The Road to Becoming a Life Coach: Getting Started

Leading up to this announcement, I was struggling to find the right words to say and the right things to share about this life milestone. I am jittery with positive emotion as I wrap up my last class, but I have to reflect, with honesty, on the moments that led up to this.

The decision to go back to school of any type was one I battled with for more than a year. Did I have the time for it? Was it worth the financial investment? Was I going to be fulfilled in what I was learning? How would it apply and provide a benefit to my employers?

I was happy with my profession and inspired by leadership, but I was quickly losing passion. Days were slower, time was opening up and the projects I was a part of started to feel less challenging. Was I even making a difference in the world? As a manager and mentor, I always challenged people who shared these thoughts with me and repeated:

It’s important to find passion in everything you do. Be it behind a desk, on the front lines of a service project, you have to look for it. It’s there somewhere.

I knew it was up to me to find that passion again, so the hunt began. I first used Coursera to enroll in a few higher education classes to find out if certain educational paths were right for me. I took everything from a business administration to marketing class online as I tried a variety of potential higher education journeys. Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t quite agree with some of the things I was reading based on client experience and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stomach the cost of graduate school.

While at Florida State University, I completed the undergraduate program in Leadership Studies. All my experiences here were among the most memorable and fulfilling, including mentors like Dr. Osteen who changed the course of my life dramatically. Could I do something in this realm and what would that look like? And what about the perception others already had of me? My personal brand. Is there something I could do that was authentic to me and enhanced this?

Cue becoming a life coach.

Once I started doing my research on ICF-certified programs (that’s international recognition and certification) and meeting with advisers, I knew this was the path for me. Think about my online presence, even, I’ve made it my mission to help others find passion and become their best selves. That’s what this blog is about, that’s why mentorship is important to me, that’s my reason to believe.

I selected Erickson International because they offered flexible virtual classrooms - not online classes at your own pace, just a live digital presence you can fulfill from your home. They also put an emphasis on the art and science of coaching. Let’s be real: if I was investing money in this I wanted to make sure there was scientific and empirical data to support what I was learning. I also really enjoyed the community they built and felt it was right for me.

I signed up for the once a week, 6 a.m. local time course. I woke up gladly each Wednesday morning ready and eager to learn. But once I was in the rhythm of attending class, the next challenge was finding balance between my personal and professional life, and this new passion project. Remember those slow work days? They turned up about 100 notches as I began this journey.

There were days that I questioned if this was right for me. There were days that I didn’t sleep. There were days I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading material that fascinated me. There were days - three days in fact - where I happened to be on the West Coast or on an airplane during class time so that meant 3 a.m. classes or some from 10,000 feet. There were days I gleamed about life coaching to my friends. And there were days I really had to sit with myself and find a way to remind myself to commit.

Today I finish my last semester - or module as Erickson calls it. Along the way I’ve learned skills in listening, openness, asking the right questions, and truly understanding and believing that what we need is inside all of us. With the right guidance, we can tap into ourselves to find what we’re looking for. I am living a values-driven life, with passion. I understand the importance of having a vision, and I am creating one for myself and my coaching practice.

What’s next?

While I continue my learning, I have to host practice sessions in tandem with my courses. I have a list of friends and colleagues that will help me refine my skills over the next year or so. You’ll see more and more of my lessons reflected in my online presence and the way I live my day to day.

One of the main reasons why I wanted to become a life coach is also because I found a gap in these types of professionals and how they were speaking to millennials. Gone are the days that a life coach is only relevant to a c-suite executive or someone at their mid-life crisis. Everyone could use this level of professional guidance toward creating a vision and setting actionable steps to reach a goal. Once I am certified, I’ll bring an offering to this community through a lens that makes sense for my generation.

I also hope to use becoming a life coach to build out Marketable Millennial in a place where I can better hone in and focus on sharing these anticipated “life hacks” and “life lessons” by LC - from a place of more credibility. More blog topics and webinars (woops - am I revealing too much?) that come from this lens.

And I truly hope that you’ll join me along the journey. Ask questions, share topics you want me to write about, and let’s grow together.

Lissette Calveiro Life Coach 1
Lissette Calveiro Life Coach 2
Lissette Calveiro Life Coach 3

Why So Many Millennials Have a Side-Gig

Millennials Side Hustle Side Gig.jpg

Millennials hustle hard. You may have heard that 4 million American currently have a side-gig. So what exactly is a side-gig? A smaller job that you do in addition to your main job to make a little extra cash.

Millennials are known for being the generation with side hustles. That’s because the people most likely to have side hustles are thos aged 18 to 26, and some of them are making upwards of $500 a month.

Right now, about half of all Millennials have a side-gig. So now that I’ve shown you the numbers, you know that side-gigs are a big deal for us. When I was in college I had a small internship as a side-gig where I’d run social media campaigns for local businesses. I also have friends who have side-gigs like dogsitting, housesitting, babysitting, and driving for Uber.

“I started driving for Uber when I heard from a friend that they made about $200 more during the week just driving after work... I only drive on weekends and holidays but it gives me that extra cash to save for a vacation at the end of summer..” - Jane, 28, Salt Lake City, Utah

That means a lot of people are using their free time to make more money. So, why have millennials latched on to this trend while baby boomers and Gen Xers continue to live on one paycheck?

We know how to use our phones to make money.

Smart phones have changed the game for working millennials. We have potential income at our fingertips, and can make money through a list of apps like Poshmark, TaskRabbit, Rover, Fiverr and iPoll.

Not only are the opportunities easily available, but they’re convenient. Translation: you don’t even have to leave your house! As long as you have a strong internet connection, and you’re always contactable, you can work from the couch or while lounging by the pool. Having a side-gig means having a flexible, convenient, easy way of bringing in more income for yourself.

Basically, you can use your phone to make up to $500 a month on the side. Not bad.

The top side-gigs for millennials are selling items online, clothing and accessories, cleaning, marketing, and cooking and baking. And what are we using our side-gigs for? Millennials are experience-seekers after all...oh, and living is getting more expensive!

In some cities, the cost of living has increased drastically in the last few years. On top of that, Millennials have been name the “wanderlust” generation because they love to travel so much. In order to afford all that travel, as well as pay upwards of $1,000 in rent in some major cities, it’s no wonder Millennials are taking up side-gigs. Millennials also love local products, and top-tier technology. These things don’t come cheap!

If you’re a millennial looking for extra cash, consider taking up a side-gig. Create a budget, pick a savings goal (a week in Hawaii, maybe?) and figure out what you’re passionate about. It’s time to turn that passion into a paycheck!

Do you have a side hustle? Tell us about it!

I took a hit for Millennials, so you don’t have to.

There are two — maybe three — sides to every story. If you’re fully invested in the virality of a recent scandalous article circulating the internet that talks about my alleged “search for Instagram fame,” here’s my side of the story. Straight from the source. 

Who Wants to be Instagram Famous 

Let’s start with something very basic. Why do you think every mention of this supposed “need” or “search” for “Instagram fame” was an article title and not a direct quote? Because who in their logical left-side of the brain a) actually believes they can be Instagram famous and b) who would ever admit that? Add in a c) why would that be something for me to achieve?

For more than 5 years now, I’ve worked hard to pursue my career in Public Relations and Marketing. One that I’ve excelled in and continue to be praised for by peers, colleagues and industry friends — heck yeah for self-confidence! In recent years, the word influencer has popped on and off my desk and with the social media visibility I already had, I’ve become quite the inner-circle guru on all things influencer and digital marketing. Doesn’t hurt that I’ve built up an audience of my own over the years. 

As the story tells, I came to NYC in 2013 for a dream internship. Those days, nothing was paid so I was living in NYC, fully paying for the rent and exaggerated Lifestyle, on $100 per month and a handful of plastic. Flash-forward to my post-college full-time entry job at industry standards of about $35,000 annually where I was still using those handy dandy plastics to help curate my Instagram-worthy Lifestyle. This meant constant online shopping for a big closet (yes, I developed a thing for personal style), endless Açaí bowls and brunches (I never cooked a day in my life post-grad), and at around 2016 a need to feed my newly acquired travel bug (thanks for that one, ex-boyfriend). Of course, over the course of my career I quickly started to build on my personal wealth, but without any sense of financial literacy I was merely adhering to paying a minimum payment on time and disproportionally continuing to spend on a lifestyle that could not catch up with my means. 

Let’s Talk About Debt, Baby

I want to make something clear if this is as far down as you’ll read. I have no credit card “debt” as I write this, except for the $50-$200 on one of my cards becase I usually put a thing or two on it  each month just to keep it alive (hits “send payment” as we speak). Most U.S. based news already told you this if you read the whole article, and most International news omitted this piece to scandalize how irresponsible Americans are about their money. 

It’s funny to me that everyone’s so enamoured with the $10,000 number. In my interview to NY Post I was asked “about how much credit card debt do you feel you accumulated over time,” and my casual response was “I have no idea, maybe $10k?” To me, that was well under the average of $16,000 (look it up) and probably accurate given I had $1,000 here, $2,000 there and a little residual balance everywhere. By the start of 2017, I had already chipped off about a third of that which I realized after sending verification documents to Business Insider — the only publication that actually fact-checked and crunched the numbers. This was natural, as by this point I was making about double the salary I had as an entry-level PR gal. Lifestyle creep, ya’ll. 

By the start of 2018, I was clear on my credit card debt entirely, and clear of the dirty habits that got me there. And this was only achieved by being transparent with myself about my finances and making repayment the priority. The wake up call came when I was planning my move to New York City over summer 2016 and I tallied up how much I’d actually accumulated. “Shoot, am I really going to enjoy NYC if I’m spending money each month to pay off this lousy debt,” I thought to myself. Because of this, I planned to live my first year or so in NYC by living well under my means in order to quickly eliminate the credit card bills that were haunting me. I took the under $1,000 apartment in Manhattan’s North Pole, went out with friends just about a handful of times each month, and learned how to cook (what a concept) so I could do more groceries and less spending on dining out. I also kicked the online shopping addiction in the butt and made use of the closet I’d already built with services like Rent the Runway. The one thing I did continue - and kicked into overdrive - was my traveling. However, this time I was doing it well under my budget with the hacks, miles, and about $1,500 of Delta credit, I’d accumulated through jet-setting the previous years. There was a nice pay-off for something.

Thankfully, my finances were never in such a dire place that I was bankrupt or in a dangerous situation because of icky credit card debt. Plus, I was lucky to continue to earn more money through a strong focus on my offline career, paid partnerships with brands who wanted my Instagram audience’s attention, and a little bit of luck in the crypto craze. I’m very thankful it was “easy” for me, as I know this is not the norm or reality for many Americans struggling daily with debt. In all this, I also became rather obsessed with my personal finances. I made a “financial health” document to help friends become transparent about their finances, developed an endless list of life hacks and shortcuts to doing things I loved on a dime, and even gave myself “dates with my bank account” where I cracked open wine and played with my numbers to decrease debt and increase investments.

My next step is to work with a professional to help me continue to build on these habits and chip away at student loan debt so I can truly be debt-free. I recently stumbled on The Financial Gym — financial advisors that don’t intimidate you and share my common belief that talking about personal finances shouldn’t be taboo. I recommend everyone taps a professional as there’s so much to learn. And as I generate nuggets of knowledge, I promise I’ll continue to share with all of you. 

Get A Real Job

There’s something else we need to address here, and it’s “being an influencer.” This entire scenario should not demonize full-time Influencers who’ve built careers off their page. From the marketing side, I can tell you we need your audiences.  

The reason why I’ve only worked with a handful of major brands, and not made some career out of an online presence, is because these things take time. In order to stream a regular flow of content, you have to dedicate time to create it. That also involves the cost of hiring professionals to do it because “asking your friend to snap a pic” here and there doesn’t cut it in the long run.  

And think about how much influencers get paid: a minimum of $100 per post for the small folks and upwards of $15,000 per post if they’ve got more than 1 million followers. Many of these major influencers can easily make more than me and you combined, plus they’re getting most things for free so have very minimal expenses. There are also influencers like Sincerely Jules or Something Navy who’ve taken their online stardom to create offline businesses like clothing lines. A huge cheers to these entrepreneurs, and those who are yet to come, for making “being an influencer” a real job.

So, What’s This Whole Thing Really About

This NY Post story would be nowhere without Daily Mail. If not for this tabloid picking up the headline and exaggerating it by 3, no one would care about “the Instagram girl who had debt and paid it off within a year.” The real importance of this story is the thought that our obsession with Instagram has gotten so bad, it’s ruining people’s lives and putting them in debt. 

We are all so obsessed with proving that social media is a bad place. And we’re all guilty of making it so. 

We’ve developed habits of using social media for the wrong reasons, so much so that we’re starting to talk things like “social media detox” and “giving up social media for lent” in order to “make more connections with real people.” News flash: those connections with real people are what Instagram — and all these other social platforms — are seeking to achieve.

Before social media, how else were you able to look up real people at travel destinations on your bucket list? Or, connect with someone halfway across the world who shared similar aesthetic? Or, if you have a unique passion or hobby, where else do you have access at the touch of a button to find a community that shares the same passion or hobby? Social media is not the enemy. We are just its biggest downfall. The way we use social media has developed into a dark place of judgment, dangerous “now” mindset, and huge disconnect. I mean, if you started reading this because you thought I was an “Instagram star wannabe who is bankrupt,” then you’re guilty of scrolling past a lavish headline and making your opinion of me before being thorough. 

We’ve also lost this sense of authenticity online, something that we so crave to achieve offline. We’ve run into habits of trying to one-up each other — whether you have 100 followers or 10,000 — that we’re posting content for the sake of content and doing things for the sake of taking pictures of them. Hey, I have to check myself every day for this. On top of reminding myself to continue to live responsibly, I have to stop myself from trying to emulate the things I see online and recreating them for the sake of “catching up.” Am I actually doing this for the pure joy of this moment? Or am I a doing this because I want to show it off to my followers? Point proven as a feed curated by “stuff” (Lissette of the past) brought only a fraction of the audience I now have after “speaking my truth.”

Theres still enough time to change it.  

If we all commit to changing a habit or two, we can continue to make social media a thriving place. It truly starts with all of us because social media cannot exist without us. 

  1. Be authentic. We grow up being told that the secret to life and success is to “be yourself,” so much that we are convinced it’s a made-up mantra. But it’s our most powerful weapon. Developing a sense of self-confidence and being that person offline and online is such a sigh of relief. That means not always portraying a picture-perfect lifestyle, but admitting that sometimes it’s farthest from. It means living at your means - whatever they are - so that we can get a more realistical portrait of your life. And having more conversations about what it means to be “authentic,” because we’re all still learning about this every day. 
  2. Make connections. Stop the habit of only endless scrolling and tapping, and throw in a comment or two. Tell the girl her avocado toast looks AMAZING because she probably stood on top of a chair at a crowded restaurant to get the perfect lighting of her brunch plate. Tell that guy “thanks for sharing” when he posts about his cool experience of a place to visit in your city. And tell that other friend they “look so happy” the next time they post a smiling selfie of their friends. If we just commit to having more dialogue online, those social media “detoxes” won’t be necessary because we will live more balanced lives from the connections we build using places like Instagram as tools. 
  3. Don’t do it for the ‘gram, do it for you. Along with being authentic and building connections, make sure what you’re putting out is for the joy of yourself. If you want to take that selfie instead of “taking in the moment,” do it because you want to have something to remember that moment with and not because you can’t wait to show it to your followers. Life is so much more fulfilling when we are doing things for ourselves instead of in a quest to prove ourselves to others. I learned this the hard way and work to better myself every day, challenge yourself to do the same.

What’s Next

Well, this entire thing was entirely unexpected. One day I’m building up people to be “Marketable Millennials” and the next I’m the prime example for why my generation sucks. For that, I’m sorry. I don’t have a speaking tour or game plan in mind for how I’m going to leverage this new platform I’ve been given, but for now I’m just going to take it all in. I’m listening to what people have to say — good or bad — and learning about the state of my generation from it. 

A very immediate ask that I have for all of you, if you’re still reading this, is to go here to make a donation here to a cause that is — as you can imagine — dear to my heart. The mission of Dress for Success® is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. (How perfect is that?)

I’d also like to challenge all of us to make steps toward becoming better versions of ourselves online and offline in order to continue to make social media a better place.  

It starts with all of us, and I am really optimistic about the direction we’re headed.  

I’m an open book, always open to discussion, and can’t wait to continue diving into and uncovering this important topic. Let’s chat. 

Lissette Calveiro Instagram Star

Making My Way Below 14th Street

One of the greatest cities in the world (don't @ me) is also one of the hardest to navigate when it comes to finding housing. A few months ago, I shared a quick guide to "moving to NYC" and now's the time I had to follow my own advice.

If you know my NYC journey, you know I've kept it uptown since I first moved here. From Inwood to the same Upper West Side zip code I had when I first moved here years ago, I found comfort in being "away" from the hustle and bustle. The problem is, I was hustling and bustling every time I was getting out of the apartment because I was always working against a minimum 20-minute delay.

Getting to work when the subway works: 25 minutes

Getting to work when the subway doesn't work, which is usually always because #MTA: 45-70 minutes

I began to hate that I had little control on being late. If I left early to make up for potential mishaps, I found myself "too early" 9/10 times. My next goal: move walking distance to work. 

Well, easier said than done when you work in Tribeca -- one of the more expensive parts of Manhattan. I spent a few weeks on the apartment search finding things within or only slightly above my budget, but knowing that this time I would be sacrificing greatly on space (remember: price, size, location). This grueling process really helped me get down to thinking about what exactly I couldn't sacrifice: separate kitchen from living room, windows (can't believe I have to ask for this), and my own closet.

The apartment search finally came to a happy close when I matched with someone via Gypsy Housing on a dream SoHo apartment. If you know me offline, this has always been my favorite downtown neighborhood and I'm often pinching myself to remind myself that I get to live here while staying within a millennial-friendly budget.

I got the apartment, I signed the dotted line, but now my third time moving in the city meant I was going to have much more to lug around when moving day came. This was my biggest stressor. From Miami to NYC I boxed up and UPS-mailed all my things, and from Inwood to Upper West Side I used a "man with a van" (IRL name: Jerry). The difference this time, however, was the fact that I wasn't just a "scrappy Millennial" moving to a new pad. I made small upgrades in my life as I grew into the city and my career and I truly valued the things I had earned and placed in my apartment. I needed to give myself this necessary upgrade and do things the safe, reliable and correct way.

I connected with Roadway Moving after doing some research across review websites and other credible platforms, given that they had some of the highest reviews. What's the hype all about? I mean, it's a moving company, aren't we supposed to dislike them as much as we dislike moving? Well, the difference is this company is putting happiness first to not only make a move as seamless as possible, but as pleasant as possible.

Upfront, I was really excited to be working with a company that provided insurances I'd heard about during this process. If someone is going to be handling your hard earned valuables, you need them to protect them and have a backup plan if they ding something. Roadway not only has the paperwork to cover an accident, but they carefully wrapped (not deconstructed) all my furniture with safety blankets so that nothing returned damaged. 

I was able to chat with their CEO, Ross Sapir, where we talked about the importance of this layer of protection. "Millennials are now making more money, have more things, and 'going the DIY or cheap' way isn't always the smartest route," he said. "You need to find services that are going to protect the things you worked hard to earn."

When it came to thinking about physically moving things around, my "PTSD" of having to help "the man with a van" down my 5th floor walk up kicked in. I kid you not when I say I almost teared up seeing how quickly they grabbed everything, took it down safely, and brought it right back up to my new apartment in the blink of an eye. I also had a few miscellaneous items that didn't fit in boxes, which they had supplies for that I could use on moving day. 

Past the nitty gritty of the moving process, the most important thing is that working with Roadway made my move such a pleasant experience. It didn't feel like you were burdening a friend, or someone that hates their job, with your burden of having to move. I had to remind myself that I didn't know these people, because I swear we could've been neighbors in a past life. They were cheerful, polite, kind, and were excited to talk about things like Spanish soccer.

When all was said and done, I sighed a breath of fresh air. I unpacked my goods, ordered a few missing pieces to the apartment, and got to making this new place feel like home. Moving isn't only stressful because of the logistics of getting your stuff moved halfway across the city, it takes a toll on you mentally as you prepare to start a new chapter of your life in a new neighborhood. New coffee shop, new groceries, new parks, new mindset. Start yours off positive!

Scroll down for a few of my favorite spaces in the apartment:

Moving yourself? Visit Roadway Moving online for a quote, and mention "LISSETTE" for 10% your entire move.

So, About Traveling

When I was younger, I always hoped I would be able to travel more. All I knew was a handful of countries within the Caribbean, South America and Europe, never even really traveling within my own country. Granted, that's certainly more than many Americans since only (a shocking, yet not so shocking) 36% are passport holders. It wasn't until I went away for college that I realized there was so much to see and it was all pretty much within my reach.

Flash forward to New Year's Eve 2016. I was en route to Chicago to meet a friend and sat next to an incredibly friendly traveler: Cait. She was on her way back from spending two weeks in Cyprus. Why? Because she just felt like exploring. I want to say she was a teacher at the time? Hearing her incredibly approachable and relatable stories to how she started collecting passport stamps, I spent a lot of my trip to Chicago thinking about how easy it could be to travel. Ladies and gentlemen, I started 2016 with the travel bug and I haven't been able to shake it off since.

I'm the first to admit I made pretty irresponsible decisions when I started traveling. I was already using the Delta Skymiles credit card and had racked up a few points to my use, but I spent a lot of money traveling that year (more on this will come to light over the next few weeks, oy vey). I didn't really understand what a "deal" meant, and I was still living this "omg I have a salary" attitude which meant not knowing how not to throw away my money. My reason for traveling that year was:

"I want to collect as many Snapchat location filters as I can, and travel somewhere every month."

I accomplished it that year. With a little bit of work and leisure travel I hit more than 12 cities, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin, The Bahamas, New York (multiple times), Washington D.C., and more. With each new experience, I became much more well versed in travel and allowed myself to spend less time on the "how to do it" and more brain power appreciating each unique place I was visiting.

In 2017, I vowed to keep the momentum going. This time it wasn't for Snapchat filters (can someone please smack 24-year-old me?), but it was to further explore the world and connect with friends or strangers (#solotravel). I learned a lot from my mistakes and triumphs, but here are the highlights:

Start a travel savings account

One of the many times I'll tell you, don't be Lissette. Traveling is much more fun when you don't have leftover debt from your last trip looming over your head. Aside from tactics like setting aside money each month toward travel, I use Digit to automatically save money each day. Their nifty algorithm takes into account your spending habits and sends moola to a savings platform, which you can set up with categories like "travel." It's incredible how at the end of a few months, I've got enough for at least 2 flights without having moved a muscle. Another indirect way to save is making sure you're taking advantage of frequent flier programs. Even if you think you won't be using that airline more than once or twice, you never know where those benefits come in handy. And you're also missing out on a ton if you don't have a points card. I'm a personal Amex evangelist and started off with the Delta card before switching to Platinum (here's 40,000 points, you're welcome). 

Do your deal-search.

There are hundreds of very legit deal seeker apps and websites. I personally use Kayak as my go-to for booking flights because I feel I'm getting the most comprehensive, and cheapest, results. Google Flights is where I get my second peek, with Amex Travel as my final destination since I get bonus points for booking through them. If you're looking for something to track flight prices, Kayak provides a nifty tool for that or Hopper is another crowd favorite. If you have no idea where to go but you know you have dates in mind, I'm obsessed with Skycanner's "Everywhere" search tool which shows you the cheapest flights around the world on your chosen dates. I'd also recommend following top bloggers in this space like The Points Guy or Scott's Cheap Flights. Take advantage of signing up for your favorite airlines' newsletters as you'll get the best deals in real-time. The biggest takeaway is to never take the first price you see as the end-all-be-all. There's probably something much cheaper out there. 

Book the damn flight.

The hardest part about travel is booking the flight. And more often than not, the most expensive part. Once you feel you've done your due diligence and squeezed every reward, deal, tracker, etc., for the cheapest flight available, it's time to hit the "purchase" button. So much of the rest of the journey will be easy to figure out, especially if you're flexible, once this piece is done. If you're trying to corral a group of friends for a trip, make the first move. Once one person is in, others will follow. Four of my major trips last year involved friend groups of more than 3 people and I was always the first one to kick things off (cc: Cuba, Mexico City, Summer Euro Tour, Morocco). 

Take advantage of AirBnb or phone a friend.

The next most expensive part is usually the accommodations piece. The only time I've slept at a hotel in the last two years is when it involves work travel and the booking is outside of my control. I live by AirBnb (here's a discount code for that). There's something so special about staying in a home vs. a stuffy hotel. Many times, if you do enough research and book in a timely manner, you're getting amenities and a value that is incomparable to what you would get at a hotel. They're also adding AirBnb "Plus" now, so you can get that more upgraded vibe that you would get at something like a boutique hotel. If you're feeling social and on a super tight budget, don't forget to peek at Hostels. And, of course, if you're lucky enough to have friends at a destination don't be afraid to come clean about wanting to crash. I know I am incredibly flexible about letting friends bunk with me given that so many have opened their home for me in the past. 

Use an itinerary app or digital assistant.

Remember the days of using a travel agent? This was a booming industry for a reason. There's a sense of peace to having someone else do all the work for you, so in this DIY culture I'd still recommend you get a digital travel assistant of some kind. If you follow along my stories, you'll see that I hold all my travels under Kayak's handy app. I can't even bother to write about other recommendations because I've simply found nothing as useful as this. For starters, you can link your e-mail address to it so that any travel-related communication gets stored and created as a "trip." It's also smart enough to know the pieces that belong to a trip, rather than starting a whole new itinerary with every incoming message. For example: When you book the flight, you've got a new "trip" created but once the accommodations, activities, rental cars, etc., roll in, they're simply added under the same cover. The app also includes a simple-to-read guide for your confirmation number, security gate wait times, airport maps, receipts, phone numbers, addresses, etc. And it's also incredibly up-to-date so you'll get delays and gate changes in real-time on the app.

Stick to a carry on, I believe in you.

If you want to live the frequent traveler life, you've got to sacrifice on space. And I promise, it's actually a huge benefit. You're saving the hassle of going to the gate to drop off, waiting for your bag afterward, or risking lost luggage during an important trip. I always travel with my Raden carry-on (hooray for charging ports) and my Madewell Transport Tote for the laptop, snacks and things I need at hand. A few times, I've added a Herschel Fanny Pack if I want an added layer of ease (plus, it's mad cute and affordable). I also live by the "rolling your clothes" technique, which I learned on a trip to NYC with my friend Dani from her aunt after I had a hilarious overpacking experience. It also helps to cut down by only bringing what you'll use. Making lists in advance helps filter through this. Ok, I get it, this topic deserves its own post and I'll get it to you soon. Note: many airports are following the Euro-centric rule of putting liquids in a clear ziplock bag. You're safest if you keep all things in a pouch of your choice and make sure to pack the clear bag to get you through security if you're asked to remove it from your bag. They made me take it out of my carry-on in a U.S. airport recently, yikes!

Sign-up for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry.

There's nothing like showing up to the airport 40 minutes before your flight, making it to the gate without running, getting to your seat without problems, and enjoying a smooth ride to your destination. Well, the only way to save yourself about an hour at the airport is by signing up for TSA Pre-Check. It is one of the handiest helpers, and I'm unsure how people travel without it. You keep your shoes on, no one gives you major issues, and the lines are usually a 5-15 minute experience. If you travel abroad a lot, or plan to, Global Entry might be a better fit and that comes with Pre-Check already. Global Entry makes the customs experience on your return a smooth 5-15 minute experience. #HackAlert: Mobile Passport App is free, has been even faster for me than Global Entry sometimes, it's my favorite thing to share with friends!

Step out of your comfort zone.

Wether you're traveling with a group or alone, the most important advice I can give you is this. Some of the most memorable travel experiences are when you go somewhere new (obviously) and when you do something a little different. Maybe it means staying at someone's home via AirBnb, or booking a guided tour of the historic center with a local, maybe you want to do something adventurous, maybe you just make it a goal to strike up a conversation with locals while riding public transportation. Just be flexible and open minded, and take it all in like a sponge. I'm personally a huge fan of journaling while traveling and use these travel-friendly notebooks to doodle in.

After writing this, I realized there's no way to consolidate what I've learned in anything less than an 100-page book of travel hacks. And I am the first to admit I am seriously overdue in sharing this information with you all. Would love to hear more about what sorts of travel topics you want to hear more about from me. Is it planning? Is it time management? Is it cutting costs? Packing? Things I take with me? City guides? Etc. Let me know in the comments below or send me a message on social.

Bon voyage, friends!