I am in a long distance relationship, and that means I travel. A lot.
It’s not always easy, and it’s not always affordable, but over the past 7 months I’ve definitely learned a lot. Traveling for a weekend is not just for people in LDRs, though, so I wanted to share what I’ve observed.
Whether it’s for a family event, a concert, or just for fun, here is a list of how to make weekend traveling a little easier
1. You are not married to one airline
Although it’s super nice to use one airline all the time, for example, Southwest, it’s not always an option. Both Ryan and I are enrolled in Southwest’s “Rapid Rewards” program, which means every single time we fly with them, we earn points toward a free flight. It’s really great, but during certain trips, the timing of their flights from either Orlando to Birmingham, or vice versa are not good. We just booked his February flights last night, and he will be flying Southwest to BHM but he will be flying American Airlines back home. Back in November, he flew Delta. It’s just so unpredictable and you never know what will work with your schedule. Some trips he leaves on Sunday, others on Monday. It’s so much easier if you keep in mind that you have multiple airlines to choose from, and not just one. Beggers cant be choosers, right? I get being picky if you’re flying to Europe or something, but when it comes to weekend getaways, we always just take what we can get.
2. Think outside the box
Back when Ryan and I were first figuring out this distance thing, we were so closed minded. Sometimes we ran into issues such as not being able to afford two one-way tickets, or not being able to miss class because of a test or something. When these roadblocks would occur, we would both freak out and just shrug. “Oh well. Guess I just wont see you for a whole month.” (While we understand some long distance couples do that, we pretty much have a once-a-month rule.) Eventually I wasn’t going to stand for it. There has to be some way around this. Think outside the box…
And I did. I started wondering what about other airports?! He doesn’t HAVE to fly out of Orlando International. So I started researching. Sanford airport (even closer to home) has an airline called Allegiant that is EXTREMELY cheap. There was a one way ticket for $36, including taxes and everything. It flew into Chattanooga, though, not Birmingham. Allegiant doesn’t fly anywhere even close to Alabama, so Chattanooga, TN was our only option. It was a three hour drive, but for 36 bucks and getting to see Ryan? It was worth it. Then on the way home, he flew out of Birmingham, the normal way. The round trip total was wayyyy lower than it would have been. Now we always keep Chattanooga/Allegiant in our back pocket in case we need it. Luckily we haven’t since then, but we know its there!
3. Use the flexible dates calendars
Okay so if you are looking to go away for a weekend but it doesn’t matter which weekend, then this is going to become your best friend! If we don’t have a certain event were planning for, Ryan and I use this all the time. Almost every airline’s website has one nowadays and it’s extremely helpful. Basically, you click the month you’re looking to travel in, and then it lists the cheapest flight option on each day for the entire month. Obviously, the cheaper the better, and if you aren’t picky about days, then you’re not going to be spending a fortune. I highly recommend it!!
4. Don’t give up if flying doesn’t work
In general, I would say if you are determined to go somewhere, you’re going to get there. Ryan and I never want to go a whole month without seeing each other, and we haven’t. Sometimes when it looks like flying really isn’t going to work, we drive. It’s a 10 hour drive, but again, it’s worth it. I am a person who doesn’t mind long drives at all. If that’s you, then maybe this option could be for you too! It’s also WAY cheaper. Once, there was a hurricane headed for Orlando, so I drove home the day before it was supposed to hit and spent the whole weekend with Ry. Driving that long isn’t fun, but it sometimes it really does beat spending hundreds of dollars and dealing with booking tickets, figuring out times, packing carry-ons, dealing with airport crowds, etc. His first trip to Alabama ever, he drove up for Labor Day weekend, because he had a whole extra day to spend driving and wouldn’t be giving up time with me. It’s honestly doable if you really put your mind to it.
That’s all I have for now! Do y’all have some travel tips of your own? Do you have some specific questions? Let me know. I love hearing from you!