Travel tips: by car or plane

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Traveling, if done right can give you new experiences, viewpoints and perspectives of every aspect of life. With so much to gain, how do travelers and jet setters squeeze all the joy, wonder and knowledge out of each of their trips? Well, I have an answer that may sound boring, but everyone needs to do some work before they have some fun.

Planning and researching where you’re traveling will help you get the most out of your travel experiences. I have some great tips and tricks that will really help you and your travel buddies have the best experiences anywhere you go.

The first step to a flawless and enjoyable trip is deciding where you want to go. It’s good to target what you want to do and then find a location with all those experiences. So if you want to go to the beach, eat seafood and maybe have a lot of fun day excursions, you can search for a beach place near a city. Last summer a couple of my friends and I stayed in Mississippi right by the beach and only an hour drive away from New Orleans, so we got to have the ocean and the culture and fun experiences that NOLA has to offer.

After you select your location, hop on AirBnb or Vrbo. These websites are a great way to travel cheap and with a lot of people. They offer millions of different places you and your friends can rent out for a range of prices. When I stayed in Mississippi we ended up only paying $80 each between the four of us for a private house down the street from a beach for 5 days. In comparison, a beach-side hotel room costs around $100 a night, doesn’t have a full kitchen and doesn’t have the local feel to it.

Some things to keep an eye out for, however, is the location of the house and the house features. There will be a way to check both and make sure the house fits all of your wants and needs. There’s also a feature that lets you chat with the house owner – most of whom are super responsive and sweet. Not only does renting out a house for your trip save you money in general, but it also saves you money when it comes to food. Food is a huge expense when traveling, but with a house you and your friends can choose to stay in certain nights and cook for yourself, knocking around $20 a night off of your trip budget.

Now that your location is pinpointed and booked, take a look at the area you’re staying in. I love to stay in local small towns and allow myself a day to try local food places and shop around the town square. This is also a great time to get your friends and family back home some souvenirs. I like to buy a bunch of postcards of the scenery around me and give those to my family. Postcards are usually an easy find and also super easy to make personal and cute for anyone’s house. For local food you can look in local newspapers and find featured restaurants, or you can also talk to the house owners from Airbnb, they always have great suggestions.

After you have your itinerary and logistics planned out, you have to figure out how you’re getting there. Being from the  Midwest, I am always up for a road trip, even if it is a two-day drive. If you do choose to drive, go on to Google Maps and trace out your route beforehand. Then you can look at gas stops and fun things to do on the way. A great website to use when driving is called GasBuddy. This website will calculate your gas cost round trip based on the make and model of the car you’re taking. That way you can all budget gas payments into the cost of your trip.

If you chose to fly, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Wednesdays – aim for booking the flight as early in advance as possible. The closer the date gets for your flight, the more expensive a ticket will be. If you have a layover, you should look up a map of the airport and track where your gate will be, that way when you land you will know where you’re going and what is around you if you wanted to grab a quick snack.

Also, you can google your flight number and pull up your landing and departure time as well as the gate numbers, this is a super great feature if you are meeting someone at the airport. You can just text them your flight number and not have to worry about keeping them updated on delays. There’s are millions of other tips I could offer when it comes to flying that will make your trip so much smoother, but that’s a whole other article.

The biggest thing to remember when travelling is to have fun and relax. Travelling is the most fun when you do things you want to do, so if you want to lay on the beach for 10 hours straight, do it, and don’t feel pressured to do everything all at once on your schedule.

Remember to make it an adventure and take in the area along with the people you are with. Don’t forget to live in the moment – and pack for every moment.

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