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Babcia and Yia Yia!, Notes on Planning and Packing, Study Hall: Essays On Travel

Your Travel Wardrobe Is In Your Closet. Right Now.

You hear it all the time! Create a capsule wardrobe to be a successful traveler. It makes any potential packer think that they need to order and buy specialty clothes to only use when there’s a suitcase at hand. Not so fast! We, here at Babcia and YiaYia, think that you might be selling yourself and your closet a little short. That’s right, we think you probably have far more than you think to complete the perfect travel wardrobe.

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In fact, we think that you probably have clothes that you love to wear that could be the foundation for that super elusive capsule wardrobe that all the rage. But where do you even start? We’ve got some easy steps to help!

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Weed out what won’t pack well.

You already know all of the things in your closet that are high maintenance They wrinkle fast and never wash well. You probably pull them out once or twice a year. They probably won’t pack very well anyway. Additionally, you probably know what kind of weather your head toward so out of season stuff is not part of your packing equation.

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Choose a color.

You know the color. It’s your favorite one and you pair it with black and white all the time. Ours is blue. It goes with our complexions and never fails to photograph well. You probably have this color weaving in and out of every rack in your closet anyway.

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Set out your neutrals.

Black. White. Denim. The gang’s all here! These are the pieces that go with pretty much anything. These wardrobe basics are the foundation to your mix and match packing style.

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Edit out the cliche items.

It’s time to do a double take. Is there anything in your potential packing pile that screams tourist? Message tees? Super bold colors that scream “pick my pockets”? Shoes that say “I have no idea how to travel comfortably with style”? Now is the time to edit those items out of your capsule concept.

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Start to mix and match.

Now that you’ve got yourself focused. It’s time to start pairing items together so that everything you take pulls a double shift. We start with the amount of days from take off to laundry. Do you have seven days until laundry? Then you need 5 bottoms in cool weather and 6 bottoms in hot weather. (Why six? Try sweating all day and then trying to look refreshed for dinner.) Seven days also needs 6-7 tops. There are many people who will give you different numbers but sweat doesn’t lie. Match them together. Make those outfits. Then make sure each top has a different bottom that will make a new look.

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Minus one for dresses.

If you like dresses, simply subtract one for every dress you plan to pack. Just remember that every dress you take needs to pack well. It also needs to be useful. Dresses for a rafting trip won’t do you much good but an easy to use maxi dress might be just perfect for evenings in Paris.

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Weave in the layers.

No matter what the weather, we always pack a wrap, a cardigan, and a scarf. Sounds like overkill? Well, we find that we use every single item every single time. Wraps are perfect as a double for plane blanket or pillow. Cardigans cover up if it gets a little too breezy. Scarves can cover bare shoulders or shorts in a pinch if you need to cover up at a particular site like a church or mosque. The most important thing about these pieces is that they go with every single outfit we bring.

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Finish off with three pairs of shoes.

You are definitely going to need walking shoes. These will most likely be your bulkiest shows and you will most likely wear them on the plane just like us. Additionally, you are going to want a pair of shoes that turns all of your outfits into a smarter look for evening. This may be a pair of flats or sandals. The point is, they elevate your look somehow to give you a little oomph. Lastly, you may want to add in beachy flip flops or a second pair of walkers depending on your needs. The most important thing about any pair of shoes you choose is that they go with every outfit you just made for your travel capsule wardrobe.

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Take it for a test drive.

Now, weeks before your trip, take all of those picks and pack them up. Zip that suitcase closed and put it in the corner. Try not to open it for three or four days. Then, take it all out and decide if it’s a keeper. We promise you probably only need to change out a few items. You’re ready to make a shopping list of the very few things that may be missing.

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We bet you feel a lot better!

We told you! You DO have a lot of items to contribute to a great travel capsule wardrobe. While you may want to add in a few last items, your closet is already full of great pieces to travel with. One last tip: take things that you love but may be expiring soon. If you need to ditch them for a little extra packing space on the way back home, it won’t hurt too much. Happy travels!

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Notes on Planning and Packing, Study Hall: Essays On Travel

The Great TSA Mystery!

It amazes me that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to crack the TSA secret code of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I get the general liquids, shoes, and electronics rules but there always seems to be a little surprising twist. On Monday, I need to show ID and tickets in Washington, D.C. but on Friday I only need ID in Palm Beach. I can put my shoes on top of my laptop in Atlanta but don’t dare mix shoes and electronics on the conveyor belt in Dallas! AND all of this TSA travel nonsense may or may not be true when I click publish!

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Line Dancing

If you are anything like me, I’m sure you scope out the line competition. I’m always trying to make the best choice as to who to get behind. The man with the money clip, laptop, belt and jacket is a choice. Contestant two: the airport wheelchair couple that just came through the Clear line. And the inevitable last choice is the lady with two kids and a stroller. Why oh why am I never behind the lady who checked her bag and doesn’t have to empty her pockets?!

Nope, I am usually directed to the guy who hasn’t flown without his wife in 30 years and just realized he has to take off his belt. Insert eye roll here!

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Help me Obi Wan!!!

So what can I do?! As Shiela in Newark says my shoes need to be touching the conveyor belt and Todd in Detroit says that I don’t need to do anything because the airport has just been remodeled and they have face recognition, I give in to the roulette game. I’m sure both Todd and Shiela have checked my FBI record by the time I make it to the jumping jacks machine where you literally need to assume the position. Which, for the record, is extremely thin!! In fact, I was once told that I will always be pulled aside if my pants are cuffed. That was at Baltimore.

The only thing that I have found to be reasonably helpful in combating the TSA rules is the MyTSA app. Simply choose your airport and you can see how well the lines are moving and what the anticipated wait is. It sure is helpful but it still doesn’t quite crack the secret code of the day!

Very Funny, TSA

If there is one thing that’s certain in all of this line waiting and scanning it’s that TSA has one heck of a sense of humor! Whoever is running their Instagram feed deserves an award for taking the most ridiculous situations that travelers throw their way and sharing it with the rest of us. I tend to scroll on their feed while I’m waiting in line. It brings me a little joy and patience.

Seriously, though.

I’m sure by now, you are asking the following questions:

  • Question: So what do you do to make TSA easier?
  • Answer: I ensure that I have no layers on and slip on shoes with socks before I get to the security check. I also CHECK MY BAGS!!!! Go ahead, judge me as you shove that carry on in above my head.
  • Question: Is pre-check, Global Entry or Clear even worth it?!
  • Answer: Honestly, I don’t think so. I was next to someone with Clear at the ticket counter and as I went through the standard TSA line, they finished at the same time I did. Pre check may be a tad faster but if you are prepared for the fact that they are going to throw you a curve ball, the difference is a matter of a few minutes.
  • Question: What do you do with your water bottle?
  • Answer: I keep it empty and then look for a refill station on the other side of security. Airports are adding plenty of these and I see them more and more. A water bottle combined with a little bento box (I always take a bamboo one that I’m willing to ditch.) can be quite the budget move.

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So go enjoy your next adventure! Be prepared and know that you’ll still be surprised. And may the TSA odds be ever in your favor….

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Notes on Planning and Packing

5 Escapes For That Reluctant Husband!

I don’t know about you but my husband is not a fan of travel. No matter how enthusiastic I try to be, his reaction is often “meh”. I think it’s because he doesn’t want to travel after so much time at sea in the Navy. Maybe it’s because he had the chance to love overseas and he has a “been there done that” attitude to it all. I also wonder if it’s because he thinks that travel is just too much work to use that precious vacation time. Mostly, I think he doesn’t like change. So, what’s a girl to do?! C’mon! Escape with us!

Maybe the best way to get the loves of our lives to tag along is to choose the perfect escape. Here are our picks for some premium travel time with that reluctant

Jackson Hole and West Yellowstone

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Part of Big Sky Country and adjacent to the great Yellowstone Park, Jackson Hole has lots of ambiance in their eateries and lodges. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do each day whether you take in skiing in the Winter or you hike a waterfall in the Summer. For our complete coverage on Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, click here.

Alaska

Epic vistas, massive glaciers, and a Summer season chock full of things to do make Alaska a premium escape. This northern most state has plenty of wildlife, fishing, river rafting and pond hopper experiences to fuel the most reluctant of travelers. The bonus? Sled dog puppies. Alaska offers perfect road trip conditions as well as being one of the most famous places to take a cruise. For more on how to spend time in Alaska, click here.

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Normandy

On June 6th, 1944, the world changed for the better right here in Normandy. Military buffs around the world will tell you that these fabled beaches along the coast turned the tables on evil and started the path toward ending World War II. The entire region of Normandy not only gives you that first hand glimpse but also offers orchards full of apples ready to provide you with Calvados. For more on everything Normandy has to offer, click here.

Belize

Turn the tables and head to the beach by escaping to Belize and it’s central American beaches. Belize offers world class everything from jungle excursions to surf side beaches. Look for SCUBA diving to be on the top of your list and follow that up with great food and some true down time. Click here for a great take on Belize from A Blonde Abroad.

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Ireland

One of the most amazing road trip the world has to offer is the western shore of Ireland. The wild Atlantic Way offers 1,500 miles of wind swept Irish goodness. Pick up anywhere and drive as long as you want. This part of Ireland is dotted with colorful villages, untamed castles, and once in a lifetime views. This rugged landscape delights with every person you encounter. So, pull up a chair, grab a beer, and listen in as the local musicians start tuning up and turning in. Click here to discover more about the amazing Emerald Isle.

Now, Escape With The Girls To These Places!

We all need a girls’ getaway and we here at TGC, know all about that! Check out our top 5 picks!