Matt and I love to Travel. This year so far we’ve gone to Tulum, Montauk, Santa Barbara, Amsterdam, Coachella Valley, Stockholm, Cartagena, and Turks & Caicos. We enjoy producing and sharing content from these trips. Being able to share our passion for travel is one of the many reasons I expanded beyond Corporate Catwalk. There’s a lot of planning that goes into these trips from deciding where to go to how we plan our shoots in a place we’ve never been to before. Here’s how we navigate those challenges and plan our trips.
When & Where
To be perfectly honest I wish I could say this is more strategic than it really is. If one of us gets the urge to travel, the other is on the computer looking up flights. We’re both impulsive and spontaneous. Before blogging full time, we would book last-minute flights and go someplace for the weekend.
I will say, when we do plan our trips, we try to have it make sense for our readers. We want it to be relevant outside of strictly our own interests. For example, we wanted to go somewhere warm but didn’t necessarily want to go to Mexico again. We thought Bermuda would be the perfect spot. A lot of our readers are based in New York City and Bermuda is very family friendly.
Where ever we decide to go, two things hold a lot of weight in our decision, the cost of the flight and hotel. Since we fly with Delta often, we check there first. After we both agree on the dates and price, we move on to the hotel. When it comes to accommodations, we like smaller hotels. We tend to have a more personalized experience and fewer people. This means we will have more opportunities to shoot without others in the background.
When looking for hotels we typically jump on HotelTonight and then cross reference it with Instagram. We search the hotel properties and see if we’d be able to shoot multiple photos while staying at the hotel. Since we typically travel with Sebastian, we need the flexibility to shoot nearby as much as possible.
If we can find a flight under $300 round trip, there’s a 90% chance we’ll book the flight within 24 hours. Flights usually take up the largest portion of our budget. We typically plan for $500 per person when traveling. Most of the time, we buy Sebastian a seat because it’s a lot less stressful and it also makes for a peaceful start to the trip. On our recent trip to Bermuda, we decided not to because it was only a 1.5-hour flight. It was worth saving the extra money.
We LOVE HotelTonight. It’s been one of our favorite ways to book a room. Here’s how it works. Hotels list their “unbooked rooms” on the app. This can really work to your advantage sometimes. You pay the lowest rate and either get the smallest room or luck out and get one of their premium rooms. When we were in Mexico last month, we got lucky and got the upgrade. It’s always worked in our favor. Don’t forget to use code MLOGUSH to receive $25 off your first booking.
As for budgeting for a hotel, it depends on the location and length of the trip. We try and keep the hotel under $240 a night. This can vary but that’s our general rule. We’ve received some good rates on HotelTonight and Booking. One thing to keep in mind is HotelTonight is nonrefundable. As for Booking, it’s refundable and it also lets you choose your room!
If I could cut out one expense from our trips it would be overpriced meals while traveling. I love going out to dinner, but paying New York City prices for 2-star meals is outrageous. We try and save in this area. Neither Matt nor myself drink a lot while we travel. We’re typically working so we don’t have time and again, it hurts to pull out my wallet and pay $100 for 4 cocktails and an appetizer. Whenever we have the chance to have breakfast included in our hotel stay, we take full advantage. We’re breakfast people, including Sebastian.
On our last trip to Bermuda, we went to the store and picked up food and some drinks on our second day. It was worth it, but not well planned. If you want to save money while traveling, I recommend going to the grocery store the first day you arrive. Have a list of things you want to snack on the entire trip including things like fruit, chips, popcorn, milk, cereal and alcoholic beverages. You can even grab a few things for your flight home. This will save you money. Of course, you’ll want to grab meals but leave the hotel for it. We like to explore local places, so we tend to go off property anyways for a few meals.
Packing For the Trip
When it comes to packing, there is a lot of strategy behind picking the right pieces. When we travel, I try to make sure things are new arrivals so they’ll be available to purchase once I wear them on my trip. This doesn’t always work out. For example, this For Love & Lemon top and bottom sold out a few days after I purchased it, but thankfully they fully restocked it shortly after.
I’ve tried the “throw everything in your suitcase method” and it didn’t work for me. We travel a lot and I personally like to know what I’ll be wearing on a daily basis. It makes it easier to plan my outfits and shoots. We try and make sure the outfit matches the location. It doesn’t always happen, but we scout places to shoot long before we actually take the trip, so we have a general idea of the type of images we’ll be taking once we arrive. For example, for our Bermuda trip, I knew we’d be staying at a pink hotel with lots of blue water, so I tried to get pieces that would look good with these backdrops.
I try to stick with a color scheme when we travel. It makes it easier for me to mix and match pieces and have a more cohesive vibe on the trip. For this trip, I went for more pink, green and neutral colors. Whereas, in Cartagena, I wanted more vibrant and bold colors. I’d highly recommend this method when you travel. It cuts out unnecessary pieces and you can easily create multiple looks with the same pieces.
After I’ve ordered the pieces, I start putting together outfits. Once I’ve put together the entire look (accessories, shoes, bag, hair) I’ll snap a photo on my phone. This gives me a quick reference to what’s in my suitcase without unpacking a thing! The trips where I’ve taken photos of my outfits beforehand have saved me so much time and frustration while we’re traveling. There’s no guessing what will look good together.
Our most successful trip was to Cartagena, with the Bermuda trip coming in a close 2nd. When we scout locations, plan out our days and put together an outline for the blog, we produce excellent content in a short amount of time. My team can also plan accordingly. We planned out our blog posts for the trip prior to leaving. I always leave room for changes, but we had a general idea of the type of content we wanted to produce while traveling.
The best way for us to scout locations is by using Instagram and Google. We look at surrounding areas and figure out what might be the best place to snap photos. We like to take pictures early in the morning with Sebastian. This is when he is most corporative and later in the evening with just me. After several trips, we have this down to a science. There are times that we get to a location and it’s either full of people or the lighting doesn’t work. Times like these are frustrating for everyone. We try and force ourselves to take photos and they never turn out. Never.
Now that Sebastian is mobile, shooting content with him is incredibly difficult. This is our last trip on our own. Moving forward we’re going to have someone with us to help with Sebastian. It’s too difficult. Sebastian wants to run and play during shoots so it’s time for some extra help.
We’re also limited to the types of photos we can take when we’re with Sebastian. I’ll talk more about this later this week. For the first time, we got a babysitter while traveling and it was spectacular. We were able to take a break, snap photos and just unwind for a few minutes. Traveling with kiddos is a lot of work.
As for equipment, Matt brings his Wandrd Bag and this thing fits everything! We bring all of our equipment 99% of the time. You just never know what you’ll need. We edit all of our photos on photoshop so we bring our laptop with us anytime we shoot. We shoot during the day and at night we upload the photos, edit the ones we will post to Instagram and start working on linking and captions for images.
Every trip is a little different and sometimes these plans are dependent on whether or not we’re bringing Sebastian and if we’re traveling internationally. This is the approach we use for our trips. Some require a bit more planning than others especially if we’re shooting a campaign. I hope this provided a little more insight into how we plan our trips.
Would you like to see more of these behind the scenes type of posts?