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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Do You Have a Packing Problem?

Have you ever paid an excess baggage fee, left your passport at home or cleaned up a messy shampoo spill in your suitcase? If you’ve encountered any of these packing crises, chances are your suitcase-stuffing strategy could use a little work. To help your trip preparation go more smoothly, we’ve pinpointed the warning signs of four common packing problems and identified a few easy, effective solutions for each.

Warning Sign 1 : A Wrinkled Wardrobe

Who wants to waste time slaving over a steaming iron at your hotel when you could be out exploring a new destination? Occasional wrinkles are an occupational hazard of traveling, but if your clothes come out of your suitcase looking like they’ve spent weeks in the back corner of your closet, it may be time to reevaluate your packing strategy.

Top Tips:
Stick to wrinkle-free clothing rather than ordinary cottons and linens, which are prone to creases. You can get wrinkle-free garments from travel suppliers such as Magellan’s or TravelSmith.

Before your trip, lay your clothes out ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need — but don’t actually put them into your bag until shortly before you’re ready to depart. That way you’ll minimize the time they spend scrunched up in your suitcase. On the other end of your trip, be sure to hang up your clothes as soon as you arrive in your hotel. (If they’re looking a little rumpled, hang them in the bathroom while you take a shower — the hot, moist air will relax away most minor wrinkles.)

When you go to lay your clothes in your suitcase, don’t simply fold and crease each garment individually — that’s a recipe for wrinkles. Experienced travelers use a variety of packing methods, including rolling (which works particularly well in backpacks or duffel bags) and interlocking (folding multiple garments together so that they help cushion each other against wrinkles). Other travelers swear by tissue paper or plastic as a buffer between layers of clothing.

Warning Sign 2 : Damaged Goods

There’s nothing worse than arriving home only to find that the gorgeous blown-glass vase you bought in Murano has been reduced to a pile of colorful shards in the bottom of your suitcase. Travelers who’ve suffered the loss of a favorite souvenir or had clothes ruined by a messy spill may need a few lessons in packing with extra care.

Top Tips:
It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: Never put breakable items into your checked luggage. Instead, wrap the items carefully in newspaper, bubble wrap and/or clothing and stow them in your carry-on bag. Smaller items can be slipped inside a shoe and cushioned with a balled-up pair of socks.

If you’re buying a fragile item that’s too big to fit into your carry-on, have the merchant ship it home for you. Stores that frequently handle tourist purchases are pros at packing their goods for shipping — and you’ll often be able to insure your item and receive compensation if it’s damaged en route.

Anything with leak potential — shampoo, sunblock, toothpaste, perfume, you name it — should be sealed tightly and packed in a zip-top plastic bag to keep spills contained.

Warning Sign 3 : Too Much Baggage

No, we’re not talking about emotional baggage! We’re talking about the carry-on bag that takes two flight attendants to lift into the overhead compartment, or the suitcase that’s stuffed so full you have to enlist your children to sit on it before you can zip it closed. We don’t need to remind you of all the perils of overpacking — excess baggage fees, anyone? — so if this is your major packing weakness, read on to learn how to lighten your load.

Top Tips:
Start at the source: your suitcase. If you often find yourself edging toward your airline’s weight limits, it may be worth purchasing a lightweight bag to give you a few extra pounds to work with.

Do your homework to prevent packing unnecessary items. If the weather forecast calls for nothing but sunshine, leave the umbrella at home — you can always buy one if you get caught in an unexpected shower at your destination. Call your hotel to ask which amenities will be in your room; odds are you won’t have to pack your own shampoo, soap or hair dryer.

Pack clothes that can do double duty — like black shoes that are comfortable enough for sightseeing but dressy enough for dinner, or a shirt that can be worn twice with different accessories. Stick to neutral colors so your garments can easily be mixed and matched.

Take your suitcase for a test drive. Pack it with everything you want to bring and then walk with it around the block. If you’re huffing and puffing after a quarter-mile, chances are you’ve packed too much — and there will be a few items in your suitcase that suddenly seem less essential.

Warning Sign 4 : Pre-Trip Panic

Do you lie awake the night before a trip, terrified that you’ve forgotten to pack something vital? Or, even worse, do you arrive at your destination to find that you actually have forgotten to pack something vital? Pre-trip panic is often a sign that you haven’t done enough preparation for your trip — or that your preparation was too rushed. Staying organized and giving yourself plenty of time to pack will help cut down on your pre-trip anxiety.

Top Tips: Don’t wait to start packing until the day — or the hour! — before your trip. Instead, begin making a list of items you think you’ll need about a week prior to departure. Starting early will give you time to go shopping for any items you may be missing.

Mentally walk through your trip itinerary, putting aside each day’s outfit and identifying any accessories or equipment you’ll need for the day’s activities. As each item goes into your suitcase, check it off your list. (You may even want to bring this list with you on your trip to make sure you don’t leave anything in your hotel room.)

Finally, keep your worrying to a minimum by remembering that outside of a few admittedly vital items — such as prescription medications and your passport — there are few things you can’t purchase on the road if you forget to pack them.

Know More About Packing Tips

packing-tipsA few voyagers jam two weeks of rigging into their sacks for a long weekend. Others pack a bit too gently and overlook imperative things like pharmaceutical or international IDs. Adroit voyagers strike the ideal adjust and bring exactly what they require – with a little assistance from our rundown of street tried pressing tips, obviously!

Packing Methods

At the point when pressing your garments, you would prefer not to perfectly crease them separately as you would in a dresser. On the off chance that you do, they will wrinkle when packed. Here are a couple of options :

Rolling Clothes

Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up.

Folding Clothes Together

Take two or more garments, for example trousers, and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it on the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded it so it’s less likely to crease or wrinkle in the folds.

The Bundle Approach

This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of the “The Packing Book,” has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lies flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.

Start with your sports jacket or the longest, most wrinkle-prone item you have. With the collar or waistband flat, place it against the bottom edge of the bag and drape the rest of the garment over the opposite side of the bag. Take another garment and place it in the opposite direction, flattening and smoothing out both garments in the bag and draping the remainder over the side. If you have trousers or other narrow items, do the same with them in the narrow direction of the bag. Keep alternating your items, ending up with the most wrinkle-resistant clothes you have.

When you finish, place your “core” in the middle. Now you’re going to start folding the garments over the core and each other in the reverse order you put them in. If you fold something over and there’s excess draping over the sides of the bag, tuck it underneath the bundle you are creating.

What you will end up with is a bundle of all of your clothes that looks like a pillow. You can pick it up in one piece. It’s compactly packed and doesn’t waste an available space in your luggage. Plus, because of the way things are folded, your clothes will wrinkle less.

To find something in the bundle, lay it flat and unwrap until you reach the layer you want. Take the item out and refold the remainder. If done properly each layer should result in a self contained bundle at each layer.

Tissue Paper

For delicate items, try tissue paper. Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.

Packing Tips for Air Travelers

You may not pack liquid or gel substances in your carry-on unless they are in individual containers of 3.4 ounces or less and enclosed in one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag per passenger.

Be aware of restrictions on the size and number of bags you may bring onto your flight. Many airlines now charge a fee for every checked bag or have lowered the maximum permitted weight limits for checked luggage.

Do not lock your checked bags except with TSA-approved locks; otherwise, if your bag is selected for random screening, agents will have to break the lock to get inside.

Do not overpack your bag. Screeners will have a difficult time closing your luggage if selected for inspection, which will only lead to wrinkles and the potential for lost articles.

Place any packed belongings you don’t feel comfortable with strangers handling in clear plastic bags.

Do not stack books and other documents on top of each other; instead, spread them out throughout your bag.

Amazing Cities in France

Here’s a miserable unavoidable truth. Paris simply isn’t what it used to be. What’s more, guess what? An expanding number of explorers are conceding that.

Of course, Paris still has remainders of that appeal covered up between the limitless postcard stalls and visitor shops aplenty. In the midst of the hordes of vacationer gatherings and screech pitched cackling of buskers – there is still a touch of that Parisian “je ne sais quois” – yet how about we be genuine, it’s getting progressively harder to discover.

Kitsch and objections aside, Paris has its fortunes, yet they now should be imparted to many different guests squashed close to you (le moan). Luckily, whatever remains of France is overflowing with lovably beguiling towns, some of which will automatically drain the heave right out of you.

Along these lines, in the event that you need to think back on the medieval time, float in the fragrance of newly heated baguettes, and wind your way through the famously exquisite French field, keep things under control. Here are five madly beguiling spots in France outside of Paris.

#Arles

During his years living here, Vincent Van Gogh created over 300 paintings. Needless to say, he was inspired by something, probably everything, about Arles. This adorable French town, cobblestone-filled as per usual French cuteness, has a beautiful waterside walkway, quaint shops, and enticing restaurants. Arles is also home to a Roman amiptheatre built in 90 A.D., thus checking all the boxes on any typical Euro-wish list.

# Les-Beaux-de-Provence

We stumbled upon this place by chance (cue emphasis on how essential it is to rent a car in France). As far back as 2nd century B.C. people called Les Beaux home, and today a bustling town still stands. Perched atop a steep hill overlooking the French countryside, in its prime Les-Beaux-de-Provence ruled over 70 villages in its vicinity.

From afar you wouldn’t know that at the tippy top of this town lies the ruins of an ancient castle. With your imagination to illustrate its would-be appearance hundreds of years ago, you’ll be zipped back to the medieval era as you wander the ruins, entirely explorable on foot. It should be said that if you do get out there, the detail-stuffed audio guide will especially breathe life into the gigantic remains.

# Montpellier

Montpellier feels like a city I could actually live in and to me, foreign cities that feel liveable resonate differently. Every street I wander, every cafe I sit in, it all becomes imagined as though it were part of my daily local routine. A cheesy wanderlust  daydream I suppose. Prepare for narrow alleys funnelling mopeds, merry-go-rounds tucked within city centres, and the aroma of freshly made crepes in the maze of backstreets of this highly alluring French city.

# Marseille

Located on the Mediterranean Sea, this shore-lined city is France’s third biggest, though is significantly less spoilt by tourism. Besides its obvious visual charm, Marseille is home to the prison, Chateau D’If, better known the setting for fictional escapee, the Count of Monte Cristo. This, plus nautical-inspired cathedrals and bustling seaside harbours, epitomise Marseille’s appeal.

# Aix-en-Provence

France is riddled with surprises. Like ancient Roman empires and the remains of their infrastructure – presto, Aix-en-Provence. If you’re looking to get sucked into some Roman architecture and art outside of Italy, this is your new spot.

Any small French town or city

France is one of those places where you can actually put the guidebook down, tuck the phone away, and just drive. Drive – and pull over when you see something or somewhere that intrigues the eye.

Of course this is 2014 after all, and sadly not many of us travel entirely uninformed,  fingers infinitely out of reach from our internet-connected devices (myself included). You can’t go wrong with a recommendation or two (hint hint), so, I’ll leave you with just a couple more.

The inspiration for TinTin’s mansion is found in – wouldn’t you know it, France. That, and a fully interactive Tintin museum in which you fulfil your childhood dreams to solve a mystery from start to end (heck yes). Don’t miss the beautiful Château de Cheverny to explore this epic cartoon in real life.