Wild Child Lessons From The Road: Part 2 - How To Take Trips Often
"You travel so much. You seem like you're always on an adventure." I get that a lot. It's true. I travel, a lot. It's in my blood. I can't help it. I always have a bag packed so I can grab it at any time and just go. Even when I think I am going to settle down and "not go on another trip for a while," something always seems to come up.
For example, last summer I was on the road more than I was home. When I finally came home, I got a full time job, and a month in they told me, "we're sending you to Denver this Winter to film." Naturally, I started scheming how I could extend my trip for the same amount of money.
The next day I walked into my office and asked my boss, "you're paying for a round trip ticket, right?" He said yes. I asked "would you mind making that return flight a few days later so I could catch up with some friends?" And so there it was. My next adventure. I had an extra four days in Colorado in February. As a snowboarder, I had zero trouble planning how I wanted to spend the time. I wasn't even sure if my friends were around that week, but I figured I could figure something out. My boyfriend flew out and met me in Denver after I was done working, we crashed with some friends, swam in the hot springs, and of course- we snowboarded. I spent all of $200 while I was there. Not too shabby for a week long stay in CO. (If you're wondering what I spend the money on, it was a rental car, some smoothies, and lift tickets).
All of this to say: I pack a lot. I travel a lot. I drive a lot. I do a lot. And I make less money than the average american. How? What are some of my tricks?
Tip #1: Always buy one-way plane tickets. I have wasted so much money buying round trip tickets only to extend my stay and not use the way home. I end up buying 3 flights instead of 2. Another option is to insure your flight, this way you could switch flights or receive credits for unused flights.
Tip #2: When possible, stay with friends. If you don't have friends in a certain location, make some. Ask on facebook, "anyone have any connections in austin, TX?" You'd be surprised how willing people are to let you stay with their friends and family. I stayed in Ohio with a friend of a friend for a night on my road trip.
Tip #3: If you can't find a connection, find an airbnb. This app has saved me SO much money. Plus, you get the cultural experience instead of another hotel room. I always say, "I know what a Holiday Inn looks like. Let's see something else."
Tip #4: Don't be picky. AKA - Beggars can't be choosers. Be willing to utilize public transit, pack light, sleep on a couch or floor, camp, or share common spaces like hostels. If seeing new places matters to you, you will learn not to fuss too much over the details.
Tip #5: Always keep a weekend bag packed. You can just grab it and go. There's nothing worse than having to turn down an adventure because you don't have time to pack a bag. Note: Mine has an outfit or two (one comfy, one cute), pajamas, a toothbrush, deodorant, a phone charger, and an extra pair of shoes. Nothing crazy.
Tip #6: When possible, bring your own food. This means snacks for flights and road trips, or more for weekend trips. It's fun to eat out once or twice if you're going away for a weekend, but ultimately, packing the groceries I already have has saved me so much money. If I decided to go away last minute for a weekend, I used to leave my groceries in the fridge and come home only to throw stuff away. Not to mention, I spent money on weird food at gas stations, etc.
Tip #7: You know what's gold? College IDs. Anywhere you go, ask if they have a college discount. My school ID has no academic year on it because we were supposed to keep the same ID all four years (yeah, right...) - so until I don't look like a college-aged student, I plan on using it. (See a list of places who offer discounts here).
Tip #8: Extend your stay whenever time allows. If you've always wanted to visit Myrtle Beach, and your family is going to Outer Banks, you're already most of the way there. Just take the extra few days and go. I utilized this tactic all of last summer. Likewise, utilize pitstops. If something is slightly out of the way, make it not out of the way at all and just decide to go.
Tip #9: If someone offers, take them up on it. You know how you meet someone and they say "Yeah, we have a boat if you ever wanna come out on it," or "We have a beach house, you should come sometime," PEOPLE! THESE ARE THE MOMENTS YOU SAY, "YES PLEASE! WHEN? Let's pick a date now before things get busy!" You just make. the. plan. Right on the spot. Nothing more awkward than having to call six months later and say "remember when you said a while ago we could use your beach house?" Because it's so awkward, we don't do it.
Tip #10: In the words of my dad, "Sometimes you don't need a plan. Sometimes you just need balls." If you want to go somewhere on a dime, but don't know all the details, just go.
If you have any additions for this list, I would love to hear them! Happy Traveling!