The truth is, while traveling can feel quite glamorous, it can also sometimes be difficult and one should always pack a bit of patience along for the journey.
There's a lot of behind the scenes chaos that isn't often shared on social media, such as delayed or cancelled flights, weather disruptions, airport disorganization, rude personalities (whether they’re airport staff or fellow travelers), long lines, lost baggage, traveling on little or no sleep and the worst one: being sick (food poisoning or the common cold).
If you follow me on Instagram, I do share some of my airport experiences on my stories. And I thought I’d share some tips that I use while traveling, here.
Everyone warned about pick-pocketers and handbag-slashing in Italy, so I looked into money belts. Sure, they're not the most fashionable, (and they may not make an appearance on my Instagram, but you can see it here briefly in this video at 0.32 sec). The verdict is that money belts are super functional and reliable and there are SO many choices, but here are two I can recommend
Tarriss RFID Blocking Money Belt - Great for men or women if you're wearing jeans (so it can hide beneath a shirt or blouse). Easily fit passport, money, and even room keys. It's adjustable with an elastic waistband. My husband wore it through his belt loops, so it even functioned as a belt of sorts.
Zero Grid Neck Wallet - This was great for wearing cross body and adjusting it so that it was short enough to wear under my arm. I could fit a passport, money, my phone, a lipstick, extra SD cards, and even a couple of meds in case of headaches etc.
Airport Clearance - avoid the long line ups with these:
TSA Pre-check - $85 for a 5 year membership. Beneficial for flights departing US Airports.
Global Entry - $100 non-refundable fee upon application for a 5 year membership. You must apply through the “Trusted Traveler program website”; all applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Global Entry gives you the TSA Pre-check benefit.
NEXUS - For travel into Canada, NEXUS is $50 (Canadian or US) for a 5 year membership.
Clear- at select airports in the US, is $175 per year, gets you to the front of the line
I like buying travel size items in almost all products if i can find them (sometimes, it’s because I get tired with the product itself). Things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dry shampoo, shaving cream, you can almost always find in the travel size or at least less than 100ml. Also, if you like something at Sephora, ask for a sample; chances are you can make it last the length of you trip. Once when my bags got lost en route to Vancouver, I went into a Sephora and told them what happened and that I needed samples of everything. They were kind enough to oblige :) For those empty travel size bottles, the most affordable ones can be bought from CVS or TJ Maxx/Marshalls.
I also keep a little travel pouch of medications such as Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, cough drops, and Advil, and a tiny bottle of Peppermint roll on, which I find helps with headaches and the occasional questionable odor on the plane :)
Rolling: I ROLL all my garments into my suitcase; I find I can fit a few more things this way, and also items don’t get as wrinkled.
Carry on - I like to take a full change of clothing, including underwear, in my carry-on, an extra pair of shoes, toothbrush and a swim suit, in the event that the airline loses my luggage.
If you like to explore a new place by walking around, then comfortable shoes are a no brainer. Here are a variety of flats that I think look cute and are also great for walking.
Sprerry slip on sneakers - the key is to find these in LEATHER (not canvas) - very comfortable to walk in and look cute with dresses and jeans. I’ve gone through two pairs of these; and worn them in Italy (Rome and Venice), Oxford, Jasper, New Orleans, Montreal, Boston, Puerto Rico, Martha’s Vineyard I found mine at Marshalls, but it seems the “Pier View” and “Seacoast” (from Amazon) are the same shoe.
Pumas - extremely LIGHT; perfect for traveling with. You can run on the treadmill with these or outdoors and walk around in them, and you feel supported. They’re my workout shoe that I pack for trips (like Colorado)
Running shoes - my feet have started to swell on airplanes now (there was an incident once where I wore slide on riding boots on a plane, took them off during the flight and couldn’t put them back on!) so now I wear either the slip on Sperrys, Skechers or these, my favorite running shoes are these ASICS Gel-Nimus 18. And then I have them to go to the gym with.
If you’re like me, you like to be warm on a cold plane. These are my go-to travel clothes
Leggings or anything with an elastic waist - these I found at a market in Seoul, and have never been able to replace!
Layers, I like to wear a thin long sleeve t-shirt underneath a sweatshirt or hoodie, and the zip-up North Face that I use is now discontinued, but similar style here. If the plane has a draft, a hoodie is a must.
Compression socks - as I mentioned, my feet have started swelling on long flights. I’ve found that wearing knee-high compression socks has really helped (also eating less salty things before a flight), so much so that my feet no longer swell. I got mine at Marshalls or TJ Maxx but they are easy to find at a lot of stores or online.
Eye mask + ear plugs - For long or overnight flights, I highly recommend getting a cosy eye mask (I bought this one from Typo Shop in Melbourne, although I may need this one hahaha!) and ear plugs which block out the airplane noise and helps with sleeping on the plane. Put the earplugs in before you get on the plane and then before landing. Many travel websites recommend Earplanes, so I will have to try these myself.
Neck cushion - I carry an inflatable one, just in case, but there are so many different varieties and I am looking into getting something that’s easier to travel with than a U-shaped neck pillow.
On the plane:
Staying hydrated - I’m still working on this one, myself :) It helps with getting over jet lag once you’ve landed, too.
Being Sick: If you’ve ever had a cold on a plane, you know that the air pressure can really hurt your ears and sometimes you can’t even hear once you’ve landed :( One remedy is to use ear plugs, and suck on a lozenge like Ricola or Fisherman’s Friends, drinking lots of fluids and I also came across this article on flying with a cold.
*** This is not a sponsored post, these are all my opinions based on personal experience ***