Home Authors Posts by Valerie Paxton

Valerie Paxton

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Valerie Paxton is a co-founder of AllegroMedical.com and lives in Phoenix, AZ. In 1997 she set out with her business partner, Craig Hood to form Allegro Medical - a company dedicated to helping people lead more independent and healthy lives. They poured their knowledge and experience into AllegroMedical.com and now have more than 1 million customers nationwide. Valerie has a degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska and has spent most of her career in communications, marketing, PR, and investor relations. She enjoys giving advice, mentoring, volunteering, writing, reading, cooking, telling funny stories, healthy eating, her cocker spaniel Honey, her boyfriend Todd, hiking, kayaking, jokes and world travel. Follow Valerie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vpaxton

Once you’ve taken the Steps to Winterize your Car, it is unlikely that you’ll experience a breakdown due to mechanical failure, but you never know what else might leave you stuck in your car. Millions of motorists are stranded each year because of bad weather, accidents, flat tires, getting stuck in the mud or snow, losing their keys and other unfortunate situations.

With a few basic items, though, you can not only survive, but be safe and comfortable while you wait to be rescued.

Basic Emergency Items

  • Cell phone
  • Triple A (AAA) or other roadside assistance subscription & card
  • Snowbrush and Ice Scraper
  • Bag of Sand or kitty litter to help with traction on snow and ice
  • Shovel for scraping snow away from the tires
  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Winter clothes including a complete change of clothes, a scarf, hat, extra gloves and boots
  • Duct Tape to fix a broken windshield, hold things together, pick up glass shards, mend hoses, serve as a gas cap, and a million other things
  • Emergency Sign or brightly colored cloth to signal for help
  • Booster Cables
  • Extra Fuses
  • Bottled water to drink (or to use in cars that overheat or need battery water)
  • And last but not least, a good book ūüôā

Don’t go out in bad weather unless absolutely necessary and please know the weather report before you go out! A Winter Storm Watch means that winter storms are in your area. A Winter Storm Warnings means that storms are heading your way. A Blizzard Warning means all hell is about to break loose… er, i mean, strong winds and dangerous wind chills are expected.

Get your Emergency Car Kit together now. Be safe!

Here’s What to Do if You’re Stranded in your Car.

Cold weather is hard on cars.¬† It¬†makes things that you thought were just fine stop working, break, snap¬†or ¬†freeze up.¬† I’m worried that some people haven’t formally gone through the checklist to make sure their vehicle is ready.¬†¬†

I went over this checklist with my mom and thank goodness she was already set.  Are you?

There’s still time to save yourself¬†from a break-down or worse.¬† Do it today.

Get your car checked out and tuned up.¬† Make sure they check your battery, antifreeze (50-50 mix of coolant to water), rear defroster, wipers, washer fluid,¬†leaks, tire pressure… everything.

 

  • Check your tire pressure.¬† Tire pressure drops by one pound per ten degrees so if you’re driving around in sub-zero weather your tires may be dangerously low.

 

  • Keep a jug of¬† high quality windshield washer solution in your trunk for refills.¬†

 

  • Invest in heavy winter wipers that keep ice from forming on the blade.¬† Remove them in the spring so they don’t stress your wiper motor unecessarily and remember to turn them off before shutting off the engine so they don’t freeze to the windshield.

 

  • Keep your gas tank full.¬† If you get stuck or stranded you’ll need the heater to keep you warm.¬† You can run it at idle for as long as it takes.¬† It won’t hurt anything.¬†

 

  • If you have to weather the storm inside an old rusty car, crack the window so you don’t fill the car with carbon monoxide.¬† And if you’re in a blizzard, new car or old, get out every once in a while to clear the snow out of the tailpipe.

 

  • Sandbag.¬† Put a bag or two of sand or kitty litter behind your rear axle if you have rear-wheel-drive.¬† It will increase the traction of the rear wheels.¬† Start with 20lbs and see how it drives. You can add more from there if it still squirly.¬† Too much weight will lift the front end.¬† Put it in the middle front of the trunk, not in the passenger compartment. It could become¬†a projectile in a wreck. ¬† Don’t bother if you have front-wheel-drive because the heavy engine is already sitting over the powered wheels.

 

  • To make sure your freezing cold car always starts in the morning (and you have instant heat),¬† hook your engine¬†to a block heater.¬† This is an electric heater that keeps your engine warm while it’s parked.¬† It plugs into a regular AC outlet overnight.¬† Just remember to unplug it before taking off!¬† I vividly remember my dad forgetting that…

 

  • Understand your car.¬† If you have teenagers or other family members driving your car, make sure they know what kind of steering system and tires they are driving on.¬† Cars handle differently if they have front-wheel-drive,¬†rear-wheel-drive, part-time or full-time 4-wheel drive; antilock brakes, traction control or stability control.¬† Practice driving on snow in an empty parking lot to see how it handles different situations.

 

  • Buy good snow tires if you must¬†drive in the snow.¬† Even if you can only afford 2 of them, they are better than nothing to get around before the streets are plowed or even for increased traction when braking or turning on packed snow.¬† If you are only getting two, mount them on the wheels that are driven by the engine.¬† For all-wheel drive you really need four snow tires.¬†

 

  • Consider chains for your tires.¬† If you’re someplace that permits or requires chains, make sure you’ve practiced putting them on.¬† Keep them in the trunk.¬† Instead, there are ladder-like devices (one is called Tiger Paws) ¬†that unfold and allow your tire to grip it if you’re stuck in the snow or ice.¬†

 

  • Clean your car completely of snow and grime before setting out.¬† Don’t be like me, as a teenager, just wiping a small peephole in the drivers side windshield and heading off to school.¬† Yikes.¬† Visibility is key in nasty weather, especially so you don’t hit another car or pedestrian.¬† Clean off the whole car including every window, mirror, and headlight.¬† Besides it is the law in most states.¬†¬†If I sound like your mother, it is only because I care. ūüôā

Print this out and check off everything.¬† Then, at least your car is ready on the outside.¬† Next, make sure you have your winter emergency car kit put together.¬†¬†¬†Hopefully you don’t run into any trouble.¬†But just in case, do you know what to do if you are standed in your car?

Now I remember why I moved to Arizona.

Do you have a tip or two?  Please share them in the comments area! 

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It would be great to know what you think we should add to the site.

For example, what specific medical supplies and brands do you buy from others that you can’t get at AllegroMedical.com?¬† Give us the scoop on the latest greatest thing in catheters, diabetes supplies, fitness products, maternity, dietary supplements or pain relief.¬† Reply below, or send me a private message at v (no space) paxton (at) allegro (no space) medical (dot) com.

Is there anything you buy somewhere else because you can get it cheaper there?¬† Lay it on me.¬† Everything.¬† Anything.¬† I’ll see what I can do.

Meanwhile, here’s one for ya:¬† AllegroMedical.com is¬†trying so hard to please everyone that¬†we’re now selling¬†Fractional Shares of the Illinois Senate Seat, courtesy of our very funny President & CEO, Craig Hood.

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We’re a turkey house¬†on both Thanksgiving and Christmas.¬† Sure, I enjoy a little ham on the side, but I certainly wouldn’t serve¬†JUST ham.¬† Growing up in Nebraska, however, I saw a lot of beef for Christmas dinner.¬† Who doesn’t love a nice prime rib at your holiday feast?¬† Me, that’s who.¬† I will probably be cast out of my family of cattle ranchers for saying so, but seriously… folks… give me the bird¬†for Christmas.¬† But don’t try to goose me!

What about you?  Fowl, Swine or Bovine? Tofurky?

State your case in the “reply” section below.¬† Thanks!

Out of town guests for the holidays?¬† Face it, the last thing you need to worry about while entertaining is your niece sticking her barrette in the light socket, or the neighbor’s kid falling down the stairs or your boss’s little cutie pulling the bookshelf over on top of herself.¬† Ahhhh….

Do yourself a favor this season and make your house ready for the pint-sized guests.  There are so many great products to make your life easier when hosting (or raising) kids in your home.  

Take a look at these lifesavers…

 

Outlet Plugs¬†– Fit in any standard outlet and stops all barrettes and little fingers.¬† Shocking…, but true.¬† Along the same lines, you may consider a Power Strip Cover for¬†your home office.

 

Adjustable “Keep Out of my Stuff” Straps¬†– 24 of these might not be enough.¬† Keeps little fingers from opening appliances, doors, diaries, boxes, everything!¬†

 

Easy-Fit Plastic Gate – Keep ’em in, Keep ’em out.¬† No hardware required.¬† Super easy to install.¬† Here’s one with a few more gizmos: Lift & Lock Security Gate.

 

Furniture Wall Straps РUse these super sturdy, easy to install canvas straps to secure your bureaus, book cases, shelf units, china cabinets and armoires to the wall.  Please use these on ALL of your tall furniture!  Kids have been severely injured, or worse, by pulling furniture over on top of themselves.

 

Medical Emergency Magnetic Memo Board for Children РWould you know what to do if a child in your home needed emergency medical attention?  This could save a life.  First aid and step-by-step instructions for CPR & choking.  Makes a great gift for new moms.

 

¬†Dim N’ Bright Auto Sensor Night Light – Set the level of brightness.¬† Light the¬†bedroom,¬† hallway¬†AND bathroom.¬†¬†That way, all of your guests –¬†dim and bright alike – can navigate to the¬†toitee safely.¬† We also carry the Soothing Stars Nighlights.

 

3-in-1 Potty ‘N Step Stool – It’s the potty that turns into a step (and then late at night it transforms into an evil robot bent on world domination – but don’t tell the kids)… Anyway, they say it’s real comfortable.¬† Pack of 2.¬†

 

Railnet РThis is mesh netting that keeps little people and animals from poking through railings.  We sell it in a pack of 6, which means you get 60 feet of it, but you can use it on all of your railings, balconies and banisters Рindoors and out. 

 

Furniture Corner Cushions – Edge guards for sharp cornered tables, chairs and low shelves.¬† Totally and completely required in a house with kids.¬† We’ve all seen the ‘coffee table corner in the eye trick’ and it ain’t pretty.¬† 24 in each order.

 

Tub Spout Cover РAvoid bonks to the bean with this soft inflatable tub spout cover.  And get the water temperature just right with a Bath Pal Thermometer.  For the wee ones spring for a Safety Infant Bathtub with built-in water temperature strip. 

 

****Bonus Tip.¬† Mom’s, Dads, Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, listen up.¬† Our Easy Up Kneeler and Seat does double duty as a gardening stool¬†AND a “save your knees while giving the kids a bath” stool!¬† I’ve seen it in action and it’s totally awesome.¬†¬†Makes a great gift.

See all Safety 1st Products!

Thanks for buying all of your medical supplies and safety products from AllegroMedical.com.  We appreciate your business a whole bunch.

Have a happy and safe holiday.

-v

Holiday cheer can become a holiday nightmare if you are ill-prepared for the needs of your overnight guests. 

For example, activities that we may take for granted Рgoing up and down stairs, using the toilet, showering, getting in and out of bed, opening doors, etc. Рcan be difficult for older guests.  The addition of a few simple, temporary items placed strategically throughout your home will ensure a safe and comfortable Christmas for everyone. 

Bathroom

 

 

 

  • Removable Suction Cup¬†Grab Bars¬†on the wall by the tub and toilet.¬† If you get anything at all for the bathroom, I¬†highly recommend that you get a couple of these.¬† Instant ‘peace-of-mind’.¬†

 

 

  • Check the towel bar and soap dish in the shower to make sure they are secure.

 

Bedroom

 

  • Removable Bedrail – Put this portable bedrail onto any bed, on either side, and getting in and out of bed is a snap.¬† If you like that, check out the Bedrail & Car Caddie combo offer.

 

 

  • Pathlighter Safety Cane – A special cane that lights the way on stairways and walkways. Perfect for outings on cold winter nights.

 

 

  • Smoke Alarms – Make sure you have them, and make sure they work.¬† Sometimes you just need new batteries.

 

  • A sturdy chair in the bedroom for dressing.

 

 

  • A telephone in the bedroom that can be reached from the floor in case of a fall.¬† How about an Amplified Telephone?

 

Indoors/Outdoors

 

  • Door Knob Extenders – Quickly and inexpensively convert¬†regular door knobs into lever action handles.¬† Arthritis sufferers will thank you.

 

 

  • Non-skid backing on rugs – We don’t carry it, but it’s a good idea to get some.

 

 

  • Water heater thromostat – Set it at 120 degrees F or lower to prevent accidental scalding.

 

  • EZ Access Threshold Ramps – These are the most popular.¬†¬†Great for wheelchairs and walker users.¬† Also for high indoor/outdoor entry-way thresholds.

 

  • Light your outside steps and walkways.

 

  • Check your handrails to ensure they are securely fastened.

 

  • Travel Wheelchair – For events that require extra walking, this super lightweight wheelchair folds up and¬†stores in the trunk or closet.

 

You see, it really doesn’t take much to make your home safe and secure for your¬†elderly or special needs guests.¬† Order today!

Here’s wishing you and all of your guests a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy holiday.

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Help Santa stuff your stockings this year with these healthy gifts for adults. I especially like the EBOOST Tablets and the Zapi Toothbrush Sanitizers. They are on Oprah’s “O” list! Everyone in my house is getting them, including me. Oh, and have you ever used those Bag Resealers? Fabulous. I have saved more food that way. And don’t even get me started about the keyboard and mouse cushions. A must for every stand-alone keyboard user.

Val’s Stocking Stuffer Picks for 2008

EBOOST Effervescent Health Boosters

It’s orange. It’s bubbly. It gives you that extra boost.

 

Zapi Personal Toothbrush Sanitizer

On Oprah’s “O List” as the best pick for the holidays.

 

100% Silk DreamSack

The perfect travel sleeper. Protects you from germs on hotel bedding.

 

Deep Kneading Rechargeable Hand Held Massager

Stay loose no matter where you are.

 

Eye Pillow with ergoBeads

Put it over your eyes, lie back and say ahhhhhh.
Hand Exerciser and Stress Ball

Hey stressballs! Get a stress ball.
Supracor SpaCells Facial Sponge

Give yourself a 5-minute rejuvenating facial.
Massaging Slippers for Men

Cool looking battery operated slippers w/easy one-touch massage.
Ultra-Soft Plush Massaging Slippers for Women

Sign…me…up!
3-in-1 Car Aid

A must have for every vehicle. Includes side-window breaker.
Forever Last Radio w/Dynamo Flashlight & Nightlight

Unique, beautiful and useful. Like you.
Electronic Automatic Pepper Mill & Salt Grinder

Pepper and salt your steaks in style.
Bag Resealers for Plastic Bags

Seals plastic bags airtight in seconds. Locks in freshness.
Superfeet Cold Weather Premium Insoles

Engineered to protect your feet from the cold.

 

Orbit Massager

No batteries. No vibration. Only rotation, baby. Rotation.
Dyna Flex Pro

The entry level gyro that everyone is talking about.
Ergonomic Wrist Cushion for Mouse

For all day mousing comfort.
Ergonomic Wrist Cushion for Keyboard

The ultimate for cool comfortable keying.
Order today to make sure you get everything in time for Christmas! And as always, thanks for your business.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

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We just implemented a¬†new blog system that lets you send us feedback and comments.¬† Yeah!! I can’t wait to hear from you.¬† Please feel free to share your comments, ideas, suggestions, recipes (I love recipes), whatever…¬† at the end of the post in the “leave a reply” section.¬† Try it now, even if you just say ‘hi’.

Next up…¬† stocking stuffers for grown ups; making your home safe for older guests; easy ways to child-proof your home, and much more.¬†

Now that we’re on a new system I plan to communicate more frequently, with shorter blurbs and blogs.¬† I’ve been practicing writing shorter pieces.¬† Sometimes I run too long… like, um… now.¬†¬†That said…¬† I’ll let you go.

But first, thanks again for your business.¬† Remember to gift mindfully¬†and , hint…hint…use¬†our holiday promotions to stock up on your medical supplies!

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For many, this is a financially difficult holiday so I am proposing that we all gift ‚Äúmindfully‚ÄĚ. Pick gifts that your loved ones can really put to use – something that fits their lifestyle, ability, or hobby.

When they open it, it will be obvious that you had them in mind when you chose their special present. And your gift will be especially appreciated if it improves their health, comfort, independence or mobility.

So grab your list and see if you can fit each person into a category below. You’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect gift.

Shop for everyone Рfitness buffs, kids, skiers, snorers, active teens, diabetics, new mom’s, seniors, wheelchair users and more!

Aging Seniors

UpEasy Lifting Cushion

Card Player Card Holders

3-Wheel Drive Hawk Scooter

Car Caddie Helping Hand

Suction Cup Grab Bars

Folding Shopping Cart

Tek Pal Large Button TV Remote

Light Relief ‚Äď Light Therapy

Teak Spa Shower Chair

Portable Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

See all Daily Living Aids

Diabetics

AccelWell Travel Pouch

Paraffin Heat System

Medi-Fridge Micro Fridge

Diabetic Crew Socks

Awesome Diabetic Shoes

See all Diabetic Supplies

Fitness Gurus & Athletes

X2 Vest Weighted Walking Vest ‚Äď 12 lb¬†

Lex Loops Exercise Band

Heart Rate Monitor

Complete Yoga Kit with Travel Bag

3300P Body Gym Elite Pilates Trainer

ProStretch Lower Leg Stretching System

Power Wheel II Core Trainer

Perfect Pushup

Bodyblade Classic Kit Fitness Trainer

Doorway Pull Up Bar

Personal PowerBlock Dumbbell Set

iJoy Ride by Human Touch

Mini Stepper Exerciser

BOSU Sport Balance Trainer

See all Exercise/Fitness

Gardeners

Easi-Grip Gardening Set

Gardener’s Easy-Up Kneeler and Seat

Easi-Grip Long Reach Gardening Set

See all Yard Equipment

Golfers

Power Swing Trainer Golf Gym

Superfeet Black Insoles for Golf Shoes

Bionic Golf Glove

Wobble Board Balance Trainer

Hotties

Chillow Pillow Cooling Sensation Pillow

ChillowPlus

Cool Care Comfort System Chillow Pak

Kids

Indo Board Balance Board

TRIKKE T5 for Kids

Hop Balls

Pink Lady Pedal Car

Police Pedal Car

Radio Flyer Little Red Scooter

See all Gifts for Kids

New Parents and Moms-to-Be

Bounce-a-Bye Baby Ball

InStep Quick N’ Ez Bike Trailer

Safari Jogging Stroller

Comfort Body Pillow

Magentic Safety Magnet – Emergency Memo Board

See all Maternity Care

Pampered

Deep Kneading Rechargeable Hand Held Massager

Ultra Soft Plush Massaging Slippers for Women

Spacells Facial Sponge

HydraGel Infrared Massager

Alpaca Fur Fuzzy Slippers

Alpaca Fur Blanket

Alpaca Fur Pillow

Supracor St. Tropez Massage Sandals

iJoy 130 Robotic Massage Chair

Stimulite Bath Mitt

Stimulite Bath Pillow

Thermal Spa Bath Mat Massage Pad

Superfeet Berry Insoles for Women

Original Backnobber

Hand-Held Shower Massager

Soapy Soles Elite 3-in-1 Foot Care System

Spa Petite Personal Paraffin Wax Bath

Eye Pillow with ergoBeads

See all Pamper Products

Pets

Infrared Therapeutic Pet Bed

Canine Cooler Dog & Pet Bed

Singles

The Boyfriend Pillow

Skaters/Surfers/SnowBoarders

iJoy Board Electric Balance Trainer

Fitball Balance Disc

Indo Board Balance Board

Superfeet Performance Green Insoles

Skiiers

Trikke Skki

Superfeet Performance Green Insoles

Superfeet Wintergreen Insoles for Skiing, Snowboarding & Hiking

Wobble Board Balance Trainer

Hand Warmers

Peel-n-Stick Body Warmers

Snorers

The Snore Wizard

Better Sleep Pillow ‚Äď Side Sleeper

Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock w/Bed Shaker

Snore-No-More Anti Snoring Pillow

See all Snoring Products

Sweetie Pies

Heart-Shaped Digital Picture Keychain

Sonic Boom Sweetheart Alarm Clock

Alpaca Fur Teddy Bear

Alpaca Fur Fuzzy Slippers

Alpaca Fur Blanke

Teens

Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock w/Bed Shaker

TRIKKE Convertible

Doorway Pull Up Bar

Vew-Do Balance Board

Indo Board Balance Board

Travelers

Personal Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer

Traveller Deluxe Neck Pillow

Aqua Bell Travel Weight ComboSet

Traveling Bed Rail

Portable Vibrating Travel Alarm Clock

Visually Challenged

Large Button TV Remote Control

Deluxe Framed Page Magnifier

Low Vision Watch

Jumbo Buttons Speakerphone

See all Low Vision Products

Wheelchair and Walker Users

Beverage Holders

Sheepskin Arm Rests

Sheepskin Seat Pad

Packs and Pouches

Wheelchair Desks

See all Wheelchair Accessories

See all Walker Accessories

I hope this helps you pick the perfect Christmas gift from AllegroMedical.com. See our entire Gift Ideas Category for more ideas and to shop by price range. Feel free to add a comment about the list and suggest other products and “types”. We love to hear from you.

A Verry Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone from your Allegro Family. We appreciate your business and your referrals.

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Travel doesn’t have to be impossibly expensive. Here are a few of my personal travel tips to make your trips a whole lot more affordable.

1. Use Point Programs. We only use credit cards that earn points towards hotel stays and
flights. We use them for EVERYTHING including groceries, car payments, utility bills – things you wouldn’t normally pay with a credit card. And we pay the bill completely, every month, so there is no interest charged. You would be surprised how fast you can earn free flights when everything goes on the card. It helps your credit score too. Remember, you have to pay off the card(s) every month or the interest will kill you.

2. Bring your own food. We eat at least 1 meal a day from our day pack. It saves us money, calories and time. Throw in some apples, dried fruit, string cheese, granola or trail mix, protein bars and dark chocolate for a meal or snack in the car, on the plane, on a city tour or in your hotel room. We also like to gather yummy morsels at Farmers Markets for a picnic on the train or in the park. These are great places to pick up good bread, fruit, cheese, organic tomatoes, & wine. We also almost always split meals and appetizers, at home and away.

3. Travel light. Learn to pack well so you don‚Äôt have to pay extra for checked luggage. If you’re anything like my mother you may need some practice. Pack everything you think you need first and then remove half of it. I got by with just a carry-on for several weeks in Europe by doing laundry here and there. The trick is to mix & match, wear one color scheme, alternate between 2 pairs of shoes. Get ‘travel clothes’ that don’t wrinkle and resist dirt & sweat. If you can’t pack light, invest in some compressor sacs that squish things down so you can pack more in a smaller bag.

4. Pool Resources. Sometimes we travel with other couples or families and rent a big house
in the woods or on the beach. Then, we cook meals instead of going out and we do low
cost activities like play games, hike, etc. Let your social network (myspace, facebook) know where you’ll be and see if any of your friends want to join you to split the costs.

5. Swap houses. Wish you could take the family to London for Christmas? You can afford it if you swap houses. Google ‘House Swapping’ to see how it’s done.

6. Get a free hotel room upgrade. At the very least, when checking in ask for a better room, a bigger room or a better view. I just got a lakeview room upgrade at the Bellagio in Las Vegas last weekend, just for asking nicely. Sometimes, if I see a bad review of a hotel that we will be staying at, I email a link to the review to the manager and I let them know that we’re on our way and we’re hoping that
we don’t have problems “like this”. It’s amazing how the service level goes up. We were once upgraded from a standard room to a $1000/night suite in Hawaii, simply because I alerted the manager to some unflattering reviews of their hotel. Following our stay we sent a beautiful basket of Arizona goodies
to the staff and made friends for life.

7. Camp Out. Have an adventure! It saves you money plus you get closer to nature . . . and each other. Consider camping on the beach.

8. Head South of the Border. We’re taking our vacations at the beach in Mexico – a 3 1/2 hour
drive from Phoenix to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point). For a fraction of the price of a hotel room in the States you can rent a 1500 sq. ft. 2
bd/2ba condo on Sandy Beach, right on the water, complete with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, restaurants, swim-up bar, tennis courts, water
sports, etc.

9. Travel in the off season. We’ve even gone on a cruise during hurricane season. Besides, high season (usually the summer months) is the worst time to be just about anywhere because of the crowds, heat and high prices.

10. Stay Close to Home. Arizona summers are “off season” and the local resorts deeply discount their rates or give credits toward food and entertainment. Many families take their kids to the resorts that have water parks and water slides and they just hang out at the pool all weekend. You can also explore your home state by car and save on airfare. Take day trips or camp to save on hotels.

11. Get up to 1/2 off Hotel Rooms. We use www.priceline.com when the hotel chain doesn’t matter to us. You don’t get to pick your exact hotel before committing to the room, but you can narrow your choice to a certain area and designate a minimum star rating. We recently used Priceline to find a hotel in San Diego, in the Gaslamp area, and we saved $110 per night.

12. Shop the Web and book early. Bargains are
everywhere if you take the time to look. I check www.tripadvisor.com to
read unbiased reviews before booking. Tripadvisor also has a tool that checks a handful of major booking
sites like Orbitz & Expedia, allowing you to compare prices without going to each site individually. Also check the lesser known travel booking sites, like
www.bookit.com. If you’re using travel points you might have to book several months in advance to get the room or a seat on the plane.

13. Consider a Cruise. You can almost always find cruises at discounted prices if you don’t book through the cruise line themselves. We got much lower prices on an upcoming Disney cruise by going through a cruise broker online. We use www.cruise.com and www.cruises.com but there are a lot of them. Also, if you can go last minute, there are always great deals. When cruising, try to wait until you get to your destination to do your off-shore excursions. They are much less expensive. Airport transfers to and from the ship are cheaper if you book it yourself. Bring your own bottled water. Bring your own booze if they let you. Ask for a cabin upgrade. Ask your travel agent for shipboard credits. Sign up for the ‚Äúclub‚ÄĚ.

14. Take advantage of time share promotions. Just don’t be roped into buying one unless that is your intention. Sit through the presentation, be strong enough to walk away from the hard sell, and be rewarded with a nearly free vacation or lots of spa/meal/drink credits.

15. Be spontaneous and book late. Sign up with your favorite travel sites to receive notification of last minute travel bargains.

Bon Voyage!

Travel safe and comfortable with Allegro’s Top Travel Gear.

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