3 Lessons I've Learned From My Travels

Travel doesn't have to be expensive

Most people often say that they always wanted to travel but simply could not afford it. If you are one of those people who think this way, stop it! Seriously. If you keep putting off your travel plans because you think it's expensive, you will never get to your dream destination. So unless you are planning on checking in at a 5-star hotel resort or flying first/business class, there are plenty of affordable options that are worth checking out.

I fly with Delta Airlines 98% of the time but if you don't have a preference or frequent flyer program and just want to fly whatever is cheapest then I suggest you check the Matrix Airfare Search website. I use this to find cheap flights for my friends. Even frequent flyers use this site to strategize their mileage runs. You can search for flights from single/multiple departing airports to single/multiple arrival airports to see the calendar of lowest fares and the Matrix will return with search results across multiple airlines so you can compare the cheapest flights. Note: Tickets cannot be purchased directly from the Matrix site. If you find a fare you like, you can give the flight information from this site to your travel agent or airline website when making a reservation.  

In this example below, I searched for all the roundtrip flights to Manila, Philippines (MNL) departing from the following airports: JFK, BWI, PHL, MDT from March 13 through March 21, 2015.

Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Delta Airlines (2 stops) fare comparison

Besides airfare, the bulk of travel expense includes hotel accommodation. I use Trivago to search for inexpensive hotels. Keep in mind there are plenty of vacation rentals that are cheaper than hotels. You could rent the whole apartment/house through sites like VRBO and Airbnb. My friend and I booked an apartment in Manhattan through Airbnb a few months ago and stayed at The Gadson Gallery House. If you're new to Airbnb, you can sign up here using my referral code and you will receive a $25 coupon credit for use toward your next qualifying reservation on Airbnb.

Travel taught me patience

It used to bother me a lot waiting in long lines at the airport or for my connecting flight. I mean let's face it, who would like to sit around after the gate agent announced that your flight was delayed? A few minutes delay sure is not a big deal but it could still affect your travel plan/itinerary like a domino effect. To the seasoned traveler, it's just a minor bump in the road. Nothing major. They have prepared contingency plans for this. For most of us who travel for leisure, we need to make flexible itineraries and accept the fact that delays happen all the time. Whether you like it or not.

A photo posted by Thea A. (@thetravelingdyosa) on

So how do I wait patiently? You might ask. I get up and walk around. You don't want to just sit there surrounded by impatient and sometimes hangry (hungry + angry) passengers. There's just too much negativity in that small space. So instead I grab a light snack and check the gift shops right away. 

You'd be surprised at some of the really cool souvenir items that you can find at these shops that we oftentimes ignore because we are in a hurry to get to the boarding gate. 

I also update my social media sites, Instagrammin' my pictures, check the traffic and weather at the destination while I still have Internet access because sometimes wi-fi is not available on all flights. 

And finally, I check-in to the Delta Sky Club if my flight is delayed for several hours. They have fully stocked bars (for when I really need that drink), snacks, complimentary wi-fi, and shower in some locations all included in your One-Day pass or membership. 

Live in the moment

I remember a while ago when I visit a new place for the first time, my gut tells me to go see it all and as much as I can in the few days that I have. It's that feeling of excitement and adrenaline high that makes me think I can go through my to-do lists with ease, never mind the lack of sleep. Over the years, I find that rushing from one landmark to another defeats the purpose of traveling. 

I travel because I want to try new things, sample different cuisines, collect souvenirs and unique shot glasses, send postcards to friends around the world, take amazing pictures and to explore what this beautiful Earth has to offer. 

And that's why these things shouldn't be rushed. Sometimes it's hard not to rush things when you're traveling with friends. They too are eager to move from one attraction to another. We all know that "friend" and if you still haven't figured it out - it's you. We've all been there. It is important to remind ourselves that we need to live in the moment. Slow down and embrace your surroundings. Watch the sunset and breathe it all in. Splurge on those once-in-a-lifetime activities. Go to the top of the mountain or skyscraper and just forget about time. Stay a little longer and enjoy this opportunity. After all, you may never come back to this beautiful place again.    

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