5 Family Vacation Ideas That Work with Your Budget

Everybody enjoys a good vacation, but planning one can be quite the headache—and an expensive one at that. Not everyone can afford to fly out together to an exotic getaway, but just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you need to skip out on vacations altogether. Being smart with your money, as well as doing the right research, will help you get the most out of your budget as possible. At the end of the day, all you want is for the whole family to bond, have fun, and come home with happy memories.

Here are some budget-friendly ideas that you can use when planning your next vacation:

1. Plan a Hotel Staycation

Staycations are all the rage these days since it has all the components of what makes a great vacation, without having to travel so far away. But instead of staying in one place all day, why not switch it up a bit and use the time to explore? Choose a hotel with a strategic location, where you can experience the secrets of the metro without having to rush. Family-friendly hotels like Pinoy Pamilya Hotel in Pasay, for example, is centrally located near many historical sites and entertainment centers.

2. Go on a Road Trip

Why book a plane ticket when you can simply drive there? Packing the family into a car and setting off on an adventure is a favored vacation activity for many. You can plan a driving route that stops over in as many tourist spots as possible, pack your meals to ease up on the budget, and simply take photos as souvenirs. Another road trip option includes visiting a relative who lives far away and taking your time to get there to get the most out of your road trip.

3. Get into Sporty Activities

Shake things up and get active on your next family adventure. Go to a park or a nature reserve (you don’t even have to go far: UP Diliman has an open field to play in and the La Mesa Eco-Park has many fun activities the whole family can participate in), or you can also visit a bicycle park and rent bikes for everyone. Other activities you might want to try include hiking, swimming, kite-flying, rafting, obstacle courses, camping, rock climbing, and more. Many beach resorts even offer water sports, easily allowing you a way to spice up a regular beach trip.

4. Go on a Cultural Trip

Sometimes you don’t even need to go far to have fun. Going on a culture trip in Old Manila provides a jam-packed day of adventure on its own already: go museum hopping in the museum complex, bike through the historic walled city of Intramuros, walk through Luneta Park, catch a glorious sunset along Roxas Boulevard, then end the day on a ride at Star City. The beauty of Old Manila is that the attractions are located close to each other so you merely need to walk to each spot or hop on a jeepney to get there.

5. Go Home-Swapping

Renting an Airbnb is a perfect example of home-swapping. Budget-conscious families can go on a vacation in another region and experience life as it is lived there, as well as visit whatever attractions are nearby. This is best for families looking to go on a trip but can’t afford a fancy hotel. Home-swapping is also great since it provides a homey environment—almost replicating the thrill of just moving into a new home while providing all the comfort that home offers.

You don’t need a lot of money to have fun and make new memories with your family. With just a little creativity, as well as a dash of resourcefulness, you can go places—literally!

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How to Prepare Your Home for Christmas House Guests

While Christmas is a magical time, and for many their favourite day of the year, it can also be quite stressful, especially if you are hosting! If you are not only going to be cooking the Christmas dinner this year, but also playing host to guests, now is the time to start planning so that you can be well prepared for everyone arriving. Here, we are going to be taking you through our top tips for how you can prepare your home for Christmas if you are going to be having house guests.

Decorate the Spare Room

If you know in advance that you are going to be having family or friends coming over to stay this Christmas, the first thing that you will need to do is make sure that the spare room, if you have one, is fit for purpose. Clear away any clutter that you may have lying around, particularly if your spare room also acts as storage, an office or so on so forth. This is also the perfect time to make sure that the guest bedroom is ready for the winter season and you can find some great tips in the following article by Fishpools: https://www.fishpools.co.uk/blog/2018/09/transform-bedroom-winter/.

Their tips include updating your lighting to create an ambient feel, adding some cosy throws to the end of the bed, or updating the bed sheets to fit in with a more wintery and cosy theme. This will ensure that your guests have the best possible time while staying at yours over the Christmas period.

Create Some Storage

While your guests probably won’t be unpacking a lot of clothes in their winter wonderland room, but it is still nice for them to have a little bit of storage space and we are sure that this is something that they will appreciate. Investing in a folding suitcase rack is a great idea as it will allow your guests to have their case open to get out what they need without having it cluttering up the floor. What’s more, we would also suggest that you try and clear some hanging space for your guests. People will feel much more at home if there is some space for them to hang up a few key pieces, especially if they have brought a lovely Christmas outfit or glam new year attire.

You can find some useful tips on storage ideas for your guest room here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2015/04/14/clever-storage-ideas-for-your-spare-room/.

Purchase A Clock

This is one that most people tend to forget about when they have guests staying over, but a good idea is to make sure that you have some sort of traditional clock in the room. As we are all glued to our technology, it’s easy to forget something like this but it is still a nice added touch. Your guests will feel much more comfortable with this in the room as they will know when they are sleeping in too late or if they are making a lot of noise early in the morning!

Provide the Essentials

A great way to make your guests feel right at home is to gift them with the essentials. We all have toiletries at the bottom of our cases from our last holiday that are from the hotel. You will most likely never actually use these, and so why not pop them into a little basket at the end of your guests’ bed for them to use during their stay.

Leave Out Towels

Alongside the toiletries, it is also a good idea to leave out some nice towels for your guests. People can feel uncomfortable having to try and find towels or having to ask, so why not simply leave out some towels on top of their bed and this is one less thing for everyone to worry about.

Look Out the Sofa Bed

Not everyone has a sofa bed, but they are quite handy for occasions such as this. If you do have one, you will want to give it a check over before your guests arrive to make sure that it is still in good working order and that the springs have not broken. During this time, we would also recommend that you make sure it is fitted with a clean sheet and that there will be enough space here for your guests. If you don’t have a sofa bed, another option that many people like is to get an air bed which you can inflate for your guests.

Switch Up Your Lighting

If you tend to rely on having just a main ceiling light, then we would suggest that you look into getting some smaller lamps for your home. No one wants to have to switch on a big main light to read a book in bed, plus having some lamps will make a huge difference to guests who need to make a bathroom trip late at night and maybe are not as familiar with the home layout.

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How To Be More Productive When Working From Home

When you finally take the plunge and decide to start working from home, it can be difficult to adjust. Working from home has many benefits but finding the motivation to be productive can be hard and many people struggle to adapt to their new routine. This is why we have put together some tips on how you can be more productive when you are working from home. Keep reading this article if you’d like to find out more.

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Get Dressed

You might want to take advantage of the fact that you don’t need to wear smart business attire when you are working from home, but this is often a mistake that people make. Of course, you don’t need to get dressed up to work from your spare room, but you should make sure to get out of your pyjamas. This will help you to be more productive and you will get more work done.

Create A Home Office

If your current working from home set up involves you working from your bed or your dining room table, you should think about designing your own home office. This will help to recreate the office atmosphere in your home, but you can design it to match your own personality. Think about converting your spare room or even investing in an outdoor steel building. If you don’t have the space inside, a steel building can be the perfect office solution and will make you feel like you aren’t just working from home. If this is something you want to look into, you can view the options available at armstrongsteel.com who are one of America’s leading providers of steel buildings.

Set Hours

Do you often find that you do some work and then get distracted by the TV or your kids? It might be time to set yourself some working hours for when you are working from home. This might be difficult, especially if you are working from home because you need a flexible schedule, but you should be able to make something work. The stricter that you are on yourself, the more productive you’ll be.

Take Breaks

When you work in an office, you get a lunch break and maybe even 10 minutes or so to chat with others. These breaks give you time to clear your head so that you are ready to return to work when your break is over. You might find that if you are working from home you are not giving yourself the necessary breaks and so your work is not the best it can be. Make sure to give yourself some breaks and you will be a lot more productive when you return to work.

Take Breaks

When you work in an office, you get a lunch break and maybe even 10 minutes or so to chat with others. These breaks give you time to clear your head so that you are ready to return to work when your break is over. You might find that if you are working from home you are not giving yourself the necessary breaks and so your work is not the best it can be. Make sure to give yourself some breaks and you will be a lot more productive when you return to work.

Get Rid Of Distractions

Our final tip for those who want to be more productive when working from home is to make sure that you get rid of any distractions. If you need to use your phone for work then you cannot avoid this but make sure to remove things like TVs, books and anything else that might distract you. This is your time to work and the more distracted you get, the longer it will take you to get it done.

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How to Make Your Garden Appear More Spacious Than It Really Is

Not too long ago, we discussed how to refresh your outdoor seating space just in time for summer. Well, summer is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop maintaining your garden. Your garden can still set a tone when you design it correctly. Besides, you can have a beautiful space to look at in the winter.

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One of the things you can do to improve your garden is making it look more spacious. With a few simple tweaks, you can create the appearance of a larger space, even when you have a relatively small garden. We have just the tips and tricks on how to make your garden appear more spacious in this article.

Make Space

The end of summer is the perfect time to do some garden modifications. You’ll be surprised by how even the smallest tweak can alter the way your garden looks entirely. Before you start adding things to the space, however, decluttering is needed.

The last thing you want is a cluttered garden. Even a big garden can appear small when there are a lot of things in it. It is even worse when the plants and other items in the garden are not arranged properly.

To start with the decluttering process, move everything that can be moved to one corner or outside of the garden. This includes the furniture you add to the space as well as plants and garden accessories. Decluttering lets you get a good look of your space and allows you to start from the beginning.

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Create Areas

One of the ways you can make the garden appear bigger is by adding different areas to the space. This doesn’t have to be a particularly complex process either. Space – or the illusion of space – can be added by elevating a portion of the garden or introducing lines to the landscape.

A pathway is a functional way to divide your garden. You can use the pathway to reach different parts of the space. The lines and curves you add to the landscape also helps make the entire garden appear bigger.

Another way you can add areas is by using fencing. Garden fence panels are not only affordable, but also very functional. There are fencing panels in different designs and colours that you can choose from too.

When you do use fence panels to add a firm border to the space, make sure you think about the rest of the garden. Choosing a design and texture that complements the space amplifies the effect further. Be sure to browse this range of fence panels for some great options.

Play with Heights

You can also add dimension and depth to your garden by playing with height. There are two ways you can do this. You can use platforms for potted plants and introduce heights to the space this way. You don’t need bigger plants to achieve the desired effect.

Doing it the natural way is an option too. Plants naturally come in different sizes and adding height and dimension to your garden is only a matter of choosing the right plants to use. If you are not sure about which plants to use, consult the local gardener about how big your plants can grow.

Use Lights to Your Advantage

Lighting is a mix between art and science. On the one hand, you want the space to be lit in a way that makes it moody and comfortable. On the other hand, you also have the option to use lighting to make the garden more spacious than it really is.

Lighting is an instrument you can use to your advantage. During the day, using shades and natural light to accentuate certain parts of the garden can really make the entire space feel more comfortable and warmer.

For the evening, use LED lights of different shapes to achieve the same goal. Aside from the usual LED bulbs, there are also LED strips and lights in other different forms that are meant to be used in the garden.

That last part is important. When lighting the garden, make sure you use lights, cables, and fixtures that are designed to withstand the elements. The garden isn’t that harsh at night but remember that those items still need to stay out during the day.

Fake It ‘Till You Make It

Everyone wants a big garden that looks beautiful and spacious, but not all properties have the space for one. Another trick you can utilise to make your own garden look bigger is by faking the available space. Yes, you can fake it.

Many landscapers and designers use mirrors to add more space to a relatively small garden. A well-placed mirror can change a lot of things about your garden. Another thing you can do is to add faux doors or windows to your fence panels.

You can also create the illusion of space with water features. Water reflects things around it, which means a well-placed water feature or pond can be just as effective as mirrors. On top of that, you also make the garden look fresh and welcoming by adding water to the space.

Make It Functional

Last but certainly not least, add areas that are meant to be functional to the garden. Your own potting station, a comfortable sitting area, or even a nice outdoor lounge is easy to set up. These areas don’t need to be excessively big. In fact, it shouldn’t be too big.

When thinking about adding a seating area or a functional space to the garden, make sure you also consider scale and proportion. You want the area to match the rest of the garden nicely. You can then add elements like plants to act as a frame for the space to further enhance the effect.

Proportion is also important when it comes to the garden furniture you add to the garden. As mentioned before, the last thing you want is a garden that looks cluttered and too full of things. Using scale, you can avoid this entirely and have a garden that looks much, much bigger than its actual size.

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How Art Can Improve Your Home

Having a home that you are proud of is important and there are many different ways that you can achieve this goal. If you are trying to improve your home, then you should think about adding some new elements of design. One of the best ways that you can improve your home is to add some fine art or paintings. In this article, we are going to discuss how art can improve your home. Make sure to keep reading if you’d like to find out more.

Add Variety

One of the best reasons for adding art to your home is that you can change it regularly. Some people get bored with the décor of their room but if you create a sort of rotating gallery then you can update your room with a new painting when you want. Rotating galleries are great for keeping your home up to date with the latest seasons and art trends. Make sure to consider this if you want to improve your home.

Adding Colour

Having art in your home is also great as it can add another layer of colour. Dark coloured rooms can be brightened up with bold paintings and pale rooms can be made more exciting with a nice piece of art. Adding colour is very important and when you choose art for your home you can really make a huge difference.

Making A Statement

If you really want to make a statement in your home, then you should think about adding some art. Art can be really important in adding something that is bold and interesting to your room. You want your guest to walk in and be amazed by the décor and when you have a statement piece, you can be sure that this is going to happen.

Adding Movement

Another reason why art can improve your home is that it can actually add some movement to the room. If you choose certain pieces that will move the gaze of the guest around the room or that work well with your furniture choices, you can really change the way that the room is viewed. Your guest’s gaze will be guided, and they will appreciate what you have done with your home.

Add Texture

With art, you don’t always have to choose a print piece or a painting that has no texture. Art comes in many different forms and if you are able to find a textured piece to add to your home, you’ll be able to add this texture to your home. This can make a huge difference to how your room looks, and it is something which you should try.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why art can actually improve the way that your home looks. Think about how the piece that you choose can add some colour, texture or movement to your home. You will love how nice your room looks when you find that perfect piece.

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