Over the last few years the amount of traveling I do has skyrocketed! I’m not a globe-trotter by any means, but I went from RARELY traveling to hopping on a plane every 6 to 8 weeks. That’s a lot for me! I honestly don’t know if I would want to do much more than that! I enjoy traveling…but only to a certain extent. :-) I’m guessing most people feel that way. My husband also travels a lot for business, but his travel is mostly international and he has to travel with a whole lot of video equipment, so his traveling needs are a lot different than mine.
There are a lot of universal travel tips that you can find online that are very useful….ie. Take half as much clothing as you think you will need and twice as much money; take pictures of all your important travel documents with your phone; never check your bag! (This is one I regularly ignore…but that’s just me!) Today I thought I would share with you my personal travel tips, tricks, and must-haves that make time “on the road” a little less irksome, and a lot more enjoyable overall. :-)
First off…fashion that works! Most of the travel I do is to blogger-related events and so I want to pack a presentable wardrobe. For example, next month I am headed to a blogger event at Better Homes & Gardens headquarters in New York City. The last trip I took to New York I felt a little like a fish out of water because my wardrobe tends to include a lot of COLOR and I swear everyone in New York dresses in BLACK all the time! So I decided to “do as the romans do” this trip and go for a more monochromatic look.
I headed to my local JCPenney to see if I could find something fun to wear to the event and to replace my current travel bag. As my current suitcase dropped onto the luggage carousel after my most recent trip to BlogHer’14 in San Jose I was a bit dismayed over its’ appearance. It had definitely seen better days! I guess that’s what I get for buying discount luggage. Lesson learned.
In the dress department at JCPenney (my new department obsession) this black pin-striped frock by Bisou Bisou was LITERALLY the first thing I laid eyes on! It was definitely love at first sight, but I hedged my bets and took 6 other dresses into the fitting room with me. Turns out first impressions are usually right, I loved the dress!
From there I attacked the handbag department and within 2 minutes zeroed in on this divine LULU by Lulu Guinness bag.
I wasn’t as lucky in the shoe department, but only because they didn’t have my big feet size 10 in stock. I’ve since learned about the FIND IT, KEEP IT program. Essentially, if you can’t find the size or color, etc. that you’re looking for in-store, JCPenney will find it for you and have it shipped to the store for free. Cool, huh?!
In the jewelry department I found some beautiful, but affordable, “bling” by Monet that I thought would go great with the dress and anything else I decided to pack for the weekend. Jewelry that does double (and triple) duty is a MUST when traveling.
Last on my list….a new suitcase. I found this stylish but functional Liz Claiborne expandable spinner for 50% off! Score! As silly as it may seem to some, I really think the luggage you travel with can complement or detract from the fashion statement you are trying to make overall. But again, that’s just me. :-)
After I have FINALLY decided what I’m going to be wearing for my trip (definitely the biggest travel hurdle for me!) these are the less crucial, yet still very important, travel rules I live by:
Snacks, lots of snacks. More snacks than you think you will need. My snack of choice…almonds. You can get through anything and go anywhere with this snack. An apple, banana, or dried fruit will do in a pinch as well.
I never get on a flight without a bottle of water (or your bottled beverage of choice.) I often sleep through the beverage service and wake up parched. Also, keeping hydrated on a plan is very important! It’s pretty much the Sahara desert up there!
Don’t forget your sunglasses. I finally dedicated a spare pair to my suitcase because I kept forgetting them. I normally leave early in the AM before it’s even light outside, not thinking about sun, and then arrive in a sunny place without shades! Maddening!
Buy a tablet and load it up with videos and ebooks. This is my most essential travel companion. Not only does it help pass the time on long flights but it helps entertain you when the TV in your hotel room refuses to work and you can’t seem to get anyone at the front desk to respond to your urgent pleas for help.
Headphones are a must if you’re going to watch those movies on the plane. Nice noise-canceling ones are even better.
Bring a journal/sketchbook for when you get sick of your tablet or laptop and/or you run out of battery power (the horror!)
Use Uber for car service where available. It is awesome.
Ear plugs. Great for on the plane if you plan on getting some shuteye or just to drown out unfortunate noise (ie. the lady laughing hysterically in the row in front of you from takeoff to touchdown!) They really help in hotel rooms too.
Never pass a restroom without using it! Always do your business before leaving, and at any stops along the way, even if you don’t have to. It will save you time and, more importantly, the uncomfortable feeling of having to hold it! I really, really, REALLY dislike using the airplane lavatories!
When packing, remember your chargers. It seems obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of time I have had to hunt down the nearest Apple store because I have forgotten one! It’s very easy to miss. It IS! :-)
Bring a power strip wherever you go. I think I’ve only been to ONE hotel that actually was smart enough to provide multiple, easily accessible, power outlets for gadgets or simple appliances.
If you’re using an e-boarding pass on your phone (I really like using these!) take a screenshot of the barcode image. It will keep you from holding up the line when you’re trying to scan your boarding pass at the gate and your phone is loading the app.
Bring a good amount of $1 and $5 bills, for tips and such.
Something I’ve recently started doing that has really been a game-changer for me is always bringing a scarf! Not just any scarf, a big scarf! Something like this metallic loop scarf I found on the JCPenney website is perfect! (You could also make one yourself with just a little bit of sewing skill!) There are multiple uses for this thing:
- If you’re freezing cold on the airplane you can wrap yourself up in it.
- If you’re hot, it’s lightweight enough to squish up into a ball in your purse or carry-on.
- Ball it up and use it as a pillow.
- Use it as a blanket if you get stranded at the airport or want to take a catnap.
A scarf is my travel buddy for life.
Get the Dropbox app on you phone and sync your photos every few days. You’ll run out of space in no time and need to clear your phone. Also if you lose your phone, break it or have it stolen you’ll still have all your treasured pictures.
Always take a small first aid and sewing kit with you. They hardly take up any room and can really make or break a trip. I take my essential oils, also some pain medication, some cold/cough meds, an anti-diarrheal of some kind, and a multivitamin. And last but not least…..
If you have to be up early, make sure the alarm clock is set to the correct time including the AM/PM setting. Additionally, have a backup alarm like a wake up call or cell phone alarm. Nothing like over-sleeping because you didn’t get the call or the phone was turned off (or dead) and starting the day in a blind panic!
Trust me on this one. :-)
There is definitely an art to traveling well and most of it is learned through trial and error (mostly error in my case.) Hopefully some of my little “secrets” will help you in your travels!
What do YOU bring with you when you travel?
Be sure to visit the JCPenney brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
Disclosure: I am a JCPenney ambassador and am really enjoying sharing the products I find with you!