Obviously my priorities were totally different when I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico (peep the fancy flats that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion).
If you look up the definition of a pack rat in the dictionary there is a 99% chance that you will see my name and photo.
I am that person that really must resist packing every single pair of shoes that I own (and I own a lot of shoes) when going away. I am that person that will pack 10 different outfits for a long weekend getaway. I am also the person that will be packing up until the last possible moment which sometimes requires my poor boyfriend to wait with the cab driver while I finish packing (thank goodness my apartment in Brooklyn is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from JFK).
So clearly I have (had?) a problem!
As I have gotten older and have started traveling more, I am learning to become more ruthless so that I don't have to check a bag (nobody got time for that!) while not feeling deprived of the comforts of my closet while away.
So here are some tips to pack light and avoid those annoying checked bag fees:
Remember the 80/20 Principle — that is, 20% of what you pack will be 80% of what you actually wear. If you’re like most people, you’ve already noticed this. You pack four pairs of shoes, but you really only wear one pair every day. You pack three sweaters and a shawl that you never use, because you wind up just wearing your favorite light jacket that goes with everything you own.
Case in point, I just came back from Cartagena, Colombia and I checked my suitcase and I had a pair of shoes that I NEVER wore.
Don’t Pack For Every Possible Situation. Pack for an average day. There’s no way you can cover every contingency. Look at the forecast, the average temps and weather for that time of year, and go with that. If there’s a freak week of rain in what’s normally a sunny season unless you’re headed to an extremely remote area that sees few travelers, it’s very unlikely that you won’t be able to purchase a rain coat or an umbrella where you are. If there’s a cold snap, there’s probably also a store nearby with just the thing you need.
A little rain atop my curly head won't ruin my day and I always have a headband ready for high puff duty.
It’s Okay To Wash. If you’re going to be gone for three weeks, pack enough clothes for one. If you’re a hardcore DIYer, almost every resort or town in the world has a Laundromat or laundry service. If you’re feeling like you want a break from daily tasks and routines and you’re really looking forward to the luxury of having other people pamper you, have your clothes laundered and folded for you. It’s still often cheaper than luggage fees!
Nothing says local living like doing laundry in Rome or if you are feeling really fancy have your clothes laundered (snob nose).
For Warmth, Go With Layers Over Bulk. Pick several thin layers with insulating, wicking fabrics — merino wool is a great one — over a big jacket. Heavier items like jackets and sweaters don’t offer the flexibility. They’re just hot, and when the sun comes out, then you have to cart around a huge coat. But a compact zip-up fleece can roll up easily into a bag or backpack in the afternoon and then come back out again for that sunset walk on the beach.
Lost on an Aer Lingus flight (great airline btw) is one of my best purchases a lightweight jacket from Uniqlo which got me from rainy Ireland to sunny Barcelona and all the planes, trains, and automobiles in between.
Think: Mix and Match, simplified palette, and multi-function items. If three tops match three bottoms, you’ve got nine possible outfits. Add in a Swiss-Army-Knife travel item like the popular Chrysalis Cardi, and you’ve got one item that converts into eight different things. As travel blogger Fred Perotta says: bring pieces, not outfits.
My go tos are always denim jeans (dark and light wash). The light wash for daytime and dark wash jeans that can be dressed up with a nice blouse. My other go tos are dresses that can be dressed down with flats or sandals and dressed up with fancier shoes.
If You’ve Got To Have Something Bulky and Heavy — Wear It, don’t pack it. Hiking boots, down jacket, that awesome cable knit wool cardigan — these might very well have a great place on your trip, but they shouldn’t be in your suitcase. Wear them on the plane. You can easily pack several versatile layers for the space that one sweater would take up.
If you’re ready to pack for an adventure, I’d love to talk to you about it. I know we can find a place that’s just right for you — and I’ll even give you insider tips packing suggestions for your specific destination!
You can reach me today by clicking here.
Sleeping well on a plane has developed into a certain kind of art — and into a healthy business — with savvy travelers constantly scoping out new ways to make long flights more conducive to actual rest. I am particularly sensitive to find tips to sleep well on flights because I am not a great flyer (I know that sounds weird, a travel agent that does not like flying). Here are a few tips that really seem to have some payoff for me.
Splurge on a better seat. Sure, not everyone can afford a premium seat in first or business class, where you can take advantage of fully- or almost-fully-reclining seats and loads of leg room. But for long-distance flights, it can still be worth it to spend the extra money on an exit-row seat, a bulkhead seat, or a window seat. Flying on off-peak days, like a Tuesday evening, will also increase the likelihood that the flight will be less crowded and quieter.
Do the best you can with flight times and direct flights. While crossing many time zones always poses its own sleep challenges, do your best to pick a flight time and schedule that will sync up most naturally with your sleeping and waking times. Leaving in the evening will work better than trying to get REM at three in the afternoon.
Know your cues. Which side of the bed do you sleep on at home? Book on that side of the plane. Do you usually have a cup of tea before bed? Bring a few packets of your favorite herbal. And grab your own small travel blanket and comfy slippers while you’re at it (the airline pillow or blanket can be used for extra cushioning or lumbar support if you like). Spritz your pillow with a mild lavender essential oil. The more familiar things you can do, the more your brain will recognize the cues that it’s time for rest.
Sweet darkness, sweet silence. On most trans-oceanic flights, you’ll see the blue glow of nearly every seatback screen flickering, no matter the time. We know that the type of light emitted by screens is proven to disrupt sleep. For any rest at all — let alone good rest — keep your screen off. Bring an eye mask or cap to block out as much light as possible. Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to create the quietest environment you can.
Buckle up over the blanket. When the plane hits turbulence, flight attendants are required to make sure people are safely buckled in. If they can’t see that your seat belt is fastened, they have to disturb you to check. Make it easy for them and for you — simply click the buckle over the blanket.
Rather than paying more for less in the airport, do some quick research before you leave to find the best travel pillow for you. There are dozens to choose from, and they range widely in price, portability, and visual quirkiness. Chances are, there’s a pillow out there that will support your head and neck and give you the rest you need.
What are your best tips for getting good sleep on an airplane? I’d love to hear them. And if you’re ready to plan your next (well-rested) journey, I’m here to help! You can reach me today by clicking here.
Looking for some travel items to help you sleep? Check out my store that has all my favorite travel accessories.
Vacations, even simple weekend getaways, can be full of adventure — that’s part of the great appeal, after all — but if you value a delicious, high-quality meal along with your adventure, then check out these tips for finding the best meals while on vacation:
1) Look for office buildings and construction sites, this is especially key when looking for lunch spots. Usually you will find the best and cheapest eats by going to where residents and office workers would eat. My first time in San Jose, Costa Rica I was walking around to get my bearings. I saw a line of people outside what can be best described as a small house and the smell was delicious. Using my limited Spanish I ordered a platter that consisted of a quarter chicken, rice and beans, sweet plantain (my favorite), and a Coca Cola it was only a few colones. It was filling and better yet it was easy on my poor college student traveling pockets.
2) Think about making a picnic. One of the great things about Europe besides the great architecture is the amount of fresh food available in the markets, bakeries, and grocery stores. Instead of spending money in a fancy restaurant go to the market to pick up fresh bread, cheeses, and meat with a cold drink or water and people watch at one of the many gardens and parks around.
3) Utilize happy hour and tea times. Traveling alone and having some anxiety about a table for one? Consider sitting at the bar of a local pub or heading to tea time. Usually if you are sitting at the bar, they will have a bar menu which may not have the breadth of a full dinner menu but will have smaller portions and lower prices.
4) Walk away from the tourist attractions. To find the best prices on food and everything walk away from the tourist attractions, not only will it reduce the crowds but the prices will be much more reasonable. For example, an espresso may be up to 9-10 euros in front of the Accademia in Florence but walking a few short blocks away you can get an espresso for 3-4 euros. Additionally, you will find that the quality is infinitely better and more authentic to the region versus catering to foreign tastes.
If you are ready to explore the delicacies and treats while on vacation, click here. I will not only give you great ideas on how to save money while traveling but also finding the best eats in the city you are exploring.
If you are like me, you planned your trip to Cuba very carefully. Whether by land or by sea you crafted the perfect itinerary and then the hammer dropped.........no more cruises to Cuba and it seems no more travel to Cuba period. All of a sudden your best laid plans went up in smoke like a Cuban cigar but don't fret you can still go to Cuba and let me tell you how........
There are multiple licenses that you can visit Cuba under, one such license available to regular folks such as you and myself is a "Support For the Cuban People" general license. The “Support for the Cuban People” general license is the broadest category used to travel to Cuba.
There is still some confusion about traveling to Cuba and I have come to the rescue to clear it up.
Here are 3 ways to craft an itinerary so you can travel to Cuba legally on the Support for the Cuban People license.
1) Art: Visit local artisans, attend art shows, and learn about Cuban art with a private curator.
2) Music and Dance: Craft your visit with salsa lessons, learn about afro-latinx culture and its influence on Cuban culture.
3) Food: Learn about Cuban food and the different influences that create Cuban cuisine, dine at local paladares for an authentic experience.
So if you are interested in traveling to Cuba, don't hesitate to reach out to me to craft your perfect Cuba itinerary based on your interests by scheduling an appointment.
Be on the lookout for our culinary adventure to Cuba, send a quick email by clicking here and I will keep you updated when pricing becomes available.
****Don't forget when you go to Cuba, you will still need a tourist Visa.**** I will take care of all the details when you book your trip with my agency.