the not quite chef

it's a messy kitchen

Back from Chicago!

Well folks, I’m back from my little vacation. The boy and I were in Grand Rapids for one night for his friend’s wedding, then we decided to head to Chicago for three nights to make a vacation out of it. We had an absolute blast – here’s one photo for now, but the rest will be coming later!

Before we left, however, I was reminded of some packing tips that make traveling 100 times easier and thought would be good to share.

Make a list.
This might sound like an obvious first step, but if you’re like my boyfriend, you might neglect this and then cause yourself a last-minute panic over what you need to pack and whether you have everything. A list will remind you what things you still need to purchase (mini bottles of shampoo and the like) while putting your mind at ease, knowing that once things are checked off, they’re packed and you won’t forget them.

Make sure your luggage is distinguishable.
I’m not saying you need to choose purple luggage (like I did), but a simple ribbon or tag will make it easy for you to spot your luggage when it comes off the baggage claim. However, I wouldn’t recommend filling out your name and address on a very visible luggage tag – you never know who could find it and take your information down…

…so store your information inside.
Checking baggage? Put your name, number, and address on an index card and stick it inside your suitcase. It won’t be visible from the outside, won’t get ruined or destroyed, but should your luggage get lost, it’s easy to find and will help you get your bag back.

Stick to one color scheme.
If you don’t have a lot of room in your suitcase (we only brought carry-ons), plan all your outfits according to one neutral color, say either brown or black. It eliminates the need for multiple sweaters, pairs of shoes, and even the concern over whether or not everything will match!

Roll your clothes to save space (and keep them wrinkle-free).
Sure, you can fold all your clothes and they’ll fit just fine, but will they stay wrinkle-free? If you roll everything (and you can roll two shirts into one, if you choose) your clothing will be less likely to wrinkle.

Dress ready for airport security.
Dress comfortably for a flight (layers are key in case the plane is hot or cold) and wear things you can remove easily – slip-on boots, sneakers you can slide off, and try to wear minimal jewelry or watches so you don’t have to take as much time removing your stuff before you get through security.

Less is more. Seriously.
When I went to Spain to study abroad for a semester, I brought one suitcase. No, I’m really not kidding. And yes, I survived and had plenty of clothes and things to wear all semester. You will hear time and time again (most likely if you’re about to go abroad) that everyone regrets bringing more than one suitcase. I promise that you will not want to be lugging around a 50lb. suitcase, plus a 20lb. carry-on, a backpack, purse, etc. while trying to navigate the local bus system. Learn to layer your clothing, wear it repeatedly (I swear no one is paying attention), and take just one bag. You’ll thank me later.

On that note – it’s time to return to my Criminal Minds marathon. Photos and a recap of my Chicago trip next!

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October 20, 2011 - Posted by | Tips + How-Tos, Travel | , , ,

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