Tuesday, May 27, 2014

To Travel Is To Live

I've had this image pinned on my travel board on Pinterest for awhile and every time I come across it, I can't help but think of how true it is.

{Jamaica 2011}

John and I found out early on that we both share a love for traveling. I never travelled much before we started dating and he didn't either except for a few work trips. We took our first trip together to Las Vegas just 4 months after we started dating and that's what started the ball rolling. While we've never travelled anywhere outrageous, we plan on doing it very soon.

{Vegas 2008}

Our 6 years together have taken us to Vegas 3 times, Mexico 3 times, Jamaica, Napa Valley, New York 4 times, Gulf Shores twice, Chicago, San Diego, Orlando, and New Orleans. Just last year we were thrilled to be able to take 4 of those vacations.

Traveling is something that John and I enjoy doing together. It gets us away from home, away from the hustle and bustle of work and every day life. We hope to travel all over the world eventually. And we plan on always traveling, even if that means our vacation plans change to Disney and family friendly beaches. But right now while we can enjoy our alcohol induced naps on the beach, we will take advantage of every second of it!

{Gulf Shores 2012}

Since I post pretty much every trip here on the blog, I've gotten a lot of "you're so lucky you get to travel" and "I wish we could afford that" and so on.

So, I thought I would clear up some misconceptions about traveling, at least for us. I don't feel like we're lucky, I feel like we make smart decisions.

-You don't have to be rich to travel 
We are far away from being rich. We put a good chunk of money in our savings account every time we get paid. That is our emergency money and extra spending money if we need it and then if we see we haven't needed it for an emergency we might decide to book a trip. We usually only book a few months in advance so we know what our money situation is going to be like. We don't blow all our money on a vacation, don't think that. We always make sure there is enough there for emergencies. Not everyone handles their money like we do, so this may not work for everyone. But my recommendation is put some money aside out of every paycheck just for traveling; even if it is just $20. You'll thank me later.

{Cancun 2010}

-Get an airlines credit card
Best decision we've ever made. I hate that we waited so long to do it! Credit cards aren't for everyone, but that's how John and I make all of our purchases. We put everything on a credit card then pay it off completely every month. We're building our credit and getting airline miles for it too. We first got the Southwest airlines card before we got married. We put our wedding deposit on just a regular credit card about 10 months before the wedding and when we got the bill, we noticed there was a huge foreign transaction fee - and that was only for a $500 purchase. We knew that we would be spending thousands on the wedding so we needed to find a card where we wouldn't get slammed with those fees. John did research for a couple of months and he found that the Southwest Card didn't charge foreign transaction fees plus if you spend a certain amount of money within the first 3 months (which is what we would be spending on the wedding anyway) you got bonus miles. No brainer! We ended up using those miles to fly to New York last September when we went to for his cousins wedding, plus we still have some miles left over. Then after the wedding we decided to do the United Card since that's what we fly most often. We both signed up for one separately. The first year is free and we both got bonus points for spending a certain amount of money in the first 3 months. With the United Card you get free passes in the United Club, Priority boarding, free checked bags plus loads of miles to use on future trips. We flew to Vegas and Napa last year FOR FREE! And our trip to Cancun we just took? Those plane tickets were free too (except for the $75 international fee). We also are using miles to book our plane ticket to Miami in September to get on our cruise ship. That's 5 free flights for each of us in less than a year! So, get on it and go sign up for one of those cards!

{Napa 2013}

-Use Discount Websites
I'm pretty sure the only time we've ever booked a vacation through a resort or used a travel agent was for our wedding trip. I always use the discount websites. I am a huge fan of Expedia and we book most of trips through them. We've never had any problems with them. We just booked our most recent trip to Cancun through them as well. There are so many options for discount sites so check all of them to make sure you're getting the best deal. But make sure they're reputable and they guarantee your trip incase you get somewhere (especially a foreign country) and the hotel doesn't have your reservation!

{Cancun 2014}

-Go All Inclusive when you can 
Not everyone will agree with me on this, but we find All-Inclusives are the best bang for your buck. If you aren't a drinker, maybe it's not, but when you can throw back some frozen Riviera Maya's like me, it's worth it ;) I kid. But really, for us, All Inclusive is worth it. You don't have to worry about carrying credit cards or cash around, you don't have to worry about leaving hotel property and finding food to eat, and you can try so many different types of food and not worry about if you like it or not. You can always order something else :) Any place they offer an All Inclusive, we will absolutely book it over a non all inclusive place.

{Gulf Shores 2013}

-Be flexible with your dates
Sometimes our ideal dates to travel don't line up with what's most affordable so we have to be flexible. I spend a lot of time on travel sites when we book vacations to make sure we are getting the most affordable days. We wanted to go to Cancun for John's birthday in March, but prices were sky high. We found 1 week in April where the prices were about $500 cheaper so that's what we went with. Always do plenty of research on dates to make sure you are getting the most vacation for your money.

{Vegas 2009}

-Don't be afraid to ask for upgrades 
What's the worst that could happen? They say no. We've gotten some room upgrades just for asking at several hotels. Whether it be a higher floor, a better view or a master suite, something is better than nothing! Also, if you're a social media user, tag them letting them know you're coming! I tagged Dreams several times through IG and twitter letting them know we were coming back and while, we didn't get a room upgrade, they did send us chocolate covered strawberries to our room and they gave us a one of the best views in our room category we booked.

{San Diego 2011}

I encourage everyone to travel as much as you can. Our most favorite memories are the ones we've made in different cities being tourists, trying new things and just spending time together away from every day life. Hopefully some of these tips will help you go on some fabulous vacations soon!



Allison @ Texas Mrs. said...

I am so stinking jealous of all y'alls vacations. We need to save some serious money so that we can enjoy traveling all over the place. The last place we went to was The Bahamas on our Honeymoon, 2011!

Vicki P said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)

Jenn @ West Sac Honey said...

Great post and so very true.. I've done more traveling on my own now since being one less a fiance and it's quite nice..

Erin @ Happily Obsessed said...

LOVE this post!! We always book all inclusive when available and always use allinclusiveoutlets.com People are always shocked when they actually look into cost how affordable beach vacations are!

Lacey Jo said...

Thank you for sharing your travel tips! We love to travel but have a hard time getting the prices down. We are also torn between spending money on trips vs. our brand new home we built.

alaa nile said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)
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alaa nile said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)
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alaa nile said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)
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alaa nile said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)

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alaa nile said...

Mike and I love to travel too! Maybe one day we can double and go on vacation somewhere together ;)

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