It's prime season for epic, miles-long yard sales

By Brad Tuttle
January 12, 2022
Courtesy <a href="" target="_blank">Feebs/myBudgetTravel</a>

The treasure hunt is on at enormous yard sales scheduled for upcoming summer and fall weekends across the country.

Grab some cash (small bills come in handy), polish up on your negotiating skills, and hit the road in the weeks to come at one of many upcoming epic yard sales.

This weekend (July 30-31), for instance, the eastern part of New York's Finger Lakes region hosts the 50-Mile Garage Sale.

Next weekend (August 4 to 7), the absolutely ginormous 675-mile 127 Sale, which stretches along Route 127 from Alabama all the way to Michigan, takes place.

Looking forward, there are plenty of other huge yard sales scheduled: The 150-mile Heavenly Highway Yard Sale (September 9-10 in the Arkansas Ozarks), for example, and the U.S. 80 Hi-Way Sale, concentrated in Texas and Louisiana (October 14-16).

As for the National Historic Road Yard Sale, which stretches over 800 miles from Maryland to Illinois, a little patience is required: The event occurs in late May or early June (in 2012, May 30 to June 3).

To find out about other yard sales, there are plenty of sites and apps to help organize a treasure hunt. Small-time (one house, or perhaps a block) sales generally don't have websites, but if the sellers know what they'll doing they'll post the event at Craigslist. As for the sprawling yard sales that run for miles and involve hundreds of sellers, check out the list of annual events at Yard Sale Dreamland.


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You've Been Taking Travel Photos All Wrong!

Cathy Bennett Kopf is the editor of The Open Suitcase. I fully intend to take dancing lessons before the first of my kids gets married. It’s one of my self-improvement goals. I have others, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing” – I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets. Also on my list was the goal to improve my photography skills but it soared to number one with a bullet when I booked a bucket list trip to South Africa. Taking photos with my iPhone and compact camera would be fine, but I want better than fine for this trip. So I went looking for a professional photographer who would be willing to share some tips and techniques. I didn’t have to hunt too long or too hard. One of my college chums happens to be dating a very talented photographer who was kind enough to agree to mentor me, like Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid. Avery Meyers started taking photo lessons in high school; she was initially drawn to the subject because of the teacher (“He was hot!”), but soon realized her lust was really a passion. She studied in a landscape workshop under Ansel Adams and Jerry Uelsmann in Carmel, California, before heading to The Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a BFA in photography. Bicoastal by choice, Avery splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, where she is currently working on a black and white study of the city. In the Bag For our photo play date, Avery and I met at the Central Park Zoo for some simulated safari shots. I spewed the first of many questions immediately after passing through the entrance turnstile, “Do I need a camera bag?” Avery shook her head and pulled her camera out of a plain canvas tote. She explained that a DSLR body is fairly rugged and doesn’t require a special bag. Besides, when traveling, a camera bag screams “Steal me!” to thieves. Lenses do require a bit of TLC and Avery suggested neoprene bags for transport. Must-Have Accessories I may have this tattooed on my chest: don’t leave home without a spare, charged battery. I can visualize the moment when I press the shutter button to capture a photo of a sleeping lion and can’t because my little battery icon will have turned from green to red to off. Avery also recommends keeping extra memory cards in a clip-on case. She downloads her photos as soon as practical and then reformats the cards. Reformatting is a menu item on most cameras. Why? Because the cards become degraded over time and it’s possible for images to get trapped. I asked if I needed a lens hood. Nice, but not necessary, according to Avery. If you notice glare in your shot, she suggests using your hand to shield the front of the lens. Patience is a Virtue I shoot quickly and carelessly and hope I can crop a decent image once I get home. Avery suggested I’d get better results by doing the exact opposite. She explained how she gives some thought to her subject and then moves herself and the camera to eliminate distracting elements from her shots. And then she waits. This is particularly important when taking pictures of moving things like kids or animals. So I gave it a try. In my first shot of the world’s cutest red panda, using my ants-in-the-pants shooting technique, the animal’s adorability was diminished by a stick in the center of the frame. I moved around the exhibit, focused my camera, and channeled Mr. Miyagi – “Wax on. Wax off.” After a few minutes of waiting, my red panda started eating a stick, increasing his cuteness exponentially. Rise and Shine Not a morning person by nature (think vampire), Avery forces herself to get up and out before dawn to photograph special locations when traveling. For example, on a trip to Ireland, she really wanted to shoot the Giant’s Causeway, thousands of solidified lava columns along the coast. It’s a wildly popular tourist destination and by arriving at dawn, she was able to take pictures that weren’t filled with buses and tourists. Speaking of tourists, patience comes in handy with them too. You’ll often be confronted with a fence or glass to shoot through when you’re traveling. Getting as close as possible and focusing (switching to manual lets you really hone in on your subject) helps to make the obstruction nearly invisible. So wait your turn, let the crowd dissipate, and then get as close up as possible. The Artist’s Eye With some practice, it becomes fairly easy to take a technically good snapshot. What I hope to cultivate is the art of capturing a place in a photograph, like Avery. As we were leaving, we were excited to get home and look at our shots. She was particularly eager to view her many penguin pics (Avery REALLY loved the penguins) but also to see how the city skyline looked in her sea lion shots. The skyline? Duh. I’d completely forgotten that we were in a zoo in the middle of Manhattan. In my sea lion closeup, the animal could have been in any zoo or aquarium in the world. In Avery’s photo of the same sea lion with a bit of skyline behind it, she gives you, to quote John McPhee, a sense of where you are. And that is the difference between an amateur and a pro.

Travel Tips

Inheriting frequent flier miles

When a traveler dies, their frequent flier miles face an uncertain fate. Most airlines officially won't allow transfers of mile balances from the deceased's account into a spouse's account. But exceptions are made in special circumstances and for especially loyal customers. Case in point: United and Continental, two airlines that have tended to take different positions about what happens to miles after a frequent filer passes away. Continental has been quiet about it, but has allowed the miles of deceased OnePass members to be transferred to another member with a OnePass account at no cost. A copy of the death certificate is needed along with a letter from the executor, according to USA Today and AirfareWatchdog. United, on the other hand, has a different policy. Its rules state that customers don't "own" their miles. Upon a member's death, his or her miles become property of the airline. In reality, though, United will allow a transfer to a heir if the heir shows polite persistence, pays a fee of at least $75, and provides adequate documentation, such as a copy of a page from the will stating the name of the beneficiary. A United spokesperson told me that this policy is one of the areas that the merger partners have not yet aligned between MileagePlus and OnePass programs. A decision on it will be part of the announcement this fall of the new MileagePlus rules and procedures that take effect January 1, 2012. In the meantime, one workaround is for heirs who have access to the deceased's username and passwords to pretend to be the deceased person and redeem miles for an award ticket issued in the survivor's name. In general this is against the rules of the airlines, but, putting ethics aside, it is unlikely the airline will ever know. Is it wrong to pretend to be the deceased person? On the one hand, the deceased certainly would have liked to see the miles he or she earned be put to use rather than vanish. On the other hand, it can be painful to continue to receive marketing materials addressed to the name of your lost loved one. And if the airline catches you, it may lock the account and deny you future access. For me, the most galling things is that frequent flier miles aren't considered a traveler's "property." Since when? That's absurd. A flier earned those miles, and he or she should be able to pass them along any way they want, as far as I'm concerned. The other indignity, I think, is having to pay a fee of $50 or more to transfer the miles. Surely the cost of processing an electronic transfer is not $50 or more. It's an insult to customers, who have done nothing to deserve a fee. What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Hipmunk: Finding "ecstasy" in affordable lodging 10 best affordable beachfront hotels How rental car companies undermine credit card insurance

Travel Tips

What's the deal with the KLM cityguides?

I love KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). The flight attendants are always pleasant, the drinks always free, the entertainment options wide-ranging, and the in-flight perks for coach travelers rival those of business class on other airlines (lavender scented hot towels after meals, anyone?) So when I heard about their new KLM CityGuides I was instantly intrigued. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('625d9d23-b2bd-4d7b-a26a-753ac280b266');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)The product, unfortunately, has me (and most of my colleagues here at Budget Travel) pretty baffled. The website is attractive&mdash;you're greeted by a futuristic-looking globe with a preview of all of their worldly destinations, and you're invited to "create your own KLM CityGuide." I selected Paris from a lengthy drop-down list and was instantly presented with a message: "So you would like your KLM CityGuide to cover Paris. Is Europe also your favorite continent?" Huh? That's quite an assumption (not that I don't love Europe). I should have known then that things were about to get funky. From there I was taken through a maze of questions&mdash;I selected three main interests (nightlife, nature, culture), types of vacations that interest me (city trips, culture trips, beach trips), and I checked popular attractions in Paris that I'd be interested in learning more about. The whole process took about 10-15 minutes. Finally&mdash;I thought&mdash;my cityguide awaits! Except that it didn't. I was kicked to a screen with a most disappointing message: "You have successfully created your own KLM CityGuide. Enter your personal details below and we will send your KLM CityGuide to your home address at no cost within 4 to 6 weeks." Snail mail? Really? After all the tech-y pop-ups, graphics and questions I certainly didn't see that one coming (nor did I want to wait 4 to 6 weeks for my guide). I reached out to KLM to try and get a clickable version of a City Guide so we could at least try to show you what a finished product looks like, but there wasn't one readily available. I guess we'll find out in 4 to 6 weeks what these guides are all about. Or maybe all of this is just a clever way to collect data on what kinds of vacations their customers are interested in. So now I'm dying of curiosity&mdash;has anyone ever used or seen one of these KLM city guides? Or perhaps even more interesting&mdash;would you trust a travel guide that was delivered by an airline? Do you even use travel guides? Tell us below! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL The Ultimate Guide to Travel Apps 4 Most Common Reasons Airlines Lose Luggage A Family Field Trip Around the World

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Theft from luggage at airports and how to avoid it

Items keep going missing from fliers' luggage. Are many airport and TSA employees thieves? Here are a few headlines, plus some tips on how to lower the chance your bag will be looted. &bull; Political commentator Laura Ingraham told listeners of her national radio show that in July her crucifix may have been stolen out of her bag by TSA agents or employees of either Continental Airlines or Newark Airport. &bull; In late July, surveillance video at JFK Airport revealed that a TSA screener spent six minutes with a gym bag belonging to a Brooklyn high school student, who says his bag was $100 in cash lighter after the screening was completed. &bull; Earlier this month, a federal court arraigned a former TSA worker for having stolen watches and a debit card out of several bags he was in charge of monitoring at LAX airport. He is accused of attempting to re-sell the watches on eBay. Overall, about 14,000 travelers a year report to the TSA that items are missing from their luggage. Thousands more file claims with airports and airlines. Those figues may undercount the true total of suspected thefts, says Ingraham, in an interview with The Daily Caller: She said the process for reporting these kinds of crimes is so cumbersome that many people don't have the time or willpower to get to the bottom of them. For instance, Ingraham said a Continental Airlines customer service employee in Newark told her that she shouldn't be putting jewelry in her bag in the first place. "Blaming the victim is also a really lovely way to deal with the flying public," she said. Here are some precautions to take to reduce your chance of having your baggage pilfered. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('2e93321f-719a-4c53-b7f2-70333a0ff49b');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)&bull; Don't put electronics, cameras, jewellery, or eyeglasses in your checked bags. Airlines do not insure those types of items, which are a prime target for thieves. &bull; When packing, snap a photo of the items that you're putting inside. It'll help support your claim of stolen items later in case you're unlucky and get robbed. &bull; Use a TSA approved lock for your bags. Two companies sell them, Safe Skies and Travel Sentry. &bull; Follow the advice on the TSA's website: "ALWAYS watch your belongings as they advance through the x-ray equipment at the security checkpoints - for secondary screening, INSIST that your belongings be brought to you." Does bag thievery worry you? Vote in our poll. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 4 Most Common Reasons Airlines Lose Luggage Confessions of a Baggage Handler New Shoelaces Ready for Airport Security