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  • Writer's pictureKinsey Texeira

Traveling like a bougie, but on a budget!

Who loves to travel? Who has stopped because it's just too expensive? Or who has anxiety because while you're suppose to be enjoying your time off work, you're pinching pennies while "on vacation". I am a big believer that you cannot fully enjoy yourself if money is the only thing taking over your brain the entire trip. I've seen stressed out parents trying to enjoy Disneyland while their kids are asking for those $9 ice cream bars, and because of attitudes, stress and straight up chaos, no one ends up having fun. That is not a vacation. That is mini hell.


We live in Hawaii, so for us, we cannot travel anywhere unless it's via an airplane. This makes it very hard for large families. I would have to look up statistics, but I would venture to say we are one of the heaviest states of airport jobs being 2nd and 3rd jobs for the simple fact of being able to travel. This was my husbands 4th job for 7 years of our life. Being able to hop on an airplane for free made it so we could budget other things. We even flew to LA for 24 hours one day just because we needed a short break. It was amazing. But life happened (covid) as well as an injury so my husband was forced to quit. This was a huge let down for me.


Which is why I felt so passionate to start this blog. I was not willing to stop traveling, like I had become accustomed to, so I started doing hours upon hours of research. The memories I made with my kids for all those years were a vital part of them growing up. It saddens me that some families in Hawaii never experience what it's like to go on a family trip. And now that we're in a sort of recession once again, I feel like its not just Hawaii people. Its everyone. So here is my best attempt to try and help you reach your goals and dreams as well! I'll start with giving you 3 tips.


  1. GET A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD

I know some of you may be against credit cards, but if you're not, listen closely because this is a big one. First of all, don't be irresponsible. Pay for all the travel things on this credit card and then pay them off immediately or within the time allowed. I always say- don't go on the trip if you don't have the money, this isn't a free vacation, it's simply a way to earn points, free excursions and discounted flights as you build.


I am personally a big fan of United. The perks are unmatched on a few levels. Besides their very competitive fairs, we realized that their credit card options were far superior than others we had signed up and used before.


We opted for the United Club Infinite Card, which you get 90,000 bonus miles, 4x miles on United purchases and 2x miles for all other purchases, United club access for your entire family (this was worth it for us) and of course lots of other regular credit card benefits.


Let me explain the United club access. If you are unfamiliar with what a club is (most every airline offers). It is a private area away from the hustle bustle where you can spend up to 3 hours before your flight. A country club of traveling if you will. We have 4 children, so for us this made this particular card one thousand percent worth it. When you get FREE access to the club, you get free wifi, free food (a buffet), free drinks, free couches, outlets, clean bathrooms and sometimes depending on which airport you're at, you can get you have access to a shower. This is wonderful if you're traveling internationally. We've been to the clubs in Honolulu, Tennessee, Germany, Italy, Denver and Los Angelas. My favorite was Germany, probably because it is an international hub, but they offered traditional German food (like a Bavarian pretzel bar), newspapers in all languages, an espresso bar a beautiful shower/bathroom area. I calculated what it costs to feed our children in the airport, and with that alone, we're saving thousands a year. Trust me, getting this card is 100% worth it. Bougie on a budget encapsulates this. The fee for your yearly fee of this credit card is almost half of what it would be to be a member of the club outside the card.


2. JOIN ALL THE FREE MEMBERSHIPS FOR CAR RENTALS AND HOTELS


This one won't give you immediate discounts, but the more you travel the easier it gets. Most (legit) places have some kind of points system that you can benefit from. When it comes to renting cars, I've tried it all. I will tell you the worst thing you can do is try to budget from a non known place. I was traveling alone with 2 of my daughters when I tried to "budget" our car. I found a great price... or so I thought... but as soon as we got off the plane we quickly realized that there was a reason this was such a low cost situation. We stood outside in the cold weather trying to find the shuttle. Come to find out, the shuttle didn't even begin until 3 hours after we had landed. Then upon finally getting on the shuttle, we were brought to a very dangerous area of town. Remember- Bougie on a Budget does not mean you are subjected to feeling the need to make sure 911 is on speed dial. It means being on a budget, while still being bougie! So stick with the place you feel like is a good price, but also safe, efficient and familiar. We use FOX at LAX because I could walk there in my sleep, it is close to the airport, it is 24 hours, the shuttles are every 15 minutes and no one tries to hassle us. Nashville FOX is by far my absolute favorite. Wonderful staff.


If you have a membership number, you can simply rent from the same place every single time, you can earn points, and you can feel rest assured that you're in good hands. We have memberships at FOX, and AVR and for hotels Marriott, Hilton Honors, and basically anywhere that allows.


Eventually you will get free rooms, free breakfast, upgrades and all the perks they have to offer.


3. GET ORGANIZED


Don't underestimate the power of organization. You don't have to splurge on all the 'influencer' things, but I've created a DUPE section for this purpose. I found things that make traveling so much easier but for a fraction of the cost. It really does make a difference when you are able to easily pull things out of particular places, pack the kids snacks for road trips, long airplane rides and things for the hotel. Visit my Amazon store and go to my travel section to see all my things. I will try to explain why I chose each one in future blogs.


Things that are labeled with big words like snacks, toys, and meds make less of a mess and less stress when having to pull them out in a packed car, or airplane. I've done the cheap version of things only to throw them away after one trip. That wastes money, and time. So rest assured, that all the things I link will last you a lifetime if you want. Traveling with children is no joke, but now that we're almost in the empty nesters stage of our lives, I've noticed traveling with a husband isn't any easier. HAHA. He gives me a lot of flack for how much time I spend on making sure were packed properly and have all the things in order, but when we arrive to our destination and he has to do very little... he is thankful.


For instance- the little snack box's can be filled with fresh fruit, goldfish, freeze dried strawberries and gummies. You'd be surprised how long that keeps toddlers occupied. Heck, this even worked for my teenagers. I use to let my kids pick out a legos, play dough or something buildable before each trip as well. The less screaming and crying, the better the vacation.


Bring your Stanley or yeti or whatever water bottle you want to the lounge of your choice at the airport and you'll always have free water, soda or coffee. You can sleep through the snack part of the flight if you please because you already ate, and have a stash you brought on the plane with you that most likely is more healthy and cleaner anyways.


Hope this little tidbit helps! Please let me know what you'd like to see for future advice!

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