Posts Tagged ‘church’

#044 — The 16 DOs & DON’Ts of Weekend Travel

April 14th, 2009

This past weekend, my wife & I took a weekend trip to Austin, and had a great time.  There were a few lessons learned to pass along.

The DOs & DON’Ts of Weekend Travel

  • DO clean your home before you leave; DON’T come back to a messy house.

On any vacation, it’s nice to come home to a clean house, isn’t it?  We don’t always follow this advice, but it is a relaxing feeling to come home and know you don’t have any chores to do for a few days.

  • DO use or some discount hotel website to book a cheap hotel.

If you’re not camping, it’s the best way to get a good deal on a weekend getaway.  We pricelined a 4-star hotel in Austin for $90, and may even been able to go lower.

  • DO make it a road trip; DON’T fly.

Drive somewhere.  Spending time on a drive can be as much fun and quality time as being in the actual destination.  Also, given the current gas prices, it’s just cheaper.  You also have the freedom to take the “back way” home and explore small-town America.  We did this by driving through part of the Texas Hill Country on the way back home.

The only exception to this might be a weekend trip to Vegas, since there’s such great package deals, and plenty of direct entertainment in the casinos to keep you occupied for a weekend.

  • DO pack a bottle of wine and some snacks; DON’T spend all your money at bars & restaurants.

You may be eating out all weekend, but if you pack a few snacks and drinks, it will cut down on your weekend food tab.  This is especially true with alcohol, which can often double your restaurant bill if you’re not careful.  To help soften the blow of a high bar tab, we brought a bottle of wine with us to share at the hotel, and grabbed some cheese & bread from the local supermarket.

  • DO find a way to make it an extended weekend; DON’T only make it a one-night adventure.

Weekends go fast enough as it is.  Find a weekend where you can take a Friday or Monday off to extend your time.  It makes your schedule a little more flexible and a little less stressful.  We took off Good Friday and made it a three-day Easter weekend.

  • DO see something of historical significance.

We arrived in Austin on Friday afternoon, with just enough time to stop by the state capitol building.  It was free to park that day, and free to enter the capitol and look around.  Texas is rich in history and it was a nice semi-educational detour to stop by and look around.  Next time we’ll have to go when the legislature is in session, so we can meet our local representatives.

  • DO ask for your friends’ recommendations; DON’T travel somewhere without some knowledge.

Everyone we knew, especially the native Texans, had been to (or went to school in) Austin.  There was not a shortage of excellent information.  Friends will give you the ‘insider’ information, like the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that don’t cost much, but have excellent food and atmosphere.  We found a great restaurant & bar by calling and getting a recommendation from a friend who went to college in Austin.

  • DON’T spend money at the chain stores; DO visit the local establishments.

I can eat at Chili’s or On The Border in Dallas; there’s no difference from one suburb to another.  The real fun is tasting the local cuisine or finding the mom & pop establishments.  It is more hit & miss this way, but ultimately you’ll have more memories of visiting the local shops or restaurants.

  • DON’T buy spa packages from the hotel.

This goes along with the chain vs. local establishments I spoke of above.  The hotel spa packages are overpriced, and don’t get you out into the town.  We found a day spa down the road that was local and had better prices.  The massages were great, although the pedicures unfortunately were a disaster.  Maybe we should have used more of my advice above, and asked a friend for a recommendation!

  • DO attend an out-of-town church service

I know growing up, being gone for a weekend meant no church service.  However, if you’re a person of faith, I highly recommend attending a church service while you’re out of town.  It gives you a fresh perspective on how other churches worship & operate.  A different pastor or speaker can also give you a fresh perspective on fairly common topics.  It also helps you realize that God is a whole lot bigger and encompassing than your local church, with all its joys and flaws.

How about you — What would you add to this list?  Any that you agree or disagree with?  Let’s see some comments below!

twitter-follow-me8photos by veganstraightedge & nicolasnova

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#024 — Homes, Cars & God: Creative Marketing During a Recession

March 11th, 2009

Hyundai Assurance Plus Program

It was Hyundai who first made big headlines by making an offer you can’t refuse:  if you buy a car from us and subsequently lose your job, you may turn in the car without any hits to your credit.

Now, they’ve upped the ante with their new Hyundai Assurance Plus program.

Under this new version, if the Hyundai buyer loses his or her job within a year of purchase, Hyundai will pay the vehicle loan or lease for 90 days during that year while the owner looks for work.  If the owner finds another job and keeps the vehicle during that 90-day grace period, Hyundai’s “got-your-back” payments do not have to be repaid.

Others following suit & getting creative

Here’s a few more that are now following suit with incentives to keep dollars circulating:

  1. From Hyundai to Honda. Baseball season is nearly upon us.  Vandergriff Honda, a dealer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, now has the following promotion to entice borrowers:  Buy a new Honda from them between March 9-16, and they will pay your car off should the Texas Rangers win their first 4 games AND the New York Yankees lose their first four games.  That’s right, Rangers 4-0 + Yankees 0-4 = FREE Honda!
  2. Layoff Protection Program. Irvine-based Western National Property Management, Orange County’s (CA) second-largest landlord, will now allow a family to move out of their apartment with 30 days notice if the primary bread winner loses his or her job. The tenant would still have to pay that last month’s rent, but would not be liable for the balance of the lease.
  3. Homeowner Education and Loan Protection Program (H.E.L.P.).  For this recession-proof mortgage, the deal is simple:  If you loan or refinance a home with State Mortgage and involuntarily lose your job within two years after starting the mortgage, the company will cover six months of payments with no maximums.
  4. The Lord giveth… Churches and other religious congregations aren’t immune to hard times.  As they began seeking pledges to the annual stewardship campaign last week, church leaders at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis offered an unusual assurance to members:  Lose your job during the course of the year and the church would refund the contributions you’ve already made. “It transcends the money,” said Eric Hinkle, acting president of the church’s board of trustees.  “It’s about deepening the relationship between your community and your church.”

Your Opinion?

WOW, even churches are getting creative during hard economic times.  I for one think the more creative, the better.  Those who are willing to connect to their audience on an emotional and psychological level will be benefited with customer (and parishioner!) loyalty once we make it through the hard times.

Which ideas above do you like?  What ideas would you come up with to spur business?


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