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Why a vacation seems like it will end as soon as it begins

Researchers found that people judge future positive events as being both farther away as well as shorter in duration than negative or neutral events.

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Photo by Ethan Robertson from Unsplash.com

Time not only flies when you’re having fun – sometimes anticipating a fun event makes it feel like it will be over as soon as it begins, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people judge future positive events as being both farther away as well as shorter in duration than negative or neutral events.

Combining those two elements has a strange effect when people look forward to a positive event like a vacation, said Selin Malkoc, co-author of the study and associate professor of marketing at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

“The seemingly endless wait for the vacation to start combined with the feeling that the vacation will fly by leads people to feel like the beginning and the end of their time off as similarly far from the present,” Malkoc said. “In other words, in their mind’s eye, the vacation is over as soon as it begins. It has no duration.”

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

This phenomenon has another interesting effect: It makes people feel like the endpoints of positive and negative events are similarly distant from the present.

That’s because anticipating a negative event – like a dreaded work trip – reverses the effects of a positive event: People feel like the negative event is right around the corner and will last a long time.

“Thinking about future positive and negative events leads people to take two different paths to the same conclusion, with the ends of both events seeming similarly far away,” said study co-author Gabriela Tonietto, assistant professor of marketing at Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick.

The Journal of Consumer Psychology paper included four related studies that came to similar conclusions. In one study, 451 online participants considered the upcoming weekend, which was either expected to be fun, terrible, or just OK.

They then indicated how far away the beginning and then the end of the weekend felt on a 0-100 slider scale (0=very near, 100=very far.)

Findings showed that a good weekend seemed farther away and shorter, while a terrible weekend seemed closer to the present day and longer in duration. An OK weekend fell in between.

On the slider scale, people rated a bad weekend as ending significantly farther away than its beginning. But for people who expected a good weekend, the slider scale ratings for how far away the beginning and the end seemed to them were nearly identical.

In fact, 46% of participants evaluated the positive weekend as feeling like it had no duration at all as they thought about both the event and the time leading up to it.

Thinking about how far the beginning and the end of the event is from the present is key to this phenomenon, Malkoc said. Another study showed that when people were asked to directly indicate how long they expected a positive event to last, they thought it would go quickly, but they did indicate it would take up some time.

It was only when people also considered the time leading up to the fun event – which they expected to crawl – that they thought a future positive experience would feel like it had no duration.

These findings have some interesting implications as people start planning vacations and other fun events as the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Malkoc said.

“If a vacation seems like it is going to end as soon as it begins, it may make people less likely to plan specific events during their time off,” she said. “It may also lead people to spend more on hotels and other luxuries, since it seems like the vacation is such a short time anyway.”

Other co-authors were Eric VanEpps of the University of Utah and Sam Maglio of the University of Toronto.

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Travel

The perfect road trip seating plan based on zodiac signs

These personality types can be most apparent when many individuals with different star signs are placed in a small space together for a length of time, like a road trip.

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Photo by Matthew Henry from Unsplash.com

If you are heading on a road trip this summer, have a Virgo behind the wheel, a Libra in charge of music and make sure there isn’t an Aries in sight.

Experts at LeaseElectricCar are offering advice on how to use astrology to navigate a road trip car seating plan to ensure the smoothest journey for all.

There are 12 zodiac signs in astrology which are divided into the 12 months of the year. Each star sign belongs to one of four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. According to astrologers, each element reflects a quality of human nature and contributes to our personality make up.

These personality types can be most apparent when many individuals with different star signs are placed in a small space together for a length of time, like a road trip. 

Driving and star signs are linked through the origins of astrology. The planet Mercury, which rules Virgo and Gemini, is named after the Greek God of communication and swiftness. 

This Greek connection has been linked by astrologers to a heightened ability to navigate by those with a Virgo or Gemini placement.

Experts at LeaseElectricCar said “Everyone enjoys a road trip, whether that is exploring new places, travelling with friends or a family get together but there is nothing worse than an incompatible group all sitting in the same car together for hours. 

“To prevent personality clashes, backseat driving and unhappy passengers, we have figured out the best seating plan for a smooth journey based on the zodiac signs.”

This is LeaseElectricCar’s seating plan for the smoothest road trip based on Zodiac signs alone. 

Driver’s seat: Virgo

Ruled by mercury and attributed to being one of the most grounded signs with a practical and systematic approach to life, it can only be right that Virgo’s are given the front spot. This earth sign will thrive in the responsibility of getting the group to the destination by following the safest and most logical route.

Virgo’s are perfectionists and are led strongly by their compulsive need to follow all rules. Their low tolerance for rule breaking makes them the perfect candidate for back seat driver which could ultimately end in conflict when pointing out the mistakes of other signs.

Avoid having an Aries in the driving seat.The ruling planet of Aries is Mars, the god of war, which is very telling when it comes to many of the signs’ attributes. Although gifted with undeniable confidence and the ability to attack a long road trip with the utmost energy, Aries can be hot-headed and impulsive which may end in never-ending road rage.

Passenger’s seat: Libra

There is one important job for the zodiac in the passenger seat…music! When it comes to deciding who gets DJ duty on the road trip, pick a Libra.

Libras are arguably one of the most generous signs and they avoid conflict at all costs, meaning they will often go out of their way to appease the needs of the group surrounding them. Knowing Libra’s, they will have pre-planned the road trip playlist ahead of time and made sure to include favourites from everyone in the car just to please them all! They will feel a great sense of pride in keeping everyone happy. 

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Middle row: Cancer, Taurus and Pisces.

Best friend placements water sign Cancer and earth sign Taurus are being assigned middle row spots in this car plan. Astrologers often encourage friendships between these two signs due to their perfect balance of similarities and differences. Both Cancer and Taurus like to take part in projects rather than lead them, making them the perfect non-conflict driven passengers for sitting behind the driver.

Whilst most compatible with each other, both signs have a friendly nature that allows them to get on with a wide range of signs which will allow them to talk to everyone and make everyone feel included in the car chats. 

Sat next to Taurus and behind the driver should be a Pisces. Compatible with both Cancer and Taurus, this is the perfect sign to complete the middle row. Regarded for being among the most sympathetic of the zodiac’s, Pisces are sure to be understanding and conscious of the driver’s needs whilst also having the perfect time to bond on the car journey with their compatible counterparts Cancer and Taurus. 

Back row: Leo and Sagittarius

On the back row, a fiery, exciting yet compatible duo is required. This is where Leo and Sagittarius come in! Leo and Sagittarius are fire signs and when placed together their energy radiates off the other. Their fiery nature means they might not be most compatible for the middle seat however they will truly thrive away from the driver’s seat and in the back where they can be free of the responsibilities that come with sitting at the front.

Leo’s entertaining nature is sure to impress, with plenty of jokes, anecdotes and stories coming from the back seat to keep the whole car entertained! 

Sagittarians are the most sociable out of the pairing and should therefore be sat behind Cancer. The Sun sign will bring out the often reserved water sign Cancer and will encourage conversation within the middle row to ensure a bonding road trip experience. 

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Destinations

Tips to steer clear of animal-borne diseases this summer

After you’re done with the fun, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, even if you didn’t touch an animal directly. Keep an eye on children to make sure they wash their hands thoroughly.

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It’s state fair season across the country. In addition to the food and games local fairs have to offer, livestock shows and petting zoos are always popular attractions. According to veterinarians, it’s important for people to know that some animal-borne diseases can be transmitted from farm animals to people and pets. Those attending state fairs and petting zoos should be aware of the health risks, and preventive measures you can take to be safe when petting and feeding animals at these and other fun venues.

Dr. Douglas Kratt, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, “It’s always good to take precautions when you’re in close proximity with animals because they and their environments can transfer germs that can make you or someone in your family ill.”

Examples of zoonotic diseases—those that spread from animals to people–include Salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and rabies. Just like with colds and flu, if germs get on your hands and you inadvertently put your hands in your mouth or nose, you could get sick. The most common symptoms one could experience are vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and cramps. And, while most people recover without a visit to the doctor, some may need a doctor’s visit or hospitalization.

Dr. Kratt offers these tips to help you, your family and your four-legged friends stay safe when you’ve been around zoo or farm animals:

  1. Don’t eat or drink near areas that house animals.
  2. Park strollers outside animal barns and pens, so as not to transfer germs to the wheels and take them home with you.
  3. Use hand sanitizer when you can, which should be readily available these days, especially if there’s no soap and hot water accessible.
  4. After you’re done with the fun, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, even if you didn’t touch an animal directly. Keep an eye on children to make sure they wash their hands thoroughly.
  5. While there is little evidence that animals can spread COVID-19 to people, in some situations it can spread from people to animals. People suspected or confirmed positive should avoid contact with pets, livestock, and wildlife.

For more valuable information about pets and pet care visit www.avma.org.

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Travel

11 Ways to save on summer travel

So if you’re looking to plan a “fun in the sun” vacation on a budget, here are 11 of our favorite tips.

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Photo by Tom Cleary from Unsplash.com

Summer is always one of the most expensive times to travel. But 2021 has the potential to be even more busy (and costly) than usual due to pent-up demand caused by the extended COVID-19 lockdowns.

As many individuals and families are looking to make up for lost time this summer, “revenge travel” is already causing prices to spike. As of writing, prices on many hotels and flights are still below pre-pandemic levels. But that’s not the case for every destination and costs are likely to continue to rise as we move further into summer.

What all this means is that it’s not going to be as easy to take a cheap trip this summer as it may have been in the winter or spring. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that there are still many ways to save on summer travel. So if you’re looking to plan a “fun in the sun” vacation on a budget, here are 11 of our favorite tips.

1. Compare Rates on Third-Party Travel Sites

Travel websites are marketplaces that can compare rates from hundreds of airlines, hotels, or car rental agencies at once. Using these sites can save you a lot of time and money when compared to visiting each company’s website separately. Some popular travel sites include:

  • Kayak
  • Expedia
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google Flights
  • Orbitz
  • Booking.com
  • Priceline
  • Hotwire
  • Hotels.com

While these sites can be a great place to start rate-shopping, note that not every travel brand allows third parties to show their prices. Southwest Airlines, for example, has been a long-standing holdout. So after visiting third-party aggregators, you may still want to check out a few individual sites to ensure that you don’t miss any hot deals.

2. Set Price Alerts Using Flexible Dates

Nearly all of the sites above also make it easy to set travel alerts. These are convenient because they allow you to sit back, relax and wait to be notified when the price for your trip drops rather than having to manually check rates each day.

You can set alerts for specific dates if you’d like. But know that if you’re able to be flexible with your plans, you’ll have a better chance of scoring a big discount.

If you work a job that allows you to plan a last-minute trip, saying that you’re available “anytime” or for any “upcoming weekends” could be best. Or, for a little more predictability, you could customize your alert to only notify you about price-drops for dates that fall within a specific month.

3. Redeem Credit Card Rewards Towards Travel

This tip has long been one of my family’s favorite travel hacks. If you’ve been racking up credit card rewards points with your daily-use card, you may be able to redeem those points for free nights and/or flights.

Some credit card issuers allow points to be transferred to a variety of travel partners. Others have their own travel portal where cardholders can book trips with points. And some cards offer both! Check to see what redemption options your card offers.

If you’re looking to take a late summer (or early fall) vacation, you may still have time to apply for a rewards credit card and earn a hefty sign-up bonus before you book your trip. Keep in mind, though, that the most generous cards do usually require excellent credit. You can check your FICO Scores and reports at myFICO.

4. Split a Home Rental With Family or Friends

While renting an entire home using an app like Airbnb or HomeAway can be convenient, it’s unlikely to be the most affordable choice for a single family. But if you’re planning a group vacation, it certainly could be!

For example, let’s say that you’re visiting a city where hotels cost around $100 per night and a 3-bedroom home rental averages $210 per night. If you’re able to split the home with two other families, your per-family cost drops to just $70.

So you’d save $30 per night by choosing the home rental. You could save even more by choosing a house that has a fully-stocked kitchen since you’d have the option to cook a few meals. Plus, a home rental may offer other intangible benefits like a living room where everyone can enjoy movie nights and a backyard for the kiddos to run around.

5. Book Middle-of-The-Week Flights

Often, travelers plan their trips around taking off a traditional Monday-Friday work week. For this reason, weekend flights tend to be most popular. But simple supply and demand dynamics means that those flights are also likely to be more expensive.

Could you start your trip in the middle of the week instead? If so, you’re more likely to find the lowest fares. Historically, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have proven to be the cheapest days to fly.

If you do have to out fly on weekends, try to opt for Saturday rather than Friday evening or Sunday. Flying back on Sunday does give you an extra day to maximize your trip. But this advantage also tends to inflate Sunday fare prices.

6. Fill Your Itinerary With Free Sights and Activities

As a Florida native, I know first-hand how fun theme park vacations can be. But it’s also harder to plan a budget-conscious trip when you’re visiting an amusement park or other ticketed venue each day.

But there are plenty of fun things that you can do for free during your summer getaway. In our family’s case, we enjoy hiking so we love to visit destinations that have plenty of nearby state or national parks.

Also, keep in mind that many national monuments and museums don’t charge for admission. That makes it easier to keep costs low when visiting cities that are packed with historical landmarks like Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, or Boston.

7. Take a Road Trip

You may not need to book a flight to visit somewhere new and exciting. There may be plenty of places within driving distance of your home that have a lot to offer.

You’ll not only avoid flight costs by road-tripping, but you also won’t have to worry about booking a rental car or paying for daily rideshares once you reach your destination.

You will have to pay for gas during your trip. But after accounting for fuel costs, you may still be able to save hundreds of dollars by driving yourself to your summer vacation spot. And the larger your family, the higher your potential savings.

8. Visit Cities That Offer Sightseeing Bundles

There are currently 13 cities in the United States along with Toronto, Canada that offer CityPASS tickets. These passes bundle together several of the city’s most popular sights at a reduced overall price.

You may be able to save upwards of 50% by purchasing a CityPASS vs. buying tickets to each individual attraction separately. Our family has bought a CityPASS in three different cities so far and we’ve yet to be disappointed!

9. Look For Kids Stay (or Fly) Free Options

If you’ll be traveling with children this summer, know that certain travel brands offer special freebies that can save parents money. At Holiday Inn, for example, up to two children can be added to their parents’ room at no extra charge. And up to four children per family can eat free at hotel dine-in restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

With Frontier Airlines, one child under 15 can fly free per parent if at least one of the adults is a Discount Den travel club member. For a family of four, this could cut their flight cost in half. However, two blackout dates do apply for the remainder of summer 2021: June 26-July 13th and September 2nd-6th.

10. Stay Away From Major Holidays

All travel-related prices tend to soar on big holidays. So simply steering clear of these dates (and the weekends before and after) could be one of the easiest ways to save on summer travel.

Since Memorial Day has already passed, there are really only two federal holidays left this summer to avoid: Independence Day and Labor Day.

11. Investigate Your In-City Transportation Options

If you’ll be visiting a large metro area on your trip, parking and transportation can be a lot trickier, so you’ll want to think through your strategy. In some cities, leaving your vehicle in a low-cost parking garage and using public transportation could save you time (and hassle) vs. driving everywhere and paying for parking at each stop.

If you’ll be staying in one area for at least 7 days, you may also want to see if the city offers discounts on week-long passes for public parking or transportation. Lastly, if you’ll be flying to your destination, you’ll want to think about whether renting a car or using rideshares and taxis during your stay would be most affordable.

If you’re just planning to hit the beach each day during your summer getaway, booking a rental car may not be worth the money. But if you’ll be doing a lot of driving to spread apart sights, renting a car might actually be far less expensive.

The Bottom Line

This list of 11 ways to save on summer travel is far from exhaustive. If you’re actively looking, you’re likely to find dozens of more ways to cut costs.

So be intentional and plan well. Because the only thing better than a relaxing summer getaway is a relaxing summer getaway that doesn’t break the bank!

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