We were able to take some candid photos during our time in Italy with Travel Noire. Known as a Discovery Photos, it was a fun experience with photographer Ashleigh Reddy of Stayreddy Photography. Rhonda took her photos on the property of Mamma Agata and Sharee took hers at Villa Cimbrone Gardens. Amalfi Coast forever in our hearts!!
When it comes to travelling with luggage you're either team carry-on or team checked luggage. During one of our early travels, Sharee's luggage was "lost" on a domestic flight. We said never again will we check our luggage until we learned that many international carriers offer upward of two free checked bags. But then we both "lost" our luggage en-route to Paris. Sigh. So now we have pledged team carry-on unless the flight attendant ask for volunteers. Sometimes they'll ask if we want to check our luggage to the final destination and other times we'll pick it up at the jet bridge at the next stop. Thus, far we have had success with both options versus checking the luggage before going through security check-point. In either case, we always take with us on-board necessities such as our personal purse (including money, passport, keys), shoulder bag with at least one day change of clothes, and a laptop. By the way, our luggage have always been found, and the airlines are really good at offering us additional reward points and out-of-pocket expenses for the trouble. :-)
In recent news, some airlines are no longer accepting carry-on bags in the main cabin if you are an economy passenger. This means we'll either have to upgrade to economy plus or higher. United Airlines and American Airlines fall into this category. So far, we haven't heard anything about Delta changing it's policy. Carriers such as Spirit and Frontier have always had a paid service for any carry-on. If you use either of these airline providers, it's best to purchase that service up front because the costs is steeper once you get to the airport. Our personal favorites are Southwest and Jet Blue that not only allow you to bring a personal item and one carry-on luggage, but they also allow for up to two free checked luggage.
It has also come to our attention that being minimalist is ideal when it comes to packing your luggage. So many times we have traveled with just a carry-on and still not wear everything in the bag. Also, there can be weight or height restrictions, so know each airlines limit or be prepared to pay. In addition, we offer the following suggestions:
1) Pack one shoe of each kind (ie, 1 walking shoe, 1 dress shoe, etc)
2) Wear you heaviest attire (jacket for the cold plane)
3) Place smaller items such as socks and undergarments into shirts or dresses, roll them tight, and pack neatly in your luggage
4) Identify laundry facilities at your destination, and use them as needed
5) Bring half as many shirts as you think you need, and a quarter the number of pants
So what are you- team carry-on or checked luggage?
A lot can be said of having a traditional 9-5 job. It not only makes practical sense, it makes financial sense, right? I mean, a steady paycheck is ideal. And those vacations days. Why use them when you can cash in on unused time at the end of each year. Yet, from an early age, we saw the value our family placed on travel. Family reunions and family vacations were held in the Summer. No school. No work. Our parents were genuinely happy when they traveled. No more talks about the stresses of work or school. It was time to visit some place new or see love ones. Spring breaks, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were even more excuses to travel. But what about the in between? That's when I realized that travel can be a lifestyle.
To be fair, not every job lends itself to travel. When both of us started our full-time jobs, we were hesitant to take on professional development training. So when professional development funds were offered and training could be found on not only the east coast but the west, it was an easy sell. You mean we can travel more than around the holidays and summer vacation? Yes, you can. So often times we piggyback on the other's travel by joining in. Sharee has traveled to training in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Puerto Rico, and forthcoming, Washington, DC. Rhonda has had training in Greenville (SC), Savannah, Memphis, and Nashville. Great opportunities to network professionally, but also a great time to bring family and friends along.
Volunteering has also made a way into our travel lifestyle. We have volunteered at several film festivals and sporting events that has allowed us to travel to Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT), SXSW Film Festival (Austin, TX), Tribecca Film Festival (NYC), Super Bowl 50 (San Francisco, CA), and the College Football National Championship (Phoenix, AZ). Because of our volunteer roles (no pay), some of the expenses we have incurred have been written off our taxes (check with your tax paperer for details). Next on our list is to travel on an international mission trip through our church organization.
Outside of planned travel, sometimes, we just want to get away. Google flights is really good at finding last minute flight deals in the coming days or weeks that doesn't require a lot of planning. In addition, airline and hotel 2-3 day sale promotions sometimes do the trick. Rhonda got a great promotional deal to DC on Southwest that was half the price of a major carrier flight. Another helpful reminder is to pad an extra day or two before or after our travels when the rates tend to be lower. Not everyone needs to be back to work on Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday is just fine.
A final way to make travel more of a lifestyle is to take a stay-cation every once and awhile. You don't have to go very far. There are plenty of activities and places to go in your own city. Again, the mental break from work does wonders, and the commute is ideal. The travel experience is rewarding as you balance life, the responsibilities of work, and play.
Rhonda & Sharee Washington