Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trip Budget: the cost to visit Chicago?

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 29
Ah budgeting! The most important part of travel happens to be the one part that no one wants to talk about. But budgeting plays such a big role in traveling that it can really hold people back from visiting the places they want to see. Because Chicago happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the country for travelers, I thought I'd share our tips for how to save and show exactly what we spent during a long weekend in the city. 

Use Rewards Points
As you will see from our budget below, I am a big fan of these. More details here, but I'm not sure how we would be able to afford travel right now without them.

Arrive Early and Leave Late 
It's a common practice of mine to take the earliest flight possible when leaving home. That way I arrive at my destination early and still get to enjoy a full day there. And when we head home, we normally take a red eye. Financially, it doesn't make sense to pay for a hotel room, only to wake up the next day and fly home. Just go home the night before and save on flights (red-eyes are the cheapest flight time) and accommodation costs.

Spend where it Matters
Decide what's most important to you and pick one or two places to splurge, while budgeting everywhere else. 

Skip the Tourist Traps
Tourist traps are everywhere and they will cost you. A prime example in Chicago would be the Architecture Tour. This is such a popular activity with tourists who happily shell out 30 to 40 bucks a pop to cruise down the Chicago River. Meanwhile, you can do the exact same thing with a self-guided tour on a water taxi for only $4. Basically, do your research and ignore those spots (ahem Navy Pier) that will unnecessarily nickel and dime your budget into the ground. 
And just to show that I practice what I preach, here's our exact budget for 3 days and 2 nights in Chicago.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

12 hours in arches national park

There is so much to do and see in Arches National Park that it can be disheartening to know that you only have one day to spend here. When it comes down to it, you have two options.
Option #1: Make peace with the time that you do have. Slow things down by picking just a few spots to enjoy.
Option #2: Realize that you’re not guaranteed to have this opportunity ever again. Ignore all the rules of the time & space continuum and squeeze every drop of sunlight out of the day.
Can you guess which one we chose? Yep, the latter. But, with either route you choose, this will be a good guide. And it’s actually pretty doable to see the entire park in one day because everything is located right along the scenic road. This made it possible to soak up everything we wanted to see in a single day. On that note, here’s how to spend a perfect day in Arches National Park.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Celebrating 3 Years of Marriage

We’re just back from a week long anniversary trip in the Pacific Northwest, wandering Washington state. And now, we will always have this trip full of mountain views, breathtaking moments, and fireside chats to remember our third year anniversary by.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

SoWa Sunday

Happy SoWa Sunday! 
Just crossed this first item off my Fall to do list with attending the SoWa market. SoWa is short for South of Washington Street and refers to Boston's outdoor farmers market. It runs every Sunday from the first of May to the end of October. Only it's not just a farmers market. There's also a vintage market and an arts & craft market. Plus, the food truck scene is on point with a beer garden to boot. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

headed to the Pacific Northwest

This weekend Tom and I are headed to the Pacific Northwest. We marked 3 years of marriage a few weeks ago, but this upcoming trip is our big gift to each other. Now that we're long distance again, we could really use this time together. And I think we both need a bit of a break from grad school. Plus, neither of us have been to this part of the country before so this will be a trip full of firsts.
The Pacific Northwest is made up of two states…Oregon and Washington. Our original itinerary included stops through both states via Seattle and Portland. But with only a week to travel, we realized that we couldn't do both. It felt too much like we were cheating ourselves so we decided to focus our time in Washington and we'll have to return for Oregon. We're planning to spend a few days in Seattle, then take off to do some autumn hiking through Washington's national parks. Really hoping that Washington shows off for us with its fall foliage. Only a few more days of school {which unfortunately involves a test + several graded assignments} to get through before I'm free for an entire week. See you soon Seattle. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Goodbye September, Hello October

september lately
Oh October, I am so happy to see you. 
You will be a busy one with lots of exams and practicals already scheduled with grad school. But I'm still so excited for you. Can't wait to start crossing things off my fall to do list and looking forward to a big upcoming trip. But before I get too ahead of myself, let's say a proper goodbye to September shall we?

Friday, September 30, 2016

home sweet apartment

I'm right in the middle of getting settled into my grad school apartment, but last weekend I was back in Boston to visit the husband for our 3 year anniversary. Getting to return to the cute apartment that we used to share together has me feeling all sorts of nostalgic.