Pack Light, Pack Bright:
I know, I know you might think I am smoking crack with the whole "pack light" tip. But hear me out. Even the most idyllic vacations can be dampened by excessive packing. When I was on dance team we would have intensive dress rehearsals so we knew exactly what to pack once we were on the road or air. We would have to have each detail set in stone, from the size of our false eyelashes to the laces on our shoes. Now you don't have to be so intense but I suggest you do a "mental dress rehearsal" at the very least. I think that packing "options" is where many people (mainly women) go wrong. These "options" may seem as thought they are helpful, but are hardly ever used. And if you decide what you are wearing before you leave you will have much more room in your suitcase for things like new clothes! (Another way to save room: Roll your clothes instead of folding them; it not only saves room but it prevents wrinkles!)
Packing bright is helpful for those moments when you are standing at the baggage carousel looking at the fifty millionth black suitcase, wondering if it is yours or not. Having colorful luggage also prevents bag theft. Believe it or not there are creepy people that troll airports snatching luggage. This task will prove harder when your luggage is one of a kind.
Dress For The Weather You Are Going To:
(Excuse my nobby knees)
Luckily, I had this idea before leaving for Arizona. When Jon and I left for Arizona it was a cool 65 degrees out (or somewhere around there) but in Arizona it was a blistering 101 degrees. Planning ahead I wore a dress on the plane and brought a sweater just in case it got chilly on the plane. Once we landed in Arizona I was able to stash the sweater in my bag and not have to sweat through jeans and a t-shirt. It may sound so simple but believe me, it will help.
Also, take a hint from my picture above, nowadays they make you take your shoes off, do yourself a favor and don't wear complicated shoes.
I know I know, the tiny alcohol bottles are tempting to calm your nerves or "enhance" your flight but choosing water will truly start your vacation out the right way. Dehydration is a pretty common issue for travelers. Between checking your bags, finding your gate, and boarding the plane there is very little time for hydration. Do yourself a favor and make sure you arrive at your destination well hydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches, drowsiness, nausea, now I don't think that is any way to start a vacation.
Make Sure To Keep Your Medication In Your Carry On:
This is an often overlooked detail while traveling but so so so important. For obvious reasons, if your luggage gets lost that could mean you are without some very important medications for a couple days...big uh oh. Even if your bags get there safely, the temperature underneath the plane can get ridiculously hot, causing the potency of some medications to lessen or become inactive. Yikes!
Learn Your ABC'S ASAP!
Another good habit for international flying is to learn your abc's. Deep Vein Thrombosis (clotting of the veins in the legs) may occur when passengers are cramped and do not move their legs enough on long flights. Other than getting up to use the restroom you can trace the letters of the alphabet with your feet to keep the blood circulating. The risk is rare but I did witness a case of this on one of my Contiki trips and I cannot express how uncomfortable and painful it was for this traveler.
Oily? Use A Toilet Seat Cover:
Full Disclosure: I get really oily when I travel; maybe it's the close quarters or the recycled air but I always come off the plane looking like I am a heavily greased pan. My secret is that I go into the airport bathroom and pat down my face with the rougher side of the toilet seat cover. They are made from similar material as those face blotting pads you carry in your purse. I know it might seem gross, but when you are in a jam they work perfectly.
Free Samples Are Your Friends:
I have always been a proponent of taking the small lotions and shampoos from hotels. Some people think it is taboo and almost like stealing. But think of it this way, if they can use it again once it is used then it is stealing. But once the shampoo is opened they can't reuse it right? Stock up on these little samples because they are really helpful and portable when you are staying somewhere in which samples are not readily available (camping, staying with friends). Also many hotels are getting swanky and using really nice name brands for their free samples (Ex: I have snagged Bulgari products, Neutrogena to name a few).
Get In On The Act:
I know it can be second nature to stay behind the camera when you are seeing the sights, but make sure to get in front of the camera with the landmarks. Anyone can have this picture:
But getting in on the action not only proves you were there, but it makes for a very sentimental souvenir.
Do you have any travel tips to add?