Let's Connect!


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Necessary Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are coming and that means braving the crowds and being ready for all the extra headaches that come along with it, including delayed and even cancelled flights. Soon you'll join the millions of people traveling to visit friends and family or, if you're lucky, going on a winter getaway. I definitely approve of those, because the holidays can be stressful and getting away from everything is always nice and relaxing.

The airport during the holidays is a madhouse and security lines can be longer than usual, here's how to get through them with more ease.

The airport during the holidays is a madhouse and security lines can be longer than usual, so let's talk about how to get through them with as little annoyance as possible (at least when it comes to yourself). This year will see a lot more delayed and cancelled flights due to pilot and crew shortages. 

Sign up for TSA PreCheck

You probably have time to apply for PreCheck and get approved before the holidays, since the government has restarted processing applications. For $85, you get 5 years of bypassing the main security lines and going through a much shorter line with less strict rules. You can keep your jacket, hat, belt and shoes on and your laptop and toiletries can stay in your bag. When we were up for renewal, we decided to upgrade to Global Entry, which works internationally and also includes domestic PreCheck for just $100. We used it on our trip back from France and we were able to use the Global Entry monitors and skipped the long customs line and ended up going straight to an agent while everyone else was waiting. Both of these require you to go through a Federal background check for approval.

Get There Early
Longer lines mean longer wait times and the holidays means more traffic. Don't cut it too close to get to the airport. Give yourself at least two to three hours before your flight if it's domestic and three to three and a half if it's international at the airport. Accidents happen, extra long lines happen, computer glitches happen. Just be prepared. Bring a book or magazine to keep you occupied if you end up having a long wait at the gate...or go check out your airport's art or do some gift shopping. 

Fly With Just a Carry-On
I've been flying with just a carry-on for a decade now. I've gotten my packing down to almost just the bare essentials, since I now know what will get worn and what won't. The trick to packing small in the winter is layering and not caring if all your pictures are you wearing the same coat and scarf (maybe two). Here's a post I did on packing light in the winter.

Don't Wrap Any Gifts
If you are visiting friends and family and haven't shipped your presents ahead (which I highly recommend), don't wrap them and stash them in your carry-on. TSA may very well want to inspect them and will not be sorry for you if they have to unwrap them. So, I suggest packing small gifts and saving the wrapping for when you arrive. This takes up much less room too. If you need travel gift ideas, check out this post.

Go Left
Most people get to the security lines and head right to go through the x-ray machines. This makes these lines longer. Instead, go left if given a choice. These lines are shorter, making them a bit faster. Try skipping any lines with small kids, because they usually take longer.

Keep a Zip-Top Bag On Hand

Always have a bunch of things in your pockets? If you don't have an empty accessible pocket on your bag, have a plastic bag with you and then empty your pockets into it, so it doesn't get lost in the bottom of your bag or you don't have to stand at the end of the conveyor picking everything out of one of those little round bins to load your pockets back up.

Have Your Liquids Bag and Laptop Easily Accessible 

This is super annoying. All your liquids need to fit in a one quart see through bag in 3.4oz or less containers. Have this out and ready to toss in the security bin along with your shoes and laptop. When you're holding of the line rummaging for things that you knew you needed to have out, everyone gets that much more irritated and grumpy. You saw the signs. Don't pretend you didn't.

Wear Slip-On Shoes

Having to tie and untie your shoes to get through security is just another hassle you don't need. Pack those in your bag and wear some easy on easy off shoes. You will thank me. Anything that's hassle-free is nice, and can get you on your trip faster.

Don't Wear Any Accessories 

If you can get away with it, skip the jewelry and watch and belt. Those are just more things you'll need to take off to put through the scanners and nobody wants to wait behind you while you're spending an extra five minutes de- and re-accessorizing.

Download Your Airline's App

Carry one less thing. You're already walking around with your phone, so download your airline's app so you can easily check in, get updates and have your boarding pass on hand instead of stuffing it into your pocket or a book and then having a small panic attack when you can't find it. You can have everyone's boarding pass in your party on your app. Another brilliant tip: screenshot your boarding passes in case your app logs you out or the airport has shoddy WiFi right before you need to show it to someone. This has totally happened to me more than once. Never again!

Your Chill

Don't be that person who gets all irritated when things don't go your way. Everyone's trying their best, the airline employees are already dealing with dozens of jerky people everyday. Don't make their life harder. Just close your eyes and breathe before you start yelling. Find your chill. Ask if it's really that important. Everyone's having a hard time, but they're dealing with it. Lots of things can't be helped, so you being grouchy and mean isn't going to change anything.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time. Smile, even when you don't want to, think of the awesome trip you're about to go one, play games with your travel buddies and think of this as just another part of your adventure.

Don't Forget:
With Covid still hanging around, make sure you're staying safe, because having to quarantine from everyone in the middle of a trip due to sickness isn't going to be fun at all. We still wear our masks on planes, in the airport, and crowded indoor spaces (ex.: we wear them in grocery stores, sporting events, concerts, and while waiting in inside lines at amusement parks.) 

Aside from voluntary (but I think still necessary) masks, make sure to bring hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, and a few Covid self-tests for each person in your party. If you're trying to make your flight more comfortable, a short list of must-haves is:
With a little pre-planning, you can make holiday travel as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Stats say that, despite the cost of travel and the inconvenience, over 70% of people surveyed plan on traveling for at least some of the holiday season, with half of them saying they're traveling more than last year. Most are looking at spending less on holiday gifts, but also many prioritize experiences over physical gifts. This has been my and Eric's approach for years and we take a trip at the beginning of the year instead of exchanging gifts with each other.

Where will you be going for the holidays?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and I may be financially compensated if you make a purchase through one of the links. This allows me to keep this blog running, so thank you in advance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Holiday Travel Gift List 2023

It's that time again! Time to start working on (or finishing) up your gift list for the year. I wanted to try something a little different this time. Normally, I break my list down into three categories - budget, moderate, and splurge - but this year everything is under $120, and most are much less than that, so you can get more for your buck and be even more popular to that traveler on your list. 

It's time for holiday shopping and this year, everything on my list is under $120 (most under $40) for the travelers in your life.
Photo by Daniels Joffe on Unsplash

I've got 5 different categories, but everything is great for every kind of traveler. And whether you're shopping for a Christmas gift, 8 Hanukkah presents, or even a birthday surprise, I've got it covered. 

Whether they travel alone or just need some extra peace of mind, here are a few things I like for myself when I travel.

Safety door lock for the solo traveler. This little bitty gadget is great for those that just want to feel a bit more secure in their accommodations. It fits over the lock inside the door jamb. Maybe you're staying in a hostel or you're on a girl's trip or you are just a feminine person in the world. Buy this for the college kid off to see the world alone. $9.59

USB Data Blocker for when you need to charge your phone and use a public outlet. These little guys just plug in and you plug your charging cord into it and it blocks your personal info from getting jacked. $6.49

Faraday bags to keep all your bluetooth devices from getting found and stolen. I bought these after our bags got stolen from the trunk of our rental car in San Francisco when we were, literally, 50 feet away having tea. Now, I use these for my laptop, headphones, car keys, etc. They're thin, so they don't take up much extra room in your bag. $29.49

Travelon Convertible Crossbody with locking zippers is great for only taking the essentials with you. It has RFID-blocking card slots, a zipper compartment on the back and is really classic looking. Wear as a shoulder bag, a crossbody, or a belt bag. I wore this while running around town and it has a slim profile and is comfortable to wear in all the ways. This is great to go from the airport to the plane to sightseeing to dinner. You can even attach it to a bench or table to prevent theft. $35.49

The Welly first aid kit has everything you need to treat cuts and scrapes. Anything that is a minor injury can be solved with what comes in this kit. I love the little packets of antibiotic gel and the bandages are funky and long-wearing. Everyone needs one for their travel bag. $24.94

Dr. Plotka toothbrushes are a staple in my toiletry kit. The travel brushes fold into their cover, plus they're antimicrobial, so you don't have to worry about them picking up gross things from other items in your bag or the hotel counter. $9.99

The Lifestraw 18oz insulated bottle filters out 99% of impurities in water, so you never have to result to buying water wherever you are. This makes the water taste better, making sure drink more and stay hydrated. $37.46

I'm all for anything that allows me to feel more efficient and feel like things are more convenient. Here are some of my fave items:

Magnetic car phone holder is a must for road trips or when renting a car. You want to know where you're going without getting lost, but also make sure you can easily see your phone for navigation. This fits in the car vent, is easy to adjust, and is very strong. I've used this with the flat magnet inside my case (not attached to my phone). $9.49 + 10% coupon

3D Sleep Mask for when you don't like things to touch your eyes, but you also need complete darkness to get some Zs. This adjustable mask will enable some of your best sleep, whether in a cushy hotel bed or on the airplane. $12.74

Liquid Pump Bottle comes in a set of 6 1oz bottles. They are small, but not too small. These have made my life so much better when I travel, because I hate bar soap for my hands, so now I bring my own little bottle of foaming hand soap. You can also use this for anything else you'd like to put in a pump, like hand sanitizer, face wash, or shampoo. $9.99

32,000 mAh Portable Charger is a must when you go away from home. I always have one in my bag and often we bring 2 or 3 when we know we're going to be using our phones for everything. This one will charge your phone 2-3 times fully, and you can use it to charge two devices at a time. I was able to travel across the country, spend a day-long layover out sightseeing, get back on a plane without seat outlets, arrive at my destination in the afternoon, get some sightseeing in for the rest of the day, and still had charge left when I plugged it in to go to bed. $22.06 + 20% coupon

Lady urinals are a lifesaver when you're roadtripping or headed to a country that has squat toilets or you go camping. Being able to conveniently and cleanly pee when you gotta go, wherever you are, is priceless. I keep one in my glovebox for emergencies and road trips. $7.99

Watch all your shows with an HDMI cable for your laptop. If you are like me and take your laptop with you, use it for your downtime to catch up on shows, movies, or show off all your photos you took during the day out. I always have one in my travel bag, because sometimes we just want to unwind while doing laundry and want to watch mindless TV. These come in a 2-pack, so keep one for yourself, since it's cheaper to buy 2 than 1. $10.78

A portable Lighted Makeup Mirror is a must for those dark hotel rooms or when someone else is in the bathroom and you're trying to get ready. It has 3 light settings and can mimic natural light, so when you go outside, you look normal and not like a pumpkin or a streaky mess, because you looked fine before you left. This one is rechargeable with a USB and is super slim, so you can fit it anywhere in your bag. $20.99 + 30% coupon
Everyone needs to be organized, especially while traveling, so you aren't wasting a bunch of time digging through your bag for stuff.

Gravel Slim Toiletry Bag is a newly acquired accessory for me. It has several zipper pockets, some waterproof in case of spills or wet items, and has enough space for all the necessities. I chose this stone color, but it also comes in black (which is on sale for Black Friday). It has a tucked away strap for hanging, so you aren't taking up valuable counter space, if you even have any. $39.20

Compression packing cubes are my must-have item wherever I go. You can fit a ton in them, then squash all your clothing into an even smaller cube by zipping the compression. These are how we are able to pack two people's worth of clothing in one large carry-on and how I can pack everything I need for a week into just a slim laptop backpack. Use one for tops, one for bottoms, one for underwear, or use one for each person traveling. However you do it, these make traveling so much easier. $17.99

A lot of us are traveling for the holidays and that means attending family functions or other events where we might have to dress up. Having to travel with fancy clothes can be a real challenge, but these garment bag duffels are perfect, because they are compact and carry-on size and eliminate the need for two different bags. You unzip the whole bag, put your fancy clothes in the garment section, close that up and then pack the bag like normal. You're good clothes are separated and can be hung up in the bag when you arrive. $39.99

Keep your meds or your supplements or your vitamins handy with this clamshell pill organizer where there's room for everything you need for a week, plus has compartments for larger pills/capsules or your everyday needs like aspirin and allergy meds. It's hard shell, so you don't have to worry about anything getting crushed, and because it closes  the way it does, you won't have to worry about anything falling out. $5.97

A set of 3 GoTubbs is something I always have in my bag. One I use for moisturizer, one for hair product, and another for non-liquid things, like aspirin, papaya enzyme, or toothpaste tablets. They are airtight and they don't leak, plus they take a bit of effort to get open, so your bag won't possibly achieve it (you can easily open with one hand, you just have to squeeze it on opposite sides in just the right way). These come in different sizes. I like the small, but you might also like a set of the medium or large for snacks, hair accessories, or other toiletries. $9.99

Travelon's Clean Multipurpose Organizer is now a staple in my personal item. I use it to keep all my electronic cords and plugs in one spot. Use it for anything you like. It's made of antimicrobial treated fabric, so use it for masks and sanitizer, or a take-along first aid kit in your day bag. $11.69

Nobody wants to be uncomfortable on their trips. That sucks, right? From walking to the plane to theme parks, here are some things to make your life better:

Wrightsocks are some of my favorite accessories, especially for travel. They are double-layer and have a thicker tab on the back, so they don't slip into your shoe and under your foot and they keep you from getting blisters. They are designed for runners, meaning if you're on your feet all day, you won't feel like you have angry stinky feet at the end of it. They come in all colors and sizes, plus you can get non-runner, but just as wonderful, socks from them that are taller or have designs. $10

You need a good travel pillow if you're going to be flying long distances (or even if you're taking a longer train trip or even a passenger in the back of a car. I will never stop touting the awesomeness of FaceCradle. I get such good sleep with this. Eric, who is a very light sleeper, also has gotten some of his best travel sleep with it. It allows you to stretch your neck and back, so you don't wake up needing a massage. $69.99

I'm a lover of layering when I dress, especially on vacation. I purchased the Multipurpose Knit Shawl and I've already ordered another one in a different color and plan to order yet another one. Why is it so good? Well, it can be worn in a variety of ways: as a scarf, as a shawl, and as a cardigan. It's also super affordable. It's lightweight, but adds a good layer of warmth, so it makes for an ideal travel accessory. $13.99

Not everywhere we go is cold, maybe you're headed to Orlando, a concert, New Orleans or you are menopausal. A handheld mini fan is just what you need! It folds when you aren't using it, can be worn around your wrist or put in a pocket or bag, and it looks cute! $14.39

Holding your phone for an extended amount of time while you watch a video or play a game is annoying. Use this Airplane phone holder to keep your phone at eye level and save your neck, while also keeping your tray table up when you don't need it. Buy just one or in a 2- or 3-pack and get one for everyone on your list. $9.35

You know what's really uncomfortable? Spending your time right on top of each other and having to hear and smell everything. Make yourself and others more comfortable with Poo-Pourri for when  you have to spend a little time in the bathroom that you have to share with others. Slip one in the toiletry bag to put by the toilet when you arrive and keep one in your day bag for when you're out and about. $9.99

I'm short and that can be uncomfortable for sitting on the plane for hours. I also like to take my shoes off on long flights (I wear slippers. I'm not gross.), so putting my feet on the floor is icky. A footrest is always nice to have and you can bring your own with this foot hammock that hangs from the tray table, even when closed, and is padded, making your flight more luxurious, even in economy. $17.99 | non-cushion version $10.99

I will always be a champion of light travel. I hate paying baggage fees, I like to know where all my stuff is, and I like to be able to carry everything I bring. Here are some ways to do that:

A luggage scale is great for the chronic overpacker. When you travel internationally, you are often confined to a certain weight limit for bags, which is much less than those for domestic flights. Always know if your bag makes the cut before you get to the airport. $7.19

If you want to pack light, you're probably going to be doing laundry. I usually like laundry time, because it gives me an excuse to slow down and chill, which can be important when you're somewhere new and excited to see everything. Laundry sheets don't take up any space, work wonderfully in HE or traditional machines, and you won't have to spend a crazy amount of money on a big detergent when you arrive. $9.09 for 60 loads

Sometimes there isn't a washer and dryer and you may have to do your clothes in the sink and hang them up to dry. I've done this quite a bit and having a clothes line is always better than finding places to hang things or having enough hangers. This one doesn't require pegs or hangers. $11.90 

Travel Compression Bags are awesome when you've purchased a few too many things on your trip and need extra space. You just put your clothes inside, roll all the air out, and make a ton of room in your bag, so you don't have to buy a new one or leave things behind. $12.79

Keep dirty clothes away from clean ones, either in your bag or at your accommodation. Toss them in these laundry bags and then drag your dirty stuff to the laundromat. They fold up when not in use and they have a pocket to keep your quarters and detergent sheets in. These can double as shoe bags, too. $12.79 for a set of two

There are a lot of places who no longer have shopping bags when you travel. Maybe you hit up farmers' markets wherever you are (like I do) or like to grocery shop (like I also do). I always have a bag with me for purchases or if need a way to carry my coat when I'm not wearing it. It's been a lifesaver more often than not, so why not have a cool bag that reminds you of your travels even when you come home? The Pouch Tote Bag from Xplorer Maps does both of those things. I got one of these for a review (coming soon), but I think they're great for gifts and would be even more eco-friendly if you gave another gift inside it instead of traditional wrapping. $19.99

A trip can be ruined by the wrong luggage. I have several different sizes, because some trips need a bigger bag while others need a smaller one. One thing is always certain: I will always only use a carry-on. If you're a chronic overpacker, a hardside is the way to learn to pack less. It will also always fit in the overhead, because it can't bulge and be too fat. These Hanke carry-ons are nice looking, are incredibly strong and durable, and have the spinner wheels everyone loves. The 20" is great for longer trips and the 14-16" ones are good for short trips or solo travel. $111.99 for 20" | $101.59 for 16" | $95.99 for 14"

I hope this helps you get a good chunk of your gift list taken care of and/or you find things to add to your own wish list that others can buy for you. Happy shopping! 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through any of them, I will be compensated monetarily. It costs you absolutely nothing. This helps me to keep this blog running and I thank you in advance if you do make a purchase. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Splurge and Save Gift List 2023

The holidays are fast approaching and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales will be coming soon, if they aren't already here. I wanted to give you some alternatives to expensive items that may not be in your budget or you may just rather spend more money on your actual trip than just getting there. Get ready for your holiday travel or get a jump on your gift list.

The holidays are coming and I wanted to give you some alternatives to expensive travel items that may not be in your budget.

If an Away bag has been on your list, or you want to get a great piece of luggage as a gift and this is out of your price range, never fear. Yes, the Away carry-on is a luxury travel accessory, but there's not much that makes it worth the high price tag. Instead, check out these 3 alternatives, that also have a USB port, nice organization, those coveted spinner wheels, and the hardside body that is great for keeping your belongings safe and to keep you from overpacking. 

The Mixi 20" has the added bonus of having a cup holder and phone shelf. It's $100 cheaper at $189.99.

The Luggex 20" has a front pocket for your laptop and an expandable body, in case you find you've purchased too much on your trip.

The Kroser 20" is also expandable and has extra organization in the zipper divider, which makes packing so much easier.

Sure, you could pay to fly first-class, but then you won't have that money to spend on your trip. Instead, these gadgets give you a little more luxury in your economy seat, and even if you upgrade to an extra legroom seat, you'll still save a ton of money.

Just want to get on the plane and crash? You're not alone. We all want to be comfy, but most of us don't want to roll up in our pjs, even if we're going to spend much of our plane time sleeping. Look put together and feel like you're in your pjs with a coordinated lounge set.

Block out all the noise of others, and any light, with a bluetooth headphones mask. Fall asleep to your favorite podcast or music or a Ted Talk you downloaded. One thing's for sure, nobody will try to talk to you with this on.

Always have a bevvy handy when you bring your own with this insulated bottle from Brita. It filters out 99% of impurities in the water wherever you go, so you never have an excuse for not hydrating. The filter fits in the straw, so if you decide to fill your bottle with another cold liquid, you can take it out until you empty and clean it and use it for water again. 

You may not have a bunch of extra space at your non-first class seat, but that doesn't mean you can't make extra room. Keep everything you want right within reach without keeping your tray table down in order to do it. You won't even need to put everything away when someone needs to get up to use the restroom. Airplane Pockets are the handiest things we own for flights of all lengths. It is anti-bacterial and fits over the tray table (one of the grossest surfaces of a plane) and has a bunch of pockets - small ones for your phone, glasses, pen, book, and a big one for magazines, your coat or travel blanket, and your headphones. 

Sleep like a baby and save your neck and back from the dreaded airplane seat scrunch. The Face Cradle is the best pillow I've ever used for travel. You attach it to the headrest behind you, open it as much as you want, adjust the straps and then lean right into it and fall asleep. You can also use it for "side" sleeping. Either adjust from the regular position and rest it at your shoulder, or you can attach it to the armrest instead. See us using it both ways. You might think it sounds expensive, but you can't put a price on good sleep + this will last you years, making it worth every penny.

When you need a soft place to put your feet on a plane, you don't really have many options, unless you try to use your underseat bag, which is always awkward. Get yourself a padded foot hammock and then you don't have to put your feet on the dirty floor either. The strap fits over the tray, then you close it up and voila! Use it other places, too, including the train, bus, ferry boats, the airport, and even your office or car backseat. 

This is not the end of my travel gift list, I'll have an official one up just in time for Black Friday sales, even though they have already started and seem to start earlier every year. 

What are some of the things you are hoping to find sales on this year?

Saturday, November 11, 2023

A Safe and Fun Thanksgiving

Are you getting ready to travel over Thanksgiving? A lot of people will be hitting the roads, so make sure you're prepared and you stay safe. Here's an infographic with some fun facts, things to look out for, some holiday history, and what people say they're thankful for. 

A lot of people will be hitting the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, so make sure you're prepared and you stay safe.
photo credit

I hope you have a lot to be thankful for and you travel safe to your destination. 

Where will you be spending Thanksgiving? We always stay close to home and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

8 Budget-Friendly International Destinations for December

Are you looking to spend winter or the holidays on vacay? Or just looking to get away from the cold. We tend to do that in January. If you missed the last post and want to travel stateside, or somewhere closer, then go check that out, but if you want to travel farther away and still have good weather and save money, read on.

The world is full of budget-friendly destinations, whether you're looking for warm weather or not. Here are 8 budget-international destinations.

I have traveled over Christmas some years and it's been pretty great. We didn't go that far away, but I'd love to visit some Christmas markets in the future. There are some in the US, but how wonderful to spend that time in an international destination. Aside from that, here are 8 affordable destinations to go next month:


Got the funds to go a little bit further? While much of Europe is cold and gross, just like at home, but there are some places that have lovely winter weather all over the globe. Here are some of those destinations that are also affordable.

Lima, Peru - It's summer in Lima, which means it'll be very busy at this time, but you can get amazing deals on accommodations, enjoy dry, warm (but not hot) weather, and cheap delicious foods, even in the touristy areas. This is not the time to visit Cusco, as it is the start of the rainy season there and trails may be cut off due to that. 

Santiago, Chile - While most people don't consider Santiago an ideal travel destination, it has perfect weather in December, has lovely museums, and gorgeous street art. It's also a good home base for day trips to historical cities like Valparaiso. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina - Though you may get rained on here, as you would the entire rest of the year, Buenos Aires has so many indoor tourist attractions - museums, shops, cafes - that you definitely don't have to endure it for long. If you are the outdoorsy sort, head to Patagonia, Iguazu waterfalls, or even the Mendocino wine region. Make sure the bring USD and exchange them once you arrive to get a much better deal on everything. 

Canary Islands, Spain - While the rest of Europe is cold and dreary, Tenerife, and the rest of the Canary Islands, are the exception. It's not summer weather, but you'll be looking at lows in the 60s and highs in the low 70s. Sounds very comfortable to me. Tenerife is just one of the islands, and you can often find better deals on Gran Canary, Lanzarote, and La Palma. Wherever you go, food is very budget-friendly and you can find chill things to do. Tenerife boasts a volcano with a cable car ride to the top and a hop-on hop-off bus tour around the capital of Santa Cruz.

Photo by Ramon Kagie on Unsplash

Boracay Island, Phillipines - If you just want to relax on the beach, this is your spot. Basically, every hotel is on the beach, since the island is so skinny, but there's also water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, paddleboarding, and diving. If you want to do something more sightsee-y, check out Ariel's Point, the observation deck on Mount Luho, the Montag Living Museum, D'Mall, or a sunset cruise.

Photo by Kelvin Han on Unsplash

Bangkok, Thailand - December is the ideal destination for those looking for great weather and massive shopping excursions. You'll be able to use modern transportation here, including an elevated metro system. If you aren't into shopping, there are also tons of shrines to visit and amazing foods to try. Make sure to do your research on accommodations, because there is a wide range of quality in similar price ranges. 

Hanoi, Vietnam - December is part of the dry season in Hanoi, though it may be chilly in the evenings, the weather can be pretty pleasant. Most people do Hanoi as part of a tour, but you'll find so much to do and explore there if you spend all your time in this city. It's one of the cheapest tourist cities and is known for its historical architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. There are temples to visit, markets, and awesome street food.

Auckland, New Zealand - This was a shock for me, because I always think New Zealand is as expensive as Australia. While most people find the city too crowded and busy, you can definitely head out to some smaller cities to seek quieter, slower travel. Take a tour to Hobbiton, kayak to an extinct volcano, go on a whale safari, stargaze on an island, shop at the farmers' market, explore an island vineyard, or go glamping or campervanning. There's so much to do once you get there, that you may wish you had a lot more time.

The world is full of budget-friendly destinations, whether you're looking for warm weather or not. You just need to know where to look. Including the last post, these are just a few you can visit. Have fun planning your winter travels.

Where have you traveled that was very affordable and worth a visit? I always recommend Quito, Ecuador.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

7 Budget-Friendly Destinations for December

We've been forgoing holiday gifts for each other for quite a few years now, because we have so many things. We opt for experiences instead and now that includes traveling in January, because that's about when we're done with the dreary weather and just need to get out of town. 

If you're looking to get out of town for the holidays, or even in January, here are some of the most budget-friendly warm-weather destinations.

If you're looking to get out of town for the holidays, or even in January, here are some of the most budget-friendly destinations that don't have terrible weather:

North & Central America
If you aren't looking to go too far, but still want to save money and leave your coat at home - I mean, don't, because you'll still need it when you return to the cold - there are plenty of places to hit up with a short flight or even drive, depending on where you live. 

Las Vegas, NV - I love Vegas most times of the year and there's always something going on, whether you want to spend time outside, gamble, or just explore the city in a new way. Vegas is full of free and fun things to do to help fill in your time between more expensive things, like fine dining, shows, and awesome interactive things like Meow Wolf's Omega Mart.

Arlington, TX - One of the less-visited city in Texas, Arlington is home to Six Flags Over Texas, funky museums, Texas Live! entertainment hub, AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play, and Christkindl Market for your last-minute holiday gifts (or fun things to eat and buy for yourself).

Orlando, FL - Yes, you can hit up all the theme parks while in town - Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Legoland - but you can also just chill at the beach, soak in some nice warm weather, eat amazing food, and enjoy hotel rates up to half-off regular rates.

Photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash

Puerto Rico - Who doesn't want to spend the winter in the Caribbean? Whether you want to do all things water - surf, snorkel, beach-lounging - or you want to stroll the historic streets of Old San Juan, pack your shorts and sunscreen, and a little bit of patience, since this is a popular time to travel to PR. Airfare and hotels are still going to be really affordable.

Oaxaca, Mexico - Skip the more touristy cities like Punta Cana and Cabo and immerse yourself in some of the wonderful things Oaxaca has to offer. If you like outdoor activities, go see some ruins or take a bike tour. If you like history, check out some of their amazing museums. If you like shopping, head to the markets at Plaza de Arma. And if you want to celebrate something, go at the end of December and experience Noche de los Rábanos, Night of the Radishes, with fireworks, foods, music, and a carved radish competition. tbh, I'd go just for that last one.

Belize - We were able to spend some time in Belize years ago when we cruised the Caribbean, and it's beautiful. It's a have for people who love to spend time outdoors. You can explore Mayan ruins. go snorkeling along the world's second largest reef, go hiking in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve to see new plants and animals, go diving in the Great Blue Hole. There's definitely something for everyone, even if, like me, you aren't a big outdoorsy person.

Costa Rica - Celebrate the end of the rainy season with ideal warm weather and clear skies, all while ziplining, hiking in the jungle, or just laying on the beach. Avoid traveling over Christmas and/or New Year, because rates skyrocket during that time, but the rest of the month is wonderful for tourists looking to get out of town and do something different. 

Stay tuned for further out destinations that are cheap and warm, so you can get away from the rain, snow, cold, or whatever else you have to deal with at home. 

What are some of your favorite warm weather destinations for winter?

Pin It button on image hover