Planning, packing and prepping for your trip. Discover the tricks of the travel trade before you head out on your next adventure.
Ever dreamed of hiking Kilimanjaro? Tracing your ancestry in Ireland? Maybe you’d like to safari in South Africa or hang glide over the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. With so many incredible options out there, it won’t be hard to find any, but might be hard to narrow down.
The Internet. Travel blogs and websites are a great source for travel inspiration.
Your Friends. Send a group email to your friends or colleagues asking for suggestions of places to go. You can also post a status update asking your social circle for their top travel recs.
Ask a Pro. A bike shop. An outdoor store. A wine shop. An art gallery. Seek out advice from experts in the field. They may know of special travel gems that are off the beaten path and a perfect spot to pursue your passion.
Your Ideas. Once you've determined a destination, write down some of the things you want to see and do. Then decide what's most important to you and begin plugging activities into your itinerary.
Your Budget. Start checking prices for flights and hotels. If you have miles, use them! Research the cheapest time of year to book a trip to your destination, as many flights and hotels are cheaper in the off-season.
Your Plan. As a general rule of thumb: The farther you're traveling, the farther in advance you want to start booking your travel plans — from flights to activities to hotels — to ensure your trip of a lifetime is one you'll treasure for a lifetime.
Packing a bag takes skill. And to many, it can be a work of art. Utilizing space and being spot-on about what items to include can take years to perfect. Below are a few tricks of the trade to help you become a Master Packer.
Consider the weather and what kinds of activities you’ll be doing. Visit weather-related sites to check out how the weather will be at your destination. Ski trip? Pack thermal underwear, wool socks, ski clothes and ski goggles. Beach-bound? Pack a swimsuit, sandals, hat and sunglasses.
Buy travel-size containers for your toiletries. You can always drop into a local shop to restock if you run out. Seal up containers in airtight plastic bags to prevent contents from leaking into your suitcase.
Coordinate your wardrobe with pieces that mix and match. Choose 2-3 color schemes (neutrals are always a safe bet) so each item can work with more than one outfit. Dress in layers so you can adapt to changing temperature.
Call the hotel prior to leaving home to inquire about items that come with the room (hair dryer, iron, robe, etc.). Otherwise, pack travel-sized items. If you're heading overseas, don’t forget to bring the right plug adapter.
Pack clothing using the "roll" technique. Lay two or three items on top of one another, smooth out and then roll them up like you would a sleeping bag. This saves space and helps prevent wrinkles. Always zip zippers and button buttons.
Organize your suitcase. Place your garments in the order in which you plan to wear the items. Wrap breakable items, like jewelry or glass, in socks and tuck inside the shoes in your luggage. Fill corners and edges with shoes and other cumbersome items. Top off with lighter items.
Make sure to check these to-dos off your checklist before you head out on your trip. Being prepared makes that well-deserved vacation go smoothly.
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