Confession: I’m on Bumble and I’m also in a committed relationship. Before you start judging me, let me clarify that I’m on Bumble BFF. Why? Well, I recently moved to Colorado and am having a hard time meeting new girl friends (I think my boyfriend is getting pretty tired of me talking to him about The Bachelorette). Anyway, one interesting thing I’ve noticed using Bumble to look for friends versus. a hookup/boyfriend (I said it, we’ve all been there. Don’t lie.) is that I read the person’s biography 100% of the time. No more swiping based on looks, age, and occupation alone. And what’s interesting about that is that I’ve clearly learned what the majority of 25-34 year old females in the Denver, CO area enjoy doing.
- Drinking wine
- Drinking beer, margaritas, mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, martinis, cocktails, you get the idea
- TRAVELING (and drinking)
No wonder I can’t find any friends. Just kidding. But seriously, I’ve been amazed at the recent phenomenon of what I like to call the “Millennial travel bug.” Part of me wonders if this is self-perpetuating cycle, if people now feel somewhat obligated to travel to fit in with their peers, but this is not a philosophical blog so I will move on. The point is, that whether I’ve been subconsciously trained to want to see the world or whether it’s just the fact that travel is so much cheaper/more accessible now with sites like AirBnB, it doesn’t matter. I’m infected with the travel bug, and I would bet money that if you’re between the ages of 21 – 35, you have too.
The good news? You don’t have to wait until you’re retired to travel. There are plenty of travel hacks that make it possible to explore the world while on a budget. The key: BE FLEXIBLE. Don’t tell yourself that you absolutely have to travel to Disney World (or wherever) next year. If you pigeon hole yourself into only wanting to go to one specific place at a specific time, you’re likely going to have to pay… a lot. For example, this year I’ve traveled to Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona and San Diego, California. The round trip airfare for two people cost less than $200 for each trip. Later this year my boyfriend and I are going on a 10-day guided tour of China. The trip, including flights and 4 or 5 star hotel accommodations, was only $499/person.
OK, enough lead up. Here are the 5 Travel Hacks. 🙂
- Travel during the “offseason.” I mentioned Disney World. Don’t go during the peak traffic times. You can find much cheaper flights and hotels during the winter months (excluding the holidays), and late August/September because it’s hurricane season. This is just an example. We went to the Grand Canyon in February. It was cold, snowy and maybe not as ideal of conditions as later in the spring. But we paid next to nothing on hotel accommodations, and got some pretty sweet pictures of the Grand Canyon covered in snow. 🙂
- Find cheap flights! I personally subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights. I haven’t booked any flights from using his service yet, but it’s cheap enough that I recommend it. Google Flights or Kayak are also great tools to scout cheap flights. If you’re lucky enough to live near an airport that flies Frontier or one of the other cheap airlines like Spirit or JetBlue, take advantage and sign up for travel alerts! I found fares from Denver to San Diego for $19/one way.
- Utilize sites like Cheap Caribbean and TravelZoo to find awesome deals. There are plenty out there, but I personally love the “TravelZoo Top 20” – it’s a weekly curated list of the 20 best travel/vacation deals. This is where I found the amazing China deal. You can sign up here (I believe you have to create an account, but it is 100% free.) CheapCaribbean.com is another good one for a tropical escape, and I’ve also booked cruises using PrestigeCruises.com (often, if they’re running a great deal it’ll make it onto the TravelZoo Top 20 anyway.)
- House sit/find a job/volunteer. My boyfriend has traveled to more countries that I can count on both hands (probably double that actually!) because he coached football in Europe and then traveled the rest of the world during the offseason. “I’m not a football coach, Julie” – I can hear you thinking this. Do you speak English? If you Google “teach English abroad” you’ll be amazed at the opportunities. Another option is to house sit for pet owners who want to travel themselves. Devan and I met a couple in Colorado who travels all around the world to pet sit for usually very rich people who live in mansions and drive around fancy European cars. Here is one of the most popular sites to connect house sitters with pet owners. Full-time remote jobs are also becoming more and more popular – WeWorkRemotely is a great site to find remote work! Finally, finding a non-profit or church that organizes mission trips or other volunteer efforts abroad can be another great option to kill two birds with one stone – you’ll feel great about giving back and have an awesome reason to travel! Googling “travel through volunteering” will give you a place to start if you don’t have an organization in mind already. 🙂
- Don’t forget about the United States. Australia, Europe, and Hong Kong are all on my list of places I’d like to travel. But… even with a good flight deal, it’ll still be fairly expensive to get to and require a significant amount of time off to make it worth it. So instead of international travel, I’ve focused a lot on what there is to see in the United States; sometimes it’s easy to forget how much beauty there is even in our own backyard. I went on an Alaskan cruise that was absolutely amazing, and the beaches in Florida are pretty darn similar to Mexico or the Bahamas. Heck, I have a list of 10 things I want to do just in Colorado (where I currently live!) The bottom line is: if you can’t afford to take a trip internationally just yet, don’t let that discourage you! Find something within a road trip’s distance, buy a tent and camp or find a cheap hotel deal on a site like Priceline.com (the Express Deals & Name Your Own Price are awesome ways to save a few bucks!)
Ready, set, travel!!! 🙂 Do you have any travel hacks that I didn’t mention? Share them!