Photo Source: Marissa and Instagram
The beauty of travel is that it can be done in many different ways, and we just love the way Marissa does it. This week's travel crush sat with us to discuss her #vanlife experiences and travel hacks!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
Hi there, I'm Marissa! A Destination Marketing Specialist by day and a lifestyle and travel blogger by night - based out of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area (DMV, wya!?). I'm on a mission to empower others to make their travel dreams a reality. No matter what you look like. No matter what your socioeconomic status. No matter your age (can we stop subscribing to the idea that travel begins after retirement?). I'm a strong believer that anyone – yes, absolutely anyone, can and should revel in the joys of seeing the world. I use my platform to share all the resources I can churn out: one-of-a-kind city guides, destination inspiration, and budget-friendly travel hacks for aspiring travelers. I'm inspired to travel because, quite simply, it's changed my life. It's opened my perspective and enhanced my worldview. I can honestly say I'm my best and happiest self when exploring new cities and learning about the world around me.
Congrats on your van! How is van life treating you and what's the number one thing you've learned from it so far?
Thanks! Although I'm not living full-time in the van, I've spent a lot of time on the road part-time. The most important thing I've learned is that routines are super important. It's easy to feel a bit discombobulated when you're eating, sleeping, and living out of a space that's only 70 square feet. It's not like staying in hotels or AirBnbs. Having a routine helps you stay grounded when you're in a smaller and potentially more disorganized space.
For those considering van life, what is your advice to them?
I'd definitely recommend renting a van for a weekend and seeing how you like it first! Websites like Outdoorsy allow you to rent out rigs from everyday people, similar to Airbnb, and you can test out to see if it's for you. The thing about social media is that it really glamorizes what it means to be on the road for long periods. There's a sea of picture-perfect van life scenes and accounts, but not always a lot of reality. Definitely try it before you buy it.
Where is your van taking you next and what are you most looking forward to?
I'm planning to head out west this summer (I don't want to spoil it quite yet!). I'm most looking forward to hiking, visiting gorgeous National Parks, and ultimately taking life at my own (hopefully slower) pace this summer.
What is your #1 travel tip, that more people should know, but don't.
Chase deals, not destinations! When searching on Google Flights, put in your dates but don't select a destination. Be a bit more open, and you'll likely find a travel deal that blows your mind! I booked a flight to Madrid for $375 this fall using that approach. People are too stuck on their destinations and miss out on deals - they are abundant!
Where else can folks find you?
Here are some more of our favorite travelers and their gorgeous shots.
Ellee is in the building - and this week she's showing us what it means to be a globe trotting Travel Crush. This native New Yorker has climbed the pyramids of Egypt, took her whole life in her hands on the swings in Bali, and she's still pumped for more challenging, new adventures. Read on for her tips on having magical experiences without breaking the bank, her favorite hack for buying cheap flights, and how she stays in villas without the hefty price tag.
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