The Agape Co. is a Christ-centred travelling agency out of Ames, Iowa. Started by two college students in 2017, The Agape Co. aims to provide its customers with personable, reliable, and affordable service (think budget travel!). We offer a variety of goods from full service vacation plans, travel guides and travel trips via our christian blogs, and videos from our global travels about what..
Everyone knows the feeling… You’re all prepped for your next vacation, tickets are bought, reservations made, and bags are stuffed full with everything you could possibly need. There’s one problem though. You’re never going to use that inflatable pool floaty, wear those running shoes, or even bother with the super cool drone you just bought. Tired of wasted space, extra weight, and baggage charges? We’re here to help. Follow along for 10 Packing Tips that will make your next trip so much more enjoyable!
We feel your pain. When we visited Iceland, we had to cram all of our belongings into one 13” x 10” x 8” backpack. Somehow, we managed to declutter, fill it with enough warm clothes to survive, and even had room leftover to sneak some snacks onto the plane. If you follow our favorite packing tips, you’ll be surprised how easy packing for a vacation can be. You may even have enough room for that souvenir you wanted
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Keep it Fresh
Maybe its just me, but my duffle smells like a mix of wet dog, moldy cheese, and a pig farm. One of the best ways I’ve found to combat the ethereal stench are plain old dryer sheets. You can pick up a pack of these almost anywhere and they work wonders! I’d recommend throwing one in each shoe and then two or three scattered around the bag.
Fill the Dead Spaces
Child psychologists speak on the idea of object permanence being a key stage in any child’s development. The idea is that even if they can no longer see the object it still exists. Oftentimes, even as adults we forget about objects outside of plain site. For instance, who has packed inside their shoes? That “dead space” is the exact same concept. Think outside the bow and use the space given!
Roll, Don’t Fold
This was the only way we were able to pack for our trip to Iceland. Rolling saves space, limits awkward wrinkles and rumples, and makes snagging the day’s outfit a breeze. That’s right no more rummaging to find your one blue shirt, instead you’ll be able to slide it right out. I’ve found it helps to fold your clothing in half before rolling (pants one leg over the other, shirts folded in on each side meeting in the middle). It makes the rolls much more similar in size and makes packing even easier, how about that packing tip!
If you’d like to read more about our trip to Iceland, check out:
I know how nice wheels can be on any long trek through the airport. I’ve learned to sacrifice the convenience for the adaptability of a cloth bag. They’re tough, lightweight, and mold to whatever I need to fit them in or in them. Now that’s a packing tips tongue twister! Seriously, my duffle has allowed me to bring home a skim board, has been tossed around and still comes back for more.
Just like we talked about in our Definitive Winter Hiking Guide, layering is essential. This is actually my favorite of all ten packing tips just because it helps so much. As you begin to think about what you’ll need on a trip try not to limit clothes to one use only. If you’re going somewhere cold you don’t need to take: a jacket, a raincoat, a cold-weather jacket, two fleeces, and a sweatshirt. Instead, look at how you could layer a couple items to eliminate others. Like pairing a fleece and a jacket and ditching the extra poofy cold weather jacket.
Additionally, try to think about outfits as layers you can swap interchangeably. This will allow you to reuse certain parts of your outfit with others. Instead of packing six pairs of pants and six shirts, you can pack two pairs of pants that go well with all four shirts. If you struggle identifying colors that work well together plan on wearing more earth tones. You can be confident whichever colors you pair will work together!
Know Your Limits
This is an extremely simple tip that will save you time, money and hassle. Baggage policies vary by airline, where you’re flying, and year. It would be impossible for us to keep up with the policies so we’ll let the airlines tell you themselves. We’ve included links to several major airline's baggage policies below. Speaking of flights, if you're looking for a way to save hundreds on airfare, sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you our exclusive guide to finding cheap flights!
Hey there Thanks for following along with our adventures! We’ve got something REALLY special for you for signing up for our newsletter. 15 Tips We Use ALL THE TIME to Find Cheap Flights and Save Hundreds. Enjoy!
I can’t imagine how bummed I would be to show up, unpack, and realize that all my clothes had shoes prints on them. There are a couple packing tips we use to avoid stains on our clothes. First, think about how you pack. Put the shoes in the bottom of the bag face down. Second, roll any lightly colored clothing inside out. This helps to cover up small stains that are bound to happen anyway. Lastly, use a shower cap or grocery sack and tie it around your footwear. This keeps all that nasty gunk in the bag and off your clothing!
Cut it in Half
One of the best packing tips I’ve ever read was to pack everything you think you might need and then get rid of half of it. It’s amazing how much you think you need on a trip compared to what you actually use. This tip just helps you to evaluate what you actually need to bring and what can afford to stay home.
Be Ready to Separate
Whether you use packing cubes, grocery bags, or laundry baskets is up to you. Either way, be sure to find some way to separate clothes as you pack and repack throughout the trip. That way you can keep clean and dirty clothes separate, wet clothes away from dry, and save time as you look for a fresh pair of socks every morning.
Make a List (or Use Ours!)
One of my least favorite parts of packing is creating and sticking to a list. What if I forget something? What if I leave something off and need it? What if, heaven forbid, I pack without one? Packing is so much easier and stress free with a nice checklist. Follow it, check it off, write notes, do whatever you need to make it work for you.
Packing for your vacation shouldn’t be so stressful. It should be quick, easy, and dare we say it, fun! Yes, fun! Thinking of all the adventures you’ll take and what you need on your next vacation should never be a drag. That’s why we put together our Top 10 Packing Tips. We want to make your next vacation easier and more enjoyable.
So please let us know in the comments below… Which packing tips are you going to try? Do you know of any other packing tips we should use? Where’s your next vacation taking you? Please remember to like and share God Bless, K+J!
Kestra and I love visiting churches and religious sites on our travels, and while we haven’t had the chance to visit the Cathedrals in Scotland but our friend L is a native to the region. As a mental health advocate (who also loves to travel!) she has been kind enough to share her favorite Cathedrals in Scotland. Hope you enjoy, and as always, please remember to comment and share. God Bless!
Scotland has a long history of Catholicism and Protestantism, and although violent at times, the heavily Christian influence in Scotland has left a variety of beautiful religious buildings all across the country. They are spread throughout Scotland but some of the most iconic buildings are in central Scotland such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. I love the various Cathedrals in Scotland and I think they add such beauty and culture to increasingly modernizing cities. In this post I’m going to talk about my favorites of the ones I’ve visited in central Scotland, and places I think you should visit if you’ve ever in Scotland.
Remember to pin L’s picks for the best Cathedrals in Scotland!
St. Gile’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.
St. Gile’s Cathedral dominates the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and it’s absolutely iconic. A beautiful building inside and out that’s a jewel in the tourist hub of Edinburgh city center.
St. Gile’s was founded in 1124, and is steeped in Scottish history. Having been destroyed and rebuilt twice in the 1300’s during attacks by English military forces. Existing as a Catholic place of worship for 400 years, it changed allegiance in 1560 when the Scottish government declared Scotland a protestant country and Presbyterianism was established.
Today it’s still an active place of worship but also welcomes tourists from all over.
University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel
I recently attended a wedding here and was utterly blown away by how classically beautiful this chapel is. Especially at Christmas with the addition of seasonal decorations. It also sits in the stunning campus of Glasgow University which is the highlight of the West end Glasgow skyline.
Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian
Movie buffs might recognize Rosslyn Chapel from the Da Vinci Code, but it’s so much more than a prop. It’s hidden away in Roslin, Midlothian but is well worth the detour. Founded in 1446, it still stands as a place of worship today.
Standing alongside the old hospital building a stone’s throw from Glasgow’s famous Necropolis. Glasgow Cathedral is said to be built on the burial place of St. Kentigern (or Mungo) the patron saint of the city.
It’s also the only cathedral on the Scottish mainland that survived the aforementioned reformation in 1560.
One of my favorite things about traveling around Europe is visiting the stunning cathedrals and religious buildings each country has to offer, but I never stop appreciating the beauty of the ones in my home of Scotland too. Simply put, the Cathedrals in Scotland are too beautiful not to enjoy!
Have you visited any of the Cathedrals I’ve mentioned? Have you visited another Scottish religious building you think deserves some recognition? Sound off in the comments or give me a tweet and let me know your favorite of all the Cathedrals in Scotland!
We have yet to visit the Basque Country in northern Spain but our good friend Oli is a veteran visitor to the region. He has been kind enough to share his favorite hidden treasures of Spain’s Basque Country. Hope you enjoy, and as always, please remember to comment and share. God Bless!
The Basque country has been coming onto the radar of travelers more and more in recent years. Most visitors to Spain head to picturesque Barcelona and Seville, or the beaches of Andalusia. But the rugged northern coast offers something different for the intrepid explorer looking for a unique experience.
For many, if you find yourself in the Basque country you’re probably on the pilgrimage route, Camino de Santiago, which winds its way across the north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
But a trip to Spain’s Basque country (or Pais Vasco if you’re going native) has plenty for the casual visitor. From the bustling art and culture scene of Bilbao to foodie Mecca San Sebastian, travelers will be spoiled with choices.
As a big fan, and return visitor to the region, here are some of the best things to do in the Basque country of Northern Spain. Remember to pin my picks for the best kept secrets of Basque country!
When it comes to food Spain is a gourmands dream. Tapas has become a global export but the local Basque variation is a work of art. Pintxos (pin-choss) are bite sized morsels, exquisite and perfectly presented and almost a shame to eat because they look so good.
Often a slice of French stick topped with anything from a simple tuna mayo or slice of tortilla, through to carefully balanced works of art, finding the best pintxos in town can become an obsession.
Walk in to any bar in the Basque country and you’ll see these creations lined up, tempting you to load up your plate.
The Basques go for a bebida y algo para picar (a drink and something to pick), meaning a few pintxos over a beer or vermouth.
Be careful, as much as these tempting delicacies look fantastic, at around €2 each they can soon add up. Most will grab a few pintxos with friends or as an appetizer before a meal.
If you’re a fan of wine or cider then you’ll love txakoli. Pronounced cha-KOH-lee (you emphasize the koh bit and I always get it wrong), this effervescent apple wine is tart and fruity and goes great with a big plate of pintxos. Not only that but the barman has to pour it in a theatrical head height to low glass style, so it’s always quite a head turner.
The Guggenheim Museum
The iconic destination of Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum has been responsible for transforming Bilbao from an unfashionable industrial city to a global destination. There’s no missing this incredible structure and the artwork inside is equally eye catching. With permanent collections featuring Van Gough and Picasso, you can easily while away a couple of hours browsing.
Even if you’re not ‘into art’ the museum is an incredible structure inside as well as out and is one of the most popular things to do in the Basque country.
To read about more incredible buildings around the world, check out our post here: 5 Free Things To Do in Reykjavik. It lists the Harpa Concert Hall as our favorite free activity in Iceland’s Capital!
La Concha Beach
Featuring probably one of the best city beaches in Spain, if not the world, San Sebastian is a popular draw for tourists every summer. In fact, its such a beautiful city it even features a royal palace, The Miramar, for regal escapes.
La Playa de la Concha is a wide sweeping beach that dominates the landscape, and features incredible views. Its made for lazy lounging in the sun and the sheltered bay is perfect for splashing with kids or those who aren’t fans of big waves.
Having spoken about how sedated La Concha is, just head around the corner and you’ll find some incredible surf breaks. In fact, pick any spot along the Basque Coast and you’ll find surfer friendly beaches.
Just over the border in France you’ll find Biarritz, which is still in Basque country. This is one of the best known surf breaks in Europe and is a beautiful town, not dissimilar to San Sebastian.
Keen surfers will probably start their Basque country journey in Biarritz and then head to towns like Zarautz and Mundaka (which is set inside a UNESCO recognized biosphere no less!).
Try saying that after a few of the local drinks…! Pronounced gas-tell-luga-chay, this fortress and walkway has become a postcard image of the Basque region.
Fans of Game of Thrones will recognize this rocky outcrop in the sea as, well, I don’t watch GOT but apparently it was featured quite prominently.
The whole coastline is quite spectacular and if you’re on the Camino pilgrimage you will drop by here. But if you simply want to get away from Bilbao for a day, this makes a great outing. The fresh air, the view and the rustic feel in the towns around here gives you a real sense of the Basque country culture.
It might be a cliché, but the people truly make this region special. Arriving in any bar you’ll find the people tend to be very engaging and even if your Spanish is of the school level variety, they will make an effort to engage with you.
Having said that, although Pais Vasco straddles France and Spain, the local language, Basque (known as Euskadi in the local parlance) bears very little in common with French or Spanish. Don’t worry though, everyone speaks Spanish and English is widely understood, especially in San Sebastian.
If you’re heading to Spain and you want to experience a more authentic side of the country; not just the tapas and party of Barcelona, or the music scene of Ibiza, Basque country is a captivating travel experience.
How to get to Basque Country
The main city and biggest airport in the Basque region is Bilbao. From there you can easily take a train or bus connection to the rest of the region, including San Sebastian. If you’re in mainland Spain, catch a train from Barcelona or Madrid to Bilbao in around 5 hours.
Biarritz in France is part of the Basque country and has good connections to many big cities in Europe including London, Paris and Frankfurt. You can also catch a bus from Biarritz airport direct to San Sebastian. But that would be a shame!
I hope you have all enjoyed my picks for the best kept secrets of Spain’s Basque country! Where would you most like to visit? Have you ever been to Spain? Let me know in the comments section!
About the Author:
Oliver Lynch is the editor and chief writer for GoneTravelling.co.uk and GlobalPlayboy.com. He’s based in London and can often be spotted in random European cities looking for the best budget food or snowboarding badly.
America has 60 National Parks for wanderers from across the globe to enjoy. Some receive over 9 million visitors every year, and some as few as 105,000. We’ve been lucky enough to visit almost half of them and can’t wait to see the remaining 30. Today we’re going to share our Top 5 Family Friendly National Parks in America. Start packing those bags because adventure is calling!
From Acadia to Zion, each park affords its visitors something unique and inspiring. While we can’t quantify the beauty of each individual park, we can express their individual caterings towards families. Our family friendly National Parks rankings are based off of facilities within the parks, proximity to accommodations, and of course the park itself. Be sure to let us know in the comments which of the family friendly National Parks sounds the best to you! Do you know of any other parks that should be in our top 5?
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Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is one of America’s most famous National Parks. It was established as a park in October of 1890 and has been inspiring visitors ever since. Its sheer granite cliffs rise thousands of feet above the valley floor. Shimmering waterfalls fall crisply off the caps of the monumental domes cooling the valley air with their mist. Giant sequoia groves stand proudly against the stark granite backdrops. It truly is God’s Country.
In the valley several museums, hotels, and well paved trails greet visitors. The park is well staffed with knowledgeable individuals around almost every corner. The splendor of the park, its well-maintained facilities, and its proximity to several large cities all make Yosemite a must for any family looking to explore America’s National Parks.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Just a few hours outside of Denver lies a sparkling jewel. The crystalline lakes reflect the endless alpine views, well-marked trails dot the surrounding hillsides, and wildlife inhabitants outnumber the daily guests. You’re likely to see any number of bighorn sheep, elk, moose, or even bear in Rocky Mountain National Park’s borders.
Families who love to hike should look no further, from short out and backs, to whole day trips, the parks varying ecosystems offer endless trail options. It also has numerous shelters and facilities for visitors to enjoy and learn more about the park and its various biomes. The unparalleled diversity of the park, its network of trails, and its accessibility make Rocky Mountain National Park one of the best family friendly National Parks in America. If you’re planning a winter trip to Colorado be sure to check out the numerous ski resorts. You can read more about them here: Skiing in Colorado – Everything You Need to Know.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On America’s most populated coast lies a park of incredible historical and natural significance. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was on the forefront of the action for most of the civil war. The nearby town of Gatlinburg was commonly raided by Confederate soldiers until the end of the war. Nearby Pigeon Forge also boasted a converted mill used to make Union uniforms. Pairing this with several small battles and skirmishes the Great Smoky Mountains were a hotbed long before they became a National Park.
The parks also boasts over 5000 types of plants, 800 miles of trails and 100’s of different animals. It is melting pot of history and natural splendor unmatched across the United States. Given its unrivaled history and beauty, it extensive trail system, and its closeness to numerous towns, Great Smoky Mountains is in our top 5 family friendly National Parks.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone’s fabled geysers, wildlife, and terrain speak for themselves. With prismatic springs dotting the countryside, awe-inspiring canyons and waterfalls, and even moose, wolves, and bison roaming freely it is hard to imagine a more unspoiled landscape. For any family looking to be inspired by pure beauty look no further than Yellowstone.
Yellowstone is actually America’s first national park. It was inducted in March of 1872, and has had plenty of time to build an inclusive experience for its visitors. From board walked trails, to historic hotels, the park offers everything any visitor could need. Yellowstone’s incredible wildlife alone should be more than enough of a reason for every family to visit, but if you need more convincing Grand Teton is only an hour south! Check out our One Day Guide to Grand Teton National Park.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Rounding out our top 5 family friendly National Parks is a personal favorite, Bryce Canyon. Bryce is spectacularly unique. Hundreds of sandstone hoodoos climb towards the sky out of the natural amphitheater. Trees litter the valley and trails between the formations. While certainly not as massive as the other parks (Bryce sits around 35,000 acres) it is plenty large for a family trip out west!
What the park lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in beauty. The famed hoodoos in the valley are revered around the world for the rarity. Few places sport the sheer number and size of the formations as Bryce Canyon National Park does. The parks quaint size and general tidiness, its proximity to several large cities and 5 other National Parks, and its unfiltered beauty make Bryce Canyon a must visit for any National Park fan! Check out our post 12 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Utah for more magnificent photos of Utah!
Well folks, that’s a wrap for us. Our Top 5 Family Friendly National Parks are perfect for explorers of all sizes. We are certain no matter which park you choose you will be blown away by its splendor. So have fun, adventure safely, and enjoy God’s Creation personally! Have you been to any National Parks? If so, which ones? Alternatively, let us know if you think we missed one of your favorite family friendly National Parks. Until next time, K+J!
As travels take you further and further, and your phone data grows slower and slower, finding other portable connectivity options becomes more important. Today we’re going to look at our choice for the best portable wifi device. We’ll break down our choice, the pros and cons of our device, why you need portable wifi, and where you can get one! We even managed to squeeze out a 10% discount for you to enjoy the best portable wifi for travelers!
Anyone who’s been lost roaming foreign roads knows the utter fear of traveling without wifi. When we visited Iceland we had to print 34 pages of turn-by-turn directions for a 12 day road trip. It’s a definite downside of having no way to connect to the internet. After Iceland, we made mobile connectivity a priority for both our sanity and our safety on the go. We truly believe we have found the best portable wifi and it’s under $10 a day! So without further ado we give you our review of The World’s Best Portable Wifi for Travelers!
To be clear: this page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, we will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost for you). This allows us to continue to produce great content, so thank you! As such, we are also able to offer you a 10% discount off your rental when you go through our link and use our discount code, read on to claim yours!
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The Best Portable Wifi – Tep Wireless
Tep Wireless offers users a pocket-sized portable hotspot to stay connected while they travel. We won’t get into to much detail on it’s inner workings but instead of 100 SIM cards for 100 different countries, Tep uses a virtual SIM which can automatically detect, configure, and connect. This means no more having to purchase a new card or device for every country. Instead the little Tep device will do it all for you!
Tep offers seamless connectivity in over 100 countries worldwide. As you travel your Tep device will allow you (and up to 4 others) to browse and use the internet. With a unique name and secure password you can be sure your sessions are safe. All Tep devices include unlimited internet, a 6+ hour battery life, and incredible customer support. Like meet you at the airport to personally hand you your device customer support.
Tep Wireless offers affordable plans for both leisure and business travelers. You can easily rent a device for only $8.95/day, or you can buy one and connect for only $99/month! If you are looking for an easy and reliable way to connect on the go, go through our link here: https://mbsy.co/ql7jw and use code “THEAGAPECO” for 10% off your order!
The Pros and Cons of Tep Wireless
We strive to be honest in our reviews because we would like our readers to know exactly how we feel about products. We want to illuminate everything we loved about a product and everything that was just a bit off. In turn they can make a well-informed decision on the product. We hope this honest approach will allow us to build an open and trusting relationship with our readers. On that note, we’ll start with the cons of the Tep device.
The Cons of Tep
As with every device you’ve owned there will always be one or two things you would change. Even though it is our pick for the best portable wifi, the Tep device is no different. Tep currently sports a 4.3/5-Star average on just under 6,000 reviews. A common issue we personally noticed, as did several reviewers, was a mediocre connection speed. Sometimes the device was incredibly fast and other times it was just ok. The device never failed to load anything, sometimes we just wished it would load a little quicker. Another common note is that users wished the batter life was longer. The devices are rated for 6 or more hours. Personally, we don’t intend to be browsing the internet our whole day on vacation so this was never an issue for us. Additionally, the device does come with a USB and a wall outlet charger so recharging on the go is pretty easy!
The Pros of Tep
Ok now for the fun part, our favorite parts about Tep. First and foremost, their customer service is world class. I have never had trouble getting on the phone, touching base over email, or even live chatting with them through their site. They are extremely responsive, intelligent, and genuinely care for you as a customer. Another reason we chose Tep as the best portable wifi provider is the seamlessness of the connectivity. They offer several different plans (Global, European, Oceania, etc.) that allow you to easily connect anywhere you roam. Lastly, the device is secure. As personal security online continues to be more important having a device you can connect to that is safe will be more important than ever. Tep makes this easy with a unique SSID and password for every device.
Tep Wireless is easily the best “large” company I’ve ever worked with. They know the importance of keeping their customers happy, and it shows in their easy to use devices and customer service. If you would like to experience Tep’s unmatched quality go through our link here: https://mbsy.co/ql7jw and use code “THEAGAPECO” for 10% off your order!
Why You Need Tep Wireless
Whether you travel for business or pleasure their will come a time when a trip is more stressful than fun. Whether that’s because of some questionable seafood, a delayed flight, or an inability to load google maps, life on the road will be hard. You can take away some of those hardships by easily and reliably having an internet connection. Instead of the gas station seafood you could find a local joint with a 5-Star rating. Instead of meandering the airport for 6 hours you can stream a few of your favorite movies. Instead of ending up in Denver, Iowa (yes it’s a real place) you can load google maps and make your ski trip to Colorado a reality! These are just a few reasons we believe in and recommend Tep, it simply is the best portable wifi for travelers.
We know you may not be a seafood fan, or maybe you never fly anywhere, or maybe you don’t even use google maps, but there will come a time when you will need a wifi connection and won’t have one. For us it was in Iceland, and Costa Rica, but it won’t happen again! If you would like to relieve some of the stress of traveling go through our link here: https://mbsy.co/ql7jw and use code “THEAGAPECO” for 10% off your order!
Where to Get the Best Portable Wifi
Well folks, I was hoping we’d made this part clear already! If you want a secure, reliable, affordable way to get online on the go, look no further than Tep Wireless. They are an incredible company, with an incredible product, backed by thousands of happy customers. If you would like to give them a try and save 10% off your order, then go through our link here: https://mbsy.co/ql7jw and use code “THEAGAPECO”.
There ya have it everyone! We truly believe Tep Wireless is the best portable wifi for travelers. From its unmatched customer service, to its affordable rates, or even its seamless connectivity on the go, we are thrilled to use Tep on our travels. We hope the next time you’re in need you’ll give it a shot!
Be sure to let us know below in the comments what you thought of our review. Have you ever tried a mobile hotspot? Who did you use? Do you have a different opinion? Please remember to subscribe and share our blog on social media with your friends and family, God Bless!
As the holiday season rolls around and thousands begin their annual voyages, traveling for Christmas can start to feel more like a Chevy Chase movie than a wonderful time with loved ones. Fear not, your next holiday season doesn’t have to be so hectic if you’re willing to plan ahead. So sit down, buckle up, grab those reading glasses, and let’s make Christmas getaways easy again!
Oftentimes, Christmas getaways have become synonymous with the rich and wealthy taking a ski trip to Aspen or spending a week in the tropics. Frankly, that’s just silly. I look nothing like the Kardashians and no one cares what swimsuit I’m wearing. Christmas getaways don’t have to be a faraway or dreamy destination, and they don’t have to be expensive! We’re going to break down five easy steps you can follow to plan your own Christmas getaway this year and we’ve included an awesome checklist for FREE to help you do it!
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Pick the Right Location
Listen, we know how hard it can be to find cheap flights (unless you used our 15 Tips to Find Cheap Flights that is!) They get even harder to find during the holidays as everyone is rushing home to see family. So instead of looking for tropical or faraway destinations, look closer to home for your Christmas getaway. We recommend somewhere that you can easily drive to within a half-day (about 5 hours).
Immediately you’ve cut the cost of airline tickets and only have to worry about gas for the road trip. We’ve had great luck in the past looking at lake towns, or even large cities near home. In the winter, these cozy hideaways offer cute downtowns, lots of activities, and the right-at-home feel you long for. As for the large cities, you still get the dazzling holiday displays, endless activities, and even small crowds because the business travelers headed home. Plus, since the crowds are smaller you can usually find amazing deals in both the quaint and large towns!
Call for Deals
Oftentimes as the holidays approach, overzealous family members call and book large blocks of hotel rooms. As other commitments come up and people are unable to attend, these unused rooms remain empty… or so you thought! Turns out the hotels are happy to make a few extra bucks and will fill those rooms with the next bidder. If you’re late to the game, try calling the hotels directly to see if they have any openings. You’ll be surprised by the discounts they offer just to fill the room!
If you’re trying to plan every step of your Christmas getaway, the same principle applies to tours in the area. From Sea World to dog sledding, almost everywhere offers a Christmas time sale. A quick call to their bookings department will tell you exactly what their deals are, and how you can score some savings!
Pack the Decorations and a Gift
Speaking from personal experience, I know how hard it can be to celebrate in a hotel, condo, or anywhere that isn’t “home”. This is so much easier if you bring along a string of lights, some stockings, and a box of ornaments. Heck, if you don’t want to bring along the decorations, buy them during the trip. For just a few dollars you can decorate the entire room and make it feel so much homier!
If you intend to celebrate during the Christmas getaway, we recommend packing a small gift for everyone to open. No need to pack up huge boxes especially if you’ll have to haul them home. One small gift per person can tide everyone’s spirit over! If you’re still looking for the right presents for your loved ones check out these 21 Perfect Gift Ideas! Alternatively, you can shop directly through our Amazon Influencer page here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/theagapeco
Remember Why We Celebrate
We know how easy it can be to get caught up in the trap of Christmas gifts, budgets, and pleasing everyone. Let that go. You have already been given the best Christmas gift you’ll ever receive. Two-thousand odd years ago Christ was born to be our savior. Your debts have been paid, your sins justified in the eyes of the Lord, all because of who this little baby would grow up to be. Make it a point of your Christmas getaway to reinforce why we celebrate and all we have to be thankful for!
On that note, we have a few Bible books that are perfect to read around the holidays. Both Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 tell the story of Christmas from end to end. Maybe it would be fun to read each and then compare them! Matthew is a little shorter but breaks into the genealogy of Jesus. It also provides fewer details of the story and basically gives a quick overview of his birth. Luke offers a slightly more in depth and easier to understand tale of events preceding and following Christ’s birth. Both are helpful in their own ways!
Focus on Making Memories
We speak a lot about enjoying the little things in life and Christmas time (no matter where you celebrate) is one of those things. On your Christmas getaway focus more on the time you have with your family than on wondering what to do next. Pack a deck of cards, go explore on a whim, rent a DVD, just be with each other. Ultimately, that is what will make your trip the perfect Christmas getaway!
Things don’t, and won’t, always go as planned. Don’t cry over spilled milk. We’ve learned that life is much more enjoyable when we take it in stride! Instead of getting angry, try laughing at the unfortunateness of the event. Because who knows, it may become a funny memory instead of the dreaded moment nobody wants to talk about. So what? Maybe your food took a while to get to your table and you’re mad at the waitress or kitchen staff— don’t be! (They’re the ones working on the holidays after all!) Instead, take that extra time to play a game, put down the electronics, reminisce on old Christmas memories, or talk about what you hope to accomplish in the next year.
There you have it, everything you need to know to Plan the Perfect Christmas Getaway! What are your plans for the holiday? Will you be traveling? If not, what are your plans instead? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget your checklist!
We all know flight prices jump around more than a kangaroo with a caffeine addiction so, after making travel a dedicated part of our lives, Kestra and I started seriously researching how to find affordable travel opportunities. This included cheap flights, rental cars, accommodations, and basically anything you need to have for a vacation. Some of these deals were way easier to find than others. For accommodations you can find places around the world on Airbnb for less than $20 a night. What about cheap flights though? It seems no matter where you look there are extra fees and taxes (not to mention the base cost) driving up the price. Kestra and I will show you a few tricks that have helped us save hundreds and find tons of cheap flights.
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Pin our guide, Cheap Flights - 15 Tips to SAVE YOU HUNDREDS!
Hold Your Tickets
So a little trick we learned early on was that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has several regulations in place regarding airline prices and their relationships with consumers. Specifically, the DOT said that all carriers in the United States and abroad have to allow potential consumers the chance, “to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty.”
What this basically means is that if you see an amazing advertised fare you can “hold” your spot and cancel it up to a day later while you decide. It is worth noting that this rule does not apply in the final seven days before your flight. If you would like to read the full document you can do that here. Either way this is a great way to save your spot on any cheap flights you find without worrying about losing the deal.
Pick the Right Time to Fly
This is a bit of a two-for-one tip. When we say, “pick the right time” we mean both the days and hours you choose. No matter where you are flying, Fridays and Sundays are usually the most expensive days of the week. If you are flying domestically most studies point towards Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday as being the best days to find cheap flights. Personally, we’ve found that Tuesday has been the day with the best deals for us. If you are flying internationally, shoot for a weekday instead of a weekend. It’s not atypical to see prices balloon near the end of the week. Even if you can’t fly in and out on the “cheap” days, try to at least one way. That way you can still reap some of the savings!
As for part two: the cheapest flights will almost always be the first flights of the morning. Yes, that means you have to get up super early but think about those super savings! The next best times to fly are during or just after lunch and dinner hours. If you’re looking for an end-all rule it’s to “fly hungry”. No one wants to fly when it’s inconvenient so you can usually find great rates.
Try a Different Currency
I’ll admit, I thought it was a bogus, errant lie being fabricated by the masked faces of the deep web. I was wrong. Occasionally if a country’s currency is especially strong, prices aren’t correlated equally. Meaning if someone were to search for a weaker currency, find the corresponding airlines national page (instead of www.exampleairline.us it could be www.exampleairline.uk, www.exampleairline.nz, www.exampleairline.ca, you get the picture), they could possibly find a deal. I have personally seen this knock a $1,200 flight to $750 and I have also seen it not change a thing. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky! Just be sure to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee if you do find a deal.
Buy Separate Tickets
Oftentimes when consumers purchase online they type in the quantity and assume the computer multiplied the price of a single item times four, or better yet adds a discount. Airlines don’t do that. There are numerous seat price point on every plane (up to 10) and I don’t just mean first class, business, or economy. Airline reservation systems have to quote the same price per ticket to every ticket in the party, so even though some tickets may have been cheaper, the one expensive ticket bumps up the entire cost. What you can do to avoid this is strategically add tickets until you notice this price bump and buy your tickets accordingly. AKA if one ticket is $100, two are $200, and three are $450 dollars, then you should buy a set of two tickets and a set of one. That way if you save $40 a ticket each way you can afford a few more nights in the hotel!
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Thank you so much for reading along and learning how Kestra and I are able to make travel a part of our lives. If you have any other questions about how we find cheap flights sign up for our newsletter to learn more. In the mean time I hope you’ll continue to follow along with our adventures around the world!