avoid summer Fridays altogether and travel earlier in the week to save money, with Tuesday being the cheapest departure day.

However, because of COVID-19-related uncertainty, “my advice is not to be tempted to pay less and choose those really restrictive fares,” said Expedia’s Christie Hudson, “but instead look for things where you can have free cancellation. Look for flights where they’ll waive the change fees if you need to change your dates, because that peace of mind is really worth it right now.”

When it comes to destinations, Expedia says people are looking at beaches, U.S. cities and spots overseas.

It says beach destinations that have seen a recent spike in flight search activity include Bali, the Maldives, Santorini, Los Angeles and Bar Harbor. D.C. is on the list of popular U.S. cities, along with Chicago, Houston, Austin and New York.

People have also been increasingly searching for flights to Singapore, Stockholm, Ontario, Berlin and Dubai, Expedia said.

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Mum’s tip to keep water for hot drinks warm all day sparks heated debate


A heated debate is raging after a mum recommended boiling a kettle for hot drinks once a day – then keeping the water in a flask to save cash.

As many people are struggling with the rising cost of living, expensive food shops and eye-wateringly costly gas, her money-saving tip had some social media users feeling angry.

Many said a flask could not keep the water hot enough for long enough and insisted that however hard-up they were, they would never compromise on their cuppas.

And, we’re not surprised… it seems extreme that people would need to avoid flicking on the kettle!

Lindsay Taylor started the controversial conversation by telling a Facebook group: “With such a big family on such a low income, I’ve been looking at energy saving tips.

“Boil a full kettle in the morning to make a cup of tea, then fill a thermos flask up – no need to put the kettle on all day.”



Filling a flask will give you warm water all day
Filling a flask will give you warm water all day

But disagreements soon followed over how long a thermos can retain the heat and how much money would actually be saved as many thought the effort and lacklustre brews were worth the effort.

Jessica Edwards fumed: “No way I’m settling for a lukewarm cuppa either… no matter how bad it gets!”

Consumer groups have already found tea pots and cosies are making a comeback as thrifty tea lovers try to make a brew last longer during the crisis.

The Energy Saving Trust said a standard 3kW element kettle boils one cup of water (235ml) in approximately 45 seconds – costing 0.75p per cup.

Over on Mumsnet, mums shared their money-saving advice for anyone struggling to pay bills this week too.



Would you cut back on your kettle use to save money?
Would you cut back on your kettle use to save money?

One woman wrote: “Gas and electricity prices are soaring. If you’re on a fixed tariff you can put the pain off for a while longer, but sooner or later, it is coming. So it makes sense to do everything you can to cut consumption now.

“Some energy saving measures cost a lot of money to implement, but there are others which are cheap or free. My favourite recent discovery – reducing the flow temperature on your boiler.

“I discovered mine was set at 78 degrees. I’ve turned it down to 55. The house is still comfortable.”

And, in the comments, plenty of other mums shared their wisdom.

One suggested: “Door brushes on your letterbox (if you have a front door straight from the outside, no porch), use heavy, lined curtains and if you are opening the windows to air a room for a while, turn the radiator off in that room so you aren’t trying to heat the sky.”

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She added: “Stating the obvious, but think about what you are wearing….. wear socks…don’t have big gaps (ie trainer socks then a gap)… wear cloths that tuck in to each other…… wear layers – add a vest or wear tights under your trousers…. wear a jumper.”

Another woman wrote: “TVs are far more thirsty than tablets, don’t iron anything you can get away with, and if, like me, you only have the will to nag your kids about one energy saving thing then ignore profligate use of left on lights and forgotten switched on tech and concentrate all energy on whittling down long showers.”

What’s your best energy saving tip? Tell us in the comments…





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