I just returned from a 10 day trip. It was my first trip out of the country alone in 7 years. It’s different going alone, not with my husband or the kids. What a gift to have time to explore and have new experiences on my own! I was able to experience it in a different way, with a different perspective. I’ll write a separate blog about the trip, and another blog for Health on the Road, but first, I thought I’d share some thoughts on packing and preparing for a successful trip.
This was a 10 day trip, from Buffalo to NYC, to London, to Toronto, back to Buffalo in October.
- I’ve used Knomo briefcases and luggage exclusively for the past 4 years, but for the trip I knew I needed a good cross body purse. The Knomo Electronica purse in Olive matches the Curzon shoulder bag. I love all the compartments. There is a spot for everything in both bags. In the Curzon, I’m able to fit a full laptop, a tablet, a heavy planner, umbrella, plugs and video headset. The front zippers are used to separate pens and personal items like lipstick. The inside zippers make it easy to hold items that I don’t want to risk losing or falling out. On the purse, it comes with a charger that was able to give me 2 full charges on my iPhone or other devices. The inside of the purse had secure places for cards, passport, ID, 2 separate places for money or documents that were deep, an outside compartment I used for receipts, and more. Really worth the money and it looks good with everything.
- Comfortable footwear is so important to really enjoy where you are. My Superga sneakers in gray got a lot of wear on the weekend and on my train journeys. These are my 3rd pair – and they go with EVERYTHING including blue jeans and black stretch pants. Super comfortable and light. My only regret is not using Zappos to order because they are easier to deal with if you need returns. I also wore my old Naturalizer flats in leopard print – but BIG MISTAKE – I should have bought a new pair. The cushions were worn out and they were not fit for purpose to walk 8 miles a day in London. I had ordered a pair of Rothy’s in red before the trip, but unfortunately they didn’t fit and I didn’t get the new ones back before the trip started. Next one!
- My Kindle was a lifesaver, loaded up with 3 books to read. I have an older Kindle and it still works so reliably. The charge holds for days and days. Books are always accessible, even without access to WiFi. There were a few spots on trains or other places when for some reason my internet or WiFi just didn’t work. One time I was on a 2 1/2 hour train ride from London to Leeds, and although the Virgin WiFi looked connected, nothing worked on my phone. Thankfully the Kindle always worked, giving me something to read when I needed it.
- My Netflix App made me so happy on day 4. At this point I was done with British TV! I tried Hulu and a few other apps but they either didn’t work in the UK or the content was just a few 30 min episodes. Netflix was fast, no problems, and although I wasn’t watching a lot of content, I liked having shows I enjoy running in the background while I was in the room. I stayed at the Mondrian at Sea Containers, which had US electrical sockets, which meant no converter needed. They also had bluetooth viewing on the TV to connect to mobile devices.
- My Beachbody on Demand App gave me daily workouts in the room or in the gym. I was able to work out 4 days out of 8 in the UK. I would have liked to have done more days, but I made a few mistakes that made it difficult. First, I didn’t plan the workouts by day ahead of time, and should have had a backup plan for workouts in the event the equipment wasn’t available. For example, on two of the days I needed to leave the hotel to catch a train around 6:15 AM. I should have scheduled workouts that were realistic, meaning a 10 Minute Trainer or 20 Minute Barre for those days. I was able to go for a long walk on my first (jet lagged) day, and yoga should have been planned for my returning 1st day. Also, if you’re doing yoga in the room, remember to lay a towel on the floor – carpets aren’t as clean up close as they appear! I also really missed having my daily Shakeology. Not a commercial, but it is so true. I felt the difference by day 3. By eating on-the-go a lot, I didn’t get the right foods in my body to power a workout. I also had a sore throat by the end of the trip which I haven’t had in a year. Next trip I’ll have the Shake packs ordered and ready. I also will be looking into a personal travel blender to make it easier. Another blog to come on exercise and meal plans when traveling for work!
- I tried to minimize what I brought but there were a few comforts from home that I decided to not leave behind. One was my journal. Keeping that daily routine is even more important when the rest of your days are unpredictable. Those 30 minutes of waking up with coffee, writing and reflecting, helped me organize my thoughts. I’ve been a follower of the Miracle Morning since July and find that this daily routine sets my intention for the day, letting me achieve more in a calmer way. Another daily comfort from home is my Rodan & Fields routine. I brought the daily face wash, moisturizer and the serum. If I had to do it again, though, would have gone for the self-tanner for my face (I looked so pale!) and the travel sizes. Makeup? Don’t skip lipstick, you’ll need it if you’re overtired and going non-stop.
- I planned clothing to-the-day, leveraging dresses and some items that could be used in multiple ways. Not only did I reduce the amount of physical luggage but I was able to travel for 10 days with one pair of heels, one pair of flats, one pair casual sneakers and one pair of exercise sneakers. Boden dresses are my favorite for a few reasons. First, most of their dresses not wrinkle. The patterns and colors work well for mix and match, meaning you have more flexibility for the shoes, scarves and accessories. For this trip, I wore some new favorites and some old ones – Cecelia Slingback Flats in red, Carina dress, Rachel dress, heels Two Part Court and lastly the Delia dress. One button down white blouse is also great for wearing under multiple sweaters. It gives you layers for changing weather and also makes casual outfits look good in pictures. Watch for sales and use the promo code in the catalogue to save some money. Travel clothes for the plane are really important especially on a long flight. I wanted an outfit that was comfortable and looked good at the same time. I opted for black stretch pants that were heavier from White House Black Market with a gray turtleneck with my gray sneakers. Comfortable but still looked good. I have a few dresses from MM LaFleuer which I like, but I think they were too dressy for where I would be. I may invest in a few more casual ones, with flats to match from there.
- My Nexus card was wonderful, landing in Toronto. I went right to the iris scan, skipped the lines, then quickly out to baggage. Having the card probably saved me 30 minutes, which meant 30 minutes earlier I was home with my family.
- I kept accessories simple, packing just 2 pairs of earrings/necklaces. Skip the bracelets and fancy rings or jewelry. For scarves, I have never found ones I like as much as the Stella & Dot ones. They are just the right weight and the prints work with so many outfits. A set of pearls from Stella & Dot works casual or dressy, and because they are reasonably priced, no worries if they get lost. Lastly, if you are trying to live a minimal lifestyle, remember to purge the old items when you get the new ones. For every new dress that comes in, consign or donate the old dresses and shoes out. I’ve made the mistake of waiting too long and I’m going to try to do it at the same time.
That’s all! Hope you enjoyed my little tips and they help you with your next trip on your own. These little things may seem superficial to some people, but to me, it helped me to be a little bit more comfortable and the trip even more enjoyable.