I’m back! Well, I will be soon. I’m actually starting this while sitting in LAX atop my luggage but, because I prefer not to pay for wifi during flights, I’m going to try to finish this now.
As most of you who have been reading for a while or who have recently read my older posts know, this blog has developed from a professional development blog to a blog focused on young professional lifestyles. Though I still touch heavily on the professional, 8-5 aspect of things, I also like to discuss an aspect that is equally important: your life from 5-8.
I spent this past (extended) weekend in Las Vegas and Los Angeles for my brother’s bachelor party. I’m telling you, it was an experience. I’d been to LA before, but never Vegas. And I just so happened to be there on the day of a fight so the city was nuts. Then we got to LA for the Lakers-Warriors game and saw NBA history made because a .200 team has never beat a .900 team. All, in all, it was a great trip. But I wanted to provide you all with a few tips that will help enhance your group traveling experience, whether you’re going for a bachelor(ette) party or just to have fun with some friends.
1 – Consider Airbnb or similar services. When the other groomsmen and I were planning the party, guys were talking about getting a hotel room in Vegas that would have cost us $400/night ($100 per person). Thus, we would have ended up spending $200 in Vegas and then we would have had to go to LA and spend a ton there because it makes no sense not to stay downtown when the main point of going to LA was to be near the Staples Center. So, instead of spending a collective $1,200+ on hotel rooms, I suggested that we use Airbnb. Though I had never stayed at one before, I had booked with the site for a trip that Desirée and I are taking later this year and I figured this would be a good time to test it out. Best decision I ever made. In Vegas, we got a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft for two nights at a total of $200. In LA, we got a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom for two nights for $250. And the hosts at both places were phenomenal. I had the chance to meet the Vegas host when we checked in. He was so cool, he brought us a bottle of my favorite whiskey for the bachelor party. What hotel does that? The LA host was great too. He left us a key, so I never got to put a face with a name but he also was very generous, leaving a bottle of champagne for us. So don’t be afraid to find nontraditional lodging options.
2 – Uber, Lyft, and public transportation are your friends. In most destination towns, Uber and Lyft are available. Not only that but, many larger cities have high-functioning public transit systems. Unless you need to rent a car, I’d advise against it. Anyway, who wants to miss all the sights because they’re too focused on driving in a congested city they’ve never been to. Oh! And, if you’re going from city to city, like we were, think hard about other options of getting from point A to point B. I was able to find a bus service that took us from Vegas to LA for $15. Now, the drive would have been 4.5 hours. The bus ride was 5 because we stopped for food but the cool thing was I got to see all these dope mountains in the dessert (and I got to sleep because, in Vegas, I slept a total of 5 hours over a 52 hour period, and 4 of those hours were consecutive on the second day).
3 – Communicate your budget. Ok, so this is where I fumbled the rock. When traveling with friends, you have to realize that you are all going to likely be at different financial places in your life and that is ok. But what you have to know is that expectations must be communicated and compromises must be made. There were clubs in Vegas charging well over $50 to get in. Do I have the money to pay for that? Of course. Do I want to spend it? No. Did I? Yes, because the group decided to. So, when you go on these trips, work on setting a maximum you’re all ok with spending per day and be mindful of that. There’s nothing wrong with being on a budget but if that budget isn’t communicated, you could find yourself in a pickle.
4 – Take care of your body. The past 4 weeks, I’ve been in 3 different time zones. And, as I said before, this trip, I didn’t sleep. My body is so exhausted that, today, on my first day back home, I am sick. Rest is a key component to travel. Hoping on and off planes, being around folks with every kind of germ, and eating food that is likely less nutritious than you’re used to takes a toll.
5 – Leave work at work. I cannot stress this enough. I did not check an e-mail, respond to a text, or make any business calls for the 5 days that I was away. Shoot, I didn’t even blog (and I usually don’t while I’m gone unless I schedule the post because I consider this a job too). A vacation is a vacation and it should stay that way. Everyone needs time to decompress.
6 – Do not eat at chain restaurants you have at home. When I go out of town, I refuse to eat anywhere that I can go at home. Sorry. I don’t care if it’s Flemings. Unless I visit the city regularly (ex. – NYC, ATL, DC), I won’t eat anywhere that’s normal. The only exception to that is, when I go to France, I’m going to break the rule that I don’t go to McDonalds. I have to order a Royale with Cheese.
7 – Have fun. Vacations are necessary. Shoot, it’s free money. You earned it. Use it. And, even if you don’t have PTO, save a bit here and there so that you can enjoy the here and now.
Make professional development a priority.