Creative entrepreneur, dog mom, brewed beverage aficionado, and your personal journalist.

Hey there! I'm Kayla

SIX SIMPLE SECRETS TO AN EASY GETAWAY I EDUCATION

Education

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One of my favorite hobbies is traveling. I love everything about it–the atmosphere of the terminal before boarding, the new local foods and flavors, the little bottles of shampoo and lotion at the hotel (what can I say? I am a sucker for miniatures and bath products). There is very little I do not like about travel, and I always try to get out of the northland at least once a year.
I get asked it all the questions about it: “Jeez, Kayla, how can you justify paying THAT much for a hotel room for that many nights?” “How can you always have a hot cup of Starbucks every time you turn around?” “How do you afford such meals?”
Well, I can tell you. There are six main ways I go about traveling comfortably without breaking the bank or totally undercutting a budget.
A few disclaimers, though:
*I am a solo traveler, so what I am about to describe covers me and only me. It may not be perfect for you.
*I do not have any stats or statistics in this post…but the next time I will try to have some hard, solid numbers for you.
*I am in no way sponsored by any of the following companies or products. I just love them, so I want to share why I love them.
*I am in no way liable if any of this does not go down well for you. If something gets hacked or a wheel falls off, that’s not my fault.
OK, now that is taken care of, here are my top six travel hacks to make the most out of any quick getaway!
1.) Free money! It is no surprise that I love coffee; naturally, then, it is a huge expense when I travel. Do you know how much money I spent of coffee on Starbucks coffee when I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago? Zero. I spent zero dollars. Why is that? Because I leverage all the ways to earn gift cards. This includes using Bing before I Google (and thereby earn Bing Rewards), watching a few videos on Swagbucks, and scanning with the Shopkick app. I would say I am able to secure $5 to $10 a week using these, which allows me to rarely pay for my Pike Place roast with a shot of peppermint. The beauty of these sites and apps is that they offer a whole variety of gift card options, from Amazon to Ulta (and every service, restaurant, or retailer in between). If you use Shopkick, feel free to use my referral code of GOAL296699 to help us both out!
1.) Free money! It is no surprise that I love coffee; naturally, then, it is a huge expense when I travel. Do you know how much money I spent of coffee on Starbucks coffee when I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago? Zero. I spent zero dollars. Why is that? Because I leverage all the ways to earn gift cards. This includes using Bing before I Google (and thereby earn Bing Rewards), watching a few videos on Swagbucks, and scanning with the Shopkick app. I would say I am able to secure $5 to $10 a week using these, which allows me to rarely pay for my Pike Place roast with a shot of peppermint. The beauty of these sites and apps is that they offer a whole variety of gift card options, from Amazon to Ulta (and every service, restaurant, or retailer in between). If you use Shopkick, feel free to use my referral code of GOAL296699 to help us both out!
2.) A credit card with cash back (so more free money!). A card that offers cash back is amazing to me, because it like getting paid for traveling! I personally enjoy my Capital One Quicksilver card, but I also like my American Express Skymiles card for when I fly (which isn’t all that often, but it is amazing how quick miles do actually add up). It’s kind of nice knowing that the cashback you receive from the cost of lodging will put a dent in the expense of food; it makes that little splurge not so bad.
3.) Enroll in all the rewards programs. I love boutique hotels, such as the Kimpton brand of hotels. As of 2014, they are a member of the InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes other well-known brands such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. I travel a ton for weddings and other photo shoots, and often find myself at one of the last two hotels mentioned; the points I acquire by being a IHG Rewards Club member from these business trips help compensate for my
4.) One solid lens. As a photographer, I have many options when it comes to lenses. Photography is work, however, so I do not like bringing all my gear with me when my objective is to rest and relax. I invested in one trusty travel lens, a Nikon 24-70mm, so I can worry less about what I have with me and focus more on what I have before me.
5.) A great suitcase. I always ask for pretty much the same thing for my birthday and for holidays: New luggage (purses can be a form of luggage, so I am counting them, too). I think makes a huge difference in the travel experience. One of my favorite pieces of luggage was this wedge-shaped carry-on that was seriously like a clown car, and it fit perfectly into the overhead compartment. I am currently enamored with the Away Bigger Carry-On. Not only does it have charging capabilities, it is also super sturdy and incredibly well made. I was able to fit two sweatshirts, two pairs of jeans, two dresses, two blouses, three pairs of yoga pants, three t-shirts, a tulle skirt, a pair of heels AND a pair of flats (in addition to undies and sockies). It also glides so smooth it might actually be floating. So lovely.
6.) A journal. It is so easy to think that our Camera Roll or social media feeds will serve as a reminder of our adventures, but I think that is the wrong way to think. Journaling allows us to not only save what we think, but also how we feel. Taking a few minutes before bed or right when we wake up in the morning to jot down our thoughts, our plan for the day, and so on will keep the moment alive a little bit longer than the little blip on Facebook’s Memories.
Six simple ways to really enhance any travel experience…so what are you waiting for? Get away!

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