Our first blog post will address a question that commonly gets thrown our way.
“How do you travel so often?”
Whether the inquiry comes from a friend following our travels on Facebook, or a co-worker scrolling past a photo of us in Rio de Janeiro, we’ve been asked this question countless times. And it’s not like we’re constantly traveling to far-flung places. Many of our trips are within the U.S. Still, it seems a full-time job and constant getaways don’t mix — it leaves even the closest friend or family member perplexed.
Ten Days To Travel
The secret? There isn’t one. Just call us strategic planners. Calculated vacationers. We each get 10 days of paid time off each year, give or take a couple of personal days. (This does not include holidays like Christmas or Memorial Day.) So we optimize our time by carefully planning vacations around holidays or long weekends. We are lucky to have family members spread throughout the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, so we often travel to see them, or we meet them somewhere awesome, which really helps our budget. (We’ll talk about budgeting in a separate post.)
With just ten vacations days per year, it can be difficult to get away as often as we’d like to. This is where we get creative: Pairing vacation days with holidays; not using all our days at once; and investing in overnight flights.
Because seeing is believing, here are a few trips we’ve taken over the last 24 months and how we made it fit our 9-5 schedule.
CARLA ↠ SAN FRANCISCO
Dates: May 10 to May 16 // 2017
Vacations days used: 4
Stay: Mom’s house
Left on a Wednesday night to get in an extra work day and arrived in California at 1 a.m. Thursday. Price? Free, thanks to American Airlines’ frequent flyer program. If you haven’t signed up for their AAdvantage program, DO IT NOW! It’s quick, easy and free, and as a member, you’ll earn miles when you fly American, its partner airlines (like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, etc.), and all other participating airlines. You can use your miles for flights; upgrades; and unique vacations, car rentals and hotels.
CARLA & GUIL ↠ NEW YORK CITY
Dates: February 17 to 21 // 2017
Vacation days used: 1
Stay: Guil’s sister’s apartment
We left on a Friday night after work and returned to Miami Tuesday night. Monday was President’s Day, which we had off, so we only used O N E vacation day for this trip. Guil’s sister gifted him with a plane ticket to see her, so his trip was free. I tagged along for the ride with a $172 ticket.
CARLA & GUIL ↠ PORTO ALEGRE, RIO GRANDE DO SUL
Dates: November 18 to November 27 // 2016
Vacations days used: 3
Stay: Grandmother’s house
Thanksgiving week is one of the best to plan an international vacation without eating up all of your paid-time off. This is a time when U.S. airports are packed and domestic flights pricey. Plus, most other countries don’t celebrate the holiday, so it’s an ideal time to leave the country and venture elsewhere. (Especially since this is one of the only holidays that grants you two consecutive days off work, depending on your company.) We left on the Friday night before the week of Thanksgiving and woke up at our final destination 13 hours later. We enjoyed a full week in Brazil before flying back Sunday afternoon. And of course, we went straight to work from the airport Monday. We each paid about $788 for a round-trip with Azul, a low-cost Brazilian airline.
CARLA ↠ DENVER
Dates: October 28 to November 1 // 2016
Vacation days used: 2
Stay: Friend’s house
Left on Friday night and flew back to Miami Tuesday night. I could’ve flown really cheap with Frontier, but chose comfort instead considering I would be sleeping on the plane Tuesday night and going straight to work Wednesday morning. I paid $226 on American. (Miles, miles, miles!)
GUIL ↠ HAITI
Dates: July 2 to July 5 // 2015
Vacation days used: 1
Stay: Friend’s house
Left on Thursday morning before Fourth of July weekend, so Friday was a freebie. Returned on Sunday night, so only one vacation day was needed. Price was $298 round-trip on Air France.
You can travel often too!
We understand we’re fortunate enough to have friends and family spread across North & Latin America — plenty of couches to crash on, which of course, makes traveling often a whole lot easier on our wallets. But if getting time-off is your battle, then let us help you use the time you do have. Here are a few tips to remember:
1. DON’T use all your paid time off at once.
2. PAIR your vacation days with a holiday or long weekend.
3. FLY overnight to save yourself a day off work.
Let’s break the routine.