MONEY Travel

5 Vacation Spots That Will Be Cheaper This Fourth of July

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Michael DeYoung / Design Pics—Getty Images/First Light Fireworks over Westchester Lagoon, near downtown Anchorage, around midnight on July 4th.

Book before Sunday, June 14, when flight prices start spiking.

Want to go somewhere for the Fourth of July, but need to save a bit of money while doing it? We hear you. At Hopper, we searched for the U.S. cities where airfare prices are cheaper than usual so we can nab you a great deal for your Independence Day vacation. Following are the 5 U.S. cities where airfare prices have actually dropped for 2015! For the best deals, book before Sunday, June 14th. when flight prices start spiking. Happy travels!

Anchorage

If you’ve ever been curious about the wild backcountry of Alaska, perhaps this is the year to visit. We found that average flights into Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport cost just $584 — which is a good deal, considering that in 2014, airfare was $724 for the same weekend! While in Anchorage, be sure to tour the fjords of the Prince William Sound or explore the surrounding forests and mountains. Summer temperatures are generally pleasant and in the mid-60s.

New Orleans

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Ray Laskowitz—Getty Images/Lonely Planet ImagesGolden hour in The French Quarter

New Orleans is a crazy party place year round, but it’s especially insane around Mardi Gras. Instead, avoid the crowds and hop on one of these cheaper-than-usual flights to New Orleans over the Fourth of July: Airfare prices are down to a low of $389 on average (normal cost: well over $500). It’ll be hot and humid, so we recommend you grab a foot-high frozen drink from Fat Tuesday and take it to the French Quarter jazz clubs to cool off.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach has so much more going for it than its perfect coastline (although the sugar-soft beaches don’t hurt!) A family-friendly wildlife sanctuary and zoo, the cool Norton Museum of Art, a popping performing-arts scene, and plenty of designer shopping all draw tourists to this Florida city. Surprisingly, holiday flight prices to West Palm Beach have decreased, going for just $308 this year (they were well over $400 in 2014!).

Dallas

Dallas is a treat for culture hunters, with an array of great galleries, the sprawling arboretum and botanical gardens, and of course the fascinating Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository, which explores the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Your historical visit begins with these inexpensive flights to Dallas, costing an average $374 — that’s $114 cheaper than last year, and you can often find airfare for much lower.

Atlanta

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Gary Conner—Getty ImagesAtlanta, Centennial Olympic Park fountain

Finally on our list: Atlanta. “Hotlanta” is just that this time of year, but it’s well worth a visit, with airfare going for just $286 on average for the Fourth of July. In 2014, flights cost at least $86 more. So this is the summer to explore the Fox Theatre, the kid-approved Georgia Aquarium, and the College Football Hall of Fame (you can even pretend to be a university star player on a half-size field with a regulation goal post!).

Read next: This Is the Absolute Best Time to Book a Flight

This article originally appeared on Hopper.com. Hopper is a travel app that tracks and predicts airfare prices.

MONEY Small Business

How to Fire Your Boss and Break Free of the Corporate Grind

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Kali Nine LLC—Getty Images When you're the boss, you have a lot of responsibility—but also a lot of freedom.

Want to start a business? Do these four things first, advises entrepreneur Adam Root.

Imagine spending your whole life building a golden tower for someone else to live in. You sew the drapes, build the furniture, and put the feast on the table. And then, when you’re 62, you check out entirely and go live in your humble little house.

Guess what? That’s what you’re doing at your current job.

Each day you go to work, you contribute your time and effort to building someone else’s dream, not your own. The only way out is entrepreneurship.

Of course, the demands and sacrifices of entrepreneurship aren’t for everyone. You’ll likely end up with maxed-out credit cards and sleepless nights spent in front of a computer. Meanwhile, working for others does come with some plusses—like the fact that each time payday rolls around, you know the paycheck will clear, and you’ll be able to pay your mortgage on time.

That sort of certainty is nice, but it’s a luxury that’s costing you your independence.

Since launching my own business last March, I’ve experienced a few “entrepreneurs’ highs” that reinforce the decision to work for myself. For example, when I closed enough business to hire my first employee, I was able to bring on a college friend as an engineer. Sharing the vision of the company in its infancy was incredibly rewarding. Plus, writing my first paycheck validated the business, and made me think, “I can really do this.” It was totally liberating.

If you’re thinking of giving up the security of your current job in exchange for freedom, there are a few steps you should take beforehand:

1. Write your life plan

Yes, it’s cheesy, but putting your life plan on paper gives you a daily reminder of why you want to jump ship and start your own business. A life plan is a set of instructions on how to go from working for a company to creating one.

But rather than the numbers of a business plan, you’re going to write about what’s important to you and what will make you happy as an entrepreneur. Think back to the jobs you’ve had. What parts of the work did you enjoy doing? What were you good at? What did you like or not like about the workplace and culture? Did you prefer flexibility or routine? Would you rather collaborate or work alone?

The purpose of your life plan is to find the sweet spot where your passions, skills, and preferred environment intersect.

If you’re lucky enough to do what you love in an environment you like with a boss who values your skills, that’s great. If not, it may be time to ditch your 9-to-5 and strike out on your own.

2. Write a basic business plan

A business plan isn’t, unfortunately, that valuable to investors these days. They want to see traction and paying customers. However, a business plan helps you do essential things like recruit employees and provide guidance to your team—think of it as a Constitution for your company.

Writing a business plan was the hardest thing for me to do. It was tedious and it didn’t generate revenue. But I needed it. I spent two years trying to figure my business out; and once I had a plan, it brought clarity to everyone involved and gave the business focus. Do it early to spare yourself wasted time.

You don’t need to go into too much detail, but you should at least be able to answer the following questions:

·What does your business do?

·What problem does it solve?

·How will you market your business?

·What advantage will you have over the competition?

·How will you make money?

Also, write down how many customers you plan to have month-by-month. Then, cut those numbers in half and triple your estimated expenses to get a better idea of your financial outlook starting out.

3. Determine your core values

Your business plan may change. Your collaborators may change. You might even shift industries entirely. But with a solid set of core values, you will create a culture that will attract top talent to help you solve these problems as your company evolves. Take the time now—while you’re most passionate—to define what type of company you’re going to be.

Here are a few of our core values:

1) Collaborate, don’t compete.

2) Champion ownership.

3) Commend risk-taking.

4) Communicate transparently.

After we closed a second round of funding, we hired a lot of new people, and it was hard to maintain our culture. We missed quotas and deadlines, and people started pointing fingers. By realigning the company with these core values, we held each other accountable.

4. Set a timeline

Pick a date on your calendar when you plan to leave your job. I recommend saving at least six months’ worth of personal expenses before taking the plunge. After you leave, remember to keep ties with the companies you’ve worked for. Burning bridges always does more harm than good and can come back to hurt your business later.

I jumped in headfirst, risk taker that I am. I paid for it—I didn’t have savings and had to beg my parents and in-laws for money. It was painful and embarrassing, and it can be avoided by saving in advance.

Taking these four steps will set you up for success, but entrepreneurship is still going to be tough at first. You’ll work for years for hardly any money while your friends with six-figure salaries and golden handcuffs tell you that you’re crazy.

But one day, the scales will start to tip in your favor, and that money will buy you freedom. And even though you’ll work harder than you ever have in your life, you’ll be working for you.

__________

Adam Root, co-founder and CTO of Hiplogiq, has managed teams in interactive design and development for Fortune 500 companies, midsize agencies, and startups.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.

TIME 4th of July

Watch America’s Best Fourth of July Fireworks in 1 Video

Happy birthday America.

This Fourth of July, despite the best efforts of Hurricane Arthur to disrupt proceedings, Americans gathered to launch pyrotechnics in to the sky, because freedom.

Whereas sometimes this has the capacity to go wrong, 2014 saw a wave of spectacular displays across the country.

TIME fourth of july

Freedom and Fireworks: Americans Celebrate Their Country’s Birthday

From fireworks to hot dog-eating contests, here's how Americans celebrated their country's birthday

TIME russia

Putin Wishes Obama Happy Fourth of July

Vladimir Putin
Sasha Mordovets—Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual meeting with ambassadors in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 1, 2013 in Moscow, Russia.

The Russian president used the occasion to call for improved relations.

Russian President Vladmir Putin called for improved relations between the United States and Russia in a surprise statement wishing President Barack Obama a happy Fourth of July, which marks the United States’ Independence Day.

Putin stressed to Obama that the U.S. and Russia both bear “particular responsibility for ensuring international stability and security,” according to a release on the Kremlin’s website.

The statement comes in the midst of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea led to much frustration and anger on the part of the U.S. While Russian-American relations have been undoubtedly strained by the situation in eastern Ukraine, a window for improvement has been opened by Russia’s apparent cooperation in working with the U.S. and other Western powers to strike a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

While Obama is aware of Putin’s statement, the White House declined to respond publicly, according to Politico.

TIME fourth of july

Somebody Flew a Drone Into a Fireworks Display and This Is What Happened

The video looks incredible

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly through a fireworks display?

This video, shot from a drone with an on-board camera, shows exactly what that looks like. It’s footage nothing short of incredible.

TIME fourth of july

This Beer Brand’s Fourth of July Tweet Is Just Too Much

Why replace white stripes in the American flag with beer?

Bud Light took patriotism to a whole new — and strange — level when it sent the tweet below of a revamped version of the American flag to its more than 80,000 Twitter followers.

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Maybe it makes sense to replace the stars in the flag with fireworks for the Fourth of July, but replacing white stripes with beer pitchers goes too far, don’t you think?

 

TIME fourth of july

Here’s What It Looks Like To Devour 61 Hot Dogs in 10 Minutes

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut consumed 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes to defend his title as champion of Nathan's Famous' annual Coney Island contest

TIME fourth of july

Here’s a Video of a Guy Eating 61 Hot Dogs in 10 Minutes Because America

Happy Fourth of July, from the bottom of our hearts (and stomachs).

TIME fourth of july

Joey Chestnut Scarfs Down 61 Hot Dogs in 10 Minutes to Win Coney Island Contest

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut retains his title, while the "Black Widow" is defeated

Feeling stuffed after that third hot dog? Imagine eating 61. That’s how many hot dogs (and buns!) Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut ate to keep his champion title at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York.

There’s a new champion in town on the women’s side, though. Miki Sudo, a 28-year-old from Las Vegas, consumed 34 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to unseat three-time defending champion Sonya Thomas, also known as the “Black Widow.” Thomas fell more than six hot dogs short of the winner after eating a record 45 hot dogs last year.

Prior to the beginning of the event, which was broadcast live on ESPN, Chesnut proposed to his girlfriend, also a competitive eater.

 

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