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holiday travel tips

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The holidays are stressful enough without throwing travel drama in, but more often than not, there’s some travel involved in getting to your destination. Thankfully, technology makes things a little easier now, whether it’s enabling faster phone calls to be made, or tapping in an alternate route in a GPS app. I’ve made heavy use of tons of travel tips both to make the trip easier as well as rerouting or rebooking when flights are delayed, so I’m sharing some ideas here as we get ready to head out for another round of holiday travel!

If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, the airline won’t comp you a hotel room, but agents will have vouchers with specific discount codes for the airport hotels. It’s worth waiting in line to grab those, and the sheet will have all the steps to redeem the discount. (Pay attention to why your specific flight is canceled, and don’t assume that it’s based on weather – in my only canceled flight story, the agent rebooked me and tried to push me away with the discount code, but I had overheard that my flight was canceled due to mechanical issues. They bussed me out to a fancy five star golf resort, where my total bill for the day and a half was $14.53 for pizza that I had delivered – which I ate in the super luxe hotel robe.)

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December 22, 2016

gift guide 2016: wanderlusters

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We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired. Travel is one of my favorite pastimes, and something I love getting gifts for – planning and going on a trip can be stressful, so this is an area I think a lot of my fellow travel friends prefer receiving things for. (Buying your own travel shower gel? Super boring. Get a fancier one as a gift? More exciting!) Here are some things I’ve seen floating around that would suit any road (or air) warrior.

PurseN Travel Pillow: When I was a couple years younger and just starting to travel, I thought those memory foam neck pillows were so silly. Why not just wad up a hoodie or scarf and use that? Now, however, I find myself jealous of those who walk around with these upon their necks, imagining the comfortable sleep they’ll get – especially as I find myself in window seats less and less. The PurseN pillow in particular has me lusting – it includes zippered pockets so you can tuck away things you want to reach quickly, like earbuds, Dramamine or sunglasses.

The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar: A book about travel seems like the perfect airplane (or road trip, if you love audiobooks like I do) companion, right? Franz Nicolay (you might recognize his name as a member of my favorite band, The Hold Steady) left the band a few years ago and embarked on a tour of Eastern Europe. This book chronicles his journey and give you a little lesson in punk rock at the same time. Read more…

December 6, 2016

how to survive non-stop travel

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When I was growing up, New Found Glory was one of my favorite bands – I have no shame about this. One of my favorite songs, “Dressed to Kill,” includes the line you’re always on tour, and you’re never home. It’s no secret that I always thought that I’d grow up to be a roadie, tucked away in a bus bunk or folded up in a van too small to carry adults, gear, instruments and luggage, but that’s not exactly how things have turned out. I am still super lucky that I have a job that lets me work remotely, so I certainly still get to do my fair share of travel! The past few months have been especially busy – many drives between Chicago and West Michigan, plus Montreal, Nashville and a flight to Boston. All that travel can definitely take a toll on your state of mind – it’s definitely fun and I know I’m super lucky to have this kind of lifestyle, but it can be hard to feel like you have a hold on what you own and where it is. Here are some tips on how to keep your head on straight when you’re bouncing from one place to another!  Read more…

November 27, 2016

how to book last-minute travel cheaply

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After declaring last year the “year of travel” (successfully,) I was really trying to put the brakes on it this year and instead focus on paying my student loans way down and building up my savings. That hasn’t quite panned out – I’ve taken two last-minute trips back home to Michigan, and also impulse bought a flight to Boston ($150 round trip to see my bestie? Yes please!) But this year I’m only doing it where my budget feels comfortable. On my last (very important) trip home, I wasn’t going to go unless I found a flight under $300. I ended up finding a really great deal and four days later, I was in the air. Here are some of the tips I’m using to travel for less this year! Read more…

August 10, 2016

underwater sunshine (or what i did on my summer vacation)

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Where do these summers go?! For the second year in a row, the summer was jam packed in the best way, but it absolutely flew by. If I wasn’t spending afternoons by the pool, I was jetsetting somewhere every week, it seemed – it’s pretty amazing to finally be living the kind of life I really want. Here’s a quick recap of the summer:




I started the summer off with two trips to the water – first to see Dani in Boston, then down to the Florida beach with my family. There is nothing I love more than being on the beach and cooking in the sun with the people I love most, so this was a really great way to kick the year off (and a good indicator of exactly how busy I would end up being)!


IMG_2754IMG_2752Even though I made it a point not to travel out of state in July, I still managed to pack the month full. Hands down, Outlaw Roadshow was one of the best days of music I’ve ever been lucky to see, and the surprise Counting Crows set to close out the night didn’t hurt matters any. I went hiking to some waterfalls with some of my best friends to celebrate my Nashversary, and spent many afternoons napping by various pools throughout the city.


IMG_4124.JPGIMG_4121.JPGIn early August, I finally moved to Nashville proper after a year of commuting from the burbs, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the new place (no matter how stressful and time consuming moving ended up being.) Before I set off on another big trip, I finally got to see one of my bucket list bands when I saw Gin Blossoms play two shows in one night. No one will ever be able to tell me any differently – they are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I really had a great night. CF and Sixx came with me, and it was pretty nice to not be there alone!

The next morning, I flew to Montreal for my company retreat. Even though I have “known” my co-workers for almost a year, it was nice to meet in person for real, do some heavy bonding, and exchange treats with friends!

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September has been a really great way to end the summer. Over Labor Day, some friends from Charlottesville came to visit, and I had friends from college staying with me as well. It was a busy weekend for sure, but super fun to get out and sing some karaoke again (and have a band full of boys to buy me drinks all weekend :))

After that, I made a last-minute trip back home to the mitten. My best friend had her baby, and I was just homesick for water. Turns out the 10 hour drive isn’t so bad, especially when the trip back is broken up with visits to wineries and dinners with Sixx!

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Last week saw what I consider the most wonderful time of the year – Americanafest in Nashville! A full week of my favorite kinds of music, plus panels and meetings with some of the smartest and most talented folks in the industry. A co-worker came into town for the event, and we exhibited during the conference and at night, I ran from venue to venue checking out showcases and discovering new loves. (I managed to make it to seven Nashville venues in one evening, which felt like a world record.)

In the middle of all that craziness, because I wasn’t getting enough music or activity – I flew to Denver to see Counting Crows for the third time this summer at Red Rocks. It was really otherwordly – Red Rocks is like nothing else, and I can’t recommend going there enough.


Pairing Americanafest with Red Rocks and a comedy show at Zanies in Nashville on Friday night, I ended up seeing shows at ten different venues in 2 states within 48 hours. That is definitely some kind of record.

I have one more trip to Raleigh next week, then off to Cincinnati in mid-October, but other than that and Thanksgiving, my travel looks to be done for the year. So, yeah! It’s been a really great summer. I am so lucky to be able to get to do these amazing things and hang out with such great people. If only this summer heat could last forever, I’d be all set…

September 19, 2015