Summer travel doesn’t have to break the bank. We asked pro wanderer and OneTravel Twitter chat co-host Kae Lani Kennedy to share her best tips for finding budget-friendly attractions, favorite U.S. cities, and the best deal she’s ever snagged.
And if you like what you see here, don’t forget to join @OneTravel and @aTravelBroad for a special Twitter party on budget travel across the U.S. (July 10th, 2014 at 2pm EST). It’ll be chock full of tips, tricks, and deals. Follow #OneTravelChat to participate. We can’t wait to celebrate what every American loves: good deals!
What's your favorite music to listen to/books to read while on the road/in-flight?
When I’m not sleeping or watching an in-flight movie I usually jam to a variety of folk bands. There’s Two Gallants, Shakey Graves, Frank Turner, Katzenjammer; they all have a traveling vagabond vibe. In terms of reading, I enjoy comic books; Saga written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples is my favorite at the moment. However, I did read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I milked that book over the course of 12 flights between February and March earlier this year. I’m a little devastated that I finished it, especially because I’ve got a 10-hour flight to Alaska coming up this fall!
When/why did you start blogging about travel and what has been your favorite post to date?
It happened by accident. I moved to Germany for school so I set up a blog for my family to keep up with all of my adventures abroad. I posted my stories, photographs and things that I learned, but mom and dad weren’t the only ones who were reading my blog. Eventually other websites began asking me to contribute stories and the more I wrote, the more I felt fulfilled so I began to pursue it as a career. It took a while and a lot of consistency and dedication to build up to this point, but it was worth it!
As for my favorite post to date… This one’s hard! I’ve got over four years’ worth of content at this point! I’m going to be corny and say that my favorite post to date is one of my latest. It’s a two-part post discussing organic experiences I encountered in Barcelona that gave me a true sense of the Barcelonian spirit and their dedication to the community. You can read Part 1 here.
Tell us about your first travel experience.
I did not travel much as a child but my parents and I used to take a lot of road trips to the Amish Country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about two hours west of Philadelphia. Summers were filled with buggy rides, churning butter and trying to learn the Pennsylvania German dialect. Some kids might have thought that was lame but I enjoyed learning about the culture.
What are your favorite U.S. cities and why?
Other than my hometown of Philadelphia, I have to say that I was most surprised by Austin, Texas and the very social community that has been bred there. Deemed as the “Live Music Capitol of the World” there’s never a shortage of good shows to choose from. Pair that with the fleet of fancy food trucks, unique bars and restaurants and the plethora of adventurous outdoorsy activities, it’s a culture that encourages going out and making great experiences.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten and how did you snag it?
Around the holidays in 2011 I was waiting to board a Southwest flight from Philadelphia to Boston. One of the flight attendants announced that they would be giving away one free flight to anywhere in the continental US to the person who got up and sang a holiday song over the PA system. I didn’t even hesitate. I ran up to the desk, snatched the microphone and sang my own personal rendition of (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays. And that is how my big mouth scored me a free flight on Southwest.
How do you fund your time on the road?
Most of my income comes from writing infographics and publishing articles, but I have been known to pick up random projects whenever I can. I’ve photographed luxury condominiums, I provide graphic design services, I’ve tested Apps and I also do a lot of Marketing and PR consulting.
What are your travel essentials and how do you keep from packing too much?
I have a bunch of rules about packing – all of which I do not follow. I’m the worst culprit when it comes to packing too much. But there are a few essentials that I am sure to pack for every trip. Those items are my camera, my journal, a first aid kit and my flask.
What tips do you have for young travelers who have a small budget to work with?
I suggest joining a community of other young travelers, whether it be locally or online. Being active in these communities is a wonderful way to connect with others who are passionate about travel. Some will open up their homes to guests and couchsurfers while others are willing to carpool on road trips. Communities who are willing to host and/or split the cost of travel present great ways to save money while traveling.
Do you have any recommendations for budget-friendly attractions around the U.S.?
Historic attractions in colonial cities like Philadelphia, Williamsburg and Boston are often free or have low entrance fees. National and State Parks are always budget-friendly options but you should mark your calendars for Free Entrance Days in the National Parks and National Park Week; designated days during the year where national parks across America are open to the public, free of charge!
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