18 Inspiring Travel Planning Bullet Journal Layouts

I love to travel, and so many other people do too! Traveling is always easier when you prepare right. This post is full of super inspiring travel planning bullet journal layouts to get you excited and ready for your next trip! If you have wanderlust and a need for organization, this post is for you!!

Travelling by Christina77Star

I love these layouts because I am all for lists and planning! Christina even goes into detail about these layouts.

Travel Spread by Corners of the Sky

18 Inspiring Travel Planning Bullet Journal Layouts

I find map travel layouts incredibly inspiring and amazing! They always look so good and this one is no different. I love how she marks and highlights the places she has been as well as includes a list of places she wants to go.

Travel Scrapbook 

18 Inspiring Travel Planning Bullet Journal Layouts

Photographs and ratings! What a way to remember all of the places you have been and what your experience was like.

Packing List by ohheyclaudia

This is such a clean packing list, I love it!  This layout is so perfect and easy to use.

Trip Planning & Travel Layouts by Kara of @BohoBerry

This is a really cool itinerary layout. Kara’s work is always top notch!

custom bujo ad

This one is a really cool compilations of the map, lists, and itinerary layouts.

Summer road trip itinerary! I love a good road trip and planning for it would be essential!

Travel Planner by Katrin of @plansandletters

This is such an important layout for going out of the country. Katrin includes all essential travelling information in one beautiful spread.

Trip and Travel Planning by Jennifer of @inkbyjeng

Jennifer does some amazing bullet journal work and her travelling layouts are no different. I love this super minimal Portland trip planning layout.

Jennifer must really love coffee, she listed it in her Portland layout and now has a whole spread dedicated to Austin coffee!

I love a good flow chart, what a cool and minimal way to track your travel plans in a fluent way!

The last of @InkbyJenG that I will share is this “hello” title page transition. It is so artist and minimal. She says goodbye to Colorado and heads to Austin!

Travel Photo Checklist by Migdalia of @kanguraventuras

A photo checklist, how unique! I love this take on travel planning because I am really bad at remembering to take photographs!

Cruise Countdown by @amazinglymarvelous

I love this cruise ship countdown layout, how creative and exciting!

Trip Journal by Blossoms and Bullet Journals

18 Inspiring Travel Planning Bullet Journal Layouts

Do you journal during your travels? This simple layout is a great way to keep notes of your days while on vacation.

Maps by Bad with Directions

This map colors in the various countries and places they have been! Super awesome.

Family Vacation

18 Inspiring Travel Planning Bullet Journal Layouts

Do you go on family trips? This layout is a really cool take on using a map as an itinerary and travel plan as well!

Itinerary by Kim of @tinyrayofsunshine

Kim always has such beautiful layouts and this one is no different. She does  a beautiful job with her travel itinerary and packing list.

Want to check out more bullet journal layouts? Click here!

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How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

Who doesn’t love to travel to exotic places where you can see, feel, and eat beauty all the time. It is at these places that a person feels most alive. The soul calms down, and the body releases all the stress that it had absorbed over the time. It is simply something that everyone wants to do, for at least once or twice a year, and why not? The advantages of traveling to your favorite destinations are far more than anything stopping you from, and there is no replacement for such activity in health and wellbeing point of view.

But not all the times you are able to travel. Sometimes the reason is financial, and sometimes you lack a company of a loved one, family, or friend, which is why you just simply abandon your traveling program. Traveling with a loved one, or a person in your family or friends circle is always a blessing, and a dream come true. You enjoy beyond anything and everything and make memories with them that accompany you to the end of your life. However, I won’t recommend you to cancel your traveling plans just because no one else is wanting to travel with you. People all over the world travel alone and the best part is that they really enjoy it.

How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

The Art of Solo Travel & Falling in Love with Yourself

Everyone seems a bit scared when traveling alone. I shared the same concern until I took to the roads myself when my friends were not able to make it to the trip. Since then I have been able to travel alone, and I learned so many great things about it. Although I still love to travel with my friends and welcome anyone who wants to join me, traveling alone is never out of the equation. In this article, I am going to present a discussion that how solo traveling can make you fall in love with yourself. I surely did when I traveled alone, and discovered what my true interests and passions are.

Make Traveling Easier on the Pocket

Traveling is indeed a costly venture, but it is also important to maintain good health and creativity on all levels. So it requires a little bit of saving here and there. I recommend you to book all your flight tickets and accommodation from a renowned travel agency. In this way, your purchases will be secured, and you can enjoy your trip from the moment you leave your home for the airport. I booked my flight to Bangkok from Heathrow with the help of a travel agency and managed to secure some healthy discount in the form of a promotional deal. I was also able to find a good hostel, where I find a great company with other travelers and locals. So my advice is always to book your tickets and accommodation from a competitive travel agency.

How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

How to Travel Solo & Enjoy It

As I have discussed all the other things important to tell my readers about traveling alone, I can now guide your attention on how to travel solo and enjoy every single moment.

But before I proceed with my discussion, I will like to add that traveling alone can sometimes become an addiction. You see there are numerous benefits of solo traveling, which I am going to mention. This can leave an impact on your life, and you will avoid anyone accompanying you. However, I suggest everyone to enjoy traveling alone, as well as keeping some room for the others sometime. Everything should be experienced in life, and everything has its own benefits.

How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

Increased Freedom

When you are on the road all alone by yourself, you don’t need any opinion or suggestion from your traveling partners, as there will be none. You will have all the freedom in the world to do anything you want to, without worrying about the concerns of the others. In this way, you can take all the responsibility for yourself without any fear, and live to the fullest. There are also fewer accountabilities, and if you want to change the plan, you can do so by changing your trails and visiting any other path.

Become More Organized & Responsible

Traveling alone makes you more responsible for your well-being. When you take all your responsibilities and care for your needs and things, you automatically love yourself more. You know there is nobody else to take care of you, and you simply have yourself to rely on, so you think only about your own comfort, security, and most importantly your happiness. You can do whatever you want to, whatever makes you happy. If that includes mingling with new people and making new friends, you can do that too.

How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

Discover Who You Are

When you are all alone by yourself, you will have a better chance to know what you truly like. You have a great option to decide which food you want to eat, to whom you want to talk, where to spend more time, and most importantly where to go. Also, you also get to know how good of a person you truly are, and how patient you carry. You won’t have anyone to share your issues or frustration with so it will give you an exclusive chance to work them out yourself and self-judge that how you really fare without anyone else. Additionally, you can discover your true passions by simply following what your heart tells you. When there is no one else to answer to, you are only accountable to yourself, so there is more chance of discovering who you really are.

Facing Your Fears

We all have our insecurities and fear of something. In my case, it was the fear of heights. But when I needed to cross a weak suspension bridge (or I assumed it was weak) all alone; I had to face my own fears. But I had to cross it anyway, and I was able to. It helped me gain some strength over my nerves, and right after that, I was able to trek on a trail that is known as one of the most difficult in the world, with a steep edge on my right side. So you can also get into such situations where you have to face your fears alone. Trust me, you will only come to a better person from this experience.

How Solo Travel Will Help You Fall In Love with Yourself

Indulging Yourself in New Cultures & Meet New People

When you meet new people of completely different cultures and religion, it is in your instincts that you start finding yourself as an alien amongst them. However, you also try to indulge yourself in between their festivities and traditions, and even buy souvenirs and try their clothing. You see yourself as newly born among the new people and friends you meet. This is truly a special feeling, and you live in that until the moment you die. There is nothing in this world stopping you from falling in love with yourself.

Owning Your Decisions

When making the wrong decisions in a normal environment, we tend to blame others mostly and don’t accept our faults. However, when we travel alone and make mistakes, there is apparently no one to blame than ourselves. But it will make us a good human being and help you accomplish great deeds by taking responsibility for every action we make.

Meet the Author

This post was written by YungeshwarYougeshwar is a blogger by passion and working as a search analyst in one of the leading digital marketing agency. Also, loves music, traveling, adventure, family, and friends.

How Travel Can Benefit Our Mental Health

Health is associated with many things. To maintain good health, one must eat good nutritious food, exercise daily, sleep for 8 hours, and most importantly manage your stress. Although every idea is important to maintain good health, mental health is the key to live happy and healthy; you can only gain from a healthy mind. So take part in activities that help you to develop a strong and healthy mind. You should always build your lifestyle around those activities that keep you fresh, and stress-free.

Sports are a great way to maintain good mental health. Exercise can also help people keep their mental and overall physical health in check. But the most important activity a person can build his or her life around to maintain good mental health is traveling. You need a powerful body to live a healthy life, but you need a powerful mind to fuel that body as well. Traveling is a unique way to maintain great mental health. It is a fact that people who travel at least once or twice a year live a happier and healthier life.

Importance Of A Good Mental Health

To live an overall healthy life, you need a healthy mind. Mental health is the key to the happiness a person seeks in their life. When a person is stressed from work and daily lifestyle, the mind becomes vulnerable to depression, and that is where all the problems begin. Mind controls our body, and if our mind isn’t fresh and healthy, we are prone to diseases that are incurable. It doesn’t matter what we eat, do, and how much we sleep.

A good mental health needs exercise, just as our body to remain healthy and fresh. So it is imperative to take part in activities that keep it fresh and healthy. Always do something that makes you happy. For some people, traveling is the key to defeat depression and maintaining good mental health. When you travel to exotic locations, discover new cultures, explore the landscape, and talk to new people, you learn new things, and it opens a different part of the brain. Sometimes, a person may end up rediscovering him or herself. You can also find out about new passions and liken’s by traveling. So, explore new places for excellent mental health.

How Travel Can Benefit Our Mental Health

Traveling Significance

Traveling is a form of rumination that keeps a mind positive and productive. It helps a person to keep his or her mind young by healing the soul. It can no doubt create some stress on your body, but it resets and refreshes your mind.

Traveling is barred by no limits. Some people prefer to travel to beaches, some to the countryside or cities, and some wander in the mountains, and high altitude passes. There are so many possibilities a person can create when it comes to traveling, and every single one helps you to maintain a healthy mind.

How Travel Can Benefit Our Mental Health

How Can Travel Benefit Mental Health?

Travel does everything to a human body and mind that a person cannot do sitting at home. There are many benefits to mental health that are associated with traveling. We will discuss a few of them in this article, and they are following.

An Escape From Daily Struggles

Traveling is the best way to take a break from your daily routine. Life isn’t defined by what you do daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, but it is determined by what you are prepared to do when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. A monotonous daily routine can give you depression and can drown you in anxiety. To avoid taking a toll on your mental and physical health, you need an escape, and only traveling can help you.

Traveling Makes Your Body Strong

When you travel, you come across different challenges that you cannot face in your daily life. But these challenges help you to develop an attitude that makes you and your body healthy. You also take a lot of wear and tear on your body, but your mind is fresh, and that provides the necessary motivation to discover more. It increases your stamina and ability to absorb more stress.


Rediscovering Your Passions

What makes you happy? When you ask any random person this question, they will take some time to answer it. And sometimes, their answer won’t even satisfy them. But when they travel, and their mind discovers a new passion, they will certainly answer your question correctly. In my case, I didn’t know I wanted to climb mountains until I traveled to a valley.

Increasing Your Thought Processing Capacity

Traveling enables you to think out of the box. It does so by putting you in different situations where you are not in your comfort zone. So you need to consider and solve the issue in a limited time. It is actually a good brain exercise, and you are conditioned to solve problems quite efficiently. It also makes you creative, as you think about new solutions.

Learning New Ways To Enhance Saving

Traveling can sometimes force a person to stress about his travel costs, which is always high. However, when you learn the ins and outs of traveling, you end up finding different ways to earn discounts by redeeming promotions and offers. So you can cut your travel costs and enjoy savings. For example, I was helped by a travel agency in the UK on my last traveling trip. They gave me a promotion package of hotel and transport, which helped me save a lot of money. Learning new ways to save and spend mindfully is a great exercise that can reduce stress in daily living finances.

Meet the Author

This post was written by Yungeshwar. Yougeshwar is a blogger by passion and working as a search analyst in one of the leading digital marketing agency. Also, loves music, traveling, adventure, family, and friends.

7 Ways Traveling Empowers You

Traveling and familiarizing yourself with other cultures and ways of living has the power to change how you see yourself and the world around you. Many people report that travel has been a life-changing experience for them. I am also one of the people who believe empowerment through travel is real. Travel has taught me a lot of things about the world, not only about the people, culture, architecture, and history of foreign places but also about myself. Years of traveling and the opportunity to meet different cultures brought me not only fun and joy but also serenity, knowledge, courage, self-reliance, resilience, adaptability and much more.

Serenity

Traveling will help you learn how to live in the now and embrace the present moment. You will discover that things will not always be as you expect, but you will also learn how to accept them as they are.

Fun and Joy

When you are out visiting another country, you will experience a lighthearted moment and an invasion of delight because you will realize that you have left all your worries behind.

Knowledge and Self-Awareness

Things will not always go as you planned. When that happens on the road or in a foreign country, you will discover what you’re really made of. Traveling tests you and strips you of the protection of the familiar.

If you decide to visit some of the third-world countries, unfortunately, you will witness hardship and poverty that may be very difficult to handle. This will help you appreciate things you have taken for granted before and see the world differently.

Openness and Courage

Things around your may be quite unfamiliar, but you will appreciate the differences and be curious about them. You may have to do things that scare you or challenge you in some way. You will push yourself beyond what you thought you are capable of both physically and emotionally.

Self-Reliance and Confidence

No matter whether you travel alone or with friends, you have only yourself to rely on, and whatever happens, you’ll have to found a way to bounce back because you don’t have any other choice. Your usual coping mechanisms won’t be available so you will have to find new ways to adapt.

Connection and Friendship

Traveling is an excellent way not only to meet new people and see the world through their eyes but also to connect with your existing friends (whom you travel with) on a deeper level. On the road, you will spend a lot of time together and meet each other better. You will also see their other side that opens up when you are in an unfamiliar environment. You will go through a lot of things together that will strengthen your relationship and create beautiful memories.  Traveling is also a great way to connect your partner and to get closer to each other.

Perspective and Gratitude

You will found out that not everyone is fortunate as you are to travel and see the world. It will help you see things from another perspective and be grateful for everything you have. Realizing how grateful you are to be able to travel will also ensure you make the most out of every trip.

Meet the Author

This post was written by Brandon Miller. Brandon is a registered immigration consultant and a Canadian who re-settled in Canada with his family after traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. His traveling experience has given him a deeper understanding of the world and himself.



Dealing with Loneliness: Living By Yourself Far Away From Home, Family, and Friends

Everyone gets lonely, especially when you are in a new town far away from those you know and love. It’s hard, very hard. And sometimes it’s even emotionally draining. Here are some tips to help you manage loneliness when living by yourself far away from home, family, and friends.

Go Out Often (AKA Don’t Pout at Home)

This is the one that I struggle with most. I am an introvert, a hardcore introvert, and I prefer to be at home. Sometimes when I get offers to go out, I turn them down because I had plans to relax on my couch and do nothing by myself. But other times, when I say yes despite every bone in my body wanting to turn it down, I have an amazing time and I no longer feel so lonely. If you’re an introvert like me, going out and spending time with people is really hard and you have to be intentional. But, it is so very worth it in the battle against loneliness.

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Be Friendly When in Public

I think this is something people take for granted in general. When we are out and about running errands we get tunnel vision and forget about all those other people around us. I have found that this mentality only feeds loneliness. When you don’t allow yourself to see and interact with those people, you forget they are there and you feed your loneliness. However, if you see these people and provide a passing smile or acknowledgment, you are more likely to walk home a little less lonely. Maybe you can even try to spark up a conversation with the person checking you out at the grocery store.

The other day, I was dropping off a return package at the post office. The post office always seems to be one of the least friendly places on my list of errands. The people seem to want you out as quick as possible. And I accept that and make a point to tell them to have a nice day. This makes me feel better, but it’s not very helpful because the people don’t care. However, this day I was dropping off my package and there was a massive line.

As I stood in the line I observed the workers, one of which was striking up a conversation and being kind to everyone. When it was my turn, he was the worker who checked my package and immediately he sparked a conversation with me about old cartoons because he noticed I was wearing an antique Mickey Mouse t-shirt. He doesn’t know this, but I went home a little less lonely that day. Moral of the story, when you acknowledge the existence of those around you, even in passing, you feel less lonely and you could be helping them battle their own loneliness.

Befriend Coworkers

If you struggle with going out and being social like I do, making friends is even harder. And that is why I highly recommend befriending those you are around naturally. For me, making friends by going out and being social with strangers is discouraging, because I just don’t really do it, nor do I really understand how to do it. Because of this, I have learned to instead create my social life around coworkers and peers. Sure, this narrows my hunting grounds, but it also forces me to be nice to and aware of those around me. By befriending those around you, you are battling the lonely in a way that is more natural and easy. Sure, I encourage you to go out and find friends in other ways. But, this is a great way to start, and chances are, you have something in common with your co-workers, I mean, you chose to work or go to school at the same place, right?

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Be Safe

Now, this tip won’t intrinsically help you with loneliness, but it will be useful. When we get lonely, sometimes we accept offers from strangers despite our better judgment because we are trying to make friends and build relationships. This is not a good idea. Do not go out at night alone, do not have strangers over, and do not go over to strangers homes. These tips are common sense, sure. But when loneliness becomes overwhelming, sometimes these ideas don’t seem to back. Be safe.

Keep Busy, But Not Distracted

Sitting at home watching Netflix is the worst idea I’ve ever had since living alone. Doing this just leads to me feeling even lonelier. If you throw Netflix on in the background and clean the apartment, cook dinner, play a game, write a paper, or really anything productive, it’ll affect you far less.

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Regularly Talk to Family and Friends

If you are like me and can’t visit friends or family whenever you’d like, be sure to contact them regularly. I text or snap chat my sisters, parents, and friends almost daily and talk to my Dad and boyfriend on the phone when I am able. This immensely helps! If it wasn’t for connecting with loved ones regularly, I would feel even more alone. But those who know me best are able to encourage me and allow me someone to work my problems out with while I am still making new friends.

Deal with the Emotions

Those lonely feelings are real, and they won’t go away if you pretend they aren’t there. So you’re lonely, that’s okay. Feel those emotions and deal with them. When you get lonely, accept the emotions, and then battle them. This battle depends completely on you, I tend to call or text family or friends when I get lonely, or I’ll pull up a project to work on, sometimes I’ll run to the store simply to be around people. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t suppress—deal with it.

Battling the lonely is REALLY hard, almost cyclical. And when you are in the midst of it, it can be so hard to see a way out. But there are so many easy ways out, try going out, being friendly, befriend coworkers, be safe, keep busy, communicate with your loved ones regularly, and then deal with your emotions.

Have you battled with loneliness? I’d love to hear about how you have gotten through, or how you are getting through it, leave a comment below!

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Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

My 735 Mile Move: The Reality of Moving Far From Home

I recently made a long-distance move and it was difficult. Here I will focus on the emotional and practical challenges of my move.

If you read part-one to my 735-mile move, you know that I recently moved from Michigan to North Carolina—and it was difficult. The trip was 13+ hours of driving. If you want to know more about the challenges I experienced when moving long distances, head on over to part one. For this part of my story, I want to focus on the emotional and practical challenges that arose.

1st Month

The first weekend was easy because my family and boyfriend were still in town and we were keeping fairly busy. I was emotionally overwhelmed and found myself getting extra emotional, but in hindsight, the weekend was really good. Even after my family left, I was doing fine. It was very emotional when they left, but I was soon busy organizing and decorating all of my things.

It was the second week where I started finding myself getting lonely and tired of being in my apartment. I decided it was time to start looking for a job. Not only did I need the money, but it would provide me with a social network. Finding a social network to plug into is so important early on because it helps with those pesky lonely feelings.

potted cacti

Finding a job in a new area is very stressful. Not knowing anyone, or having any connections meant that I had to start from scratch. I decided to target cafes at first. First, I created a list of cafes near my apartment and took a day to drive to each and drop off my resume and fill out applications. I got lucky and got an interview that day, ultimately getting myself hired in. This really did help with the lonely.

Read more about coping with the loneliness that comes with moving far away from home HERE!

Bus vs. Driving

The next decision I needed to make was between driving my car everywhere or learning how to ride the bus. I had never ridden the bus at home because they did not come anywhere near my house, also, I have a car and did not feel the need. However, because of having a very tight budget, I was stuck trying to figure out what would be cheaper and more realistic.

I looked up bus fare and routes then calculated how much it would cost me to drive to school for the semester (over $300: gas and parking) and how much it would cost to take the bus ($250). There was still a dilemma because it would be a two and a half hour commute on the bus and a 15-minute commute in my car. Despite being more expensive, I opted to drive in order to reduce my own daily stress and to save myself valuable time. I experience a lot of anxiety in new and crowded situations, especially those that are out of my control. So, it was better than I dip into my financial aid to buy a parking pass and drive.

It sound like a methodical decision, however, I was extremely stressed about it and it affected my health. I highly recommend you look into transportation before moving, so that it isn’t something you need to worry about last minute like I did.

Making Friends

Making friends is actually the hardest part of this move. Remember, moving far away from home all by yourself is lonely. So, making friends is essential. I have managed to get along with several co-workers and classmates. But I am referring to finding a close friend to come to with problems. This is a lot harder because it means trusting a complete stranger with your emotions and inner thoughts. I really struggle with this.

essential oil square shelves

Making friends is something I am still not sure how to do, and I have been in North Carolina over a month now. I will keep you guys in the loop and I learn and improve my friend-making abilities.

Graduate School

Graduate school was the entire motivation for my move to North Carolina. This meant that graduate school took all priority. With two jobs and full-time graduate school, I found myself struggling the very first week. I was faced with a dilemma—I needed money to pay for school, but I needed more time from work to stay in school. After I spent a few weeks thinking about quitting my second job, I decided that this was the best idea for not only my education but for my mental health. I chose to pay for school and some of my bills using my financial aid (despite hating the idea of going further into debt). If you find yourself in a similar situation, always, always take into consideration your mental health and sanity, always.

I had originally expected to work two jobs and then complete my homework in the evening. And with my schedule, I was able to. However, I found myself overwhelmed with no time to myself. The deciding factor was reducing my stress.

Finances and Budgeting

Another huge area of stress immediately after my move to North Carolina was finances. Not only was moving expensive but paying bills without an income is expensive. I felt like I was constantly spending more money than I had to spend. Especially since I did not expect to be paid for my graduate assistant job until the end of September. I had to sit down and create a list of my bills and figure out how much was due and when it was due. I then had to make sure I put aside most of my tips from my serving job. This meant that I had to create a budget that had little wiggle room and I had to stick to it.

Not having a previous conception of my bills, outside of rent and car insurance, before the move I felt underprepared. With the help of budgeting, I never fell behind in my bills; however, I highly recommend that if you are planning a big move, set aside more money than you are expecting to need.

The point of this post was not to complain or to brag, show off, or complain. I simply wanted to provide a reality for someone else who might be preparing for a long-distance move for the first time. There is so much more to the process, that I had realized.

Want to know what happened while I was planning my move? Check out Part One to my 735 Mile Move: The Reality of Preparing For the Move

elizabeth signature
I recently made a long-distance move and it was difficult. Here I will focus on the emotional and practical challenges of my move.

My 735 Mile Move: The Reality of Preparing For the Move

The first thing you need to know about my move to North Carolina is that it is at least an 11-hour road trip…not including making stops. Because of the distance, I had to make most of the arrangements beforehand over the phone or online. For a lot of things, this didn’t really matter much, but for others, it made things feel impossible.

My hope for writing this post is to better inform others of what to expect if they chose to make a long-distance move. I’m going to talk a lot about my struggles and the process. By no means am I discouraging anyone from doing what I’ve done, just know that it’s really hard, be informed.

Getting an Apartment

Getting an apartment was one of the most stressful aspects of the move. Without a place to live, I wouldn’t have gotten here in time for the semester to start, or I would have had to spend way too much money living in a hotel.

Step One: Research

The first thing I had to do was research apartments. This was difficult because I didn’t really know the area, and I wanted to live somewhere safe but also near school and work. Because of these unknowns, I created a list of about 6 apartments that seemed to have what I needed/wanted, had photos that made them seem like they were in a good area, and were within 15 minutes of my school.

Then I created a spreadsheet comparing each of them, and naturally, I had two favorites.

Step Two: Visit

Next, my grandma, aunt, and I took a weekend trip to North Carolina to visit each of these apartments. During this trip, I learned several things.

  • Nice pictures online, while helpful, can be wrong
  • Prices are generally higher than they say online
  • If I wanted to live in a nicer area, I had to be willing to pay at least $100 more each month
  • An upgraded apartment simply means a new paint job (probably not done wonderfully), new appliances (probably just black instead of white), and new fixtures (whoop-de-doo)
  • There are more costs than you think: application fee, the fee to hold the apartment, deposit, and additional couple month rent, etc.

I expected this trip to be fun and easy. I was wrong. It was incredibly stressful. My family was immensely concerned about my safety, which isn’t a bad thing. But, the safest places were WAY out of my price range. So, I had to choose from a step down in safety, not necessarily unsafe but probably no security cameras or security workers or gates. A large portion of the trip (and sometime after), my family members kept making comments about where they thought I should live despite knowing that I couldn’t afford it. This stressed me out, because I didn’t even want to look at places out of my price range, yet they wanted to look at all the really nice places. Money is tight, I couldn’t, my choices were limited and I had made up my mind.

Step Three: Getting An Apartment

Now that I’ve finished visiting and all my research, I have to apply. There are application fees, so I couldn’t go out and apply everywhere. I gambled—I applied to only one apartment complex (the only safe one in my price range). I crossed my finger and hoped that they let me in and THEN that they had an open apartment in time.

After the application went out, all I could do was wait. And, my luck, their phone calls were not going through, nor were their voicemails. It took me from the end of April to the middle of June to really get ahold of them outside of them telling me my application was accepted. Getting accepted wasn’t good enough though and I was calling almost daily to no avail. Thank goodness that I decided to shoot them an email.

They responded to my email very quickly and gave me an alternative number to call. They then called me every other day to update me on apartment openings and verify information. June 15th (only 2 months before classes start), they called me telling me that they had an opening. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I was desperate.

I had a month to prepare for the move.

Preparing for the Move in One Month

Getting a Job

Getting a  job is really hard to do from such a huge distance. Especially because I was looking for part-time. I had applied to become a graduate assistant at my school and got accepted at the same time I got the apartment, but this wasn’t going to be enough. I needed another job. The pressure was on, but I also felt as if I couldn’t really do anything because of a lack of responses I was getting using online means. I needed to go into the offices and facilities, but I couldn’t. I put this aside until after the move, but I knew I was going to have to kick my butt into gear immediately to be able to pay the bills (Stay tuned for Part 2 of My 735 Mile Move where I talk about this).

Tight Budgeting

This was my first apartment, so I had nearly nothing that I needed. So I had a lot of very strategic spending to do. I did not have a lot of money to spend, but I had a lot of things to buy. I started with the apartment fixings and utilities.

Finances

Utilities

When you get an apartment, you have to take care of a lot of things: insurance, gas, electricity, water, rent, trash, etc., most of which you need to have before you even move in. This wasn’t particularly stressful, but it was expensive. I had to make A LOT of phone calls and spend hundreds up front just to be able to move in. Because of this, I had a lot less money put aside for emergencies, and to spend on the apartment.

Buying all Necessities

I started by making a list of necessities like furniture, toiletries, a bed, appliances. Then I got on VarageSale. VarageSale is an app that would be similar to going to garage sales online. I was able to get a few bits of furniture using garage sale at a pretty good price. Including this lamp!

I also got super lucky and one of my grandma’s friends gave me a large amount of free (yeah, free) furniture. This was so amazing because I was so stressed about money and still needed larger items like a couch or somewhere to sit. My grandpa also gave me his old tv, which was very nice.

Planning Ahead

Not only did I have to be careful about my spending before the move, but I had to be saving a lot of money for after the move. I saved up a couple thousand, but a lot of that was gone before I even got to North Carolina. Naturally, this made me even more stressed about getting another job. I needed a couple thousand just in case I couldn’t find a job or an emergency happened, and I barely had this. But I trucked along, spending wisely.

The point of this post was not to complain or to brag or show off or anything. I simply wanted to provide a reality for someone else who might be preparing for a long-distance move for the first time. There is so much to the process.

Want to know what happened after I move? Check out Part Two to my 735 Mile Move: The Reality of Moving Far From Home

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