I know I said travel ‘question’ in the title of this post, but there are actually a bunch of questions that pop up in my inbox over and over again. I figured it might be helpful to compile these recurring questions for you into one helpful post. One of my favorite things about having this blog is when I receive a travel question from one of you! So please keep them coming as I love hearing from you and making a connection!
What are the best ways to avoid wrinkles when traveling?
Packing wrinkle resistant clothing is the easiest way to avoid wrinkling, but not everything you want to bring with you will fall into this category. With that in mind, here are the best tips I have:
- Unpack and hang your clothes as soon as you arrive and give them a misting of wrinkle releaser spray. You can find travel sized bottles at Target.
- Rolling clothes helps prevent major creases from forming.
- If you hang a dress or shirt in the hotel bathroom while showering, the steam will help work some of the wrinkles out.
- Pack a dual voltage travel steamer. This is an excellent travel steamer. After hanging the item in the bathroom while you shower, use a travel steamer to get the rest of the wrinkles out.
- If you’re traveling with delicate blouses or dresses and want to get really fancy, fold your items with tissue paper. For men’s jackets, turn them inside out and fold with tissue paper. It can even be helpful to line your suitcase with it! This trick has been useful when traveling for destination weddings.
What is the difference between an adapter and a converter? Do I need one?
There are two differences in the electric system in foreign countries to take into consideration.
- The outlets in foreign countries are often different sizes than your home country, so if you tried to plug your device into an outlet it wouldn’t fit. This is where an adapter comes into play.
- The voltage current in a foreign country may be different than the voltage used in your home country (i.e. America runs on 110 volts and Europe runs on 220 volts). If you try to use electronics with the wrong voltage they can surge the electronics causing them to overheat or even fry them so they no longer work. This is where a converter comes into play (if you don’t have dual-voltage electronics).
The good news is most modern appliances come as dual-voltage and don’t require a converter. Check the tag of your appliance to see if they indicate 110-220v. Computer and phone chargers typically come dual-voltage, but double check your hairdryers, travel steamers, and curling irons. There are so many dual-voltage electronics available I don’t travel with a converter anymore.
I never travel internationally without an adapter for the countries I’m visiting. This nested style adapter works well. If you end up forgetting one, or your adapter doesn’t fit in the outlet, check with the hotel front desk as they may loan you one!
What are the best ways to minimize jet lag after a long flight?
Below are my best tips on how to arrive feeling (somewhat) fabulous after a time zone change and minimal sleep on a flight.
Optimum Flight Time – Price is usually the driving factor when choosing my flights, but if it is a long flight I pay attention to the departure and arrival times. I usually prefer to book flights that leave in the afternoon or evening so it is easier to sleep on the plane. Even just a few hours of sleep is better than missing an entire night of sleep!
Bed Time – A few days before the trip I’ll try to go to bed a little earlier or a little later depending on whether I’m going east or west coast. This helps with my sleep schedule as it creates less of a time change.
Mental Clock – If I’m wearing a watch I’ll change it to the destination time when I’m boarding. Even if I’m not, I change my mental clock to the new time. When you’re traveling it’s so tempting to talk about what time it is at home, or how many hours you’ve been up, but don’t do it! As soon as you can get on the new time the better.
Drink Lots of Water – Since I’m usually trying to sleep during long flights I don’t get a lot of water in me. To make up for it, I try to drink a lot before I board and when we’re landing. If you’re awake I’ve heard that you should have 8 oz every hour on a flight, but if you’re trying for that I’d make sure to get an aisle seat!:)
Skin Care – Sitting on an airplane will dry out your skin. Period. I’ve found that wearing no makeup, limiting alcoholic drinks to one (or none), and applying moisturizer to my face mid-flight keeps my skin feeling its best.
When I first started working as a flight attendant I was flying to Asia one week and Europe the next and my internal clock was way off! Eventually I came up with my perfect arrival routine to combat the tiredness. I prefer to go straight to the hotel to check-in, take a shower, and change into fresh clothes. I don’t even let myself sit down on the bed as it can be so tempting to curl up and go to sleep. Instead I head out to grab a coffee and walk around the city.
If I’m extremely tired after walking around for a few hours I’ll let myself have an hour or two nap before dinner (but that can be risky because sometimes you feel a little worse after). For dinner I seek out a lively place (quiet locations make me want to fall asleep at the table!) and try to stay up as late as I can to help get on the local time as quickly as possible.
How do you recommend traveling on a budget (without feeling like you’re actually on a budget!)?
For those of us that are no longer in the early twenties backpacking crowd, it’s easy to forget the budget travel tips you pick up out of necessity as a broke college student. When it comes down to it, travel is expensive. Period. But there are definitely things you can do to minimize the cost and keep travel affordable (and I swear you don’t have to feel like a broke college student while you do it).
Probably the biggest budgeting hurdle is getting there. If you live in Europe there are all sorts of low-cost flight options and many countries are close enough to drive or train to. In the US and Canada, however, it can be hard to find cheap flights to a neighboring state, let alone a foreign country. A couple of things to keep in mind when booking your travel:
- Travel off-season – If you can travel outside the summer months and popular holidays, the price options may be more reasonable.
- Travel on a Weekday – Booking a flight on a weekday is usually cheaper than leaving on a Friday or Saturday.
- Be flexible – If you’re open to where you’re going then you will have more flight options to choose from and may find a steal!
- Pay more upfront – Consider destinations where your currency is strong. If the destination will be less expensive when you get there, it may make sense to pay more for the flight.
- Travel closer to home – Sometimes it’s easy to forget how many great places are in your own back yard. Exploring nearby places with the eye of a tourist can be surprising, exciting, and may even help you appreciate where you are from more.
Where to Stay
- Visit friends or relatives – Not only is it fun to catch-up with the people you love, but friends and family are the perfect source for free accommodations!
- Avoid Hotels – Check out Airbnbs, B&Bs, and even hostels (not all hostels are aimed at backpackers). You may find that the accommodation is less expensive and potentially more charming than a standard hotel.
- Night Train – If you’re traveling by train, consider taking an overnight train to cut out one night of accommodation.
- Walk Everywhere – Not only will you see more of the destination, but avoiding cab fees and even public transportation can save you a lot of money.
- Public Transportation – When possible use public transportation (or rent a bike) over a cab or rental car. It’s usually more fun, less stressful, and definitely cheaper.
Eating & Drinking
- Eat with the locals – Avoiding restaurants nearby tourist locations can drastically lower the price of your meal and you’re more likely to be eating with locals.
- Have a Picnic – Pick up provisions from the market, grocery, and local shops for a picnic in a park or at the beach. I love seeing what is sold in grocery stores in foreign countries and you can’t beat dining al fresco!
- Skip the tours – Pick up a guidebook or print off content from a blog and make your own tour.
- Enjoy free activities – Most cities have free admission to museums, live music, parks, and hiking trails.
- Don’t over tip – In the US we are used to tipping 15-20% for everything, but in a lot of countries that’s not necessary. Understanding the local customs may save you quite a bit.
- Keep your Souvenirs Simple– Photographs, postcards, or a small trinket are great ways to remember your trip by and won’t cost you a fortune.
What are your best tips for trying to sleep on an overnight flight?
If I’m taking an international flight, I usually prefer to book an overnight flight so I don’t end up spending a full day of my vacation traveling. The only problem is I’m a super light sleeper and really struggle to fall asleep on planes! If you’re like me, here are a few tips that I’ve found most useful in getting to sleep and waking up (somewhat) refreshed so I can hit the ground running!
- DRINK A LOT OF WATER – I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day of my flight rather than actually on the flight. This helps so I don’t wake up in the middle of the flight needing the bathroom and I swear drinking a lot of water prior to flying helps with jet lag!
- DRESS COMFY – Wearing comfortable clothing is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Wearing something restrictive is going to end badly–trust me! And if you’re too hot or too cold you’ll never fall asleep. Be sure to wear layers.
- PACK A BOOK – It’s so easy to get sucked into watching 5 movies and not sleeping the entire flight. Bring a book to help you get tired so you’ll fall asleep quicker. I usually try to bring a travel guidebook with so I can read up on the destination. This always helps build the excitement before I land too!
- BE ORGANIZED – The more organized you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. Use a packing list so you know you won’t forget anything. Print out reservations and have transportation plans set-up for when you land. The more organized you feel about the trip, the less your mind will worry and wander and the easier it will be to fall asleep.
- SHUT OUT THE WORLD – Be sure to bring earplugs or noise cancelling headphones. Being able to block out noises is key–especially if you are sitting near someone who talks loudly (or worse, snores!). A sleep mask can also help block out movement or bright lights.
- BRING TEA – Typically the tea on flights is caffeinated, so bring your own chamomile or peppermint tea and ask for hot water. A warm sleep inducing tea is perfect to get you in the mood for sleep. A glass of wine can help too, but too much will give you a hangover for arrival! Not fun!
- GET READY FOR BED – Doing your evening routines may also help get you in the sleeping mindset. If you wash your face and brush your teeth every night then you should go to the bathroom and do the same. I swear it helps!
- PACK A NECK PILLOW – A good neck pillow is hands down the most helpful thing to sleep on a flight (the airline pillows just don’t cut it!)
I love the Trtl neck pillow! It provides great neck support, folds flat in your bag, and best of all is machine washable!
What are your best safety tips for traveling solo?
During my time working as a flight attendant and later as a business traveler, I have done my fair share of solo travel. And while traveling alone doesn’t mean you can’t experience everything, I do think it’s important to take extra precautions to make sure you stay safe.
1. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re unfamiliar with the neighborhood, ask the hotel lobby if there are any safety concerns nearby. I also recommend being cautious going into your hotel room if anyone is lingering nearby and being aware of who is nearby when you are out and about.
2. Don’t stay out too late. Don’t stay out too late, don’t drink too much, and if you find yourself walking outside when it’s dark stay in well-lit and populated areas.
3. Keep in touch with someone at home. Check-in daily with someone at home and make sure they know your entire itinerary while you are away.
4. Walk with a purpose. Figure out where you’re going and familiarize yourself with the route prior to leaving your hotel.
5. Be aware of scams. Pickpocketing is something to be aware of in a lot of countries. Make sure your bags have zippers, keep your wallet tucked away, and walk with a purpose in crowds. In addition, be cautious of distractions used by pickpockets to take your belongings. These include shoving a map in your face (or a baby in your arms), a fake dropped wallet, bumping into you, creating a mock scene to grab your attention, and many others.
6. Keep your valuables in separate places. It’s usually best to keep your passport, cash, and credit cards stored in separate places. This way you don’t lose everything in the unfortunate event of theft.
7. Blend in. It’s usually best to avoid being too flashy or standing out too much to avoid any unwanted attention.
At the end of the day it’s really about using common sense, trusting your instincts if something doesn’t feel right, and asking for help when you need it!
Rolling vs. Folding?
I’m not exactly sure why, but rolling your clothes saves space in your luggage when compared to folding (Don’t believe me? I did a test here). So if you’re trying to maximize space it’s definitely worth the extra effort to roll your clothes. That said, here at Traveling chic we’re big supporters of packing light, so don’t think making more room by rolling your clothes is a free pass to stuff more things into your suitcase!;)
How do you decide where to go on a trip?
There are so many factors that go into deciding where to go on a trip. Here are a few things I think about during the initial planning stages of a trip:
- I keep a bucket list of places I’d like to go, and you’re probably not going to be surprised when I tell you it’s SUPER long! Any time I come across a trip that sounds like fun or a new destination I’m excited to visit, I add it to the list. So whenever I’m planning out my vacation time, or convince my husband that we’re due for a getaway, I have this list to reference already. Now that Traveling Chic is creating bespoke travel itineraries, I have a list of recurring places to go to for research and updates as well!
- It should also come as no surprise that I LOVE reading blogs. In general, I find that bloggers are pretty darn good at taking pictures, finding out the cool spots, and providing tons of travel inspiration. I’m not just talking about travel bloggers – some of my biggest sources of travel inspiration come from fashion bloggers, food bloggers, and lifestyle bloggers. Occasionally I find that travel bloggers agree to press trips and end up promoting activities or places that they probably wouldn’t have if they didn’t get a free trip out of it – so I’m cautious on taking advice when that seems to be the case.
- Once I’ve narrowed down a few places that are at the top of my list, I think about what kind of trip I want to have. Has work been stressful and I’m just dying to get some R&R? Am I in need of an adventure? Or am I in the mood to explore a new city?
- From there I think about the weather. If I’m not traveling too far, I probably have a good idea of what destinations are suitable for that time of year. But if I’m planning a trip in another country, it’s definitely worth googling “best time to visit…” to avoid rainy season, hurricane season, etc.
- If I still haven’t made up my mind yet, I’ll see how the flight prices vary between a couple cities.
What is the best way to pack a hat?
Hats are great to have on vacation, the only problem is they don’t fit in your suitcase very well. I don’t love wearing hats on longer flights because they always seem to get in the way, so I used to shy away from bringing one altogether. However, after learning an easy trick for ‘how to pack a hat’ it was a total game changer for me when going to beach destinations.
1. Make sure the hat fits in the suitcase brim-side down.
2. Pack clothing items that lie flat (jeans, shorts, dresses, etc.) in the bottom of the suitcase.
3. Fill the crown of the hat with items that pack small (swimsuits, workout clothes, scarves, etc.).
4. Place the hat in the suitcase brim-side down.
5. Pack your other items around the hat until your luggage is filled.
That’s it! With this packing method your hat should arrive in the same condition that you packed it. I made a pretty cheesy video a few years ago on packing a hat that you can watch here.
Looking for more travel tips? Check out these posts:
Feel free to send me a travel question that is on your mind!