Want to go to 59 places, but not have the money? Well, first of all, let's visit how you set your vacay budget. Now everyone is gonna have their own opinion on this, but this is how I usually travel and I love it! Let's dive into my money-saving tricks when it comes to planning a dope trip...
pick your hotel wisely
I used to be the girl that was like "Hey this place is $75! I'm booking it now." However, after planning trips out loud with my dad, I've learned a few things. Before you book the cheapest place think, "What matters to me about my stay?"
For instance, Trey and I just road tripped to Colorado for a weekend. There were a couple hotels that had the same ratings and were cheaper, but didn't have breakfast. Paying five dollars extra a night for sure overrides a $15-30 sit down breakfast. This is especially smart if you plan on hitting a national park early or had a long night with your newborn, lol.
At the same time, double check to make sure your hotel has a microwave and fridge. When you travel to tiny mountain towns, these aren't always gimmes. By not checking for these two things, you aren't able to keep leftovers cold or whip up some popcorn for a cheap snack.
I can't really remember a trip where I didn't stop at a grocery store and grab a few dinners. When I stayed by Yellowstone, my room didn't have a microwave and I ended up eating some warm apples from the car, lol gross.
*Read about my budget guide for Yellowstone here!
Before my last trip, having a pool didn't really make or break my hotel decision. Although, after not being able to soak in a hot tub for nine months, I was so sad I didn't make this a priority. Your trip will ultimately be better and you'll save more, if you explore these wants before you get there! This brings me to my next point, what would you love to do at this destination?
For example, before we went to Colorado, I knew I wanted to see Rocky Mountain National Park. Usually, I try to pick one thing I really wanna do and then do other things based on the cost of my top favorite. This way, I know beforehand I'd be spending $35 on a park pass and not splurging on another high ticket item.
In addition to that, since I did research prior to the trip, I knew you could buy a day pass or a week pass. Which is important to be familiar with, so you can decide what kind of time you want to spend there and not last minute, buy two one-day passes.
*TIP: Often national parks won't be taking admission around sunrise or late in the evening. This will save you big time! Also, who doesn't wanna take a 1,000 photos during golden hour?
research the town's tourist season
Most people know that when you travel during peak season, prices get marked up. If my trip is already booked and I notice it happens to be peak season, I like to change up my itinerary. I usually allow myself to do one or two "touristy" things in this instance. The rest of my schedule will consist of things that are a bit more underrated and less crowded.
Checking up on this can save you big bucks. Once I accidentally planned a trip to the Badlands in South Dakota on the Fourth of July. You bet we waited close to two hours to get into Mount Rushmore and paid WAYYY too much for a motel because everything else was booked. Traveling during peak season is still totally do-able on a budget, but it just requires extra planning. If you're flexible, definitely shoot for off season!
*Read about what God taught me in South Dakota or an insane guide for exploring the Badlands!
don't immediately decide to drive to your destination
I'm totally guilty of wanting to drive everywhere. However, if you only have a couple vacation days, this is not the best investment. Budget travel isn't always about picking the cheapest option. It's about setting an amount and dividing it based on what you VALUE.
Spending half of your trip driving may sound like a good idea at first, but when you get home, will you think, "I wish I could've done more." This can be avoided by flying and limiting yourself to eating out only once a day instead.
transportation hack: don't book the first uber you see
I have both Lyft and Uber on my phone. If your flight just landed, avoid ordering the first uber price you see. People like to get them right away, so they may be outside by the time they get their luggage. If you aren't in a time crunch, grab your luggage and compare prices on both apps.
When they look a little steep, try to head outside and find a great spot where they can find you easily. Now, check prices again. These few minutes in between can sometimes save you $5 to $10!
*If these photos got ya feelin' some type of way, I post WAY more on my Instagram. Follow along and find your next tropical wallpaper :)
travel in between school breaks
Trips over Christmas break are super fun, but they can also be costly if it's a college mecca. Most of the time I end up traveling during school and in the middle of the week. This keeps my hotel rates down considerably.
I used to try to get all my homework finished before I leave on a trip. These days, I do what I can and do a couple homework breaks throughout my trip. This definitely took a mindset shift, but now I rarely notice because it's my new normal.
Most of the time I try to think, "Yeah I have to spend a little time at a coffee shop, but isn't a trip + homework, better than no trip at all?!" Then I reflect on the things I've done so far and just get psyched to finish any work I have.
Aight I hope these ideas help y'all save a few on your next trip! If ya wanna save this post for later- PIN IT HERE :)
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*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
On September 9th, I woke up and my shorts felt wet. Though, the dampness could’ve passed for sweat. I hopped in the shower and after, Trey and I began to sort through baby shower gifts. For three hours, we tossed around tissue paper and held up our favorite things. In the midst of running around the apartment and putting things away, I started to feel cramps. They weren’t extremely painful, so I decided to lay down and sleep them off.
I napped for about an hour and when I woke up, my shorts were wet again. However, there wasn’t anything running down my leg and my pants weren’t soaked. I kinda paced around the apartment googling things, deciding whether or not to tell Trey. Maybe I just peed myself? That’s embarrassing. Although it didn’t really sting, so I ruled that out.
Finally I walked into the living room and was like, “so my pants are kinda wet.” We both continued to look online and I even saw some moms had a water leak, where it didn’t actually break. I mean, I was only 35 weeks. The last thing I wanted to do was stop at the hospital and be the mom who has like three false alarms.
I decided to call my friend Madi, who is a labor and delivery nurse. Once I gave her the details, she was convinced I might be in labor. I still felt nervous about calling my doctor though, they felt like period cramps, not contractions? I guess I didn’t know what contractions were supposed to feel like. It was 5pm, so my OB’s office was closed, but I got through to an oncall doctor. They suggested I come in, if there was a chance my water broke.
I told Trey and we kinda just didn’t know what to do. I had been ticking things off my to do list for months and yet, packing the hospital bag was still close to the bottom. I frantically started throwing what clean clothes I did have in a bag and Trey hopped in the shower. At the same time, I had a strong feeling this wasn’t the day. I wasn’t in much pain and every mom has a scare, right? I tried not to overthink it and pulled up the first hospital bag checklist I saw.
In the car, my cramps started to be a little more painful, probably comparable to the worst period cramps I’ve had before. I downloaded a contraction timer and was super shocked when they were less than two minutes apart. I think that’s when it started to sink in that it might actually be happening. At that point, I was thanking God I scheduled the hospital tour the weekend before.
Since the pain wasn’t unbearable, we parked in the garage and made our way up to the delivery floor. In the elevator, I felt so weird, I wasn't holding anything other than my purse. Shouldn't something be in my hands? I changed into a gown and sat awkwardly on the hospital bed. We texted our parents and I mentioned I’d call if there was a chance of us staying. A nurse came in and said she would measure my cervix. Out of all the painful things, that little check hurt the absolute worst. I was so close to screaming. The nurse looked surprised and said she was going to bring someone else in to do an ultrasound check. A second opinion? That's never good.
They looked me over and it turns out, I was completely dilated. She said, “Okay Logan, you’re going to have this baby today and he’s a preemie, but everything is gonna be fine.” In 60 seconds, there were about five new people in my room sticking in iv’s and asking about my allergies. Trax was still breech, so they scheduled an emergency c-section.
In 15 minutes, I was being wheeled into the operating room. I barely had time to worry about what the epidural would feel like. They scooted me onto a new table and the nurse had me bend over into her arms. The epidural felt like ten minutes of multiple bee stings in my back. The pain was nothing like checking my cervix, so I was pretty relaxed after that. I remember being drawn to the brightness of the room. It was so bright, nothing like I had ever seen in Grey’s Anatomy.
Once I was settled, they brought Trey in and started working. I was in the best mood and I couldn’t feel a thing, I was so happy. They put a divider up so I couldn’t see, but there was a lamp above me that let me see a reflection of my stomach. It was insane. All I could really feel, was a few yanks at the end but then, there was crying. I saw them carry him over to the scale and I couldn’t help but smile endlessly. He was okay. Trey walked over to cut the cord and then brought him over so I could see him. We took a picture and I just remember thinking, “God, I love C-sections.”
Looking back, if I could only pack one thing in my hospital bag, it’d be pajamas from Shinesty. When it was time to take off my hospital gown, I was sad I didn’t have cozy boxers to slip into. However, Christmas is coming and I won’t waste these cold nights in gym shorts or T-shirt’s! So hop on over to Shinesty.com, if you wanna find a fun signature Christmas look. This set is called "The Lincoln Log Love Lady" and I'm wearing a size medium. I'd maybe order a small next time, to fit a little snugger! To check out their girls Christmas pajama collection, click here.
This post was more personal than usual, how did you like it?!
•Also, if you have kids, what was your delivery story like?
•Did you mind the epidural, if you got one?
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