There are many things I love about springtime: the warmer weather, the blooms and buds on the trees, celebrating my birthday, and spring break! After the cold, dreary winter, I always look forward to travelling somewhere fun with my family. And while I used to dread the packing and unpacking, the planning and coordinating, I now have it down to a science. Here are some of my best travel tips that can help you travel smart and travel well! Bon Voyage!
For airline travel, employ “the rule of fractions”. If there are four people in your family, pack a fourth of each person’s clothing in each piece of luggage. If luggage is lost or stolen, everyone will have enough to wear until it’s found.
Plan your wardrobe around three pairs of shoes (think metallic). If you can pack one pair of shoes for all of your night time outfits, one pair of shoes for your day time wear, and one pair of sneakers, you have simplified and lightened your load.
If you have clothes that are specific to a type of vacation (e.g., ski clothes), don’t integrate them into general clothing drawers. By keeping this type of clothing separate, you free up room in your drawers, and you save time packing by only having to gather clothing for that vacation in one area.
Beware of bedbugs! Check the Bedbug Registry before you make any hotel reservations. The Bedbug Registry is a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the U.S. and Canada.
Consider traveling with pop-up laundry hampers for your whites and colors. Your hotel room will look much neater, and at the end of the vacation, pack the dirty laundry and fold up the hampers.
Don’t be the only one not taking advantage of the “2 for 1 special”. Do your research ahead of time. Often there are coupons and discounts available for popular attractions and venues that can be found through a simple online search.
Don’t get sold out: make dinner, spa, and other reservations before you arrive.
Carry prescription medicines, cameras, laptops, and any expensive jewelry onboard with you.
Charge cameras before you leave home, make sure you know how to operate them, and that they are working properly. Bring extra batteries and memory cards if needed.
Remember that all family members, even babies, need passports for travel outside the US. Make copies of your passports and important documents, and keep them separate from the originals.
Put a piece of hotel stationery in your children’s pockets. Even older children and older travellers may forget where they’re staying if they get lost, particularly in a foreign country.
When packing for a holiday vacation, think light. Many airlines levy a charge for suitcases that weigh more than 50 pounds and most charge extra for more than one piece of luggage per person. If you’ve been accustomed to traveling with large, heavy pieces, invest in some lighter weight canvas/nylon carryalls.
Delete unflattering, unfocused, and frivolous pictures on your camera as you take them. You’ll save time when you return home and are downloading and editing your pictures.
For longer trips, ship toiletries to your destination one week in advance through an online drugstore such as drugstore.com. If you order enough, you may even qualify for free shipping. You’d be surprised how much sunblock, diapers, and shampoo can weigh.
Bring a jump rope. You can always find a corner of the airport to let your child get rid of excess energy before boarding the plane. And, you can use it to exercise if you can’t get to a gym.
Bring balloons. They’re light and can provide hours of entertainment when your children get tired of that jump rope!
Strike a balance between packing too far in advance and not waiting until the night before the trip. I always recommend that the packing take place the weekend before the trip. Generally, you’re calmer then, and if there are things you need, you’ll have time to purchase them.
It’s always helpful to pack small items in individual Ziploc bags. For example, undergarments and bathing suits can be stored in Ziploc bags, and then placed in the suitcase.
Pack the suitcase in layers, and place heavier items on the bottom. For example, shoes go on the bottom of the suitcase along with jeans and sweatshirts, which are heavier than a silk blouse you may want to lay on the very top.
To prevent wrinkling, put layers of tissue paper between items of clothing.