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35 Things I Always Have in My Suitcase

Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows this… I love to be prepared!  And so my bags have endless items that I (magically) have ready and available for any use, issue, or problem. So beyond listing the obvious items I pack (clothes, shoes, cosmetics, etc.) here is a list of at least 35 things you will find in my bag, whether I am away for 2 days or 30 days going around the world for 3 weeks or more.

And I maintain that its sometimes better to pack a bit more (and pay the fees) than to be without “x” and then have to spend time looking for whatever you didn’t pack and spending money replacing what you need.

1. Non-negotiable. Not subject to my clothing “packing rules” of chic, light weight, multi-use, and necessary. One outfit that is completely comfy and will immediately make me feel at home. During the winter its a cozy cashmere sweater and my favorite jeans, for summer white jeans and whatever cool shirt I’m loving at that moment.
2. My favorite selection of tea and instant coffee (and a few packages of instant Starbuck’s Hot Chocolate in the winter). No matter where I am, I will feel at home with my things.
3. Mini Super Glue the single use ones. I was able to quickly repair my earring after I dropped it and the stone broke.
4. An extra cell phone battery (fully charged of course), to use when I don’t have time to recharge my phone.
5. Basic OTC medicine (Sudafed, saline nose spray, hydrating eye drops, Aspirin,  Advil, Pepto-Bismal, Band-Aids and alcohol swabs (which are good for everything from cuts, tray tables, to cleaning my cel phone). [Read more →]

December 29, 2015   2 Comments

Michael Kors has the Perfect Little Black Travel Dress

MICHAEL Michael Kors Black Dress with Gold

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure there’s sure to be some occasion when you need to “dress up.” That’s generally a no-brainer for a guy, who just needs a nice suit, shirt, and tie, but for us women it can be a problem. What to take that will make us feel appropriate and attractive, that doesn’t take up too much room in our luggage, and that won’t arrive at our destination a wrinkled mess?

Michael Kors has the answer: the MICHAEL Michael Kors Shoulder-Ring Dress. It’s a slim black dress with a gold ring at the one-shoulder neckline and its own thin gold belt. The material doesn’t crush or wrinkle and the style is both figure-flattering and appropriate for virtually any dinner or cocktail party. I bought one, and have found it to be chic, comfortable, and after being packed it never looked as if it’s spent several hours or more in my suitcase. Perhaps best of all, this glamourous dress was very easy on my wallet!

December 21, 2015   No Comments

Organic Travel Linens Provides all the Luxury of Home

Have you ever rented a villa or condominium in some exotic or glamorous location only to discover on arrival that the linens provided were not exactly what you had envisioned? Maybe you just love the luxury of sleeping on your on sheets. Or perhaps you’re allergic to certain detergents or cleaning products.

BedVoyage travel linens are the answer to all these concerns. Made of bamboo fibers, they’re 100% organic and hypoallergenic as well as sustainable and “green.” The soft, silky, highly breathable sheets and pillow cases will keep you cool in hot climates and warm in the cold. The all-in-one sheet sets include a fitted bottom sheet and top sheet as well as coordinated zippered pillow cases, and they come in twin, double, king, and queen size. Whether you’re on safari in Africa or wine-tasting in Tuscany, never again will you have to worry about losing sleep over the quality of the linens wherever you go on your travels.

December 11, 2015   3 Comments

Winter into Summer—Packing for a Snow-to-Sun Family Vacation

More and more families are splitting their vacations between the ski slopes and the sun, which creates the problem of how to pack and transport what they’ll be needing for two entirely different climates.

Having spent more than 2 decades traveling around the world, I have had to spend a good deal of time thinking of better ways to plan and pack smarter for all kinds of climates and situations. I’ve come up with the top five ways to take the hassle out of dual-location packing.

1.     Pack as many items as you can that will be useful in both locations—such as a tank top or tee shirt you can also wear under a turtleneck on the slopes or après ski, a cozy cashmere travel scarf that also works as a shawl for chilly nights at the island resort, or a beautiful silk scarf that can be worn around your neck, as a halter top, a belt, a hair band, or around the brim of your sun hat.

2.     Ship your ski wear, bulky sweaters,  and toiletries ahead to your destination. Just make certain to send the bags far enough in advance so that they will arrive before you do. (You can wear your parkas on the plane and then ship them directly home with the rest of your ski gear. You won’t be needing them in the Caribbean sun.)

3.     Take the sun gear with you, even if you’ll be skiing first. It’s less heavy and bulky to pack, and if it were lost in shipping it might also be more difficult to replace on an island than your ski wear would be at a ski resort. [Read more →]

December 7, 2015   No Comments

Flying “The Morning After?”


Years ago I was working an “O-dark-hundred” (airline lingo translation= it’s so early its still dark out) morning flight out of Las Vegas. The flight was easy, the passengers were quiet and generally sleepy, all seemed well. Upon our arrival in Boston, I smiled and cheerfully said my goodbye’s as people slowly gathered their belongings and deplaned the aircraft. Excited to finally be home, I hurried to the way back of the L-1011 (this airplane was quite large, with a 2-5-2 seating configuration) to collect my bags. On my way down the isle I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. One of the passengers wasn’t getting out of his seat. In fact he was was totally slumped over, and seemed to be completely unconscious, or worse… deceased. No one was around him so I knew he wasn’t traveling with anyone (so no one could speak for him) and I had no idea what was wrong –it could have been anything. I immediately called out to the other flight attendants who were scattered throughout the airplane. “Get the emergency equipment, call for the EMT’s, notify the pilots we have a medical emergency!” Four flight attendants and I immediately gathered around him trying to revive his lifeless body. The other 3 flight attendants rushed to get the portable Oxygen bottle, emergency medical kit and notify the pilots to call for help. And just as we were swiftly unbuttoning his shirt (to prepare for rescue breathing or possibly for CPR) he suddenly woke up! He sprung to life as if he had been hit by lightening! We were stunned (and unbelievably relieved) and he was totally confused and indignant– completely shocked to see 5 flight attendants undressing him!?!

As soon as he realized where he was and what was happening, he sheepishly confessed. Turns out he’d been partying hard for a few days with his buddies, no doubt starring in his own version of “The Hangover.” He hadn’t eaten much, and had then taken some kind of prescribed stomach medication. The combination of no sleep, too much alcohol, his medication… and all on an empty stomach had caused him to pass out.

Turns out he’d been partying hard for a few days with his buddies, no doubt starring in his own version of “The Hangover.” He hadn’t eaten much, and had then taken some kind of prescribed stomach medication. The combination of alcohol, medication, and an empty stomach had caused him to pass out.

So if you’ve had too much (holiday) cheer and are not feeling great when you need to board a plane, here are a few things to remember.

  • Essential. If you don’t feel well when you board, please explain the situation to a flight attendant—especially if you’re traveling alone. At least if you do get sick, he or she will know what the problem is and be able to help you.
  • Even if you are not thirsty, buy a large bottle of water (and maybe some aspirin) after you go through security and drink A LOT! Not only will your body appreciate it, <a href=”http://inflightinsider.com/2009/12/28/drink-water-to-your-health/” target=”_hplink”>its essential that you hydrate your brain</a>.
  • Even if you are not hungry, buy a snack to take aboard, but make it light (even if there is food onboard, it may take a while for the flight attendants to get to you). Food will help to absorb some of the alcohol, but anything too heavy, too spicy, or too rich will just make you feel worse.
  • Don’t think the “hair of the dog” will make you feel better—it won’t. Every drink you have in the air packs a double wallop because the air is thin and you brain is getting less oxygen.
  • Don’t make the mistake of randomly taking meds you happen to have with you because you think they’ll help. Medicines and alcohol don’t mix. In fact the combination can be downright dangerous.
  • Once you’re on board, try to take a nap and don’t drink any more alcohol. There’s a reason why people talk about “sleeping it off.” You’ll feel much better when you wake up.
  • Travel Tip: Sit as close to the front of the plane as possible. If there’s any turbulence it will be less bumpy up front. Ask the agent if there are any extra open seats, or you may be lucky enough to even get a row to yourself to relax. Being able to have a bit of space always makes the flight better.
  • If you feel REALLY BAD, try to rebook on a later flight. No one wants to be up in the air when they’re feeling sick, with the thin air, turbulence, cabin pressure, and lack of oxygen… it could make you feel significantly worse.

December 7, 2015   4 Comments

Carry the Fueltank and Charge Your Mobile Phone on the Go


With this wonderful gadget you can charge virtually any small electronic device ranging from a smartphone to an iPod even when you’re not anywhere near an electrical outlet.

The Fueltank comes in two models—the Uno (for charging a single device) and the Duo (which charges two at a time)—and, based on my personal experience, it’s not surprising that it was an Innovations Honoree at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, the ultimate showcase for the latest in cutting-edge gadgetry. If I don’t have time or forget to charge my phone or my BlackBerry before leaving home, I can now get a fill-up from my Fueltank.

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December 1, 2015   2 Comments

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Cool When Traveling

Let’s face it; traveling is stressful—especially during the busiest holiday week of the year. It’s simply a way to get from where you are to where you want to be, and unless you’re traveling on your own private jet on your time table, the getting there is almost never without problems, in and of itself, at times its anything but relaxing or fun.

But there are ways to travel smarter and keep your stress to a minimum.

1.     Always leave much more time than you think you need to get to the airport. You never know when there will be an accident or a traffic jam or a long line at security. If you’ve cut it close you’ll just be short tempered, biting your nails, and generally creating unnecessary additional stress for yourself.

2.     Especially this year with the new TSA screening procedures be prepared to be patient. Its a mindset that you are going to go with the flow. For many people, traveling is disorienting. People are often disorganized—even if you’re not. And, most of all—almost no one wants to be in that airport. They’re there because they have to be in order to get to their destination. So, if everything goes well, that’s great; just be prepared to be in annoying and/or frustrating situations and it will be easier to keep your cool.

3.     Get to the airport early and then go to the Crown Room or Executive Lounge, or VIP area to await your flight. If you’re not a member, you can get a day pass, and it will be worth it—less noise, less crowding, snacks, reading material, and less crowds and less stress.

4.     Have some way to distract yourself and block out what’s going on around you. Bring a good book; watch a movie on your laptop or iPad; listen to your favorite music on your iPod. Bring earphones. Always bring earplugs so that you can enjoy your book or take a nap—personally, I never travel without them.

5.     Take a deep breath (here is why it really works) and perform a little Zen on yourself and think about things that make you feel good, such as what you’re going to do when you arrive at your destination. The more you think about the annoyances or frustrations of the flight, the more likely it is that you’ll pick up on every little thing that’s annoying, like the meal or beverage cart bumping into your seat or the baby crying ten rows behind you. Really—it works.

November 22, 2015   No Comments

Rebecca Omweg Blackberry and iPhone Cases


The things I carry with me when I travel need to be stylish, durable, and functional. Rebecca Omweg’s wool-lined python cases for electronic devices including Treos, BlackBerries, iPods of all kinds, and iPhones fit all those criteria. I bought one for my BlackBerry more than two years ago. It’s used daily and has traveled the world with me, been dropped more than once, and still looks almost like new. The python isn’t scuffed, the thread isn’t worn, and my BlackBerry hasn’t been damaged. The cases come in a variety of colors, and because of the natural variations in the skins, no two are exactly alike. I chose a light one, which makes it very easy to find in the depths of my bag when my phone is ringing. See Rebecca’s stylish designs and color choices at www.rebeccaomweg.com

November 19, 2015   No Comments

Callpod Chargepod Travel Charger


All those wireless devices we depend on for business and pleasure are keeping us more plugged in than ever—in more ways than one. If you’re traveling with multiple chargers you know what I mean, and if you’ve ever lost or forgotten one, you know how that feels—silenced, cut off, lost in space.

My answer is the compact, handy Chargepod, which allows you to plug up to six different devices into one central core and charge them all at once. The “pod” is less than 3 inches in diameter and weighs just over one ounce, and you can purchase removable adapters for virtually any kind of phone, PDA, camera, or gaming device. It will even charge your Kindle. Unplug the adapters, pack everything in one small Ziplock, and you’re good to go anywhere.

I was so thrilled with mine that I’ve since bought two more and now have one in my home, one in my car, and one that lives permanently in my suitcase. Check it out for yourself. Their customer service department is also extremely helpful and accommodating, as I discovered when I had to return a couple of adapters I’d purchased by mistake.

November 12, 2015   2 Comments

Virofree Virucidal-Germicidal Disinfectant


Right now, when everyone’s worried about coming down with the flu, we’re more aware than ever of the germs that can be lurking in unexpected places—and this is particularly true not only in the workplace but also in airplanes and hotels, where many people come and go all the time.

One way to protect yourself and others from 90 different kinds of germs and viruses, including Staph, Strep, E. coli, Herpes I & II, Asian flu, HIV, and even Hepatitis B. is to use this great product.

It isn’t an antibacterial gel or wipe you use on your hands; Virofree is a non-toxic disinfectant spray made from a formula similar to the one used in hospitals that you can you use on virtually any kind of surface from toilets to telephones. I always have a TSA-approved ½-ounce size container in my carry-on when I fly and also keep a larger one in my luggage. I certainly don’t consider myself a “germaphobe,” but, on the other hand, I don’t like being sick when I’m traveling, and I suspect you don’t either.

November 10, 2015   1 Comment