You Need to Know These 3 Travel Apps.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a nomad.

In the past five years, I’ve called five different cities “home.” I’ve wandered the earth from Texas to Europe, meeting new friends, exploring new places, and eventually finding more and more of myself at every new destination.

Travel is good for the soul. It loosens you up. It rattles your schedule. It transforms your life from routine to extraordinary — it makes you uncomfortable and sweaty and uncertain.

But it’s not always cheap or convenient, which is why I’m here to tell you it can be BOTH if you play your cards right. Thanks to my wanderlust and many friends I met on my journeys, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of useful travel apps. Here we go:

1. For the best priced flights, use Hopper– Kerstin, my Denver flight friend, told me about this one. You input where you’re coming from and where you’d like to go, and the dates. Then Hopper pulls up a color-coded calendar that shows the best prices during those times. Then you can browse flights. If it’s not a great time to purchase, you can “watch” the flight and receive notifications when more affordable ones arise.

2. For the best priced car, use Turo– My Baylor gal pal Sarah showed me this one. It’s essentially Uber for renting cars, people can rent out their cars to travelers. You pick dates and location and other settings, like how much, what kind of drive, etc. It’s almost always cheaper than a rental company, and it’s nice for young guns like me who get an up-charge for being an untrustworthy youth.

3. For the bestpriced crash pad use Airbnb- nearly everyone knows about this, but some people are skeptical of crashing at strangers’ places. I get and respect that. But whoa, Airbnb has some great deals at great locations. Pro tip: look for indoor pics of where you’re staying. My girl Mads and I stayed at a sketchy af house in Memphis for my first Airbnb experience. It was scarring. But not enough to keep us away.

There are obviously many, many more out there. Lyft, Uber and Yelp are also great tools. Scour the App Store/Play Store for travel apps and you’ll certainly find helpful ones for planning your next great escape.

Let me know what apps I should have on my radar. I’m hoping to wander up to Portland soon, and will be in Denver in the fall for a bachelorette party, so let me know where to go!

**But remember, you are your greatest tool. And you’re so much more useful than an app. Don’t only lean on these — get a little lost, have a lot of fun.**

I-35: From Waco to Austin.

This was a crazy weekend for me.

On Friday, I visited Baylor friends in Waco. On Saturday, I went to a college roommate’s wedding in Temple. Then Saturday night and Sunday morning, I celebrated a friend’s impending wedding in Austin.

I started on I-35 in Dallas and made my way down slowly but surely each day. And man, it was so incredibly exhausting. But also so incredibly worth it!

Things you must do in Waco:

  1. Magnolia Market- everyone knows about this, thanks to Chip and Jo. It’s really adorable and the backyard is great.
  2. Downtown Waco Farmers Market- every Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. (I think?) So many vendors sell local goods and foods and wonderful things!
  3. Spice Village- located on Franklin, it’s a shopping addict’s wonderland. Clothes and knick knacks galore.
  4. Lula Jane’s- tucked away on Elm St., their pie and coffee is a lethal combination. And they have the kindest workers.
  5. Cameron Park- surprisingly huge and also great for hikes, who knew Waco had real terrain? There are swings at Lover’s Leap!
  6. Circle of Death- this traffic roundabout is absolutely terrifying bc we are Americans and Texans, and there’s no signage. But it’s actually hilarious and thrilling.

Things I did in Austin:

  1. Rainey St.- Technically I didn’t join in because I was sleeping, but my friends hit up this street for bars and great nightlife. I hear it’s awesome.
  2. Bouldin Creek Cafe- on 1st street. So delicious. The migas are a win, the endless drip coffee is a win. I don’t eat blueberries, but their blueberry cornbread looked sick.
  3. Sweet Ritual- My friends love this place because they serve vegan ice cream. Personally, not my thing. But their peanut butter was pretty good!
  4. Barton Springs- a few years back, I dove into the ice cold waters on a hot summer’s day. Best thing ever.
  5. Graffiti Park- really fun and makes me feel edgy, so yeah.
  6. Zilker Park- puppies galore. Great vb courts and wide open spaces for ultimate, football, or whatever your heart desires.

Man, it was good to get away.

I’ll be in St. Louis next weekend, so stay tuned for more #dimebeyonddallas!

Martin Creek Lake State Park.

A couple of weekends ago, I went on a girls trip.

It wasn’t anything glamorous, like hitting up Downtown Austin in glittery dresses, or making a weekend escape to NYC to strut around Times Square.

Nope. Madison, Sarah and I hit up a state park about 2.5 hours away. Because I guess that’s just who I am–a wilderness girl stifled in the DFW, seeking some fresh air and longing to actually see stars, and not just imagine them.

Our stay was very simple.

We arrived midday on Saturday, unloaded and set up our tent. Once we were settled, I turned off my phone. It was my number one goal for the weekend.

We spent the afternoon on a mini-hike, dipping our toes in the water and talking about boys, talking about our future goals and dreams. We took a nap on a blanket as the sun peaked through the trees.

We made tacos for dinner and Sarah built us a fire. We talked about how God is moving in our lives and a bit more about where we would like to be in the future. We fell asleep uncomfortably, but I also slept through the night–so that was a bonus.

The sun welcomed us in the morning.

It greeted us through the screens of our tent. We rolled out of our sleeping bags, it was an early morning. But so, so peaceful.

We made breakfast tacos (obviously I’m not the only taco addict among my group of friends). Then packed up and hit the road.

It was a quick 24-hour turn-around, but it was exactly what I needed that weekend. I needed to get away. I needed to put the real world on pause. I needed some time with some of the best women I know.

I’d give Martin Creek Lake a 7.5 out of 10.

It wasn’t nearly as crowded as Tyler State Park and the campsites were super cheap. We got a spot along the water at $16 for one night.

I would have liked more hiking options, but if you’re looking for a lowkey getaway, this place is your spot. It’s not too far from the DFW but it is far enough away to feel free.

I plan to camp some more this summer, and I’m about to leave town for a few weddings, so keep up with my wanderings here. And go ahead and take a break from the DFW yourself! Everyone deserves a getaway now and then.

Introducing Beyond.

I do my fair share of traveling.

Every couple months or so, I try to break out of the 214. Dallas is home, but my heart loves to explore. My favorite states (other than Texas, of course) include Utah, Tennessee and Colorado.

All-time favorite cities I’ve been to include London, Florence, Escalante, New York and Interlaken. With each place I visit, I make friends and memories that last a lifetime. When I wander alone, I find out more about myself and who I want to be.

Keep up with my adventures beyond Dallas here.