Monthly Archives

July 2015

Travel

Airplane Essentials

July 21, 2015

Packing for travel is totally different than packing for your trip. I don’t need two pairs of jeans on the plane, but I definitely need at least two books. See, totally different!

What you pack for your car/bus/train/plane ride will depend on what kind of entertainment you like. Personally, I love reading and doing crosswords. And yes, I have been called an old soul, thank you very much!

Here is a little list of what I’ll pack, along with what I wear, when it’s travel day.

  • Shoes that can slip off easily (for quicker security checks)
  • Jacket or sweatshirt (because it’s always freezing once your plane hits altitude)
  • Scarf. I always plan my travel outfit around a scarf so I can use it as a makeshift eye mask/blanket
  • Empty water bottle. You can’t bring liquids through security, but once you’re through, you can fill up with water all you like.
  • Gum. My ears have problems with planes. Gum helps.
  • Chapstick. Cause planes dry everything out. (Some people recommend bringing a little spray bottle to spritz your face with water while you fly. That’s a bit too intense for me, but you may love it!)
  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Books/Nook. I’m generally a hard copy book person, but on longer flights, I tend to opt for my Nook since I know I’ll go through a few books. Ah, who am I kidding, I totally still bring books!
  • Fully-charged iPod and headphones. There’s nothing worse than wanting to drown out the noises of a plane only to find out you’re out of battery.

I also take any important electronics with me on the plane, such as my camera or a computer. It gets cold in the baggage area, and I never want to take any chances with technology.

Alright, what am I missing you guys?

Travel

Packing your suitcase

July 13, 2015

There’s a whole lot that can be said about packing for a trip. Do you want to bring a carry-on only, check a bag, bring a suitcase or a hiking pack? Since we’re going on a pretty standard trip (and one checked bag is free on international flights), it made this decision quite easy for me as far as what type of case to bring.

What to fill it with, however, is a different story.

Start by researching the weather at your destination. Look at average temps and weather patterns for previous years. If you know someone in the area, ask them! We’re lucky because my mother-in-law can give us daily updates. We’re going to Ireland in August; the weather is decent: probably a few rainy days, generally cloudy, hopefully one or two days of sun, temperatures should be in the 60s.

Once you know more about the weather possibilities, it’s time to hit the closet. Since the weather will be pretty typical fall weather like we have in Minnesota, I’ve already got a good start; however, there are a few holes in my wardrobe. For example, I know I need one or two new pairs of jeans and some comfortable yet cute walking shoes/boots.

Layers will be key on almost any vacation. I bought a cute jacket a few months ago, so I’ll grab a few t-shirts to put underneath it and pair with scarves. Then, if it gets warm, I can take off my scarf or jacket, depending on just how warm it is. Whoever invented layering is a genius.

On top of all that, you have your personal items and extras (think books, camera, etc).

Actually packing

There are two ways to pack: weeks before and days before.

I’m a days-before kind of gal.

I make a list about a week before we go and then one afternoon, I’ll gather everything from the list and put them into piles of outfits. This way I make sure every piece goes with something else (preferably they’ll go with more than one item to better utilize space!).

By packing close to when we leave, I’m prevented from checking my suitcase every two days to make sure I packed these shoes or pulling out a shirt I needed to wear to work and possibly forgetting to wash it and put it back in. However, I know people who love packing everything early. Everyone has their own style.

Here’s a little run-down of what I’ll pack:

  • Two pairs of jeans
  • One pair of shorts
  • Five to six semi-nice tops/t-shirts for day trips
  • Casual jacket for during the day
  • Two nice tops for dinners
  • Pair of awesome walking shoes
  • Two to three scarves (no more because I guarantee I’ll buy at least one three when I’m there)
  • Comfy pants/sweatshirt for evenings in
  • One going-out outfit (and heels only if I have room)
  • Raincoat (it is Ireland, after all)

That’s packing basics for ya! It’s crazy to think that it’s almost time to start packing, yay!

Let me know…did I miss anything?

Travel

Trip planning advice

July 10, 2015

My husband is really into triathlons. He is also from Ireland. Last year, when he heard about a half-Ironman in Dublin in August 2105, he immediately signed up to register (that’s a process in and of itself). He got in and, wanting to be a supportive wife, I am forced to schlep along with him to Ireland.

Woe is me.

To top it off, one of my dearest friends is joining us for the trip.

How will I ever survive?

In all seriousness, this trip is going to be ridiculously fun. Having been to Ireland a few times before, I feel like we’ll be able to hit all of the important must-do things while still maintaining enough free time for unplanned adventures.

Planning a trip like this can take a lot of work. It helps if you break it up into different planning sessions. I’ll have a few posts over the next week or two about executing a successful trip. Here is a rundown of how we planned this trip.

6-9 months out

1. Passport updates. Having gotten married and changed my name, I needed to send in for a new one. Don’t wait until the last minute unless you’re okay paying for expedite service and dealing with a bit of stress (I wasn’t, so I did mine early).

2. Come up with some flexible dates. This will help in purchasing your tickets. We were a bit limited by the race date but we chose to keep that at the beginning of the trip to fully enjoy the vacation after.

3. Start looking for tickets early. Since I’ve taken this trip before, I had an idea of what prices would be. That was helpful, and we were able to avoid buying a few times when prices were higher. By giving us enough time to look, we saved a significant chunk of change.

4. Once you know dates, come up with a general route. We got together one afternoon in March with a map and calendar and roughed out three different routes we could take. We let the ideas percolate for about a week and picked one after factoring in transportation and how scheduled/unscheduled we wanted to be. Then start booking places to stay (I’m sure you can guess this will be coming in a post soon too!).

4-6 months out

5. Set aside specific travel money. We decided early on that we would take a chunk of our tax refund and save it for this trip. If that’s not an option for you, set aside a bit of money from every paycheck. Again, make sure you start early.

6. Think about what you want your trip to be. I will have more on this in an upcoming post, but for now, know that you can do anything from touristy/guided trips to free-reign adventures.

1 month out

7. Start researching the weather. Ireland is having some great weather at the moment, but it’s notorious for being rainy and windy at the drop of a hat. Layers will be key. Which brings me to another post about packing, coming next week!

8. Now that you have your route solidified, create a more detailed itinerary. Look into every city you’re staying and decide what are the must-dos and what are the would-like-to-dos. Do any research you might need on hours of operations (some places are closed random days, so take that into account) and bring your list with you when you go.

1 week out

9. Gather all your essentials: tickets, passport, money. My mother-in-law is great about reminding us about these three items every time we go anywhere. You can buy pretty much anything else, but you’re stuck without these three. Also consider medications and making sure you have enough before you leave. And adaptors so you don’t fry any electronics.

10. Start packing!

This is a basic rundown of how we’ve planned for our trip. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a few more posts coming with more information about packing your suitcase, packing for the airplane, booking places to stay and more. As they say down south, y’all come back now, ya hear?!

Thanks to my awesome cousin Michael for letting me use his photo for the post image. He’s my coolest cousin, just ask him!