It’s been a while since I posted a travel story. I typically only share travel-related content when I’m doing a travel guide or travel diary and, well, I haven’t gone anywhere recently. Honestly – it feels good to be home for a few months. Especially with the new house, I’ve been super busy and adding a trip on top of that just wasn’t possible.
BUT, I still want to share travel content with you guys. Even if I’m not off on a new adventure, I want this blog to be a space you can gather inspiration and resources for all aspects of your life. So I decided to do a little Q&A style post answering some of the more popular questions I get around travel.
I’ll keep this short & sweet but I’m hoping it’s still helpful. And if you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email!
QUESTION NO. 1: How do you find cheap flights?
I wrote a full post about my favorite travel hacks here – but my favorite thing: Scott’s Cheap Flights. That is where I find 80% of my cheap international flights. It’s a free service that you sign up for (threre is also a paid option) and whenever there is a flight deal, you get an email. Unlike other services, you don’t set “searches” or “alerts” for specific destinations. For example, if there’s a cheap deal for a flight from Boston to Bali, you get the alert. If the flight is cheap enough, you better just book your flight to Boston and go from there! They usually list a few destinations and varying origins in one email so there are several options. This is the service that scored us our flights to South Africa, Maui, Mallorca, Paris and more!
QUESTION NO. 2: How far out do you plan your big trips?
Brandon and I try to take at least two big trips a year. I.e. the trips that end up costing the most money. They’re the trips that we go all out for to celebrate something big. This year we went to Ibiza, Portugal and Madrid to celebrate his 30th. Next year we’re going to Morocco to celebrate my 30th. For both trips, we typically books flights a few months in advance. We set up special flight alerts for both of these on Skycanner which is another great resource. You set an alert for the destination and the timeframe you want to travel and you get alerts every time the prices drop. I don’t use this as often unless I’m planning a larger trip. I currently have one set for Athens, Greece – my mom and I are planning a mother-daughter trip for next summer!
Once we book a flight, I like to get as much planned in the first few months as possible. I research hotels, activities, photo inspiration (I know, lame) and start mapping out a rough itinerary. I love a schedule and organization because I don’t want to miss out on anything! I almost always have 95% of all activities/hotels/transportation booked at least two months before we travel.
For other trips (i.e the majority of trips I go on), the time ranges. If I find a cheap flight to a destination on my wish list, I book it and figure out the planning later. Most circumstance, I have a few months. There have been maybe two trips where the travel date was within the month and for those, I tackle the hotel first and leave a more open itinerary for exploring when I get there.
QUESTION NO. 3: How do you plan out your outfits for longer trips?
This might come as a surprise, but I’m the worst when it comes to packing outfits for trips. I have done several posts about packing tips. And while I know the right way to pack for a trip, I never ever use my own advice. I tend to buy way too many things that I won’t wear half of and then I pack it all…and don’t bring most of it out of my suitcase. It’s a shame.
On the off chance that I do a semi-good job, it’s when I have a longer time to prep for the trip. I think I did a pretty good job with Ibiza and South Africa but will guarantee I’m definitely overpacking for Morocco. For the first two trips, I waited until our itinerary was set and then started writing out the types of outfits I might need (i.e. a dress + heels for a fancy dinner or shorts and a tee shirt for exploring the city we’re in). I then took the list and tried to create as many overlapping looks as I could – outfits that used similar items so I wouldn’t have to pack ten different complete outfits with two to three items for ten days on TOP OF other things like workout gear, swimsuits, etc.
Once I have my final list, I start browsing my favorite retailers – usually ASOS, Nordstrom, American Eagle, Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and Boohoo. I’ll create Favorites lists on each site and slowly add my top picks. Then, as we get closer to the tip, I’ll place a big order. Try on + keep my favorites and ship bck the things that don’t work out.
QUESTION NO. 4: How do you stay on track of your diet/workouts while traveling?
I wrote a post about this too! But for the most part, I don’t follow any strict plans while I’m traveling. I try to eat healthy-ish 80% for most meals. I still have a few cocktails and lots and lots of glasses of wine. I indulge in pasta and bread and you better believe I won’t turn down the opportunity for ice cream at least twice. I try to work out the majority of the days we’re there, even if it’s a quick 30-minute workout with resistance bands. I always pack booty bands and/or resistance bands and those are a true lifesaver!
At the end of the day, I don’t let this stress me out. I might fall off track a little but as long as I get back to work when I get home, I think it’s all good. Enjoy your vacation, indulge in local food + drinks and don’t waste your days trying to plan out workouts!
Keep up with all things #laurelytravels here. This is the perfect page to bookmark – I share every travel guide, all of my latest tips and more travel inspired content to use while planning your next adventure.
Great post! These are great tips, and I use Scott’s deal as well. If you want really good, in-depth travel info that covers the needy greedy, I suggest Nomadic Matt. He covers everything and how to travel cheap.
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