Tag Archives: travel tips

Image via Hernán Piñera

Four Practical Tips for Calming Travel Jitters

I’m heading to Minneapolis on Thursday for Nerdcon: Stories, and I couldn’t be more excited/nervous. I’ve traveled a ton over the years (thanks, parents), but have only been on a handful of flights by myself. While some people freak out about the actual flight, I worry more about just getting myself on the plane without a responsible adult nudging me along. I worry I’ll oversleep and get to the airport too late, I worry about over-packing my carry-on, I worry about missing the boarding announcement once I get past security. Just writing this all down is making me anxious. *gulps*

Despite this laundry list of anxieties, I haven’t missed a flight yet. I’ve gathered the following tips over the years to help ease my travel jitters. Try some of these out for smooth sailing on your next trip.

Start packing two days in advance

I like to have all my laundry done two days before I fly (if possible) so I can start putting my outfits together for my trip. I try not to push myself to have everything packed that night (I will need my toothbrush again), but I like to at least put a few things in my bag. This way, I’m not in a mad rush to get everything together the night before and can actually get a good night’s sleep before my flight.

Lay out your flying outfit the night before

I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, but it’s definitely key for me. Who wants to pick out an outfit in the dark at 5am? I sure as hell don’t. That’s how you end up flying in your pajamas (although, if that’s your style, no judgement). This is a super easy way to make your morning go a little faster, giving you a little more time to catch your breath before heading to the airport.

Plan airport transportation ahead of time

Chances are you don’t live within walking distance of an airport, so you’re going to have to figure out a way to get yourself to your gate on time. If you have a family member or an incredibly gracious friend who can give you a ride, take advantage of them. Public transportation is always a cheap and (generally) reliable option for getting there, but make sure to look up how long it takes to get to the airport and leave with more than enough time. Since I am incredibly lazy and don’t always trust the MTA, I booked a car to the airport in advance via Gett. Which is a thing you can do! I learn something new everyday.

Pack light

This is something I’ve struggled with for a while. I like to have ~options~ when I travel, but I also LOVE saving $25 by not checking a bag. As I mentioned earlier, I like to plan my outfits for my trip in advance and make sure I’m bringing items I can wear a few times. For a four day trip, I’ll usually bring two pairs of pants, a shirt for every day, and dresses/exercise clothes/swimsuits as needed. Hey Nadine, one of my favorite travel vloggers, made a kickass video on packing for a carry-on if you want a more specific approach.
I’m sure none of these tips are particularly new to you, but they’ve helped me rest easy before many an early morning flight. How do you deal with travel anxiety? Share your top tips in comments!

Image via Hernán Piñera

An “Expert’s” Guide to Doing Broadway On a Budget

IMG_1879

It’s almost that time, kids. In a few weeks, exciting new productions will be popping up all over the Great White Way. Personally, I’m incredibly excited for the upcoming season. Productions like Hamilton, Allegiance, and the revival of Spring Awakening are bringing fantastic stories and much-needed diversity to Broadway. How do you keep up with the season without losing your shirt? Here are some of my favorite ways to catch a show on a budget.

Cheap

The TKTS booths – located in Times Square, South Street Seaport, and Downtown Brooklyn – have been the go-to outlets for discount theatre tickets for years. Head to your location of choice early in the day to grab same-day tickets at up to 50% off face value. Since availability varies every day, TKTS is a great way to go if you’re not too picky about which show you want to see. I’d recommend downloading the TKTS app as well for real-time updates on ticket availability.

You can also save a great deal of money by simply planning ahead. Contrary to popular belief, not all Broadway tickets have a face value of $100+. Mezzanine seats for weekday performances can cost as little as $35. If you can buy your seats directly from the box office and avoid online fees, even better.

Cheaper

The TodayTix app has been a true game-changer for me. This app offers discounted tickets to almost every show in New York up to a week in advance. Buying tickets for a show 3 days ahead of time is about as spontaneous as I get, so TodayTix is perfect for me. The app also runs e-lotteries for shows like On the Town and Fun Home, offering heavily discounted tickets to winners. There is a service fee for TodayTix purchases (roughly $10 per ticket), so do keep that in mind when perusing the app. Otherwise, this is by far my favorite way to snag a ticket.

If you’re under the age of 30 (let’s be real, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are), there are even more ways to get discount tickets in advance. My TDF membership is one of the best investments I’ve made since moving to New York. TDF offers members of certain demographics (students, teachers, recent grads, seniors, members of the armed forces, etc.) discount tickets to select performances of plays, musicals, concerts, cabaret performances, and more for just $30 a year. While selection is sometimes limited, tickets are never more than $50 each. Plus, your membership supports TDF’s amazing theatre education and outreach programs. Non-profit theatre companies like Roundabout and Manhattan Theatre Club also offer heavily-discounted tickets to young theatregoers. Sign up and keep an eye on your email to find out when these seats go on sale.

Cheapest

Most Broadway shows offer a limited number of discounted tickets through a rush every day, depending on availability. In many cases you can get a great seat for under $40 by simply showing up to the box office early on the day of the show. Rushing can be a bit of a crap shoot. During the busy seasons (the holidays, post-Tonys) you’ll need to get in line before the box office opens to secure your spot. If you really want to try your luck, many of the hottest shows on Broadway (Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Wicked) run a lottery for discounted tickets. Head to the theatre about two and a half hours before curtain to get your name in the drawing. While lottery tickets are probably the least certain way to get tickets, the experience itself can be pretty fun. You can find more information on Broadway rush policies here.

With the average theatre ticket price climbing into the triple digits, it’s nice to know that there are still ways to take in a show without going into crippling debt. Have you tried any of these services? What did you see? Share your experiences in the comments!

IMG_3171

How to Cruise Like a Pro – Bermuda Edition

blog selection-12

Every summer, I join my dad’s side of the family (all 22 of them) for our annual family reunion. This usually consists of a few days in Upstate New York, but every couple of years we’ll venture out of the northeast. This year we decided to return to the high seas with a five-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Carribean’s Explorer of the Seas. This was my fourth cruise and second time in Bermuda, and at this point I feel like I’ve gotten the cruise routine down. So how does one cruise like a pro? Read on, dear traveler.

1. Pick the right port.

blog selection

The port you depart from is almost as important as the one to which you’re sailing. You’ll probably end up staying a night or two in that city before or after the cruise, so you’ll want to make sure that that place is somewhere you’d like to visit. This all depends on where you’re going, of course. Port Canaveral, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale are pretty common departure points for Carribean cruises, and I, as a 20-something, would personally much rather stay the night in Miami. There are also departure ports around the world, and there may be one within driving distance of your home. I’m lucky enough to live near New York City, a common departure port for cruises to Bermuda and transatlantic voyages. The first time we sailed out of New York, my parents and I drove into the port a few hours before go time and parked at the dock. That’s pretty damn convenient if you ask me.

2. You’re gonna want a drink package.

blog selection-13

While you can eat til you burst on a cruise and not pay a cent extra, drinks (aside from tea, coffee, water, and some juices) are unfortunately not included in your fare. And believe me, you’re gonna want a drink or five when you’re at sea all day. To save cruisers a little bit of a heart attack when they receive their bill, a lot of cruise lines are now offering prepaid drink packages. For a few extra dollars a day, you can drink to your hearts content. Royal Carribean offers a few different levels of drink packages to accommodate everyone’s thirst. I went with a package that gave me unlimited beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages, and I’d say it was definitely worth it.

3. Get off the boat, dummy!

blog selection-3

This probably seems like a given, but a lot of folks on my cruise actually never set foot on the island once we arrived in Bermuda. If that’s what you want to do, go for it, but I’m a fan of exploring. Definitely look into the excursions your cruise line offers. When you have limited time in a new place, it’s nice to have someone guiding your adventures.

blog selection-4

My family decided on a snorkeling excursion with a local tour company. We cruised around the island on a small boat and stopped near a reef for some snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It was a nice, relaxing day out and the weather was fantastic. It also helped that they were serving complimentary Rum Swizzle all day.

blog selection-7

blog selection-6

Since we were in port overnight, we decided to take it easy the next day with a trip to Horseshoe Bay. We laid out, did a little exploring, and took advantage of some excellent photo ops.

blog selection-11

blog selection-10

blog selection-9

Cruising definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s expensive, crowded, and sometimes a little too structured. But I’m a fan of seeing the world on a full stomach, so I’m definitely into it. Now to plan the next journey.

blog selection-8

P.S. If you want to see a silly video I made while I was in Bermuda, click here.
P.P.S. If you like what you see, consider following me on Bloglovin!