Tips from SHB
• I keep a master packing list in my nightstand that I can quickly refer to. It seems like there is always something that I have forgotten. I have a separate category for Warm Weather and Cold Weather trips and a category for when I am traveling with my children. How many times have I forgotten to pack the swim goggles for my son and end up buying them on vacation? Twenty pairs later....
• I suggest always packing your medication, phone and computer chargers, camera, robe and/or pajamas and a bathing suit in your carry on. If you are separated from your luggage, you have these difficult items to find already with you.
• I try to charge all my devices prior to traveling, especially my camera battery. It saves time and frustration upon arrival . I always bring a backup camera battery and a couple of SD camera cards since I learned the hard way on my trip to Cuba when one of them did not work. I also suggest bringing your camera manual with you if you are bringing a high tech camera on a trip like Africa. Nothing like being on safari and not being able to figure out a malfunction!
• Always keep a copy of your passport at home and in your luggage if you are traveling overseas. It will make life much easier if it lost or stolen.
• Put an alert on your phone calendar at least 6 months prior to overseas traveling with your passport's expiration date. A lot of countries will not accept a valid passport if it is within 6 months of expiration. I know people that has happened to, and it was a nightmare!
• It is helpful to keep a supply of those small sized toiletry items at home so you are always prepared for those weekend getaways (mini toothpaste, shampoos, deodorant, small cans of Off bug spray (love these!), small packs of laundry detergent ....) Also, ask for sample perfumes from the department stores- so much easier to carry than a regular size bottle! Perfume wipes are also great (Bulgari makes a nice one)
• I leave my toiletry bag packed at all times so I can just grab it and go. We women travel with a lot of toiletries. How many times have you arrived somewhere and forgotten the sunscreen or eye makeup remover?
• Leave a few zip lock plastic storage bags in your suitcase. You always need them at the beach or when you are traveling with the kids.
• I find it very helpful to travel with about $ 50 in denominations of $1s and $5s for tipping.
• Download those books and magazines on your IPad so you can avoid carrying heavy books and magazines.
• Don't forget your Triple A card and health insurance card. You never know when you will need them.
• Call the hotel the night before you are arriving and ask them to block you in a nice room. Most of the time you will get someone who will do this so why take a chance of an unpleasant surprise at check in? Maybe you'll even get an upgrade!
• Some suggested items to bring – your preferred cold medicine just in case, other "just in case" medicines, headphones, handi-wipes, extra pair of reading glasses, antibacterial gel, comfy socks in your carry on for when your feet get cold on the airplane (for those warm weather destinations when we we wear our sandals), couple of band aids, small tube of Neosporin, hotel sewing kit, a lightweight compact tote bag (Tumi makes a great one) This way you have an extra bag for your purchases or it can be used as a beach bag.
• I pack all of my dress clothes already on hangers (the wire ones from the dry cleaners with the foam grips- these are much lighter than regular hangers) It makes it easier to unpack and your clothes don't wrinkle if they are covered in plastic.
• I started a sort of travel journal on my laptop with the dates and places I have stayed. I include a few highlights from each trip. It's amazing how much I can forget. I figure my children will want to have this info one day and see all the great places they have been but could not remember. I try to do this on my flight or drive home while it is still fresh in my mind.
• Post pedicure tip- remember to cover your toes prior to adding sunscreen. It dulls the polish.
• I travel with a few notecards so I have something personal to give to staff. It's always nice to write a note to go along with gratuities.
• Don't forget to fill out a comment card or leave a note regarding your experience. Management does read them, and it is really important for hotel staff to be recognized (if it's positive recognition of course!)
Happy and Safe Travels!