Plane Fashion

Plane travel. But make it fashion.

Back in the day, people got dressed up for flying. Think about it, it’s a huge metal container propelling people through the air from one destination to the next. It’s kind of a big deal, so I understand making this an event. Now, I’m not saying you need to go to this extreme. Because, really, it was an extreme. But cute and comfortable travel fashion looks have been all the rage. I’m an advocate for looking your best while traveling, mainly because I have activities planned the second the plane lands, but also you see a lot of people and putting your best foot forward isn’t the worst idea.

The one day I decided to look like garbage for a quick hop from Spain to Portugal, my flight was cancelled and we ended up staying a night in Lisbon. AKA we got ready in the airport bathroom… Travel cute my friends.

Anyway, my plane “lewk” consists of a few basic things. A scarf, boots or sneakers, leggings, layers, and a light jacket.

First, lets talk about things to avoid…

  1. Heels or backless shoes
  2. Anything constricting (tight jeans, etc.)
  3. Only shorts and a tshirt
  4. Lots of jewelry

Heels and backless shoes are kind of an obvious one but I still see it every time I travel. Think worst case scenario. Plane is going down and you have to go out the emergency exit or a slide into water. Are heels comfortable or efficient in a split second escape? Do you want to take your shoes off, or have someone step on your feet and you lose a shoe, and have to walk on who knows what? It’s better to be prepared. Plus, on long haul flights your feet can swell and if compressed in a shoe and socks, it’s gunna feel a lot better than if you were wearing flip flops.

This is similar to why you would avoid anything constricting. Free movement is essential if this worst case scenario occurs. Also, you can get blood clots in your legs if you’re not moving them for an extended period of time. Wearing leggings or something with compression that is comfortable, promotes a bit of wiggling.

Now, only shorts and a tshirt? What if you get cold? What if the plane catches on fire? Add a layer of protection people.

Lastly, lots of jewelry. I got stopped behind someone in security once that had on 10 Alex and Ani bracelets. While they’re cute, she had to sit there and take all of them off to go through the metal detector. Before you go through security, think, how can I make my life easier? Then do that.

Now, for my average plane “lewk”, I consistently have a few basic things. A scarf, boots or sneakers, leggings, layers, and a light jacket.

As you can see, Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf, leather jacket, and layers. And you can bet your butt I’m wearing leggings and sneaks. My scarf, as I’ve said before, is my one must have. It’s so soft and comfortable and can be a blanket or a scarf or a wrap or a pillow. I easily get hot and cold on planes so layers is my best friend.

See, looking cute doesn’t mean an hour of hair and makeup and wearing high heels. It’s comfort and practicality that will save your sanity. Now remember, next time you’re getting ready for a flight, think, is this making my life easier or harder? If you have to really think about it, ditch it! You’ll thank me later.

Why you Should Road Trip Iceland

Driving through Europe.

I have been out of the US before, let’s be clear on that. Have I ever gone anywhere other than an all inclusive resort in Mexico or right across the border in Canada? No. (FYI I live in MI so getting to the Canadian border takes 30 minutes – not as exciting as other parts of Canada mostly because of how accessible it is.)

Anyway, long story short, I somehow ended up on a trip to Iceland with an old friend. We’ve known each other for 10 years but haven’t talked as much recently. Spoiler alert, felt like 0 time had passed. Basically, I was bit HARD by the travel bug last year. I recently looked at Skyscanner and found a cheap flight to Reykjavik. Not knowing ANYTHING about Iceland, I posted on Facebook and said, “I want to go to Reykjavik!”. (This was after googling Iceland and seeing the gorgeous country). A few people commented on it saying they were going to Iceland, a few said where the hell is that, and others said that’s on my bucket list! My friend, Taylor, messaged me and said “Hey, I’m planning on going in September for photography and northern lights and stuff. Wanna come? It will help me split my costs”. Um, yes. Basically we booked it a week later.

Votnajökull National ParkFirst thing you need to know about Iceland, transportation while in the country isn’t as expensive as you would think IF you’re renting. If you’re not, good luck. A bus, taxi, etc… all pricey. Plus, having a person waiting for us with the rental was so nice. We spent

almost $700 for a car and camper van for a week. We also added on WiFi and a plug extender. So $350 a person for a week of traveling, lodging, and internet, not bad.

Driving Iceland is also a plus because your plans can change at any minute. You have flexibility so you don’t have to be anywhere at any time. This was so helpful! We added things onto our trip that locals recommended and being able to drive a little further at night to a different campground, was so nice and easy. Wake up at Skogafoss and be the first person there. Eat breakfast while looking at Vatnajökull. Go to bed right next to a black sand beach… There’s nothing cooler.

So, cost, experience, and flexibility, makes driving Iceland worth it. I would recommend this over a hotel or AirBnB any day.

Getting to know Alyssa Ramos

Talking to my IDOL.

Alyssa Ramos is a full time travel blogger with more bucket list check marks than anyone I have ever met. Her startling list of press features will intimidate anyone – her most recent being in Cosmo. Her passion for travel and adventure has not only changed my life but has empowered me to want to see the world.AR3.png

In 2015, Ramos wrote a brilliant piece for Huffington Post that went viral and that’s how I found her. The post was titled, “Yes, I’m Pretty and I’m Traveling Alone“. The post is satirical, humorous, and inspiring. After that, I have been hooked. Her Instagram is filled with accomplishments from all over the world. If you’re lacking travel enthusiasm, look to her.

I’m extremely grateful to say I was able to interview Alyssa about her “alternative” lifestyle. And she assured me, after 86 countries and 7 continents, she isn’t settling down.

What sparked your passion for travel?

AR: “I wanted to do and see more than just have fun living in LA, so at 26 I decided to take my first solo trip to volunteer in South Africa, then go to Thailand and Australia, and I was hooked ever since.”

What is your number one travel tip for solo adventurers?

AR: “Do your research, make sure you’re well planned — not because you need to be, but because it’ll make you feel more assured, confident, and excited. Also remember that the world is NOT a scary place! I feel safer abroad than I do in the U.S.!”

What country have you found to be the most inviting?

AR: “Indonesia… it’s basically a mix of locals and expats living in harmony these days.”

AR2.pngWhy did you take your first solo trip?

AR: “I ended up going solo because I couldn’t get anyone to go with me!”

What is the number one thing you have learned from traveling?

AR: “What an amazing freaking world this is, and that I was never meant to stay in one place.”

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself from traveling?

AR: “That I am a chameleon and can easily adapt to any location and situation. I also have learned that just by living a life filled with taking chances, risks, and leaps of faith, I can inspire others to be better people and do more with their lives.”

What has been your most successful blog post to date?

AR: “According to Google Analytics it’s “10 Best Stops for an Arizona/Utah Road Trip” and “25 Awesome Things to do in Havana, Cuba!””

What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?

AR: “Whatever gets me there fastest, so probably planes, although I have a lot of fun on trains and motorbikes. Definitely not cars or buses since I’ve been in two roll-over accidents in them recently.” *She’s okay everyone!

AR1.png

What has been your most rewarding travel moment?

AR: “Stepping foot on Antarctica, my 7th continent, and recently succeeding at raising over $6.5k to buy disaster relief supplies for Lombok earthquake victims, and seeing them delivered.”

Lastly, window or aisle?

AR: “Window 100%. Flights are my prime designated blog post writing time!”

If you would like to know more about Alyssa Ramos [My Life’s a Travel Movie]  – and you should, check out her about page on her blog or follow her on social media. Or both. And can I just say again how awesome it was to talk to her?! You probably wouldn’t guess that travel bloggers working 16 hour days every day of the week would be so willing to help out the newbies, yet, here she is.

Here’s her Instagram, Facebook, YouTube account, and Website. I hope you find her as incredible as I do!

 

Lolla in Chicago

The music festival to end all festivals.

While I have been to Illinois and Chicago many times – I have never been to Lollapalooza. In a turn of events, I ended up going alone, and I had an incredible time. Here is my experience plus some tips and tricks.

First things first – screenshot the map and schedule/lineup for all the bands. We bought tickets for Friday only and were able to see where the stages were and when our favorite bands were playing. Because I went alone – I was able to see my favorites and explore a bit more.

A photo of the entrance to Lollapalooza. A artsy cartoon boombox.

Plus, do some research for hotels in advance. I could see the main stage from my room. This photo was right inside the gate across the street from my hotel entrance. Also – I would highly recommend the Congress Plaza Hotel because it’s in Grant Park and there’s a ton of security because of the location meaning you feel super safe. Also, it’s an old hotel that is really ornate and interesting.

Okay, so you’ve got your hotel, you decided which day to buy or what pass works best, you know which bands you want to see. How do you make the most of your time?

Go early and make a plan of action. The two bands I wanted to see the most were at stages that faced each other so they rotated. I got to see James Bay and then The Neighbourhood started playing right as he finished. Once The Neighbourhood was getting close to the end of their last song, I left and beat the crowd out because the next artist on the opposite stage was Post Malone. I got to watch him from afar because I didn’t feel like getting trampled. After I saw the songs I wanted to see I made my way towards the main stage and got caught up at a small stage and watched an incredible band I had never heard of. THIS is why I love festivals. You get to hear so many artists you would have never heard of. Two of my favorite bands I found this way; Bad Rabbits (Warped Tour) and R. LUM. R. (Lollapalooza).

A photo of a moose with the Lyft logo and people waiting in line for tacos.

Make sure you have a full battery and possibly an external charger if your hotel is further away. You will need to take a Lyft, Uber, L train, cab, something back. I would recommend whatever ride share company is partnered with the event. For Lolla, Lyft was their main choice meaning they had a Lyft pickup lot that was close to the event and gave out free water, energy drinks, tacos and tamales, and small souvenirs while you waited for your driver. I was able to use the restroom, get some food, water, listen to music, and got free hand sanitizer, beer koozies, and keychains.

Thankfully, my biggest tip is back in style. FANNY PACKS! (or if you’re British Bum Bags). There are thousands of people here and I ended up wearing my small backpack backwards due to some missing items and opened pockets. (Nothing major, just a missing zipper string and oil blotting face papers).

Either bring money or pre-load it onto your wristband and make sure you have the essentials for being out in the sun. I had the best time here and I felt totally safe being alone. I made a ton of new friends because everyone there is super friendly. Lollapalooza is definitely not one to miss.

 

 

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.

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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