Day Trip to Boston

On a whim I decided to chop off six inches of my hair. This is usually a sign that I am ready for a change of pace. More than halfway of the semester was over, and I was already exhausted by the mundanities of my day-to-day routine.

My fool-proof solution? Get away from home, wherever that may be, and spend a day away from all of your responsibilities and social life. Be okay with being by yourself. Spend time in a place where no one may know you. Remember how it feels to be alone. It’s like that old saying—if you only had one day to live, what would you do? Well, it doesn’t have to be as morbid as that, necessarily. But in my 21 years of living on Earth, I’ve quickly learned that no matter how stressed you are, or how stuck you feel in the everyday, every single moment ahead of us is fleeting. So if you can, take some courage to escape for a little bit, ground yourself, and come back feeling charged to accomplish your goals. A day trip is not enough time to get behind on your commitments, and it is totally worth it for your mental health and sanity.

Flight itinerary for almost 12 hours in Boston!

I flew from my hometown airport (RDU) to a city over 700 miles away: Boston, Massachusetts. JetBlue had a crazy flash fare sale that had $31 fares during the week of Halloween, so I jumped on this opportunity. My options out of Raleigh were Fort Lauderdale, New York, and Boston. The last time I was in Boston was in August with a couple coworkers from my internship this summer, when we decided to fly to Boston after work just to grab some dinner and then leave. It’s such a gorgeous city, and I wish that I had more time to spend there. So, I picked Boston. By using only 2,600 of my TrueBlue points, I really only paid $11.20 for the roundtrip flight, which was simply just the domestic flight tax.

And so on a Wednesday morning, I arrived at the airport with just a purse. Having no luggage felt extremely freeing, knowing I would just return at night. The flight was just two hours long, and suddenly, I was in a new city.

Boston is a FANTASTIC place to visit if you are on a time crunch. Whether you’re wanting to spend a quick day trip there or simply just have a few hours in a layover, I would highly recommend stopping into the city. Unlike the proximity of airports in New York City for example, downtown Boston is only a 10-15 minute drive or 20-25 subway/bus ride from the airport, and the entire city is extremely walkable and easy to navigate via the public transportation system.

I took the T Silver Line bus from the airport and transferred to the Red Line at South Station Train Terminal, where I got off just two stops later at Park Street. I wanted to start my day in the Beacon Hill area, near the beautiful Boston Common park. I walked along the Freedom Trail, taking in all of the natural beauty around me. If you’ve never been to Boston before, it’s a quiet city that has beautiful historic architecture mixed with lots of green spaces. Fall was in full swing at this time of year, so I really got to appreciate the delightful weather, which was at a comfortable 60 degrees and sunny.

After walking around for a couple of miles, I wanted to stop by my favorite foodie spot, Tatte Bakery, which is where we ate for dinner last time I was in town. It’s extremely popular, and they have delicious sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, and more. I got the prosciutto and fig jam panini last time I was here—and two months later, I was STILL craving this sandwich. I ordered one with an iced latte, and spent about an hour eating and checking up on emails on my iPad.

Newbury Street

Afterwards, I spent a couple of hours walking along Newbury Street, which is most known for its many shops and restaurants. I stopped into some of my favorite stores, such as Zara and Reformation. Nearby was a really cool mall called the Prudential Center, and I stopped by in Aritzia and Lululemon there. To my surprise, I didn’t end up buying anything at all, which was great for my wallet! I still had so much fun window shopping and walking around.

It was already almost 4PM by this point, and I wanted to keep moving along. I hopped on the Orange Line to the Samuel Adams Brewery, which took about 20 minutes. Once I was there, I had to wait about 30 minutes for the next tour, which gave me time to charge my phone and rest my achy feet for a bit. I was also surprised to learn that the brewery tour was totally free, which was completely unexpected! I had only done one brewery tour in the past when I went to the Heineken Experience tour in Amsterdam, and that was a hefty 21 euros per person.

The tour guide took us through the brewery and explained the history of this beer and the exact ingredients that go into it. I’ve always loved Sam Adams beer, and I didn’t realize that it was one of the sub-brands under the Boston Beer Company, which also owns Angry Orchard and Truly. The entire audience sat down in a room where we all tried three or four different styles of Sam Adams brew, my favorite being the Oktoberfest. The portions were extremely generous, and pitchers were being passed around all of the tables. It was a great experience, especially as it was a free activity!

I was set to meet a friend for dinner around 6PM, and because it was dark and started to drizzle by this point, I decided to take a shared Lyft back to Boston. I met my friend Kevin at MIT, as he is a graduate student there. He was also an intern with me at JetBlue this summer, so I was glad to catch up with him! He showed me around MIT, which was a totally interesting and quirky place—almost all of the classes and dorm rooms were in one massive building. It felt like a confusing maze of indoor hallways. But it was so fun to tour a different school, and I could tell that the general vibe of the school was hardworking and innovative. There were endless engineering and design spaces for students to collaborate and build—it was cool to see it all in action. My favorite part about seeing MIT was one of their study spaces, which had boxes on boxes of bananas for students to take at any time. I took a baby banana as a fun souvenir.

After walking around the school, we got dinner at a Korean restaurant called Kaju. We ordered a feast—dukbokki, kalbi, and two sundubujigaes. All of these dishes are some of my favorite classic Korean dishes.

An excellent dinner at Kaju!

Soon enough, it was time to return back to the airport for my 9:30PM flight. I took one easy bus back to the airport. I was wiped by this point and fell asleep on the entire plane ride home. I had a wonderful day trip to Boston and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Besides paying for transportation and lunch and dinner, I spent almost nothing at all on this getaway.

Next time there’s another flash sale, I will definitely be booking another adventure like this.

Eight Hours in Nantucket

I flew to 12 different cities in 10 weeks…and in each trip I took this summer, I spent no longer than 48 hours in one place. Once, I flew from the East Coast to the West Coast, only to spend a grand total of 15 minutes in the airport, and then I just hopped on a plane right back home. Through these crazy experiences, I fell deeper in love with aviation and travel, quickly learning that this is absolutely the right career path for me. It’s all because I said yes to everything, living and appreciating every single moment.

While I didn’t blog this summer, I now want to use my blog as a platform to highlight each trip to show how you can maximize your travel experience in less than 48 hours.

The first trip I took to was a Sunday day trip to Nantucket. A quaint island off the coast of Massachusetts, its extremely short flight of just 40 minutes from JFK made it an extremely desirable day-trip option. Nantucket is a difficult island to get to, as it costs $400 to drive your car to the island. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Boston that takes about four hours. However, JetBlue had just expanded their seasonal summer service from JFK to Nantucket, and since it was still the beginning of the summer, there were plenty of empty seats on both routes.

Sunday, June 9

The flight was scheduled to depart bright and early at 7:10A.M. Peter and I both lived in the city, so we split a Lyft to the airport. Since it was Sunday AND not even 6A.M., we got to the airport in just 25 minutes. The city felt like a ghost town at this hour.

The plane was relatively empty, so Peter and I were able to score two ‘Even More Space’ seats together in the front. The plane, an E190, was older, but was super comfortable and provided tons of legroom. Even on such a short flight, the inflight crewmembers provided full service with our famous unlimited snacks and drinks. If you ever fly JetBlue, please try the Popcorners. I unapologetically take at least three extra bags of them on each flight.

I blinked, and somehow we had already landed. The airport was the smallest airport I had ever been to—it felt like I was in a cute beach house instead of a terminal. Peter and I took an Uber (no Lyft here) to the downtown area, which took about 15 minutes. It was only 8A.M., so there really was nothing going on in the town. We each got an Americano and just started walking around. Eventually, we found our way to one of the famous lighthouses, Brant Point Lighthouse. Built in 1746, it was small and had that old-time charm to it. We saw many boats come in and out of the port. Since it was still very early in the morning, the weather was just barely above 60 degrees. However, it felt really nice; the sun was shining down, and it was the perfect weather for just a tank top, jeans, and sandals. The beach was also quaint and beautiful.

Afterwards, we walked through the close-by neighborhood and admired the different houses. We made our way back to downtown Nantucket, where we continued to explore the area. At around 11A.M., we got brunch at this restaurant with gorgeous outdoor patio called Or, the Whale. I opted for a classic—the lobster roll with a side salad. The meal was delicious. I couldn’t leave Nantucket without trying this Northern staple.

Since it was Sunday morning, Nantucket felt slow-paced, as people were gradually rolling out of church. But I enjoyed how peaceful it was compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City. We walked through more neighborhoods, got some ice cream at Jack + Charlie’s, and just as a whole appreciated the historic feel of the buildings.

We then took an Uber back to the airport and made it to our 4:40P.M. flight home. Since the airport was so small, we boarded the aircraft while being outside on the tarmac. I snapped this picture of myself with the plane, where I was happy that my first trip was a success. I started small with Nantucket my first weekend, and it gave me the confidence to keep on using my travel benefits to the fullest for the rest of the summer.

What It’s Like to Speak Multiple Languages

This photo was taken on my recent winter break trip to South Korea.

“Welcome to the first day of class. I want everyone to go around the room and say their name, hometown, major, and a fun fact.”

As much as I dislike these kinds of icebreakers, I have perfected my introduction that I use in every class. My fun fact is that I am trilingual in an interesting combo of languages: English, Korean, and French. When this time of the year comes around, I can always rely on this trusty fun fact.

English is my first language, of course, as I was born and raised in the United States. My second language is Korean, which is the language of my parents, who immigrated from South Korea in the early nineties. And although I never formally learned it when I was young, Korean was the language I spoke at home growing up. And finally, French was the language of choice throughout my entire K-12 education. I also studied abroad in Paris, France after my first year in college and am now pursuing a French minor.

While I use English in my day-to-day life, Korean and French are two languages that I don’t get to use as much. I speak Korean less frequently than when I lived with my mom, and I only practice my French now in classroom settings a few times per week. The only other times I’ll hear these languages is when it’s sprinkled into conversations I overhear in random public settings.

For example, I was sitting at a Starbucks in Durham by myself last week to get a fresh breath of air and escape campus for a few hours. It was a beautiful day, so I worked on assignments at an outdoor table. All the other tables were full of people, young and old, also enjoying the sun. Next to me, I started to hear the chatter of two elderly Korean women, gossiping about some other women in the neighborhood. They looked over at me a couple times, probably because they could gather that I could understand what they were saying, but they continued their conversation anyway.

I wasn’t intentionally listening to them and I obviously couldn’t stop my ears from doing what they were naturally wired to do, but these moments always make me laugh to myself because I remember doing the same thing with my mom. Those who speak multiple languages know that this is a huge relief to be able to switch to a different language when having to gossip or making a decision with your own discretion. It has come in handy in crucial situations, such as when my mom and I had to make sure the car salesman wasn’t ripping us off when I was buying my first car. However, it can also make others feel like they’re being left out of the conversation–it’s like when you go to the nail salon and everyone there isn’t speaking English to each other.

About a month ago, I was sitting shotgun in an Uber with some of my friends. I am the type of person to be conversational with my Uber drivers, and so I found out that our Uber driver had immigrated from Morocco, which meant that he could probably speak French. Soon enough, we were having an entire conversation in French–we talked about moving to North Carolina, how I studied abroad in Paris, and what it was like to live in Morocco. Not only was I able to confuse my friends, I also made my Uber driver feel happy to speak French, a language he knows far better than English. Language can be a unique force to connect two strangers together beyond the surface level.

Although I live in North Carolina and I don’t normally expect to practice these languages on a daily basis, it always makes my day when I get the chance to hear or speak it with others. It inspires me to learn more languages and to travel to countries where these languages are pervasive.

The Seine River in Paris during the summertime

Five Best Secrets for Finding Cheap Flights

Ever since I studied abroad in Paris during the summer of 2017, I had this ever-growing desire to keep traveling and see the world. Because I grew up in the same town where I now attend college, I gained a newfound appreciation for traveling, especially to big cities that are bustling with sightseeing opportunities.

So in 2018, I wanted to make traveling a priority. Given my busy schedule as a college student, I would say that I was pretty successful. In the span of one year, I visited eight major metropolitan cities: Miami, Las Vegas, NYC, DC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Vancouver, and even Seoul.

As a college student however, I have many limitations, especially when it comes to budgeting. Flights are a huge cost when it comes to traveling. There are some obvious tips that most of us know, such as purchasing flights earlier rather than later and flying on discount airlines such as Frontier or Spirit Airlines. But in this blog post, I will bring you my five best secrets for scoring your next flight deal.

Use Google Flights as your flight search engine.

In 2018, Google improved the design and functions of Google Flights. I now use it as my sole search engine for flights because of its simple and customizable interface. I do not use other websites such as StudentUniverse or Expedia anymore, because I have consistently found better deals from Google Flights.

Do you know when you want to travel but are unsure of where your next destination should be? By simply inputting the dates you would like to travel, Google Flights can show you a list and map of different destinations and their respective prices.

This is a game-changer as you can explore various options for both domestic and international travel. Especially as a college student, you may be limited to just weekend trips or over holidays and long breaks. By knowing which dates you are free, you may find yourself traveling to a place you never considered before.

Most people know that return flights on Sundays are expensive, and flying on weekdays is significantly cheaper. Therefore, if you have a little bit more flexibility on your dates of travel, Google Flights can show you a price grid showing how much you could save if you simply adjusted the days you travel.

You can also check out the price of flights over the next few months by using their price graph. Depending on where you visit, flights in the summer and winter will typically be more expensive.


Caution! Google Flights does not show flights from Southwest Airlines. Don’t forget to double check Southwest’s website when conducting your search, as they can have some pretty awesome deals too.

Consider flying out of a different airport (somewhat) near you.

My local airport, Raleigh-Durham International, is the second-largest airport in North Carolina. While I have found many cheap deals out of RDU, it is still pretty expensive to fly out to certain cities in the United States, such as to the West Coast. Additionally, you will almost always have a connecting flight if you are flying internationally at RDU, which can make flights more expensive.

A huge tip that I have learned for saving money is to fly out of different airports that are bigger and tend to have more flights available. For me, Washington D.C. is a good option to look at, as there are three major airports that are a four-hour drive. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the largest airport in the United States, is about a six-hour drive. I have even considered flying out of any of the airports around New York City, which is an eight-hour drive. The sheer volume of flights at these larger airports makes driving instead of taking a connecting flight worthwhile.

For my upcoming spring break trip next week, my friends and I are flying out of Atlanta to catch a direct flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico for just under $300. Meanwhile, flying out of our local airport cost upwards to $800.

Again, for international flights, this is an excellent way to save money. There are many direct flights out of New York to destinations in Europe or Asia for under $400.

Find out which flights and airlines are most popular at your local airport.

If you don’t have a car and driving to a different airport isn’t a viable option for you, getting to know what your local airport has to offer can help you find cheap flights.

A quick Wikipedia search can tell you important statistics about your airport. At RDU, the top destinations are Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Dallas, and Orlando. Typically, flying to these cities will be cheaper, because there is a larger number of flights that service to these areas. On your search for your next trip, consider flying to any of these cities.

Furthermore, if certain airlines have larger shares at your airport, they will offer more flights that will also be cheaper. At RDU, Delta, American, and Southwest are head-to-head on their percent of market shares. Understanding this will help you narrow your search on which airlines to fly when you’re going to a specific destination.

Sign up for rewards programs or credit cards with travel benefits.

Check out the rewards programs for airlines that you fly most often. Signing up for these is essential, as the miles you fly can translate into steep flight discounts or even free flights. The more you fly, the more benefits you can redeem in the future. Airlines will also have credit cards that will offer amazing travel benefits such as free checked bags and priority boarding.

Credit card companies such as Chase or Discover will also have their own type of travel cards that translates your everyday spendings into rewards for flights on any airline.

By signing up for any of these programs, you will also receive exclusive emails for flights, so it is worth subscribing.

Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a free newsletter that emails you some of the best flight deals to international locations as they pop up. There is a premium version of $39 per year, where they email you ALL of the deals that they find. However, as a free user of the service, I have gotten about 2-3 emails per week, which I have been satisfied with thus far.

Each email will detail the location they found, the dates to fly, and which airlines these deals are on.

If you’re feeling spontaneous and want to travel somewhere new, Scott’s Cheap Flights can show you some really great deals across the world.

Let me know if you use any of these tips to find yourself a great deal!