Best Summer Lifehacks

gregory-gopman-summerSummer is amazing don’t get me wrong, but sometimes with the heat and elsewhere in daily life there can be improvements. I love to figure out new and exciting ways to accomplish daily tasks better, most efficiently, and with much less effort. The list you’ll see below will give you a definitive guide to helping better your summer and life as a whole. Enjoy and feel free to share.

Freshening Up:

If you tend to travel a lot like I do, you’ll most likely feel a little gross after a long flight or car ride or whatever transportation you decide to use. What I found to work really well is a simple trick involving lemon and sugar. If you’re on a flight and feeling like you need to clean up a little, ask the flight attendant for a lemon and some sugar. Combining these two will give you a makeshift face scrub and you’ll be awake and perky in no-time.

Summer Feet:

No one likes smelly feet, and I mean no one. When the summer heat waves hit there is no doubt you’ll sweat more than in the wintery month but that shouldn’t mean you have to smell worse. If you notice that your shoes begin to smell more than normal there is a homemade solution just for you. Take a fresh teabag from your pantry and place it in your favorite kicks overnight to deodorize them and wake up with fresh smelling sneakers.

Stay Hydrated the Cool Way:

Summer is hot and with that comes drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated is extremely important but no one wants to drink warm water when they’re out and about. Instead of drinking warm water, freeze half a water bottle full of water and then fill the rest with cold water. The massive ice cube at the bottom of your bottle will keep your water colder for much longer than a few ice cubes will. Drink up and stay hydrated!

Barbecue Care:

With the sun out, the barbecues come with it. Barbecues are some of the most fun parties to attend any time of year but there’s not many better ways to ruin fresh meat than with an unclean grill. I recommend laying down a small bed of lemon slices to not only avoid the meat from sticking to your grill and causing a mess, but also adding a little citrus flavor.

At Home Iced Coffee:

It is definitely iced coffee season as the temperatures continue to soar. You could either go to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and spend $2-$7 on an iced coffee or you could make your own delicious brew at home. Simply by making a pot of fresh coffee and allowing it to cool down will give you great tasting iced coffee. Be sure to add some of the coffee into your ice cube tray to freeze and later add to your cup of cold coffee. This will ensure you don’t lose any flavor when the ice melts.

Happy Summer!

Gregory Gopman

Top 10 Camping Hacks

gregory-gopman-campingI love to go camping and get back into nature whenever I can. I’m no stranger to sleeping in the great outdoors but I try do it as comfortable as possible without bringing along a camper and a real bed. Over the past few years I have compiled a list of hacks to better the natural experience of sleeping under the stars and exploring the landscape around us.

10. Sage Repels Mosquitos:

Sage is a natural mosquito repellent and a definite must when you go camping in areas of high mosquito population. Use the sage in your campfire and the smell will ward off the bugs like you wouldn’t believe.

9. Removing Ticks:

If you have a tick on your body and it has latched on, try not to panic. If you have liquid soap and cotton balls, you are very much in luck. Soak the cotton ball in the soap and place over the tick. Soon the tick will stop chewing and will fall off with the cotton ball. If you believe the tick to have been on your body for a while place it in a container for later and test it for lyme disease.

8. Acorn Whistle:

Theres not much worse than going exploring while camping and getting lost. If you do get lost and yelling doesn’t cut it anymore to signal for help, find an acorn. Acorns are one of natures natural whistles. Feel free to use it to your aid and signal other campers that you need assistance.

7. Duct Tape Your Water Bottle:

You never know when you might need some duct tape. Wrap some duct tape around your water bottle in case of emergency and use it when needed. This can be really valuable if you need a tough and durable adhesive on the spot.

6. Solar Jars:

This camping-hack can be really helpful for those dark nights under the stars. You can make natural lamps out of glass jars with solar disks on top. This is a great way to light up your camp ground without lighting fires.

5. Pack Breakfast Right:

Have you ever wondered what the best way to transport eggs while hiking? I certainly have and came up with a method that won’t have broken shells and yellow yolk all over your backpack. Pre-crack your eggs and place them in a water bottle for a durable storage unit while camping. One normal sized water bottle will carry 8 eggs.

4. Bring Sandpaper:

Bring a strip of sandpaper with you to help light matches. You never know when your trusty lighter or old matchbox might fail you. Its better to be over-prepared I guess. For a better result, empty your matched into a sturdy tupperware container and glue the sandpaper to the inside of the container.

3. Ant Hate Grits:

Surprisingly enough ants are not fans of grits. Do yourself a favor and pack a fair amount of grits with your other camping equipment. When you decide on a spot to lay your head at night, sprinkle some grits around you or directly where you see the bugs. You’ll be happy to not wake up with bites all over.

2. Deodorant Helps Itches:

Using your deodorant can help soothe your itches. Whether you got bit by a mosquito or walked into poison ivy, your Old Spice deodorant can alleviate your itches and skin sores if applied to the spot.

1. Store Ingredients in Tic-Tac Boxes:

If you have any spices or small ingredients that you plan to use for cooking or anything else, I would suggest packaging them in Tic-Tac boxes. The little containers are durable and the proper size while offering the ability to sift the spices or ingredients accurately.

I hope these camping hacks helped you out and you have a really memorable and safe camping trip. Please be sure to check back again soon for more life-hacks on various topics. Thanks again!

-Gregory Gopman

Vegas in the Off Season? Yes!

I spent the last 3 days in Las Vegas for a grand total of $300! That’s insane! And the reason why it was so cheap is because I visited during off peak season, October-March, which made this one of the best and most affordable Vegas vacations of my life.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, Vegas is about 4 things — super comfy hotel rooms, gambling, incredible Vegas-Gregory-GopmanCirque De Sole style entertainment, and raging parties that represent the meaning of YOLO. Now here’s the kicker — almost all of those things are better in off peak-season! That super comfy hotel you wanna live in is now 60% off. I had my option of 4-star hotels, Luxor, Rio, Palms, etc for just $50/night. Gambling, a personal favorite of mine, was only enhanced by going in off peak season — it’s easier to find a seat, the blinds are lower, and the players aren’t nearly as good. I played in my first Vegas poker tournament and won second place… that was awesome! If you’re into the entertainment scene then you’ll be happy to hear that almost every show is reduced to 50% off also. You could literally attend any event for around $50-$75. And lastly the partying — while not technically better in off-peak season, it’s still kind of perfect for what it is. Vegas is vegas, it’s always going to bring the craziness out of everyone, the bachelor parties and the birthdays, and for whatever reason people go nuts no matter what month it is over there. Whether the club has 1200 people or 800, you’re still going to have an incredibly amazing time, hear some insanely good music, and probably have the time of your life.

The only negatives of visiting Vegas off peak season is it’s colder and there’s less people. Personally, I think there’s too many people in Vegas normally anyways. And when I say less people, I mean it’s 30% less people, there’s still 100’s of people running around you everywhere you look. Remember, Vegas is still Vegas. And for the weather, while it’s true that temperatures fluctuate between 40-75 degrees in the Fall, it’s still pretty damn good considering most of the Northeast is under snow right now, or worse. Plus have you ever visiting Vegas in the summer, it’s way too hot! In contrast, the off-season makes the perfect excuse to enjoy doing some outdoor activities like going hiking or day-trips to the Grand Canyon.

Vegas-hotel

I just can’t say enough about how amazing visiting at this time of year is. My normal complaint about Vegas is that it’s too crazy, but this weekend was just right. I might even go again next week, Kayak is telling me round trip tickets are only $110 and if I go with a friend then that’s only $25/night for a luxury hotel. To the bargain shopper, you just can’t beat a getaway like that!

Thanksgiving Day Hacks

Rinse Your Potatoes in the Dishwasher

Save time and energy and put your potatoes in the dishwasher with the rinse option on. Just remember not to add soap.

Make Your Turkey Tenderthanksgiving-turkey

What’s better than a juicy turkey that falls right apart? Not too much in my opinion. You have two options here, you can either slow roast the big turkey the night before or use a crockpot to maintain all the flavors and ensure that the turkey is tender everywhere and everyone is happy.

Use a Wine Glass to Perfectly Cut Biscuits

Before you uncork your favorite bottle of red, use those wine glasses to shape the perfect biscuits from your famous homemade dough.

Chill Your Beer or Wine Fastcold beer

If you’ve ever bought room temperature beer or wine and you want to cool it down, you know that it is not a quick process…until now! The secret to this age old problem is as easy as using paper towels. Take your beverage of choice, still fully sealed, and wrap it in a paper towel. After the bottle is wrapped, wet the towel and place in your freezer. After about 20 minutes your bottle should be nice and chilly. Size of bottle may vary time in freezer.

Veggie Candles

This is the perfect opportunity to impress guests with your creative skills. Go to the store and buy a few gourds and some tea lights. When you get home and hollow out the top and place tea lights in the top of the gourds. Light the candles right before guests arrive and watch their jaws drop.

Don’t Waste Your Time Peeling Potatoes

Heres a simple trick to help you peel your potatoes a lot faster and without making a mess. boil your potatoes in water until they have been boiled through. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Upon completion of boiling, place potatoes in the bowl and allow them to cool for 10-15 second or until able to handle. Remove potatoes from their ice bath and take off the peel as though you were ringing out the water on a towel.

Use Utensils to Make Amazing Pie Crustspie crusts

Don’t serve anyone a boring pie. That is one of the biggest rule of Thanksgiving in my book. One of my favorite Thanksgiving hacks is to use everyday utensils to make decorative pie crusts. Use your forks or spoons or whatever you can find to make a one-of-a-kind pie crust that will impress all your guests.

5 Tips for Cheap Travel Adventures

I travel a lot, it’s just what I do. I’m always surprised when people tell me it’s too expensive to travel — it’s just not. Especially with all the resources at your disposal these days. Here’s my top tips for going anywhere in the world you want for cheap.

Use the Best Flight Booking Tools

kayak-logoI’m always amazed when people go to an airline site to book travel or even Travelocity. If you are traveling in the USA you need to be booking travel through Kayak.comSkyScanner.com, or Hipmunk.com. Or in Asia Agoda.com. Anyone of these sites will give you the best prices on the market and the most options available, where as other web portals only show you a fraction of them. The key to booking cheap flights is booking on the right site and applying the right filters. My favorite is Kayak.com, because it easily allows me to input the 2 best search features — Searching airports nearby and flexibility on my dates by 1-3 days before/after. The difference between a $100 flight and a $450 flight is often as simple as choosing an airport that is 30 minutes away.

Airport Transportation + Hotels

airport shuttle

Always remember that there is a cost of getting to and from the airport. Your cheapest option to get there is usually public transit. The next best option is “Super Shuttle” if they pick up at your location. You can normally find them outside the airport leaving every 15-20 minutes. After that, Uber is incredibly affordable and around 30 minutes faster than Super Shuttle at getting you from point A to point B. Your final option should be taking a taxi or renting a car. Car rentals only make sense if you need it for traveling around the city you’re in, but most of the time Uber will have you covered.

Then there’s booking a cheap hotel. Again, using sites like Kayak.com or hotels.com are the way to go for this. You will never find a cheaper rate than an online rate. My personal favorite is booking 5-star hotels on Kayak for 50% off, though you don’t know what you’ll get.

And if you really want to book a hotel for cheap, Couchsurfing.com is free and hostels are only $10-$25 a night anywhere around the world.

Get an Airline Credit Card

Airline credit cards will save you $1,000’s a year if you use them right. The key is to know when to use Airline points and when to purchase with cash. For example, last week I booked a last minute trip to see Tony Robbins in Dallas. The cheapest last minute ticket I could find was $450 each way, or $900 round trip. However it only cost me 20,000 airline points to book through American. That’s $500 saved right there!

The trick of knowing when to use your airline points is knowing their cash equivalent, which I believe is $0.02 per point. I get that value because I can use my cash-back credit card to get $.02 for every dollar I spend or I can get 1 AA point for every dollar I spend on my AA card.

Other advantages of getting an airline credit card — 50,000 mile sign up bonus (American Airlines), free priority boarding, free checked in bags, and 25% off airline purchases on the plane.

Don’t Buy Seat Upgrades Unless you Have tobest-airplane-seat

If I’m flying 5hrs or more than I’ll consider shelling out extra for seat upgrades. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to talk to the gate keeper before you board to see what seat upgrades are available. Most of the time you can just take the upgraded seat without paying for it if you remember where it is! You can ask the gate keeper what the available seats are, i.e. seat 11A and then simply board and sit in it.

Avoid Rush Hour

This is a preventative measure to making sure you don’t get stuck in traffic. The worst travel cost is having to re-book a flight last minute because you were late, and the easiest way to avoid this is to not travel during rush hour. That means avoid flights taking off between 9:00-11:00AM or 5:00-7:00pm

A small follow onto this is not landing at those times either. It’s never fun to be stuck in traffic and time is money!

rush-hour