J A N E
1. Hotel Tonight: I’m sure half of you already know this, but Hotel Tonight has allowed me to stay at some way-out-of-budget hotels in Miami, Palm Springs, and LA, all for under $100. The app only lets you book a few days in advance, so it’s a gamble but unless it’s Art Basel, you’ll have plenty of affordable and really nice options in South Beach.
2. Skiplagged: Skiplagged is an app that gives you the first leg of a connecting flight at a serious discount, like “under $100 to get from NYC to Miami” type discount. Bring your passport though because the second leg of the flight you booked (even though you won’t be taking it) could be international.
3. Bus from the airport: There are very clear signs to get to it, it’s literally foolproof, and a couple bucks. Takes you right down Collins Ave. and within a block of most hotels in the area. Don’t you wanna save that extra $ for frozen daiquiris?
4. Sneak into a nicer pool than the one you’re staying at :) Easy, especially if you’re traveling with a group of girls. My favorites are the Delano, SLS, Shore Club (which I stayed at once through Hotel Tonight for $75/night!!) and the 1 Hotel.
5. Street food: Duh. Don’t eat the shitty, overpriced hotel food. Go to Little Havana and get massive amounts of Cuban food for under $15. Find a taco truck. Go to the Pizza Bar on Collins bc it’s some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat—I dare you to say different. Go drink at Mac’s Club Deuce (thanks for the tip, Anthony Bourdain). It’s a huge departure from the club scene, being that it’s a regular ol’ dive bar with a pool table and cheap beers.
J O R D A N
How did I keep my sanity?
1. Shower: The first thing I do when I get to a hotel room is take a shower. Being on planes for hours at a time makes me feel like a slug.
2. Candle: My candle from local Portland shop MACHUS is amazing, and I always pack a candle to help me feel more at home.
3. Blanket: Wherever I go, my Wonder Woman blanket goes with me.
4. A good book: When there’s a down day or when I unwind after a long day of meetings, I read a book. Right now, I’m reading What Happened by Hillary Clinton, but I’m certain it should’ve been titled What Had Happened Was…
THE THICC: When did you decide that you wanted to be a flight attendant?
YUNG JET LAG: I always knew that I wanted to travel and get paid for it, but didn’t exactly know in what capacity. This job kinda just fell into my lap. I was doing nails at the time when a friend became a flight attendant. She knew I wanted out of my current job and urged me to apply. I hated where I was at in my life, and being a flight attendant looked so dope that I put all my effort into getting hired. I quit my job the day I got a call back for an interview. Luckily that worked out, haha.
TT: Being in the air constantly does really weird stuff to people’s skin. What’s your skin routine?
YJT: In the morning I put on hyaluronic acid after washing my face, so my skin can retain as much moisture possible and not dry out when I’m working in all that recycled air on the plane. I also put on SPF so my skin stays protected. In between flights I use a hydrating facial mist (currently obsessed with Mario Badescu’s rosewater one!). And then at night I wash my face with Glossier’s milky jelly cleanser (which I love bc it doesn’t burn my eyes), use an exfoliating toner, put on a Vitamin C + Zinc serum, then a night cream. Once or twice a week I’ll do a sheet mask. It’s funny because before this job I didn’t even have a routine and lived off face wipes. But flying really takes a toll on your skin so you gotta pamper it!!!
TT: How do you pack for the job? Are you able to ever pack for downtime?
YJT: For the most part, I know where I’m going so I look up the local weather and pack accordingly. I keep it light and cute.My suitcase usually consists of two outfits, workout clothes, a bathing suit, and pajamas. I don’t really pack “going out” clothes unless I know someone who lives in my layover city. For the few days a month that I’m on call and don’t know where I’ll end up, I kinda just throw in a mix of things & hope for the best. I actually wrote a more detailed post on this for my blog, www.yungjetlag.com.
TT: Favorite city to visit and why?
YJT: Ahhhhh I can’t answer this! There are so many beautiful places that I fell in love with for different reasons. London, San Fran, Rome, Copenhagen, Accra because they make me feel more alive, Lihue, Reykjavik, and Nice for views view views, and Tokyo because it's so damn fun.
TT: Since you travel for a living how has that affected how you travel for leisure?
YJT: It’s made me so antsy! I can’t ever stay in one place for longer than 3 days now without going crazy. I’m so used to quick, fast-paced travel. My layovers are only 9-24 hours so in order to explore, I barely sleep. When I’m on vacay,I’m just as anal, lol. I try to do and see as much as possible, and use my days off at home to relax and decompress.
I’ve also grown accustomed to traveling solo. Before this job, I would have never imagined going to another country by myself. Now it’s like, why the fuck not? It’s pretty liberating, and I would encourage anyone reading this to try it. If you are constantly waiting on other people, you’ll never go anywhere. Don’t let fear stop you from seeing the world.
Traveling is something I only decided to make a top priority about three years ago after accepting my first ever job to offer paid time off and benefits. Since then I have visited 8 new countries, and although I no longer work at that last job, my wanderlust persists. I have a problem, though, with the archetype of the seasoned world traveller. The type of person to upload a picture of themselves at Machu Picchu to their Tinder profile or recount the life lessons they learned from their cab driver during a recent visit to a "third-world country." This person is quick to tell others to "TrAvEl oFtEn," but is less keen to share how they themselves are able to "TrAvEl oFtEn." Ignore that idiot and allow me, a pretty chill and only slightly obnoxious person, to share some tricks of the trade. My approach to traveling isn't luxurious and definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it has enabled me to see some of the world on a budget so I can't be mad at it.
I just returned from a week and a half trip to Portugal, something I was able to pull off with the help of an unexpectedly substantial tax refund and the summer off from graduate school. Relatable, I know. As soon as I knew some money would be coming my way, I did a cursory search on Google Flights to see what fares to Europe were looking like. If you're vigilant about it, you can reliably find affordable flights to Paris and London throughout the year, for example. So the next time you have a deadline to procrastinate, I recommend you tool around on there and see what you can find. When a flight deal catches your eye, you don't have to feel pressed to book it on the spot, you can just go ahead and set up a price tracker for that flight so you can monitor the fare and buy yourself a little time. See below.
It's tempting to book an international flight as far in advance as you are able to, but realistically if you are purchasing a flight overseas more than 4 months out, you may not be getting the best deal. CheapAir.com did a thorough study on the best time to buy flights if you want a good deal, and I recommend giving it a read.
This is a tricky one. Solo traveling is not fun or safe for everyone, and in some ways you end up paying more because you aren't splitting accommodation costs with another person. BUT, traveling alone can also be a cost-saving measure in the sense that you get to define your budget completely on your own terms. You may need to compromise with yourself, but you don't have to coordinate dates with another person and you also get to set your own sightseeing priorities. For me, traveling alone to France and Portugal was centering, empowering, and mostly enjoyable, but I did find myself getting lonely in Paris where the entire social culture revolves around groups of friends talking and chainsmoking in outdoor cafes for hours on end. In Portugal I had an easier time being by myself because people were friendly and willing to show me around. If you're a woman and the idea of solo travel sounds enticing, be sure to budget some extra money to take cabs or Ubers at night or for whatever else you would need to do to stay safe.
Since I wasn't sharing accommodation expenses with someone else, I opted to rent rooms from people on Airbnb. At 29, I feel too old to stay in hostels, and Airbnb room rentals are the logical step up, though decidedly less luxe than renting out an entire apartment for myself. In Lisbon I found a room in a cool, metro-accessible neighborhood for 38 bucks a night. In Paris it was a little trickier: the first room I rented for 35 dollars was in an apartment on the outskirts of the city, which I didn't realize until after I booked the spot. Rookie mistake! The second apartment I stayed in Paris was 55 dollars, but I was only there for 2 nights and staying in my favorite neighborhood in the city felt worth the extra money. If you opt to go the Airbnb route it's always crucial to remember you're staying in someone's home and you should not expect hotel-quality hospitality. For the few days you're staying in someone's place, you live the way they live, which may or may not meet your standards, but you suck it up because you're probably going to spend very little time in the apartment anyway. With that said, my hosts were welcoming and willing to give me recommendations for things to do and what to avoid. My host in Lisbon even took me out for drinks one night and helped find me a ride so I could take a day trip outside of the city without paying for a train ticket. Overall, I would say the rooms I stayed in during my trip were alternately serviceable, comfortable, and even charming.
During my trip, I wasn't only using Airbnb as a traveler, I was also renting out my room while I was away. Full stop, being an Airbnb host is a pain in the ass, and not something you should get into because it's easy money. It's money you earn by cleaning the shit out of your apartment and tolerating the idea that a stranger is sleeping in your bed. You will also need to be somewhat available by phone or text to answer questions or troubleshoot for your guests unless you have someone back at home helping you out with hosting duties. Hosting is something I've done a handful of times now and each time I make the decision to rent out my room, I bitch and moan about it until the money is transferred into my checking account and then I'm grateful that my rent is covered while I'm out of town.
And there you have it! Safe and happy travels, and If anyone feels moved to book a flight to Lisbon, find me and I'll give you my recs.
[This has been edited for length]