tips

Smart Packing Tips

My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!
My suitcase for Ireland. Notice the roll!

Everyone dreads it and waits 'til the last minute to do it, but packing is an essential part of traveling. For any of you who claim to be experts at it, I would love to hear from you because I'm always looking for new ideas on how to make it easier. Despite how often I travel I still struggle at it, but along the way I've picked up some helpful tips and tricks to get the job done. And I'm proud to say I've never had to pay extra for my bag being overweight. So, here you are:

  1. Choose your suitcase first and make it smaller than you would think you need. If you go the other way around (pick your clothes first, then the bag to fit it all), you're doomed. And if you choose the biggest bag you've got because you will be gone for an extended length of time, you might as well just fork your wallet over to the airlines now.
  2. Don't wait 'til the last minute. Why? Because if you start a few days in advance, you can go back to your pile later and realize you might not need that 3rd pair of white jeans. I promise, it works. Just like writing a long paper, it's good to take breaks.
  3. Roll, roll, roll. It seriously makes that big of a difference. And your clothes are less wrinkled, usually. My friend and fellow travel enthusiast Sara, has seemed to perfect this technique and actually packs a smaller bag than her husband (eh em, a carry-on for a 2 week trip, seriously?!). Check out her blog post on that here.
  4. Stuff small items inside shoes, like your socks and underwear. It really is all about maximizing space.
  5. If you plan on being active on vacay, bring a pair of old sneakers and leave them at your destination. Hey, we all love to free up space for souvenirs!
  6. Although this is pretty intuitive I can't stress enough to bring samples or travel sizes of your cosmetics. We all have that collection of goods sitting in our drawer that Sephora gives us Beauty Insiders or the bonus goods Kiehl's throws in the bag to urge you to try more products. Well traveling is the perfect time to use those up and save on space.
  7. Last but not least, invest in a luggage scale. They are inexpensive and totally worth the expense of not being surprised at the airport. Those extra airline fees add up quickly! Just make sure it does both kg and lb. You know, for when you're traveling internationally.

Have anything to add? I'd love to hear it!

10 Gifts for the Jetsetter

So, it's that time of year again and you have someone on your holiday shopping list that fancies a trip here and there. You're wondering what to get them because socks or perfume just won't cut it again this year. Well, here are some solid gift ideas for the travel lover in your life that they will be sure to thank you for. (Ahem, husband take note...)

 

For the Accessorizer

Leather Passport Case - There's nothing like traveling in style and a passport case adds just the right bit of flair. Plus, ones like these from Mark & Graham can hold your boarding pass, come in all sorts of colors, and are monogrammable. Not looking to splurge? J Crew Factory has some cute ones that are budget-friendly and get the job done all the same.

 

For the Coffee or Tea Drinker

City Vignette Mug - These mugs from Anthropologie have the cutest little details and come in various cities like Rome, Paris, London and more. Gift just one, their favorite city of course, or gift the entire set. The choice is yours and either way you can't go wrong.

 

For the Home Decorator

London Embroidered Pillow Cover - This pillow cover from Pottery Barn brings all the symbolic icons of old Londontown to your living room. If London is not the city you're looking for there's also Paris and San Fran to choose from. Pillow insert sold separately.

Travel-themed Ornament - Because it's always fun to add a new ornament to the tree.

 

For the Bartender

City Map Glasses - What better way to enjoy a cocktail than in a glass with your city etched into it! These make both a useful AND a thoughtful gift.

Carry-on Cocktail Kit - We all know those flights that require a strong cocktail. And with this old fashioned kit you don't have to settle for whiskey and ginger. Makes a cute stocking stuffer too!

 

For the Gadget Holder

Roll-up Travel Charger - Charge multiple devices on the go and minimize clutter with this guy from surprisingly Restoration Hardware. Who knew they sold anything but gorgeous furniture?

Global Universal Charger Kit - With 6 interchangeable tips, there isn't a country you won't be able to plug into.

 

For the Special Mister

Custom Map Cufflinks - Add a memorable or favorite location to your man's outfit. Wedding or honeymoon location perhaps? The location of your first home together? Here's your chance to get creative and thoughtful!

 

For the Special Lady

Custom Map Pendant - I love these pieces by A.Jaffe. What a great way to cherish a favorite destination and a diamond marks the spot of a special memory. So cute!

 

Finally, you could always opt instead for a blanket scarf, a new bag or piece of luggage, some noise-canceling headphones, or a toiletry case filled with travel-size goodies. Those always make great gifts but aren't these way more fun?! Happy shopping ;)

Essential Carry-On Items

We all know how uncomfortable flying can be, especially on a long flight. Well, unless you are one of the lucky few sitting in first/business class which I think everyone should try once in their life. On an international flight with flatbeds. It will spoil you forever though. ANYWAY, here's what I like to pack in my carry-on to make flying a little bit more tolerable and to increase my chances of arriving feeling refreshed instead of like death. I encourage you to try any/all of these to enhance your travel experience.

Kiehl's In-flight Refreshing Facial Mist - This stuff is a god-send and perfect for when you're feeling moisture-deprived. The essential oils smell lovely and help soothe the skin in a seriously dehydrating cabin. Comes in a travel size bottle too, which is TSA-compliant, perfect.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream - Another saving grace to combat the dryness in the cabin, this amazing hand cream has a very gentle scent so you don't annoy your neighbors, is extremely moisturizing and doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy. It's also my go-to for the winter.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes To-Go - I'm a bit of a germophobe and planes are pretty disgusting. Having a travel pack of these wipes comes in handy for wiping down the tray table, armrests, seatbelt, window shade, touchscreens, you name it. I might look a little crazy wiping everything down but who likes to be sick on vacation?

Emergen-C Super Orange Packets - On a red-eye flight when everyone is drinking their orange juice with breakfast I opt for this instead. You'll need the extra vitamins after being on a long plane ride with little or no sleep and your coughing neighbor next to you.

Beats Noise-Canceling Headphones - Trust me, these make all the difference and you can hear your TV or music selections without having to crank the volume as high as it will go. Plus, they have the amazing ability to make screaming children become silent. Wow!

Inflatable Neck Pillow - The inflatable feature is key for taking up minimal space in your carry-on. A pillow like this one will protect your head no matter the position, even those forward head bobs we all know too well.

Fuzzy Slipper Socks - Our feet tend to swell on flights due to sitting for long periods of time leading us to feel constricted in shoes. These socks are soft and keep your feet warm so you can take off your shoes and be comfortable.

Slip-On Shoes - These get a double shout-out this week because not only are they great for walking around your destination as I mentioned in my last post, but they make it easy to take off/put on for TSA purposes as well as on your flight.

Blanket Scarf - I love that oversized scarves like this one from Nordstrom are so in right now because they are perfect for traveling. Use one as a scarf to dress up your outfit (or cover your nose/mouth incase of any weird smells) or over your body for extra warmth in a cold cabin.

Lastly, I just want to mention this Self-Inflating Seat Cushion. It's popped up lately in a few travel blogs that I read and I'm dying to try it. My hips/butt have been getting angry lately on long flights and I find myself doing laps around the cabin and stretches in the bathroom. It's not fun getting old! This seems like a great solution without breaking the bank to fly business and it doesn't take up too much room in a carry-on.

Do you have anything to add to this list? If so, I'd love to hear it!

The Best Shoes for Traveling

While many of you are thinking about what sides to serve with your turkey next week, I'm thinking about what to pack for my upcoming trip to Ireland. This year I've opted to trade turkey for travel and I'm quite excited about it. So, appropriately, my next few posts are going to give you some insight on how I prepare for a trip overseas. When it comes to traveling around Europe, there's no denying that it will involve lots and lots of walking. Even my seaside escape to the Amalfi Coast involved some exploring of some sort which wouldn't have happened without happy feet. Finding the right pair of shoes is so important for this type of vacation and every time I'm preparing for some upcoming Euro travel I am faced with the dilemma of finding comfy yet fashionable footwear. I want to be comfortable but at the same time I want to look cute and let's face it, gym sneakers rarely go well with cute. Not to mention, they scream tourist which to me is possibly worse than wearing shoes that dig into the back of your heel.

I've pretty much looked at every Clark's and Merrill shoe out there, but little did I know that these shoes were right beneath my nose. Thanks to a friend who does some modeling for Reebok, I discovered the perfect pair for walking around all day-- the Reebok Skyscape Runaround 2.0. They are super lightweight, offer generous mold-to-your-foot cushioning, and come in all sorts of colors. Best of all they are devoid of any huge logo that screams sneaker. I purchased the black ones and they are exactly what I needed. Thanks, Lauren! BTW, check out her blog for some awesome workouts you can do at home and for some tasty, healthy recipes.

The Reebok Skyscape Runaround 2.0
The Reebok Skyscape Runaround 2.0

Knowing Ireland, I am bound to face some wet weather. As if finding one good pair of shoes was hard enough, I needed to find something that would keep my feet dry. I'm a huge fan of Hunter's wellies and have owned some because of their superb durability since before they were trendy. But they take up some prime real estate in my suitcase, are not really plane-friendly, and it's even more frustrating if the weather forecast proves me wrong and I don't end up wearing them. This is where the Tretorn Skymra Mid SL GTX comes in. They might cause a bit of sticker shock to some but they are made of Gore-tex which ensures that no drop of water will find its way to my feet. They easily fit into my suitcase and they look and wear like a fashionable high-top sneaker, which I love.

The Tretorn Skymra Mid GTX
The Tretorn Skymra Mid GTX

Some other great shoes for traveling include, but are not limited to:

A Chelsea-styled rain boot like the JCrew Chelsea Rain Boot. They look like their stylish all-leather sibling that are super in right now and these ones even come in leopard to add a bit of flair to your outfit.

A slip-on Vans-styled sneaker like the Gap Leather Slip-on. Plain, black leather goes with everything and keeps a low-profile while being a sneaker makes them comfortable too. Not to mention, slip-ons are very TSA and plane-friendly!

Keds. So many fun styles, so much comfort. Love the Kate Spade styles!

So I'd love to know, what is your go-to shoe for traveling?

Note: While this post is all about practicality, I cannot guarantee that my suitcase will not include at least one pair of impractical shoes too, whether that be my Frye boots or a pair of heels. Because sometimes a girl just wants to feel fabulous in a new country too!