Rachel's Ultimate Travel Guide

Okay, we couldn't fit all my traveling tips in one post so we are back today with some more! These are less checklists and more packing methods to be more efficient. Trust me, I have learned a lot of these the hard way.

Shoe Strategy: Shoes can often take up the most space and the most weight when traveling. Be savvy here. Think about the destination, the weather, and the terrain, and also consider the activities and events you’ll be attending. I usually limit myself to three pairs of shoes on a trip (one that I’m wearing and two that I pack.) I choose shoes that can work in many different venues and that are fairly neutral to work with whatever I pack. I’m a fashionista of sorts, so I save my interest and variety for things that take up less space and weight. Shoes are not the place for that when traveling!

Think Ahead: Find out what things you might have where you’re going so that you can skip on packing them. I often ask ahead to friends or hotels about hair dryers and straighteners. If they have them then I leave them behind. (I know, I know they aren’t yours, but they’ll do the trick for a bit! These items can be bulky and they take up a ton of room! The same goes for things like shampoo and conditioner and other heavy toiletry items. If I know the hotel will have them or if I’m staying with friends, I skip here or go lighter. I should also note that I offer the same to friends staying with me. They can either borrow or we can make a quick Target run to get what they need once they’re here.

Mix and Match (ahead of time): Think about your choices. How can they work together and overlap? How can you make multiple options and outfits out of fewer pieces. This has become fun for me through the years. I’m definitely that girl that wants to have a ton of options when traveling. I mean, what if I wake up and hate something that I packed!? So I have found ways to make several choices from just a few items. I pack more shirts (since they are lighter) that allow me to change it up and go with fewer jeans and sweaters that are heavier and take up more space. I can use the same skirt or pants with different shirts to change it up or I can wear the same shirt with a skirt instead of shorts or jeans for a different look. You get to be creative here and that’s the fun part of thinking it through ahead of time!

About that carry on:
1. snacks (airports/pit stops are expensive people and not always so healthy!)
2. A book (I recommend something you’ve really been looking forward to reading!)
3. journal
4. pens
5. headphones
6. wallet: passport/ID/cards/boarding passes/etc.
7. gum
8. sleep mask
9. music/movies downloaded
10. travel oils
11. charger (I’ve learned to always keep a charger handy in case I’m low on battery en route and need to get in touch with someone)

**Ladies. Travel light!. Let’s be real, we tend to overdo it here. As if we’re actually going to read five books on one flight (even a long flight) and eat ten pounds of snacks. How often do you get off the plane and lug that carry on through the airport only to realize you barely used anything you were lugging around...be honest with yourself!

I have learned to travel as light as possible. If I can help it, with just a purse--sometimes a backpack or a cute tote. I never want to be lugging a big heavy bag through the airport (or crowded out by it in a car) or worrying about keeping track of a ton of stuff. Travel can get chaotic and the less stuff you have to deal with the less stressful it will be!

General Travel Tricks:1. Go where you know people. This is often times the coolest way to travel. Not only do you save on a place to stay, you also get to catch up with friends and see a new place from a local perspective. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I took a trip to somewhere that I didn’t know someone! I think it’s sort of an unspoken agreement among friends that we pay each other back in hosting whenever we land in each other’s cities. ( For the record, you’re always welcome in Seattle :)

2. It’s a fact--airline tickets are cheaper if you buy them late on Tuesday Nights! Couldn’t tell you why but I heard it once and I’ve seen it be true time and time again. I love using sites like Kayak.com and Google Flights to give me a lot of options quickly.

3. You can save a lot of money (and time) if you’re willing to travel at odd times. Of course it’s never fun to be up before the roosters crow, but I’ll tell you what, you’ll have a lot more money to use on vacay if you’ll just do it! This is also useful if you’re going by land as you can save a lot of time traveling when most people aren’t! Of course we don’t always have this luxury, but when we do we can take advantage of it!
4. Keep all of your travel items together: I store suitcases inside of suitcases and Lincoln’s little carrier inside of those. I keep travel wallets and toiletry items and any other typical travel items all in one place. This makes packing simple and more efficient! I don’t waste a bunch of time finding the stuff to pack with, I can just get right to it.
5. Avoid packing last minute. I know...life. It happens and this is not always a possibility. But it saves a lot of headaches in the end. Keep in mind that you’re going on vacation! The worst way to start a vacation is to be stressed and rushed and all flustered as you’re running out the door. Let it be part of the fun anticipation to pack ahead of time. I usually pull my suitcase out at the beginning of the week before I’m actually traveling and I just throw things in as the week goes along. It gives me time to reconsider and make the best choices and it means that the morning of I’m certain that I have everything I want and exactly what I want. This can be a fun way to look forward to your trip especially if you have kiddos. Every day you can choose a couple of items that they can add to their bags. Not only does it get everyone in the mood and extra excited, it makes the final moments leading up to vacation less chaotic!
6. Let vacation start before the vacation. Go as far as laying out travel clothes and packing carry on bags and maybe even the car the night before. Let the last little bit of time before leaving be smooth and calm and relaxed. You can set out a fun breakfast or make one for the road that everyone can wake up to. You can even theme it according to your travel plans! It may take a lot of work in the days leading up to it, but I’m always glad in the end that I did the hard work in advance so that I can truly turn off my brain and enjoy my time away.

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