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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Planning a summer getaway without packing those budget breakers

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Friday, June 21, 2024   

Summer is here, but some Wisconsin households juggling higher consumer costs and other basic needs might feel like a vacation is out of reach. A regional expert says careful planning could still allow for some time away from the daily grind.

Economists are more optimistic these days when it comes to inflation trending downward, but child-care expenses and higher housing payments remain a burden on household finances.

Wisconsin-based travel agent Elise Roeschlein said if you're wrestling with the idea of heading out of town, there are ways to stretch your travel budget. One example is booking lodging that comes with a complimentary breakfast.

"Sometimes, the bigger chains include the breakfast, and the littler ones - like the motels - don't," she said. "So, you might spend a couple dollars more in the hotel, but you're saving that money. Especially if you've got kids, they always want to eat breakfast."

Roeschlein said you can also grab some snacks from that breakfast to take on your daily adventures. And if you're planning a relatively short road trip, such as a few days in a nearby lake town, she recommended packing food before you drive off to avoid spending money on drinks and other items at gas stations along the way.

For households with a little more wiggle room for a trip farther from home, Roeschlein said it's not too late to book flights or hotels for later in the summer. But she recommends acting now to keep costs lower.

"I would say book ahead, if you can," she said, "because when you're doing last-minute travel, it tends to be a little more expensive."

For those sticking with the road but are worried their vehicle won't make the trip, analysts have said car rental prices have come down a bit since their post-pandemic spike in 2021. Roeschlein said if possible, plan a trip with another family to split those rental costs, along with other expenses.


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