The Adventure Begins…

Adventure Begins

Happy Memorial Day!

Where do I even begin? Should I begin when I first went on vacation or just the vacations this year? Should I do each one, one by one and give you a whole incite and itinerary about what I’ve done? As much as I would love to talk about every vacation and adventure I’ve gone on, I’d much rather spend each post talking about one adventure at a time that is most current. What a bummer, I know.

As you already know, Maddie & I are in Oregon and Allie & Nicholas are probably already passing through Colorado and on their way to Chicago. Which means, today is the day when the adventure begins. The adventure of not sleeping, traveling, and the risk of whatever we do. You can’t have fun without a little risk, right? In my other posts, those are just the ‘How To’s’ of daily traveling. I haven’t even got to the best part yet. THE ACTUAL FUN. My blogs intentions, yes, is supposed to be about traveling and giving you the rundown of every little key piece you need for travel and adventure. What I haven’t posted yet, is all the adventures and travels that I’ve been on. Since I won’t really know what is going on through the drive to Maine with Allie & Nicholas, we’ll just start with our flight, layover, and Oregon.

Friday morning, when we woke up, we finished packing and getting everything ready for our flight. By the time we were done running errands and packing, we left at 2:30. When we got to Sky Harbor, it wasn’t as busy as I thought it was going to be. We did have a little trouble at check-in and it turned out that United Airlines over-book our flight and someone had already taken my seat. Since I am a rewards members, they put me on stand-by for top priority and we ended up taking an earlier flight! Lucky for us! We still had a 4 hour layover in San Francisco. As for my first flight, it’s not as bad as other people portray it to be. To be completely honest with you, I like flying. I like the feeling of taking off, being in the air, and landing. Turbulence wasn’t bad, but I would like to definitely keep it that way. I wouldn’t want to experience turbulence anymore than what we already did. And that was very little. Landing was smooth almost every time and unboarding the plane didn’t take too long either. On all the flights we took, I payed great attention to every detail and fly attendants, wondering if someone would be kicked off the plane or screamed at. I didn’t notice anything unusual and they had great service on all the planes I was on. They were very attentive and caring. In which, I know is a little strange considering they’ve been on the news every other time. On top of that, our flight from Medford to San Francisco again, was over-booked and Maddie didn’t have a seat this time. Thankfully, I checked in at around 10am on Sunday morning so I was able to upgrade our seats to Economy Plus so we both had seats right next to each other. Economy plus isn’t fist class, but it might as well be. First class, didn’t look like first class every time we boarded. Economy Plus looked a lot nicer and had even more room than what First Class looked like. For $39/per person upgrade, I wouldn’t say it’s much worth it unless you are flying for a long period of time. We only flew about an hour, hour and a half each way. I mean, yeah, upgrading was nice because we got to sit next to each other, but not for $39 a person. So if you are planning on flying out of the country, across the country or even to Hawaii, that’s when you should upgrade.

Our layover in San Francisco wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was dreading the long 4 hour layover thinking that time would be slow and we’d just have to sit there and wait, wait, wait. Fortunately, for us, it didn’t take as long as we thought it would. We ate Burger King because everything in the airport was so expensive and there was no where else we could eat that had a short line. We were right next to our gate and by the time we were done eating it was already 8:30pm. So much for leaving the airport to explore because at this point, if we left, it would take maybe an hour to go through security again. The airport was so busy for a Friday night! It’s crazy to see how many people were checking in through security and rushing to try and catch their flight. Considering we had an hour and a half left until we boarded our flight, we sat in these huge orange chairs. They were so comfy! I could have fallen asleep in them. Maddie was reading a book she just received for her graduation, I was on my phone and looking around, and there was this man sitting next to us. His name was Mr. Johnson. He was very kind and turns out he had been at the airport for about 12 hours and his flight didn’t leave until almost 11! Poor guy. So for an hour we spoke at Gate 74 and for some reason, after the flight before us boarded, our flight never popped up on the screen. We quickly said our good-bye’s, safe travels, and Maddie decided to stop to get coffee before we looked where our next flight was. It took us 15 minutes to get our coffee at this little coffee shop and by the time we looked at the gate where our next flight was, it was at Gate 84! Looking at the clock, it was already 10pm and our flight boarded at 10:04. We frantically ran across the airport keeping our eyes open for our Gate number. We made it their in about 2 minutes and boarded our flight to Medford.

We landed in Medord at about 11:50pm and got to our destination in Grants Pass at about 12:30am-1am. The weather was nice, a little chilly, but it definitely beats Arizona’s hot heat. It was slightly humid, but it was something we could handle. On Saturday, we slept in and tried to figure out what we would do for the day. After a few hours of just lounging around, we decided we would go eat at Wendy’s first and then go to BoatNik. For those of you who don’t know, BoatNik is a boat race and it has a carnival/festival type look. They had all sorts of rides, but the only one we took was the Ferris wheel. It was for 4 tickets per person. Each ticket was a $1.25 and for a set of 24 tickets was $20. Not too bad for carnival tickets. Before riding the Ferris wheel, we bought a couple snow cones and sat by the lake watching some boat races. Boat tours at HellGate were still going on throughout the river during the races. While riding the Ferris wheel, it gave us just enough time to sit and relax. It was humid outside, which made it really hot for 80 degrees. The breeze once you got to the top of the Ferris wheel was nice and worth it. You get to see the top of the trees and mountains when you’re up there. Such beautiful scenery. After the Ferris wheel ride, we walked around all the cute little tent shops around the park. So much jewelry, clothes, sample foods, and souvenirs all in one little park! The souvenirs and food are really expensive at BoatNik so I would highly recommend bringing lots of cash considering most tents don’t take card. The BoatNik festival is an all day festival that lasts the entire weekend of Memorial day. Bring a backpack just in case you buy a bunch of souvenirs and to keep your belongings in.

After a whole day of BoatNik, we decided the next morning to go to the Oregon Caves. Once we drove to the caves, we stopped to see how we could go through them, but we weren’t able to because they had a 2 hour delay and closed at 6pm. So we went to Griffin’s park instead. Griffin’s park is a park that is right along Rogue River. It has a play set for the kids, places to park your cars and RV’s, and is perfect for taking pictures and spending the day there with friends and family. We got to Griffin’s park at about 3pm and stayed until 5pm. We walked along this little shore, skipped rocks, and took tons of pictures! The water was a bit too cold, but after awhile you tend to get used to it. As the weather started to cool off, we decided to go get pizza at Abby’s Legendary Pizza, which I think, is the best pizza place alive! They have a huge selection of pizza and I wish we had one in Phoenix. Perfect place for large families or even just a date night. After pizza, we headed for SouthGate Cinemas to watch ‘Fate of the Furious’. Maddie & I have already seen the movie, but since Astrea (Maddie’s sister) and Riley hadn’t seen it, we decided we’d watch it again with them. ‘Fate of the Furious’ or any ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is an ABSOLUTE ‘have to see again’ movie series! You can never go wrong with ‘Fast and Furious’. After a long tiring day, we headed back to the house so Maddie and I could pack for our flight the next morning.

On Monday morning, we left the house at 4am to catch our flight. Luckily, I checked Sunday morning and I am so glad I did. We ended up arriving at the airport at 5am and our flight started boarding at 5:15am. After waiting 15 minutes to go through secruity, we ran to our gate and actually made it on time to board. We made it home safe and sound! No delays, no interruptions, just back to back flights. Thank goodness.

This trip to Oregon was very well needed for the both of us and I had a blast. It was very relaxing and not too busy. If you are ever in Grants Pass during Memorial Day weekend, BoatNik is a ‘must-see’ destination. There is so much more to explore and I wish we had more time to figure out what else there was to do, but that’ll be for next time. I hope everyone had a safe holiday weekend and enjoyed themselves! Again, Happy Memorial Day!

Adventures await…

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How To Have Money To Travel

Money To Travel

Happy Friday!

Many have asked me how I come up with the money to go on all these vacations. “How can a 19 year old travel way more than the average person a year? How can she pay her bills and not have to live paycheck to paycheck? I bet her parents have money and pay for everything for her.” Well, guess what? Today, I’m going to give you a little incite as to how I have “all” this money to travel. Even if you are traveling off $400!

When it comes to “saving” for a vacation or trip, how much should you save? This is the million dollar question! I believe you should at least start saving for a full year if you want to travel outside of the country as in different countries, you have to convert your currency with theirs. Saving money is hard, I know, but in the end it will be so worth the wonderful places you get to travel to and the fun activities you get to experience. For traveling in the United States, I would at least save about $1500 for a year before you start. I normally save about 10% of my paycheck before I pay bills. I keep it in a separate bank account as checking for when I really need it so that I don’t get a fee for taking money out of savings. I let my girlfriend keep my card because out of sight, out of mind, right? After I pay bills, I really think to myself on how much I am going to need to keep with me to survive. Gas alone is expensive so I keep about $100 for gas (I drive a Dodge Ram 1500 and it only gets me 12mpg). I can always eat food at home so I don’t have to keep spending money on fast-food everyday. It’s better to pocket the money you would spend on fast food everyday because even if it’s a $5 meal, those things add up very quickly. Once I’ve calculated how much I’ll be needing, I stick the rest of the money into the other bank account. When paying bills, I normally like to schedule to pay them either at the beginning of the month or more towards the end. Let’s just say I get payed $640 for working 80 hours for the next 2 weeks with all the taxes being taken out. Now before you pay your bills, think about this, are you going to be taking anytime off before you receive your next paycheck? If you are, that’s losing you 8 or more hours and less to save. So, in conclusion, you’d rather save that $640 or at least 75% of it in your savings or other bank account rather than the paycheck that will be less, but don’t forget about your bills! If you don’t have enough money to pay them with the next paycheck, pay them with the current one that has more. While doing this, you’ll have a few hundred dollars to get you by the next 2 weeks and then pay all your bills by the end of the month. If you keep saving like this consecutively, you’ll be a lot more closer to your savings goal for your trips within 6 months. Now imagine, if you save $480 of your $640 paycheck a month each month for a year, that’s $5,760! After 6 months, you’ll have saved $2,880. That’s a lot of money. Some of that can even be a part of your rainy day fund. Keep that in mind as well. Now by doing all this, you are ready for the next part. Building good credit while earning travel points to help you save!

Now that you’ve cleared your head and thought about your finances, let’s talk credit cards. Credit cards can be a scary thing if you don’t use them the right way, you can end up in debt. The key to owning a credit card, is to use it all up in one month and pay it all off at the end of the month. Do NOT get a credit card if you can’t pay it off at the end of the month. With certain credit cards, they have credit limits that you may not be able to pay off completely in one month and that’s okay too as long as you pay it. Now with travel, it all depends on what travel card you get. I use the Alaska Air credit card because it gives me travel rewards for every time I use the card for a purchase. I believe these are one of the best cards to have if you want to earn travel miles to make towards travel purchases and it’s easy to get airline tickets with that are cheap. It has a good APR rate rather than all the other travel cards who would charge you a 25% APR rate at the least. With travel cards, it all depends on your credit score too. If you have very little to no credit, then it would be in your best interest to search for what travel cards can best accommodate you with your credit score. If you have a fair to good credit score I would definitely recommend the Alaska Air Visa Platinum/Signature card because it charges a very low interest rate between 12% and 20%. The platinum card is for when you have less than a $5,000 credit score and the signature one is for more than $5,000 credit line. It gives you a huge range of a credit limit. Every $1 you spend, earns you travel miles/rewards so once you earn a lot of miles you can take those and put it towards a vacation package or one of your next destinations. Keep all this in mind when applying for a credit card and really research what you’ll need/want it for. Once you apply for a credit card, your credit score goes down and it may be harder to receive the other card you wanted too.

To answer all of the following questions, the only reason why and how I can travel with a budget under $400 is because I really keep in mind what I am looking for when I go on a trip. Am I look for quality? Absolutely, but why would I want to stay at a 5-star hotel on the beach for $1000 for 2 nights when I can stay at a little hotel right alongside the beach for $200 for 2 nights? It’s all about bargaining and being “cheap”. For the record, my parents don’t pay for any of my trips as I work really hard to save this money to go. I can still pay my bills and live paycheck to paycheck, but that is my choice so I can save most of my money to spend on it the thing I love to do the most; travel.

Before you fly, check out my last blog post here to help save you a ton of money too!

Resources:

Trip Advisor is one of the many websites I use to help me look for hotels and vacations.

AirBnB is one website I use to help book rentals to stay at during my trips.

Alaska Air Card is the credit card I use to travel and earn mileage points and rewards. I highly recommend using this card!

In the light of all of this, I was not asked by Trip Advisor, AirBnB or Alaska Air to promote their websites or cards. This was my own doing as I would want all my adventure’s to save money and enjoy the experience of their journey’s to come. I would like to give credit to these websites for helping me achieve what I want in life and I hope they help you do the same.

Until next time travelers.

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Flights: How You Can Save Money & Fly For Cheap!

Flights

Hiya Nomads!

There is so much talk about how airlines charge so much for you to fly and how crazy expensive luggage can be! It can be such a hassle to buy the right flight tickets, pack the right amount, and still have enough money for you to sight see or have fun activities to look forward to on your trip. In this blog post, I will be giving you a few pointer tips and tricks to save you a bunch of money.

Speaking of flights, flights can be the most expensive part of a trip. You have all these luggage fees, ticket prices, ticket fees, and even child fees. You are probably already stressing over purchasing your flight tickets because of all those fees. Well on the bright side, I’ve found a loop-hole. Drum roll please! The million dollar question is… When is the most cheapest time to purchase plane tickets? This is the #1 key to saving money! The answer? Purchasing plane tickets 2 weeks before your trip isn’t going to cut it because they become more and more expensive as other people are planning last minute trips. Sadly for me, I am one of those people who purchased their plane ticket 2 weeks before we were supposed to leave and on a Monday! I’m going against my own rules here. The rule of thumb is, you should purchase your plane ticket anywhere from 6-8 weeks before your flight is going to leave, but to purchase it on a Tuesday, during that 6-8 week time period, because Tuesday’s are the most cheapest days to purchase plane tickets as 6-8 weeks is the minimum amount of weeks that it’ll be most cheapest. If you can purchase them a whole lot sooner, I recommend that as well. Especially during the start of winter months because in the summer, they are way too expensive for purchase. During summer, everyone is planning their summer vacations. Even if you are going on a summer vacation, still purchase your plane ticket sometime in the winter months before the holidays. Holidays can make tickets much more expensive. The #2 key point about airlines that they don’t want you to know is that you should check the airport you want to fly into and what airlines fly there. In the meantime before you buy your ticket, you can compare the pricing between each airline and see what is cheapest. At the time of buying your ticket, clear all of your browsing history and cookies! CLEAR IT ALL! Every time you look up an airline or flights, your browsing history helps airlines “scam” you into purchasing the most expensive tickets. This is their way of “showing” you that there are only expensive flight options. With that being said, stop letting airlines scam you into purchasing expensive tickets. It’s much better to have money on a trip, than to spend it trying to go on a trip.

Now onto the luggage fees. How long are you going on your trip for? How many people are you bringing? These things can help determine how much you need to bring and how to really cut down on over packing. Yes, you need your toothbrush and other bathroom necessities like such, but what you don’t need to be bringing is your whole bathroom! In my opinion, you should invest in reusable TSA compliant bottles for your shampoo and conditioners and travel sized bathroom necessities at your local grocery store. This is a cheap, effective way being able make room in your luggage and will help with how much you can pack. Now for over packing, stop shoving all your clothes into that suitcase because you may not even be able to close it. More than half the things you pack in your luggage, is either not worn on a trip or even looked at while being on the trip. Depending on how long you are going on a trip for, you don’t need a whole months supply of clothes. Just pack what you wear most and on a daily basis, but obviously appropriate enough for wherever you are headed. Even bring a sundress or two and jacket. All this should fit in a small 20″ carry-on luggage bag. With your bag, you need to use every pocket as possible so you don’t have to pay for checked-in luggage. $25 per way, per flight is way too expensive. Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on luggage when you can pay for hundreds of dollars for activities and food! You can have a personal item with you as long as it fits under the seat in front of you, so you can utilize your personal item as well for things that don’t fit in your carry-on. Now depending on how many people are going with you, lets just say your spouse is. You and your spouse can have 2, 20″ carry-on luggage’s and 2 personal items. That should be enough space for an 8 day vacation! And on top of that, no baggage fees considering the carry-on’s are free of charge! That is as long as it weighs under 50 pounds. Most airlines charge you over priced luggage fees for your check-in bag, but what you didn’t know is that you can really utilize and get away with just a carry-on and personal bag. Make sure you check the airline you’re flying on’s baggage requirements. Not all airlines are the same.

When you are planning your next trip, just keep in mind there are always simpler and cheaper solutions rather than to spend a boat load of money. People say being a cheapskate doesn’t really help you save money and that you’re wasting your time trying to save money, but in reality, being a cheapskate helps you save so much more. It may take sometime, but it’s definitely worth the try and the hundreds in the end.

Stay tuned Voyagers!

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What’s New

What's New.jpg

Aloha My Lovely Readers!

I know it has been quite a few days since my last post, but I am here to tell you the new travels I’ll be going on in the next couple days. I hope my “All about me” post wasn’t too much and I hope you enjoy reading my blog as my posts go on. In addition to my posts, each of them will be featured in my new step by step adventures magazine! The magazine will be all things told by Maddie, Allie, Nicholas and I as we all will doing a little traveling here and there. If you would like to be featured in my magazine feel free to send me a message or email me your inquiry at stepbystepadventures@gmail.com.

Before our adventures, on Thursday, May 25th Allie, Maddie, and precious will be graduating from horizon! I am super proud of my best friends and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for us! Now onto the adventure following that Thursday night graduation, we will be roaming our hometown to our old spots and reliving memories. As for roaming our hometown we’ll be able to tell you all the places you need to see while you are in Phoenix and what the good eats are around here before you plan your next trip here or if you already live in Phoenix! We will be shooting pictures and videos for you to look at after our adventure. It’s all about the journey and life experiences, right?

In about 3 days on may 26th, Maddie and I will be leaving to head to Oregon via United Airlines. We’ll be stopping in San Francisco on a 4 hour delay and arriving in Oregon at 12:10pm. Now I know what you’re thinking; United Airlines? They have a really bad reputation, why would you fly with them? Aren’t they having problems with their clientele? Well, to answer your question, they were the most cheapest flights I could find for 2 round trip airfare tickets. The most I have seen tickets being, for two, were about $900-$1,500. The tickets I bought were $833.20, but that isn’t included in check-in luggage. Luckily, we don’t have checked in luggage otherwise it would be almost $930. $25 per way, per flight is way to expensive for a 4 day trip to Oregon. Since there is two of us, we each get a carry-on and personal item with us so it shouldn’t be too bad of a trip. We’ll be saving hundreds without paying for luggage! With the 4 hour delay, I figured I would buy a small carry-on luggage with four wheels so I don’t have to carry it wherever we go. I bought a Mia Toro carry-on luggage at TJ Maxx and just as I was buying it, it went on sale! Talk about a win win!

As Allie and Nicholas leave on the same day as Maddie and I, they should be in Colorado, ready to spend their first night on their long road trip to Maine. From there they will travel all through the states and land in Chicago for another night and be all set to hit Maine on the 29th of may. More of their story will be posted a little later.

Looking forward to our lovely 4 hour delay, we are still stuck on if we want to leave the airport and sight see the nightlife in San Francisco for an hour or two or stay at the airport and wait forever to get back on a plane. Me being the adventuress and all that I am, I would love to take an Uber and just see what San Francisco has to offer. San Francisco is one of the many places I haven’t seen, but I have heard a lot about it. A few places that I would want to visit if I were in San Francisco longer would be Alcatraz, the Full House, Twin Peaks, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a segway tour of San Francisco. I think it would all be worth it. Following our 4 hour delay and whatever we decide we’re going to do, we’ll be on our way to Oregon. I am not too sure what sights there are to see or what activities are in Oregon, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find out one way or the other. But until then, I’m going to have to leave you at this stop.

Thank you for reading my new blog post. I hope you enjoyed it! In my next upcoming blog post I will be giving you tips on how to find the cheapest flights and how to save you hundreds! With that being said, if you’ve visited any one of these places, describe your experience and what it was like for you below in the comments! If you have any ideas for what we could do in San Francisco or Oregon, comment below and let me know.

Talk about adventures soon.

First Post: All About Me!

All About Me

Hello! Welcome to my travel blog. I know this is going to sound really cliche, but I wanted to introduce myself to my fellow bloggers and followers before I post anything about my travel ventures. This topic is, as can you guess, all about me. I know I already have an About Me page, but this seems more formal. So, I am going to disclose with you some information about me and my “why” for this blog.

My name is Kaitlin Marcelo and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. Everyone says it’s the Grand Canyon state and they’re not wrong, but it’s more hot here than anything. Imagine just all desert, cacti, and blazing sun. I mean, don’t get me wrong there are a lot of fun things to do in the state of Arizona, but it just depends what season you come considering we only have 2; Summer and Winter. Anyway my birthday is May 21, 1998. I am 18 about to turn 19 in about 5 days and I am considered a Gemini. I was born in Fairfax County, Virginia and moved from there to Ocala, Florida. From Florida, I only attended kindergarten and was forced to move across the country to plant our feet in Arizona. We’ve lived here for about 13 years and I know Arizona like the back of my hand. We were originally supposed to move to Los Angeles, California, but both my parents decided they wanted to stay close to family. I was born half Filipino and half Irish. My dad, Nick is from the Philippines and my mom, Sue is from New York. I have 1 younger sibling, Nicholas, 16 years old. We are very close now that we’re older. We don’t really fight over anything, but we do have our name calling moments. I do, however, call one of my close friends my older brother. His name is Sal or Sully, short for Salvador, 21 years old. He has made one huge impact on, not just mine, but my families lives as well. My parents care for him as if he’s one of their own. Adding to the family comes my girlfriend, Maddie, 19 years old. She has made one BIG impact on my life and has always been supportive of me through everything, including this blog. We have been together for almost a year and four months. I am happy to say that she is the love of my life and we are just starting our lives together. We both graduated from Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. This high school is not just any high school, this is the high school where I have met my best friends for life, Allie and Precious. We are all mutual friends between Nicholas, Maddie, and I. We’ve been through it all together. You name it, we’ve been through it. We’re just a big happy family! Allie is about to go travel across the United States being a nursing assistant and Precious is moving back to Chicago. As for Maddie and I, we are planning on staying in Phoenix for awhile to finish college and Nicholas to finish high school at Horizon.

With that being said, those are just the starter facts about my life. Now my journey, is a different story. The whole reason as to why I am writing this travel blog is to be able to share my experiences with you so you can experience them with me! Recently, I have been doing a lot of traveling and figured I won’t ever stop because I love the feeling of a new atmosphere every month and really being able to enjoy myself. Now, you can enjoy it with me. My true “why”, is for my own piece of mind, for my family and for those of you who are interested in traveling and how you can accomplish it. It’s always fun to experience new things with your family even when for a moment, you all hate each other. No, this isn’t my first blog. I’ve had many blogs since I was 9 and have always been a writer. No, I am not an expert at blogging and every time I start a new one, it’s always a learning experience for me and it gives me quite the anxiety here and there. But all in all, it’s one of my many favorite things to do. How can you do something that gives you so much anxiety and still be able to do it? I have no idea, but I guess one day I’ll figure it out. It must have to do with the way it makes me feel and passion I can put into it. I hope that reading my blog, you find something on here that helps you feel the way I do because it’s a wonderful feeling and I wish I could share that with you too, but it looks like I can only share my experiences with you for now.

That’s all for the time being. Happy reading future travelers.

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