Short on cash? Try one of these 20 cheap summer vacations.

Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation this summer, especially when there are places you can visit that aren’t too ridiculously expensive. The folks at U.S.News & World Report offer 10 cheap places where you can go.

They chose these locations based on the average hotel rate and the price of air fare:

  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Florence, Italy
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Paris, France
  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Phoenix, Ariz.

However, if those locations are still a bit of a stretch for you, how ‘bout choosing a vacation based on its theme park? U.S.News & World Report also ranks America’s best theme parks:

  • Luna Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.PhotoforJune26Post
  • Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
  • Dollywood, Pigeon Ford, Tenn.
  • Universal Orlando, Fla.
  • Schlitterbahn New Braunfels Waterpark, New Braunfels, Texas
  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
  • Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

If you choose one of these spots – or find an even better one – let us know how it went. Send us photos.


Here’s how you can have the best summer EVER

Summer is here. It officially arrived Friday, June 21. So, what are you going to do to make this summer great? Don’t know? Well, our friends at Lifehack have 30 suggestions for summer activities that will help you make this a great summer.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Go to a farmer’s market. Better yet, pick fresh fruits and veggies at a local farm. Nothing tastes better than fruit or veggies right off the vine or from the ground.
  • Go to the drive in. There’s nothing like watching a movie in the comfort of your car, particularly when you couple that with snack bar hot dogs.
  • Visit the zoo , which is so much fun in the summer. SecondPhotoforJune24Post (2)
  • Go on a hike.
  • Bike on a local trail.
  • Have a water balloon fight. Or, you could use water guns.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Go to a county fair.
  • Visit a local amusement park or water park.
  • Have a picnic in a local state park.
  • PhotoForJune24Post (2)Rent a paddle boat, canoe or kayak at a nearby lake.

What do you do to make the summer great? Let us know, and we’ll add it to our list.

How to survive the summer when your college kid comes home

Your kids have been away at college, so for the last nine months you haven’t:

  • Cleaned up their messes
  • Been awakened late at night (or early in the morning) when he/she comes home
  • Come home to an empty refrigerator that he (she) and his (her) hungry friends cleaned out

But now summer is here, and your college student is home for the next three months. How are you going to survive?  We already offered your kids a few summer survival suggestions. Now it’s your turn:

For the first few days, let them sleep as much as they want. They’re most likely sleep deprived from finals week and the other end-of-the-year celebration.

Make sure you have lots of good food in the house. Your kids ate college food for nine months (with occasional take-out) and are probably dying for home cooking.

Don’t make them feel as if they have to spend all their free time with you. They probably want some time to just chill and be with their friends. Give them some space.

They’ve survived a year or two or three of college, so they can definitely do things for themselves. You don’t need to cater to them.

As much as you might want to, resist the temptation to ask them lots of questions. They’ll tell you things. You’ll just have to be patient.

Don’t be afraid to show them how much you love them.

Do you have any suggestions to share? Let us know.

Here’s how you can survive the summer at home with your parents

You’ve been away at college, enjoying complete freedom for about nine months. Now, summer is here, and you’re back home with your parents. And, you’re finding that:

  • When you leave the house, they’re asking you when you’ll be back.
  • They have a summer to-do list for you, which includes mowing the grass, cleaning your room, and finding a job.
  • They’re wondering why you’re sleeping until 10 or 11 in the morning, when there is so much do to.

How are you going to survive the summer? Our friends at the Student Advisor blog have several suggestions to keep you sane for the next three months.

Hang out with your friendsPhotoForJune17Post
You can commiserate with them, which will make you feel better.

Don’t argue
Don’t argue over little things. And, let’s face it, asking you to mow the grass or help carry in the groceries is a little thing. They’re your parents. They love you. You love them.

Realize they think you are the same person as when you left
Your parents may not be used to seeing you so independent, so self-sufficient. So, let them know you’re not the immature kid you were last year. But, tell them nicely.

Get a job
Working with eliminate several problems. You won’t be hanging around the house, so you can avoid conflict. You’ll be earning some extra cash, which is always awesome. You’ll be getting good experience that will help you get a better job when you graduate.

Volunteering has the same benefits of working without the paycheck. But, it’s a great way to get experience and meet people. Those connections may help you in the future when you’re looking for a permanent job.

SecondPhotoForJune17PostRead something
It’s hard for your mother or father to pester you about doing your chores when you’re reading something substantial. We say substantial because if you’re reading a sports or celebrity magazine, they may think that doing your chores is more valuable. However, if you’re reading one of the classics or a biography, they may just leave you alone.

Do you have any suggestions to add? Just let us know.

Next: How parents can survive the summer when their college kids come home for the summer

What college grads are most concerned about

Recent college graduates are concerned about many things. What concerns do they think will be most critical to their generation?

We posed that question to many of our graduating seniors, and we got a long list:

  • Debt
  • Accountability
  • Environmental safety
  • Video games (we don’t know what this student was talking about)
  • Foreign relations
  • Health care

However, we found that much of that list centered around two main topics: technology and finding a job, which certainly isn’t a surprise.

NathanNeffWhen it comes to technology, students expressed their concerns in different ways. Alyssa McQuirns, who received her degree in history/political science, cited “the lack of communication and face-to-face interaction” as her biggest concern. Nathan Neff, who earned his degree in sports medicine, said his biggest concern was letting technology overcome the natural beauty of life. Another student is most concerned that members of this generation don’t have enough personal skills because of the prevalence of technology.  And someone mentioned “social media disorders” as a concern.

Getting a job was the most cited concern even though students described that concern in different ways:

  • Finding a job
  • The economy
  • Debt
  • Adapting economically
  • Getting a career
  • Getting jobs back to this county
  • Being able to find a job in this economy

What can you add to that list? Let us know.

How good is the job market for students? It’s not as bad as you think.

We often hear that newly minted college grads can’t find a job. Anywhere. But it’s not as bleak as some people think, according to an article by Jordan Weissmann for The Atlantic.

College grads are still better off than high school grads.
The unemployment rate for those with bachelor’s degrees is about half that of high school graduates. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 73 percent of recent college graduates are working. Keep in mind that those figures are from 2011, so they may have gotten better in the last couple of years.

Underemployment has grown but less than you think.
Unfortunately, there are college graduates working in job that paid minimum wage or less, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. However, according to a January report by the Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project, before the recession, about 62 percent of college graduates under 25 were in an occupation that matched their education. After the recession that percentage dipped only to 60 percent.

Of course, if you’re a new college grad and you’re not working where you want to be, the picture may appear bleak. Conversely, if you’re a new grad and snagged a great job, you’re going to look at the issue a different way.

Either way, we know that young people are better off with a degree than without one.

Next:  Busting the biggest myths about college graduates and the recession


12 rules for new grads

We know this is the time of year when everyone is giving new graduates advice. We’ve done it, too.  However, Harvard Business Review just published a list of 12 rules for new grads that we wanted to share with you. These tidbits are based on the question “What advice would you give new college graduates about launching themselves into the workforce” which was posed on LinkedIn.

1. What you learned in college is a foundation for future learning, nothing more.
We’re not downplaying your degree. What you learned is important. But, what you learned how to learn is essential for a successful future.

2. Be someone your colleagues want to work with.
Have a positive attitude in the workplace. Be that person who gets the job done. Keep the commitments you make.

3. You’re not a smart as you think you are, even if you are as smart as you think you are.
Humility will take you a long way. After all, you don’t know everything.

4. From the very first moment, remember you’re creating an impression. PhotoForJune5Post
Remember people take literally seconds to make a first impression. So, you’re going to want to make a good one. After all, Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

5. Do what’s required, from the menial to the extraordinary, to get the job done.
You’re going to have to pay your dues. That means working on things that may be beneath your abilities. But, if you show others you are willing to work hard and are dedicated and energetic, the advancements will follow.

6. The harder and smarter you work, the luckier you’ll get.
Good work habits and work ethic are more important than talent.  You’ll go far if you have discipline and focus.

7. Learn to listen, listen to learn.
If you listen well, you will learn. Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Keep that in mind.

8. Always do your homework.
We know, you’re sick of homework. We understand. But, if you’re not prepared on the job, people will lose respect for you.

9.Don’t learn the tricks of the trade, learn the trade.
There are no shortcuts. Figure out what you want to do then do all you can to be great at it. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts. Usually they’re dead ends.

10. Embrace your weaknesses.
Of course you want to emphasize your strengths, but you need to identify and compensate for your weaknesses.

11. Network your brains out.
Cultivate business relationships and treat each one like a bank account into which you must deposit at least as much as you withdraw. Educator Dr. Mitchell Friedman offers 16 networking guidelines.

12. Don’t lose yourself trying to be what you think others want you to be.
Know what you think when someone is trying to be someone they’re not? You certainly don’t want people thinking that way about you. Be who you are.

Good luck.