Travel, When in

5 Ways to Save On Your Next Trip

We are so ready to get back to travelling both domestically and internationally. There are so many places we have yet to explore but we’re waiting until it’s 100% safe to travel. In the meantime, we’ve been planning and budgeting for our next trip. The budgeting part can be the hardest as we want to save money but get the most from our experiences and “do it all” while we are away. I curated our top 5 tips on how to save money when planning your next trip. The tips will save you hundreds if not thousands on your next vacation so there will be less money stress and more fun and relaxation during your vacation.

  1. Use Airline Miles: We ALL have a bunch of airlines miles saved up since the pandemic started. Now is the time to cash in!! Review your miles and cash them in for seats, hotel stays, or rental cars. For example you could travel domestically or to the Caribbean for 10,000 miles or less. By doing this you will end up only paying for government mandated taxes and fees. NOTE: Watch out for blackout dates; typically certain holidays throughout the year.
  2. Book A Rental Condo: Instead of a hotel try out a rental condo which gives you more space and the ability to live like a local during your trip. Plus condos are more affordable than hotels especially if its a family vacation with lots of people. Plus, you’ll have your own kitchen so you’ll save money by eating at “home” and its a creates the opportunity to gather around the table with your family.
  3. Travel Off – Peak: Book your trip during non-holidays, i.e. the week before or after to save hundreds of dollars. Not only are these times cheaper, there will be less crowds or the dreaded “we over booked the flight, anyone want to volunteer their seat?” speech (we’ve all heard that before). Plus there will be smaller crowds and shorter lines at popular tourist destinations like museums, amusements parks, etc. Additional savings: tickets for popular tourist destinations will also be cheaper!
  4. Deals Guide the Way: If your on the hunt for a great deal, then let the deal send you to your next destination. Instead of trying to make your budget fit your destination, let a trip deal determine where you will go. There are great deals for the places least travelled so its a great opportunity to see something new and expand your experiences. But these deals come and go fast so set up email alerts so you’ll be ready to book ASAP. This strategy is perfect for saving on your next trip and many include airfare and lodging so its a win-win!
  5. Stick to Your Budget: The best way to save money is to stick to your budget. Research how much air travel, lodging and experiences will cost and stick to it! Its easy to get lost in new offers or 1 extra experience during your trip. But by paying for that extra luxury, you can easily eliminate your cost savings and possibly go over budget. Travel budgets are easy to create in excel or use any of the numerous templates online. Don’t forget to include expenses for food and souvenirs!

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Travel, When in

6 Reasons To Keep A Travel Journal

As we look forward to some travel this year, why not start a travel journal? This is the perfect way to capture all your experiences not just through photographs but also on paper. Travel journals are the perfect companion for any traveller, small enough to fit in any carry-on and last a lifetime. Its the perfect conversation piece for friends and family. There are a bunch of reasons why you should carry a travel but here are just a few of my favorite reasons:

  1. Capture memories, trip details and emotions
  2. Self Awareness and personal development
  3. Pre-trip research, references and tips
  4. Trip Guide and experience log
  5. Important Info and Contacts
  6. A great souvenir

How To Start A Travel Journal

When you’re starting out, keep things simple. Personalize your journal and customize it to show who your are. Choose a layout that fits the flow of your travel experience with room to grow. Sections for tickets, travel schedules, sketches, people you met, best experiences, and summary pages are just a few of the options to put in your journal. Not an artist, no problem! Give travel stickers a try. There are plenty of Pinterest flatlays to give you some ideas. But don’t let it overwhelm you with its picture-perfect journals packed with wise quotes and beautiful sketches. Make your journal perfectly you!

Buy a simple journal that you won’t mind getting a little dirty from your travel adventures. A small A5 leather bound journal is a perfect addition to your suitcase. It’s better to have an imperfect journal that’s yours than none at all. Don’t forget to add a spot for a pen or pencil so your not searching for one while your having the best time of your life.

Keep it honest. Be truthful with yourself and don’t sugar-coat or aim for what you think a travel journal should be like. Let it be yours – and let it reflect the good, the bad and the ugly of your travels. A journal is a record of experiences – not a perfect narrative waiting to be published. But if you do get it published…..what a great story it will tell!! Safe travels!

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Family, Surviving Chaos

Surviving Chaos: Brain Quest Workbooks

Brain Quest Workbooks

Need to keep your kids busy on long flights but keep them learning? Check out Brain Quest workbooks! These workbooks are my absolute favorite busy activity for our kids when we are training. Why? The are small and compact, no pen or paper needed, fit easily in our carry-on, and it helps our kids continue learning. Our kids love the quiz style format of the workbooks and all the fun illustrations throughout. I have been known to bring these out on weeknights when I am trying to get dinner ready. #survivingchaos

Each Brain Quest deck is a fast-paced question-and-answer game that challenges kids on the stuff they need to know, when they need to know it. The workbooks are jam-packed with curriculum-based activities, exercises, games and challenges, all in full color. There is workbook for each grade level from pre-kindergarten thru 6th grade. These will keep them busy for hours!

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Family, Surviving Chaos

Loving Abroad

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

When my husband first started traveling, I thought I was prepared and would be comfortable while he was absent. The beginning trips were small, 2-3 days but as his achievements in career progressed, the business trips grew longer to 5 days and now 7 full days. When his role expanded to a global position, not only were the trips longer but we also had to coordinate the time difference, which really hindered phone calls. I thought I was prepared for this type of separation -I wasn’t. It was harder than I expected , sometimes more than I was able to handle and more than I wanted to deal with. So I needed to be creative…..how could stay connected while we were so far apart? So, I started putting cards with hand written notes in his suitcase. While he was busy working on logistics of his trip, I would go and hide them in his suitcase. I became an expert at finding good hiding places in his suitcase…..between shirts, inside shirt sleeves, in his toiletry bag, inside a pant leg, etc. The possibilities were endless! And these cards were not your run of the mill cards; I would specifically choose cards that were quirky, odd, funny, romantic or matched whatever was happening in our lives at that moment. He was so thrilled to receive a card and find it in the most unsuspecting places and when he was least expecting it. He would call me and tell me what part of his trip (or where he was in the world) when he found it and how he found the card, which was always the best part and the most hilarious! Thus started our tradition of writing cards to each other whenever one of us was traveling. He has kept every single card I have given him…..a whole drawer full (he travels a lot!) These cards gave me the opportunity to write all the things I hadn’t had time to say or the courage to say. To make up for missed opportunities. The idea of him reading a heartfelt note about what was on mind and on my heart brought me comfort over long distances and during the long separations.

Although I would write all kinds of things in his cards…appreciation, thanks, funny stories, etc, it wasn’t always about the content. It was more about receiving a personal note from a loved one, a small token of affection, or that I took the time during all the chaos to write something especially for him. If this note was going to be the last thing he would see or my last opportunity to say what was on my heart, why would I not take that opportunity? I encourage you to find ways to connect with spouse during travel times. What may seem like a small gesture or insignificant action makes a huge impact on someone else. It definitely gets us through the long trips and tougher parts of having a traveling spouse. How do you stay connected during times of travel?

Family, Surviving Chaos

A B Choo Choo!

An ABC train is loads of fun! This was one of my first DIY kids projects when we my husband first started traveling. I needed a way to not only keep the kids entertained while I made dinner but also get them to learn something!! A few pieces colorful construction, laminating sheets (for durability) and creativity made this project a breeze. And as an added benefit, when we started traveling as a family, the ABC train came in handy as it was easy to pack in a carry-on for long plane rides or road trips. Its a win-win!

To make it, cut out 26 wheels (they can be any color) and label them with the ABCs. Next cut out the boxcars and add 3 letters per boxcar (or 1 or 2-its up to you!). As for the locomotive (or engine), I drew it by hand; there are lots of free locomotive printables online if free hand drawing is not your thing. Laminate all you pieces and voila!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • Let the kids help cut out the all the pieces; keeps them busy for while and helps their scissor skills
  • Change the letters to numbers
  • Use sight words on the boxcars instead of letters. This is perfect for kiddos learning how to spell!
  • These also make great letter recognition flash cards
  • Put it in zip loc bag: it keeps the pieces together, an added layer of protection from spills and it’s TSA friendly