Over the last few years I've gotten an increasing number of messages and texts from folks asking for travels tips and suggestions. I figured I'd jot down a quick list of some of my favorite travel tips that might not be as obvious. The list I compiled ended up being longer than a Friday before a three day weekend, so I'll be breaking it up in multiple blog posts. This particular post is focused on the things you can do before you leave for your trip. Most of these can apply to both national and international travel.
Listen to your mother and pack a damn rain jacket... but let your boyfriend pick it out. Really though, having a light-weight and easy to fold up hooded rain jacket has proven to be quite handy! And thankfully, rain jackets have gotten way cuter over the years. Brett searched online for and with me, but I ended up snagging an EMS branded one at one of their stores for about a hundred bucks. I love it because it cinches at the waist instead of engulfing me in a shapeless rainproof moo-moo, annnnd it's actually plenty long in the sleeves (I'm 5'9 with out of control limbs). I'd wear it as a light jacket if South Florida were cool enough.
Have an “oh shit” list. This is your list of items that you would cause you to be in big trouble if you went a day without. Phone and charger, passport, daily medications, mascara (real talk). These go in your carry on bag or purse. Also - take photos of your IDs/passports and email them to yourself.
Take photos of the outfits you plan on wearing a head of time. This is one of my favorite maneuvers. It just makes the start to the day so much easier by minimizing hassle. It also helps prevent overpacking.
Speaking of packing… if you don’t know the roll-your-clothes method, Google it. Then do it. You're welcome. Once upon a time, I refused to pack this way for no real reason. Brett (who by the way, is a pilot so he packs a suitcase easily once per week) would tell me before every trip "try the rolling method!" I'd counter with something to the effect of "No! That won't make a difference!" (or something equally as mature) as I would strategically be holding my phone so that he couldn't see via FaceTime that I was literally sitting on top of my suitcase or full nelson'ing myself onto it in desperation to zip it shut. Welp. I suppose this is the part where I say, whoopsies, he was right. You really can fit so much more stuff, and your clothes really don’t get any more wrinkly than they would if you packed them normally.
But don’t pack too much! Even if you're like me, and not a huge shopper, realize that it is inevitable that you’re going to buy stuff when you travel. So save some space in your suitcase for souvenirs, and gifts.
Bring a pharmacy… especially if you’re traveling internationally. Have a variety of medications for different types of ailments - headaches, cramps, motion sickness, sinus, etc. You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country trying to figure that one out.
Let’s talk footwear. Unless you have a specific event, you really only need to bring flats/boots and a pair of sneakers if you're going to sneak some workouts in. You’re probably going to be walking all day. If it helps you sleep at night, pack a pair of black peep toed heels (classic, sexy, and versatile), but you won’t need them. Also, make sure you wear proper socks for your boots - I once paid the price in the form of some brutal blisters, but luckily I had packed some bandaids in my “pharmacy”.
Plan time for the unplanned. There will likely be places and events that require tickets being purchased well in advance - do your research. But don’t forget to budget some time for “nothing”. This is just my opinion, but I like having a mix of planned experiences and spur of the moment adventures... it helps prevent you from treating your trip like a checklist, and allows for you to do things you discover along the way.