What’s in my carry on: The essentials

When it comes to traveling, what you chose to pack and how you pack dictates how comfortable the flight will be. I used to over pack to the extreme, which not only added extra weight to my luggage and luggage fees, but made traveling exhausting all together.

Now that I have a tad bit more experience with traveling, it has become easier to organize myself even last minute. Here is a list of my carry-on essentials.

  1. The bag

The most important part of the carry on, is the bag itself. I have been using this Michael Kors oversize tote for quiet some time now. When choosing a carry on, pay close attention to the size and length of the straps. Always chose one that gives you the option of being able to carry it by hand and the ability to through it over your shoulder when you need your hands free. The strap should also be thick and wide enough as not cause any pinching in the shoulder, which will lead to discomfort.

2. Media/technology

I usually only carry my Ipad as oppose to a laptop, as it is much lighter and convenient, basically has the same function, and God forbid gets lost or stolen, is a much cheaper loss than an expensive Mac book. It also holds my Audible books, games and music. I also carry my Iphone, the cords for each device and most importantly a backup battery pack. There is nothing worse than getting off the plane and hunting for an outlet to charge a phone or tablet. This portable charging wristlet is one of my prized travel possession, not only is it wide enough to carry my keys, lip gloss, and phone, but it is also comes equipped with an external charger and charging cord, which means that your phone can be charging while it is tucked safely away in your bag.

use this link and get a similar one from Amazon

3. Camera

When I started blogging I was a bit shocked when I realized the vast difference between “professional” photos and those that I posted. To up my photo game and after much research, I purchased the Olyumpus OM-DE- M10 Mark2. Which provides excellent image quality and having the capability to catch the finest details and sharpness even in difficult lighting, and is great for novice shooter like myself.

4. A change of clothes

While we never wish for it to happen, it’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag, just in case your checked luggage gets lost. Keep in mind the weather of of your destination. A pair of jeans, a t-shirt and change of underwear, should be sufficient.

5. A Good book

Usually a magazine or E-book is helpful in getting through long flights after you’re exhausted from watching movies. Check out Audible Membership for the latest titles.  Two of my favorites are Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibuscus, both written by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieI also never leave home without my planner, as I like to stay organized, even while vacationing.

6. Comfort

I have a cosmetic bag, that I refer to as my comfort bag. In it I carry my earphones, hand sanitizer/ wet wipes, hand lotions, eye shield (for napping), medicine, ear plugs, as well as compression socks to help my legs through those long flights.  A comfy blanket and neck pillow are other essentials.
 I got these from Amazon.

7. Sunglasses

Rather then looking for a bathroom to reapply makeup in order to feel refreshed after flying, I usually just throw on a pair sunglasses. This will hide any newly acquired dark circles from the flight, and have you stepping off the plane like the celebrity that you are.

8. Passport holder

A pretty passport holder to keep bag claims , and boarding pass are essentials as well as a healthy snack.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What’s in you Carry on? comment below.

Go to @travelingsistaz for a chance to win one of these travel essentials

5 ways to save money for your dream vacation.

 

  • Research
    1. Choose where you want to go, and find out their peak season and chose dates that do not fall during that time frame. The key to finding the cheapest air tickets is to identify the season with the lowest passenger demand. Visiting during the least popular times, tend to be less expensive.Sign up for a few email alerts from travel companies and airlines that share flash sales and limited-time-only offers. You’d be surprised at the deals you can find.        Don’t sleep on sites like Groupon… check out this deal!
  • Vacation savings account  

A trip to the beach could be in your future, so start saving now..

  1. Open up a separate account just for vacation, and designate a fixed amount that you’re willing to put away every month towards that dream vacation.
  • Cut back on luxuries like eating out
    1. Going out to eat French food at the pricey French restaurant in your city VS. saving enough to eat French food in FRANCE…?
  • Sell your used items
  1. That expensive pocket book that you were crazy enough to spend your entire Tax refund check on three years ago, may be worth a 3 day vacation to the Caribbean.

Get another Gig

  1. As a nurse I used to pick up an extra shift per month and save all the extra money towards my yearly vacation. A lot of fellow bloggers said that they started driving Uber. I hate driving, so this was not much of an option for me.

Travel Folding Soft Toothbrush (2 Pack) by GUM

Things I wish I knew before I started to travel.

After my first trip, it was like I an addict getting their first hit. I was addicted. I constantly looked for the next place, the next ocean, next volcano to book. Though I’ve only been to 11 countries (not many when compared to true travel connoisseurs), some days I feel well traveled and can be travel guide to the United Nations, and then I travel to another corner of the world and realize how much more I need to learn. For those of you who are preparing to take that first “hit” of travel, I have prepared this post to shed some light on the few things that I have learned on my travels.

 

Be prepared

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Vacations can be quiet expensive and the last thing you want is to return home, more stressed than when you left home. When planning a trip overseas Google should be come your best friend. Take some time to learn common phrases in the local language. Being able to say “where”, “thank you”, and “good morning”, can actually take you a long way. Local are often impressed by the fact that you made an attempt at connecting with them by learning these common phrases.

Be cultural aware 

    Familiarize yourself with the local language, money and culture. It is important for you to know a little of what is appropriate behavior for sex, age and even race. For European countries like France, where nude beaches are as common as Starbucks in New York, the cultural concepts such as nudity is quite different when compared to a middle eastern country such as Dubai.

Outerwear 

        I learned this lesson the hard way. Always bring a jacket. No matter what your encyclopedia says about local climate, bring a sweater or even jacket will be a smart idea. No matter the destination, somewhere along the way, you will wish you had a jacket. The airplane AC on the plane may prevent you from catching up on some sleep, the temperature may drop unexpectedly. During my recent trip to Dubai I was surprised to learn just how cold it can become at night. It was borderline freezing! (Then I remembered 6th grade earth science, deserts are hot during the days average 100F and can drop at night to an average of 25F) Also, you may decide to take a tour of holy sites such as churches and temples, and for that, you’ll need something to cover your shoulders in order to be allowed in.

Document

    Traveling is one of the most memorable experiences of your life, but memory is often fleeting. Capture your travel experiences in a journal or blog, Video. Photos. Letters. Postcards. Anything! so you go back and revisit them throughout the years. Looking back I wish I took more videos/pics of my earlier travels.

Have the proper documentations!

    Before even booking your trip, take a look at your passport. Make sure your passport is valid and not going to expire at least 6 months after your scheduled return. If you’re planning to visit a country that requires a visa such as Cuba or India, add that to your travel budget and get your Visa in advance. Certain countries may even require vaccinations that are not necessary here in the US. Check with your doctor, and make sure you’re caught up on our routine vaccines, as well as those of the country you plan to visit.

Pack light

    When I first started traveling, I would actually drag around two suitcases, no matter how long the trip is. One for shoes and one for clothes (yeah, I know). Like everything else in life, leave your baggage at the door (well not literally). An oversized suitcase (or suitcases in my case) may seem necessary to hold everything you need, until you realize, that’s you don’t need it. Pack smart. When packing bring things that can be worn or used in multiple ways, and do not take up too much space. A scarf can be worn as a head wrap, used as a light blanket or a pillow cover. Pack several times. Each time removing non-essentials, until you’re left with only what is absolutely necessary. Depending on where you’re headed, chances are if you forget or run out of something you’ll be able to replace it.

Some of the essentials: Jackets, Scarf/blanket, Earplugs, Charger, Camera and lots of cash as you may not have access to an ATM.


Be prepared to be an ambassador of where you’re from

    Like it or not, you may find yourself representing your home. No matter how hard you try to blend in the locals will be able to spot you a mile away. With that in my mind be somewhat prepared to entertain questions about politics, culture, money, fashion and even racism. During my trip to Dubai December 2016, all the question were concerning the recent presidential election. Depending on what they have been exposed to regarding American culture, some of the questions may surprise or even offend. On one little island in the Caribbean I was once asked “How many times have you been mugged”, once the locals found out that I was New Yorker. You don’t have to entertain every question, but keep in mind they want to learn you’re your culture as much as you want to learn about theirs

The fun part is up to you

    During my early trips, I had a list for everywhere I went of all the things I wanted to try and do. I did not complete all my tasks I will return home disappointed. Until I realized that I need to live in the moment. If I didn’t get to see a monument a wade in a river that was ok. My being preoccupied with my list I missed a lot of other wonderful experiences. Eventually, I realized that it was okay if I missed something, or ended my trip early, or extended it for longer, or spent the whole.

Lastly

    Just go! You will never be know everything, but you will never get there until you leave.
      When in doubt, travel.