Travel Tips and Tools

Why do we travel? Maybe to see family and friends, or to explore new destinations. Sometimes, we travel for work. Whatever your reason for traveling, a good travel plan is beneficial.

On my trip to Anchorage, Alaska

Where do you start when you are packing for a trip? Look up the destination forecast? Look over the planned itinerary? Do you have go-to travel clothes?

For me, I start with taking notes about my travel destination. If I’m visiting friends and family, I can skip this step. If it’s a new destination, I do some research. There are tons of writers who’ve visited a variety of locations and then shared their best travel tips. For example, the last trip I planned was a cruise through Alaska, and there were lots of helpful blog posts about what to pack.

The second thing I look at is my planned itinerary. Most trips involve some pre-planned activities. For example, if there are outdoor walks, hikes, etc., you will need proper shoes and clothing. Likewise, if you have nice dinners or events to attend, you will need to pack appropriate dressy clothes and shoes.

The last thing I look at is the weather forecast. Of course, the weather can change quickly, but you can get a general idea of the conditions at your destination one to two weeks before you leave.

The Packing Process: 

I mentioned in another post that I could be identified as a “pack rat.” Sometimes I have trouble letting go of my favorite things. This is especially true when I’m packing for a trip. For example, I want to bring several cardigans, which are slightly different. Or I want to have a variety of outfit choices. I’m not a minimalist at home, and when I’m packing my suitcase. Over the years, I’ve tried to reduce outfit choices, but I always tend to overpack. I cannot use a carry-on bag for a trip over seven days. I think five days is my max for packing a carry-on.

All of my bags for my recent 12 day trip.

If you’d like some useful packing tips, read: 19 Packing Tips Frequent Travelers Swear By

To help reduce overpacking, these are some of the best tips from the article:

5. Make your clothing multitask.

One of the most essential travel tips for packing light is to bring items that have multiple purposes. “The scarf or stole is the most versatile item you can carry,” D’Sousa says. “It can act as a sarong, a wrap for all your dirty clothes if needed, and you can wear it around your shoulders when covering up to visit a [religious location].” In general, bringing clothing items that you can wear for multiple occasions or mix and match with other items to create new outfits is a smart way to pack efficiently. The same concept applies to your hair tools and skin-care products—think: a 2-in-1 hair straightener and curler, a tint that can be used for blush and lipstick, and a soap that doubles as shaving cream.

6. Choose a clothing color scheme.

“As a full-time traveler with limited wardrobe space, I create a capsule wardrobe with items that effortlessly go together,” YouTuber Alina McLeod tells SELF. “That means choosing neutrals with one or two pops of color.” When everything coordinates, it’s easy to layer when you move between different places and changing weather. “This allows me to utilize all the items I bring instead of having four or five random outfits that don’t really mix,” McLeod adds.

Packing a color scheme or “color story” is a great tip. I usually pack my jewelry with a color theme – all silver and all gold, but I haven’t mastered packing a color scheme with my clothes.

This next tip is a new idea I hadn’t heard of yet, I’m not sure if I would want to carry a pillow on the plane, but it is a clever travel hack.

7. Use the pillowcase hack.

Nina Ragusa of Where in the World Is Nina recommends a hack that has gained TikTok notoriety this year. Grab two pillowcases: one that zippers and one that doesn’t, she suggests. “Stuff clothes in the zippered pillowcase, then cover it with the regular pillowcase. Now you have more room in your bag for other items, you’ve got a pillow to sleep with on your flight, and you got to bring those 10 extra outfits you swear you’re actually going to wear.” This hack is great because most airlines don’t count a pillow as a carry-on, Ragusa explains.

A few more helpful tips: Try on your outfits before packing, make a list (digital or on paper), and plan on doing laundry if you can on your trip. Also, wear your bulkiest clothing in transit.

I wore my hiking boots and heavy sweater when traveling to Alaska.

The last thing you need to pack on your trip is patience. Traveling right now is difficult; flight delays, cancellations, and staffing shortages occur. Be kind and patient with airline staff, servers, hotel staff, etc.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack some cash for tips for the hard-working employees you interact with on your trip. Tip often and be generous with your tips. For example, tip the guides and your shuttle drivers if you are going on local tours. Also, leave tips for housekeeping daily.

Useful Travel Products:

$25, Amazon

Packing cubes and shoe bags – The set pictured was shared in the Self article. I like that this set has a shoe bag and a cosmetic bag. Cubes help me organize my clothes and I find that I can fit more in my suitcase when I use them. I recently tried compression cubes but they were not easy to compress once filled. Be sure to put your shoes in bags when packing, you don’t want the bottom of your shoes getting things in your bag dirty.

$15.99 at Amazon

Travel containers for toiletries – You can buy sets of small containers with a small travel bag.

Here’s a great article about picking the best travel products for your trip: The 8 Best Travel Toiletry Bottles of 2022, Tested by Travel Experts

The article reviews these trendy containers I almost purchased for my recent trip:

$74 Cadence

I purchased this hair set from Ries because the containers held more product:

$54 at Ries

Tolietry bag – finding the perfect bag to hold all of your products can be challenging. I use several bags but I like this type that you can hang in your bathroom:

I like this type of bag for my makeup. $15.19

Before my recent trip I organized all of my toiletries and found the best bags and containers to use. I also like to travel with make-up removing wipes.

Luggage Scale – this is an important tool for over-packers. It gives me an idea of how close I am to the weight limit.

A similar version is available for $9.34 at Amazon

A travel pillow – I recently started using a travel pillow on long trips and I’m loving how comfy I am when snoozing on the plane.

This is the $14.75 set I bought on Amazon. I love the way it folds into a smaller case.
This is another type of neck pillow to check out. $39.99 Trtl Travel Pillow

2 thoughts on “Travel Tips and Tools

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