My family and I headed to St. John for a 10-day vacation at the beginning of August. I have been to St. John once and have always wanted to go back. After years of talking about it, we finally planned a trip. The best way to share the details is by answering some of the most popular questions I have received since returning.
For my 25th Birthday, I wanted to do something BIG. At my current job, I can rent one vacation rental a year for free as an employee perk. I decided on a place in Hawaii and recruited my college bestie to go with me who's birthday is also September 4. After planning the trip in only two months, we each invited one more person to round out the group to four. I invited my friend Meg from high school and Kendall recruited her past travel buddy, Marie. I wanted a go-with-the-flow group and this was it!
Once you are out of school, family vacations change. You don't have scheduled breaks that determine your time off. With a job finding time for a family vacation can be difficult. My immediate family lives in four different cities. Coordinating a trip takes a lot of work and can cost a pretty penny. Plane tickets, meals and vacation activities, as well as a few hotel rooms to fit the whole family, can add up.
My family and I spent New Years together exploring Texas. We started in Dallas, went to Fort Worth, drove through Waco, stopped in Georgetown, visited Austin and ended up in the hill country. It was a week packed with adventure! One of my favorite stops was our spontaneous trip to Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg. The famous granite dome sits half-buried in the Texas Hill Country.
What a whirlwind adventure! Our trip was all the things - fun, amazing, exciting, beautiful, tiring, scary, thrilling, filling, packed, but most of all unforgettable.
Now, I wish I had some magical trick to share about how two twenty-somethings in their second year out of college could afford a 10-day trip to Europe. No, my parents did not pay for it... No, I didn't win a contest (I wish!).
Our secret, we work in the travel industry, which comes with awesome perks like flying standby for free.
Traveling for work is one of my favorite things. I know someday it may become a hassle, but while I have no obligations at home it is the best. I have been on a few business trips, but last week was my first one alone. I embarked on a 3-day trip to a conference in Montana, and I was so nervous.
When you're just starting out on your own, taking a "first" vacation is important. It's almost like a mile marker on the road to adulthood. It is a very empowering feeling being able to road trip or fly to a destination to relax with a mojito in hand.
I have lived in Austin for about a year and a half, and I am no where close to seeing, eating or doing everything this city has to offer. I have a running list in my of new restaurants (most of them are just new to me) that is 35+ places that I need to try. Austin has endless tasty food trucks, delicious restaurants, insta-worthy views, hole-in-the bars and endless craft beers and cocktails. The list goes on and on... So, I am no where near being an expert. But, as a local, I'll share some of my suggestions to not get stuck in the tourist traps.
Ready for the best vacation hack of all time? Ditch the hotel. Staying in a swanky place when traveling doesn't always mean dropping the big bucks for one-room at a hotel. Try something different on your next trip and rent a vacation rental. Think: private pools, extra bedrooms, more space, full kitchen and room for your entire friend group.
...when you have places like this to explore.
I took one afternoon a few weeks ago and dedicated it towards doing something I enjoy. With an afternoon to spare, I decided to explore Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs, Texas. I had never been and it is one of the most talked about sites near Austin. So, I ventured 45 minutes outside the city by myself. It was a hot Texas day, but luckily no where near the usual scorching temperatures of July.