2014 trip to Ireland
WORK HARD & TRAVEL HARDER
There are 365 days in a year and 52 weekends. When you think of the year like this, it’s actually a lot of time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking it’s a lot of time for changes of scenery! This can seem difficult and intimidating though when you are working 40+ hours a week. I thought I'd put together a few tips that are definitely my go-tos!
Ireland's oldest pub, The Brazen Head
The average number of vacation days in the US is 10. The US is not exactly caught up with the whole, "time for yourself" quality of life type thing that Europe tends to lean toward. MInimum four weeks vacation along with at least 13 paid holidays. Nonetheless, if you take into account that most companies will recognize ten national holidays, AKA 10 extra vacation days. Even if your job only provides half of those, that still basically an 5 or even 7 days if you capitalize on the weekend! We took a trip to Dublin a few years ago over Veterans Day. Friday-Thursday and we managed to only use 3 days of vacation time due to the weekend and the holiday while it was sitll basically a week long vacation.
Instead of using your ten days all at once, take Fridays/Mondays off here and there to extend your weekends. Visit a city that is only a two-hour flight away, so you’re not losing much time on travel. A vacation doesn’t always have to be two weeks long and in some exotic place! Three days can still make for a memorable trip. You can leave Friday evening, come back Tuesday morning with enough time to make it to the office. This outline gives you a Friday night on the town in a new place and three full days of exploring that only costs ONE vacation day!
COST OVER LOCATION
Prime example, I took a flight for a work assignment last year from DFW to Jacksonville, FL. This flight cost me (my company hehe) $475. (!!) Earlier that same year, we flew to Paris for $318/per person. This is because when we are planning to go somewhere, we typically do not set out for a specific location, but on a particular dollar amount and Paris was in the cards.
SKIP THE HOTELS TOURS & TRAVEL AGENTS
I'm not saying you need to rough it on a locals couch, but in all the traveling I have done, Airbnb is cheaper approx 90% of the time. Above I listed our places in Bogota, Colombia and Madrid, Spain both are half the cost of what you would pay for a hotel with that space in the same area. Bogota was $37/night, Madrid, $75. You get a much better feel by staying in someone's home along with much more space vs. a hotel room. If you like having a hotel and staff, you can still cut costs by looking up local guides/maps instead of dropping $50 for someone to give you a glorified walk around the city. Hehe. Just do your research :)
Personally, when it comes to travel agents, I have never seen the need to pay for someone to tell me what I can research. At times, yes, they are necessary and very helpful if you are planning a huge itinerary. But purely speaking budget, I don't see the need given how much information is out there on the internet!
GRAB THE KEYS
I love renting a car and heading out on the road no matter where we are! We can take the time to see and do what we want on our own time. If you are in the US, there are so many beautiful places you can see just by hopping in your car and driving. A few years back, we took a road trip to hike the Pecos Wilderness from Dallas, TX to Santa Fe, NM and it was so worth it! Plus the pup comes too with half the hassle of flying ;) Recently we have been doing quite a few road trips, such as our drive rom Lisbon to Barcelona and our recent drive to the Picos in North West Spain.
Just google whatever state or area you're in and search the best road trips from that area. The US is so diverse; you're bound to find something perfect!
I really hope you enjoyed these tips!