How I Afford To Travel

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When my friends and I find ourselves discussing traveling, it’s inevitable that at some point the conversation will turn into a sort of interrogation- with everyone trying to see if someone else has some Golden Secret of how to afford traveling, in terms of both vacation days and actual cash.

The short answer I have is this: If something is a priority to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

For example.  If you buy lunch every day you’re at work, that $10 a day can turn into a $200 monthly expense in no time, takeout adds up fast, and don’t even get me started about going to bars.  Most people fortunate to live above poverty could afford to travel, but maybe you don’t like cooking meals at home, or you can’t live without the newest technology or thousand dollar handbags.  It’s all about the choices we make every day, and so the first step in being able to travel more is to take a look at your daily or weekly spending habits.

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It’s also been said that more frequent, short trips have the ability to make us much happier than one big long trip; and I completely agree with that.  I’ve tried to adopt this by traveling locally as much as I can.  Going to places like Maine, Vermont, and New York City over long weekends is pretty affordable (no airfare cost and very reasonably priced hotels), plus it’s super easy to do from Massachusetts and requires few to no vacation days.  Last year, B and I spent a rainy Memorial Day Weekend in Portland, Maine and it rejuvenated my spirits like nothing else.

Another way I embraced the shorter trip mentality was 2016 into 2017.  My best friend and I went to Austin for five days, which was just enough time to get a feel for the city.  Then, six months later, Mac and I went to Nashville for another five days.  Having to use only six vacation days total, I got to spend *almost one week* in two different cities, that didn’t need much more time than that.  Plus, spreading the trips out gives you a bit of a chance to catch up and earn some extra cash!

Another way I afford to travel is by tagging along.  I’m very lucky in that my parents offer me to tag along whenever they’re traveling for business (or even for pleasure).  My sister and I will always tag along with my dad when he is going to Manhattan for a business trip, since the hotel is already being paid for.  I also joined my mom on a trip to Ottawa when she was meeting up with her friends for a weekend.  She got company in the car and I got to see a new city.  (I do immensely regret not buying a plane ticket to join my dad in New Orleans when he was going to a conference, so I’m trying to learn my lesson).

The next obvious cost friendly way of traveling is to visit your friends and family!  I usually end up more excited to see people than to save on the hotel room, but it’s a nice bonus perk.  My mom’s family lives in New York City, and we love to visit them whenever we are welcome, with the added bonus of being in a pretty fantastic location.  B and I are spending the weekend with his family in California, and I haven’t spent much time with them since we started dating, so it’s nice to get the chance to do so and see their turf.

Traveling during shoulder seasons is an amazing way to maximize your dollar without sacrificing good weather.  A quick Google search will usually yield some pretty helpful results in terms of peak tourist season and average weather forecast.  Then you have the chance to capitalize on lower airfare and hotel rates, plus quieter attractions!

“Just do it” is frequently my motto for traveling.  B and I were watching the prices for our San Francisco tickets, and the price dropped significantly and suddenly.  In fear of not seeing such a low price for San Francisco again, we just took the plunge and bought the tickets.  As a result, we were forced to save the extra cash we needed for lodging, food, plenty of activities, and even wine/Ubers in Napa on a two month notice.  The truth is, we probably would have ended up spending much of that money restaurant hopping on the weekends or getting takeout on a lazy weeknight.  But booking the trip forced us to save the money based on the decision to just go ahead and book it.

Traveling loyally is something I’ve heavily embraced as well.  Even though these days it seems like airfare is the most affordable part of traveling, I think every piece adds up.  My primary airline loyalty is to JetBlue.  This is for a plethora of reasons including, but not limited to: FlyFi (free Wi-Fi in every seat, on every flight), most legroom in coach, the most flights out of Boston, best free snacks, and the best inflight entertainment (including a full Amazon experience).  For hotel loyalty, I always try to stay with Marriott when possible. I don’t travel as much as my parents do, but ever since I saw their membership points pay for two hotel rooms for two full weeks in Hawaii, I’m doing my best to catch up.  Brands like Fairfield Inn and SpringHill Inn and Suites are generally my go-to’s for the low price, that includes wi-fi, breakfast, and usually parking.

Traveling based on your vacation days tends to totally contradict everything I just mentioned.  My family almost always traveled the week between Christmas and New Years when we were all off, and B and I love taking a long weekend getaway whenever a Monday holiday rolls around.  Annoyingly, airfare in particular tends to skyrocket on around these times; but there are still plenty of ways to finagle your schedule to maximize your time.  While I love taking an early flight, sometimes (particularly when traveling to the west coast) I find it best to take an evening flight.  This allows the opportunity for a full day of work instead of losing a full day for traveling.  It also tends to work out great for jet lag, just having one really long day, and waking up nearly adjusted by the next morning.

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What are your favorite tips on making travel affordable??  Let me know in the comments!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

xo, C

(The pictures in this post are all from NYC!)

Planning A Trip: Inspiration

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Traveling is one of my favorite parts of life.  I love exploring new places, whether it’s a two hour drive or an eleven hour flight away, and so this makes deciding where to go on vacation the most exciting part of planning a trip!  It’s also only natural that it’s the first part in my “Planning A Trip” series!

In the front of my travel notebook (yes, I have one, and it goes everywhere with me-but we’ll get to that later) is a quote that I like to remind myself of regularly, especially when I’m ready to go on a vacation.

What kind of destination leaves your heart happy, or makes your mind wander with ideas?  What kind of destinations feed your imagination?

Go There.

For me, this place is somewhere filled to the brim with personality and culture.  Somewhere with a great food scene, and a place where the “things to do” aren’t just museums and monuments, but places with soul and vantage points that make you feel so small, or a street that takes you to another place in time.  It took some time to admit that places that excite other people (all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean that you never leave, for example) are just not for me.  And that’s okay.  You should never spend your vacation time and money doing something you don’t actively want to do, just because everyone else likes it.  And if waking up at 6am to catch a sunrise isn’t your jam, that’s okay too!  I recognize that my energy level is overwhelming and does not exactly match everyone else’s (even my own sister, sometimes).

If you don’t already have a very specific idea of the type of traveler you are, there are a few types of questions you can ask yourself.  Are you looking to explore or relax?  Does weather matter?  Are you looking for a cultural immersion or a list of attractions to see?  How important are meals, the outdoors, and the amount of required walking to you?  Once you answer these questions, a clear idea of your ideal vacation will present itself pretty clearly.

Even though I know exactly what type of vacation I love, I have such a long list of places I want to see, it usually still requires some narrowing down with follow up questions.  Once I’ve decided it’s time for a new adventure, I usually follow this general formula.

  • Who am I going with?  Whether it’s my sister, best friend, mom, or boyfriend; who I’m traveling plays a big part of where I’m going on vacation.  For example, my sister and I do best together in cities where there’s a lot of activities (think NYC, Nashville, Chicago), while B is my best bet for a place that I just want to wander and take in the culture or scenery someplace (Vermont, Coastal Maine).
  • How many days can I go for?  The next time I only have four or five days to travel, I’m hoping to go to Charleston or New Orleans.  Both flights are under 4 hours, nonstop from Boston, meaning we could be there and exploring by lunchtime.
  • What’s on sale?  This one kind of makes me laugh, but it’s true.  Jenn and I knew we wanted to go on vacation to celebrate our Friendiversary, so we looked at the sale Southwest was having.  The flights to Austin were the best nonstop, so we booked them.  It was one of the rawest, coolest places I’ve been, and I’m so glad the sale brought us there.

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If we’re being honest, Pinterest and Instagram play heavily into inspiring me to visit certain places.  There’s an endless stream of drool-worthy locations being paraded in front of us, and every time I see one that stops me in my tracks, I make sure to file it away mentally for a future trip.

My travel notebook is where I keep track of my highlight reel locations.  It ranges from my ultimate dream trips (Marrakesh) to the top of my general travel bucket list (the Pacific Northwest) and very attainable trips (Charleston).  Every time I’m on Instagram, or talking to a friend, or reading a magazine in a waiting room and see a restaurant, sight, or attraction at one of these places, I always try to remember to jot it down in my notebook under the corresponding section.  This seems really excessive to the average person, but again: traveling is one of my passions, so planning trips I’m not even taking is right up my alley.

What are some ways you gather inspiration for your trips?  Let me know in the comments, and make sure you stop by next Wednesday for the next installment of Planning A Trip!

xo, C

(The first picture in this post is from Hawaii, the last is in Bermuda).

Monday with Mac: Spring Weekend in D.C.

It is my opinion that everybody needs to go to Washington, DC at some point in their lifetime.  Besides being our Nation’s capital, it holds an immense amount of historical information and knowledge.  Beyond that, it is one of the most beautiful cities on the East Coast.

Now, being someone that grew up 30 miles outside of Boston and who was constantly visiting family in NYC this takes a lot for me to say, but it’s true: DC is an awesome city.

Even though I’m just a 7 hour car ride away, my gal pal and I decided to fly. The flights were cheap on Southwest and we wanted to maximize our time. Ronald Reagan Airport is very easy and it’s a short drive (or metro ride) away from the “downtown” area if you will.

I highly recommend everyone go in the springtime and if you can, catch the beautiful cherry blossom festival.  It was an absolute dream come true to see this amazing plethora of cherry blossoms!  Spring is the perfect time to go for a long weekend, even though you could spend a month in DC and probably still not do everything.  Here’s what we could manage in about 4 days:

Smithsonian National Zoo:

The zoo is located in Woodley Park which happened to be right up the street from our hotel.  If you are staying downtown, there is a Metro Stop right down the street from the Zoo, so it is very easy to get to!

The main attraction here has to be the pandas, but they have other highlighted animals like elephants, zebras, cheetahs, gorillas and tigers; plus a lot of cool indoor exhibits for reptiles, small mammals, and Amazonia.  This is definitely a great place for kids, but also for adults too.  Who doesn’t love animals?



American History Museum:

For me, this one was a no-brainer.  To be in the nation’s capital where there is so much history, it was so exciting to go see more highlights from America’s past.  Here, we were able to see an amazing exhibit on food- including Julia Child’s kitchen- as well as a transportation exhibit and an exhibit on the First Ladies which was a personal favorite! (All of the beautiful inauguration gowns were there *heart eyes*)

National Air & Space Museum:

This museum is so cool.  It takes you through the history of flight, with different exhibits at different times of the amazing evolution of air travel.  Amelia Earhart, the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, along with some other amazing pilots.  They also had some very cool exhibits on space travel, the planets, and time and navigation.  This museum was very educational, and very fun.  Who doesn’t love giant planes and rocket ships hanging from the ceiling??


U.S. Botanic Garden:

Absolutely stunning.  This was such a cool stop and I am so glad we decided to go in, as it wasn’t on our original list.  Walking in, I was mainly just happy that the building was warm, as it was a little windy out.  But they had the most beautiful gardens to walk through.  There were different rooms for different climates.  Watch out!  Some of the rooms mist the plants every few minutes so you may get a little wet!


Tidal Basin and the CHERRY BLOSSOMS:

The tidal basin is already a beautiful location to walk around, and see the Jefferson Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  I highly suggest it.  BUT WITH THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ITS EVEN MORE AMAZING!!

The cherry blossoms are one of the most incredible sights on the East Coast.  The amount of cherry trees alone is purely jaw-dropping.  So if you have the flexibility and can plan your trip around the forecast for the year, you definitely should because this is not to be missed!  (The peak bloom is usually only a few days, but the festival goes on for a few weeks and the cherry trees are still beautiful!)




All of the monuments and memorials in Washington DC are amazing.  Unfortunately, we were not able to see all of them, but here are the ones we saw that I highly recommend:

  • Washington
  • Lincoln
  • (Reflecting pool)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Jefferson
  • World War II

And of course, you must see the Capitol Building!  We didn’t go inside, but we hung out on the lawn for a bit and took some pictures- it is stunning!


Cool Neighborhoods:

  • Woodley Park
  • DuPont Circle
  • Georgetown

The Metro:

This is going to sound so silly, but the metro was one of my favorite parts of this trip.  We stayed in Woodley Park, which meant that we needed to take the Metro a lot, but it was SO easy!  The stations were beautiful and clean, and the trains were as well!  It’s very easy to navigate and definitely cheaper than ubering everywhere.  You also do enough walking in DC as it is, so sometimes it’s nice to just grab the metro back.  I highly recommend it!


BONUS! As some of you may know, I have celiac disease, so I eat completely gluten free. Below are a few gems I found with gluten free options in DC! 

  • District of Pi Pizzeria – Gluten Free Pizza!
  • Wicked Waffle – Gluten Free Beligan style Waffles!
  • Rise Bakery – Everything is gluten free- bagels, croissants, cookies, etc! Some things are dairy/egg free as well depending!
  • Plan B Burger Bar – Gluten free burger buns!
  • Rosa Mexicano – Gluten free chips/ taco shells and other options! (the guac is amazing!)

Thanks for reading!  Caitlin and our dad went to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival also a few years ago!  You can read her posts about it here and here!

Introduction to Travel Month on The Sol Compass!


Hello everyone – welcome back!  Today kicks off “Travel Month” on The Sol Compass.  I’ve been working hard over the past two months with Mac, Bryan, and my parents to hone in on what it is that makes traveling so enjoyable for me (yes, even the actual ‘traveling’ part).  Over the month of May I’m going to share comprehensive guides and tips about traveling, since they are my favorite things to research and read about!


I have always loved traveling.  Ever since I was a little girl, my parents always made traveling to new places and experiencing different things a priority.  My mom would teach us all about the animals we saw at the zoo, and my dad would quiz us after leaving a museum to make sure we were reading and learning while we were there.  Our family vacations are the best memories of my first 18 years, and they inspired me to prioritize traveling as an adult as well.


It is so easy to get stuck in what you “must do” when planning a trip that you can find yourself forgetting about your own personal interests and preferences.  I think one of the most freeing moments I’ve had was when I realized I didn’t *have* to do anything, anywhere.  Taking the path less reviewed on the Internet has led me to the most amazing places, and this journey is what I want to share with all of you, including how I found what it is about traveling that fills me with life.


Through hours of extremely thorough research and some trial and error, I have developed somewhat of a routine to use for every aspect of going on vacation.  Everything from what I pack in my carry on to how I decide where to travel will be covered, and I can’t wait to finally start writing about this passion of mine!

So what can you expect to see on the blog this month?  How I plan a trip, broken down into three sections; some guides to the places Mac and I are traveling to this spring; how I organize myself while packing; and tips on traveling solo, with an allergy, and for work!


Make sure to check back in on Monday to see Mac’s first installment (if you have no idea who I’m talking about, meet my sister Mac here!)  In the meantime, you can see all of my past travel posts here.

(The pictures in this post are from my summer trip to Germany, Frankfurt and Rudesheim am Rhein five years ago!  It was before I started blogging, and I’ve never shared them on here – but I do get a kick out of seeing how pixelated my pictures were back then!)

Thanks for stopping by – see you all next week!

xo, C (and M!)

Providence, RI Updates


Hey y’all welcome back!  Today I’m sharing a few pics from our little day trip to Providence over the weekend!  I also updated my Providence guide here with some new food options so make sure to check that out!

I wasn’t really planning on taking outfit photos, but Roger Williams Park was just too beautiful to leave without a few snaps!  We went for the zoo, which is absolutely perfect during the fall.  All the animals were out to play (literally, lots of them were playing with each other!) and there were far fewer crowds than there are during the summer.  The zoo was also having their famous Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular that night, so we got to sneak a peek at some of the pumpkins as well!


Concord, MA


Hey everyone, happy Thursday!  Last weekend B and I took a mini half day trip out to Concord, MA.  As a couple of nature lovers and history geeks it was the perfect setting!  Our first stop was the famous Walden Pond, we took the trail all the way around the lake and saw the spot where Thoreau’s cabin stood!


After Walden Pond we went to Minute Man National Park, where the opening battle of the Revolutionary War occurred!  You can see the Old North Bridge (of “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” fame) and talk to some incredibly knowledgeable rangers who can give you a crash course in remembering the finer details that you may or may not have forgotten of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, or the war entirely.


In the area there’s also the Concord Museum (which has lots of pieces from the Thoreau family) and the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, which would be amazing to check out if you have the time or interest in either of these fascinating figures!


Outfit Details – Sweater: J.Crew Factory | Top: LOFT | Jeans: Lucky Brand | Shoes: TOMS

Thanks for reading!  Hope you have a great day!

xo, C

Stowe & Waterbury, Vermont


Welcome back everyone!  Today is my last post from Vermont.  I had to break my pictures down into separate posts because of sheer volume, but the pictures from Stowe proved the most difficult to narrow down.  I had picked over 50 to share with you all in my first round of cuts!  There is just so much natural beauty and quintessential New England charm everywhere you look that I was snap happy the entire day!


The downtown area is full of shops, restaurants, and bars that you could easily spend all day in.  There’s also a great coffee shop, Black Cap Coffee, and Vermont’s Ski and Snowboard Museum!


We stopped by the famous Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury for some apple cider donuts, and wandered around the charming souvenir displays.  We also stopped by the extremely crowded Ben & Jerry’s, but decided not to do a factory tour since there were about 150 people in line (!!) and they don’t actually make ice cream on the weekends, so we wouldn’t have seen too much.


Before heading back to our hotel, we found the closest covered bridge to take a few quick snaps!


Outfit Details – Sweater: Who What Wear (old, similar here and here) | Pants: Old Navy | Vest: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here) | Booties: J.Crew Factory | Rain Boots: Hunter | Purse: Target | Hat: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here)

Thanks for reading!  I hope you all have a great day!

xo, C



Hi everyone, happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  In today’s installment of our Vermont escapades we visited the capital Montpelier.  I spent a good amount of time here as a child visiting family friends, but it was fun to spend the better part of the day visiting some old places and discovering some new ones!


Right off of 89 is State Street, and it starts with the beautiful State House (how apropos!)  There is an amazing tour you can take and gorgeous grounds to admire all around the building.  Next door is the Vermont History Museum, which is filled with information about Vermont that you can learn about for only $7!


Further down on State Street is Capitol Grounds, a coffee shop with a great vibe and delicious cold brew!  We then wandered across the streets (past olive oil stores and —-) into Positive Pie, a delicious pizza shop, where we sat outside and watched our fellow leaf peepers stroll up and down the street marveling at the architecture.  We then drove up to Hubbard Park, which has a ton of trails to walk around and a tower with spectacular views.


Outfit Details – Sweater: Who What Wear (old, similar here and here) | Skirt: J.Crew Factory | Tights: J.Crew Factory | Shoes: Lucky Brand (old, similar here) | Purse: Target | Sunglasses: Perverse


On our way out of town we stopped at Bragg Farm Sugarhouse to pick up some maple syrup to take home a sweet taste of our trip (there’s also Morse Farm, but we chose Bragg since it’s where my family used to go!)

Thanks for stopping by, make sure to check in again tomorrow for a new Vermont post!

xo, C

Quechee and Woodstock, Vermont


Hello everyone, welcome back to another installment of our road trip through Vermont!  We got off of 89 in search of Woodstock, but ended up finding gem after gem in Quechee, Vermont en route!  After a short walk through the woods (less than a mile) we made it to the Quechee Gorge, the deepest gorge in Vermont!


There are some awesome restaurants in the area that we could have spent the whole weekend trying out restaurants in these two towns alone!

The Mill at Simon Pearce.  What could be better than “America’s Most Romantic Restaurant”?  One that uses fresh, local ingredients in a gorgeous setting!

Dana’s by the Gorge.  A gorgeous brunch place located across the street from the gorge, Dana’s menu has a seemingly endless variety of pancakes, muffins, and even fried dough that I cannot wait to go back and try!

Worthy Kitchen.  This burger joint has an assuming front a few minutes drive from the Woodstock center, but the inside is no joke.  The gorgeous modern farmhouse interior is home to mouth watering burgers and a carefully curated list of local Vermont craft beers.

Mon Vert Cafe.  This cafe was absolutely packed with tourists while we were there, but it is a great option for food in Woodstock.  They have tons of sandwich and salad options, featuring tons of fresh ingredients from local Vermont and New Hampshire farmers!  An older couple on a foliage expedition was kind enough to share their table with us and gave us some great lunch company in true Vermont fashion!


Outfit Details – Poncho: TOMS (old, similar here and here) | Shirt: Banana Republic | Hat: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here)| Jeans: Lucky Brand | Boots:  (old, similar here and here) |

Bryan’s Outfit – Pants: Old Navy | Sweater: Old Navy | Shoes: TOMS

Down the road is the Quechee Gorge Village, filled with local Vermont treasures such as a Cabot Cheese sampling area, maple syrup, antique shop, and more!

Down in Woodstock the main appeal is just strolling the village area.  The famous covered bridge, gorgeous houses, and stunning foliage provided endless eye candy everywhere we looked.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Make sure to tune in next week for more of our adventures up north!

xo, C



Hello my loves, welcome back!  Over the weekend B and I went to Newbury and Newburyport for a little day trip.  We try to go somewhere fun and different once a week, but the summer had been so busy with the two of us traveling opposite weekends and a lot of get togethers planned with our friends that it was nice to be able to get away for a day and spend some time with just the two of us!

I last talked about Newburyport two years ago in this post, and it all still rings true.  It’s a quaint little coastal city in the northeast corner of the Bay State, with a seemingly endless supply of boutiques, coffee shops, and waterfront restaurants.  We got burritos at Dos Amigos (they were so fresh and delicious it was a welcome change from the usual Moe’s/Chipotle run!) and then stopped at Black Cow Tap and Grill and sat outside on the patio at the bar, enjoying the beautiful September weather.

The real star of the show was Colby Farm in neighboring Newbury and their spectacular display of sunflowers.  Less than two miles off the highway is this local farm stand which for approximately one week is home to two acres of beautiful sunflowers.  If you can get there early this week you’ll still be able to see them!

Outfit Details – Dress: LOFT (also love this one and this one!) | Shoes: Vans (old, similar here and here) (I’d also love this look with Supergas!)

The winner of the Starbucks Giveaway is Karla!  She’s a fellow blogger so be sure to check her blog out (Karla, expect an email from me later today!)

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Make sure you stop by on Wednesday for another giveaway!  Have a wonderful week!

xo, C