Thank you to Push Pin Travel Maps for sponsoring this post!
We are always asked how we are able to travel as much as we do, especially considering that we have full time jobs. Since travel is such a huge priority to us, we’ve figured out ways to save money and vacation days to be able to travel longer and more frequently. Here’s how we plan our travels using Push Pin Travel Maps to maximize our vacation days and save cash.
CATEGORIZE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
The first thing we do is categorize our travel destinations using Push Pin Maps. Each map comes with a package of pins in three different colors. We use the colors as following:
- Black: places we’ve traveled to together
- Red: places we want to travel to
- White: places we’ve traveled to individually
Sometimes the places we want to travel to together and the places we’ve traveled individually overlap. For example, Lena has been to Jordan and Turkey, but Bassam hasn’t. We really want to travel to those countries together.
Since our bucket list is never ending, using Push Pin Maps helps us keep track of where we’ve been and where we want to go. We actually ran out of red pins when we were creating our travel bucket list! We had so much fun figuring out all the places we want to go and reiminsicing over the places we’ve been. Categorizing our travel is also essential for the next tip.
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CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION BASED ON PRICE
Since our travel bucket list is so large, we’ve marked almost every country on our Push Pin Map. While there are certain destinations we may be particularly lusting over at any given moment, we want to go everywhere. Due to this, we started choosing our travel destinations based on price. This has allowed us to save a lot of money as flights are always the biggest part of our travel costs. Here are the two websites and strategies we typically use:
- Skyscanner: When we have set travel dates, we find Skyscanner is our best best. We enter in our dates and then select “everywhere” instead of a specific location. Skyscanner then provides a list of flights sorted from lowest to highest price. If the lowest price matches a red pin on our map, we book! If not, we move up to the next lowest price and so on. This strategy also works even if our dates are a bit flexible as Skyscanner also allows you to search an entire month.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights: When our travel dates are flexible, Scott’s Cheap Flights offers us the best deals! You have to sign up to use this website and they offer both paid and unpaid options. We’ve chosen the free option which means we don’t receive all the deals, but we’ve been happy with it so far. How it works: Scott’s team scours the internet to find the best flight deals and emails them to you if they find anything good. The savings can be surprisingly high! Once we find a deal that works with our schedules and is one of our red pin destinations, we book!
If you really have your heart set on a particular destination, try to travel off-season or during shoulder season (the few weeks right after the high season). This is the best way to score great deals on flights, hotels, and tours. You run the risk of bad weather when traveling off-season, but we’ve always gotten lucky when traveling during shoulder season. Another perk is that the destination will be less crowded!
WORK HARD TO PLAY HARD
Such the cliche phrase, but it’s so important. Also, sometimes you’ll find that by working as much as you can, you can save on vacation days. Some ideas:
- Ask your boss if you can work on the plane. If you have admin work to do, the plane ride is a great time to do it and often long enough to count as a full work day.
- Along the same lines, ask your boss if you can work weekends leading up to your trip to save on vacation days.
- You can also see if your boss will let you work remotely for a few days. If you’re going on a international trip is is especially easy since you can work at night and not miss out on any day time activities.
- Always try your best to complete all your work before going on vacation. This will minimize your co-workers from getting annoyed with you when you travel.
GET CREATIVE WITH TIME MANAGEMENT
Let’s face it, there’s no way to create time, only to manage it. Here are some suggestions:
- Depart at the end of a work day and arrive at the start of a work day. You can still work those full days, but you’ll be able to use part of the day/night for travel. We utilized this tip when we took a 3 day road trip from Los Angeles to Portland. Yes, you may be tired, but we feel having that extra time is so worth it.
- Take a red eye flight. You’ll arrive at your destination as early as possible, being able to maximize the amount of time you spend there. Try your best to sleep on the flight so you can arrive at your destination ready to go.
- Plan a long layover on purpose. And no, we aren’t crazy. This is a great way to be able to sneak in seeing another destination without having to pay for the flight or take additional vacation days. Here are some great ways to do this:
- Book the flight with the longest delay. We’ve been able to see Abu Dhabi and London on long layovers!
- Fly airlines that let you take multiple days as a “delay”. This perk is becoming more common among airlines.
- Search multiple destination stops when using Skyscanner. This will be separate tickets and not a layover, but it’s usually a really inexpensive add-on.
USE PUSH PIN MAPS TO CURB WANDERLUST WHEN YOU’RE NOT TRAVELING
We absolutely love the beautiful look of Push Pin Maps. They come in a variety of colors and styles so there’s sure to be one that fits your home. We chose a classic look that worked really well in our home. We have it hanging in our entry way and receive compliments every time someone comes over. Many people have especially commented on our customized nameplate that states “Happily Ever Adventures of Bassam and Lena“. The options are endless with the customized nameplate, anything from a quote to an inside joke.
The gorgeous map is really high quality and we know we’ll have it in our home for years to come. For now, we are embracing a simple look, but in the future we may pin photos from our travels to the map to add some color and fun. Every day we walk by the map and look at the destinations we’ve pinned; dreaming about the next place we’ll go. It provides us daily inspiration to start planning our next trip.
You can get your own map here: Push Pin Travel Maps
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