I’ve always loved to travel.
I have also realized that at my core, I’m an “introverted extrovert,” meaning that in the course of my job as an entrepreneur, I expend a lot of energy managing a team, doing outreach, etc. So when I get home, I relish quiet time with my family and dogs. It’s gotten harder to rouse me out of this routine that I protect so dearly, but by the time I’m sitting in the airport, I’m absolutely ready to go on another adventure.
Budget and priorities absolutely rule the way I travel now, and I rely on a few key tools to get myself from the house to my next destination quickly, efficiently, and with an eye towards saving money.
Flights for Almost Free: Secret Flying
This is my #1 secret for taking trips around the world on an extreme budget. Secret Flying has a Facebook group (I highly recommend you “like” their Page for updates), email list, and new app where they’ll send you extremely good deals from around the internet. My husband and I both managed to fly to Thailand and to Italy for under $1,000 non-stop on both trips using this service, and you can basically save hundreds or thousands of bucks any time you are looking to take at trip with some notice. My strategy is to pick one or two destinations we want to travel to each year, tentatively block 3-4 open times in our calendar, and be on the lookout when deals pop up!
Free House + Pet Sitting: Trusted Housesitters
We have a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd, two giant dogs with lots of personality. Our GSD, in particular, gets pretty nervous in new situations and we realized that sending them to a boarding facility was expensive and emotionally taxing. Plus, my husband and I felt a little bit of guilt that our gorgeous house was sitting around while no one was taking advantage of the view and hot-tub. When friends weren’t available, we used traditional pet sitting services but have found our favorite resource. Trusted Housesitters matches you with vetted housesitters that specialize in watching pets, and best of all… they’ll watch your pets for free in exchange for being put up in your place! It’s like Airbnb meets Rover. We have personally used this service 4 times already and have had no issues. The yearly membership costs $99 but the service easily pays for itself after you take one trip, and if you use my link you’ll get 25% off your first year.
Last Minute Flights + Hotels: Skiplagged and HotelTonight
Last summer, my little-brother-from-another-mother and his friend bought an old school bus, fixed it up, and went on an epic roadtrip around the United States. That is, until the bus broke down and they came to stay with me for a week while it was getting fixed. Long story, the bus never got fixed but one of the guys mentioned he was “thinking” about flying back to Texas from California the next day. “What do you mean you’re thinking about it, isn’t that insanely expensive?!” I exclaimed. He then showed me the Skiplagged website/app and I was blown away. It’s best used for one-way, last-minute trips but the savings were huge. Another great service I’ve used before is HotelTonight for gorgeous, five-star stays at budget hotel prices. Again, not great for planning ahead (I’m Type-A and sometimes this drives me nuts) but if you’re more spontaneous, check it out!
My favorite travel tip: pack smarter
If you’ve been with me before, you know I love a good capsule wardrobe. When you combine that line of thinking with packing cubes, your suitcase will be super organized and you’ll look put together, no matter where you’re going.
Native “Tennis” Shoes
Made ethically + sustainably, these “tennis shoes” from Native have survived hiking through Thailand, running around San Francisco, and daily walks with my dogs. You don’t wear socks with them, and when they’re dirty/smelly, you just rinse them off with soap and water. My white ones look like cute minimal white sneakers and I’m #sorrynotsorry that I’m obsessed with shoes that come in kids sizes!
There’s a bunch of these available on the market. I was gifted this set from Amazon and love them!
When I travel overseas, I usually pack in a bunch of destinations to head to (after all, you’re usually only overseas for long periods of time a few times in your life!) and I’ve found that my usual rolling suitcase doesn’t cut it when going down cobblestone streets or hopping in the back of a tuktuk. I bought this (non-ethical, non-sustainable, FYI) convertable duffel backpack and have absolutely loved using it for long trips (2+ weeks!)