Planning a trip can be extremely time consuming, from writing the itinerary to purchasing plane tickets, but the excitement you feel when you finally land at your destination is always worth the effort and sacrifices you made to get there. One part of the planning process that I’ve struggled with trip after trip was what to pack?. This can be an overwhelming consideration in and of itself.
The single most important rule I’ve made myself is to only travel with carry on bags. This may sound crazy, but trust me, it is all you really need! By carrying your own bags, you save yourself from the risks of airlines delaying, misplacing or even worse: losing your checked baggage. I would hate to land somewhere and have to spend my first couple days shopping for replacement clothes when I should be sightseeing and enjoying myself. In Addition, if you’re anything like me, you already spent hours in the mall shopping for a whole new wardrobe just for this trip.
How does a fashionista pack lightly? Only pack outfits you are certain you will wear and that can be intermixed. Bring shirts and blouses that can easily be dressed up or down and that are great for layering. I love silky tanks & racerbacks for this reason. My favorite go-to brands include Aqua by Bloomingdales, Alice & Olivia, Joie and H&M. Aqua, Alice and Olivia and Joie can all be purchased on sale at Bloomingdales (I always wait for a major sale before stocking up).
Believe it or not, I have managed to survive using carry on bags for 2- 3 week trips. When I visited the Mediterranean I was even able to fit a different shirt for each day! I have 3 variations of this top in several different colors- from t-shirts to camisoles to wide strap tanks. They are hand wash only and dry quickly since they are polyester. They can be dressed up or down with jeans and shorts and worn under a blazer. Don’t forget to pack a shirt or a scarf that can cover your shoulders if you plan on visiting cathedrals or other sacred places. Some have requirements on legs being covered as well.
Aside from my favorite go-to tops, I’ve got some of my staple pants- 2 skinny jeans, 1 denim, 1 black, 1 pair of black leggings, and my favorite yoga pants/capris. For hot tropical summer trips, I don’t even bother with pants (just yoga pants for lounging in the room). I love casual dresses that hang loose and cut off a few inches above the knees & they look great on any body type! This can be cute and casual with sandals or flats for daywear and dressed up with heels for a ritzy night out on the town.
I recommend purchasing an approved carry-on suitcase for your travels. I use a Victorinox (Swiss Army brand) suitcase that I absolutely love. It has a built in strap that secures your additional bag to the top of your suitcase allowing you to roll both bags without it constantly slipping off.
Global Entry has saved me from hours of waiting in long lines at airports.
How to Apply for Global Entry
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
It costs $100 to enroll and you must pass a background check and interview. Once you are approved, you are essentially TSA Pre-Check for the next 5 years. This means no taking off shoes, or pulling out your laptop, and skipping through customs.
At airports, program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.