Planning A Trip on a College Budget: Tips + Tricks!

Expanding your horizons past your hometown or college campus may seem impossible right now, but, with the right amount of planning ahead, it could be more doable than you think.

First.. here’s a story:

I have a ridiculous ‘need’ to travel (more of a want, but in my heart it’s a need). My entire life i’ve gotten such a thrill out of trips, and even planning trips. I think it’s so important to immerse yourself in other cultures and see as much as you can in your life.

So far, I think I’m doing an okay job. I know I’ve seen more then some people have seen in their entire lives (which makes me incredibly sad).

I have a few trips stored away until I’m done with college: Europe, Asia and various islands. I don’t even want to think about planning those trips until I have the money to see what I want to see and do what I want to do FULLY. I’m not going to fly 13 hours to half-ass it.

But, while I was thinking up all these foreign trips, I realized that there was so much I still haven’t seen in my own country.. THE USA. Despite all the racist, homophobic and politically effed-up stuff happening in America in the moment, it’s a gorgeous country.. and I’ve only seen a very small chunk of it.

My boyfriend and I have decided to travel at the end of May, when school is out, and to make it achievable in terms of budget and planning.

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We are planning a road trip from Chicago –> Toronto –> Niagra Falls –> Upstate New York  –> Bar Harbor, Maine –> Portland, Maine –> Boston –> New York City –> Washington D.C.

That’s 8 locations in around 12-14 days. We at first thought this was insane and impossible to do with the amount of money we have..

Here’s how we planned and made it doable..


Tips + Tricks for Planning a Trip on a College Budget:

*Disclaimer: No trip is ever going to be THAT cheap. You have to spend a little money to have a nice time, this is just how to keep your costs down.

  • Be Realistic: Before even starting to plan, know how much money you can put toward the trip (all people involved). Save that money! If you have to, open a savings account at your bank. If you trust yourself, throw the money in jar and put it in your closet. Another thing you need to be realistic about, if you can’t afford a trip to the outback of Australia (unless you’re in Australia), don’t even make it an option. Don’t choose places that are unachievable; you’ll get there one day!
  • Planes, Trains or Automobiles: Transportation is one of the biggest parts about planning a trip.. I mean you do have to GET THERE after all..

 If you are planning to go to one central location, I would 100% recommend taking a plane; it’s mostly painless and gets you where you wanna go quickly. For airfare, I suggest checking TONS of sites and playing around with dates as much as you can to find the BEST deal (www.cheapoair.com has some good deals).

If you want to go to several locations, as long as they’re in your country, a road trip may be the best option. There are some real downsides to this option, unfortunately. If you are under the age of 25, renting a car is possible.. but ridiculously expensive. If you take that price plus the price of all the gas you’re going to use, it’s not a smart option. If you have a car or someone has a car you can use, use it. Be sure to plan for the gas you will use the whole trip. There is an awesome site for people planning a road trip.. roadtrippers.com allows you to completely map out your trip (and includes attractions and places to see along the way) and calculates your gas expenses depending on where you want to stop. I’ve been using it and it’s awesome.

– The train is also a perfectly good option. Amtrak hits a ton of major cities all over the  country. This is great if you have a fear of flying, and even if you don’t you can sometimes find better deals on train tickets versus plane tickets. Of course, there are some bad things about this option. It will take you WAAAAY longer to get where you’re going. Usually, the prices aren’t that much better than flying.. especially if you find a great flight.

  • Lodging: Hotels can be crazy expensive; I’m talking upwards of $200 a night in major cities. If you are on a college budget, this is a big no-no! But, that doesn’t mean you have no options of places to stay:

– AirBNB: I cannot hype up AirBNB enough. It’s an online site, and app, that allows you to book either a whole home or private room in people’s private residences (sounds creepy, but it’s a big thing now). You can find some insanely great prices. I, for example, found places for around $30 a night for my trip. Some of the places do require a minimum night stay (usually 2 nights, if they do).. which could be a problem for some people. Most of these places are really, really nice too! Check out their website: www.airbnb.com

– Hostels: I’m not totally sure about the quality or safety of these places, cause some of them can be kind of grimey, but, if you need a cheap place to stay these will definitely do.

– Camping: Nothing wrong with roughing it. If your location makes camping doable, go for it! There are tons of campsites that only charge like $20 a night (so cheap).

  • Other Costs: 

– Food isn’t free: There are cheap ways to do it. Eat in your hotel, bring snacks, find a place with free breakfast to stay at, but at the end of the day.. you’re going to have to eat. Food is a big part of some cities, so make sure to try it all out. Think out how much you want to allow yourself each day for food (realistically) and then add up the meals per day and how many days you’re there.

– Things to do: If you are a great tourist, like me, you probably want to do some interesting things the town/city has to offer. Allow yourself some extra cash for some stuff to do. You don’t have to go crazy, but some fun is needed.


Planning a trip can be tedious and hard, but if you give yourself enough time, anything is possible.

Start now!

-Emily

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Fall Tea Haul: Tasting + Review

I am a huge tea lover. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I can’t talk about it enough. Since I’ve had to give up coffee, I had to replace it with something.. and that something is warm, scrumptious flavored teas.

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Fall is the best time for pretty much everything (opinion), and tea is no exception. There is something so cozy about a hot cup tea on a crisp, cool fall night.

My boyfriend Tom and I have teamed up to give you a thorough review of 6 Fall teas from DAVIDsTEA. We made sure to only select ones that we would want to drink during the cold-weather months. We are both pretty skilled in tea tasting (according to us). We had a wonderful help from the super kind employees in picking out some flavors.

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There is a new Fall collection that they offered us to taste in store and they were all pretty great, but we decided to take home a few that we didn’t have the chance to try.

The six teas we decided to review are: Pumpkin Chai, Cranberry Orange Muffin, Honeycrisp Apple, Forever Nuts, Oh Canada! and Peanut Butter Cup.

So, we filled our mugs up and here we go:


Pumpkin Chai 

Tea Type: Chai (obviously)

Fall Collection (limited)

Smell: Like a fresh baked batch of pumpkin squares. Super strong scent that you can smell across the room.

Taste: A warm, cinnamon pumpkin flavor. This is super nice for Fall. It made us so warm and giggly. We laughed for about 20 minutes. This is Tom’s favorite Chai he’s had (that’s saying something). I’m a big fan of Chai tea, and this one certainly tickled my fancy. I’d suggest giving it a go.

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EMILY: 7/10

TOM: 6/10


Cranberry Orange Muffin

Tea Type: Herbal 

Fall Collection (limited)

Smell: Subtle cranberry, certainly more muffin. Calming.

Taste: You get an orangey taste all over the buds at first sip, but it then mellows out into a final cranberry taste. The smell was misleading with the strength of the muffin; we only got a slight muffin taste at the very end. Very good tea, we agreed this is one of the best. It’s good for pretty much all the time because of how mellow it is. Muffins you can always have (can’t say no to that!).

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EMILY: 7.5/10

TOM: 8.5/10


Honeycrisp Apple

Tea Type: Green

Fall Collection (limited)

Smell: Fruity and strong apple smell. Fresh outta the orchard.

Taste: If you love apple juice or cider, this is FOR YOU. I am a huge apple fan, so please note that this may be a little bias, and I could drink this all day everyday. It has a sweet, crisp deliciousness. Tom, however, was not a huge fan (he’s not big on apples). So, if you’re into those fall-time fruits, go grab yourself a cup of this.

**The only tea listed that contains caffeine

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EMILY: 8.5/10

TOM: 5/10


Forever Nuts

Tea Type: Herbal

Bestseller 

Smell: Straight up Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Taste: We were right, it tastes like liquified Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The balance of flavors is literally perfect. The cinnamon isn’t overpowering at all. This is probably the best one of the bunch. It is PERFECT for cooler weather. Super impressed. TRY IT.

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EMILY: 8.5/10

TOM: 8.5/10


Oh Canada!

Tea Type: Rooibos 

Rooibos Collection

Smell: Aunt Jemima syrup… mixed with butter.

Taste: Saves you a trip across the border, aye? Subtle, delicious maple syrup flavor. This is pretty grade A. It’s an interesting flavor explosion, but we decided that this wouldn’t be an everyday tea. It would be nice to have for once in a while, like when you’re sitting next to a fire.. or going to a pancake convention.

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EMILY: 7/10

TOM: 6.5/10


Peanut Butter Cup

Tea Type: Herbal

Fall Collection (limited)

Smell: Melted peanut butter…. nothing is better than that

Taste: Hugely disappointed by this one, especially with us both being pretty big Reese’s PB Cup fans. The entire taste is basically peanut.. virtually no ‘cup’ (aka chocolate) can be detected. If you are a peanut fanatic, definitely give it a try. It’s a little overpowering and rough.

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EMILY: 4/10

TOM: 4/10

OVERALL:

Super impressed with DAVIDsTEA. Every flavor was pretty good, and they have a super wide variety. Would definitely go back and try out more.

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Thanks so much for reading!

I hope you guys grab some tea to try for the upcoming season.

xoxo Emily + Tom

11 Terrible Things Better Than Donald Trump Becoming President

If you keep up with modern day America, you should probably know that the Presidential elections are taking place is 2016. We have one year left to decide who has stolen our vote and the candidates are coming out swinging.

Another key fact you should probably know is that Donald Trump is running for president. I’ll repeat that just in case I lost anyone due to trauma: Donald Trump is running.. for.. President. That’s right.

So, what? It’s not like anyone actually wants Trump to run our country. Who would ever choose him over Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? GUESS AGAIN, FRIENDS. He is LEADING in several polls across the U.S. Just when I was starting to get really proud of America for making progress in society (Obama being president, Hilary Running…). Is it too soon to start looking for places in Canada?

I’ve decided to compile a list of some pretty bad things that would be BETTER than Donald Trump being elected for President in 2016. Here they are:

11. George Lopez Punchlines on Repeat ALL DAY

Lopez may be painful to listen to when it comes to comedy, but OH DOES HE HATE THE DONALD. We could live with a little “WATCHA”.

10. IKEA Going Out of Business

How WILL WE EVER survive without the fine Swedish craftsmanship? And what about all those hours spent trying to understand the instructions? If you’re a lover of all things IKEA, this will be hard for you, but much better than… need I say it?

9. Coffee Drought

Goodbye Starbucks and Dunkin’. The beans are all burnt up from the rage of America for Donald running for Prez. Let’s kick the Caffeine addiction if it means no Trump in office.

8. Polar Ice Caps Melting

It’s happening anyway, keep up the pollution, Gang!

7. No. New. iPhones.

HOLD THE PHONE, literally. Stopping at the iPhone 6 may seem like an okay way to end it. You never miss what you’ve never had.

6. Student Loan Rates Rise Above 20%

I mean, what’s like 10% more than what they already are? We will probably get there soon anyway, so let’s take it like champs to keep away GRAMPS (Trump).

5. Grandparents Following You on Social Media

Hopefully you’re up for talking about the sweater you knit and what cookies you’re making for the rest of your life.. cause Grandma’s got an eye on ya. Family loves you unconditionally, so we will survive a few mistakes online. AGAIN, BETTER THAN TRUMP BEING PRESIDENT.

4. Outlawing Dog Ownership

Cute, cuddly and GONE FOREVER. A world with no puppy companionship would be a sad world, but nothing compared to the sad America we would see with Trump running the game. Ruff Ruff.

3. Any Other Republican Candidate Winning

They all suck. (If you’re a Republican here’s your cue to leave). But if having one of them take office is the only way to save us from The Donald.. bring em’ on.

2. Chipotle Getting Rid of Guacamole

Closest thing to the end of the world. But, if it would mean no Trump, I think we could live without having to pay an extra $1.95 (maybe).

1. Having Jared Fogle Invite you to a Sleepover

This is probably the worst thing I could think of which is why it earned it’s spot as #1 on this list. (If you haven’t heard, the ex-Subway spokesman is guilty of Child Pornography and other gross molestation nasty shenanigans). Let’s just hope Fogle is rotting in prison by the time this presidential campaigning heats up.