Whether you’re someone who keeps a suitcase packed at all times or someone who travels infrequently, there are some tried and true ways to make your trip easier. And if anyone should know, it’s me. I’ve traveled millions of miles in my time. Just ask my frequent flyer programs. So here are some of my best travel tips.
1. Hand-carry a change of clothes and extra under wear in the luggage you bring on board, just in case your checked bags take an unexpected detour. I learned this the hard way, when Alitalia lost my bags for three days and I had nothing at all to change into. Oh, and always carry on your medication or anything you simply must have. Like a straightening iron, for example. Just saying.
- If you’re traveling with someone else, split up your belongings and put half in the other person’s suitcase. That’s right, entire outfits and underwear. If one bag gets lost, you’ll each still have a few days of clothing. We do this for every trip.
- If weight limits are an issue, bring disposable clothing and lingerie. Hang on to things that are on their last wear, wear them on the trip and discard them while away. No need to bring them home. More room for souvenirs! Same with old comfy shoes–I left a pair of old tennis shoes in India after wearing them for almost three weeks.
- If you don’t already pack clothes you can layer and a single color palette to mix and match, it’s still a good idea. On my last trip, I packed black and turquoise or teal. Much easier.
I used to carry at least five pounds of books. Now, I simply bring my e-reader. Enough said.
If you’re traveling to a country that might not easily accommodate any dietary restrictions, bring vitamins and some food along. Little packets of peanut butter crackers are easy to carry, or bring a small jar and package of crackers. Small six-packs of applesauce. Protein bars. Rice cakes. Trail mix. This is advice I should have taken more seriously before India.
Load a travel medicine kit with all the over-the-counter remedies you might not easily find in a foreign country. I usually take the original box apart to save space, snip off the name and directions and tape the blister packs to that fragment. It’s not as bulky to care and I still have dosage info with me.
Start taking probiotics a few weeks before the trip and continue during the trip. If you don’t already take them.
Our doctor gave us antibiotic prescriptions to fill before the trip and carry with us. We did use one Rx.
I have a portable navigation device that I bring on trips within the U.S. during which I’ll be driving. It’s a lot easier than the nav on my phone, so I do pack it. And use it.
p>Finally, a bonus tip: Make a packing list. This is so important as we age and already have brains full of minutia. If I don’t do this, I forget something. Usually PJs or a toothbrush, but sometimes something as important as lingerie. Yeah. Remember that post I did on my train of thought having left the station? I may be packing, but it’s already on the trip.