Career, Love of Teaching, Teach, Teaching, Teaching and Traveling, Travel, Travel Europe, Travel on a Budget, Travel the U.S., Traveling

Travel on a Teacher’s Salary

I have traveled since I was young.  Traveling is in my blood.  Loving it is an understatement.

Do I love airplanes?  Not particularly.  How about long road trips? Eh, not really.

Yet once I’m there, I am in love.  I have been to every state on the east coast, covered most of the midwest, and multiple states on the west coast.  I was lucky enough to have a parent that encouraged traveling, immersing in culture, and trying new foods, places, and customs.  I have had the travel bug for as long as I can remember.

Yet, here I am.  Teaching.  Adulting.  How can I afford to visit different places around the world on my little teacher salary?  Sure, when I was living with my folks I had the chance to go to Germany, France, Canada, England, and over half of the U.S.  But now?  How can I do it now?

It’s not easy.  Plain and simple.

It takes planning, budgeting, and LOTS of research.  So where have I been since I left the nest and entered the working world?  Over the past few years I have visited:

  • New York City, NY
  • North Carolina (multiple times and locations)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Ocean City, NJ
  • Mexico
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Las Vegas, NV (almost every year at this rate)

What’s next you may ask?  Italy.  Booked and Paid.

So, let’s get a few things straight–I am not making millions at teaching.  Sure, I sell things on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I’m not making a salary off of it.  During my first year of teaching, I made a whopping $23K.  Yup.  After moving districts I was able to increase that salary, but it’s not raining money in my household.

So how do I do it?

  1. Set a certain amount/percentage to be taken out of your paycheck per pay to put towards travel.  This may be $20; it may be $100, but it’s training your mind and willpower to save the money.  For me, I had to transfer this money to an entirely separate bank account that I could not easily access.  Over the course of a year, you will have enough money saved to take you somewhere awesome.
  2. Look at companies like Groupon, Funjet, Kayak, and even Orbitz.  These places allow for vacation packages–flight and hotel.  Conveniently, these places also give you the option to look at reviews, proximity to local food joints, and even distance to the nearest airport/train station.  Websites like Groupon allow you to get great deals on awesome vacation packages; just make sure you read the fine print.  If you’re not around a major city, you can have your flight altered for a fee.  Talk to a representative for more information. Mexico Beach
  3. Research. Research. Research.  When my husband and I planned our Italian Getaway, we were immediately taken aback by the outrageous prices per person.  I put my head in my hands and wondered if I was ever going to return to Europe.  We spent days researching, browsing websites, and looking at prices.  My husband soon realized that a very expensive week was followed by an insanely cheap week through Orbitz.  After searching week by week from May to August, we found the perfect week that allowed us 5 days and nights in Italy in a 4.2 star hotel with flight for $700 per person.  Woah!  It was insane.  We booked it immediately.  Look for trends in prices, seasons, and even flash deals on the websites listed above.
  4. Sign up for offers through hotels.  Sounds crazy and will fill your email box with junk mail?  I’ll be honest–yes.  Yet there always seems to be a gold nugget hiding in the list of unopened emails.  During my first visit to Las Vegas, I went through an offer to stay at the Wynn Hotel for free!  Once I went to Vegas and signed up at multiple hotels, those rewards and offers continued.  Through this, I was able to see Fabulous Las Vegas multiple times in the course of a few short years, because I only had to pay for airfare and food.  img_2572
  5. Network.  Staying in contact with friends and traveling with a buddy has allowed me to visit new places for a fraction of the cost.  I visited NJ, NC, CA, NYC, and PA because of friends chipping in together.  We slept in the same small bed, but we didn’t care.  We were able to see a new city for $50-$100.  On the other hand, having friends and family in different parts of the country also allowed for new traveling experiences.
  6. Air BnB.  When I was in San Francisco, I had my first experience with Air BnB.  Although it was different from staying in a nice hotel, it was well worth the money for a few nights of sleep.  The host was kind and provided a clean place to sleep with a private bathroom.  Quite honestly, my husband and I never saw our host, and we were in and out so often that the room was a quick place for us to catch up on sleep and off we went again.  It was half the price of a hotel in the city, and we were able to walk to various restaurants and shopping.  To get into the city, we needed an Uber but it was close enough that it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
  7. Exercise and Plan to Walk!  As a traveler, I have found that taxis and transportation are easily where the money goes down the tubes.  Vegas–walked everywhere.  I was averaging 15 miles of walking per day and only took a cab at the very end of the night when my feet could no longer handle it.  London–walked.  Paris–oh good lord, I walked everywhere.  If you’re in a city that you can easily walk around and get to point B from point A, get on a good pair of shoes and walk.  Burn off those wine and chocolate calories through the city if you can.
  8. Transportation Options.  So what if I can’t physically walk for huge amounts of time or my hotel/room is too far away?  How do I find a cheap flight? Here are some options:
    • Bus--How did I get to NYC? Bus.  I took a bus overnight there and back.  Sure I didn’t get the most restful sleep of my life, but it was hundreds of dollars cheaper than a hotel.  Just invest in some coffee when you arrive in your desired city.  Bus transportation also is a great option in bigger cities to avoid outrageous cab costs.
    • Train–Although trains are available in the U.S., it is generally as long as driving and not always as cheap as one dreams.  However, in Europe, not only was this an affordable option, but it allowed me time to relax and take in the scenery that I otherwise would have never seen.
    • Airline Promos--Look at flights on Wow Air or Skiplagged.  These places offer affordable flights in specific time windows or find loopholes in the airfare pricing to give you the best deals.
    • Flight and Hotel Packages–Want to have your flight paired with your housing for the week?  Check out vacation packages on a multitude of websites.  Personally, I have found amazing packages through Groupon, Funjet, and Orbitz.  Not only does it help eliminate costs, but it also helps eliminate the headache of planning every detail.
    • Uber/Lyft–In a big city and the distance is too far to walk?  I have been in this situation before.  Uber and Lyft offer options much cheaper than a taxi or renting a car and generally give you the cost up front.  The drivers are usually friendly, and when splitting the cost with friends, it is the way to go with transportation. Germany train station**Train station from France to Germany**
  9. Make side Money.  As teachers specifically, we have options to do tutoring on the side, sell items on Teachers Pay Teachers, or even begin tutoring kids from other countries via Skype.  I do not make tons of money off of Teachers Pay Teachers, but a few bucks here and there do add up.  Additionally, I tutor two nights a week which equals roughly $60/week.  Even a small amount like that can easily be added to your travel fund over the course of 9 months.  Lastly, I have seen many positive reviews about VPKID–flexible tutoring schedule all from the comfort of your home. We don’t see the $20 here or the $40 here as a big deal, but when we don’t touch that money and save it, we end up with a vacation during the summer.
  10. Little bit of Luck.  It’s true.  Part of traveling is luck.  You find a great deal on a hotel or flight.  You find a friend that lives in the area and crash with them for a few days.  You travel with friends who also have that travel bug to split the costs and see the same attractions for a fraction of the cost.  Part of traveling is planning and budgeting, but another part will always be luck.

Traveling is one of the best adventures and memories one can make.  There is a wide world out there.  Get out there and see it.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo

Make sure to also visit me on Instagram @TeachingTraveling.

Talk Soon Folks!

xoxo

Your Wanderer

Career, Job, Kids, Love of Teaching, Students, Teach, Teaching

Why Teaching?

Why did I choose the teaching profession?

Was it because I loved having parents degrade my career?  How about people referring to me as a glorified babysitter?  Maybe I love politicians pulling funding from my career every year, leaving me with very little and paying for much of my classroom out of my pocket?  Summers off?  Wait…maybe it’s because I loved being demeaned in college and that my work was simply coloring and using glue sticks.  I can give you a for certain head nod that those were not the amazing reasons I joined the teacher work force.

So why did I begin teaching?

“I am a teacher. It’s how I define myself. A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That’s the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching.” ~Justin Trudeau

A little bit about your author:

  1. I said I would NEVER become a teacher.  I had no intention of stepping foot back into a classroom.  When I threw my cap in the air at graduation, I had every hope of entering the medical field and trying to erase my memories of my own schooling.
  2. I could not enjoy my current career path.  I loved interacting with people in the doctor’s office.  I loved learning new theories and information in the scientific department.  Yet, I didn’t love medicine.  Was I doing well in my studies? Yup.  Did I have friends? Yup.  Did I love it? No.
  3. I made a conscious decision that I wanted to love my future career.  Even if that meant making a financial sacrifice.  The words “teaching” kept running through my head.  I decided to take one education class to get my feet wet and see if I even enjoyed it.  I was immediately hooked.

A few years later I found myself in my own classroom.  Shaking.  Feeling like I had to puke.  Nervous about making an impact, maintaining classroom behavior in an inner city school, and wondering if I could do it.  From that first day to now, I have been loving every moment of it.

It’s true–I don’t get paid very much for my qualifications.  I not only have a bachelor of science, but I also have minors in English, Science, and Religion.  I then received my Masters degree and continued my education after that as well.  I soaked in learning about research based methods, utilizing data, curriculum mapping and planning, child psychology, and becoming a better teacher.

I love learning.  That’s why I also love teaching. 

Teaching kids the love of learning is one of my favorite parts of my job.  I love having those “light bulb” moments where they finally understand and connect the dots.

Why else do I love teaching?

  1. I love watching kids grow academically, emotionally, mentally, and as a person.  I get to have an impact on that child (that may be remembered for the rest of their life).  Woah.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  More than anything, it makes the weight of my responsibility even heavier and sacred.
  2. I chose teaching, because I can be silly and crazy.  I get students excited to learn and explore the world around them.
  3. Personal Growth–I’ve seen all backgrounds of students, which helps me get insight into different perspectives.  I’ve worked with farm kids, rich kids, inner city kids, and many more.  I’ve seen students excelling in school.  I’ve seen kids who need love, because they don’t get it at home.  I’ve seen kids with strong wills and those who are still learning to stand up for themselves.  I’ve seen kids who go to bed hungry, listening to gun shots in the street, and wake up not knowing where or when their parent will return.  It’s an emotional job.  I get attached to my kids.  I care and their problems become my own.  I stay up at night wondering and praying for their safety.  Since I’ve become a teacher, I learn more and more that my life is about others.  I’ve become more patient.  I’ve become diplomatic when conversing with parents and colleagues.  I know when to speak and when to hold my tongue.  Most importantly, I have learned from my students what it is like to come from a plethora of backgrounds and how to meet them with their needs.
  4. enjoy working with kids.  I’ll never forget as my husband was around a group of children that were not his own at a party with friends. His patience was wearing thin and he eventually had to go into a different room.  I quietly went up to him and whispered “I do this every day.”  As we came home from that party and talked about our time, he simply stated, “I couldn’t do that every day.  Even with a summer off…”  He understood.  I love working with kids, your kids.  I get excited the first day of school and can hardly sleep.  I love coming in on Monday mornings to little chatters and kids racing to tell me about their weekend.  My job is a joy.
  5. I can be a voice for those who are too afraid to speak out.  You teachers know exactly what I’m thinking about.  We have all had to report a situation to social services.  We gain the trust of the child.  We may be the only one’s that child feels like he/she can talk to or express their concerns.  We listen.  We love.  We speak up for them and we do everything in our power to give them the best life.
  6. I inspire change.  It’s hard to not let politics get in the classroom, and I do keep the classroom neutral.  However, we discuss justice, injustice, history, peace, and becoming a better person for society.  We teachers want your child to inspire change for the future and promote goodness.  In the words of Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked, “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
  7. I have a purpose.  My purpose is to teach, train, and mold our future.

Teachers choose teaching, because of those seven points (there are more too).  Some want summers off, but I can assure you they hate their profession (and usually don’t last long).  I knew my profession would be difficult.  I knew I would never become a millionaire.  I knew I would have to grow and learn constantly.  I have to beat my personal best every day.  I engage, love, care, and teach kiddos daily.  I LOVE it, and I have never looked back since I chose my calling.

“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.”~ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam