TRAVEL TIPS

Hello, hello!

Here are a few things that I am constantly asked by friends and family when it comes to traveling. Now, as I've stated before, these are things that EJ and I personally do when booking/catching flights. This isn't by any means the only way and it may not even be the BEST way to do things but this is what works for us.

We would love to hear your feedback about what works, what doesn't, or if you have a better way of doing anything. If you do know of better options, by all means, please do not hesitate to share as we love hearing about new and better ways to travel! 

Also, if there are any other questions that you think that we can help you answer, please let us know and we will be sure to answer it to the best of our ability and possibly add it onto the blog! Anyway - we do hope that this helps you answer some of your travel questions! :) 

 

HOW DO YOU TRAVEL SO OFTEN?

Both EJ and I are very fortunate when it comes to having the time to travel. As we live in Las Vegas, a HUGE tourist city, I work in the service industry which not only pays the bills and buys the flights - but they are VERY lenient on granting time off when needed. As for EJ, his job actually requires him to frequently travel internationally, I try to join him on his work trips when possible/affordable/convenient.  

 

WHAT IS A DAYCATION? 

If you don't know what a Daycation is don't fret because it's something that we made up anyway. So for a long time, EJ and I, due to our work schedules, would only have 1 day off in the week together which was always a bummer that we couldn't go on vacations for a weekend span. So in order to feed our travel bug we came up with Daycations... where we would fly to a destination in the morning and return home that evening on the last (or even second to last) flight. That way we are still able to experience a new city and a new culture... even if it is just for a day. When booking these flights, our only ground rule was that the ticket must be under $100 total per person (after tax, haha). 

To be honest, we found that taking these Daycations were amazing and each time we did it, we found that we spent less money in those cities exploring that we normally do on our day off together here in Las Vegas. So it really became a win-win situation for us. 

 

HOW TO FLY CHEAP?

Now when it comes to finding flights both EJ and I look for the flight deals - as it is better to have multiple people checking on sites when you can. However when it comes to transferring and using points that is all EJ.

  • First, when looking for flights, we use various sites to look for deals... we NEVER stop at one site. We look at both the airline sites and compare them to different search engines and apps on our phones. Some of the site and apps we used are: 
    • Airline sites
    • Kayak
    • Momondo 
    • Skyscanner 
    • Hopper 
    • WOW air 
    • Skiplagged
  • When booking our DayCations my favorite app to use is Skyscanner! I do believe that other apps may have this feature - but I love using Skyscanner because it has an option of setting the price point, choosing your departure location and instead of searching for a specific city you have the option of choosing "anywhere" as your destination! Which I absolutely LOVE! It not only brings some type of surprise element when booking flights but it kind of broadens your mind to different places you may not have otherwise chosen at the top of you head. 

 

WHAT CREDIT CARDS DO YOU USE FOR POINTS? 

  • We both use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • 3x Travel points 
    • Global Entry and TSA Pre-check credit 
    • And SO much more!

We absolutely LOVE this card to accrue points, in fact after our first year of having the card we both had enough points to cover our entire trip to Japan and back in Business class! 

There are many other cards out here that offer the same thing, it's all about finding the one that right for you... but when you are looking into cards just make sure that you choose one that has NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES! It's so important as you don't want to come back from vacation and be slapped with unnecessary fees. 

 

HOW DO YOU AVOID JETLAG?

Okay - so, this is a tricky one and it completely depends on you. But personally, which I think that most people can agree with, when we first get to out destination - we always have energy to explore the city and are always so excited to be there... but when you return home from your vacation all you want to do it lay in bed, be lazy and/or sleep. 

Now with all that said when arriving to our destination we like to book our flights to arrive sometime in the midday/afternoon. That way we can go to the hotel and check-in (since most hotels checkin time is normally around 3pm), we can freshen up, explore and have a nice dinner and hopefully wear ourselves out by the time it's time to go to bed. By doing this, we also don't feel as if our entire day was spent on travel. 

And for the bigger question - avoiding jet-lag when returning home. When EJ comes home from most of his work trips, he is ALWAYS able to make it to work the next morning with little to no jet-lag. After a few different tests we found that it is best to book your return flight to arrive home at night, maybe around 8-9pm. This helps because when you get home and are so tired from all the excitement of your vacation plus a whole day of travel - you can just go home and pass out. By the time you wake up with energy, you're on a normal schedule! 

Again, this is something that may not work for everyone and it may not always work every time. But it does work for us! Another helpful hint, on the return flight home... try to stay awake for as much of the time as possible so that you are exhausted when you get back to your own bed. Kick back, read a book, or watch a movie! 

 

WHAT DO YOU TRAVEL WITH? 

I am currently working on becoming more of a minimalist while traveling - haven't quite adapted to that lifestyle, yet. But I'd like to. Here is the checklist I generally go through when packing for my travels.. I know its still too much... but I'm working on it! 

  • Clothing (this is what I aim for - which I know is still too much - but I always end up packing a few more items than this... eek, baby steps to becoming a minimalist: 
    • leggings (1), shorts (2) and pants (2)   
    • Plain t-shirts (like 5, lol), sweatshirt (1) , and a jacket (1-2)
    • socks (3-4)
    • underwear (a pair for each day that I'm there)
  • Shoes:
    • slides (1) /sandals (1)
      • slides - I like to take while traveling to a beach location. I also like to wear these to the airport to easily slip on and off through security check 
      • slippers/sandals: I'm more likely to take these only trips as they pair better with outfits than the slides typically do
    • comfortable tennis shoes
      • This is a must, especially while sightseeing... wearing a comfortable shoe will save your feet while you're out exploring. Typically, I bring either an all white or all black pair of shoes to compliment outfits. but COMFORTABLE shoes are a must have. 

A pair of slippers and a pair of comfortable shoes are something that I ALWAYS pack with me... but depending on the weather and the occasion for the trip I will add in some heels, cute boots, or even a pair of winter boots/Timberlands.... 

  •  Toiletries: 
    • make-up
    • toothpaste/toothbrush
    • hairbrush 
    • shampoo (8oz), conditioner (8oz) - I do not buy these in travel size because I have think hair and a lot of it. When using travel size items on my hair, I run out after the first wash. 
    • deodorant 
    • hair ties
    • toothpicks/floss
    • cotton swabs 
    • curling iron (sometimes - depending on the reason for travel... and sometimes I throw it in if there is extra room in my bad, haha)
    • tampons - weather I'm on it or not, I always bring it just incase!
    • body lotion
    • perfume (sometimes... ha) 
  • Misc: 
    • CAMERA GEAR! This is probably the most important to me and I typically pack this  first to make sure that everything is charged with its extra batteries and memory cards. 
    • battery pack
    • chargers (for my phone and camera equipment
    • plug adapter (if traveling internationally) 
    • headphones
    • PASSPORT!
    • international drivers license
    • global entry card - I don't believe you NEED to carry this with you but I generally do... just in case. 

I used to bring a laptop with me everywhere - but haven't traveled with one in awhile. For the sake of updating the blog right away, I may start again... but when doing computer work I generally wait till I get home to do it.  

 

GLOBAL ENTRY?

I absolutely encourage anyone who is able to get this - to get it! It saves you so much time with getting through customs when coming back into the U.S. Check out the Global Entries site for yourself to see if you'd be a viable candidate! 

Note: You must pay a $100 non-refundable fee in order to complete the application process... also, I would suggest checking into this sooner rather than later as it may take a few weeks, sometimes even months to get your interview underway. 

 

WHERE DO YOU EXCHANGE MONEY AND HOW MUCH?

Airport. We used to prepare ourselves ahead of time and exchange money in our home city... but we found that it was just easier and more convenient to exchange money when we land at the airport of our destination country. 

As far as how much we exchange... it all depends on where you are going and how long you are going for. We don't like to carry cash in general, so we try to keep it around $500/person total for a weeks vacation... we use card as much as possible and only bust out the cash when we are at a cash only location. With that said, make sure that you have a card that does not charge you a Foreign Transaction Fee! 

 

WHAT SITES DO YOU USE TO BOOK FLIGHTS?  

When it comes to booking flights we check these sites and also have the apps loaded on our phones so that we can check prices at any time of the day, haha. 

  • Kayak
  • Momondo 
  • SkyScanner (my favorite for daycations) 
  • Hopper (I typically check hopper, but haven't actually put it to use... yet.) 

 

WHAT DO YOU USE TO FIND DEALS ON YOUR HOTELS?

It is all about LOCATION! When we know the country that we are going to, we generally start researching the city that we are visiting and we first decide the area that we want to stay in before we decide on a place to stay. 

With that said, AIRBNB  is our go-to, as it's generally affordable, comfortable, convenient and great if you are traveling with a group of friends... it almost makes you feel as if you're a local (which we love, haha). We've found some amazing apartments/condos on AIRBNB located in the heart of all the action. 

Another thing that we look for when looking into is PRICE, obviously. There have been times that we've found some amazing hotels were just a better deal that AIRBNB's were. Also depending on the location - sometimes hotels are just a better option

Now, when it comes to hotels - I've never used any of those sites (kayak, Expedia, etc) to find deals on hotels, I don't know why - I usually just don't. Instead, I use the always reliable, Google, lol. I typically type in the city that we are staying in and type hotels and push the search button (ie. for Big Bear, California, I'd search "Big Bear, CA hotels"). This will pull up a ton of hotels and their price points on a map so that you can see where the location of the hotel is in reference to the area that you want to stay.