Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Travel abroad - the learning list (10 tips)

You might think I've got it all figured out, this traveling thing. Sure, I've traveled to Europe a half dozen times, to Mexico one, to a few major domestic cities, and to the beach dozens of times, but I still am definitely learning when it comes to the DOs and DON'Ts of travel. For this blog post, I thought I'd focus on the ten things I learned from traveling abroad this time around.

1.  The $6 travel pillow I bought at Ross was the best thing I took with me on the whole trip; I used it on the plane, the bus, and even in my bed at night when the hotel provided pillows sucked. That zebra pillow rocked my world!

2.  My Apple iPhone and iPad are the best things in life, mainly because they have built-in voltage adapters that automatically adjust to the currency voltage of the country you're visiting; all you need is the adapter to plug it into the wall-plate.

3.  Taking my zoom lens for my DSLR camera was a mistake. All I used was the kit lens the entire time, and I still think my photos turned out great. Next time around, I won't fool with taking extra lenses.

4.  Solid colored clothing looks better in photos, helps you blend in more with the locals, and is easier to accessorize and style in different ways for different looks. This is hard for me since I really do like prints, but I plan to take more solid colored clothing with me in the future. When I look back at my pics, I like the ones with solid clothing the best, and I think those will be way easier to scrapbook than the loud printed clothes I'm sporting in some of the others. Bonus tip: leggings are the most important layering tool you can pack; scarves are the best accessory to pack

5.  Take a swimsuit. Even if you think you won't need it, take it. I didn't swim in Switzerland because I left my swimsuit at home at the last minute. What was I thinking?!?!

6.  On the airplane, put anything you'll want to reach during the flight under the seat in front of you. It's impossible to get stuff out of the overhead bins without being obnoxious to the people around you. By the same token, be considerate of your seatmate by trying to get up for the restroom and to walk around just before or just after that person gets ready to sleep. It's inconsiderate to get up repeatedly while it's 'lights out' on a transcontinental flight.

7. I still don't have a purse that I like to take on vacation. I know what I think I want but haven't found it yet. The search continues...

8.  Don't bother taking a hairdryer with you; every hotel I stayed at had these built into the bathrooms, and we weren't staying in swanky places. About half the hotels had irons/ironing boards, but I just hung up my clothes the night before to allow the wrinkles to fall out naturally. I did take a mini straightening iron that worked pretty well, but there really aren't any other appliances I'd bother taking if I were you.

9. Two credit cards (one to use and one as a backup), cash, passport, driver's license, insurance info, one paper itinerary, and an emergency contact card are the only paper copies you need in your purse. Everything else can be scanned or emailed and saved to your phone/tablet/laptop.(Ideally, you'd save this info to an online site like dropbox that you could access anywhere in the world.)  I also recommend sending a copy of all of those items to a family member or trusted friend in case your documents are lost/stolen while abroad.

10.  I'm challenging myself to take only a carryon bag and a backpack the next time I travel abroad. I will no longer be a slave to my giant suitcase. Since I'm putting it in writing here, I MUST stick to it!

Where shall we go next?


  1. What?????? Just a carry on? How would have clothes for all those days in a carry on?? I bought a purse for Disney this week at Target. It is a cross-body and it's black but it's a lightweight nylon with 3 pockets. What I love about it is that the purse itself is so lightweight, when I put it around my neck I could barely tell it was there! Even with my wallet in, I barely felt it. Since I carry my DSLR on my neck, I sure don't want to feel the weight of a purse too!! Love your list - now post beach tips for me. :)

  2. Great list!! WOW everything in 2 bags! I am impressed & can't wait to see how you pull it off.