Travel Tip Tuesday: 04.12.11

Image via Flickr by PJFurlong06

Always have Kleenex – you will never know when you’ll need it.


What NOT to pack


Don't overpack! Image via Flickr: zingersb

I love packing. I don’t know what it is, but I just love it. Whenever my parents are going on vacation, I call my mom up and tell her I will help her pack.  Here is my list of items you should NOT pack:

1. Hair Dryer – pretty much all hotels have this covered. There is no sense in bringing along your personal hair dryer. It takes up space and it’s just not needed.

2. Big Shampoo Bottles – if you’re a frequent traveler like myself, you can buy travel size containers to put your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, moisturizer, etc. I personally don’t like the hotel shampoos.   I have naturally curly hair so I need my hair products. I transfer them into my travel sized containers. Less space and less weight.

3. Too many shoes – all you really need is one pair of good walking shoes and one shoe you can wear at night. That’s all you need ladies! No need for a carry on for just shoes.

4. Lots of clothes – If you think back to all the vacations you’ve taken, I’m sure there are a few items of clothing that you did not wear.  You don’t need your full wardrobe.  I went to Asia with just a backpack and small duffel bag as a carry on.  This is what I took on my trip:

2 pairs of pants, 5 tops, two cardigans, and two shorts, a bathing suit and a cotton dress.

Some of the clothes I packed, I knew I wasn’t going to bring them back (I had planned to leave some clothes behind).  This allowed me to shop for new items and not add more weight to my luggage.

5. Lots of books – If you can afford to get one, invest in an ebook or an ipad.  It will take up less space and you have access to an insane amount of books.

6. Towel – I used to pack a full size towel whenever I went on vacation, but I no longer do that. If you want to use your own towel, I would suggest to purchase a travel size towel.  I bought one for my Asia trip, just to try it out and it wasn’t too bad.  It took up less space, and it worked.  You can check your local outdoor store for travel towels. I purchased mine at Atmosphere.  Or you can always air dry 🙂

If you have any suggestions of what not to pack, let me know. Would love to hear your suggestions!

Maybe one day, I’ll be like Rolf and not pack anything!


update: I did pack underwear and socks too…didn’t include that, but figured that’s a given!

Top 10 Signs you Need a Vacation

Hello my fellow travelhuggers, Cheapoair contacted me and asked me to do a blog post for them.  Woohoo!! It’s the Top 10 Signs you need a vacation.  Check it out here!

Thanks Cheapoair for asking me to do a guest post!

To all those coming from Cheapoair, welcome to my blog! Feel free to subscribe and follow me on twitter @travelhugger.

Saving $$$ for your Dream Vacation

The summer is almost over and I didn’t travel anywhere, except to Niagara Falls.  My last “big” vacation was to Paris in 2006 –  four years ago! I’ve traveled to Las Vegas, Cuba, NYC, Chicago and Orlando between 2006 and now but I don’t consider those my “big” vacations. My next “big” vacation, if all goes well, will be to Asia next year. Fingers and toes crossed man! I’m excited to go there, and haven’t really started to plan anything yet because I still need to get my finances in order. If you’re trying to save money for your “big” trip or dream vacation, here are some tips you can follow:

1. Cooking at home – I love, love, love to eat out but as you know, if you eat out too much it can add up and you start to break the bank. Plus, it’s healthier to eat at home, ’cause who knows what kind of ingredients are going into your food.  This past weekend I went to a restaurant and ordered pasta and it tasted like they used ketchup as the pasta sauce with lots of salt. It was pretty nasty!

2. Have a separate account for travel savings – It’s just so much easier when you have a separate account for travel. It’s easier to keep track of and easier to see how much you’ve saved.

3. Borrow books and DVD’s at the library – I like to read and of course watch movies. The library near my house has a pretty good selection and if they don’t have what I’m looking for, I can always request it and they let me know when it’s ready for pick up. As I said in one of my earlier posts, it’s a great way to get all our travel guides..for free!

4. Smart shopping – Before I buy most things, I tend to have a conversation with myself “Do you really need this?” Most of the time I don’t, so I end up putting the item back. I’ve also started to buy things at garage sales and thrift stores. I bought a really cute black clutch purse at a garage sale for $1.00! Not only do you save money by shopping at thrift stores, you’re also being environmentally friendly! Think about it!

5. Get a Travel Rewards Credit Card – I still need to apply for one, but this is on my list of to-do’s. A travel rewards credit card is a great way to use your reward points towards hotels and flight costs. Click here to read more about it.

Happy Saving!

The Banana Boat aka the Death Boat

I’m going through some of my old photos and I came across my Punta Cana vacation I took a few years ago with 3 of my friends. I was in university at the time and going away on an all inclusive vacay was just what I needed. A time to relax, work on my tan, party, eat and of course almost die on the banana boat. Yes, that’s right. I almost died on the banana boat. Ok, I’m exaggerating but I remember thinking, for a split second, that I was going to die in the water because my friends and I decided to ride this ridiculous banana boat. But before I tell you how I almost died twice on the banana boat let me explain what it is.

The Banana Boat

It is an inflatable boat that is yellow and somewhat in the shape of a banana (hence the name, duh). It can hold about 4 to 6 people and it is pulled by a speed boat. Now it sounds pretty safe and fun right? Well, the driver of the speed boat tries to flip the banana boat upside down by turning and crashing into waves. I know, it still doesn’t sound that bad. Sounds like fun. But trust me, the way our driver was crashing into the waves and flipping our boat, I seriously thought I was going to die. As the banana boat makes its first turn, I was trying to hold on, but everything is going so fast, I ended up flying into the water, hitting my friend in the shoulder with my foot, swallowing a gallon of salt water and coughing like crazy.   Crashing into the water like that was not fun for me.  My body turned to jello and I felt like I landed on a tonne of bricks.  But I decided to give it another try.  I knew what to expect and I thought maybe I just need to hold on tighter.  Plus, I didn’t want my $5.00 to go to waste now and I was trying to convince myself that maybe the second one won’t be so bad.   One of my friends decided she’d had enough and went on the speed boat (smart move).

So now I’m back on the banana boat, holding on for dear life but I ended up flying into the water, swallowed another gallon of salt water and my bikini top manages to come off (thank goodness I was wearing a life jacket). That’s when I decided I wanted to live and f*&$ my $5.00. THAT’S IT! I’ve had enough. I put my bikini top back on and swam to the speed boat.  I think I was still shocked that I had survived and for some reason I just couldn’t get on the speed boat.  Plus, the driver was no help at all. He sees me and all he can say is “Lift yourself up”.  Uhhh a little help here buddy! Didn’t you just see that I almost died?  You would think he would put out his hand and pull me up. NOOOO! Let’s me make me suffer even more. I finally managed to get on the speed boat and joined my friend.  My other two friends decided to stay on.

So if there is anything I learned from my trip- never ride the banana boat again! I know there are people who find this type of thing fun, but for me I think I’ll just lay on the beach, sip on some rum and coke and tan.

p.s. I feel the same way about jet skis. I had a similar experience where the person driving was turning and trying to make us fall off. In the process, I ended up flying into the water, my ankle hit my husbands mouth and he chipped his touch. Maybe I’m just not good with water sports?

Decorate your Home with your Love for Travel

The one thing that I love besides traveling is home design/decor.  I came across this article today about vintage travel posters by one of my favorite home design websites Apartment Therapy. I think this is a great idea for travel lovers.  I love vintage and antique pieces.   I forgot that I bought some vintage prints in Paris (time to find those prints and frame them!)

What is your favorite home accessory or piece of furniture you bought while on a vacation?

Planning your Honeymoon

My good friend, littlebrownbride, asked me to do a blog post for her about planning a honeymoon. This is my very first guest post! woohoo! Thanks for asking me to do this post for your blog littlebrownbride!

Check it out here!

To all those coming from littlebrownbride, welcome to my blog! Feel free to subscribe and follow me on twitter @travelhugger.