I am in a travel funk! I have no mojo because I have nowhere to go!! You too? I have GOT to find something to get myself back into a travel state of mind! As we all start thinking about getting out and about again, right now may be a really good time to start looking at what is really needed when we pack. And in the age of travel products, there are so many choices. You could literally pack your entire suitcase with travel gear this and travel gear that! We work so hard to plan for every emergency and contingency while trying to keep our suitcase below the check in weight or within the carry on limits that we sometimes wind up not prioritizing at all. So, dear travelers, what ARE the things that are worth taking with you as we get back to travel?
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What kind of carry on do you use? A carry on can be a tragic mistake or a brilliant time saver. Truth be told, I have all kinds of bags that I’ve test driven and I’ve narrowed down to my favorite: the under the seat roller that fits my purse, iPad, scarf, papers, medications, and other essentials. I am the traveler that does anything possible to avoid the overhead bin wars.
I have all of my essentials including these 4 last pieces of travel gear for the plane: my own headphones, sea bands, zip ties, and travel clippers. There is a method to my madness, I promise! I use sea bands so I don’t need to remember to take Dramamine. They work just as well. I use the zip ties to “lock” my suitcase up before I check it. String it right through the two zippers before you wave goodbye to it on the conveyor belt. The clippers are to cut the tie open on the other end. And, I am addicted to my earbuds and always download content to keep me entertained.
Let’s face it, if we want to be traveling, we’ve got to take precautions while we are out there. Gone are the days where we simply board a plane and sit down. Now, we need to be vigilant about sanitizing our hands and wiping down our assigned areas on planes and trains. (Truth be told, I was a wiper downer before all of this… you too?) So, what’s new on my list? Well, I do take a lot more of those wipes but I’ve also got some new things, too.
Those required Covid tests to get back in the country is a start. Check, double check, and then go back and check again. You need to be sure that you have all of the up to date information on travel procedures. This means you need to meet the airline expectations, ensure you can clear customs, and meet the requirements of the State Department coming and going.
I also take my UV light surface sanitizer that takes on bedding as well as hard surfaces. This one is great for hotel rooms and cruise cabins as well as AirBandB’s.
I also take along a mask bag with my vaccine card in it. Have mask will travel and if you plan on going overseas at all, that vaccination card is your true ticket to enjoy.
This is the moment when I get on the struggle bus! As a plus sized traveler, I’m so nervous that if I need something, I truly won’t find it, so I pack things that are my size! You too? I need to quit and I do try to make better choices. Here are some successes.
Shoes: I’ve given up any sort of fancy shoes and stick to three tried and tested choices. First up are my walking shoes, I need them, it’s not a choice and I usually wear these on the plane to wherever I’m going. Next is a pair of comfy sandals in warm weather. Lastly, I rely on washable Rothy’s flats instead of any sort of dress shoe. So far so good on these choices!
No matter the weather, it’s helpful to bring along the ever useful scarf. Chilly? Wrap your arms. Need a skirt to visit a church? Tie it around your waist. Raining? Wrap it around your head for cover. You can’t go wrong with an all purpose scarf. More importantly, you can’t go wrong when you pick one up as you travel. Don’t get me wrong, I use a very specific one while I’m on a plane, my trusty black and white one. But, one of my favorite travel purchases is a scarf from wherever in the world I am.
My Next Challenge? I’m working hard to stick to three colors so my clothes mix and match well. For me, black, white, and blue will do the trick. I know that if I pack two shirts for every one pair of pants, I’ll extend my choices just a bit. Fingers crossed that this actually works!!
Here’s the deal, if you bring any sort of electronics with you on any trip domestic or foreign, you need to protect them. It’s that simple. I invest in a reasonable cube that takes care of surges, conversions, plugs and USB ports. So, I don’t leave home without it.
I use it when there are not a lot of free plugs in the airport or I can’t get a seat near a charging station, I use it in a restaurant when I’m having lunch, I use it in a hotel room. Have charged phone, will travel. Which leads me to say that I also always carry a portable cell charger with me as well.
The Miscellaneous Mania
Oh Mother Earth! I promise I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint and be responsible! I have two ways I do this when packing my travel bag. First I try to only buy environmental beauty products. We all try and here at TGC we test drive tons of them to give you a little insight.
On the other hand, I also find myself taking regular sized products with not too much left in the bottle. I trash those bottles before I return home (and that makes room for my souvenirs!) I was going to have to finish these standard size products anyway.
I bring a medium sized nylon bag with me and use it all the time. I buy morning groceries, hold souvenirs, store my water bottle, and keep a map or travel guide among other things. When I’m not using it, I simply roll it up and put it in my purse. The more I take it, the more I use it.
Is laundry detergent on your packing list? It may be and that’s great but perhaps the more important thing that needs to be on your packing list: the name and address of a local laundry mat. This idyllic laundry mat called Frania Cafe is located in downtown Krakow, Poland.
P.S. If you happen to have one, don’t forget your handicap parking tag. Your tag will work in Europe and can afford you easy parking and overnight city center parking.