Y’all know I love to travel. I started You, Me, and Tennessee because of my passion for travel and it has been incredibly fun to share my adventures (big and small) with all of you. Here’s the thing… the “hitch in my giddy-up” if you will… I work a full time job as a nurse. I don’t have unlimited funds or unlimited vacation days. I saw something on Facebook yesterday that made me laugh out loud. It said, “How are you guys going on trips so often? How is your time off being approved? Who is paying your bills?” I’ve had the same thought a hundred times! Since I started writing on the blog I’ve felt pressure to post about “all the fun I’m having”. I’ve felt like if I’m not posting from the Seven Wonders of the World every week then I’m somehow a fraud as travel blogger and that’s simply not true. So this week I wanted to share with you the 5 things you can do when you can’t travel as much as you’d like. You’re not a failure because your Instagram feed isn’t flashy and color coordinated. Remember that through those avenues people can pick and choose the parts of life they want you to see. Here are 5 things you can do to live your best life when larger trips seem out of the question.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR FINANCES
Confession time: I’m guilty of complaining that I want to go on more trips but I don’t have enough money. Then, I’ll go treat myself with a pedicure and a glass of wine to cheer me up. Hello! Not smart, Carly! My husband and I try and make travel a priority. That means we have to look at our bank accounts to see where we’re spending our money in order to to see where we can save. Here are some examples: I pack my lunch almost every day. Fridays are our lunch date days because I get an hour for lunch. We try not to spend too much on monthly subscriptions. Meal planning is the next beast we plan to tackle! We cut back on things that we don’t need so we can spend more money on experiences.
GET A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD
As long as it’s financially responsible for you, considering a travel credit card that gives you rewards could be a game changer. There are a ton of options out there for travel credit cards. Do your research and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t qualify for the best one available. That could be a goal you set for the future! We have a Delta credit card and get 2X the miles on all Delta flights. I got the idea a little over a year ago when we were planning our honeymoon. Why not get rewarded for spending money you know you’ll be spending anyway? Just be careful not to dig a money pit that is taller than you are because then it’s much harder to climb out.
USE TRAVEL APPS LIKE SKYSCANNER
Skyscanner changed my life, y’all. No bull, no gimmicks. This app is perfect for people who can be flexible with travel dates. That might not be you but it’s worth taking a look. Skyscanner tells you the cheapest dates to fly to your desired location. You can put in “Everywhere” when you search and it lists popular destinations with the cheapest flight available. It will blow your mind. The thought has crossed my mind that perhaps that time of year is cheaper because of undesirable weather and I have a solid response for that. A rainy day in Paris is better than a sunny day at work.
DO ALL THE FREE THINGS
This is my plug for going outside and getting lost in the woods. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do that are friendly to both your bottom line and your waistline. Hiking is my favorite but there’s camping, kayaking, fishing, and other outdoor activities that are great for the whole family. Any exercise or encounter with nature is beneficial to the mind, body, and soul.
START WHERE YOU LIVE
Never underestimate the value of a “stay-cation”. There’s a chance that you haven’t done everything your area has to offer. Recently I’ve been learning about new events in our area via Facebook like trivia nights, concerts, food trucks, etc. You can also look at prices for tickets to a play at the Barter Theatre or a hockey game like the Ice Bears. These small town options can be less expensive than similar events in bigger cities especially if you can go on a week night. I’ve seen some good discounts for local activities on Groupon as well so it’s worth browsing! When I search the site I type in my desired city and look under “Things To Do”. Day trips are another great option for saving money. Think of cities that are close enough for you to drive down and back without needing to get a hotel room. For us that would be Asheville, Knoxville, Abingdon, or Gatlinburg.
Before I sign off I want to tell you guys that my biggest takeaway can best be summed up by Seth Godin. I made the text larger so you can’t miss it.
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
This, my friends, is the ultimate goal. Find out what that life looks like and work your ass off to make it a reality. In the mean time, hang in there.
Until next time,