the Go, and even divide my tips into sub-categories. I advise you to pay close attention and take copious notes, because I don’t share these tips with just anyone.
- Make a list of everything you’ll need for your trip, from clothes to toiletries. Next, lay everything out on the bed or floor, and check off items so you don’t forget anything. Having a list doesn’t just make packing more efficient, it’s also great because in the event your luggage is lost or stolen you’ll have a record of everything you packed. And since you’ve already got pen and paper in hand, make a card with your name and address and tape it inside the luggage in case it gets lost and the outside tags get lost.
- Group things together so that they’re easier to keep track of. For example, I pack all my electrical devices, cables, chargers, docking stations, adapters and so on in one fabric bag. I’ve also recently discovered packing cubes, and I’ll pack shirts in one, pants in another, etc.
- DIY luggage tags to make identifying your luggage easier. Every tourist and their mom ties a
ribbon – a red one, at that – onto bag, so not only are there beaucoup black bags going around the baggage carousel, but they all have a red ribbon tied onto the handle. Get your craft on and make your own unique luggage tag that is as traveltastic as you are.
- Properly pack your carry-on with 2 pairs of fresh underwear, a second shirt and deodorant, because there is always the possibility that your checked luggage will get lost when you travel.
- Plan cushion time in your travel and allow plenty of time to make that connection, catch your train, or return the rental car. I’m all about running the world, but running to catch a train or plane, not so much. Make sure you have enough time so that you’re not stressed and can enjoy the journey.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget your passport. Ask me how I know.
- BYO entertainment, food, blanket, pillow, WHATEVER, because airlines are nickeling and diming passengers at every turn, and giving us less bang for the buck in return. Save yourself the disappointment and just bring your own.
- Have a plan for the day. I don’t know about you, but I find things go smoother when I have a plan. It’s not necessary to have every second of everyday mapped out, but it is good to have a general idea of where you’re going, how you’ll get there, what you want to see or do.
- Enjoy the journey and don’t focus solely on getting to your destination. As Yogi Berra said, “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.” Those detours and unexpected can lead to an adventure of a lifetime.
- Be prepared for public bathrooms and have travel toilet paper and seat covers and anti-bacterial wipes at the ready.
- Cut your expenses by taking advantage of things like city passes which offer discounts on transportation, restaurants, museums and other attractions. Discounts offered by loyalty programs and open museum days can also save you a lot of money.
- Find out the necessary vaccines you need months before departure, because some vaccines can require multiple visits and can take a few months to get the entire series of shots. Check with the CDC or NHS before you book your trip to find out what vaccines you may need. This applies to adults as well as children.
- Keep it clean when you travel. No matter the mode of transportation, when I travel with my kids I take plastic bags to use for trash, paper towels, and wet wipes.
- BYO must be reiterated because not applying this principal when traveling with kids will
cause you to LYM (lose your mind). Be sure to take along whatever snacks and entertainment are necessary to make it through the trip.
- Save space by packing children’s shoes inside adult shoes. This is a tip that I recently learned, and at the rate the little ladies are growing one that won’t work for me much longer, but it was fun while it lasted.
- Use zip-loc bags for crayons and colored pencils. They make easier access than boxes and fewer crayons and pencils are left behind on planes and trains. Zip-loc bags are also good for bringing to breakfast at the hotel and packing food to have for snacks during the day.
- Always have a travel alarm as a backup for the wake-up call service, and a phone alarm as a backup for the wake-up call.
- Have a couple of energy bars in the bag that you check on race day to snack on
during the lag time before and after the race.
- Pack your race clothes and shoes in your carry-on. It would suck to have to have to run around before the race to find clothes to run around in during the race, wouldn’t it?
- Check the weather forecast for the day of the race, then pack options for clothes based on the forecast and some options for weather completely opposite from the forecast. Ask me how I know.
- BYO. Yes, this applies to traveling to races, too. Again, ask me how I know.
- Packing layers is helpful when I encounter unexpected cooler weather, but also because it takes up less space than bulky sweaters, and because with layers, I can pack more outfits, even more when I accessorize strategically.
- Picking one color scheme, packing layers and then adding accessories to add color and texture allows me to pack light, while still (trying to be) being a fashionista on the move.
- Bring a door-stopper to wedge under the door just inside your hotel room makes me feel just a little safer, and stops the housekeeper from coming in and waking me from my slumber when I forget to put
the “do not disturb” sign out.
- Packing one less pair of shoes so that I have room for that pair of shoes that I’ll inevitably buy at my destination.
- Choosing the right luggage that I can handle with no problems, that means making sure that it is not too heavy and making sure that I can carry it up and down stairs and in and out of a car on my own. I’m no damsel in distress. I’m a travelista!