The Nervous Traveler

I’m pretty much always convinced something is going to go wrong when I travel. I get to the airport early, print out all my receipts, and check my luggage about 50 times to make sure I have everything.

Yet, I always get nervous. Even though nothing has ever drastically gone wrong, I always think that it will all go downhill for me.

I think this mostly stems from how much money I put into travel with very little insurance. What if I miss my flight? That costs money. What if the Uber’s are upcharging when we need a ride? That costs money. What if I forget something really important? That costs money.

Like clockwork, every time I have a trip the hours leading up to it include a nervous stomach and a migraine. My only tips for someone traveling with a nervous travel is to constantly assure them.

My boyfriend and I travel together a lot and I do 90% of the planning, when he assures me nothing will go wrong I have a hard time believing him because I planned it so I know the possibilities. But that’s his job, I plan and he makes sure I don’t go nuts.

But in the end, the travel is always worth it.

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How I Afford Traveling

I put off writing this post because:

  1. I think every person who has traveled ever has written it
  2. My advice really isn’t that groundbreaking

But I’m going to tell you anyway. I probably go on a trip every two months, usually only two big/expensive trips a year and a bunch of little trips scattered in between. To many, it seems like I travel a lot. To me, it’s never enough. But I do get asked a lot how I afford to travel.

The kind of trips I take play a big part in affordability. We use Groupon to book our big and out of country trips. The hotel and flight are usually bundled with some other perk and the savings are amazing. We only do these trips once, maybe twice a year, and it’s always during winter. Last year we went to Iceland and this year we went to Portugal. If we do another big trip it will only be because I’m tagging along on one of my boyfriend’s work trips.

I don’t do a lot on the weekends that will cost me money. I know some people enjoy going to the bar with their friends on the weekends, but that’s not exactly my idea of a great time which is where I save money. Instead of dropping $50 on drinks every weekend, that money is saved and put into tiny weekend trips every month or every other month. Traveling is what I enjoy so I choose to stay in most times. The only fun activity I ever really splurge on are concert tickets.

I have a cash back card. I get 1% back on purchases and 1% back when I pay. I take the money I earn from that and use it as spending cash when I’m actually on my trip.

I have two savings accounts. I put money away every month. One savings account is for the future – for a new car, new home, in case of extreme emergencies. The other savings account is for trips, things I want to buy in the future, and extra cash for my checking account which I use to pay my rent, bills, etc.

How I can afford to travel isn’t all that glamorous. I don’t make a lot of money, I don’t have a fancy book of budgeting, I don’t have a top secret website that scores me the best deals. I prioritize what I want to spend money on in my life and then I plan to get the best price – but it works for me so maybe it will work for you too!

5 Don’ts For When You’re Traveling

1. Don’t forget a back up plan

Even trips where you’re winging it require some kind of plan. You never know when the bus you bought tickets for will get delayed and leave you with no ride to the airport (cough, cough, Greyhound).

2. Don’t overpack

Carry ons are really all you need. I usually bring a few pieces I can swap around and create new outfits out of.

3. Don’t forget the do not disturb sign

I don’t know about you guys, but the one thing I hate about hotels is always being intruded on – which is why I prefer airbnb’s. Someone is always knocking to clean or calling to ask something and I just want to be alone!

4. Don’t glue yourself to your phone

My favorite part about going out of the country is only having wifi when I’m chilling in the hotel. I don’t really preach putting your phone down often, but it’s nice when you’re on vacation to enjoy the moment and the people you’re with.

5. Don’t take pictures of everything

Yes, everything is amazing and DO take photos. I have a pretty bad memory so I can usually look back at one photo and get an amazing reminder of a whole day. But you don’t want to travel through a lens. There are plenty of things to do that aren’t instagram worthy or that you can just keep for yourself.

Let me know your tips below!

hc
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grapefruitbrains/

My Trip To The Azores!

I’m back and ready to tell you about my trip to Terceira Island, which is part of the Azores. The Azores are a group of islands off of Portugal and belong to Portugal. I’m sure in Europe they are widely known, but most people from America that I’ve spoken to had never heard about the islands.

To be honest, we hadn’t either when we booked it! We book most of our big trips through Groupon and get great deals, this specific trip went through Groupon to Azores Getaways who helped us plan our transportation, tours, and basically helped us communicate with the hotel and such since we don’t speak Portuguese.

Mostly everyone on the island spoke English and it was extremely easy to get around. Everything was also veryyyy inexpensive. They pay in Euros and their main dishes include fish and beef. It’s an island so lots of fish and they also have a ton of cows. I got a tuna steak with potatoes and veggies for only $13. It was crazy good and crazy cheap.

Things we did:

  1. Bus tour around the island where we got to go to the best view points and explore the other city.
  2. Walking tour of the city we were staying in, Angra Do Heroismo.
  3. Tour of the volcanoes and walking through the lava tubes.
  4. Whale watching – we saw a lot of dolphins and a lot of sea sick people!

Places we ate:

  1. Most notably (and the most referred to us) – Beira Mar had the best seafood and we tried barnacles here!

My favorite parts:

  1. Terceira is green all year round due to the humidity!
  2. The cows are everywhere and soooo cute.
  3. The seafood couldn’t be beat.
  4. Our hotel, Terceira Mar, had an ocean view from every room.
  5. The buildings are so colorful, they’re all works of art.

The Azores are becoming a more and more popular tourist destination, a lot like Iceland. I suggest you try to go to one of the islands in the next few years while you can still enjoy the local flavor! 🙂

You can see some more photos on my Instagram. Have you ever been to any islands in the Azores?

The Hookup On: Preply

Now that I have been traveling more often, I think it’s time that I learn a language other than English. I took one Spanish class for a year once and one French class for a year once and did pretty poorly in each.  I took Italian for three years in high school and was pretty bad at that too. Learning a language really isn’t my thing, but I’m giving it a shot!

Preply.com is an online language-learning service that allows users to connect with tutors from all around the world. You can meet with this tutor via Skype and the lessons are very affordable.

I did my first lesson last night to learn Spanish. I met with my tutor on Skype and we had a one hour session. We did an audio call and she shared a presentation with me and we went over the basics of Spanish such as greetings and the alphabet.

My tutor lives in Venezuela and was very friendly, easy to understand, and relatable. I loved the lessons she laid out for me and feel as though I learned a lot in my first hour! It was so easy to find a tutor and get the session going. I’m looking forward to the rest of my Spanish lessons!

hc

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

My Trip To Vermont!

I took advantage of the three day Labor Day Weekend by visiting Vermont. I had a feeling Vermont would be one of my favorite states and it did not disappoint. It reminded me a lot of Portland, Maine – but better.

Things we did:

  1. Hiked Elmore State Park – a little tough, but a decent hike for beginners. I took a lot of breaks going up because I suck at steep hikes.
  2. Saw the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet – and it was awesome.
  3. Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour – ice cream, need I say more?
  4. Hiked Mount Philo – an easy and scenic loop!

Places we ate:

  1. Penny Cluse – prepare for a long wait, but good breakfast!
  2. Chubby Muffin – we stopped here for some takeaway breakfast before a hike and loved it.
  3. Red Onion – tasty sandwiches for lunch!
  4. Our House – omg sooo many mac n cheese options
  5. Sweet Waters – one of the better places that didn’t have a long wait!

We stayed at an Airbnb in Burlington and college was back in session so it was a little busy, but never really too chaotic. Everyone is very eco-friendly and the scenery was just amazing. Mountains are everywhere and we were lucky to be staying close to Lake Champlain where we watched the sunset. This was one of my favorite weekend trips and I would be so happy to take another trip to Vermont!

The Finger Lakes

Being from NJ, I am mostly limited to New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, etc. for short weekend trips – ones that don’t require me to take off from work.

This past weekend I went to the Finger Lakes with a group of friends and was pleasantly surprised by how much we loved the area.

What we did:

1. Hiked Watkins Glen State Park – the views were AMAZING! And it was a relatively easy hike.

2. Wine Tastings – the Finger Lakes is the Wine Country of the East Coast. Wineries are a must do!

Where we ate:

1. Red Newt Bistro if you like grilled cheese then you need to try their artisanal take on the sandwich!

2. The Lakeside Restaraunt – great view views of Keuka lake and great food!

Wineries:

1. Red Newt – very fun wine tasting and great views!

2. Wagner- awesome views and also has a brewery!

3. Bully Hill – very quirky, great views, and great wine!

The best part of the Finger Lakes was the views of the farms, rolling hills, and stunning lakes. Anything you do there, make sure you’re doing it with a view. All of the places we went were overlooking dreamy lake and hill views.

Have you ever been to New York and visited somewhere outside of NYC?