We travel, quite simply, because we love to travel. We enjoy seeing new things, experiencing different cultures and learning about the world around us. Our travel style reflects our desire to see amazing places on a teacher’s salary.
We first started blogging as a way to keep our family and friends informed of our travels. We transitioned to a more robust site in an effort to help others learn from and be inspired by our travels.
As bloggers, we have struggled somewhat to define our “niche.” We are not just about cruising, backpacking Europe, budget travel, camping or living in another country. All of those things appeal to us. We are just normal folks, doing extraordinary travels, on a limited budget.
We are NOT full-time travelers, as many travel bloggers are. The “regular” still pays our bills. Granted, we are teachers, so that gives us a little more time off than the average person, but we still hold a full-time job that does restrict our travel.
Also, our school district has a somewhat modified calendar in that we get a shorter summer in exchange for a full week off in September, a full week off for Thanksgiving, and a full week off in February. That is in addition to the standard two weeks off at Christmas and New Year’s and a week for Spring Break. We are not on a year-round schedule, as we do get a full seven weeks off for the summer, but it does allow us to spread our travel throughout the year.
We also do not have kids. When we travel it is just the two of us…two 40-something adults. We do have nieces and nephews, and are actually planning a trip with a couple of them, so we may occasionally touch on traveling with kids, but that is not our “normal.” There are plenty of bloggers out there who do travel with kids, though, and we strongly encourage those of you with kids to get them out in the world and show them new things! We do attribute our love of travel to the fact that we both grew up traveling with our families.
Our Travel Style
We describe our travel style as affordable and accessible. We travel relatively inexpensively, though we will splurge occasionally, such as our most recent anniversary dinner. Often, We drive across the country instead of flying and renting a car. We stay at campgrounds or lower-end hotels and often use points to minimize hotel costs. Credit cards help us maximize our hotel points and airline miles.
On the flip side, we are not super-budget travelers. Yes, we do often carry peanut butter and jelly with us on a road trip for a quick, easy and cheap lunch. But, when we just can’t stand the thought of another PB&J sandwich, we do go out. When overseas, we do not stay in hostels or camp, opting for a relatively inexpensive hotel or bed-and-breakfast instead.
We enjoy all types of travel – we have taken road trips across the US, weekend trips with a flight, trips to Disney World, we’ve been to Europe, and we’ve done cruises. Traveling with family and friends is always fun. We truly enjoy all different types of travel – any way to see the world is a good way!
Traveling “around the corner” is generally weekend or maybe week-long trips that are relatively stationary. To help keep up with the blog, we are trying to take more of these trips. It’s motivation for us to actually see some of the nearby sites we sometimes overlook, like going to nearby cities and National Parks sites in Georgia.
Case in point: just last weekend we took our first trip to Alabama. While we’ve both been there in the past and we’ve driven through Alabama many times on our way to or from other places, this was our first time actually staying there together. And we live in Georgia…less than two hours from the state-next-door. Sometimes, it is the closest places that are the hardest to get to.
Why We Take Road Trips
Many times our vacations in the US are road trips in the truck. Sometimes, we camp – we recently bought a camper, but tent camped for years before that. Sometimes, we stay in hotels, again utilizing points where we can to keep the costs down. Our Hilton Honors Visa Card also provides us with one free night at any Hilton property worldwide each year, so that is a great way to stay in a nice hotel for no extra money!
Traveling in the truck is nice because we can pack as much as we want to (within reason). We don’t have to worry about 3 oz bottles of liquids or if our carry-on will fit in the overhead bin. We can easily make a detour or change plans if something changes at the last minute. And we actually get to see things on the way to our destination. In fact, there rarely is one main “destination” in our travels, rather a string of places we are visiting both on the way “out” and “back.”
We are not afraid of airplanes, though! If you need to get somewhere more than a couple hundred miles away for just a few days, then flying makes sense. When flying, we rarely check a bag, and we always try to schedule the flights so that we have time to volunteer to be bumped. We love earning flight vouchers just for sitting in the airport a couple hours longer!
Exploring the Country
During breaks, we take longer trips all over the US. Many times we end up driving out West. There is just something about the American West that we love. We finally “forced” ourselves to New England this past summer, but before that we had only taken a couple of short trips in which we stayed east of the Mississippi River.
These trips, in particular, tend to center around visiting National Park sites. We absolutely love America’s National Parks and are striving to visit all of them, even the small ones that you’ve never heard of. We enjoy getting outside and seeing the natural wonders, hiking on trails, watching wildlife and learning about the history of our country. Some of these sites will take less than an hour to see, such as St. Croix Island International Historic Site in Maine; others can entertain for more than a week, such as Yellowstone National Park.
All of these sites offer something unique. There are sites dedicated to natural wonders, Civil War battles, Native American heritage, Presidential birthplaces and significant events. There are so many different types of parks, monuments and sites that you can fuel your travels for most of your life!
In the summer, these trips are always camping trips. When we had the tent, we usually stayed in a hotel one or two nights per week just to keep our sanity and get a nice, hot, private shower! Now that we have the camper, we just travel from campground to campground. We certainly cannot afford to pay for a hotel every night for more than a month!
In the winter, we utilize our hotel points to keep the cost down. It is just WAY too cold to camp unless you are in the far South and most campgrounds aren’t even open in the winter.
Around the World
One way we enjoy seeing the world is by cruising. While we are not typically fans of tour groups or massive amounts of people traveling together, cruising is nice in that you do have the flexibility to do your own thing. What we like most about cruising is that you typically get to see two or three, or more, cities or countries and only have to unpack your bag one time.
Our next cruise will take us not only to Puerto Rico, but to five other Caribbean islands, which is actually six different countries (St. Maarten is Dutch and St. Martin is French, but it is all one island). That is a lot of sights for us to see with minimal effort on our part!
When we travel to overseas, we pack everything in one backpack each. We will never travel overseas any other way, unless we are only going to one hotel, which I don’t expect to ever do. While we carry our stuff in backpacks, we are not “typical” backpackers. We do not stay in hostels and we do not camp. We find inexpensive hotels along the way and are sure to build in time to do laundry approximately once a week. This allows us to see more and really maximize one flight across the Atlantic!
While everyone has their preferred methods of travel and things they want to see and do, we feel that we are very accessible in our approach. We are not extravagant and we are not super cheap. We travel in a variety of different ways to many different parts of the country and the world and are not exclusive to any one place or way to get there.
Hopefully, something about our travel style appeals to you and you can relate… Or, perhaps, you will be inspired to try something new or go somewhere different. That’s the best part of travel and that’s why we do what we do!