Travel Tips for the Early Careerist

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday! This evening I wanted to share a few of my tips for how I travel while having a full-time job and being early in my career. For many young professionals, the first few years of your career may be characterized by limited time off, long hours, and perhaps minimal discretionary dollars for extravagant vacations.

I haven't figured it all out, but I have made it my personal goal to travel as much as possible over the next few years- both in the United States and internationally.

If you know me at all (and my husband-Hunter for that matter) you know that we love a bargain. We love finding ways to travel for cheap (or free!)

Raise your hand if you had (or still cherish) a Vera Bradley duffel bag??

Top Travel Tips
  1. My #1 travel tip is to invest in a good travel credit card. Hunter and I learned quickly that we could get a lot more out of our monthly expenses by putting as much as possible onto 1-2 travel credit cards.
    • Our favorites are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Southwest Chase credit cards
    • Credit cards can seem scary, but we don't spend anything that we couldn't cover with our debit cards each month. 
    • Sometimes the cards that have the best bonus point sign-on deals will have an annual fee, but usually the company will reimburse you in travel or statement credits. 
    • I should probably do a separate, in-depth post on this, but we have taken at least five flights (for both of us) in addition to our entire honeymoon (a five day all-inclusive resort stay and flight to Mexico) for free. 
    • I used to be skeptical but I am believer now! It takes a little more work and coordination of your spending, but it can pay off big time.
  2. Plan your time off for the year as much as you can in advance. I don't take time off for long-weekends typically if I'm just going to stay at home. My days off are too precious right now! Instead, I'll save them up for four-day long weekends where we can travel to a new place.
  3. Adding an extra day off to a holiday weekend gives you more bang for your buck!
    • For example, we are going to Boston and Cape Cod over Memorial Day weekend and taking the Friday before off!
  4. Hotels can be expensive, so try and travel places where you have friends! We are going to visit Pittsburgh in the fall-we are seeing a Pirates game and staying with one of my best friends, Julie. Friends can be the best tour guides in a new city.
  5. AirBnBs and local bed and breakfasts are typically more affordable than hotels. We have stayed in a range of private (and semi-private!) AirBnBs and all of them have been great experiences. 
    • Don't write off listings that only offer a private room/bathroom or a mother-in-law suite. Often times these are more affordable and still very private and nice. 
    • Just read the reviews from other people who have stayed there!
    • Staying with a local often leads to amazing recommendations of restaurants and things to do!
  6. Invest in good carry-on luggage. Until this year, I only had huge pieces of luggage that could carry my whole life. I finally got a great carry-on suitcase and garment bag for our wedding. This makes traveling with carry-on luggage doable and also saves you some $$ by avoiding little fees that can add up.
  7. Research your work's HR policy on time off. Instead of taking a full day or a half day off for shorter weekend trips, you may be able to come in early and work through lunch as long as you have worked the majority of your 8-hour work day. Workplace policies and flexibility on this may differ and will also depend on your boss, but it can be helpful when you only need to leave an hour or two early to make it to a Friday rehearsal dinner, for example.
  8. If you are anything like me, much of your travel in your young adulthood is to weddings and other wedding festivities, like bachelorettes! Make the most of these trips by sightseeing with friends or visiting family in addition to the wedding. 
    1. If I have a wedding in Charleston (my college and graduate school town), I'll grab brunch with grad school friends and stay with my college roommate/best friend.
  9. For longer trips, take your days off in between two weekends. If you plan it well, you can get a 10-day trip out of 5 days off work. We are doing this over the summer to go to England and Ireland!
  10. If international flights seem out of your price range, look at major hubs like JFK in New York.
    1. We just booked our England flights from here and they are more than half the price of traveling out of Charlotte, NC. And if you use points for the domestic flights, these trips can be in anyone's price range!
  11. Bonus Tip: Lastly, if you have furry friends...find a reliable pet sitter that you can trust and an automatic pet feeder that you can trust works for quick overnight trips. I just invested in one and I don't know why I waited so long. I can feed my kitties a meal through an app on my iPhone?!
Frankie and Petey are travel fans if it means they get more kibble!

Where is your favorite travel spot? 

Comment below and let me know if you want any more travel-related posts!

    Comments

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