I'm Jessica Lauren - a wedding photographer for happy couples who are stoked about their wedding day! I couldn't be more thrilled that you stopped by! This is where I share bits and pieces of my passionate heart, spontaneous adventures, and pretty pictures of my rad clients! Feel free to grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile! xoxo
If you don’t know that I love traveling – then we obviously need to talk more! There aren’t many things I adore more than hopping on a plane or jumping in the car to head somewhere new. However, with travel comes expenses and they can add up quick. I wholeheartedly believe that memories and experiences are 100% more valuable than things and that makes traveling beyond worth it for me in the long run! That being said, I’ve learned a *lot* over the years with countless flights, hotel stays, etc., that have taught me how to be more frugal with my travel money (and what is worth splurging on!). So here are some of my favorite tips for traveling on a budget!
The one things that adds up FAST is paying for a place to stay!! Hotels – at minimum – are $100 a night – and if you’re staying somewhere relatively popular, $200-300+. I am hands down a clean freak when it comes to where I stay and sleep, so I was hesitant at first to use Airbnb. But let me tell you – it is one of the BEST inventions ever! I’ve used Airbnb so many times and never once had a bad experience. My biggest recommendation would be to read the reviews! I’m not the girl who chances it when people only have two reviews. ;) If that’s you – more power to ya! But I like to know that where I’m staying is safe, well taken care of, and super clean. Plenty of good reviews make me confident of that!
These are some of my favorite places I’ve stayed at recently!
Springfield, Missouri (this was a bit of a splurge but was ADORABLE!)
Google Flights, Southwest, Hopper, and SkyScanner are my favorite places to check flights! Southwest is my go-to and most favorite airline, not just because of their customer service, but because you can switch your flights at any time. I’m going to be in Colorado next month and had one of my couples that wanted to fit in a session – but I was out of available days. It cost me a whole $9 to switch my flight home to the following day with Southwest. Hello – AMAZING.
However, sometimes you can find flights so much cheaper elsewhere! I found roundtrip tickets to Alberta, Canada this fall for $340 on Skyscanner! Say WHAT?! You know I’m pumped about that trip! Oh – and Airbnb’s in Canada are ridiculously cheap! Our entire trip with flight, rental car and lodging split will be under $600… winning!
Another fun tip – bring your own water bottle and snacks. Airport food is ridiculously expensive and you’ll save yourself $20 each way by bringing something you can fill up & having plenty of food!
If you don’t have TSA Pre-Check and you travel multiple times a year… you need to make this happen! This has saved my butt COUNTLESS times (those are stories for another day – but pretty entertaining, I won’t lie!), and it just keeps you from so much hassle in the long run. Pre-check is $85 and lasts for 5 years – SO worth it, y’all! But – if you change your name – it doesn’t apply anymore. So brides, maybe invest in this after the wedding and name change. ;)
(Perks of Pre-Check… you always have extra time to kill at the airport. ;) Also, can you spot my favorite water bottle?! My sweet couple Josh & Sabrina got this for me as a gift for being their photographer! Say what?! It’s actually the best ever!)
Y’all, I won’t lie. I have two major priorities when I travel – exploring beautiful places & eating amazing food!! I *love* to find amazing, hole-in-the-wall places to eat. You can basically find me on Yelp reading food reviews 24/7 when I’m traveling! I don’t have a problem dropping a little bit of money on some good food. Some people don’t have this life motto – if you don’t I wouldn’t recommend us traveling together. ;) I definitely splurge on food! I usually only eat two meals a day though when I’m traveling to cut down on cost. Granola bars are the best and can save you $15 that you’d spend on another meal!
Last but not least – the rental car! You guys – I was terrified of traveling alone for the longest time because I thought I was going to pay a ridiculous amount of money on underage fees. Enter – USAA. They WAIVE young driver fees for you with certain companies like Hertz, Budget, and Avis. Praise. The. Lord. My Dad served in the Navy which is how I have access to such magical things – but I’ve heard rumors you can sign up for USAA even if you’ve never been a part of the military. I would *highly* recommend them for other incredible reasons – but this is one of my number one favorites!
Whew! That was a lot of info, friends! Hopefully this is helpful in your travel endeavors!! It’s a big, beautiful world out there and goodness, I want to see as much of it as possible.
Happy Tuesday, friends!