2017 WAS BY FAR THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE
I am so incredibly grateful for everyone in my life who helped make 2017 epic! Thank you to all my friends, family and especially my place of employment. You guys helped me experience so many new things! Like…..
- Ski on peak 10 in Breckenridge Colorado
- Walk along muscle beach in Santa Monica California
- Sip margaritas in Mexico
- Learn how to do the bachata in New York City
- Swim in the turquoise lakes of Michigan
- Bike over 20 miles on Cumberland Island
- Hike the trails of Chattanooga Tennessee
- Eat local mangos in Kauai
Along this beautiful journey, I realized that I have been traveling all wrong. I was not packing correctly, I was spending too much money, and I was wasting a lot of time. I want to share with you a few things I have learned over the past few years that has helped me save money and time.
1. GET A REWARDS CREDIT CARD
If you read nothing else, please read this one. If you are a frequent flyer and you don’t have a credit card with rewards, you are doing life wrong. Seriously, the hubby and I flew to Hawaii for only $700… not $700 each… but $700 total. We could have flown for free but we didn’t want to use all of our points.
I use Chase Sapphire as my credit card provider. Chase gives you 1 point for every dollar spent, double points for restaurants and groceries, and triple points for travel…. the points add up real fast. I put everything on this card… and I mean everything. And at the end of the month, I pay it off. It only works if you manage money well. So you have to have some control. Only buy things that you can afford.
At the end of the year, you have all these points that you can exchange for travel miles. It’s basically free money. If you click the link below and sign up today, you can get 50,000 free points! That is enough to get you to Mexico. Did someone say tequila?!?!?!
↠ ↠ ↠ GET 50,000 POINTS HERE ↞ ↞ ↞
2. DON’T PARK AT THE AIRPORT
If you fly, don’t park in the airport parking deck. The airport knows that most people will pay for convenience… and you will pay $$$. Some airport parking lots cost over $20/day…. but hear me out… there are better options. A week before we flew to Hawaii, I did some research on nearby parking lots in ATL. And let me tell you, there were plenty of options for about half the cost. Obviously, in an ideal world, you would park at a friends house, but we all know that that isn’t always possible.
3. BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE
You can not bring a full water bottle through airport security, but there’s nothing stopping you from bringing an empty bottle and then filling it up somewhere in the airport. Having your own water bottle ensures that:
a) you’ll stave off the dehydrating effects of flying,
b) save you butt loads of money from buying a damn airport water bottle …. $5 per bottle …. Ummm no
c) you won’t have to accept the plastic refreshment cups – #SavingTheEnvironment
4. USE AIRBNB.COM… THE RIGHT WAY
If you are reading this, I’m sure you have heard about Airbnb. If you have not, I’m sorry. But, have you ever considered renting out your house while you are on vacation. I know so many people that do this everytime they leave town. It’s like you are making money while spending all your money. #winwin
5. USE KAYAK.COM
Okay, so you don’t have to use kayak.com, but you need to use sites where you can set up price alerts. Hotels, flights, and even car rental will raise the prices simply because you’ve visited them before. So instead, get on kayak, search for your location, and set a price alert. Kayak will send you daily, weekly or monthly updates when prices drop, giving you the ability to purchase the optimal flight. Hubby and I saved $400 by just using this app!
6. LEARN TO PACK LIGHT
There are tons of blogs out there that will teach you how to pack light. Trust me, it will make every future travel experience better. Before your trip, call your hotel and check to see if they have a washer/dryer available. If so, bring a couple detergent packs and dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag, and it eliminates two to four days’ worth of clothes, depending on your stay. #keepitlight
7. VISIT THE LOCALS FARMER MARKETS
This is more for when you are traveling to those exotic places, i.e. Hawaii. These touristy islands know that you will pay a pretty penny to wine & dine, so they jack up the prices of everything….yes everything…I desperately wanted fresh fruit while visiting the island, but half a papaya was costing around $6 at most restaurants. This seemed insane to me. So I asked a local. He suggested I hit up the local farmers market, they would have fresh fruit. And they did. I bought fresh bananas, mangoes, and papaya for roughly $10 total.
8. TALK TO THE LOCALS
The locals know best. I personally love hitting up the dive bars and local restaurants. The local bartenders are normally the best go-to. Local spots often are cheaper and less crowded. Win-win. If you don’t really want to go out of your way to talk to people, at least make time to research some blogs or travel guides and see what they recommend.
The travel hacks above have helped me this busy travel year, and I hope they will provide some assistance to you. Let me know in the comments below which travel hack was your favorite. Also, let me know if there are any travel hacks, not mentioned above that have proved successful for you. I could all use a little extra help 😀