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Tips For Road Trips With Cats

Tips For Road Trips With Cats

Planning on taking a trip with your cat this summer? Read these Tips For Road Trips With Cats from www.drugstoredivas.net first!

Let me tell you a horror story. Once upon a time, about three years ago, Pete and I were driving up to New York and took the cat we had at the time. I felt so bad keeping him cooped up the entire trip, so when we stopped at a rest stop for gas, I went over to a grassy area with the cat and his favorite food and decided to let him stretch his legs. Bad idea! He darted out of the harness and leash I had him on and under a truck. I tried, to no avail, to get him out. So I did what any normal person would do. I sobbed in front of the truck’s tire until the owner came out, popped the hood, reached in, grabbed our cat, and returned him.

When I look back now, I realize how dumb I was. That cat had only lived in our apartment. He didn’t know the outside world and he sure didn’t need to stretch his legs. We got him back, thank goodness, but we also learned a lot of lessons about road trips with cats. I figured I would pass that knowledge on to you.

Tips For Road Trips With Cats

1. Get a personalized collar.
Before you even embark on your trip, make sure your cat has a collar with his name on it, plus your name and phone number. You’re going to do your best to make sure your cat remains with you cat at all times, but in the event he runs off, you want to have a way to have him returned.

2. Use a carrier.
Your cat may not love heading in to a cat carrier, but it’s sure better than letting him roam free in your car. Imagine opening the door and your cat bolting into the unknown. It may cry in the carrier, which is the saddest sound in the world, but it beats you crying!

You can actually buckle your cat in, if you don’t like keeping it in a carrier. The pet seat belt might actually be better in case you happen to get into an accident because then your cat will be buckled in instead of the carrier potentially flying across the car. You can and should buckle your carrier in, if you’re leaving the cat in there. Be safe.

3. Pack your cat’s favorite food and treats.
You won’t be feeding your cat on the trip, but you will when you get to your destination. Having your cat’s food with you will make him feel more secure. Changing his environment and food might be too much.

4. Don’t worry about a litter box …
Cats are smart. I’m not sure how their little bodies are wired, but they know there is no way for them to go to a bathroom on a road trip. So they don’t. They won’t go in the carrier, so don’t worry about that. When you get to your destination, have a litter box available and introduce your cat to it.

… 5. Unless you’re staying overnight.
If you’re breaking your trip up over multiple days, you’ll want to pack a litter box to bring into the hotel. Be sure to check with any hotels you might book to assure they are pet friendly. You don’t want to get there and then find out your cat isn’t welcome.

6. Don’t leave your cat alone in the car.
No matter what you do, never leave a cat alone in the car. If you have to stop for the bathroom, make sure a passenger stays in the car with the cat when you go inside, then let your passenger go in while you watch the cat. Don’t leave it alone and do not leave it in a hot car under any circumstances.

Do you plan on traveling with your cat this summer? Let us know your tips for road trips with cats in the comments.

24 Hours In Fayetteville, NC

24 Hours In Fayetteville, NC

Drugstore Divas was hosted by the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for this sponsored post. Part of the trip was compensated; additional portions were paid for by Drugstore Divas. All of the things to do in Fayetteville, and thoughts and opinions, belong to and are recommended by Drugstore Divas.

Spending 24 hours in Fayetteville, NC? Find out the best things to do in Fayetteville, NC in this post on www.drugstoredivas.net.

Pete and I work the local farmers’ market every Saturday, which makes it hard for us to really go out of town. We can’t leave after work on Friday and stay until Sunday. Instead, we have to head out after the market on Saturday. It’s a little sad to have short vacations, but I’d rather have short vacations than no vacations. Recently, we left the farmers’ market and took the two hour trip to Fayetteville, NC. It meant we missed the farmers’ market in Fayettville, which I hear is great. We did spent a solid 24 hours on our mini-vacation, though. We needed more time there because there are a ton of things to do in Fayetteville, NC. But, you gotta be a little picky if you’re only in town for a day.

24 Hours In Fayetteville, NC

We started our day at 4pm because that’s when we were able to get there.

4pm:
Check in to the TownePlace Suittes Marriott (1464 Skiba Road). Yes, we have a soft spot for this hotel since it’s the same chain we blocked for our wedding guests. And the room in Fayetteville looks identical to the one in Wilmington. Nostalgia always win. As does complementary coffee. Almost as soon as you walk in to the hotel, you’re greeted by coffee, tea, sugar, and creamers. Exactly what you need after a long drive.

You’ll also probably need a shower (well, if you’re like us and wake up at 5:45am on Saturday anyway). The trouble with that is many of Fayetteville’s attractions close at 5pm. So your options are relax in the hotel for a minute or rush out to try and squeeze an attraction in. Completely opposite choices. We picked to sit, sip our coffee, watch some TV, and shower.

Dinner:
We live in North Craftolina (a term I actually first heard when we were in Fayetteville), which is filled with local breweries making craft beer. We try to go to as many as we can. If you support local brew houses too, you’ll want to go The Mash House (4150 Sycamore Dairy Rd). We highly recommend the potato skins (with pulled pork!) and the root beer (as that was recommended to us). Ingredients are local and everything is made fresh, so if you have an allergy or request, the chefs may be able to accommodate you. I went with the Fried Green Tomato BLT (which tastes as tart as you would expect), and Pete had a burger. Keep in mind, if you ask for medium rare, the chef’s interpretation of that is pretty raw.

 

6pm:
Fayetteville has a really great downtown area. There are a few fun streets to walk around. There’s a ton of window shopping you can do, but the best windows are at the Fayetteville Area Local History And Transportation Museum (325 Franklin Street). This, like many of the attractions, closes at 5pm, but the windows are always open. In them, you can see old gas pumps, signs, and more. There are actually a ton of windows filled with antiques, plus a railroad track that’s outside, so even if you can’t make it inside the museum, you’ll get a good feel for it.

Spending 24 hours in Fayetteville, NC? Find out the best things to do in Fayetteville, NC in this post on www.drugstoredivas.net.

8pm:
Stop into Blue Moon Cafe (310 Hay Street). It’s a really cute, quaint cafe with an always changing beer list. The cafe has a nice outdoor seating area, so you can enjoy the beautiful weather with your beverage. But you can’t beat the location. It’s in the heart of the downtown area, and it’s just beautiful to sit on the tree-lined streets and check out the passers-by.

And then head back to the grocery store … because you might still be hungry. Or maybe that was just Pete. He only ate part of his burger at dinner. So he picked up a box of macaroni and cheese at the grocery store, then used the cookware and stovetop in the hotel room (which is standard!) and made a tasty beef mac and cheese.

After your late night snack, rest up because tomorrow morning holds an adventure.

Spending 24 hours in Fayetteville, NC? Find out the best things to do in Fayetteville, NC in this post on www.drugstoredivas.net.

Breakfast:
What’s great about the TownePlace Suites hotel is that breakfast comes with your stay. That’s a great way to save a little money. You can make waffles, have biscuits and gravy (or, if you’re me, an English muffin with gravy), oatmeal, cereal, and, of course, coffee and tea. Fill up because you won’t be eating for a while.

10am:
Zipquest (533 Carvers Falls Road). Oh my gosh, Zipquest. This was by far one of the best but one of the scariest experiences I’ve had in my adult life. It’s a two-hour zip lining tour with eight zip lines, three suspension bridges, and a few spiral staircases, most over a hidden waterfall. I don’t know why, but I really thought we would just be doing the bridges and staircases. I didn’t think we would be zip lining. Yes, I know. It’s in the name. Pete reminded me of this, but it still just didn’t cross my mind.

When we got to the first zip line, I was so scared. “I can’t do this,” I whispered to Pete and I tried to find an escape. I didn’t find one, so I held my breath, tried not to look scared out of my mind, and made sure to not scream. Even thinking about it now, my heart is racing just as it was.

Spending 24 hours in Fayetteville, NC? Find out the best things to do in Fayetteville, NC in this post on www.drugstoredivas.net.

But, it was so beautiful to traverse the trees that way. The view is indescribable. And the quiet, the peace with nature, it’s second to none. It’s just beautiful — especially after you get over being scared. I would do this every single time we go to Fayetteville … if it didn’t take over two hours. Yes, it’s a long trip through the trees. You definitely get your money’s worth, but it does take up a lot of time, especially if you’re only in town for 24 hours. If you have time, go. This is always ranked as one of the best things to do in Fayetteville, and I can see why.

And it’s a lot less scary than I expected. You go in a group, which includes two guides. One guide is always ahead of the group and one is always behind. So one guide always sets you up on the zipline and tells you when to go, and the other helps you at the end and takes you off the line. You never do that yourself. That was something that worried me because god forbid I didn’t snap my carabiner right. I was glad to know I wasn’t doing it myself. All I had to worry about was enjoying the view.

And speaking of the view, if you scroll through the Instagram image below (there are five, so keep clicking right), the last one is a video of Pete on the zipline, so definitely check that out!!

 

1pm:
Head to the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens (536 N. Eastern Boulevard). They’re so beautiful. When we were there, we saw a bride and her bridesmaids taking photos, plus a separate couple taking engagement photos. It really was a beautiful backdrop for that. And it was just a great place to spend an afternoon. You can look at flowers, check out the herb garden, and tour an old farmhouse and general store that are on the grounds as well. There is a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and drinks, but the general store in the gardens itself is just filled with old timey stuff like an antique cash register and, my favorite, a mustache drinking mug (which I just want to buy even though I’m mustache free, obviously).

Spending 24 hours in Fayetteville, NC? Find out the best things to do in Fayetteville, NC in this post on www.drugstoredivas.net.

3pm:
We left after the garden, so it meant missing the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation (100 Bragg Blvd). I was really sad to miss that because I hear it’s one of the best things to do in Fayetteville. Fayetteville is both a historical town (the first in the US named for American Revolutionary fighter Marquis de Lafayette) and a military town (it borders Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the world). To be in a town where so many have served and so many are serving, it would be respectful of visitors to head to the free museum and understand, if only a little, the efforts and sacrifices of some of the men and women who call and have called the Fayetteville area home.

We’ll be heading there next time we’re in town … which will actually be next month. Fayetteville, you can’t get rid of us and we can’t get enough of you. When you’re in town, what are some of your favorite things to do in Fayetteville, NC? Be sure to leave them in the comments so we can check them out next time.

*If you’re planning a trip, be sure to click each location’s name to be brought to their website. You can find operating hours and more that way.

5 Ways To Save On Food When You’re On Vacation

5 Ways To Save On Food When You’re On Vacation

Vacations can get really expensive. You pay a bunch for airfare or gas to drive to your destination, and then more for a hotel. So the last thing you really want to do when you’re on vacation is open your wallet. You still have to eat, though. But it’s okay. There are tons of ways to save on food when you’re on vacation.

Before you head on vacation, be sure to check out these 5 Ways To Save On Food When You're On Vacation from www.drugstoredivas.net.

5 Ways To Save On Food When You’re On Vacation

1. Pack a cooler.
When I was growing up, we used to go camping every summer, and all the adults would pack coolers with meats to grill, drinks, stuff for breakfast, etc. It was so much easier than spending part of vacation finding a supermarket and going grocery shopping. Plus, you could buy what you need on sale instead of paying full price when you get on vacation.

And you can pack snacks too. I always pack them to travel with because it’s cheaper than buying something at a gas station or the airport.

2. Cook in the hotel.
Certain hotels, like one we stayed in earlier this month, had a full kitchen. Yes, full. There were pots and pans, a strainer, utensils, a stove top, and a dishwasher. If you find a hotel like that, you can bring your own ingredients and cook your meals at home. You can do this if you book an Airbnb too. What’s great about some Airbnb rentals is they will actually leave ingredients for you (that may or may not cost extra to use, so be sure to check that before you open any).

3. Bring your own beer.
Pack a cooler with drinks and beer. That way, you don’t have to buy those at a store, where they’re probably more expensive. And then you can stock the hotel’s fridge with your own beer instead of drinking from  the mini fridge or the hotel’s bar.

4. Breakfast at the hotel.
I’m a big fan of booking a hotel with a complementary breakfast. That way, you can have a meal without paying anything extra. When you’re booking, look for this under amenities. Some will offer a hot breakfast, some a continental, and some won’t offer one at all. If you head down late enough, you may also be able to turn breakfast into brunch. Couple that with an early dinner and you can completely skip lunch, saving you even more.

5. Purchase discount restaurant certificates.
If you’re in an area you don’t know, get restaurant recommendations from the front desk or a local friend. Then, head over to restaurant.com and see if there are any discount certificates for the recommendations. There might not be, but you might find additional suggestions.

Also, be sure to check out the restaurants’ websites to look for any specials that are day or date specific. Then, plan your dinner there for that day.

24 Hours In Washington, DC

24 Hours In Washington, DC

We went to Washington, DC recently for a very quick trip. We arrived right before dinner on a Saturday and were out before lunch on Monday. There was so much packed into our trip though. Enough to inspire me to put together a 24 Hours In Washington, DC post for our new series (if you remember, I put together a 24 Hours In Wilmington, NC post recently). There are so many things to do in Washington, DC, it’s hard to narrow it down. This post will definitely help you do that.

Spending 24 hours in Washington, DC? Check out this great post of things to do in Washington, DC from www.drugstoredivas.net to maximize your time.

 

24 Hours In Washington, DC

We’re starting our 24 hours off at 5pm because that’s when we arrived and continuing until the next day.

5pm:
Check into your Kimpton Hotel. We stayed in the Kimpton Glover Park Hotel (2505 Wisconsin Avenue NW), but there are actually ten Kimpton hotels in Washington, DC so you have a bunch to choose from. I suggest a Kimpton because from 5pm to 6pm, it’s wine hour. You can drink complementary red and white wine in the lobby. Sounds like the perfect way to pre-game, save money, and unwind from your drive.

Dinner:
If you’re at the Glover Park Hotel, you’re in walking distance to the Mad Fox Taproom (2218 Wisconsin Avenue, NW). You’ll want to walk because all of the beers are brewed in-house, and happy hour goes until 7pm. So you have time to finish up wine hour, walk there, and enjoy happy hour, and walk back. Stay safe people! Also, eat the Asiago Truffle Fries and the No. 5 Sandwich. It’s a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with house-brined Kirby pickles that I’m still thinking about.

Spending 24 hours in Washington, DC? Check out this great post of things to do in Washington, DC from www.drugstoredivas.net to maximize your time.

After dinner, we just walked around Wisconsin Avenue. If you do, check out Book Hill Park (Wisconsin Ave NW & Reservoir Road Northwest). You walk up to the park, and the view from up there, it’s stunning. You can see the entire beauty of the city. It’s worth the hike up the stone steps.

8am:
Grab a cup of complimentary coffee in the lobby. Don’t skip this. The hotel serves Vigilante Coffee, which is a really, really good cup of coffee. Sip it, enjoy it, refill your cup.

8:30am:
Walk to the National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW). That was another perk of this hotel. I was able to walk to the National Cathedral for Palm Sunday Mass, which was nothing short of beautiful.

9am: 
Mass at the National Cathedral, if you’re in Washington, DC on a Sunday. If not, you can take a tour of the Cathedral at 10:15am.

Spending 24 hours in Washington, DC? Check out this great post of things to do in Washington, DC from www.drugstoredivas.net to maximize your time.

10:30am:
Take the subway (which is so easy to figure out) to The White House (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), then walk towards Tidal Basin (701 E Basin Drive SW). All around here are all the landmarks you could want to see: the Washington Monument, the National WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. You can see them all in a loop around the Tidal Basin.

 

2pm: 
Pick a museum. There are so many in the area, but there are long lines to get into any of them. So pick one and really enjoy it. We did the National Air and Space Museum (600 Independence Avenue SW) because Pete really loves space. Many of the museums are free, thanks to our tax dollars, so it’s nice to be able to walk around and view them without having to open your wallet.

Spending 24 hours in Washington, DC? Check out this great post of things to do in Washington, DC from www.drugstoredivas.net to maximize your time.

Dinner:
I’m gonna suggest you get to Chaplins Restaurant and Bar (1501 9th Street NW) just in time for happy hour (5pm to 7pm). You can get half off craft cocktails, wine by the glass, and draft beer. Even better, though, you can get fried pork gyoza that I’ve thought about every day for the last month. That was the best bite of food I’ve had in the last year. The ramen there is spectacular as well.

What things to do in Washington, DC would you add to the list?

*If you’re planning a trip, be sure to click each location’s name to be brought to their website. You can find operating hours and more that way.

How To Save On A Car Rental

How To Save On A Car Rental

This How To Save On A Car Rental post is sponsored by Groupon.

Planning on renting a car? Find out how to save on a car rental at www.drugstoredivas.net.

We rent cars quite a bit. For a while, every time we drove to New York or Florida, we would rent a car. It made more sense to put miles onto a car that wasn’t ours. Plus, it was actually really cheap for us to rent a car too. You can definitely save on a car rental if you know what you’re doing. So, of course,  this post is here to help.

How To Save On A Car Rental

Get Unlimited Miles.
If you’re renting a car, it’s probably because you’re driving somewhere far and you’d rather put the miles on someone else’s car. Be careful you’re not putting the miles on your wallet. Some car rentals will only include a daily allotment of miles and if you exceed them, you have to pay per mile. That can really add up. If you’re renting this for vacation, you don’t want to have to worry about choosing activities based on how many miles you have left for the day.

Watch Out For Hidden Fees Based On Your Travel.
I went to pick up a car once at a company we used often. They asked, as they always do,  where I was going. “To New York for myto husband’s grandma’s 100th birthday party,” I said. “Oh, New York. That’s an extra $50 a day.” Shock was my initial reaction. I couldn’t believe it. I had said we had rented from there countless times and never had an additional fee … and was told we must have gotten lucky. Lucky was that I was at the airport with other companies as options. I found another company, one that didn’t require me to pay a daily fee to travel to New York, and rented from there instead.

Take Your Chances.
There’s one car rental company that offers you a discount if you choose a “wild card” rental. Basically, you will end up with any car they have available. So, you can end up with an  SUV for the price of a compact car, saving you a ton of money on your rental.

Don’t Pre-Pay For The Gas.
Car rental companies will expect you to return the car with a full tank of gas. You can do this yourself before you return it, or you can pay a relatively cheap per gallon rate when you return it and the car company will fill it for you. Here’s the catch, though. You are paying for an entire tank of gas at that rate, regardless of how much gas you actually have when you return it. So you could return it half full, but still pay for a full tank of gas. Not worth it. If you don’t return it full, they’ll charge you another rate to fill it up, and that rate is usually so much more than the actual cost of gas. 

Skip The Insurance. Maybe.
Before you rent a car, call your insurance company and see if your insurance covers any damages to a rental. Some do, some don’t. Our current insurance does, so we are able to skip the extra fee of added insurance when we’re renting a car. Before you skip it, though, please call your insurance to make sure.

Also, as Stephanie pointed out on our Facebook page, your credit card may offer free car rental insurance if you use that credit card to book. She also suggests checking the rewards with your credit card. You may be able to get a percentage off or an upgrade.

Avoid The Extras.
You can add a GPS to your rental or you can be like us and just take the GPS out of your car and bring it with you when you rent a car. Same with something like E-ZPass. Some rental companies will allow you to avoid long toll lines by using their E-ZPass (or similar system, depending on where you are). You’ll pay per day for the use of it, plus the cost of tolls. Instead, deny theirs and use your own or just pay tolls with cash.

Check Discount Sites.
Before you book your rental car, be sure to check out discount sites like Groupon. You can look up car rental companies by name (i.e., Hertz). You can find any active discount codes for that company, then follow a link to the car rental company’s page. Even better, when you click through, the discount code may be populated for you already so you don’t even have to remember to enter it at checkout.

Group Your Rental.
If you’re traveling out of town and need a hotel too, you might be able to find a better rate if you book a car and hotel bundle at the same time. A site like Expedia will give you that option. You can also add a flight to your bundle, in case you’re in need of that. Booking as a package can definitely give you big savings.

Head Out Of Town.
Your cheapest rental location may be in a different town. Our airport location is always a better price than our local free standing locations, but Stephanie mentioned on our Facebook page that she has found that a second location a few towns away from her offered a better price than the same company with a location in her town. So definitely call around if you’re able to, just to compare.

What other methods do you use to save on a car rental?

Why You Should Request Free Samples Before Summer Vacation

Why You Should Request Free Samples Before Summer Vacation

Before you head out on summer vacation, be sure to request free samples. Find out why at www.drugstoredivas.net.Pete and I went on a mini-vacation during his Spring Break, and I opened my travel bag in the bathroom. “I better find a new free sample of toothpaste because mine is running out,” I thought. Because yes, my entire travel bag is filled with trial-sized free samples. We have a few overnight trips planned for this summer that we’re really looking forward to … and I need to brush my teeth during them, of course. So I need to request free samples because packing a full-size of everything while you’re living out of a carry on bag just doesn’t make sense.

Do you have any trips planned? If you do, you should definitely request free samples. It makes traveling so much easier.

Why You Should Request Free Samples Before Summer Vacation

They’re Convenient.
It’s so much easier to pack a sample, finish it, and then throw it away before you head home. That way, you’re not lugging a full bottle of shampoo and conditioner on vacation, then dragging an almost-full shampoo and conditioner back home. Same with something like toothpaste, body wash, floss, and anything else you might need for the bathroom.

They Weigh Less.
If you’re checking a bag when you’re flying, you have to worry about the weight of it. You only get a certain number of pounds for free. After that, you have to pay an additional fee. How awful would it be if a few ounces of a full-sized body wash was the reason you had to pay more for your checked bag? If you pack samples, there’s a much smaller chance of that happening.

You Can Carry Them On A Plane.
Post-9/11, you can’t carry liquids over 3.1oz. onto a plane. Cumulative, sure, no problem. But individually, nope. Sample sizes are always exactly that size or smaller, meaning they comply with the 3.1oz limit and you can put them in your carry on. That’s great for people like me who only bring a carry on (because we’re too cheap to pay for checked luggage). After you finish a sample, keep the bottle. You can refill it with other products (in case you can’t find a sample of your favorite mouthwash before your trip) and it will still be within the 3.1oz limit.

You Won’t Feel Bad If You Forget To Pack It To Go Back Home.
After I got my belly button pierced, I had to clean it with expensive soap for quite a while. During that time, my family stayed overnight at a hotel, so I packed my full-size bottle of soap. And, in the bustle of leaving the next morning, I forgot it. I was so mad the whole car ride home. If I had a small free sample and left it at the hotel, I wouldn’t have cared. After all, it was free.

They’re Free.
This is the most obvious reason. If you’re frugal like me, you want to save as much as you can … even if you’re on vacation. So instead of spending money and bringing your actual products with you, use free ones. Those pennies add up. And, even if you pack your own body wash, the hotel might provide you with small bottles. Use those instead and save yours for your next trip!