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Saturday, April 30, 2022

National Travel & Tourism Week

National Travel and Tourism Week starts tomorrow, so I wanted to kick it off by talking about some of my favorite budget travel tips and destinations, and then destinations I have on my short list. Then, hopefully, you all can tell me about the places you've loved and would love to go to in the comments.

My Faves

While we haven't been super world travelers, we have gone to some pretty great places. I love going to new destinations and learning about different people and cultures and history. Some of my favorite places have been:
  • London - Clearly, since we've visited 3 times now and will go back again.
  • Edinburgh - Everything there is gorgeous and I can't wait to go back and also travel around other parts of Scotland.
  • Ecuador - I'd narrow this down to just Quito, but the country is beautiful and the people are lovely and the food is delicious (and really cheap).
  • Williamsburg, VA - Growing up nearby probably helped, but this little town is quaint and historic, plus Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens are must-dos.
  • San Diego - I love California and have been to some amazing towns there. San Diego has it all: a big city with a small city vibe, walkability, green spaces, great food. You name it!
  • Victoria, BC - This beautiful town has a little bit of everything for everyone. It feels a bit European, but it's more accessible. 
  • Philadelphia - I could have spent a few more weeks in this city, exploring the waterfront and city art. 

My Short Wish List

We've been including an extra trip in our schedules to get away from the bleak winters that can seem to drag on. Last January we went to Tucson, AZ and we already have next year planned. Here are some of my next trip wishes:
  • Palm Springs, CA - We'll be visiting with my mom in January 2023.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Austin, TX - I think we may get there in January 2024.
  • Toronto
  • Sacramento - Yes, we've been there before, but we have family there and the city is super cute. We'd like to spend more time there.
  • Denver - I know there's more to see in the Mile High City, but we have been talking about going to visit the Meow Wolf installation there.
  • Albuquerque - There is the original Meow Wolf installation here, and we also have friends who have moved to Las Cruces to visit.

Some Budget-Friendly Travel Tips

I have a load of travel tips that can help you save money and time. Here are just a few:
  • Use Turo - Traditional rental car companies are great, but rates can also be crazy high, especially right now when they still don't have full fleets, and during the high season. If you can't find a good deal, try renting from an individual. I use the Turo app whenever I need to rent a car to see if I can support a person instead of a corporation.
  • Book attractions ahead of time - So, I'm a big proponent of having as much planned and taken care of before I leave for vacation, but booking ahead of time can actually save you a lot of money, since many places have online discounts.
  • Make lunch your main meal - You know I love eating. I keep snacks in my day bag. I plan whole days around where I want to dine. I always look for street food. I'm sure, like me, you like to go to nice restaurants when you travel. For these, I try to make lunch reservations for these places, because you get the same great food, but at lower prices.
  • Pack light - Carry-on packing is the only way I travel now. If I do check a bag, it's only for coming home from a trip with extra things I've purchased. I have perfected planning a small capsule wardrobe for each trip, which you can do, too, with a little practice. 
  • Travel in the off-season (or shoulder season) - High season is the most expensive time to travel and visit destinations. You'll also be looking at crowded attractions and activities. Look to travel outside of that timeframe and save money on airfare, accommodations, and even rental cars. You'll also save time, even if opening hours are shorter, because there will be shorter lines and fewer people everywhere. 
I hope you're excited about your next trips and doing them better, even on a budget. Tell me where you're going or where you enjoyed going in the past.

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