Sweet D’s Packing Tips

First place to start is with my general travel tips

I hate packing. I tend to want to over pack and I have to reel myself back in. I really always have this vision of fitting in seamlessly to wherever I’m going and not looking like a tourist. It’s something I’m not good at but I’ve done it enough to come up with a few of my ground rules. Before I plan a trip to a new place, I get on Pinterest and I look up “packing” and the place I’m going to, and there is a lot of inspiration out there.

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Two and a half weeks – from Safari to fancy wine tasting in South Africa, plus waterproof clothes in Zimbabwe and Zambia for Victoria Falls. This is all I brought.

The most important thing is to PACK LIGHT: Don’t have a busting open bag when you leave, you’re going to want to bring stuff back with you. And remember the golden rule: There are two kinds of bags: carry-on and lost. Do everything you can to never check a bag. The golden rule is even more true if you’re flying a discount airline like WOW, Spirit, etc.

  • You don’t need full sized toiletries. Seriously. If you can get something in a wipe, it doesn’t count as a liquid. I use this tip for mosquito spray and face wash.
  • Plan your outfits around shoes. They weigh a lot and generally can’t be squished, so you need to minimize the shoes you bring. I’ll go with a black pair or a brown/tan pair, and plan all my outfits around what will go with the shoes. Wear your biggest pair (boots!) on the plane. Remember shoes are important in Europe – I don’t like sticking out as an American, so getting the right shoes are so important!
  • Always pack a bathing suit.
  • Ladies: I pack multiple tank tops that I change out under my shirts or sweaters so they don’t get as dirty and make re-wearing better.
  • Get travel detergent on Amazon. Wash in the sink in the hotel and re-wear. I use this stuff (not an affiliate link, not sponsored). No rinse needed!
  • If you can’t get around checking, bring at least 1-2 changes of clothes on-board with you (unless you’re on your way home).  Refer back to the golden rule.
  • I have a moneybelt, but I don’t always like wearing it because it doesn’t look good with the outfit I’m wearing. I should wear it more.
  • All the bloggers are right! Packing cubes and rolling your clothes instead of folding will save you a lot of space! Or they have vacuum bags that you can use – I like those for winter trips with bulky sweaters.
  • If I’m on a road trip to Santa Ynez or a local trip in California, I bring my own pillow (mine is fancy and I love it) and growlers to fill at my favorite brewery. Don’t be like Anna Kendrick’s character in Up in the Air and pack a pillow for a flight. I think the Marriott pillows can often be too soft for me with one and too much for me with two.
  • If you’re driving around Ireland or the UK, you’re going to have a little car with a little boot. Probably also applies for a lot of countries, especially if you’re footing the bill and getting a small rental car – even more important to not bring a giant wheelie bag that you need a SUV for.
  • What I bring on the plane:
    • Water. You gotta hydrate. It will help with jet lag. I try to always eliminate single use plastic, so I bring a refillable bottle with me I use the whole trip.
    • Kindle. I don’t have a tablet, I’m scared that I’ll lose it or break it, given that I’ve either lost or had my Kindle stolen twice. I had a flight once when I flew from LA to Florida, and finished my book minutes before touching down and I didn’t have anything new to read next. I then found out that my meetings had been cancelled while I was in the air, and I had to run to rebook and fly home to LA on the same day. I sat in my seat to get home with moments to spare, and downloaded a new book before they shut the doors. I would have been hosed without my Kindle! (Of course this was in 2010 and phones were not as smart then as they are now!). I love paper back books and the smell and feel of them, but I also like being able to bring all of the Harry Potter books with me wherever I go.
    • Bluetooth earphones, cord to connect to in-flight entertainment, and spare earbuds. I recently upgraded to the noise cancelling ones from Bose, and I am seriously never flying without them again!
    • Snacks that are low in sugar and carbs. It’s harder and more expensive to eat healthy at the airport. If you eat stuff you know how it’s going to react with your system, the less likely you are to have travelers’ diarrhea with unfortunate timing during the safety briefing.
    • USB Cable in case you have in-flight charging. My hotels usually never have a need for a brick, but I bring one anyway. If you find yourself stranded with a cable and no brick, you can often plug in to the USB outlet in the back of a flat-screen TV.
    • Battery pack (don’t check it because of fire concerns)
    • Neck Pillow – I have this one, but I wish it shrank more or was easier to attach to the outside of my luggage. Just bought the Ostrich during Prime Day – and I have the same complaint. It looks weird, but it works fine – it’s more helpful for keeping your head from falling forward.
    • Earplugs
    • Sleep mask – I like this one because if you have eyelash extensions they won’t get smushed!
    • Melatonin (Trader Joe’s Brand works for me). You should talk to your doctor about supplements and not rely on my advice. I get jet lag something fierce. I need pharmaceutical assistance. OMG I just found out melatonin can reduce effectiveness of birth control. So maybe don’t.

I just bought a new suitcase, and I really like it. I did a lot of shopping around to find it. I also got a wine suitcase for Christmas (Ugh, I know, I have to break the golden rule for this).

But Danielle – How do you travel so often? How do you get the time off? How do you afford it? How do you get the upgrades?

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