It's no surprise that I travel a lot. It's my very favorite thing to do and I think it's good for the soul. And every time I travel I inevitably get the "How do you afford to travel?" question (afford meaning time, money or any other factors).
Without getting too in depth or personal I thought I would share some advice and tips so you can start traveling too! So I've rounded up some questions I've gotten and I'll just fire them off below.
If there are any more burning questions you have, be sure to leave them below in the comments.
How/Why do you travel so much?
To put it simply, I make time for it. Traveling is a serious passion and hobby of mine and just like others who might put money into their hobbies, I put money into my traveling (read more in the next question).
How do you plan your travel?
For airfare, I exclusively use Google Flights. They round up the best times, providers and dates for you to search and help make sure you book the cheapest flight. You can read about Google Flights more in depth in my past Travel Tuesday post here.
For hotels, I always use Hotwire. Some people either love or hate Hotwire but if you trust it, it's the best thing ever. Hotwire is the website that doesn't tell you the name of the hotel but because of that you get a much higher discounted rate.
The trick of the trade is to make sure you're only searching 3-star hotels (like Hiltons and Holiday Inns) and above. I used Hotwire to book both trips to DC (2014 (day 2) and 2015) and my first trip to Hilton Head.
Only scenarios for when I don't use Hotwire are when I'm staying with friends (like Seattle, St. Louis, Upstate NY, ), family (like Phoenix and Derby 2014 & 2015), when Andrew books the trip (like Maine, Nantucket, Boston and most recently Grand Cayman), when I take day trips (like Philly, Martha's Vineyard and Popolopen Gorge) or when trips are comped (like Hilton Head and Bahamas).
How do you afford to travel?
I'm actually pretty conservative when planning my trips. For booking the trip itself, I always try and buy fight and hotels way ahead of time to take advantage of lower prices. For the extra costs, I always try and avoid them.
I've become a pro at traveling/living out of a carry-on suitcase (see my favorites here), I don't pay for upgraded seats like first class (such a waste unless you're flying long distances), and I try to travel in the states.
For the periods of time when I'm not traveling, I like to be aware of what I'm spending money on. I don't go out too often (alcohol is a BIG ol' money killer), I only eat a nice dinner about once a week (praise the Lord for ramen) and I have a strict rule that new clothes/accessories can only be bought via blog commission (aka be put back into the blog #CircleOfLife).
How do you find time to travel? What about work?
This is probably the most frequently asked question, which I totally get. You want to know my secrets so you can travel too!! The secret: weekends.
As most of you know, I work in social media for MLB and have a normal 9-6/Monday-Friday job. We get a certain number of vacation days and, when used wisely, can really be made fun.
70% of the time when I travel, I leave a little early during work on Friday (but make up for it by staying later during the week) and head out for the weekend. Friday is my "travel day" and I'll usually come back late Sunday night.
So technically I'm using ZERO vacation days.
25% of the time when I travel, I'll do the same thing as above but instead of Friday being my travel day, I make it Thursday. I'll really only do this when it's an absolute must to have another day (like Seattle or KY for the Derby). Then, just like above, I come back late Sunday night.
That's three whole days spent away and just ONE vacation day.
The other 5% of the time is when I actually take off multiple days (aka use a chunk of my vacation days) and really plan a trip.
Last year that was our trip to Boston/Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard (which I also took over the 4th of July, when I had two days + a weekend off).
That trip cost me THREE total vacation days.
Work talk continued...
What's also really great about working in baseball is the fact that we have a down season (not "offseason" because technically we're just getting ready for next season).
And while during the down season it's always important to be in the office, it's easier to (if need be) work a day away via the computer. Perks of working in social and being a digital company!
Also during this down season, we have this amazing one week break from Christmas to New Years. So obviously you have to take advantage of that (which I did). That was our trip to Grand Cayman.
-Travel locally: One of the best parts about living in NYC is that it's centrally located and so close to other great cities. What might be a $300 flight to DC for most is a $80 train ride for me. Explore your area, take a drive, see where you end up!
-Ask for experiences instead of presents: for holidays and birthdays I usually ask Andrew for an experience. I can buy almost anything I really "want." And because of that it's so much more special to receive a trip/experience that you both can share in.
-Visit your friends: DUH. Not only do you want to see them but they have a free place to stay, a car and (most likely) food. You pay for the flight and the weekend. They also can come visit you :)
-Search for good deals: things like cruises (where food and drink are included and there is a low expense while on the ship), vacation packages (that include air, car and hotel) and special deals/low rates (like off seasons for destinations).
And that's all folks! If you liked what I wrote about, want to know more, or have any other questions be sure to let me know below.
Excuse the post for being a bit longer than usual but I hope it was worth the read. Don't forget to catch up on all Travel Tuesday posts here!