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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Getting The Most Out Of Your Time Off

Time off is not something we get to enjoy very often, for numerous reasons. There are bills to cover, expenses to be paid, and you can’t be away from work all of the time for that to be possible. That’s why it’s important that you know how to get the most out of your time off and get yourself refreshed and ready to get back to things! There’s no limit on what you can do for enjoyment, whether you have a lot of funds to cover it, or are short and looking for something cheap to do!


Different accommodation

A holiday doesn’t have to be some overly expensive adventure, and there’s a lot you can do to cut those costs down! What’s important is how you plan things, and in this case, it’s your choice of accommodation. Hotels can be a great experience, and the more you pay, the more you’re going to get from your stay there. If you’re looking for a luxury holiday, paying for a fancy hotel is likely going to be your best bet. The only problem with hotels is, it’s far more expensive to stay for a longer duration there than anywhere else, and if you’re looking for a longer period of time away - a hotel is going to limit that!

If you’re the type that doesn’t mind what kind of accommodation they’re going to be going with, and the enjoyment comes from the adventure itself, you might want to consider trying out a hostel! In some cases, you get your own private room - though you’ll likely be sharing a kitchen and a bathroom with other people who are staying there, and you’ll be spending much less money on your stay than you would in a hotel. It’s the perfect option if you’re going to be on the move a lot and don’t mind where you’re staying here and there. Of course, you lack the privacy that you would get with a hotel, but the savings could be worth it!

Another expensive option that you might want to consider is property rental. If you’re traveling with a family and need more space with your stay, it might be cheaper to rent a holiday home than it would be to rent multiple hotel rooms, and you get the whole building to yourself. Depending on where you’re going, there may be many benefits to this! Some homes allow pets, some have their own pool, some are right on the beach! It’s a great option if you’re planning a pricey holiday with the family, but want to save some money.

What suits you

Accommodation aside, getting a holiday right means figuring out what you’re going to do while you’re away, and you need to plan everything else around that. For some people, the ideal holiday is getting out there to see and experience everything that you possibly can! That might sound expensive, but it can be cheaper than staying in one place if you know how to carry yourself! Picking out cheap accommodation, bringing only a few belongings with you, and knowing how to take care of your necessities means that you don’t have to rely so much on paid guides and shelter!

If you don’t want to have to figure everything out for yourself, and would rather be shown around to see what’s interesting, there are holiday packages that you can invest in, where you’ll have a place to stay organized, and your events planned out! It can be good if you’re not really sure what you want, and you would prefer to get an experience recommended by someone else - but these tend to be more expensive. If you have your own ideas of what you want to do, a guided holiday isn’t for you!

Sometimes going far away from home isn’t the only great way to spend your time off, sometimes it’s good to do things while you’re at home instead! You don’t have to spend so much money on having a good time, and there’s likely plenty for you to do not so far from your home! You can find plenty of staycation ideas online, and you’d be surprised how much you can enjoy what’s around you if you haven’t already considered it!

Try something different

One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re having time off is pushing yourself to try out something new for yourself! People often feel safer in their comfort zone, and would prefer not to do things that they’re not familiar with - but you could be seriously limiting your enjoyment! You could set yourself a goal while you’re off of work to try out something different, you never know what you might learn about yourself!

Picking company

The company that you choose for your time off can make the world of difference, and it’s important that you pick it right! Consider if you’re going to another country, you’re going to be with that person the whole time you’re there! Your wants have to line up with theirs, else the holiday can become difficult. Some people prefer to take their vacations alone, and it can be easier to get around and save money like that. You only have to keep your plans, meals, and accommodation in mind - which means you’re free to spend or save whenever you want to!

Pack for the occasion

If you’ve planned your vacation to be spent in another country, how you pack for it is very important, and you should be sure not to overpack. If you’re staying in a hotel, and you’re confident that you’ll be able to get your luggage there, you don’t have much of a problem. However, if you’re planning to be on the move a lot, it can be very difficult to bring a lot of bags and suitcases with you. Some people prefer to pack very light and fit all that they’re bringing into a backpack with them. A few changes of clothes travel documents, some money, and their electrical devices with charges - that’s all you need to bring with you, and other things can be bought while you’re there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Pros of Vacation Rentals

Right now traveling isn't really that much of thing, because most things aren't open, so this is the time to super relax. Our road trip was a lot of driving around, stopping at viewpoints and parks, then chilling at our rental. If nothing else, this is the time to splurge on some extras. 

As a budget traveler, being able to save money on food and saving my sanity is very important. Here are my 6 reasons to choose a vacation rental.

Generally, we use out timeshare when we travel, unless there isn't one where we've chosen to go or we take the dog. When this happens, I check out Airbnb {<--use that link for $40 off!}. There's a time and a place to opt for a hotel, but as a budget traveler, being able to save money on food and saving my sanity by not being in everyone's pocket 24/7 is very important. Here are my 6 reasons to choose a vacation rental.

You get a kitchen

This means you can cook your own meals! Now, keep in mind, I don't go on vacation to cook, especially since cool new foods are the best part of traveling to me. I do, however, hate getting up super early, so I tend to load up on breakfast foods. This allows me to spend a little more time in bed, plus I save money on morning dining. We usually spend at least one dinner in, either making something easy or eating leftovers, which we were able to bring back, because we have a fridge and an oven.

In many rentals we've stayed in, they've also included grills, so we could BBQ if we wanted. This is great if you are traveling in the warmer months. If you travel with kids, having a place to prepare and store foods can be imperative for your sanity and saving money.

You (generally) have a separate bedroom

Listen, I don't need to have a different room with a bed, but it's nice. I'll settle for separate, defined spaces, just so I can get away from my travelmate(s) for a minute. I adore my husband, but we don't always want to be in each other's faces. A hotel room normally has a bed and one chair. If you're lucky, you get a tiny table or a desk. Even if you bring back leftovers, you can't really sit anywhere comfortable. If you have to do work or just want to play on your laptop, there's not a good place to do that either. 

I don't always go to bed at the same time as people I travel with. It's nice to have a table where I can type away, a couch to relax on, a bed for sleeping purposes that doesn't also double as a terrible chair, or a room where I can just hang out alone in that isn't the bathroom. 

You can choose your amenities

I have a small list of must-haves when I travel: WiFi, TV, a shower (if I'm traveling to Europe where not all places have one), and laundry facilities. I get these things in a timeshare property, but I can also choose these things specifically when searching for a vacation rental. For example, we're going to Edinburgh and London in the fall and I want to pack light. Because of this, it's especially helpful to have access to a washer and dryer. I've had to go to the laundromat in the past and while it wasn't the most annoying thing, it cost quite a bit in London. 

You can choose your price range

Sure, you can do this with hotels, but for the same price, you can search for a vacation rental that is in a location desirable to you, plus includes all the amenities you hope to get in a place to stay. If you can get all this for the same price or a little more, you're still saving money on baggage fees, food, laundry, and possibly entertainment, because you have room to spread out and play games and/or watch movies.

You can feel at home

This is the number one reason I enjoy a vacation rental over a hotel. Feeling weirdly displaced when you travel is hard. I like to feel like my space is a home. I don't need a maid to come in and clean up after me every day. I want my space to feel cozy and comfy and lived in. I can make a rental feel like my home until I leave. I can spread out my stuff, not worry about anyone coming in to clean (where I have to clear up things before I leave each morning). 

Having what equates to a small home or apartment makes me feel like I'm a traveler instead of a tourist. Like I'm living like a local. Some come with free parking, some are in buildings with extra security, some have pools or gyms. The best part is that if you don't want these things, you rent a different place and don't pay for them, unlike when you stay in a hotel that offers them for everyone.

You have a true local on-call

One thing you usually don't think about is having someone you can contact for an inside look at your destination. Yes, there's the front desk or concierge at a hotel, but when you rent from a local, it's easy to pick their brain to find out where they like to go and what they'd recommend seeing to an out-of-towner. They probably aren't rich and they certainly don't get kick-backs for pointing you in the direction of an activity or restaurant. Some live steps away or welcome calls/texts or leave detailed folders with all the cool stuff for you to peruse. I always get awesome suggestions this way. Our most recent rental had a welcome website that included a whole list of all the restaurants and their hours and websites. 

Vacation rentals are a lot safer than a lot of hotels right now, too, because there aren't dozens of rooms that staff has to clean. There's just one place with several rooms. You're usually asked to do a bit of clean-up before you leave to make this easier. I know that Oregon and Washington has strict Covid rules for vacation rentals, meaning there's plenty of time for owners to get everything cleaned before another renter checks in. 

Before we left, we were asked to wash towels, any blankets used for the dog on furniture, and start the dishwasher. We put blankets in the washer before bed on our last night, then I got up, moved them to the dryer, tossed our towels in the wash, then finished loading the dishwasher, started it and turned off all the lights before we checked ourselves out. 

What are your favorite reasons to choose a rental over a hotel?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Packing Light for a Large Wardrobe

I am a believer in packing light. I have packed all sorts of ways and I've decided that packing less leaves me less stressed, I have less to carry and fewer things to deal with. I almost never come home with items that were never worn, because I pack carefully and with intention, so everything goes with everything else and I can mix and match each piece I bring along.

Packing light can leave you less stressed, have less to carry, and fewer things to deal with. Here's how to do it.

If you are worried that not packing outfits per day and matching shoes for each one is going to be your downfall, think of how much happier you'll be when you aren't lugging that 58 lb bag that you also have to check and waste $25+ each way on. It's actually much easier to practice packing light when you're just doing socially-responsible road trips. I like making my life easier and only having a handful of items in my bag definitely makes it simple to find something to wear each morning and gets me out of the door faster. I make a list before I start packing of what I will need and then choose a few of my favorite pieces and go from there.

fall travel wardrobe

We live in Oregon, so we tend to own quite a bit of Columbia clothing. It's long-lasting, feels great and is perfect for packing, because it's lightweight and moisture-wicking. I have several key pieces that work for most climates. 

Columbia can be spendy, but I recommend buying on sale. You may also want to check out REI, Backcountry, ExOfficio, Lucy (for women) or Anatomie (also for women). Items made with soy or bamboo are great for warmer climates, because they are odor resistant. You might also like linen for the breathability. There are lots of great travel brands out there and many don't even look like they are, so you don't stick out as a tourist, but are still comfortable in the heat (or the cold, depending on when you travel).

I also am a layer-er. I always travel with a scarf/wrap a lightweight jacket and a cardigan or two. This way I'm covered if it gets cooler at our destination and for the chills on the plane. It may seem silly, but on the plane I wear a pair of stretchy jeans, comfortable slip-on shoes, a t-shirt, a cardigan and a scarf. If it gets warm, I can shed some layers, but if it's cold, I'm set. I have this awesome HappyLuxe wrap that I can also use as a blanket. In fact, I can wear it as a scarf while also covering my lap if my legs are cold.

Layering also gives you the ability to wear part of your travel outfit at your destination, so I always dress with that in mind. I work with three bottoms and four-five tops total. When they all go together, you have 12-15 different outfits. You can see how I've made different looks with each of these tops and bottom combinations.

I usually toss in an easy dress  that can work for day and night, then go with just two pair of shoes. Both should be great for walking and at least one of them should work for your dress. On our road trip, I packed my pair of Arcopedico booties and wore a pair of sneakers/walking shoes. Both pair went with everything I packed, so I mixed it up each day depending on the weather. 

summer travel wardrobe

I try not to pack shoes that might be too constrictive, because then if my feet swell, I'm SOL and uncomfortable. Of course, I bring a pair of compression socks to wear while I'm hanging out in my room, but that doesn't do me any good if it's hot and my shoes don't work with socks.

Throw some accessories in your bag to give you some other options. A sunhat works for when I'm somewhere with a lot of sun and I'd like to keep my face from turning into a lobster (even with sunscreen this can happen pretty easily). A good piece of jewelry can literally turn a day dress into a nighttime one, especially if it's a cute little black dress, which is what I take with me everywhere. It's a wrap dress by Lucy Activewear, so it's breathable and sporty feeling, but can be dressed up a bit for a nice dinner. Easy! 

Now all your clothes fit in a carry-on. You know where all your things are. You don't have to wait at the carousel for your luggage. You don't have to pay baggage fees. You don't have to break your back trying to get your bag up stairs or out of the car or in the overhead (when we get back on planes). Now, you just need to get working on making your toiletries lighter.

What are your biggest issues with packing light?

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