It’s no secret that I love to travel. I actually think that it is one of the first things that people gather from getting to know me.
This past weekend I was able to quench my everlasting thirst for travel and visit some of my friends, Michaela and Clara, from when I studied abroad in England. I had been budgeting since my last trip, to Florida, where I visited another study abroad friend, Tess, in April.
I found that an impromptu trip to Boston was completely realistic thanks to an early summer JetBlue flight sale, taking only a carry on bag and personal item, and having a fantastic friend who allowed me to crash on her couch.
These are the realities of being a post-college twenty something, and that is okay.
- Price compare in advance and don’t spend more than you absolutely need to on flights.
I booked my roundtrip tickets almost exactly 2 months before my trip. It was a Thursday, but to be completely honest I am not one of those people who think the day of the week matters all that much. My direct flights were just under $100 and I am still pretty proud of that fact.
At the same time that I booked my tickets, I signed up for a True Blue rewards account. When I have traveled in the past I have made an account for SouthWest, but to be completely honest I haven’t really accumulated anything of significance because I have never been loyal to just one airline; I tend to just fly whatever is least expensive. My lack of loyalty may change now that I have found out that I can take surveys at www.pointsforsurveys.com and accumulate free flights through JetBlue. I already have plans in the making for a trip to NYC in the fall and due to my 4,500 points I’ve acquired since June, I may only have to pay one for a one way ticket. That’s $60 or less… CHA CHING!
JetBlue now has baggage options you can pay for when you purchase tickets. It’s still cheaper than American Airlines and Delta, but nothing compares to SouthWest’s 2 free checked bags. With that in mind I bought the 0 bag basic fair through JetBlue, as my trip was only 4-5 days long, and crammed everything I needed into a duffle and tote.
2. Go on the vacation that fits YOUR lifestyle. Adapt accordingly.
Since I have visited Boston many times before, I decided that I did not want to have the traditional historical visit. I’ve seen Freedom Trail and it is cool. Same thing for the Boston aquarium. But I am a young millennial woman on the hunt for fun cheap Instagram opportunities and delicious food/booze -in case I haven’t made that clear.
And so with that in mind I made 1 goal for each day of my trip.
- On Saturday I would find a giant booze-shake from Boston Burger Company. ($10)
- On Sunday I would go on a Boston Harbor boat cruise through Boston Green Cruises, thanks to Living Social -because I’m cheap. ($11)
- On Monday I would swim in a rooftop pool on top of the Colonnade Hotel near the Prudential Center. ($10)
I accomplished all of my goals with Clara. I spent a total of $300 on vacation, less than one night at the aforementioned hotel that we swam at (which is priced at approximately $450-600 a night).
3. Get over yourself and take public transportation.
I spent $22 on a 7 day CharlieCard pass, so that I could take the public bus and subway as many times as I wanted. This easily paid for itself, as I know I took both modes of transportation at least 20 times. Individually with a ticket each trip would be $2.75, $2.25 on a Charlie Card. I have spent $22 on Uber rides in the DC metro area.. even more on cabs in NYC.. therefore this is definitely the cheapest form of getting around, besides walking.
4. Don’t eat out every night if you don’t have to.
We made the classic poor man’s pasta dish for dinner on Sunday night: shell pasta, olive oil, garlic and parm cheese. I spent $15 on random breakfast fruits, ingredients for dinner, pre-packaged lunches and non-alcoholic beverages for during my stay. By eliminating the cost of dinner one night, as well as having breakfast options and lunch covered one day, this was definitely a solid investment.
5. Talk to the locals.
On our first in Jamaica Plain, the particular neighborhood Clara resides in, we talked to the bartender about places to go. What tourist traps should we avoid? If you were here for 4 days where would you make it a point to visit? Not only will you get a better feel for the town, but you may also get to witness a fantastic Bostonian AHHHcent.
I know that I am lucky to be able to explore such amazing places and visit incredible people, but I am a firm believer that luck actually has very little to do with it. Do your research, know your restrictions and take the world on without hesitation.