Introduction: Essential Travel Tips
1. Throw the hotel bar soap into your dirty laundry bag so it doesn’t stink up your suitcase for the rest of your trip. Don’t have any bar soap lying around? Use a dryer sheet.
2. Wear a night moisturizer on long flights because it’s extra hydrating and you’ll have plenty of time to let it sink in and do its job (you know, like fighting wrinkles and brightening skin).
3. Pack items like your laptop in smaller bags so you have options when you’re out and about. You don’t want to have to lug your carry-on bag with you everywhere, do you?
4. Store your power cords in an old sunglass case. It’ll keep you from losing your damn mind. We promise.
5. Ditch the blush, brightener, and lipstick in favor of an all-in-one makeup product (like W3LL People’s Universalist stick). Major space saver, and you now have an excuse to pick up a beauty souvenir while you’re away.
6. Make your own awesome travel beverage. Bring a thermos with lemon, honey, and your own tea bag. Then have the flight attendant fill it with hot water—it makes the flight a tiny bit more relaxing.
7. Use your mascara as an eyeliner—just press the wand as close to your waterline as possible. It won’t approximate a cat eye but it will give you an effortless, smudged look.
8. Infinity scarves give you infinite options. Use one as a blanket when you’re cold, or fold it over your face to block out the light for a nap.
9. Hot tools take up precious suitcase space. Spritz damp hair with sea salt spray, use a towel to tie it up "genie-style," and sleep on it. Unwrap in the morning to reveal beachy waves.
10. If you bring some sort of hot styling tool, tuck it into a potholder to protect the clothes in your suitcase. Or pack a curling iron like this one that comes with a handy heat-resistant carrying case.
11. Leggings are a safe and comfy bet for traveling. Wear them under dresses and skirts, or for a workout (if that’s your thing).
12. Find your product savior. May we suggest a travel-sized Egyptian Magic? It won’t be confiscated by TSA and can be used as a cuticle cream, lip balm, stray brow tamer, flyaway smoother—pretty much everything.
13. Use a pill container to store and sort your jewelry. So tidy!
14. Holiday overindulgence equals dull skin. Mask the effects of that eggnog with a brightening sheet mask, like this one. They’re single-use, take up zero space, and revive skin in less than 20 minutes.
15. Wear your heaviest shoes on the plane (like those cute ankle boots you just bought) as well as your heaviest coat. You’ll save room and that coat doubles as a good pillow, too.
16. Just traveling for the weekend? Put your foundation or powder into contact cases to bring small quantities.
17. Pack clothing items around a color scheme (denim/black/white/gray) so that it's easy to mix and match. Dress up your outfits with scarves or jewelry.
18. Stash your bobby pins in a Tic Tac container to keep from losing them. 19. Bring several pairs of underwear in your carry-on—just in case your luggage winds up lost.
20. Collect travel- and sample-size items (gee, where could you find those?) so you’ll have them when you need them.
21. Pre-pack what you can. Always have a toiletry bag ready, so that you don't need to go crazy the night before you leave.
22. Place a cotton pad in your blush or powder compact to ensure that it won’t break while you’re in transit.
23. Wear something with preferably deep pockets on the plane—it’ll prevent you from having to dig through your bag for your phone, wallet, and boarding pass every five min
Water Bottle :: When traveling, my CamelBak Groove is pretty much always right by my side. Not only is flying crazy dehydrating, but what is it about airports and yucky water? I’ve never had good water from an airport water fountain. So the filter in the Groove helps make my water tasty!Toiletry Bag :: I have a little bag of toiletry things that I carry along with me. This guy actually stays in my purse, so it’s an easy transition into my carry-on bag when I’m flying. More about what’s in here below.Kindle :: The Kindle is seriously the best thing to ever happen to airport entertainment. I used to pack a few magazines and at least one heavy book, not any more. It all fits in my tiny, tiny Kindle. Woo!Planner and Markers :: Chances are, I won’t need them, but I really don’t go anywhere without them.SunglassesGum :: I never chew gum, but it’s a must for me when I’m flying. I’ve had a lot of ear problems in the past, and chewing gum helps make it less ouchy.Tea :: I’m not a big fan of paying $5 for a cup of hot water and a tea bag, so I bring my own tea. Most airport restaurants will give you a cup of hot water for free and you can always get one during beverage service on the plane.Keys :: I recently simplified my keychain (removing old keys, removing store cards) and it is so much nicer! And it fits perfectly onto the key clip in my bag now.WalletPassports :: I’m the keeper of the passports. Mostly because there is a perfect little passport pocket on the front of my bag.Phone, Charger and EarbudsCash :: I like to bring along a little bit of cash and change just in case I need to tip a driver or buy something at the airport stores.Snacks :: I’m gonna go ahead and guess you aren’t surprised that the vast majority of my bag space is reserved for food. I despise buying food at the airport. It’s hard to find healthier options (although getting easier) and always insanely expensive. Beyond these snacks, I also packed a separate lunch in a collapsible cooler for eating during one of our flights. Our travel day was about 14 hours, so I made sure to pack a lot of food. More on the specific snacks below.
THE BIG QUESTION, How much I ACTUALLY spent (note: this is WAY different than my pre-planned out budget): $1,700 in three weeks of backpacking, which is about $80 a day. This includes EVERYTHING. Trains, hostels, food, drinks, shopping, and miscellaneous adventures! Many ebooks and blogs boast that you can ‘travel Europe in $30 a day!’… which is true if you exclude trains and hostels. This budget is totally realistic and includes everything so you can make a tangible savings goal. My study abroad budget after the backpacking was really different because I had to pay for tuition and lodging for the University, plus our traveling was different than when you’re backpacking. In backpacking, you go from one city to the next; in study abroad, you leave your University’s city, explore, and come back… which basically doubles the travel expenses per trip. I would suggest using my original estimate if you are only backpacking! What did you spend it on the most? It’s really hard to decide… I definitely spent a lot more than I had planned on food and drinks. So probably food, travel, and hostels! Some train tickets can be a little pricey. What is the most beneficial thing to spend it on (most worth it)? DEFINITELY those random adventures and shopping. That may sound crazy, and you’re probably rolling your eyes and totally disregarding my ‘cheap’ travel advice. To me, traveling is all about experiences and making memories, so make sure you have a REALISTIC budget that will accommodate for random opportunities. I didn’t realize how many awesome things there are to do that cost 20 Euros here/there, and that adds up fast. TIP: We split a Gondola ride in Venice with a cute couple we randomly met, so instead of splitting 80 Euros between two people, we were able to split it between four. How much was spent towards food/necessities vs. traveling and shopping? Here is the breakdown from my first three weeks of backpacking: Hostels and travel (ex: trains and buses): $700 Food: $600 (those gelatos, bottled waters, and cappuccinos sure add up!) Activities: $150 Shopping: $250 (clothes, gifts, postcards/stamps)
. Your smartphone (or iTouch or similar) can be used in place of a bunch of individual travel accessories: maps, GPS, currency exchange converter, translation tool, mp3 player. Make sure you have a fresh backup in the cloud and you should be set. Though, putting too much reliance on a single device can backfire: On a recent press trip to New Brunswick, I ran over my iPhone in the rental car and smashed the screen so badly my data couldn’t be recovered.
2. Iodine tablets (two per quart of water) and a steel canteen like this one fromKleen Kanteen make for drinkable water in most backcountry. 3. An eco-friendly, biodegradable, phosphate-free multipurpose soap to wash your dishes, your clothes, and your body. 4. Mini-first aid kit with these essentials: band-aids, antibiotic cream, anti-nauseants, anti-diarrheals, antihistamines, analgesics, a single-use ice pack, a sterile bandage, and an EpiPen for those who are allergic to bee stings and pad thai. 5. A compact and energy-efficient headlamp that uses LED technology. 6. An immersion water heater can be inserted into a canteen and brings liquids to a boil within minutes. Here’s one for $20. 7. A multipurpose tool is a compact and lightweight way to bring your kit with you. You’ll have easy access to pliers, screwdrivers, a jackknife, a saw blade, and mini-scissors. Models vary. Check out these options from Gerber. 8. A portable solar power kit, like one of these units from GoalZero, so you can charge your electronics anywhere (if it’s sunny). 9. Protect your papers and electronics by storing them in waterproof pouches /drybags. In 2007, I went under the falls at Iguazu in Argentina. We were given drybags by the boat company but I forgot that my passport was in my pants pocket. 10. Bug spray, a mosquito net, and Afterbite. Add anti-malarials where required. 11. A pair of aquasocks — slip-on shoes with non-skid soles to protect your feet in the water. Also can double as shower shoes. 12. Small pump bottle of Febreze to freshen your clothes (in lieu of laundry, if you’re rolling lazy). 13. Socket configurations vary region-to-region, so bring a travel adapter. Choose an all-in-one unit, and make sure it includes a power transformer, or you could blow out your gadgets by using an incompatible voltage. 14. Camera, memory cards. 15. A travel sleep kit with eyeshades, earplugs, and a travel pillow. I also put a sleeve of Gravol in mine to help me sleep on airplanes. 16. Portable speakers — instant party, or a good way to kill down time. 17. Packing cubes help you fit more into a smaller space, and keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones. 18. Pack of biodegradable towelettes. 19. A no-pin twist laundry line allows you to hang your clothes to dry anywhere. I’ve also used this item to hang a sarong between bunks in a hostel dorm for extra privacy. 20. Pack inflatable hangers if you’re going to need unwrinkled clothes. 21. Quick-dry microfiber towel. Alternatively, use a sarong. They don’t dry as fast, but they are much more versatile. 22. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and Afterburn. 23. A travel door alarm adds security to shared or unlocked rooms. 24. A sleep sack — lightweight cotton or silk bag — to sleep in at hostels that don’t provide linens. 25. Carry an ultra-portable insulated blanket made of lightweight polyethylene and aluminum. If you’ve ever had to wait out the long wee hours between a hostel’s curfew and opening, you’ll appreciate this item. 26. Bring a toiletry kit that has a hook so you can hang it off the door knob or shower rod. 27. Keep thieves out of your stuff with a wire pack protector and TSA-approved luggage lock. 28. A survival whistle, if you’re going far off the grid. 29. Rum Runners are reusable, BPA-free soft plastic flasks. Manufactured in response to the exorbitant price of alcohol on cruise ships, they can’t be detected by X-ray machines. They’re also a lightweight and flexible way to pack along a bottle of wine. 30. Noise-cancelling headphones, to block out the sounds of other travelers. 31. A netbook or tablet makes it easy to get online and prepare documents, without the weight and expense of a laptop. 32. Reusable cutlery and a small bowl. 33. Rain gear, including a cover for your pack. 34. A portable electronics charger allows you to recharge multiple devices simultaneously while only using a single socket. 35. Dissolve oral rehydration salts in water and drink to treat severe dehydration. 36. A money belt to hide your cash, cards, and passport. 37. If you think you might be taking advantage of the Duty Free, pack aninflatable travel bag for wine or other breakables. 38. A tire patch kit fixes punctures in bicycle tires and other inflatables. 39. A portable digital luggage scale lets you weigh your bags before you get to the airport. 40. Duct tape is notoriously versatile, and while it won’t help you if you forget something like your solar power kit, it’s a go-to repair tool. The most unique use I ever put duct tape to was rebinding the spine of a book a travel companion and I were reading at the exact same time
Participated in the
Travel Tips Contest