When I’m not curating fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends for B*Real, you’ll find me scouting out my next big adventure. From hiking the Santa Monica Mountains in California to sampling beef brisket in Austin, Texas, I make it a point to see and taste it all, even on a budget. As Labor Day weekend is upon us, I’m sharing with you my top five easy, time and money-saving tips I used to make the most of my recent jaunt to Tampa Bay, Florida.
You know when you pack fifteen hundred outfits, only to wear the same jean shorts and three tops the entire time? I try to pack two or three days before my trip, then “self-edit” myself each night until I’ve narrowed it down to a more reasonable wardrobe. This saves a ton on excess luggage fees and the stress of keeping up with so many pieces. Another pro tip: pack according to a color scheme i.e. black and beige, so you can mix and pieces throughout your trip. For beauty, I tend to go for multi-tasking products in solid or powdered formulas to reduce the risk of spilling while in transit.
Pictured Below: Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Rosey, Dior mirror compact, Nars Limited Edition Hardwired Lipstick in Deadly Catch, Glossier Balm Dotcom, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark, Crème de la Mer The Moisturizing Gel Cream, L'Oreal Vouminous Miss Manga Mascara.
Look for Deals (And Be Thorough)
Budget airfare is copious online, but the secret to making it work for you is to be flexible. On occasion, you may have to fly much earlier or later at night to score a great deal. You may also want to keep in mind that afternoon and evening flights do tend to face more delays than earlier flights. I like to search Kayak, Spirit Airlines and Hipmunk for last-minute travel. If you have frequent flyer miles or loyalty points through your credit card provider, use them.
Don’t Be a Clinger
Sometimes plans change. If you’re meeting someone at your destination, have a few backup plans for activities to do in case of any last-minute mishaps. It’s all about maximizing the fun while you’re there, not wigging out about a missed flight connection, a lost bag or bad weather ruining your day. Also, be open to meeting new people. My friend brought one of her good friends to join us at the beach and we had a blast getting to know each other all afternoon.
Not only will you get the true flavor of the city, but local joints tend to be more wallet-friendly than chains. In Tampa Bay, I stopped by La Teresita Restaurant for killer Cuban food, The Revolution Ice Cream Co. for a salty-sweet scoop of Butterfinger and kettle corn ice cream and Caddy’s on the Beach for ice-cold Rum Runners enjoyed right on the sand. For in-between meals, I snacked on my favorite cookies and cream Quest Nutrition protein bars, purchased cheaply right at the local grocery.
Commune With Nature
When I hit Tampa’s streets, I decided to go for a more natural high. I spent time with a friend at the peaceful Lettuce Lake Regional Park, where I hiked along the boardwalk, chilled with some gators and watched folks canoe and kayak through the peaceful waters. P.S. It only costs $2 for admission! Don’t sleep on your local recreational spots, and don’t forget to squeeze in some time to reflect and rejuvenate during your own vacay — isn’t that what vacation is all about?
(Photos: Britt Middleton/BET)
Got any plans for the long weekend, or some travel tips to share? Let me know in the comments section below!
Follow Britt’s travels on Instagram @thebrittmiddleton.
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