Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Hit and Miss of my Last Trip and Trip Planning Advice

My Hit and Miss of my Last Trip and Trip Planning Advice

Even road warrior travelers make mistakes. I collect several stories about packing tips every month, and these anecdotes are very helpful. After all, we don’t often share what worked and what didn’t on our trips. And the truth is that everyone appreciates value shopping and saving a few dollars here and there. Of course, every trip is different. Few people take international trips as frequently as they travel domestically. Packing for longer trips is a different matter than getting ready for an overnight business trip or a pleasure trip right here in the USA.

My main advice which I can’t help but reiterate here, is to pack lightly. For your wardrobe, choose two or three colors that you can mix and match. Hand-wash your clothes during your trip. And when it comes to planning for your getaway, use a Pinterest board like this one to save the items that you want to purchase.

Cold December day at the Wartburg Castle, overlooking the town of Eisenach, Germany

My Miss on My Trip

My miss on my last international trip was with my luggage. I got caught up in searching for the best deals on luggage and forgot about the consequences of my decisions — like how easy the bags would be to lug around on trips. Remember, you have to carry your bags with your belongings inside!

My usual practice is to take one piece of luggage with wheels and a handle — a standard size, nothing huge — that I check in with the airline, and then to bring two carry-on bags with me on the plane. These are bags that I sling over my shoulder. I use one to carry an extra set of clothing and tech tools like my laptop, phone, cords, chargers, writing pad, etc. The other is my daypack, which comes with a shoulder strap, and which I keep in front of me like I would a purse.

On longer trips, I look for an oversized personal bag into which I can slip my small daypack during the flight. When I arrive, I have both my daypack and my larger bag to carry any purchased items on my return flight.

I blew it on my last trip. The new oversized bag (picture) that I thought would be perfect for my daypack and any extra items turned out to be way too big and awkward for my height. I’ll say it again — don’t forget that you still need to carry your bags with you at the airport and times like during transfers to hotels.

My Awkward Carry On Bag on this Trip

I know better than to stray from my usual practice. However, I wanted to try something different (though I should have tested this on a shorter trip).

Now I’ve returned to my old carry-on (a comfortable shoulder bag) along with my daypack. And I recently found this convenient carry-on bag, which has plenty of room for a laptop. It converts into a backpack as well.

My Hit on the Trip

Traveling in the winter from California poses a new set of challenges for travelers. And yes, we do have coats in Northern California. I own lightweight jackets and all-weather coats that I wear on cooler days and in the rain.

I am familiar with heavy coats from when I grew up in the cold, icy, snowy weather of Central USA. I added this item to my Pinterest board and eventually found the fabulous black wool coat, which came with a hood. It was the perfect length and went down to right above my knees, yet was long enough to cover the tops of my legs. And as a bonus, it was a designer coat on sale since I’d shopped for it ahead of time! It kept me warm on the cold, winter December days I spent in Germany.

Heavy Black Coat and Day Pack in Ruhland, Germany
 Trips should be fun, one-of-a-kind experiences. Most of us don’t get away all that often, and we don’t want to create unpleasant situations. In order to make the most of your next trip, remember these basic tips:

Let's have fun. Where am I going next? From the The Fun Tour Guru 

What are your Hits and Misses - what worked or didn't work for you from your last trip? Tell me in the comments below.  

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