5 Trips Every Girl Should Take This Year!

Travel the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer.  So how do you travel when money is tight?  Before getting married, I had a money envelope where I would set aside $50.00-$100.00 per check specifically for travel goals.  I started the habit when the Mr. decided he wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday in Germany. Saving for that trip got me into the habit of making travel a priority.  Germany was actually our first time traveling together….EVER.  We stayed there a few days and then road tripped our way to Prague, in the Czech Republic with his best friends where we rang in his 30th birthday!  Wow, that seems like so long ago.  After that, I kept saving so that when it was time for another trip, I already had money saved.  When we got married, I stopped saving for travel and put that money toward saving for a wedding.  I guess I never picked back up the habit of saving for travel.  That ends now!

The goal is to travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.  According to a survey from by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 55% of Americans did not take all of their vacation days leaving approximately 658 million unused vacation days on the table.  Taking time for yourself is a very important form of self-care which is why I have created this list of vacation ideas that every millennial woman should strive to take this year.  As you sit in cubicle nation or look out of your office window and picture yourself on a sandy beach with a frose’ in hand, just think that this can all be a reality.  Even you don’t get a lot of vacation time (raise your hand if you have been there) you can monopolize on 3 day holiday weekends to make your days stretch.

The Girl’s Trip

The Road Trip

The Couple’s Trip

The Solo Trip

The Staycation

{Every Woman Should Know} How to Pack Light

how-to-pack-light

PACKED AND BETTER THAN EVER!

For starters, this is what I call a “duh post”. I do recognize I’m probably writing a post about stuff we all should already know… things that should be common “cents”, but sometimes we, or maybe just I, need a reminder or two. As I was preparing for my week and a half long trip to Germany and the Czech Republic to celebrate the Mr.’s 30th birthday, my father warned the Mr. of my normal packing habits. Yes, I’m that girl who tends to over pack, although I like to think of it as being prepared. With airlines now charging extra fees, I knew I had to get break this habit…and fast. So, I tapped into my old Container Store Days (my first job) and combined my organization skills to get a week and a half worth of stuff into ONE checked bag + a carry on.

MAKING IT ALL FIT

Pack Basics, Pack In a Color Theme, and Bring Accessories: For this trip, I over packed significantly. At the end of the day, I used jeans as my main basic and stayed in the color theme of burgundy. That way, my accessories complimented the outfits that I created.

Travel Fashion.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photo Credit: Tiger Mist

Roll Don’t Fold: I don’t know why I ever folded clothes to begin with. Not only does rolling clothes create more space, but it also reduces wrinkles in your clothing; thus, you spend your time exploring a new city/country rather than ironing.

If You Can’t Get More than One Wear Out of It, Leave it At Home: I used to think that I had to wear something different every day. Let me be the first to admit I was stupid. I mean seriously, it’s vacation. No one will say, “hey, did you see {insert your name here} in the same pair of jeans”?  

Wear your Heaviest Shoes: I got this tip from my Dad. It makes your bag lighter and creates more space.

Pack the Heaviest Stuff in Your Carry On

  • Pack-It Systems and Travel Space Bags: I didn’t use a Pack-It system on this trip, but I did use the travel space bags for our dirty clothes and travel blanket. I found it to be very helpful in unpacking, because the clean clothes never mixed with the dirty clothes AND…. the dirty clothes went directly from the space bag to the hamperJ.
  • Pack At Least 3 days in Advanced. Pack at least 3 days in advanced and reexamine your choices the day before you leave. At this point, you should be removing unnecessary items instead of adding last minute oversights. Looking back, I could have removed an extra ten pounds worth of stuff that I never used or wore. Plus, you want to leave additional room for cool stuff you pick up during your travels.

On the day of our departure, my bag weighed 43lbs, right under the 50lb limit so no extra fees for me!!! In fact, my Mr.’s bag weighed more than mine did. Coming back was a different story, but doing good things for others allows good things to come your way. Right as my bag was being placed on the luggage scale at the airport, I noticed a woman having trouble lifting her bags. The Mr. did not notice her difficulty lifting, but he helped her because he is a gentleman. We stopped what we were doing to help her. Come to find out, it wasn’t that the bag was heavy, but the woman did not have full use of her arm. No one else in the airport helped her until the Mr. and I saw her. The woman at the check in counter thought what we did was so nice and told us about how people don’t help others too often. Needless to say, she did not charge me for my slightly heavier bag. Being nice to others is free and sometimes it can get you free things!!

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{Every Woman Should…} Have An Updated Passport

“You don’t have enough stamps in your passport”… (In my Jay-z voice)

 I had dinner a couple of weeks ago with a friend (hi Rashell) who mentioned that when she gets the opportunity to speak, one on one, with more seasoned women, she asks them, “if you can do it all over, what would you do differently”? I thought this was a very interesting question that could provide a great life lessons. So, when I got the opportunity to ask the same question to some women I know, I was surprised by one subject that continued to come up- TRAVEL. It made me think of a conversation with someone very close to me who told me that she never thought she would reach this point in her life and never seen the world. Her answer prompted a very simple follow up question from me, why not? Her answer – time and money. This conversation has stuck in my mind since early this year, giving me the extra push to get myself together before I’m looking back thinking shoulda, coulda, woulda, myself. I believe every woman should have a passport whether one has travel plans or not. It’s a first step that provides options to go nearly anywhere in the world and the freedom to do it when you want. Looking back, I am saddened by that particular conversation, but also blessed by the lesson learned. Life is short and while I enjoy making a list of all of the things I want to do while here on Earth, it’s more important to actually start crossing some things off! I got my passport in the mail last week. Number 12 of my bucket list is now crossed off with the plan to have a couple of stamps in it before the start of 2013. 

For more information about the passport application and renewal procedures, click here!

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{When Is The Best Time to…?} Buy International Plane Tickets

Travel- InternationalIn a post last year, I researched the best day of the week to get the best deals on plane tickets. Based on my research, I concluded that Tuesday at 3pm is the best time to buy. A few weeks ago, I tested out this theory with the Mr. as we were stalking international flights to Europe. While I know the savings rules can be a tad bit different for international flights, we still went with the tried and true paradigm that Tuesday was the best day to buy and fly. We waited and waited and researched stalked travel sites and airlines for weeks and then picked the “perfect” Tuesday to make our move with airline of choice- Delta. Perfect Tuesday came and (insert cricket sounds here) nothing. In fact, the price of the ticket went up almost $200 since the last time we checked and then consistently stayed there. So we waited a week for the next Tuesday…same price.

Did we make a mistake and miss our savings fate?

No. Like most companies, several factors influence the price of goods. The state of the economy, international relations, and my favorite…good ole competition. My Mr. called on a Wednesday to tell me that another airline was offering deals to Europe and to check it out. My first thought was oh well and my second was bye-bye frequent flyer miles. Instead of giving up, I gave myself to the end of the day to find a great deal; but being the impatient person that I can be, I hit the refresh button on the computer about ten minutes after the call. I mean, if one airline lowered their prices, others are sure to follow, right? ABSOLUTELY!
The moral of the story is that good things come to those who wait and research. If you have the luxury of time, it is worth the extra effort to comparison shop. This method helped us save money and it can help you save too. I still believe Tuesdays and Wednesday s are the cheapest days to buy international tickets, but if something is out of your budget, stop….breath…and press refresh.

If You Could Travel Anywhere in the World…

Where Would You Go?

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The Best Day to Book Cheap Flights is…

Fly in Style Jet Setter

You have decided the destination. I bet you can even picture yourself on the beach sipping something fabulous while rocking your new bikini purchased especially for this moment. What’s next? Well you can’t be a summer jet setter without a flight. So what are you waiting on? Well, a budget savvy frugalista would answer- the best deal on a ticket.

Timing is everything

Did you know the most expensive days to book flights are Fridays and Sundays? My theory is that people are trying to leave after the workweek on Friday and be back before the workweek begins again on Monday. It goes back to simple supply and demand. So when exactly is the best time to buy? Well the answer to that depends on who you ask, however the consensus appears to be either Tuesday or Wednesday. Fare Compare even goes as far to suggest that you purchase your tickets for domestic travel on Tuesday at 3pm (Eastern Time) because prices tend to go up on Thursday for the increased weekend rates. Now it is time to figure out what day you will fly. If you are looking to further your savings and have the availability, try to schedule your flight for Wednesday morning. According to Fare Compare, “Wednesday is one of the three cheapest days, the others are Tuesday and Saturday (Friday and Sunday the most expensive days to travel). The cheapest days to travel internationally are a bit different”.

Discount Tickets

Travel Zoo: this is site the “Google” of travel searches. It allows you to compare multiple travel sites in one search. You simply type in your intended date of departure and whether your trip is one-way or roundtrip and Travel Zoo does the rest.

Hotwire: “No booking fees. Ever” is the motto that they are known for. This site offers deals up to 40% off with a daily feature of called “Today’s Top Deal”. In addition to their great savings, Hotwire features the link, Trip Watcher, which alerts you about price drops on trips that you want.

Travelocity: US cities on sale now for $79+. Just so happens, a “low fare alert” for Atlanta popped up today.

There’s an App for That!

I get emails all of the time for special offers and rates. Let technology work for you by signing up for email updates, signing up for “low fare alerts” from discount travel sites like the ones mentioned above, and check out the App Store and the Android Market. Most of the airline companies have become more technologically savvy and created an app for their loyal customers. It’s worth checking out!

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