Sunday, March 1, 2015

Travel Bug (Not Alone Series)

Linking up with Morgan and Jen! Thanks ladies!

It's been a long time since I linked up with the Not Alone Series, but I just couldn't resist this topic - travel!

I’ve always loved to travel, and my family always found interesting places to vacation when I was growing up, even just for long weekends. However, I found that when I moved out to DC on my own, most of my traveling was back home to visit family, and while that’s fun, I’ve seen Ohio quite a bit. 

I remember lamenting this fact to a friend a few years ago, and we talked about becoming travel buddies and taking a trip just for the sake of traveling together. While this never happened (because she met a handsome lad and got married!), it did get me thinking about how much I would like to actually travel, especially during my single years. 

This all made me realize a few things: (1) It’s ok to travel alone (to some places), (2) I have other travel buddies (more on that in a second), (3) this is a prime time in my life to do a lot of traveling, and (4) I can travel to places to meet up with friends. 

Y'all. These realizations made me catch the travel bug - and I've barely stopped since!

In the past couple of years, this bug has mostly consisted of long weekends flying or driving to visit family and friends in various locales, but it's also led to some big trips.

My most recent big trip came about when my sister, K, and I were randomly talking about international travel one day. She had just gotten back from doing her third whirlwind tour of Spain. Our other sister, M, was studying abroad in Spain, so they both went over a week before M’s program started, just to travel together. At the end of the week, K dropped M off at “school” and flew back to the US! K mentioned how it was like she was M’s tour guide, since she had shown her around where K had previously studied abroad. 

I made the off-hand comment that sometime we should go to England and I could act as her tour guide, since I had studied abroad there. She responded with, “YEAH, I WOULD LOVE TO GO TO ENGLAND!! LET’S GO!” I asked if she was serious, and she said she was. And just like that, we were going to England! 

We had some “Are we really doing this?!” moments along the way, but once we booked flights, there was no turning back! We came up with a list of must-sees, a calendar of where to go when with a tentative schedule, and then booked rail passes and hotel rooms. The next thing I knew, we were off to England!
NOT London Bridge... Tower Bridge!
Glastonbury Abbey
On our way to the Globe (my favorite place, where I used to write
my English papers!), we stopped to take a picture of Millennium Bridge
and the Tate Modern at the Thames.
Getting goofy at Warwick Castle
Obligatory red phone booth picture
Stonehenge Bus Tour
A beach weekend in Bournemouth

Photo op in the hometown of my boyfriend, aka Stratford-Upon-Avon
It was such a great trip - it was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. My mom was worried that we would hate each other by the end of the trip, but I think we would both say that we got along great, and we grew even closer during our two weeks abroad.
Travel buddies made in Heaven (or the same womb)
The travel bug hasn't really stopped since - I've got a lot of travel this year that includes both visiting family and taking trips for myself!

Liesl’s 2015 Travel Schedule


- PA to visit Julie
- Waynesboro, PA to help lead a high school retreat

Coming Up

- K comes to DC for Easter!
- Home to Ohio for M’s college graduation
- Flying to FL to meet up with my family - Disney World and HP World for a week, and then a long weekend trip to the beach with K (rest of family goes home - their loss!)
- Either DC or Philly to see the Pope (and Julie again!)
- Denver, CO to visit Amanda followed by the #CathSorority retreat!
- Home for Thanksgiving and Christmas

I also hope to throw in a day trip to King’s Dominion, as well as another visit with Elizabeth! There’s also some great small towns and vineyards about an hour away from me, and I love to take day trips out there with friends to explore - Baltimore, MD is tentatively in the books for this spring! My cousin is also tentatively coming to visit for the 4th of July - she has been to visit a number of times, and I always love “traveling” to DC and exploring VA with her!

My long-term travel goals (in the next few years and beyond) include going to visit my cousin in Lexington (she’s been here so much, it’s time to go to her!), another international trip or two (possibly to Spain with my sisters, and Italy, the Mediterranean, and Australia are all on my to-travel list) and more long weekend trips to different parts of the country (I would love to go out west to explore, to see Alaska, and maybe do a cruise).

I've learned so much from my travel bug! Let me share my wealth of knowledge with you...

Liesl’s Tips and Tricks for Single Life Travel

  • Don’t be afraid of traveling alone (or of traveling alone to meet up with someone). I’ve become a pro at driving and flying alone. As an introvert, I actually some time alone with traveling very relaxing. If you’re taking a long road/plane trip, go to the used bookstore and treat yourself to a new book you’ve been wanting to read, or borrow an audiobook from the library (my fav? Ella Enchanted)
  • If you’re not ready to travel big, do day trips. Every town has exciting things to explore! I remember growing up, my mom would find fun summer tours for us to do that were within an hour of our town - the Longaberger Basket plant, the US Post Office, and the Anthony Thomas chocolate factory. Our hometown also had a wealth of new malls to explore, odd museums (the Anti-Saloon League museum, to be exact), and random events throughout the year to check out. Traveling doesn’t have to be Go Big, or Stay Home. Be a tourist in your area for a day!
  • Plan trips to visit friends in different parts of the country. Not only do you get to meet up with a friend, but you also can hopefully save some money because you will most likely have a place to stay. This is a great option if money is tight or you are saving your dough for a bigger trip.
  • Lump your travel plans with work holidays. I work for the federal government, so I am very lucky to get a number of paid holidays, as well as my accrued leave. I try to lump my travel with holidays so I end up using less vacation. It’s also a plus that my vacation rolls over (to a certain point), so I can save up my vacation for bigger trips. If your work allows flexibility, you can also work comp time before a trip or work longer hours and flex off in order to travel - without having to use any leave! I took off 2.5 weeks to go to England, and ended up only using 40 hours of vacation leave, because I had saved up 32 hours of comp time and lumped our trip with a federal holiday. You can bet I used all that leave I saved for other smaller trips!
  • If you are flying, sign up for price alerts. When I know that I am flying somewhere, I immediately sign up for a price alert for that trip, so once I see a drop in price, I can buy. Oftentimes, airlines will drastically lower prices for only a few hours or a day, so if you get the alerts, you can jump on those savings! I usually use Kayak, but there are a lot of great sites.
  • Use travel sites to your advantage. You can find some great deals if you look for them. When we were planning our trip to England, I ended up discovering Priceline’s Express Bids, and we snagged some stellar deals through that! For the Express Bids, you can select a region of town and the hotel rating - we selected the Westminster area for one leg, which had a 4-star hotel option available for something like $100 a night - which is just unheard of in that area. Even though we didn’t know the exact hotel or location, we jumped on it... and did we get a deal! We found out that our hotel was a brand new luxury hotel - we were greeted by a porter who took our bags up to our room, which was huge for English standards. Our bathroom was like a spa (I even soaked in the tub one night!), and we were only a few blocks away from the tube station, which was only a few stops away from all the tourist spots. We could walk to a number of delicious taverns and restaurants, and were right on the Thames to see all the London sites. Priceline and Trip Advisor also allowed us to snag some other great deals - our hotel in Stratford was adorable and the bed and breakfast in Bournemouth was perfect for us - and we saved a ton of money. Don’t be afraid to shop around on multiple sites to find what you're looking for!
Leave your best travel tips in the comments!


  1. I love all your tips! I will have to check out pricelines express bids. I don't think I have tried that out yet.

    I have heard Tuesdays are the best day to book airfare but I'm not sure how accurate that is..I can say I did book a flight last Tuesday and the airfare was about $50 cheaper than anything else I had seen and grabbed it!

    Harry Potter World at Universal is awesome! I'm hoping to go back soon to check out the new stuff that they just added last summer. And WDW is awesome as well. You're going to have so much fun!

    I'm super excited to meet you in October at the #CathSorority retreat! It's going to be so much fun!

  2. I love traveling as well—you’ve been to some really amazing places! My sister studied abroad in Spain, too, and I got the chance to visit her there. Your tips are great—visiting friends in different cities is a great way to get out and see different places while saving money.


I l.o.v.e. reading your comments!

I would love even more to be able to respond to them, so pretty please link your e-mail address to your name!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...