Packing for the Perfect Weekend Getaway

14 May

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Getting away for a weekend should be just that, getting away, without being hampered by loads of luggage. Learn how to pack the essentials so that you’ll have everything you need without weighing yourself down and raising eyebrows. Just follow these simple steps.

Find the Perfect Piece of Luggage

This may take some time, but finding just the right bag makes all the difference. Make sure it’s sturdy, easy to carry and roomy enough to fit everything you need. Follow your preferences, whether you choose a soft satchel, hard roller case, duffel bag or whatever. Wheels are always a helpful option.

Start With a List

Decide how many changes of clothing you will need and what type. It always helps to check the weather ahead of time so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Don’t forget about things like bathing suits, shoes, socks, exercise clothing and jammies.

Assemble Your Belongings

Dig out everything that you plan to bring and assemble it in one place so that you can get an idea of how much room you will need, and whether you might need to whittle it down. Consider whether you will have laundry service available, in which case you might want to save room by bringing mix and match clothing pieces. Check off your list and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Start Packing

The best way to pack clothes so that they don’t wrinkle is to roll them up Navy style. Put shoes and heavier items on the bottom, then rolled clothes, with your more delicate items at the top. Then start stuffing the smaller items, such as underwear and socks, into the empty spaces. You can even stuff these soft items into your shoes to help them keep their shape.

Use zipper locking plastic bags for jewelry and other small items that might otherwise get lost, as well as toiletries that might leak, and to keep your toothbrush clean. All of these items can be slipped into empty niches in corners, pockets and between other items.

Pack Your Toiletries in a Large Baggie

Per TSA rules, place all of your liquids into a quart-sized zipper locking baggie if you are flying. The containers can be a maximum of 3.4 ounces. Hotel freebies and other free samples are perfect for the occasion, and after you use them up you’ll have more room on the return trip.

Don’t Forget the Most Important Stuff

Don’t get so wrapped around the handle packing your bag that you forget things like passports, tickets, credit cards and travelers checks. Also, consider any medication you may need; do you have allergies? Could they possibly flare up? Don’t spend your weekend getaway looking for a drug store. Make an inventory of critical items that you absolutely must have, and check it carefully one more time before you head out the door.

Hot Tips on Packing for your Luxury Cruise

10 May

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Going on a cruise is exciting, especially if you’ve never been on one before. Packing can be a bit confusing, however, if you’re not sure what to bring. You don’t want to miss out on exciting opportunities because you didn’t bring the right gear; however, you don’t want to have to lug around tons of extra luggage and pay excess baggage fees. Here are some hot tips to make your cruise a cool trip.

Your Carry-On

If your luggage gets lost by the airline, your carry-on may well be your best friend. Your luggage will probably catch up with you at your next port of call; however, until then, you’ll have to make do out of your carry-on. Consider that when you pack it, and load it with everything you can’t do without for the next two days. Be sure to include a bathing suit and some sort of fancy dinner wear.

Bring Clothes that Mix and Match

For more flexibility and to save room in your suitcase, try to bring a variety of separates that are mix and match so that you can make your clothing go further. Consider focusing on basics that can be dressed up with a scarf, blouse or accessories rather than loading up your suitcase with a number of completely different outfits.

Check Out the Dress Codes

Make sure you know what is expected of you, especially if you get invited to the Captain’s Table aboard a formal cruise line such as Royal Caribbean. Check out the cruise line’s website to find out what the dress code is for dinner and other events on board. Don’t panic, however, some lines do have tuxedo rental stores onboard.

Do I Need a Bathrobe?

Most cruise ships offer bathrobes in all levels of cabins, although some offer them only on request. You can check out the cruise ship website to find out for sure, so that you don’t have to waste room in your suitcase stuffing in a bulky bathrobe. You don’t get to keep them, however, so don’t be tempted to take them home unless you’re willing to pay for them, because they will end up on your bill.

Don’t Forget to Dress for your Destination

When packing for your luxury cruise, you need to remember to allow for your activities on board ship as well as at your destination. If you’re planning on going zip lining or participating in some other athletic activity, you’ll want to remember to bring athletic shoes and clothing. Explore all of the different activities that are available that you may want to participate in, and pack appropriately.

Finally, make sure to bring all of your important documents, and keep them all together in a safe place at all times. And when you’re packing your suitcase, don’t pack it so full that you have to sit on it to close it. Remember; you’ll need room to bring back souvenirs!

Don't Ever Do This in a Hotel Room!

8 Apr

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There’s no place like home, and when it comes to hotel rooms, nothing could be closer to the truth. No matter how luxurious your hotel, you can’t escape the fact that it’s a place full of strangers, and many of them have been in the bed before you, and possibly done some very gross things. Here’s a list of things you should avoid doing in your hotel room at all cost.

Don’t Take Any Souvenirs

We’re not talking about the bathrobes, but the bedbugs. Bedbugs are a burgeoning infestation these days, in some of the fanciest of hotels. They’re just so portable; if you unpack your suitcase near the bed, a couple of hitchhikers jump in and the next thing you know, you have your own colony at home. Even well-heeled travelers can spread bedbugs from hotel to home to hotel.

Check the sheets and mattresses for any kind of small red or brown stains and always keep your luggage and clothing well away from the bed area. When you get home, unpack your bags in the laundry room and put your clothes straight into the wash to be on the safe side. Spray down your luggage with insecticide and store it well away from your bedroom.

Avoid the Remote Control

The towels and sheets may get changed, the bathroom surfaces wiped down and the floors vacuumed, but bedspreads have been found to contain a cornucopia of body fluids, and even worse is the surface of the remote control, which apparently never gets cleaned or disinfected at all. Consider packing some antibacterial wipes to clean the remote and the telephone as well, if you plan to use them.

Don’t Touch the Mini-Bar

It’s not the germs; it’s the exorbitant rip-off prices! It used to be fun to look through the mini-bar, just to see what was there. Don’t even think about it now! To prevent people from tampering with the goodies and replacing them with empties, hotels these days install super sensitive sensors that automatically charge you if you so much as touch something. Just stay away!

Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain Sight

You should never travel with expensive jewelry, but if you do have a nice watch or expensive necklace, keep them on your person or put them in the hotel safe when you go out. At the very least, stash them away somewhere rather than leaving them out in plain sight to tempt someone who might not otherwise be inclined to theft.

Don’t Give Away your Room Number

Write your room number on a bill rather than saying it out loud to the waiter, and avoid mentioning it anywhere someone might overhear. It’s just common sense, to avoid the weirdo’s as well as potential burglars.

Don’t Open the Door to Strangers

Your mother taught you this, and she was right. When someone knocks on your door, make sure you verify who it is before opening up. Even if you’re expecting room service, put the chain on the door and just open it a crack to make sure they are who they say they are. Tourists are attacked in hotel rooms all over the globe. Also, don’t leave your door ajar while you run out to get ice!

Don’t Forget the Do Not Disturb Sign

Whether you’re changing clothes, taking a shower, or sharing an intimate moment, make sure you put out the Do Not Disturb sign. Maids have a very bad habit of knocking and then immediately opening the door before you get a chance to answer.

A Properly Stocked Carry-on Makes the Skies More Friendly

24 Mar

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Ever since airline deregulation – and now even more so with all of the security precautions – airplanes are no longer the leisurely playgrounds of the idle rich. In fact, they’re generally packed like sardine cans with travelers of all kinds and from all walks of life, from harried businessmen to vacationing moms with screaming babies, large sweaty people, irritated people, and people who don’t bathe frequently. It’s enough to put you off of air travel for good!

You can make your trip a little more pleasant by stocking your carry-on with little comforts that will help you survive the over-crowding, jostling and noise. Whether you check your luggage or stuff everything you need into an overhead-bin-sized suitcase, make sure you bring along a carry-on for under your seat with these items.

A Soft, Comfortable Throw

Face it, airlines are getting stingy with the blankets so bring your own; the softer, the better. It will keep you warm and cozy when they crank up the AC, and you can always fold it up and use it as a pillow.

Your Favorite Snacks

These days, airlines are charging for the yucky food you never ate anyway, so bring your own. Flying often leads to constipation, as well, so bringing some high fiber cereal bars is not a bad idea.

Travel Sized Toner and Moisturizer

Don’t just pack makeup to freshen up at the end of the flight; bring along a toner and a moisturizer too. The toner will take off dirt and makeup and freshen up your skin, and the moisturizer will combat the dry cabin air. You might also want a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen your breath for that welcome kiss.

Reading Material

Lose yourself in a good book on a flight and before you know it, you’ll be at your destination. You can even save room by bringing along an eBook instead, which will make it easier to read when the lighting is dim.

Laptop or Other Electronic Gadgets

Instead of paying for the in-flight movie, which you’ve probably seen, bring along one of your own on a laptop or iPad. Make sure to bring your ear buds as well. You can also play video games and catch up on work or emails; save your replies in draft form until you get an Internet connection.

An Inflatable Pillow and a Soothing Eye Mask

Don’t hurt your neck doing the head-bob for hours on end; bring along one of those inflatable donut pillows and ride in comfort. Slip on a fragrant, lavender scented eye mask, put in your ear buds and play your favorite tunes on your MP3, and you can shut out all the noisy passengers, screaming babies and nosey neighbors, and just zone out until you reach your destination!