Massachusetts

Wicked.

I was recently able to cross off another state with a long weekend trip. I was looking forward to this trip for a lot of reasons…

  1. Seafood
  2. I get to finally meet my best friend in person

If you read number two and were confused – buckle up. Just kidding; to make a long story short we met online and planned several trips together before actually meeting. We talk every single day whether it be phone call, facetime, text, email, facebook… but the first time we would actually be meeting was in Boston.

Our flights got in at the same time and we had an instant connection. I don’t know how to explain it other than we were meant to be friends. We hugged and just dove right into conversation. We are now planning on living together next year and continue to plan trips constantly.

Anyway, first trip together was Boston. We had a packed trip and I wouldn’t have wanted to explore this city with anyone else.

Day 1: Thursday

We took early ass flights and were in Boston together and in a Lyft to our AirBnB by 10am. We changed, freshened up after the flight, and headed to activity numero uno: Sam Adam’s R & D Brewery tour. This was actually really fun and we got free beer and a free tasting glass.

34817409_10156695938623689_1825606712799789056_n.jpgWe decided to get food at the place they suggested, which was the first ever cafe/pub to carry their beer: Doyle’s Cafe. Pro tip – if you bring your ticket to the tour they give you a free Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

After this we walked around a

bit and eventually headed toward Fenway Park to watch my home team (Detroit Tigers) play the Boston Red Sox. (Spoiler alert: Tigers won). Before we got into Fenway we had a few drinks at a Boston staple; Cask ‘n Flagon. This place was packed and drinks in Boston anywhere are insanely expensive so try to just get something cheap and quick. Also, MA has strict alcohol laws so you can buy beer at Fenway, but they won’t walk around with it in the stands.

After the Tigers won we got a pizza and headed home for a busy day Friday.

Day 2: Friday

We leisurely woke up, got ready, ate breakfast, and headed towards our first adventure of the day and something I would recommend to EVERYONE. It was the Boston History Pub Crawl. Not only was our tour guide incredible, we learned a lot of odd history while drinking and walking the Freedom Trail. We learned about the found time capsules, the origins behind all the strange little quirks in Boston like unicorns and the Boston Point, and got to visit one of the first Taverns; Bell in Hand.

We met some cool people during

this tour so we decided to eat dinner at Cheers with them and join their next tour; Boston Ghost Tour. It was really interesting learning about some battles that took place right where we were walking. Didn’t see any ghosts though, bummer. After this we drank at 21st Amendment and danced and partied at Sissy K’s with our new friends until it was bedtime.

Day 3: Saturday

We woke up and got ready and immediately went to Boston Pride. We met some incredible people, won some gifts,34719472_10156695938283689_4285068697757810688_n.jpg¬†and I was introduced to bounce music and Big Freedia for the first time. We also got to watch Martha Wash sing “It’s Raining Men”.

After this we went to a 90’s night at Anthem and then went dancing somewhere else until closing time.

Day 4: Sunday

This was a much more relaxed day for us. We got brunch and walked around Harvard and Boston Commons. We saw a movie, mastered the public transportation, and hung out with Jamese’s friend. They took us to the airport and we parted ways.

As you can see, this was a jam packed trip but I wouldn’t have wanted to tackle this with anyone other than Jamese. I had the most amazing time in Boston and I would honestly recommend everything we did to anyone who has never been there or even a local who hasn’t explored enough.

California

Exploring the West.

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I recently took a trip west. Far west. More west than I have ever been before. I had a Memorial Day weekend in California. (Southern California to be exact).

While this is a huge state, I believe I explored my fair share being there for only 3 days.

33816531_10156666558923689_4071882833470160896_n.jpgHere’s a picture of me looking cute in Malibu.

Okay, now that we have that covered – here is my itinerary/how you can see as much as I did in a short amount of time.

Huge shoutout to my cousin who chauffeured me around SoCal all weekend.

Day 1 – Fly in, Lyft to my cousin’s apartment, play with her dog, shower, head to Long Beach with her husband. Julia (my cousin friend) works at this cool ass shipping container food market called SteelCraft. I ate lunch there and had a few beers because the time difference was not in my stomach’s favor. (Aka it had been a long ass time since I ate anything).

After this little rendezvous we headed to Ballast Point brewery in long beach. This was super cool because craft beer in MI is huge and my ex always loved Ballast Point. It was cool to experience it. This is pretty much all we did this day.

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Fast forward to night time, my roommate flew in, we went to bed, the end.

Day 2 – Santa Monica and other typical Southern California things for tourists. This day we woke up, got ready, hopped in a car, and drove out to Malibu. We had brunch, walked through the Adamson House Gardens and saw the gorgeous house. We hopped back in the car and drove to the Point Dume state beach in Malibu – got sunburnt, drove back towards Santa Monica. Saw the cute stores and restaurants, watched the sunset on the pier, and got to see a seal just playing in the water and chasing fishermen’s bait. We then went for ice cream in Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd at Salt and Straw.

Day 3 – We started the day at Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. We met my cousin and I don’t remember the exact order of events but we saw Melrose and all the famous Instagram spots, walked throug33747764_10156666555508689_4452018796722388992_n.jpgh Downtown LA and went in The Last Bookstore – aka an incredible masterpiece. We then did Mulholland Dr and saw the Hollywood sign from the Bowl Lookout. We also saw West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The best food I had was fried lobster Nik Niks and some great tacos at a small place.

The next day basically it was get up and head to the airport – that’s why I said we were there for only 3 days. The things I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND, is seeing Melrose and Rodeo Drive. It’s just so beautiful and interesting. Santa Monica was probably my favorite little city/sector of the larger picture that is Southern California. Also something insanely cool – The Murder House from American Horror Story is in LA. So go see it.

Find as many little shops as possible, ask about strange records in The Record Collector (they probably have it – like the copy of War of the Worlds I bought by Orson Wells), go check out some rare books at The Last Bookstore, and if there’s a huge line for ice cream, it’s probably worth it.

Happy exploring.

Travel Apps

What to do?

Travel apps. Some are useless while some are absolute lifesavers. I’m starting a series on here where I am going to review some of the most popular travel apps along with some you may not have head of. If you have any suggestions for me, drop them in the comments below. Without further introduction, here are my top 3 travel apps.

Splitwise

The best travel app when you’re traveling with others is Splitwise.

splitwise.png
I blocked out my friends names but this is what Splitwise looks like when you add in groups and trips. You don’t pay each other through this app like Venmo, you just add in expenses and it carries over to all trips you have planned with them. For example, in “Cruise” I booked a Naples Tour for all four of us. How they are paying me back is by Person 2 is paying me back by buying my flight to Barcelona from Paris and buying our hotel and comedy show tickets in DC.

Person 3 is actually going to be doing my hair and adding it to Splitwise instead of me paying her cash. This app just makes everything much easier when booking trips, abroad or domestic. You would rather book all four spots in a tour at once and all four flights at the same time rather then everyone fending for themselves. This takes out the guess work and most importantly, it takes out the MATH. Thank the lord. This is the easiest way to stay organized with expenses.

Skyscanner

This app is a lifesaver and any travelers best friend.

skyscanner

Skyscanner checks every travel app and airline to compare prices. Sometimes when I’m trying to plan a vacation and I know I have off certain days but don’t know where I want to go, I look on Skyscanner. This is how I’m planning my NYE and Birthday trip. Another great feature is when you know where but not when. I want to volunteer in Nepal so I’ve been tracking what months are the cheapest to fly to Kathmandu. It’s harder to stay loyal to one airline when you search for the cheapest flights but I’ve never had a bad experience. I would rather travel more than pay more per trip for a short flight.

That being said – you can still search for specific airlines. Lets say you refuse to fly Delta, you can uncheck it on the side so it won’t show Delta flights. If you don’t fly Delta – why? You can also check a little box that says “Add Nearby Airports”. I sometimes do this because in Michigan there are several airports and sometimes one is cheaper than the other. I suggest downloading this and playing around for a while to get the hang of it.

Google Maps

I can’t make a list of my top three travel apps without including a map app of some kind. There are a lot of mapps (lol I’m clever) that work great. I will be looking into more of them coming up but I have found the best one for me currently, is Google Maps.

google

The best part about this app is that you can download maps for use offline. This way you don’t have to use data or wifi to know where you’re going and thats huge. Looking like a lost tourist makes you a target. Knowing where you’re going gives you a lower profile and also, makes your life a bit easier.

Another plus is looking at things nearby. This helped me a lot in Denver. I would just pull up Google Maps to find a place to get an appetizer and a drink alone. Anything close/in walking distance, sign me up! Plus, what better way to see a city than roaming around?

I swear by these three apps as well as a few others. You can basically plan your entire trip using these three as well as even out expenses among friends and travel partners. I highly recommend giving them a whirl.

Let me know if you have a holy grail that I need to try next and I’ll add it into my rotation.

How to Afford Travel

Budgeting? It sucks. Traveling? Worth it.

I am 25, single, and moving out within the month. I’m in debt from my student loans, I have a dog, and I support myself fully. I pay for my phone, car, groceries, etc. And I still make traveling a priority. While yeah, I can put extra money towards my student loans instead of traveling, I know I’m going to have that burden no matter what. I would rather pay the minimum and live my life.

I know I am privileged because I do have a college degree and a good job. I know it’s also easy to say well, make traveling a priority and you can figure it out. But honestly, it’s the truth. My first trip by myself I went to DC on a whim. I found my plane tickets by going to skyscanner.com and putting in the cheapest location for the time I had off work. DC was the cheapest and I bought roundtrip tickets with a checked bag for $170. I have learned some things since then. My upcoming trip to Boston? My ticket was $130. My one way trip to Paris? $200. Barcelona to back home? $250. A cruise around the Mediterranean for 7 days including food and drinks? $600. ALL of my housing accommodations in Iceland? Less than $500 for 7 days/ 7 nights.

water
Great Falls Park in Virginia and Mayan Sanctuary in Isla Mujeres

You’re probably wondering how. First with flights, if international, fly out of Canada or Chicago. You’ll save yourself around $1,000 bucks. Flight to Paris from Detroit? Last I looked it was $800 one way. Paris from Toronto? $200. Iceland from Chicago? $350.

Second, hotels. Look for the sites where you don’t know what hotel you’re getting. I usually use Priceline express deals or Orbitz secret deals. They give you a price, a location, reviews, amenities, etc. but don’t tell you where it’s going to be. I just booked a 4 star hotel in Chicago during Lollapalooza and saved over 50% of the room rate if I would have booked through their direct site. (Also there are tricks to find out what hotel it actually is. Open up another browser to their direct site, not the deals site, pick your location, amenities, how many stars, etc. Usually only one pops up and viola, that’s your hotel.

Third, cruises. My friend Lauren introduced me to this cruise line that has insanely CHEAP accommodations. Why so cheap? It’s a Spanish speaking cruise line. I am going with 3 other American’s and our cruise is through Europe. I’m currently learning a little bit of Spanish through DuoLingo but honestly, I’m excited to relax and learn.

Before I tell you how I save, try this. For a month write down everything in your phone you spend money on. At the end of the month look back and see how many times you spend a dollar here and 10 bucks there on random things you don’t actually need. You will honestly be surprised.

Okay, now how I do it.

Well for one, I gave up fast food and name brand groceries. I cook for myself for almost every meal. I stopped drinking at bars and paying for my friends drinks or food (which I only did occasionally but still). I save up in advance for any known occasions where I will need to buy gifts or I buy the gifts in advance. Example, I have a Bridal Shower coming up and last time I got paid I put away money for the present. I also use Digit and Acorns to force me to save money. I only get paid once a month so right after I’m paid, I pay all my bills, put aside food and gas money, put aside travel money, and then whatever I have left I try not to spend. Whatever is left, more travel money or savings.

I don’t live a glamorous life. I drink my off brand coffee that I bring from home instead of Starbucks. I offer to DD for my friends. I sell clothing, trinkets, and old electronics online. I am constantly trying to minimize what I own so I really try not to spend a lot of money on extras. If these are the small sacrifices I have to make so I can see the world, so be it. I would rather travel than have material goods.

Now if only I can find a job where I can be remote… Hello Nomad lifestyle. #FutureGoals

15 New States

Newest States I Have Been To

Massachusetts – June 2018
*Boston

 

California – May 2018
*Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Melrose, DTLA, Long Beach, WeHo, Mulholland, Hermosa Beach, Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach

 

Colorado – December 2017/January 2018
*Denver

 

Virginia/D.C. – July 2017
*Fairfax, McLean, Tysons Corner, Arlington, Falls Church, D.C.

 

Tennessee – March 2016
*Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Nashville, Memphis

 

Traveled To Already

Ohio
*Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland

 

Illinois
*Naperville, Schaumburg, Chicago

 

Indiana
*Indianapolis

 

Georgia
*Atlanta

 

North Carolina

 

South Carolina
*Charleston, Myrtle Beach

 

Florida
*Miami, South Beach, Daytona, Fort Lauderdale

 

Kentucky
*Covington, Louisville