5 Things You’d Never Think to Pack…

But will totally want to!

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One shot from a long climb day. Neuschwanstein Castle. July 2015.

As I have mentioned, a good chunk of my family has just come back from traveling through Europe and the UK for the past month and with their arrival comes a whole new set of insights and advice to pass on to all of you.

I asked my mom this time around what the biggest thing she learned from this trip (she has traveled many place for work throughout her career for a varied length of time, but this month was probably the longest, active trip for her) and she gave me this list of easy to pack items that she really wished she had available everyday of her trip.

1. Cinch backpack

This is one of those cheap drawstring backpacks you can pick up pretty much everywhere. The reason we recommend these so much is you can really easily pack one (or more) in your bigger travel backpack – along with books, computers, ect. – but then take just the essentials with you – like a jacket – on longer travel days without having to pack and unpack constantly.

2. Footbath tub

When you are running around constantly, the one part of your body that really takes a beating is your feet. Unfortunately, not all hotels (or wherever you rest your head for the night) have bathtubs to soak your feet in. While you can climb up on a bathroom counter or sleep with your feet elevated to help you out, bringing a small tub is a lot easier (and safer) and won’t really effect your packing. Whether you decide to bring a plastic tub – easily packed in a larger suitcase without messing up you  ability to pack because you can pack clothes into it – or an inflatable one – you’ll have to blow it up every time but easily folds into any case – you’ll be able to soak your tired feet without worrying about being stranded in a bathroom (or falling off any counters) and feel ready to go the next day!

3. Collapsible hiking/walking stick

This one falls a little more into the older groups’ ‘needs to bring’ set but there are definite times when even those of us in the younger crowd can use one of these handy sticks. Whether you are going on actual travel hikes, long walks through hilly country or city, or (more specifically) church and castle tours across Europe, too many hills no matter your age can get to you and – as with all things – once you feel like you need one, you won’t be able to find one to buy. The collapsible stick is the best because it will fit in your drawstring day bag and is otherwise simple practical.

4. Personal fan and/or spray bottle

A lot of European buildings do not have central air and as everywhere seems to get hotter and hotter, this can cause some seriously uncomfortable nights – and days walking around too. if you bring a small spray bottle or fan you’ll be able to get a bit of relief especially if your fan can be on and set in front of an ice bucket over night – this will cool the air even more!

5. Single bed sheet

A good percentage of people -at least, the people I know – can’t seem to sleep without some kind of blanket on top of them but many place around the world don’t do much in the way of sheets; instead, they have the bed cover and the duvet. But, as stated earlier, as the temperatures rise, the more uncomfortable those duvets become. So packing a single sheet in with your clothes is easy and light but can seriously increase your comfort.

*Just one word to the wise: if you are having your room made up, pack up your sheet so it doesn’t get mixed in with the hotels laundry.

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So that’s the list and, personally, I cannot wait for my chance to use all of these options! But until then:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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5 Things You’d Never Think to Pack…

Almost There…

Planning on packing.

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The Shard and London Bridge. London, England. Summer, 2013.

No banking today as I am waiting for a letter that will let me start setting up my account…. So, what to write about?

I’m less than three weeks out, my visa answer should be in tomorrow, my passport and paperwork should be back a few days later, I’m finalizing housing, have selected my classes, and am about to set into cleaning and packing mode. It’s an interesting experience, moving all by myself and further than a car ride away. In the next week, I’ll be going through everything I have to decide what I’m keeping, what I’m packing and what I’m giving away—but I’ll get to that as we go along.

But as I sit here, all I can think about is what I’ll be ABLE to take.

A few weeks ago, the school’s countdown blog did a post on buying vs. bringing. It advised only bringing things like prescription medications that you can’t get (making sure they are legal in the country you are traveling to) and enough for the entire time of your trip (if not a permanent move); and plug adaptor kits as buying them at home will mean they will work for you appliances like computers and chargers, while the kits will give you options as you travel from place to place—if you are able to work extra travel into you time away.

Buying on the other hand was a larger list. Things like hair driers, straighteners and curlers (as the voltage difference from country to country can cause serious issues); and bulky or heavy needs such as towels, sheets, toiletries, and books (with the exception of the one or two you take on the plane!), which just fill up suitcases or boxes which cost you just as much to ship as they do to replace.

I’m sure there will be plenty of other items to go on either of these lists as the packing gets under way and I would love to hear any of your suggestions. What would you take or buy that others don’t think about? Do you have an argument on taking one of the suggestions rather than buying?

No matter what you choose, there will always be things that you have to buy right when you move whether because your boxes haven’t arrived yet or starting from scratch, and you’ll need to budget a little wiggle room into your start of year spending.

Well, that’s all for now as I’m swamped and still figuring out the details.

Two weeks and five days; I think I can make it!

Thanks for reading and I love hearing from you,

Thins is Leave on the Wind, Helping you soar

Almost There…

Girls just wanna have fun…

My adapted how to for my girls’ weekend away.

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Margarita in the pool. Palm Desert, California. June 2014.

In a little less than a month, my sister is getting married and, along with all the other stresses and pleasures this event inspires, this means one very specific per-ceremony event has to take place: the bachelorette party.

What, one may ask, does this have to do with travel?

Well, my sister’s bridal party (plus additional guests) spans 10 people from 50 years old to 14, so this is more than just a one night affair in Vegas.

The 10 of us will be staying in a rented house for two full and two partial days with the bill (minus the house) split between 8 of us. In this way, as well as the event planning, this weekend get away—though very specifically themed—is a lot like planning any other travel experience… most specifically a road trip.

So go through the list:

Housing: rented a house—check

Cars: carpooling 8 of us furthest away in two cars—check

Budget: …

The simplest way to say this is have one. Most of the time, you aren’t taking one of these trips on your own and so your budget not only has to fit everyone involved but account for their spending. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Paying as a group. This is easy in the moment but can take a lot of post work. You really have to talk out affordability beforehand. Be frank on what people can chip in and what items are and aren’t on this list of group expenditures—some things are for everyone and others are personal—only one of these sets goes toward the group spending. You can even go so far to assign only one or two people (who you can rely on for their model spending habits) as shoppers but the key to this type of budgeting is recite collection and calculating while you go. The receipts tell you exactly how much one person spent which then can be divided. It’s not that I don’t trust people to tell me how much they spent, but seriously, just get all the receipts.
  2. Pay for things individually. This keeps everyone separate money wise which avoids the awkward “you owe me money” down the line, but also means everything from food to entertainment has to be parceled out right there and then—and that’s not even considering how you decide about things like the gas for the car. You have to really plan out what you are doing and where you are going—some restaurants won’t split the bill (at least for larger parties) and everyone will have to think about any pre-bought tickets, possibly paying more for none group rates.
  3. Break down of type. This means that one person (or one group) pays for gas while another pays for food and another for entertainment and so on and so forth. This can keep things simple and reduces the math but can be a serious game of monetary Russian roulette—you don’t necessarily know what is going to cost the most on any given trip.

For our trip, we’ve gone with option one. Two of us are the spenders and in the end we’ll be gathering our receipts and hashing out the numbers. We had a meeting before we did anything else to discuss what we wanted to do and the cost range we thought we’d be able to afford and still stick to while accounting for the number in our party. This is the option I usually recommend for larger groups of travelers.

Plans: …

Just like I talked about in my post about staycations, a weekend away can be just as low key or top speed as you want it to be. You’re not going very far (usually) and are usually trying to keep you costs low. For my trip, this means we’re bringing our food and drinks with us and eating at home. Making your food at home and packing lunches for when you head out—eat in a park and enjoy the day!—will save you a lot of money and can be turned into an event. What you chose to do can also determine costs for a weekend trip just like with any vacation.

Our basic plan is to stay around the house for a good chunk on the trip with an at home (and DIY) spa and pool day and a bachelorette themed movie and game night. We have one day where we’re going to go out and explore the area, do a scavenger hunt, have dinner and go drinking (away from the minors). These trips tend to be more about relaxation than anything else, so take it easy and have fun!

Packing:…

Just like any other trip, packing comes down to paying attention to where you’re going (the weather), for how long, and what you’ll be doing. I have almost always been a chronic over-packer but I’m trying to cut the habit, while still keeping my style intact.

For this trip, that means:

Your travel outfit (ie an oversized shirt, shorts/pjs/sweatpants, slip-ons or sandals [x2 if you can’t rewear it on the return trip])

Your pjs (something comfy for the night in)

Your day out outfit (something easy like jeans and a tee shirt to an easy dress that can transition to …)

Your night out outfit (through on a blazer and some heals/booties over your day wear and up the makeup)

Swim suit (and sunscreen and all other pool essentials)

A robe if you have/want one

Add one Bachlorette themed soundtrack and that’s it. Something easy you can roll and throw into a duffel or backpack with you toiletries, makeup and essentials.

So, that’s my weekend (and next week of last minute prep). What did any of you do for your last weekend away or what did you pack/see or not pack/see that you wish you did or didn’t?

Anyway, this seemed like an odd post and I’ll be sure to be back on track next week, but I hope you enjoy.

As always,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

PS. Exciting news on the horizon so stay tuned and wish me luck!

Girls just wanna have fun…