Now that Covid travel is starting to open up, more of you will be heading to the airports to catch flights to far-off places. As you readers know by now, the Blake sisters, Whitt and Finley, are on the road all the time for work or play. Traveling doesn’t have to be a hassle if you plan for it and keep the right attitude. Here are a few trip tips that the sisters live by:
Create a packing list—and use it! There is nothing worse than arriving at your hotel, late in the evening and tired from travel, only to find that you have forgotten your pajamas or your contact lenses solution. The easiest way to avoid that situation is to use your check list to remember everything that you need. You will read in the Blake Sister Travel Mysteries that the sisters use their packing list to figure out what they need to restock for the next trip as well as to figure out what’s going in the bag each time. Staple items like contact solution, deodorant, and toothpaste can be put in a Ziploc and left in the suitcase. Be sure to add the obvious things like cash, passport, boarding pass, drivers license, and any meds to the packing list so those don’t get left behind.
Use plastic bags—several times if you care about the environment. I know that plastic may not be politically – or environmentally—correct, but you will leave less of a carbon footprint using recycled grocery or Ziploc bags to protect your shampoo and lotion from spills than you will taking a roll of paper towels to clean the resulting mess out of your suitcase. Not to talk about the hotel dry cleaning bill so you will have something to wear for the rest of your trip! Also, Ziploc bags can be reused, as well as repurposed to hold wet swimsuits and muddy shoes.
Carry all essentials in your carry-on—Finley and Whitt can live for a week on what they put in their carry-ons—and they are still under the weight limit. In addition to your passport, phone, and computer, be sure to grab a travel converter, power charger and all your chargers. Then remember to print out a copy of your boarding pass, hotel name and address, your itinerary and an emergency contact in country. Sometimes this information is needed to check in or go through security in some countries and having it on your phone doesn’t help when your phone is dead or there is no wifi. And don’t forget non-perishable snacks—and an umbrella!
Bring a change of clothes—In addition to the above essentials, Finley and Whitt also pack a change of clothes. That is, undies, toiletries (you can find everything in travel-sizes, nowadays) and a clean t-shirt, normally in black (it goes with everything!). Between spills and delayed or cancelled flights, at least one out of three times, the change of clothes will be used. For business travel, also pack a lightweight pair of dress pants, skirt, or a dress, and a pair of shoes you can wear with these. It will save you the hassle of running around looking for appropriate clothing for your meetings – in the middle of the night -- if your baggage gets lost or is delayed.
Dress in layers—There are a few reasons for adopting the layered model of travel dressing. 1) you never know what the temperature will be like in the airport or once you arrive. If you are going from cold weather to warm, layering allows you to leave the coat at home, even in the dead of winter. 2) You get to add components for additional outfits without going overweight and 3) if you do end up with lost luggage or cancelled flights, you have a couple days’ worth of clothes to get you through.
Bring a shawl and a fan—A corollary of the dress-in layers-adage, the Blake sisters always travel with a cashmere pashmina in their carry-on and a foldup fan. You never know whether you are going to be too hot or too cold in the airport or on the plane. If not used for your shoulders, the shawl can be rolled up for use as a pillow or spread across your lap as a blanket—which are often in short supply on long-haul flights.
Dress like you belong in 1st Class—Perhaps most importantly, dress like you have some place to go, not like you just rolled out of bed. Granted that you may look a little worse for wear by the time you get to your destination, but you don’t have to start the trip looking like that. You can be both comfortable and tastefully dressed with very little effort. Keep your colors dark and solid, or with a small pattern, your lines tailored, and your shoes comfortable and coordinated. Pretend that you are going to get upgraded. Would you want to sit next to Mark Harmon or Oprah looking like something the cat dragged in?
Just a few trip tips that the Blake sisters have used to make their travels clear skies and smooth sailing. Have fun and see you on the other side!