Elona Karafin had cancer when she was a 10. She underwent treatment for 2 years and came out victorious. Ever since then, she has developed a ‘Let Nothing Stop You’ attitude and it reflects in the number of places she has traveled.
Working full time in a large eCommerce company in New York, Elona is a ‘professional vacationer’ and a manager of time. (cool self-title right?) She regularly takes international weekend holidays every few weeks and they are luxurious yet inexpensive. So how does she do it?
Get busy living or Get busy dying
To completing 19 countries!
Well, the first thing that she is sorted on is her attitude. Elona at a very young age learnt that the only thing stopping you from doing what you want is YOU yourself! And once you overcome this barrier, happiness starts to come in.
Her international weekend escapades usually cost under $1000 and include her stays, tickets, sightseeing, and everything else.
Ritz Carlton, Florida: Weekend full of happiness!
From Paris with love
Unlike a regular traveler, she does not compromise on her stays and instead focuses on optimizing her travels through careful planning!
After all, luxury travel on a budget calls for it!
Disney World, Florida: Living life to the fullest, one weekend at a time!
St. Thomas US Virgin Islands: Into the blue
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Amsterdam Central: Always exploring
Suggested Read: This Solo Traveler Found A Genius Way To Tell His Mother He Was Okay And We Can’t Stop Laughing! Making the most of her youth, Elona when not on an international getaway is usually found touring the states of America typically on a weekend ie. Friday to Sunday or a Monday. Her blog, ‘Elona, The Explorer’ is regularly updated with her travel stories and looking at the breathtaking photos, one can easily mistake her as a super luxurious traveler even though she manages it all on a budget.
Israel, Jerusalem: Reveling in the charm of the old city
Ubud, Bali: Involved in some monkey business
Kuta Beach, Bali: In company of Lord Ganesha
Not wealthy but financially independent, Elona has same number of hours as everyone else and yet she manages to follow her passion to travel!
It is incredible to look at the amount of international trips she has managed in such a short time and some of them are no less than a feat!
Let’s have a look
- A 3 day trip to Bali – where she was on a flight for 26 hours and could not even spend 4 full days there. But hey, the tropical vibe was worth it.
- Doing and making the most of Dubai in 4 days! (wicked fast!)
- Visited Poland for 8 hours, surprised her friend on her birthday, flew back the next day! (Now those are some serious friendship goals!)
- Done and dusted Amsterdam in 2 days! “There’s a whole list of things you can get done in two days”.
- Additionally, Elona also runs her own charity called CheckMateCancer.org that used social media and crowdfunding to raise money for underprivileged children suffering from cancer. She has so far raised more than $115,000 dollars. (Can you believe that?!)
Cannes, France: The high life!
Bali: Tropical delights on a weekend
Al Ain, UAE: Creatures of the desert!
So how does she do it? (Travel Tips)
A successful traveler, professional and a philanthropist, she shares her top travel tips with us –
- Turn off cookies in your browser when making plans on travel websites – This way travel websites cannot track your past searches and cannot manipulate you to show you the same fares as last time.
- Be open to visit all places – “I use websites that allow me to put ‘everywhere’ as a destination, and New York as my origin,” This allows her to go wherever she is getting the best deal.
- Always research before you travel for it saves a hell lot of money – “Can I find a cheaper flight? Can I book flight and hotel separately? I visit many blogs for tips and message the blogger with questions.
- Create a budget in advance and then plan accordingly – Research prices on everything from food to tours before my trips. I set up an Excel spreadsheet with the latter prices to help me understand my budget.”
- Optimize your life for travel – Apart from saving money on travel, optimize your life in such a way that you save more in daily life! For example, she puts a part of her income in a high yielding account and buys wine not from retail but from quarterly auctions. Little things matter much!
- Be serious about your work. Genuinely! That ways when you ask for some time off for holidays, it won’t be frowned upon for you are a dedicated professional looking to expand their experience thorough travel.
Andriyivskyy Descent, Ukraine: Lost and happy in the streets of Ukraine
In the end, travelers like Elona quite impressively prove that taking exotic international weekend getaways are quite possible even when working full time.
Because if the money you’re spending is not spent on your passion and yourself, then it is not worth it!
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