How I Travel on a Budget

Hey guys!

Before I became full-time freelance, one of the questions I was constantly asked is how could I afford to travel as often as I did?. I would get tons of comments along the lines of “I wish I could travel as much as you!”, and truthfully, it wasn’t that long ago that I would browse through friends and strangers feeds alike and have my own serious case of FOMO. The first step to any adventure is, of course, to just GO. When I was just starting out, (and to this day!) sometimes the adventures would be on a small scale, and only as far as a tank of gas could carry me. Others, like my five week road trip last summer, required a bit more planning. So first off:

Plan Out Your Route in Advance

I know this takes away from the fun, spontaneous aspects of a trip, but having a rough itinerary is the easiest way to rid some unnecessary stress. This is especially important if you’re traveling with a group! Each person should share a list of places they’d most like to visit, and together, you can start to draft together a route to hit as much as possible with your timeline. Last year, my friend introduced me to the site, Furkot, which allows multiple people to add and edit locations to a road trip! Obviously, things happen, and you won’t be able to get to everything, but having that initial itinerary can save from some backtracking (and gas money) down the line. This also opens up opportunities to find sleeping arrangements, food, etc. Which brings me to:

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Car Camping is Free

In the warmer months, long-term travel becomes a lot easier for me, because sleeping arrangements are a lot easier! Last summer, two of my five weeks on the road consisted of car camping. I had a tent with me, too, for the days I’d be with another person, or in a national park. For over a month of summer travel, I spent less than $300 on sleeping arrangements. Sites like Hipcamp are great, if you’re looking for campsites in the U.S.! For travel outside the U.S., look into local hostels or hut systems (if you plan on hiking!). To keep my sanity, I made sure to have a non-camp place to sleep at least once a week. It gave me a chance to recharge my batteries - literally - and have some personal space to sprawl out (which is super important, no matter the length of a trip!). Camping also makes it easier to meal plan and save on food. Eating out - especially in touristy areas - can be super pricey, so traveling with a Jetboil and some non-parishables (like soup and pasta), brought my food budget way down.

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Sign Up for Airfare Alerts

If you’re heading out a bit further than your car can take you, obviously the farther out you book your airfare, the cheaper it will be. I take advantage of email blasts for some of my preferred airlines. Every now and then, they’ll have specials going on during periods of time. Two sites I use fairly often for flights are Scott’s Cheap Flights and Skiplagged.

Give Yourself a Weekly Allowance

Once you’re out on your adventure, it’s important to have a little in your budget for SOME spending money. I gave myself a $20 spending cap every week for non essentials. Having that dollar amount in mind can save you from overspending in the moment. So allow yourself to get that cup of coffee, but hold off on that overpriced magnet. Everything in moderation!

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Not every trip has to be on a Grand Scale

Living in Brooklyn, there isn’t a TON of nature in the immediate vicinity. However, upstate New York is home to two pretty remarkable mountain ranges. Traveling wise, sometimes the best adventures can be within your own state! Check out parks, national monuments, and national parks that could just be a day’s drive away. Personally, some of my favorite adventures have been right here in the Northeast. A round-trip train or bus ride upstate from the city will in most cases cost you less than $100, with endless destinations just a few hours away.

I hope these few tips help you to plan and budget for your next trip! After January, I’m getting back out on the road, and couldn’t be happier to spend time on some long stretches of highway.

xo

J.

Soaking up Sunshine at Westlake Village Inn

Hi guys!

At the beginning of April, V and I took a quick trip over to California for some MUCH needed days in the sun. The Winter blues were real this year in the Northeast! Even in the beginning of Spring, gloomy weather was the norm. So what better way to get our dose of Vitamin D than with the golden state? During our trip, we were invited to stay at Westlake Village Inn, a beautiful boutique hotel located a short drive from Malibu.

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Upon arrival, we we greeted by the friendly staff and directed to our room, which turned out to be the massive double story, Villa. At 1,500 square feet, it felt like we had stepped into our own private castle! With two patios, a full living room, dining area, kitchen, and baby grand piano, it’s beyond a doubt the most luxurious place we’ve ever stayed in. (It’s no wonder we ordered so much room service - we didn’t want to leave!). Speaking of room service, the process of ordering is made incredibly simple with an tablet! You just choose what you’d like, add to your cart, and presto! Your food arrives a little while later.

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Of course, the grounds are the real gem of Westlake Village Inn. Situated on a sprawling 17 acres, the resort boasts trails to walk or bike on, an 18-hole golf course, a lake, multiple restaurants, a full service spa, and vineyard! After a restful night’s sleep, we woke up early to explore and have a quick dip in the pool.

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The resort offers multiple packages to fit any getaway need. They are also an incredible event venue! When we first checked in, we noticed a wedding being set up, and can totally see how this place makes the perfect backdrop for such an occasion.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this tour! If you’re curious about booking your own stay at Westlake Village Inn, head over to their reservation site here!

Spring Skiing in the Northeast with Ikon Pass

Hi guys!

As I’m sure most of you know by now, winter is my favorite season! I attribute this mostly to my love for skiing. This year, I made it my mission to have my longest ski season yet, which has definitely happened, thanks to my Ikon Pass! Here’s a little guide to some of my favorite places to ski in the Northeast, well after the Spring thaw sets in.

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Mont Tremblant

This was my first season skiing at Mont Tremblant in Québec, but it most certainly won’t be my last! The charm of the village alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. The mountain is large enough to offer a little something for everyone, no matter your experience level. Some of you may recall my trip here back in December, so this time around, I explored different parts of the mountain (like the Versant Soleil area).

Favorite Trails

Like Spring skiing on any mountain, conditions change day to day! Our first day of skiing we explored Versant Nord. I loved Andy Moe (this was actually one of my favorite trails back in December, too) and Banzai. Our second day of skiing was a bit warmer, meaning trails were icy in places and bumped up in others. We stuck to Versant Sud and Versant Soleil. I LOVED the Refuge hut (aka cocoa cabin!) off of the Toboggan trail!

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Favorite ways to Après

Mont-Tremblant is home to maybe my favorite après-ski spot in the Northeast, the Scandinave Spa. Located just a short drive from the village lies the most tranquil setting of thermal spas. I highly recommend carving out an afternoon (or day!) from your trip to relax and rejuvenate along the Diable River.

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Explore the village! I love the charming, brightly colored buildings that line the way up to the mountain base. Also enjoy an aerial view via the cabriolet.

Dog Sledding in the Laurentian forest. Snowmobiling, horse drawn sleighs, and cross country skiing are also amazing ways to explore the surrounding woods.

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Killington

Killington is known for having the longest season in the Northeast. Even now, in the middle of May, they’re still open on weekends! It definitely feels ambitious to ski/ride this giant mountain in a single day. Luckily, there are tons of charming New England towns nearby that you can stay in to turn your Killington trip into a weekend long (or even longer!) adventure.

Favorite Trails

I started my season at this mountain back in November, and while at the time the limited trail options hardly mattered, that didn’t mean I wasn’t stoked to get back and properly explore come Spring! I really liked spreading out, which meant getting far out from Skye Peak to Bear Mountain, and then over to Sunrise. One thing I love about Killington is their CRAZY long trails on either side of the resort - i.e. Great Northern and Great Eastern! Both are awesome options for getting around the mountain, and offer pretty insane views of the surrounding peaks. Also, in the spirit of cute, ski-in eateries, I made a point of heading down Snowshed Slope to check out the Ledgewood Yurt!

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Favorite Ways to Après

Killington is near one of my favorite towns in all of Vermont - Woodstock! A short drive will bring you to this quintessential New England haven, where shops like the Vermont Flannel Company and Woodstock Farmer’s Market reside. Make sure to grab some Vermont maple syrup and check out one of the covered bridges before you hit the road! Also nearby is the beautiful Quechee Gorge. I love this place so much in Fall, but in colder months? It becomes pure magic with a layer of snow.

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Stratton

This resort has become something of a home mountain for me this season! I’ve loved getting familiar with its layout and always make time to explore the village. Aside from skiing, Stratton hosts some really fun events, like Wanderlust Festival in June, and WinterWonderGrass - which took place in December and April. Every time I come to this mountain, I know I’ll be in for a unique experience.

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Favorite Trails

Possibly because it always felt a little quieter, I really enjoyed the trails that led to the Sun Bowl Lodge. Upper and Lower Kidderbrook makes for a great, long run, and Polar Bear was always a favorite to the Ursa Express.

Favorite Ways to Après

One thing I love about this mountain is that I don’t view it as just a place to ski. This season, I snowshoed on the summit and even went on an after hours hike to the fire tower (and still had enough daylight to ski down afterward!). The village also offers an abundance of options for both sit down meals, a quick bite, or even just a cup of coffee - make sure to stop by Coyote and grab a cookie to go along with your caffeine fix! There’s really no shortage of things going on at the mountain, so make sure to check their events page before heading up!

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This wraps up my ski experiences with Ikon Pass! However, the adventures aren’t over just because the snow is gone. Can’t wait for warm months to return to these slopes for some classic summer experiences. Stay tuned!

xo

J.