Let's travel the world! Wouldn't that be great? How many times have you had an ad on social media pop up with "I Quit My Job To Travel The World, You Can Too!", because I have and unfortunately that is just not how life works. With travel bloggers taking over our Instagram feeds, it can be hard for some of us to imagine travelling the same way. Some people think I'm constantly traveling, and even I don't travel that much. So main thing: Don't compare yourself! If you've ever felt down, wondering how in the hell people get to travel so much... stop. I'm going to let you in on how I travel because the trick is simple; planning ahead and time management.
How I do it?
Google Flights is my best travel friend! Why? Because it shows me the world, literally, and with flight prices to boot. If you're in school, everyone is given a set schedule. The same with work, I may not be working right now, but my favorite travel partner is my husband, so I check his schedule for work holidays. Why? The sooner you plan, the better the prices, the easier it is to figure out where to go and what to do. Plus when life gets too stressful, a travel plan gives a fun goal to look forward to. Getting away from college and work can help give you and your mind free thinking time. Traveling is the best way to allow yourself to put the world into perspective. Remind yourself that life is short and you can be free to explore and make the most of it.
Destination: First thing I do is figure out a list of places I'd like to visit and all the long weekend and vacation day options. A fun way to figure out where to go is to type in your travel dates and departing airport, but leave arrivals open. Google Flights shows a map with the different prices for each location point. You can even filter destination options based on your budget.
Stay: I love AirBnb because it allows me to stay in unique hidden little spots within a city. Hotel Tonight (app) is my go-to for last minute hotel bookings and spontaneous trips. Obviously, the summer and long weekends are peak times meaning it'll be expensive, so book smart and book ahead.
Things to do: That's a tricky one. I research A LOT. I check multiple sites, check the location map and local reviews, I ask friends for their experiences. Then I write out a list of the most important places (restaurants, cool sites, hidden gems) and the rest I usually find while exploring myself. I like to go on a trip with a basic understanding of the area and what I want to do, mainly to save time. Not everyone likes to do that, so on this website, I divide up exactly what I did on each day to help or give you a general idea.
Why can't I travel?
I'll start with my most recent trip to Puerto Rico. A few weeks ago, my husband told me he needs a trip to get away from work and stress. So I did my thing and checked Google Flights to find any destination options that fit our budget. Puerto Rico seemed like the best place for a quick weekend getaway. When I mentioned it to my brother, he asked a question many others have asked before "how do you travel so often?" followed by "why can't I travel?"
I know this doesn't apply to everyone. I see a lot of my friends traveling and posting their experiences, but if you've ever asked yourself this question perhaps you need to push out the negative "I can't" and figure out how you can. I told him to come with us on our trip, which he immediately followed with an "I can't..."
1. "I have work": So I told him, we plan to leave Friday after work and take Monday off. Vacation days are there for a reason.
2. "It seems pricey": The roundtrip flight was under $200, but I understand cost is a major factor and can be overwhelming to deal with. Just as we save up, pay rent, etc. It's important to save and splurge on yourself every once in a while. If you want to travel, set a goal and save up for it.
3. "I'm busy that weekend": I told my brother if he really wants to come I'll change the dates, which I did. But more importantly, I told him to stop finding excuses and start finding solutions.
Same story with my friend Asma. 3 days before leaving for Puerto Rico, she texted me to see if I was free for a movie. When I mentioned I would be in Puerto Rico, she said: "I wish I could travel like that". So I said, "everything is booked and set, come with us!". A few 'I can't - can I - I can' texts later and she booked the flight. And honestly, our trip would not have been the same without them all.
Yes it is not often someone else will plan the whole trip for you, but that shouldn't be the reason why you don't get out there yourself.
Why is this important?
I've written about the fear of missing out, watching these people on social media traveling around the world making it look so easy. Pushing down this lavish lifestyle that may make us doubt ever being able to do the same. Unfortunately, I've had a few people watch my social media feeling this way and the truth is, that's not why I post. Let's be honest, I don't get paid to write or to post photos. For me, it's not about the fame, the money, or anything. It's sharing my happiness. I've learned through the hardships of life, from my mom actually, to find any reason to be happy and to make others happy.
So if you've ever caught yourself saying I wish I could do that, work towards making that wish a reality. I love to plan. I will open google flights and just look at different destinations, compare flight prices, plan out itineraries just for fun. I understand that "planner mentality" doesn't come naturally to all. Planning a trip in my husband's eyes is overwhelming, figuring out even a restaurant to eat at makes him not want to go. It's why I write my itineraries, my experiences, my stories. You can turn to guidebooks for that dry and easy-to-read city guide but if you're on my website I want to share what worked for me and travel tips I picked up along the way. Ever get that I-wish-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now feeling, well that is what I want to share. So you can just book the flight and go!
Sharing my travel experiences is no different than a friend asking me for suggestions, I genuinely want you (and I may not even know you) to be happy. It is not always perfect, but nothing in life is. I've said it before, I've been sick on trips, gotten lost, in the wrong Ubers. Nothing is perfect, but there is no substitute for just getting out there and traveling.
I love hearing stories of great travel trips! Tell me about the whirlwind romance you had in Buenos Aires, about the time you got lost and found the best street food in Vietnam. Regale me with stories of solo traveling, of finding inspiration across Europe, of feeling lonely in Dubai, of making new friends at a hostel in Istanbul, learning a new language in Morocco or learning about yourself in Colombia.
Life goals are put into perspective when you are able to get away from the stressors in your life, it opens your mind to what is really important. This gives you the opportunity to look at the world from a larger point of view and remind yourself that you are not stuck in the same place you have always been, the world is yours to explore.