Aloha! Hej! Bonjour!
If you’ve been following along on Instagram for awhile, you’ve already had some behind the scenes peeks into some of our wandering adventures. We are super blessed to have a combination of jobs that give us both a chance to explore the world.
Since our little Josiah joined us for the ride, our lives have been filled with diapers and Goodnight Moon instead of airplanes and European coffee shop. Even so, we can’t be still for long! We’re testing out Josiah’s power of wanderlust this summer, starting today. We’re headed off on a 12 hour road trip to visit my family in eastern North Carolina. Hopefully he’ll take after his parents and travel well! <– TBD
We’re often asked for travel tips, so this week we’re sharing a few of our favorites apps and hacks! Whether you’re starting to plan your honeymoon or just a weekend getaway, these will make trip planning both a little easier on your mind (and your wallet).
We’ve scored some incredible deals throughout our years using AirBnB. You’re actually staying in someone’s home, so this might not be for everyone. In probably half the places we’ve stayed, though, our host will head out for the weekend and give us the house to ourselves.
Some locations have more AirBnB options than others (bigger cities usually have the cheapest options, in our experience), but it’s always our first go-to when looking for accommodations. We’ve stayed in Phoenix for $34/night and Copenhagen Denmark for $30/night.
Depending on what you’re willing to spend ($30 vs $100), the options usually range from somebody’s small spare bedroom to an entire house in a high-end neighborhood. Some include breakfast, others have a private bathroom. Some use a self check-in system. It’s all across the board. It’s definitely a little more involved and unpredictable than just checking into a hotel, but we think it’s worth the experience (and the $$$ saved).
P.S. If you use our referral link, you’ll get $40 off your first trip! It’s an affiliate link, so it also means we get a $20 credit, too. Win-win-win! You travel, we travel, and you’ll get a travel experience that’s so much more authentic than a standard hotel.
Google Trips can access all of your trip information and keep all your reservations categorized in one easy-to-access place.
(I wish this had existed on our 2 week tour across Europe a few years ago!)
You can also get great suggestions on things to see or do in each city, depending on your interests. Totally into architecture? There’s a list for you. Foodies? History buff? It’s got you covered.
We love this especially for work trips or times when we don’t have things super planned out ahead of time. If we’re in a city for a few hours, we can pop our location into Google Trips and let them to the guiding!
Google Flights is one of our current top favorites! If you have any flexibility on dates, you can see what airfare will cost on each day of the month. We’ve scored $500 tickets to Europe through Google Flights.
Hopper is an app that keeps an eye on airline ticket prices and tells you when to buy. It analyzes airline patterns and has a pretty good idea of whether or not you can expect a better price to pop up in the future. You can set it to notify you when a good ticket deal comes in!
If we don’t have flexible enough dates to take advantage of Google Flights, this is a pretty good “plug in and wait for a good deal” app. I’ll caveat that it’s not always 100% the best deal, but it’s a start! When to use this app: when you don’t have flexibility or time to actively watch for good deals. It will at least get you close.
P.S. If you live in Huntsville, do yourself a favor and follow our friends over at Plane Surfers on Facebook (formerly Huntsville Traveler). You can keep an eye out for amazing flight deals via their Facebook page or paid email subscription.
This comes in really handy when exploring a big city with insane parking. BestParking shows you all the public parking lots/garages and how much they cost.
We first used this app in downtown Boston (and boy, is parking there a nightmare!), and I honestly don’t know how we would have found parking without it. (And it helped us avoid accidentally landing in the $50 parking garages instead of the $20)
People ask us how we decide which coffee shops to stop at while we travel. Yelp is our secret! We can search by map area, then sort by rating. This gives us a great starting point to scroll through our options and find our gem based on our personal criteria that we’ve developed over the years.
Yelp is also great for finding some good eats. They typically have less chain restaurants and more local or international cuisine.
Even if it’s a simple 2 night getaway, traveling is such a rich experience. We hope this year gives you a chance to discover something new!
Enjoy the adventures!
What adventures do you have on your bucket list? Do you have any favorite travel apps or hacks? We want to hear about them! Hit the comment button and tell us where you’d go!
~ Joel & Amber
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Mark and I would like to go snorkeling and volcano hoping in Hawaii. God has allowed us to have lots of great trips already. But we’re always game for more