15 Things I Learned on a Drive Across the Country

A little over three years ago, my dear friend Christie told me that she was moving to Buffalo, NY (on the complete opposite side of the country), and she was taking her whole family with her. I may or may not have cried myself to sleep that night; HOWEVER, I got a really awesome road trip out of the deal. Since they were moving three cars all the way to Buffalo, they asked me if I would venture with them on a five day, 2,600 mile road trip across the US, and I, of course, said yes.

We drove for roughly 55 hours, through something like 11 states, and I had the time of my life. Despite the fact that I cried again when I then had to leave Buffalo and fly back home to Portland, that drive will forever be one of my favorite memories, and as one does when driving for five days straight, I picked up a few interesting tidbits of knowledge along the way.

  1. A good playlist is an absolute must.

  2. Utah is beautiful. 

  3. Laramie, WY is very…quiet. 

  4. Crossing over state lines can be extremely exciting.

  5. Even more so when you sing the Indiana Jones theme song each time. 

  6. Stretching while driving can lead to potentially dangerous situations. 

  7. Outdoor hotels are almost always scary.

  8. Breakfast is CHEAP, everywhere.

  9. Audio books rock. 

  10. Tumbleweeds do exist, and they really do blow across empty highways.

  11. Locals always seem to be able to tell that you’re from out of state. 

  12. Snacks are life savers.

  13. Pennsylvania is the longest state, ever.

  14. Cats don’t always make great backseat drivers.

  15. Dogs do. 

Even though it was a lot of driving, it was an amazing experience. We got a taste of a lot of different lifestyles, saw some amazing scenery, and ate some very lovely breakfasts. Most importantly, we had a ton of fun and got to spend a lot of time together before 2,600 miles separated us. If you ever get the chance to drive across the country, I highly recommend it.

To watch some funny moments from our trip, click the videos below. 🙂

Posted in cross country, family, friends, fun, road trip, travel, traveling, travelling, trina wanders, wanderlust | Leave a comment

8 Essentials For Any Camping Trip

As I type, I’m laying in my tent listening to the sound of persistent, pounding rain. I’ve been camping in Madras, Oregon with my family for the last few days, and while getting stuck in a rain storm isn’t number one on my list of hopes and dreams, I have thought of a new list while I’ve been here. Each day has provided me with a moment that I consider to be an essential experience to have while camping. These are the moments that make you realize what camping is all about, and why we leave the comfort of our homes and our beds to sleep in a sleeping bag under a tent. 

1. Watch the sunset (from the highest vantage point possible). 
No two sunsets are the same, and in my opinion there is nothing more stunning than a pink and purple sky. If possible, watch it without taking a million pictures. Look at the sky, not your smartphone, and take the moment in.

2. Sit outside in the dead of night and look at the stars.
If you’re like me, you like your camping spots as far removed from the city as possible. This means a lack of city lights, which means an abundance of beautiful stars. No night sky compares to the one you’ll see from your campsite in the middle of nowhere.

3. Appreciate the wildlife. 
No matter how many times I see a deer hanging out in the field next to my tent, I still get excited every single time. If you live in the city as I do, it’s not every day you get to see animals like deer, bunnies, goats, horses, etc. Enjoy the wildlife, and respect that you’re in their territory.

4. Have a campfire and roast some stuff.
Campfires are the quintessential camping experience. I love everything about them; the warmth, the smell, the way the flames dance. Smores made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups don’t hurt the experience either.

5. Go to sleep/wake up with the sun.
Without the distraction of the TV or the internet, camping is the ideal time to listen to your internal clock. If you’re tired at 9 p.m., go to sleep! Odds are you will wake up bright and early feeling rested and ready to take on 
the day.

6. Bask in the silence.
Ah, silence. Another thing I often take for granted. Sometimes it’s quite wonderful to sit in the campsite and do nothing but listen to the quiet. It’s next to impossible to find a completely quiet moment anywhere else, so if you find one on your camping trip, focus on it, and appreciate the rarity. 

7. Catch up on your reading/crosswords/sudoku etc.
Camping is the perfect time to catch up on those leisurely activities that we often feel we don’t have time for at home. Reading is one of my favorite things in the world, but it often takes a backseat to work, and other duties. This is why for most of my camping trip, you can find me posted up in a chair with a book in my hand. 

8. Act like a kid again
Play games! Get out the ladderball, card games, horseshoes etc. and challenge your friends and family members. Get dirty. Run in the fields. Walk around barefoot. Ride your bike. Do all of those things that you did shamelessly as a child, and do them with reckless abandon! 

Going camping is something that I will always make time for. It’s different than any other trip or vacation we can take. It’s your time to connect with nature, your loved ones, and yourself. It’s the time to get back to basics, to live simply, and appreciate those bare necessities. Next time you get a few days off, pack up the tent, find a patch of land, and set up camp, literally.
Posted in camp, camping, fun, love, summer, travel, trips, wanderlust | Leave a comment

How to Pick the Perfect Travel Partner

If you’re not up for traveling alone, and not everyone is, you want to make sure you have a suitable travel companion. Traveling with the wrong person can ruin even the most promising of trips, and choosing the right person is no small feat. I’m lucky if I can count on one hand the people that I would want to take an extended trip with. Traveling with another person means spending about 100% of your time with them, from early mornings to late nights and everything in between. It means navigating the streets of a foreign place together.  It means agreeing on which places are worth venturing to, and which sights you wouldn’t mind missing. Sometimes it means deciphering another language. Often times it means the occasional sacrifice from one party to make the other one happy. Having a great travel partner is crucial to enjoying your trip, so without further ado, my list of five traits for the perfect travel companion;

1.     Someone who cares about your well-being.
Your travel partner should be someone who genuinely cares about you, and your safety and happiness. Being safe is an important part of exploring a new place, and having someone to watch your back is an added layer of protection. In addition, you want someone who wants you to be happy. If you’ve been dying to see a particular attraction, and your friend is less than thrilled about it, they should go anyway, because they know it’s important to you. You would do the same for them, right?

2.     Someone you can talk to, but also sit in silence with.
Traveling can often mean long bus/plane/train/boat rides, or even long walks. You want to be with someone you can hold a significant conversation with. If you can comfortably talk about nearly anything, you’ll never run out of things to say. In that same right, you should be able to sit in silence, without any trace of awkwardness. Travel can be exhausting, and every now and again you may just want to sit and take it all in together.

3.     Someone who is laid back, and isn’t picky!
This is a big one for me. In general, I’m a very laid back person. It takes a lot to disappoint me, especially when I’m traveling. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than someone who picks apart every detail of your trip, and then complains about it.
“This hotel isn’t clean enough.”
 “This restaurant is too expensive.”
  “This bus ride is so boring.”
The perfect travel partner will go with the flow. They will take the experience for what it is, and find the positives in even the toughest situations. You’re traveling! You’re seeing the world. You have an opportunity that many people only dream about. Don’t let anyone ruin it with an uptight attitude. Pick a travel partner that will smile with you through even the worst conditions.

4.     Someone who will take your photo.
This one is a little more on the superficial side, but I value it all the same. One of my favorite parts of a trip is getting home and looking over all of the beautiful photos I took, and I generally enjoy being in a few of them. If there is one thing I appreciate in a travel partner, it’s someone who doesn’t mind snapping my embarrassing touristy photos, and of course, someone who will shamelessly jump in on a selfie with me.

5.     Someone you can have fun with!
This is probably the most important trait in a travel buddy. You have to be able to have fun together. You both should be up for taking the occasional risk, or doing something crazy. Making a last minute decision to sky-dive, randomly getting off the train in an adorable unplanned town, or making a spontaneous change in your itinerary can lead to some of the best memories of your life. Travel is all about the experience, and wherever you go, it should be a fun one. The perfect travel partner will look at an exciting new adventure and say “Let’s just do it, man!”.

So, there you have it! These are the five traits that are most important to me while choosing a travel companion. Of course there are many more, but if you can look at your best friend/significant other/family member and easily check off each of these traits, you may just have the perfect person to explore the world with. Don’t take this person for granted! They can be hard to come by and absolutely lovely to have by your side. Go ahead, take a look around and grab your perfect travel partner, and once you do, get going!

Posted in adventure, advice, exploring, how to find the perfect travel partner, travel, travel advice, travel companion, travel tips, traveling, trina wanders, wanderlust | Leave a comment

Five Places in Europe I Absolutely Must See Before I Die

Europe is my dream. For as long as I’ve been thinking about international travel, it is the one place that I always come back to. It just has endless appeal to me. I’m sure I could spend countless weeks getting lost there, and enjoy every minute of it, but for the sake of time, and your patience with me, I’ve narrowed it down to 5 places in Europe that I need to see at least once in my lifetime.
Ljubljana, Slovenia
I have no idea how this charming little town in Slovenia so quickly captured my heart, but it did. After adding it to my list of must sees, I have realized that it’s on a lot of other lists as well. “Top Places in Europe 2014” “Safest Places for Female Travellers” “Europe Bucket List” etc. Once I started looking, I saw this quaint little place plastered all over the Internet. The big name popular tourist towns are great, but something in me really wants to explore the more quiet side of Europe, and Ljubljana is the perfect place to do just that.
Paris, France

Speaking of big name tourist towns, Paris is an absolute must for me.  Audrey Hepburn said “Paris is always a good idea” and I have to agree. The beautiful churches and museums are right up my alley, and if I die without seeing the Eiffel Tower, I will be a very unhappy ghost.

Yes, just about anywhere in Croatia.  More specifically I’d like to explore Zagreb, and the coastal town of Dubrovnik. There are so many other gorgeous cities within Croatia, it’s hard for me to demand only one. A relatively cheap destination, with history, killer food, and beautiful scenery? Count me in!
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This gorgeous destination just recently popped up on my radar, and now it’s a non-negotiable for me. The rich history and endless rolling green hills are basically begging me to explore them. Not to mention it’s another highly affordable destination, with a lovely combination of city and nature, and some top notch food. What more could a girl ask for?
Edinburgh, Scotland
Well, I have to visit Scotland don’t I? If anything, just to say hello to my people. 😉 But the castles, monuments, and culture alone could easily sway me to spend some extended time in Edinburgh.
And because I really do feel that you could drop me anywhere in Europe and I’d be incredibly happy, here are my 5 honorable mentions: 
Prague, Czech Republic
Budapest, Hungary
St Petersburg, Russia
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Berlin, Germany

(All photos were found on Wikimedia Commons. Credit goes to their rightful owners)

Posted in adventure, croatia, destinations, edinburgh, europe, explore, france, ljubljana, paris, scotland, slovenia, top 5 places in europe, travel, travel blog, trinawanders, wanderlust, where to visit in europe | Leave a comment

Should You Take Your Own Passport Photo? (+My Photo Debacle)

I have a story. It’s an embarrassing story, but all the more reason to share it. So, passport photos…they’re awful, right? Deer in the headlights, neutral expression, stark white background, and an overly bright light in your face? Not exactly the equation for a super flattering photo. Not to mention that there are twelve hundred different rules and regulations that your photo must meet, lest it be denied by the passport photo gods, and your traveling dreams be squashed forever.
There are many places that will take your passport photo for you, for a fee. Generally they run from $7-11 dollars. Being the super researchy person I am, I asked Google if I could take my own passport photo. Forums told me that it was silly to pay to get a photo taken when you could take it yourself. “That’s right!” I said. “I CAN do it myself!” “I’m a strong, independent woman, and I don’t need no Wal-Greens employee to take my passport photo for me!” Okay, maybe I didn’t say that, but I did decide to take my photo myself and save myself enough money for two vanilla lattes, (barely).
So, I set up my tripod, my Nikon camera, and stood in front of the white door in the spare bedroom. I opened the blinds a bit to let in that natural light that everyone swears by, and set the self timer. I took approximately 8,000 pictures, changed my shirt twice, and restyled my hair 3 times. Then I uploaded all of my photos and painstakingly scrolled through each one, slowly eliminating any one with even the smallest of imperfections. This photo will be with me for TEN years! Each time I travel, more and more people will see it. It seemed so important. Finally, I narrowed it down to two, and decided to print them both at Wal-Greens. (Damnit, I guess I really did end up needing a Wal-Greens employee didn’t I?)  

The next day I picked up my photos, cut one into a perfect 2×2 square and stapled it to my passport application. Passport photo: complete! Now all I had to do was turn in my application. I had the next day off of work, and I intended to take my application to a post office about seven minutes away from my house. Luckily, I decided to call first, just in case. The sweet lady at the post office told me that they didn’t currently have anyone trained to take passport applications at that location. She suggested I hit up the City Hall in the next town over. I gave them a call and hallelujah, they were accepting applications….until 2:30p.m. It was 1:30 at the time and I was sitting on my floor with my laptop, contemplating a workout. That means that I was in sneakers, nike shorts, a zip up hoodie, and an awesome straight out of bed ponytail.
I figured that with a complete passport application, I could make the 20 minute drive and have more than enough time to hand in my application, and take my internationally travelling butt right back home for my workout. As you probably expected, it didn’t turn out that way.
Everything was going as planned, until the wonderfully kind lady taking my application asked her co-worker if she thought my photo was okay.
“Oh no, they’ll definitely deny that. The background is too dark.”
(Me in my head: Nooooooo!)
Wonderfully sweet lady: “We take passport photos here! They’re $10, did you want to do that?”
Me out loud: “Yes, please!”
(Me in my head: Nooooooo!)
Me out loud: “I’m going to take my hair down. I came looking a mess!”
Wonderfully sweet lady: “There is a bathroom around the corner!”
10 minutes later I walked out, mortified, but also laughing at myself. The text to my Mom read verbatim “Oh my gosh so funny they made me retake my picture and I came without doing my hair or anything lol”
I literally lost sleep the next few nights, thinking about my own misfortune and how this awful photo was going to haunt me for the next ten years. I couldn’t believe it. I had spent so much time on the perfect photo. I had beat the system! And then, the system slapped me in the face for being so cheap and shallow.
The reality is, the only important part of your passport photo is that it shows your face. The face in the photo is mine, and that is all that matters. The really significant thing is that I turned in my passport application! In 4-6 weeks I will have what I need to become an international traveller!

It was a pivotal step in my journey toward my dream. It was something that I had wanted to do for months and months, and I finally took the time to do it. I had the means to make it happen. I should’ve been thankful, not worrying about the silly photo.

This post took a turn, but the main idea; don’t take your own passport photo. Make yourself up in a way that makes you feel your very best, and let the professionals take it from there. Sorry Wal-Greens employee, for ever doubting you. 

Posted in debacle, funny, passport, passport photo, photo, should you take your own passport photo, story, travel, travel advice, travel tips, trina wanders, us passport | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Surviving a Red Eye Flight

I love red eye flights. Okay, maybe love is a strong word, but I certainly don’t hate them! I love flying in general, and if I’m flying for more than 6 hours, I don’t mind killing two birds with one stone and getting some sleep while I’m in the air. It’s a great feeling to know you are just a sleep away from your destination, and you’re not wasting daylight stuck in an airplane. Red eyes are nice because they’re dark and quiet. Everyone else generally has the same idea as you; to get some shut eye. While I clearly don’t think these flights are too bad to begin with, there are some things that will make you more comfortable when flying into the wee hours of the night.
1. Get Sleep!
This seems basic, but the best way to survive a red eye is to fall asleep! Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake after 2 pm. Try to reduce your exposure to bright lights before your flight takes off. Wake up early the day of your flight, and then you’re more likely to fall asleep early. If you know you’ll have trouble falling asleep on your own, consider products like DreamWater to help you doze off and wake up feeling refreshed.  You can also avoid jet lag with products like No Jet Lag

2.  Eye mask + Ear plugs!
You absolutely need to have an eye mask and ear plugs when flying a red eye. While the cabin lights are dim, they are still on, and a mask helps keep any trace of light out of your eyes. Ear plugs are nice to drown out any residual noise but anyone who may stay away, or from the plane itself. My favorite is this combo from REI. It’s $11.00 and comes with both the mask and the ear plugs. The mask is soft and plush, yet conforms close enough to your eyes to keep out any of hint of light. The mask also has a small pouch in the front to store the ear plugs when you aren’t using them.
     3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
The high elevation can make your body swell a bit, so make sure you’re wearing loose clothing. Also wear layers. If you get too warm, you can take your sweater off, and vice versa. I also make a point to wear shoes that are easy to get on and off. It helps when going through security, and also makes it easy to take them off when you’re on the plane. You’re never going to fall asleep if you’re not comfortable, so wear your comfiest clothes!
   4. Pick your seat wisely.
Generally, the easiest way to get some shut eye on a flight is to sit near the window. You can lean your head against the wall, and you don’t have to deal with getting up and down to let other people out. Personally, I know that I always have to use the restroom on long flights, so I always choose an aisle seat. Again, most people sleep during red eyes, so even on the aisle I don’t have to get up very often. Just select the seat that will make you the most comfortable.
  5. Pack some things to help you freshen up.
Once you arrive in your destination, it’s nice to have some supplies on hand that will help you feel more refreshed. On my last red eye I packed a travel size mouthwash, some lip balm, and some mascara in my carry on. When I arrived on the other side of the country at 8 am, I popped into the airport restroom and freshened up my makeup, and swigged some mouthwash. I also immediately got a bottle of water, some coffee, and a hearty breakfast. That alone made me feel more awake, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the day.
Red eye flights can be a wonderful way to fly long distances without losing a day of work or travel. They’re also cheaper, and generally less full, making it easier to store your baggage. Plus, you don’t have to worry about paying $10 for a cheese and cracker box, or sitting through an awful movie. Just make yourself as comfortable as possible, and sleep your way across the world! 

Posted in red eye flights, travel, travel advice, travel tips, travelling, trina wanders, why you should fly red eye | Leave a comment

Fitness While Traveling?

Last year fitness became a huge part of my life. It was January 1st 2013 and I was like thousands of other girls vowing to eat clean and exercise regularly from here on out. The only difference being that I actually stuck to it. Something just clicked and I became incredibly dedicated to my health. Starting off as someone who thought it was cute to say “I don’t run for fun”, it was a big change to delve into the world of fitness. I started following all of the “fitblrs” on tumblr, reading books, researching new recipes, and working out five, if not six days a week. I even joined a gym, and if you know me, you know that’s a big deal. The changes were pretty phenomenal. I always thought I felt fine before, little did I know how good my body would feel after falling into a routine of activity. I slept harder, ate better, and felt stronger and more flexible. I became somewhat addicted to that feeling and that is what kept me going. I felt like every other aspect of my life fell into place once I felt good about how I was treating myself.
For the first time in my life, fitness and health became a priority while I was traveling. So, onto the real question here; how do you stay fit while traveling?
Let me preface by saying that fitness should not be your number one priority while you’re on the road. It should be a thought in your mind, but it shouldn’t consume your everyday life. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a week of workouts, or eating that dessert. Don’t let yourself feel like crap when you get home for “falling off the wagon”. You should enjoy life while you’re traveling, but this does include keeping your health in mind.
Biggest tip? Walk everywhere! Skip the bus, taxi, shuttle, etc. If you can walk, rent a bike, rollerblade, jump rope, or pogo stick somewhere, do it! Use alternative travel whenever possible. Walking everywhere is a guaranteed way to get a workout in without even realizing it, and it is especially wonderful because you’re not trapped in the bubble of a car. You’re experiencing the culture and the people. You’re seeing the sights, and staying healthy while doing it.
If you’re somewhat outdoorsy like me, you love finding a beautiful new place to hike. Find some hiking trails at your destination of choice and get at it! Sometimes the most beautiful sights in the world are at the end of a hiking trail, and it really is a killer workout.
Maybe your accommodations have a gym. If it’s late at night and you can’t sleep and you think nothing in the world sounds better than a workout, do it! Personally, I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels with gyms, but let me be honest; I can’t think of a time that I actually utilized one. I have good intentions, I even pack my sports bra, but the hotel gym just isn’t where I want to be while on vacation. What I have done is bust out quick workouts in my hotel room. Generally first thing in the morning or late at night, I’ll do tricep-dips, push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that use only my body weight. If you’re really feeling crazy, you can throw in some cardio like jumping jacks, butt kicks, or jump rope (without the rope). I spend no more than 10 minutes doing these things, and it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something towards my fitness.
Aside from moving your body, the other most important thing is what you put in it.  Food is your body’s fuel. Food is survival. Eat when you are hungry, and don’t eat when you’re not. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may or may not have an abundance of healthy foods to choose from, but there is always a better choice. Definitely eat that ice cream, but maybe instead of the 2-scoop waffle cone with sprinkles, you have a scoop in a dish. You don’t have to deny yourself, but if you consistently try to make the healthier choice, you’ll set yourself up for success. It can be really fun to scope out the local food and challenge yourself to find foods that you’ll feel good about eating, and that will give you energy and fuel your activities for the day. 
Overall, just be aware of your health while you’re on vacation. No one is asking you to track calories, or work out five days a week. You don’t have to pass on the fancy dinner out or dessert. Just make an effort to make healthier choices on a consistent basis, and get outside! Our bodies were designed to move. Just keep it simple! Utilize your strength, and eat foods that will support those efforts. Trust me, your body will thank you. 

Posted in eat clean, eat healthy while traveling, fit, fitness, fitness while traveling, fitspo, healthspo, healthy eating, travel advice, travel tips, traveling, trinawanders, wanderlust, workout | Leave a comment

Does Travel Have to be Expensive?

I’ve discovered a wonderful hobby.
My new favorite thing to do is go on Expedia.com and plan out my dream vacations. How much would it cost to stay in Paris for 3 weeks? How many stops does a flight to Croatia have? Which hostels in Germany offer free breakfast?
It’s such a fascinating way to glimpse into the life of travel, and the more I do it, the more I realize that my travel dreams aren’t so unattainable.
We tend to have this preconceived notion that travel is terribly expensive. We are told time and time again that we have to spend beaucoup bucks to have a nice vacation. The more money you spend, the better time you have.
I don’t buy it (no pun intended).
There are so many ways to budget your travel expenses.
First and foremost, saving your money before your trip! The change in the bottom of your wallet, the money you use on your daily Starbucks, it all adds up! I’ve decided to dedicate a savings account solely to travel, and I plan to add any and all extra money to it that I possibly can. Saving before your trip is obviously a necessity, but let’s talk about how to save money on your trip.
The most unavoidable expense when it comes to travel? Flights. Flying can be very expensive, but there are ways to save. I’ve taken to using only travel rewards credit cards. I use them for bills, shopping, day to day expenses, meals out, etc. If I’m not earning miles, the purchase isn’t happening.
At this point I have 3 travel rewards credit cards. The Capital One Venture Card, The BofA Travel Rewards card, and the American Express Blue Sky card. The best thing about opening these cards is the sign up bonus. Don’t settle for anything less than 20,000 points when signing up. Some even offer up to 40,000 points when you open a new card. These bonuses are the best way to rack your points up quickly, and use them on travel as soon as possible! My American Express card saved me $200 on my flight to Arizona last month!

If you consistently fly with a certain airline, look into a credit card for that specific company. I’ve heard good things about the Alaskan Airlines credit card. I tend to book the cheapest flights I can find, regardless of the carrier, so my credit cards are very flexible. I can use my rewards on flights, hotels, rental cars, and basically any travel expense. This has become my favorite way to save money on flights.
You can also look into the option of flying red eyes if your flight will be a long one. If you can fall asleep on a plane, take a red eye! They’re cheaper, and you don’t lose a day traveling. Also, make sure you use sites like Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, etc. to compare flight prices from different airlines. If possible, only fly/book flights on weekdays. It’s more expensive on Friday-Sunday, not to mention the airports are way busier. If your travel dates are flexible, you’re more likely to get a cheaper flight. Try moving your departure ahead or back a day. I’ve saved close to $100 on a flight just by coming home a day later!

The 2nd highest expense when traveling is most likely your room and board. Unless you have a friend or family member to stay with in your location of choice, you’re likely going to spend a chunk of money on your home away from home. My biggest tip here is don’t be picky. If you’re traveling to some beautiful location, you should be spending most of your time outside anyway. Don’t talk yourself into thinking you need a 5 star resort to have a 5 star vacation.
Travel isn’t about sitting in a gorgeous hotel room, it’s about exploring a gorgeous new destination. It’s about meeting new people, eating new foods, and in general discovering a new culture! If there’s a couch in Germany you can sleep on, sleep on it! If you can pitch a tent at a beautiful campsite in Australia, pitch it! Stay at a hostel in Europe! And if you’re really feeling fancy, book a budget hotel. If my room is the size of a box and contains a bed and a toilet, that’s good enough for me!

Okay, onto my favorite subject; food! I’ll be the first one to tell you to try new foods when you’re traveling. Try what the locals love! But take another tip from the locals as well; grocery shop! Cooking your own meals from time to time will save you a ton of money. Stop by the store and pick up ready made sandwiches, bars, fruit, cereals, etc. When I went to New York City, I packed granola bars in my checked bag. Combine that with the fruit I took from the hotel gym, and I never paid for a breakfast during our 10 day stay.

The last big hit to your wallet can be activities. This is where I’m happy to splurge just a bit. These experiences are the point of travel. If you’ve always dreamed of going skydiving, parasailing, or zip lining, just do it! You’re on vacation! Take that hot air balloon ride! See the Grand Canyon from a helicopter. These are the memories that make life worthwhile. These are the things that you will get home and regret missing out on. If it’s in your budget, and it will make for a wonderful memory, then do it!

But of course, there is a way to save money on activities as well. Many destinations offer discount cards that cover many of the most popular activities and tourist hotspots. NYC offers The New York Pass, which gets you into more than 80 popular attractions, and can save you more than $300. Australia’s Multi City Attractions Pass gives you the option of choosing your attractions, and paying a lump sum ahead of time that saves you a percentage. The London Pass gets you into 60+ attractions and allows you to skip lines, and so on and so forth. Before you arrive at your destination, be sure to research your options! There is likely a way to save a bit on your activities.

With all of that said, remember that the only thing really holding you back from traveling is you. We all like to use the lack of money as our excuse, but if you want to travel, make it a priority. Make your coffee at home, invite your friends over instead of going out, cancel your cable and watch your shows online, and save every single penny. Pick up extra hours at work, put aside your tax return, and your bonuses. Sell the things you don’t need anymore. If you really put your mind to it, before you know it you will have saved enough money for your dream trip. And you know what to do then; just go!

Posted in adventure, budget travel, does travel have to be expensive, how to travel cheap, how to travel on a budget, save money, travel, travel advice, travel cheap, travel tips, wanderlust | Leave a comment