I recently returned from a trip from Santa Monica, CA. Let me tell you one thing: it was the best decision yet I made in 2017. Lately, my work load has been increasing as summer draws nearer. It’s been a few stressful weeks and unlike my younger siblings, I no longer have Spring Break or Summer Vacation to look forward to. If I want a vacation, I’ll have to request certain days and get it approved from my boss.
It, sometimes, sucks being an adult.
Yet, going through the actual process of having a legitimate vacation made me tap into a certain skill that I didn’t know I had. The skill I’m talking about, my dears, are travel skills.
Sure I used to travel, but it wasn’t that often. My trips in the past was going to college and then coming home for the holidays. I was still a sheltered little child who thought was independent but really depended on the parents.
Now at 25 years old, I have to say I think I’m starting to get a hand on life. If not that, then at least on the traveling part.
Don’t rent a car from the airport
Have you ever bought some food at the airport and then get surprised by the bill? That, my dears, are taxes. Taxes at the airport are so expensive they make purchasing a bottle of water a cringing process. It’s just as bad as renting a car. A $20/day price of a car can easily add an extra $100 for all of those taxes and fees. That’s why I decided to rent a car at a local branch instead of the airport. I saved $200 when I did that. The only thing is because I am from out of state I need to have a credit card as only in state driver license holders can use their debit cards. If you only have a debit card, then I guess you’re stuck renting from the airport.
Set up a travel notice on your debit and credit card
I think the most frustrating and embarrassing thing we can all agree on is having your card declined; especially when you’re on vacation. Well did you know that companies like Chase and Capital One have started to create stricter fraud protection policies? If you’re halfway across the country and they see on their system $300+ transactions that aren’t normal to your spending habits, chances are they’re going to shut that card down. In a way, it’s good because if your card ever gets stolen then you’re in good hands. However, if you needed to rent a car but failed to notify your bank that you were going on vacation, then you’re kind of stuck. You can obviously call them to get the hold removed but then that’s time out of your schedule.
Do yourself a favor and let them know you’ll be traveling. Bank of America let’s you set up a travel notice online so you don’t even have to talk to anyone to do it. If your bank doesn’t give you that option and you’re dreading on the fact that you might have to interact with another human being, then just send them a quick email to their customer service section. I did that with US bank.
Bring an over the shoulder bag
Whether you identify yourself as a man or woman, everyone can benefit from an over the shoulder bag. Think about it. You can save money, your ID, water bottles, snacks, and any other products to make your sight seeing trip as comfortable as possible. When I was in Santa Monica, I rented a bike for the day to ride on the Venice Beach boardwalk towards the Santa Monica Pier. Having that over the shoulder bag sure made it easy to ride the bike and then explore the pier.
Bring an empty water bottle and snacks to the airport
It might sound kind of dumb and something you might not even think about. However, remember when I talked about earlier on taxes and fees at the airport? This is one of the sure ways to make sure that you’re using your money for the actual vacation instead of the trip. You can go through TSA with an empty water bottle and solid snacks like pretzels and chips. In the past, I would always spend $20-$30 on food because I couldn’t go anywhere else. By doing this, I made sure to wait until I made it to my destination before I started spending the money I saved for my vacation.
Don’t rent a hotel
If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet and you’re an avid traveler, you need to book one on your next trip! I was able to book a cute little studio apartment, one block away from the beach. It had a kitchen where we cooked our breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. There was also a big comfy bed, hot shower, and a TV to watch Netflix when we were tired from all of our site seeing. It was perfect. My friend and I went to Target to get basic food necessities. We treated ourselves every once in a while, but we had a lot more money to enjoy on our shopping sprees and events instead of just on food.
I now have the travel bug and will be going to Florida to see some family this month and planning to go to Europe by the end of the year. I’ll let you all know how I plan to do that part at a reasonable cost!