5 Things You Shouldn't Forget to Pack for Winter Travel

Packing is the tricky part of traveling. If my recent trip to the East coast has taught me anything, it’s that you never really know what to expect with Mother Nature. An October trip should have been brisk and cool. Instead, I saw 90 degree heat waves with only booties and sweaters in my carry-on. It seems the only two trips you can count on average weather conditions is somewhere sunny and tropical or somewhere cold and snowy. I love winter travel. There’s something about the shorter days and getting to see a place at night all lit up after a long day. It’s also a great time to be indulgent because you won’t be showing that belly near sandy shores. So go ahead and get that second mug of hot cocoa. No one’s judging!

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5 Items You Should Always Pack

Everyone loves to travel but no one likes to pack. If you’re anything like me, you might even put it off until the last second. When that happens, things are usually forgotten. A good friend of mine shared a master packing list with me that includes everything you could possibly take with you. While it’s made my packing nightmare much more bearable, there are always certain items I never forget to bring with me. These aren’t your typical things to pack like clothes, shoes and medicine. They’re a handful of essentials that are important for their own reasons. Take a look at tell me what you think in the comments below:

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1 - Travel Documentation
This may seem like an obvious one but it wasn’t always something I thought about. Travel documentation can vary depending on the destination you visit and what country (and even state) you live in. For example, there are a few states that no longer have TSA compliant driver’s licenses and can’t fly domestically without one. While this isn’t supposed to effect fliers before 2020, it might be safer to take a passport along. And before you argue that a passport is too much money, it’s $110 for adults over the age of 16 and only needs to be renewed every 10 years. That’s $11 per year, not a huge mark on the wallet by any means. Travel documentation also includes any flight or train information. It includes travel insurance, copies of your identification, and copies of your health insurance. All this documentation should be kept on your person, not in checked bags. At the hotel when you reach your destination, make sure to put a copy (or the real thing if you prefer) in the safe.

A few items you should take with you instead of leaving home. Limit specialty toiletries that you can't live without to no more than three. 

A few items you should take with you instead of leaving home. Limit specialty toiletries that you can't live without to no more than three. 

2 - First-Aid/Emergency Travel Kit
I have mini kits for everything. It’s better to be prepared than to face an emergency and not be able to help yourself or someone else! I’ll actually be sharing what’s in this emergency kit soon so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. As someone who also likes to pack light, we’re not talking anything crazy here. An emergency travel kit should have enough items to get you through an emergency situation. A few things to include are: band-aids, alcohol pads, Benadryl/Antihistamine medication, ibuprofen, an energy/candy bar, and a few others things. It should be able to fit easily in your regular bag or purse. We don’t need full bottles of rubbing alcohol here or a 12-pack of bottled water to make it through apocalyptic events. Just enough odds and ends to help with injuries, allergic reactions, upset stomach and other things.

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3 - Multi-Purpose Bag
I don’t own purses. I have one clutch that my friends gave me for a birthday and I can count the number of times I use it in a year on one hand. I own messenger bags, overnight bags and backpacks. Why? Because I’m usually carrying my portable office or a small version of it and I like the bag to live a good life. There are two bags that always come with me when I travel: a giant textbook-sized messenger bag and a backpack. The backpack is good when I need to lug the computer around and the messenger bag is good when I’m just lugging the camera around. I know people who pack several purses and clutches to match all the possible outfits they’re taking on vacation. That’s such a waste of space though! Bring something that can easily collapse and that will serve a better purpose than a fashion statement.

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4 - Hand Wipes
I always have a travel-size package of hand sanitizer wipes when I travel. Let’s start with trains and planes. They’re FULL of germs and bacteria. I wipe down the trays when I sit down on the plane to make sure it’s as clean as I can get it with the resources that I have. They also come in handy if any public bathroom you need to use is out of soap. We’ve all been there before! Hand wipes also come into handy if you’re a mom or traveling with kids. Anyone who’s done that before understands me on a real deep level. The best part about hand wipes? You don’t have to worry about it being another liquid in a bottle when going through security. If you can’t find hand wipes on your way out or you have tons of sanitizer on hand, just bring a bottle of that. It works as good.

5 - A Large Scarf
I got this super cute, soft scarf from one of my past Stitch Fix boxes that is enormous. I wear it more often as a wrap than a scarf because it’s so huge. Traveling will come with its share of surprises and one of them is that you’ll find yourself cold even if you’re on the way to a tropical getaway. Planes, trains, buses and cars can often be cooler than we prefer. Hotels can also get chilly. A large scarf is versatile and travels easy. It also lets you enjoy that small seat on the plane without having to share it with your over-sized puffy coat. It will even come in handy if one of the days has an uncharacteristic drop in temperature.

A few things you should leave at home instead of taking with you. Most are available from hotels and if not, grab a few travel size bottles at the nearest drugstore. 

A few things you should leave at home instead of taking with you. Most are available from hotels and if not, grab a few travel size bottles at the nearest drugstore. 

Before you go...I want to talk toiletries for a minute. Bottles of things can take up a lot of space in your suitcase and carry-on. See below for my list of Do’s and Don’ts on what to pack and what to buy. For the things not on the list, bring what might be hard to find if you need it and leave what you can do without or find in a pinch. A few other toiletries I never travel without are my hair gel for curly days (I have a very specific one that I use), face moisturizer because my skin can be annoying and a travel size bottle of dry shampoo. If I'm going somewhere I know will be very humid or warm, I'll also take Urban Decay's Makeup Setting Spray to keep my face in place. 

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3 Packing Tips For Changing Seasons

It seems like the entire country is currently going through a schizophrenic weather season. Heat waves on top of cold fronts are hitting every corner at different times. Chicago, for example, had a week-long, record breaking heat wave followed immediately by classic fall temperatures. I went to bed one night with it 90 degrees and woke up to 65. You can’t make this up. What are you going to do though? It’s the transition from summer to fall and unfortunately, it’s almost everywhere. So what does that mean for travel? It means packing is going to be much more difficult than it usually is. I would recommend checking out our post sharing tips on what to pack when traveling to multiple climates if you're planning for more extreme weather changes within a trip. If you’re trying to brave the summer to fall, fall to winter or winter to spring times of year...keep reading.

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1 - Pick one color scheme. It’s much easier to pack less if you stick with one color scheme for all your outfits. I like to go with neutrals and stick to black, grey, browns and white or nudes. I’ll pop in a few colorful pieces to mix it up when I’m going somewhere special but for the most part, you’ll see me either in black or grey while traveling. The one exception is my favorite sweater of all-time which is dark green because I can wear it several different ways with a few different pieces which brings me to #2.

2 - Choose multi-purpose pieces. Packing a handful of items that can be worn several different ways multiplies your wardrobe without having to add extra pieces. My favorite sweater can be dressed up, dressed down, worn with yoga pants, works with flats or boots and a few other ways. It’s super comfy, it’s warm enough to wear on its own with a long-sleeved tee underneath or with a tank for cooler days. Similar versatile pieces would be your favorite pair of jeans or flats. A cute top that can be worn under things or on its own. The smartest thing to do is pack a handful of versatile pieces that work interchangeably together. If you pack four items that can work 10 different ways, you’re set for the entire trip.

3 - Embrace layers. Remember about 10 years ago when layering was all the rage? There were shirts sold at the hottest stores specifically for layering. I don’t get how this can be a trend considering it’s one of the most basic ways to get dressed. The hardest part about changing seasons is the cold mornings and nights and hot afternoons. No one wants to waste time going back to the hotel twice a day to remove or replace clothing. Instead, layer up. Wear lighter pieces underneath items that you can remove and either carry, tie around your waist, or hold in your bag until it starts cooling off again at night.

Some destinations are more predictable with their weather which makes planning your suitcase much easier. For the unpredictable destinations, *ahem* I’m looking at you Chi-town, it’s better to plan for everything. That doesn’t mean filling your suitcase to the brim, but it does mean being smarter with your packing selection. For more advice on packing, check out a few of our other articles sharing tips and tricks.

6 Tips For Packing Smart

Let me ask you a few questions. How many times have you gone on a trip and realized either halfway there or after arriving that you forgot something (usually important)? How many times have you had to fork out extra money because you packed too much? How many times have you had to either forgo shopping or throw some things out because you didn't have enough room in your suitcase to bring new stuff home? How many times have you used a larger suitcase than necessary because you packed more than you actually used on the trip? How many of you are guilty of all of those? Yeah, me too. I used to be a chronic over-packer who always forgot something important like medicine or underwear. Sure, you can buy most things when you get to a destination but it's just a waste of money, especially since you have everything you need. I also used to be a space-wasting packer. My methods were amateur and needed some definite improvement. Today, I rarely forget anything and I always have extra room left in my suitcase. These are my tried and true tips to packing smart.

1. Make a list. My friend Katie over at Arrivederci has the best packing printables that I've ever used and I've used a lot over the last few years. It's a 3-page document starting with your ultimate checklist. It has everything from basics like undergarments and t-shirts to important documents like insurance and passports to specific toiletries, camera equipment and more. I like to start by crossing off anything I don't need. This narrows the list down so I can make sure I don't forget anything that I actually need to bring. The second page include charts that let you plan out what you're going to pack in each bag. This is helpful to make sure you have enough space in your carry-on without over packing it. Finally, she has an outfit planner in case you need to get really specific in your clothing selection. I normally stick to two pairs of pants and then tops and sweaters I can easily mix and match. Download her free printables HERE.

2. Master the art of rolling garments. Not only does this save you space, it also keeps your clothes from wrinkling. I roll my pants, pajamas, shirts, dresses and skirts. Sweaters I deal with on a case by case basis but normally lay them on top when all is said and done. Packing for cold weather is tough regardless of who minimal your packing gets. Everything is bulky and heavy so you have to be patient and treat your suitcase like a game of tetris as you add things into it. 

3. Stuff what you can. Underwear and socks can easily be stuffed into shoes and hats. I would recommend stuffing socks into shoes rather than underwear since socks and shoes both go with feet but no one will see but you so do what you have to. No judgement here! I like to save the smaller items for last because they're easy to fill into little holes the rest of your clothes leave as you pack. 

4. Minimize. Do you really need ten tank tops and five pairs of jeans? Is it necessary to take a bra for every different shirt? The answer is no. For an average trip, five to seven days, you can get away with 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 nice outfits and a combination of 3-5 shirts and sweaters. The trick is packing items that can easily mix and match because three pieces go from three to seven outfits. Always pack shoes that can easily go with any outfit you're wearing. Shoes take up a lot of space unless they're sandals so you don't want to waste space on those. 

5. Save a few things to buy at the destination. Toiletries can take up space and weight. Save both by forgetting them and buying what you can at your destination. Thinks like soap, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner can easily be found in travel-size bottles at a local drugstore and they're not a lot of money. Most hotels usually have soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner so more than half of what you'd buy will already be available to you at no cost. Unless you have a favorite product you're afraid you won't be able to find, just leave it at home and buy it when you get there. 

6. Be smart with your carry-on. Things happen. Pack at least one of your outfits in your carry-on bag in case your luggage gets lost. Be mindful of what you're packing in your carry-on too because you'll have to lift that baby above your head when you board. This is a great spot to make sure you leave space. I normally like to leave my carry-on at least halfway unpacked. That ensures room for shopping at my destination and to store a coat while I'm in the airport and on the plane. This is also where you want to include anything of value to you. If you're traveling with an expensive camera, for example, store that safely here. I always carry my laptop in my personal bag and then my camera equipment and any charging items in my carry-on. It makes me feel better to always have access to it.

Packing is stressful but it doesn't have to be impossible. Use that checklist, keep the other tips in mind and you'll be just fine. These tips helped me go from using 2 suitcases + a carry on for a two-week trip to just a suitcase and a personal bag (no carry-on). They've also helped me only use a carry-on for trips one week or less. You can't travel the world with a million bags! The less you have, the easier it will be to move around. 

What To Pack When Traveling To Multiple Climates

Packing. Some people love it, others hate it. Some are motivated to pack as little as possible and avoid those pesky baggage fees. Others just don't want to carry around a ton of weight. Regardless of your end goals when it comes to packing, figuring out how to plan for different climates is a nightmare. Packing for one is stressful enough, two is just insanity. Well, guess what? It's possible and I just did it! Not necessarily extreme climates but different enough that the wardrobe was effected. Here's what I learned...

1. Stick with neutrals. Don't color-coordinate your outfits. One or two are fine depending on the length of your trip but neutrals will allow for easy mix and matching and they're simple enough to wear more than once. Use scarves for a pop of color or at least bring colors that coordinate well all together.

2. Layer up. Since you're sticking to neutrals, layering should be easy. Bring pieces that you can accommodate to warmer weather and colder weather. By doing so, you'll be able to minimize the number of items you bring as each outfit will be versatile and re-usable. 4 shirts and 2 sweaters equals 8 different outfits. 4 shirts and 3 sweaters equals 12 different outfits. Get where I'm going with this?

3. Don't stock up on shoes. Shoes will easily take up a large portion of available packing space so don't bring more than necessary. Wear the pair of shoes that would take up the most space while you're traveling. That way, they're on your feet rather than in your suitcase. Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of fancy shoes if you'll need them. I personally travel with a pair of gym shoes, a pair of ankle boots that are comfortable to walk in and a pair of flats. I make sure that the booties and flats can go with any outfit I wear as well. One is brown, the other is black. These 3 pairs of shoes will take you through ANY climate unless you're hiking. That requires it's own post though.

4. Don't sweat it too much. Traveling to different climates sounds much more stressful than it actually is. I went from Texas to San Francisco last year (which are way different in temperature than they might seem) and survived with a lightly packed suitcase and one other bag. I made it from Boston to DC recently and packed for 40 degrees and rain as well as 80 degrees and sunny. If your destinations are more extreme like Alaska versus Florida, these tips still apply just a little more dramatically. Increase your layers. Instead of pairing shirts and sweaters, pair tank tops, long-sleeved shirts and heavy sweaters. Wear your coat while you're traveling. Items for warmer weather will take up less space so pack smart by layering as many warm-weather items as possible to save room for the heavier items. Stay away from dresses if you know it will be too cold in one destination. 

5. Ask yourself if you really need that poncho. Like any other packing strategy, narrow it down to the must-have items. If you don't see yourself wearing something, if you're even questioning it, don't bring it. Take your favorite items because chances are you'll feel much better wearing those outfits repeatedly rather than something you're less comfortable in. 

Traveling to different climates is less stressful than it seems. All it takes is a little layering, smart decisions and narrowing it down to a suitcase that makes sense and doesn't cost you a pretty penny for being overweight. What are some tips that you have? Tell us in the comments below.

How To Pack Your Summer Suitcase

Hey, there readers of Lattes, Life & Luggage!

I’m Darryon-writer of From the Daughter, a lifestyle blog with God at the center. I’m excited to be a guest here and share with you some items and tips to help you pack your suitcase this summer.

Summer is here, that means it’s time for some serious vacationing. Where are you going this summer? Italy? Costa Rica? Or staying states side by visiting California? Wherever you decide to go you’ll definitely end up with a suitcase by your side. Want to know how and what to pack? Set your suitcase aside and read on.

Clothes
Okay, I know, pretty obvious. But a lot of us end up packing way too many outfits when we leave for vacation, I know I do. Do we really need 10 outfits for 7 days? Save yourself some trouble and pack like a minimalist. 4 outfits at most, full of interchangeable pieces. Keep it neutral by kicking out the colors that are too wild. That way everything you bring mingles together nicely, and you’ll have room for your swimsuits and unmentionables.

*Bonus: Skip folding your clothes, save space by rolling them.

Cosmetics
It’s summer, so no need to tote around your entire makeup stash. Keep it light with your go-to BB cream and some mascara. You’ll either sweat it off or the pool will get to it. Also, be sure to grab mini bottles of hair product and soap. If you plan on hanging poolside, some leave in conditioner might be good for your hair.

Protect your skin
The sun stays just as brutal every summer. Grab some sunscreen and bug spray to keep your skin protected and looking healthy. Most drug stores have mini versions of your favorite products, making packing a breeze. And if your skin is super sensitive to the heat rays, pick up a stylish floppy hat for some extra coverage.

Tech
It’s 2016 so everyone has their phone, tablet, or computer strapped to them. If you plan on bringing at least one of these things, don’t forget the charger. There’s nothing worse than your phone dying in the middle of an Instagram upload. Make sure all your followers see you having a great vacation by staying plugged in.

*Bonus: Grab your headphones so the airplane ride will fly by (pun intended) or to relax on a nice road trip.

Forgettable’s
Most often we tend to forget the little things that may come in handy. Here are some most common forgotten items:

  • Insurance Card and I.D
  • Passport
  • Nail Polish
  • Hair ties
  • Ibuprofen

I hope you are feeling better prepared, ready to get packing?

Packing Light For Holiday Travels - 6 Tips

With the holidays literally starting this week, many people have to start thinking about what to pack. Whether you're going away for a weekend, an overnighter or a long stay, these tips to pack light are universal and can help your bag feel more like a carry-on rather than a ton of bricks. I am a notorious over packer but recently I've learned how to pack everything I need into a duffel. As far as I'm concerned, the least amount of things I have to carry is best. There is nothing worse than a kink in the neck because of bag abuse. So take these tips and try to apply them as you pack for grandma's this weekend.

1. Pack the basics. A white or black tee-shirt can be worn casually and formally and no one can tell if you wore it two days in a row if you change up the rest of what you're wearing. Think about what you're natural basics are. What are the tops you always grab when you're running late because they work? Those are your basics. Pack those and you're setting yourself up for success.

2. Pack one set of shoes and wear your favorites. Shoes take up a ton of space. If you can get by with one casual pair to wear when you travel and one formal pair for those fancy nights, do it. If you can't, try and pack shoes that are a bit slimmer or easier to manage like flats. Booties and heels just take up way to much space to deal with.

3. Only pack toiletries that are essential like a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Regardless where you stay, a hotel and your mom's house will have shampoo, conditioner, body wash and the rest. Limit the toiletries you pack to only the things you absolutely cannot part with. Tresemme hair gel is always one for me in case I can't get my hands on a decent hair dryer. 

4. Pack small instead of large. Capitalize on the basics you brought by backing more small items then large. Instead of packing three sweaters for three days, pack one and instead have two shirts and two scarves. Mix and match. One sweater, two shirts and two scarves equal four different outfits.

5. Do not bring your entire formal wardrobe. List out the events you'll need to dress fancy for and only pack for them. Try on several different outfits before you pack and choose the one(s) you feel most comfortable with. Try to decide if you can recycle them too. If you have two holiday parties but with completely different people, perhaps you can wear the same skirt and just change the top, or maybe you can wear the same dress but wear a blazer instead of a sweater. Whatever you can do to minimize the number of articles you bring with will help. 

Always choose what you already know you like on you or feel most comfortable in. Bringing along that dress you bought a few months ago but never wore "just in case you might wear it because you love it" is a waste of space. Chances are you'll take it off and wear what you've worn before and feel comfortable in. We all have those go-to items in our closet. Stick to those and you'll be happy with what you're wearing and have the lightest bag in the house.