update: I just booked a 4 day/ 3 night trip to Chicago with a few friends and it is costing me 128.00 for flight/and hotel! Will give more details in my follow travel post! Or you can sign up for our mailing list to ensure you don’t miss this post or any others!

I made a vow to myself when I graduated college that I would reward myself every year with a trip somewhere. And while I got older I started setting my sights on international trips, I still hold my travels within the states very near to my heart. There is something about traveling all 50 states that seems unique and something that I would love to scratch off of my bucket list of ultimate things to do in life. I started this goal/journey unknowingly until I started realizing/ paying attention to the fact that I’ve already traveled to the entire east coast, and other “random” states that I didn’t think people really visited often.

After coming to the conclusion that I love to travel and must add the remaining states to my list (yes even Alaska) I started making it my goal/mission to hit each state. I don’t have a particular set time frame (though the next 5-7 years would be ideal) in which I’d like to achieve this goal but I do think that the more focused I stay on it the quicker it will happen. Last year I visited California and Arizona for the first time during the summer. I highlight both these trips here , and had a great time. This year I have three cities I’ve never ventured to that I have my eyes and heart set on: Seattle, Chicago, and New Orleans.

traveling all 50 states

Traveling All 50 States: Where to Next?

I’ve already made plans to visit New Orleans on Fourth Of July weekend (so if you’re out there please feel free to send me amazing things to do down there during that time and YES I KNOW it will be extremely hot/humid). Besides New Orleans I am making plans to visit Chicago or Seattle during February break (I have a teacher schedule so vacation time is easy to plan around my time off) or Spring break. Then visiting the other city during a random weekend extravaganza during the off season for traveling in September-November (before the holidays). I break down how to book/travel on a budget here ! (especially on a teacher budget) .

Why Seattle & Chicago: So many people wonder how I pick the next city/state to travel to. This time around it was really just a random “I want to go here” type of thing. I have never been to either city and I’m interested in what both towns have to offer. I do know that both cities are extremely cold and can have severely harsh winters so traveling in a calmer fall or spring month seems more appealing. I’ve also seen particularly good deals to Chicago via The Flight Deal (if you don’t use them you better start now) so I’m just waiting on a good deal to come up again for dates that I am available on in order to fully confirm that trip.

Why Not Travel During The Summer: I do travel during the summer most often because that is when I have the most availability from work. However this time around I’m trying my best not to book all three trips during the summer time for specific reasons. One summer is peak travel/vacation time in most places. That means airlines usually jack up the price to a particular location that usually wouldn’t cost nearly as much. The only reason I’m particularly traveling to New Orleans during the summer is for business purposes. I am also taking a much larger international trip towards the end of the summer so for money saving and time saving purposes I’ve spaced my state travels far apart so my wallet can recuperate.

What’s My Budget: I’m as frugal as they come and always watching, waiting and anticipating a sale, deal or glitch in the system. I’d preferably like to pay less than 100 (for Chicago) and less than 200 (for Seattle) in regards to airfare. When it comes to hotels (I’m not a snob) but I prefer to not fear bed bugs or any other incidents so I usually splurge responsibly. With that being said, since I’ve never been to these cities and may end up traveling alone to both, I want to make sure my hotel is nice. I’d prefer to pay between 50-80 dollars a night (tho I know that is definitely on the low side) I think my frugal manners can make it happen. My total for each vacation I want to spend no more than 400.00 dollars (depending on length of time) total with flight, air fare and food/activities. Is it possible yes… is it going to be easy… NO!

What travel plans do you have for 2016? Where are you going and how are you getting there? Share your answers with us in the comments below!