I’ve always lived by the rule, don’t stress about packing…. whatever I forget to pack, can be bought! In fact, I’ll make a confession here: when I was a little girl, there was a time I “forgot" to pack a sweater just so I could get a new one. This said, there are a few things that I would never travel without.
5. Comfortable walking shoes.
The comfort of my feet has everything to do with how much I'm going to enjoy my surroundings. I can be walking along the most beautiful path, but if my feet hurt, it's impossible to completely relax and enjoy the moment. An important tip is: never pack a brand new pair of shoes! Test them out… walk at least a mile, and wear them around town at least an hour or two. And do this a few weeks prior to your trip. After all, if you find they're not going to fit the bill, you're going to need time to repeat the process. My favorite pair of travel shoes? My solid black Keens… sturdy soles for cobblestone streets and they look great with pretty much everything I wear.
4. My pillow.
What's the sense of comfortable feet if my day is going to be spent battling a sore neck and a migraine? I sleep on a pillow that’s filled with a combination of millet and buckwheat. There’s no hotel or cruise ship pillow that can replicate my usual sleeping comfort, and I have to admit, I like knowing where the pillow I lay my head on has been. It’s that little piece of home that makes my sleep time optimal.
3. Personal identification.
Whether traveling domestic or internationally, it's crucial to carry proper documentation. Sometimes all you need is a driver's license, often you'll need a passport and occasionally a Visa is required. Make sure you are fully aware of what's required for each trip you take, and don't wait till the last minute to find out. A professional travel consultant (that's me!) will make sure you have all required documents in place, and will even monitor your passport expiration date over time, and let you know when it's time to renew.
2 & 1. Flexibility and a good attitude.
These two undoubtedly go hand in hand. Planning is part of the fun of travel. Personally speaking, the more the planning falls into place, the more my anticipation grows. But the results will never be exactly as planned. Perhaps your flight will be delayed (by minutes, hours or even days), perhaps your transfer driver will be waiting at the wrong door, perhaps your room won't be ready when you arrive because the prior guests were late to leave, perhaps that restaurant you had heard so much about was a farther walk than you anticipated, perhaps your day tour unexpectedly was cancelled… the list could go on and on. The best travelers go with the flow, and do it with a smile. Each vacation happens but once, and life has a nice way of surprising you, if you let it. Perhaps you replace that restaurant with a closer option, and it just so happened to have the most amazing, romantic atmosphere, or the best tasting soup ever! Perhaps you replaced that cancelled day tour with time to wander and you discovered the most beautiful park in the center of the city! Perhaps it took you 10 minutes to find your driver, and on the way to your hotel you drive by an accident that had just happened… wouldn't you be glad you were a bit delayed and it wasn't you?! Okay, you get the idea. Take life as it comes and enjoy the moments. There are parts of your vacation that should definitely be pre-planned, but remember… as Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road… TAKE IT”.
What’s on your list of things you always remember to pack?