4 reasons you aren’t traveling as much as you should be…

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Are you stuck in a travel rut? Here’s how to fix it! Here are the most common excuses reasons I hear from those who don’t travel:
1) I don’t have time
 Here in the United States we are obsessed with our jobs. We work, work, work, work, work (Rihanna even sang a song about it 😉 ).  Did you know a majority (read 55%) of American’s don’t even use most of their vacation days from their employers?! Technology, although helpful in so many ways, has created a culture of 24/7 accessibility making it possible to work constantly.  There’s nothing wrong with hard work. I actually love working in a fast paced environment but, within the last two years, I have personally found how fulfilling it is to have a work/life balance.  Everyone needs a break to avoid burnout and to enjoy life! Carve out time to explore. Even if it’s just a day trip. Make the time!
2) I don’t have the money
Great news! There are sooo many ways to travel inexpensively. Whether it’s taking a road trip, staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel, or buying groceries while on vacation instead of eating out. So many cities offer free walking tours or free access to museums. Or take a day trip to a nearby park and spend the day hiking. I’ve challenged myself to see more things “in my backyard” so to speak. Texas is a HUGE state. I have lived here most of my life and I’ve only seen about 1/4 of it. There is just as much exploring to be done in the city you live.
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3) I don’t want to go alone 
As a female, I understand this objection, BUT there are so many tour operators now that provide pre-planned trips where you can join a small size group (like Contiki).  What a great way to meet new friends while traveling! Or if you aren’t the group type, I personally felt inspired by The Blonde Abroad’s blog and her post about  The Best Cities to Travel Alone. The best part, you make your own schedule 🙂 
4)  I don’t know where to start
I’ve actually had several family members and friends tell me they would love to travel but don’t even know where to begin.  Start by figuring out how many days off you can take, what your budget is, and the time of year you want to travel. From there, narrow down the type of vacation you want. Do you want to relax on the beach? Hike trails? Visit National Parks? Explore a big city? Once you narrow that down, then you can begin searching for your destination. I will let you in on a little secret! I plan 90% of my trips from blogs I find through Pinterest (especially if it’s a shorter trip). YES, pinterest. I used posts like this to plan our trip to Santorini.  Trip Advisor is a great option when planning vacations but I love scouring blogs to find “off the beaten path” activities. If it’s my first time in a city, of course I want to do the touristy thing, but I always try to look for something with a local vibe as well.
Obviously, there are seasons in life where travel does not come easy. If you are in that season, focus on your local community.  Are there festivals or art shows you can attend? A concert? New restaurant openings? Never stop exploring!
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How to find cheap flights on Skyscanner

In many cases, flights are the most expensive part of traveling, especially if you are traveling as a family or traveling internationally. I am ALWAYS on the hunt for cheap airline tickets so when a friend told me about Skyscanner, I looked it up immediately. Since then, I have used Skyscanner as the starting point for all of my trip planning. I AM OBSESSED.

Skyscanner is a free search engine that allows you to compare cheap flights across hundreds of different airlines. I love how easy it is to navigate. Skyscanner also offers Car Rental and Hotel fares but for the purpose of this post I will only be focusing on the Flight finder.

So here is why I believe Skyscanner is better than Kayak, Expedia and all the rest:

  1. You don’t have to know where you’re going–  Enter your departure airport in the ‘From’ field. In the ‘To’ field, you have the option to enter Everywhere.  I LOVE this feature and it has been a game changer for me. Everyone asks me how I am able to afford traveling so often and my secret is I have found amazing deals on flights.  Who doesn’t want to fly to Iceland round-trip for less than $450 dollars?!! Skyscanner #1If you know the dates you would like to travel, you can search Everywhere and it will pull flights from cheapest to most expensive in order of country. You can use the drop down arrows to browse cities within countries. These will also filter from cheapest to most expensive. (See picture below)Skyscanner #1Skyscanner #3I know international travel can be intimidating to many so this is a great place to start when considering an international holiday. Side note, did you know 64% of Americans don’t own a passport, SAY WHAT??!!! America, SMH! It’s also great for domestic travel especially if you live out of state from family & friends and travel back home often. I love this method of searching for deals because it leads to destinations you may not have considered. I pulled up Skyscanner with a different destination in mind and ended up booking a nonstop flight to Dubai because the price was too good to be true.
  2. You don’t have to know what dates you’re going– There is an option to choose ‘Cheapest Month’ and Skyscanner will pull flights accordingly. Skyscanner #2Or if I know I want to travel to Boston in May, I can pull up Skyscanner and there is an option to show the entire month. This is so useful if your dates are flexible. Often times by shifting your trip ONE DAY, you can save a lot of money. And I love that it shows the price on each day of the month so I don’t have to spend hours trying to find the cheapest date combination.Skyscanner #3
  3. Exploring Alternate Routes to Destinations– Croatia is on my list of places to visit but I have tried and tried to find airline tickets less than $1300 dollars from Dallas. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. However, I saw that flying from Dallas to Frankfurt or Venice is a cheaper flight and from either city I can take a local airline that is much less expensive.  Altogether, the tickets were cheaper than booking the Dallas to Croatia route. Multi city flight planning can be tricky and definitely takes more strategic planning. It doesn’t always pan out but it is totally worth it if you save a couple hundred dollars per person. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations to get to your destination!

If you are a travelaholic like me, get ready to spend hours on Skyscanner 🙂

Leave me comments on the best deals you have found!

*All images are taken from Skyscanner website

Mykonos

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Prior to our arrival in Mykonos, we heard stories of how crazy the town could get with all night partying.  But as soon as we arrived in Mykonos Town, it is clear this island has more to offer than debauchery (although we indulged in that as well). The energy of the crowd matches the vibrant colors of the cobblestone streets. You can’t help but fall in love.  Below are some tips if you are planning on visiting Mykonos for the first time.

STAY IN MYKONOS TOWN
Mykonos Town is where EVERYTHING is happening. Buses are the main means of transportation and they have routes to almost every beach. There are very few cabs on the island so staying outside of town makes it a bit more difficult to get around. We stayed in this Airbnb right by the Windmills and it was such a great location. A quick walk to all shopping, restaurants, bars, and the bus stop. And this was our view!

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DON’T RENT AN ATV
We rented these in Santorini but Mykonos was a different story.  We were advised to take buses because the amount of accidents involving ATV’s is VERY high in Mykonos.  The roads are winding & narrow and the drivers are reckless.  Proceed with caution!

CHECK OUT ALL THE SHOPS
It’s true.  Everything in Mykonos is expensive but take time to walk around and check out the shops anyway.  All of the shops are adorable!

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GET TO THE BEACH EARLY
Harder to do when you’ve been out partying all night but if you get to the beaches by mid morning you can typically snag a good spot. We decided to pick a beach and stay put for the day since the chairs were more expensive in Mykonos. We spent one day at Super Paradise because we wanted a high energy vibe and we spent the next day at Paraga which seemed more chill.  To rent a chair and umbrella at Super Paradise cost £12-£15 for the day.  Super Paradise cranks up the music and gets the party started around 4pm and the people watching is well worth it 🙂

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TAKE TIME TO WATCH THE SUNSET IN LITTLE VENICE
While I don’t think anything can beat a Santorini sunset, Mykonos comes in a pretty close second. Our favorite spot to watch the sunset was at Galleraki Cocktail Bar in Little Venice. How can you go wrong with wine, a beautiful sunset, and great company?

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IF TRAVELING BACK TO ATHENS, BOOK A FLIGHT
We traveled by ferry from Santorini to Mykonos and it was a great experience for us. We booked tickets with Hellenic Seaways and the ferry was spacious, clean, and had good snacks & drinks. But the ferry from Mykonos to Athens was way too long and miserable.  We booked a High Speed ferry with Sea Jets “Champion 1” and the ferry was smaller, dirtier, & smelled horrible.  To be fair, the conditions were not ideal. We were exhausted, hungover, and our ferry was delayed over an hour. On top of that, it took an extra hour longer of travel time to get to Athens due to choppy water.  In hindsight, we should have booked the flight as it was about the same price as the ferry and only 40 minutes. It felt like we wasted the whole day waiting for/riding the ferry.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GO TO SEMELI BAR
We loved this bar so much we spent two nights in a row here. The DJ was fantastic. Top 40’s music mixed with Euro Techno which makes for a great starter bar, or in our case all night. We danced until the sun came up! We also enjoyed Skandinavian Bar but go early as it gets so packed the crowds spill out into the streets.

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MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Seriously, the people in Mykonos are amazing. We met people in the bus, at the beach, and at the bar.  We left Mykonos with the BEST memories because of our new friends.

What were your favorite things to do in Mykonos? Leave comments in the section below!

3 days in Santorini

Y’all, if there is one place that should be on your travel list, it is Santorini. The island is B-E-A-UTIFUL. We took a girl’s trip to this island and I think we cried actual tears when we boarded the ferry to leave (but we were heading to Mykonos so we didn’t cry for too long).

Location

We stayed in an Airbnb in Imerovigli and LOVED it. It is perfectly situated between Fira and Oia. I mean, this was our view every morning.

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Imerovigli

Itinerary

We flew on Aegean Air from Athens to Santorini. I would highly recommend as our flight was only 45 minutes! After we settled into our Airbnb, we decided to hike to Oia. Be prepared the hike is long but oh so worth it.

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We found a Free Pool/Cafe & Bar (Lioyerma) to have drinks and appetizers while we watched the sunset.  Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with the service or food but it was a great location to watch the sunset. The sunsets in Santorini are the best I have ever seen.  It was so nice to take a pause every evening to just enjoy the sunset with good friends.

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Sunset view from Lioyerma

On our second day, we rented ATVs and drove all around the island stopping at different beaches. We had SO MUCH FUN. This is a great way to explore different parts of Santorini that you wouldn’t see otherwise.  When we rented our ATVs, the rental company suggested Perissa Beach so we headed there first. We intended to see more beaches but chairs/umbrellas cost about 7 Euro to rent so we decided to stay at Perissa for most of the day.

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Perissa Beach

Our next beach was Red Beach. Be prepared for a steep hike down to reach the beach. Beware, apparently the rocks above could fall at any moment but I definitely thought this beach was worth seeing. Tip: Your ATV rental is good for 24 hours so take advantage!

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Red Beach

On our last full day in Santorini, we spent the morning in Fira shopping and did a sunset cruise in the afternoon.  If you only choose one thing to splurge on, make it a Sunset Cruise. This was the highlight of our trip. We set sail from Amoudi Bay (think Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)

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Our next stop was swimming in the Hot Springs (spoiler alert: it’s more lukewarm) and then on to White Beach & Red Beach.  Afterwards, we grilled out and watched the sunset which was unreal from the boat. So beautiful! The cruise lasts about 5 hours. We were on a boat with 25 other people and had so much fun getting to know them all.

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White Beach

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Sunset Cruise

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Sunset Cruise

The Sunset Cruise was the perfect way to spend our last night in Santorini. I wish we would have stayed longer than 3 1/2 days but that just means we will have to visit again!

Welcome!

Image 2Welcome to my Travel Blog! Travel is a huge passion of mine. I am fascinated by travel bloggers that quit their jobs and travel the world. The ‘quitting my job’ part isn’t a reality for me right now or most of you (I assume). However, you CAN still go on adventures and check off bucket list destinations while working a full time job.  Do you have money restraints, limited time off, or just don’t know how to begin planning a big trip? I will be sharing tips that have worked for me as well as travel guides to some of my favorite destinations. This year I plan to check off a couple of places on my bucket list –Ireland, Iceland, Dubai & Africa. Follow along, adventure awaits!