Monday, May 16, 2016

How To Plan A Travel Adventure


So I haven't posted in while because I've been crazy busy buying plane tickets and booking Airbnbs, packing everything I own into cardboard boxes and sending bags of old clothes to Goodwill. Why? Next week I'll be getting on a plane and spending three months across Europe and Africa. I'll be going to Iceland, France, Poland, Italy, Morocco and Spain….

…and then I'm moving to NYC!!

(So hey if you know any open jobs/places to live in New York around mid-August, LET ME KNOW!)

This trip has been my DREAM for so long, and every time I talk to people about it they inevitably give me one of two responses- they either say they've been to one of the countries I'm headed to and loved it, or they say they wish they could go. To everyone who wants to travel as much as I do…

Why not??

I honestly believe that no matter what your situation, there is a way to get where you want to go. Whether you have a disability and need to take a different method of transportation, or whether your significant other can't work away from home and you need to take shorter trips… There's always a way if you want it enough and are willing to make little sacrifices.

FIRST, FIGURE OUT where you want to go. Where do you dream of when you hear the phrases "travel," "vacation," or "getaway"? Get inspired. You can go ANYWHERE. So where the fuck do you want to go?? Paris, London, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Tunisia, Nairobi, Hong Kong…. There are no limits! I mean, for the most part. I don't recommend heading somewhere that will be dangerous for you because of political/religious/social tensions... But anyways.

Print out pictures and stick them on your walls. Make the background of your computer screen a shot of your dream location. Create lists of places you want to check out while you're visiting. Tell people you're going and make the whole thing REAL. All this inspiration will help keep you accountable as you're working towards your goals.

START PLANNING. Doing things like buying plane tickets a few months in advance can save you a few hundred dollars! You don't have to create an entire itinerary for your trip, but planning at least a bit ahead can help the whole trip go a bit more smoothly. Do you need to take time off work? Let whoever is in charge of that know so you're sure it'll be possible. Is there a holiday, family event or friends' birthday you want to be home for? Mark it in your calendar.

YOU'LL NEED TO BUDGET like crazy. Well, not that crazy, but money is often people's biggest hurdle for travel. The thing that often goes unnoticed is that it's not about how much money you have, it's about how many sacrifices you're willing to make to travel. Take something in your life you're spending money on and figure out if you can pry any money away from that to put towards your trip. Do you go out to eat a lot? Maybe start cooking more at home. If you don't want to lose the social aspect, invite some friends over to help! Are you paying for any kind of subscription service you don't really need or use? Cancel it and put that money aside, baby! Every dollar counts when you're traveling, as it's easy to travel cheap, but you have to cut the luxuries sometimes.

There may be things that are non-negotiable for you. I love sitting in coffee shops to get work done, although it saves me money to work from home and make my own coffee. I balance this out by buying black coffee or tea (the cheapest options) and making the most of my cafe time, as well as limiting myself to one or two times per week.

some vague money saving tips I've learned this year:

  • In Seattle there are a lot of ways to save change- riding your bike to a coffee shop, bringing your own cup, toting your own bags to the grocery store... utilize these things! They add up! I'm sure you can find these type of deals in your city.
  • Be a regular! A lot of places offer coffee cards or similar discounts when you frequent their establishments. Of course, making your own of anything is usually cheaper, but if you have to go out, at least be smart about it.
  • Choose cheaply. Do you need a 5$ cappuccino or would a $1.50 coffee do it for you? Shop at thrift stores instead of buying new clothes. There is nearly always a less expensive option. 
  • Buy things in bulk. It's always cheaper.
  • You never need as much as you think. Of anything. Guys, this has become my motto recently. Every time you shower, you probably could use half the amount of shampoo. Do you need 10 different body products or would a simple bar of soap and lotion be fine? Do you need 8 different t-shirts or could you par it down to 5? Do you really need to wash your jeans every time you wear them? There are so many ways to save just a little bit of money, and slowly, it will add up!
  • Bike or walk when you can instead of paying for gas or bus fare.
  • It's okay to splurge sometimes. Maybe you want to take a friend out to dinner to celebrate her promotion, or you want to treat yourself to a manicure. Perhaps your favorite band comes to town and you spend $100 on front row seats. These kinds of things are fine, because as much as it's important to save, you've also got to live a little- just remember not to go crazy!

Though these switches might not always be convenient or your first choice, won't it be so worth it when you're in Mexico, exploring rust-colored canyons at dawn, or in the Amazonian rainforest listening to the life of the plants and animals? Hot damn, I think so!

IT'S BEST TO LEARN ABOUT the place/places you're headed to. You don't have to know the year the country gained independence or who the founders of the city were, nothing like that. But you should have a general idea of the political situation of the country, especially in relation to your own, and a general knowledge of the culture. As a woman I know there are some places I need to be more careful about what I'm wearing (while visiting a Chinese temple in Singapore I was asked to wrap a scarf around my bare legs and shoulders before entering). If you need to drive while you're abroad, check the legality of that. Details are important!

I actually was going to stay for 3 months in each of the countries I'm visiting initially, because I thought the Schengen area laws stated you could do that. Then I re-read everything and realized you can only stay 3 months in the entire Schengen area without a visa... So, it's a good idea to check out all the visa rules and travel laws!

PLAN YOUR TRIP SMART. To me, staying in hotels defeats a lot of the purpose of travelling. You're isolated, away from the locals, and it's more expensive! I'm WWOOFing (volunteering to work on organic farms in exchange for a place to stay & a few meals), Airbnb-ing, and staying in hostels or with friends. I might couch surf if I need to. I'm really excited about WWOOFing because I really care about organic farming and learning about that world, but I'm also glad because it doesn't cost anything. Traveling cheaply and staying with locals is my idea of a beautiful adventure!

FINALLY, MAKE IT HAPPEN. Pack your bags, say your goodbyes and get on that plane!

I am going to try to blog as much as I can and take as many photographs as possible, but it may not be a priority (and in a lot of places I might not have an internet connection). Once I get to New York I'll be pursing all sorts of things, but you can bet I'll still be blogging my heart out hoping to inspire the masses to live BIG. 

And again… if you or anyone you know is willing to host a broke adventuress for a week or so at the end of August in NYC, let me know!! Or if you just want to grab coffee and chat. :)

I am so, so excited. This dream of mine has been a silk scarf flying in the wind, slippery and hard to hold on to, but I've finally caught it and I am ELATED to have it finally within my grasp. I cannot WAIT to share this crazy journey with you guys.

Let the adventure begin!


  1. Hope you have an amazing time! Can't wait to read about your trips and adventures!