Archive for July, 2011

Summer Break: 7 Quirky Spots to Roadtrip

I’m all for fun in the sun, but when I read College Candy’s spring break article suggesting that you skip the beach this year, it got me thinking. Summer break sur la plage may let you work on your tan, but there’s nothing like taking a crazy, kitschy road trip to liven up your “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” storyline. Here are some funky alternatives to the typical beach-bum break.

Graceland (http://www.elvis.com/graceland/) is a sight whether or not you’re an avid Elvis fan. Visit his personal home, learn some rock and roll history, and hey, pick up a T-shirt to prove you were really there. šŸ˜‰

Dollywood (http://www.dollywood.com/) is another hot spot for music lovers (well, Dolly lovers, anyway), but it isn’t just about the music–Dollywood also has it’s own roller coasters, festivals, and even a water park.

Madonna Inn (http://www.madonnainn.com/) is famous for it’s waterfall urinal and 109 uniquely vintage-kitschy themed rooms, like the cave room, which looks to be made entirely of rock. (And if you need the kinks worked out after sleeping in a cave, they have an on-site spa, too.)

Solvang (http://www.solvangusa.com/) is a little slice of Europe in southern California. A Danish-style “village,” it has quirky old-European style hotels, lots of pastries, and a unique shopping experience. Definitely a cute and giggle-worthy vacation spot.

Hearst Castle (http://www.hearstcastle.org/), pictured above, is an extraordinary “castle” built as a seaside getaway by media baron William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900’s. Take one of four tours of the insanely gaudy-but-fascinating house, but try to resist jumping into the indoor pool. šŸ˜‰

The Wigwam Motel (http://www.wigwammotel.com/) in CA or Teepee Motel in TX (http://www.teepeemotel.net/about.html) give you what is probably your first chance to stay in a hotel shaped like a teepee–that should make for some good photo-ops.

The Biltmore (http://www.biltmore.com/) touts itself as “America’s largest home,” this castle style house in Asheville, NC has amazing gardens, an incredible house tour, a farm, and more. You can even stay on the estate if you’re willing to pony up and pay the price.

This last one may not be quirky, but it is an excellent spot for a week-long trip. I went for a few days before my Junior year of college, and I will never forget it!

New York City (http://www.nycgo.com/) is the perfect collision of culture and history. Take in a Broadway show, explore the ins and outs of Chinatown, and shop (or daydream) at Tiffany’s. Then take in the historical side of the Big Apple by visiting historical icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the NY library. The list, obviously, goes on and on. My best tip for NY travel? Grab some friends and look on travel sites like Priceline–you could split a really nice suite for a pretty good price. Why not live in style for a few days–especially if you can do it on a budget?

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Add comment July 18th, 2011

Split It: 5 Things You Can Share with Your Roomie

When I first moved away to school, I was a little shell-shocked by how much it cost to enjoy the luxuries of non-ramen food and brand-name laundry detergent. To keep our wallets happy, my roommates and I quickly figured out what we could share (and to keep the peace, we figured out what we couldn’t, too–hands off my Ben & Jerry’s, guys). If you want to live a little without breaking the bank, think about splitting these 5 things with your roommate, BFF, or significant other.

  1. Costco Membership (and Food). Buying in bulk at Costco can save you a ton of money if you plan ahead, but it also means you have to pay the membership fee AND consume in bulk–unless you share. Split the cost of a membership with someone you trust (or if you can piggyback on your parent’s account, even better!) go shopping together. Members can have one extra bill per trip, so they can bring a friend. Divvy up things you might both need, like bulk food, TP, shampoo, etc. (Tip: If food sharing is an issue, divide up your items before eating time comes around, and be sure to label or keep them in your own spot.)
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  2. Netflix Subscription. My roomies and I really enjoyed hanging out and watching movies, so when we ponied up the cost of Ā¼ rent, utilities, and water, we also split a Netflix subscription 4 ways. You can either agree on things to watch together, or figure out how to make sure each of you has 1 DVD to rotate (AND access to the instant watch feature, which sucked up a good portion of my free time this summer).
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  3. Carpool/Roadtrip Costs. If you or your roomie drive to the same place everyday (like, um, school?) why not go together and halve your gas costs? And if you’re heading home–or off to Vegas–for spring break don’t go solo for the drive. Get a group together and split the cost of gas and hotel stays. Driving with the right bunch is way more fun than going it alone anyway!
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  4. Textbooks. I’ve mentioned before that sharing a textbook with a classmate can be a great way to save some cash (they’re so expensive!), but you will need to work out a rotation for the actual reading time. Still, cutting the bill in half might be work a little extra scheduling. (Check out this article about how to save on textbooks for more ideas.)
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  5. Appliances. If you and your roomie can be respectful of each other’s property, there’s no reason to bring two of everything. Share fridge space, split TV time (or find some common ground–maybe you can bond over some reruns of Ninja Warrior?), and if you need a land line, share a phone. Just be sure you draw lines (i.e. which fridge shelf is who’s, and how you feel about sharing your iPod, computer, etc.) before the sharefest begins.

Anything else you’ve successfully shared or big flops we should avoid? Let me know in the comments!

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Add comment July 14th, 2011


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