We don't vacation
We travel. This may seem like a nuanced difference but to us it is an important one.
Merriam-Webster defines vacation as "a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation". Travel is simply taking a journey somewhere. Now, this isn't to say Lindsay and I never take vacations, or that our travel isn't recreational. We just aren't the kind of travelers who spend months saving up for a week long vacation at an all inclusive resort or a trip to Disney. If we do land ourselves at an all inclusive it's because Lindsay has the great job of being an amazing wedding photographer who sometimes travels, and I get to tag along. Huge perk of marrying a wedding photographer.
The kind of travel we do is the adventuring kind. The kind where maybe you drive 10 hours to see the night sky or road trip through a foreign country. Where you sleep in a tent or in someone's spare bedroom. Where you find the best local places and learn about the local history and culture. To us, travel should always be an adventure. And it should, preferably, be affordable. Because let's be honest here, we are not rich. We travel on a budget. But despite being on a budget, in our first year of marriage we have managed to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana twice; San Jose, California; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Houston and Austin, Texas; Portland, Maine; Costa Rica; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Madrid, Spain; Grafton, Vermont; the Dominican Republic; Spruce Knob, West Virginia, and even hung our feet out of a helicopter above Manhattan. In just over a week we will be in Colorado. And that list doesn't include the local adventures and day trips that we take.
So how do we do it? This is a question we get constantly. There's a lot of lifestyle reasons we are able to travel as much as we do such as flexible jobs and schedules, low cost of living, having older kids, etc. There's also some tips and tricks we have learned over the course of time that have made our travels more affordable. This Sunday, and every other Sunday, I will share some of those tips so you can learn to travel affordable as well.
This Sunday I'd like to introduce you to the Hopper app. This has become one of my favorite travel apps. I used it to score us flights to Spain for $455 USD. Anytime you can travel to Europe for under $500, I consider it a good deal.
According to their website "Hopper is the award-winning mobile app that doesn't just let you book flights from your phone: It also tells you when is the best time to buy. No spam. No ads. No popups. No time wasted. Just the confidence that you're booking smart and saving money." And that's exactly what the app does. You pick your destination/arrival cities, Hopper will show you a calendar with current price estimates and show you the best days to travel, and then tell you if you should book now or wait. If it says to wait, you can follow that trip and you will get a notification when the flight is at its projected cheapest. That's when you book. Viola.
Now I will say, I don't book through Hopper. I usually book direct with the airlines. This is somewhat of a personal preference. I also book direct when it comes to hotels. I have actually found the prices, and the service, to often times be better when you book direct verses booking with an OTA (online ticket agent). Also keep in mind that Southwest doesn't provide any OTA's with their info so they won't show up on Hopper.
If you're like me, a penny pinching adventurer who always wants the absolute best deal, the Hopper app will surely be a useful addition to your smartphone.
Adventure on, friends.