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Learning and Teaching Sustainability

How to Pack Light and Travel Like a Pro

travel-guide

ON THE PLANE

Nobody loves an airplane - they are stinky and gross and the bar keeps going lower as far as customer service is concerned. But that doesn't mean you can't travel in style. Here are a few of my favorite items that make plane travel a little more comfortable and stylish:

  1. Bring a layer: Angie Jade & Steel Scarf
    Airplane temperatures vary widely. Sometimes they are too hot and stuffy, while other times they are cold and drafty. A light layer like a big scarf will help you stay comfortable during flights. It's easy to remove if you get too hot, but it also doubles as a blanket when it gets chilly on board - Norwegian charges $5 for blankets on flights these days! Bonus points - this cotton scarf from RefuSHE supports women refugees around the world.
  2. Don't forget your shades: Black Betsy Polarized Sunglasses
    Want to know the secret to stepping off a 12-hour flight looking movie-star chic? It's the sunglasses! Hide your tired eyes behind these polarized shades, and no one will ever know you haven't slept in over 24 hours.
  3. Strengthen your immune system: Airborne Effervescent Tablets
    I rarely get sick, but when I do, it's usually from traveling. Airplanes are notorious germ boxes. Be prepared to spend the next several hours getting up close and personal with a hundred strangers, breathing in the same dry, recirculated air over and over again. Airborne contains a blend of herbs including Vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea that help boost the immune system. The ingredients are actually very similar to a traditional Chinese herbal formula called Yin Qiao San that helps prevent colds and flus.
  4. Plan a Travel Outfit: Oliana Jumpsuit
    A go-to travel outfit can help streamline your travel experience and make packing a breeze. You can wear the same outfit for the flight there and back. Choose something comfortable, low-maintenance and stylish like this adorable romper from sustainable fashion brand, People Tree.
  5. Stay hydrated: Klean Kanteen Insulated Water Bottle
    Every sustainable-minded citizen needs a good reusable water bottle. In addition to being germ-infested hot boxes, airplanes are also notoriously dry. The air is dry and recirculated, and since airlines have been cutting costs, you sometimes don't even get a glass of water on board. That's why it's super important to stay hydrated, especially on long flights. Be sure to fill it up with water after security, and before you board the plane.
  6. Slip-on shoes: Tom's Iridescent Glitter Classics
    Airport travel can be chaotic and stressful. You don't want to be that person in the security line fumbling around trying to take off your shoes, holding up the line, and creating a scene. Slip-on shoes will save you a lot of trouble. Glide in and out like you were born to travel. And don't forget cozy socks for the plane!
  7. Slather on the hand cream: L'Occitane Organic Shea Butter
    Did I mention that airplanes are super drying? In addition to drinking plenty of water, you'll want to make sure your skin stays moisturized as well with a travel-size hand cream that feels thick and luxurious.
  8. Last but not least: Lip Balm
    Don't forget about your lips which are also vulnerable to dry plane air. I like Badger Balm's tinted mineral lip balms. They are made with Fair Trade ingredients, and add a hint of color to your lips.
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TSA HACKS

Getting through the travel season unscathed requires some skill. But it also helps to pay your dues to the Travel Gods. Know the rules, and you can save yourself a lot of time.

  1. Remember the 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry-on bags
    I like to avoid checking a bag whenever possible, but that means making sure my liquids pass TSA screening. I've lost a number of beloved full-size toiletry items to the security trolls. Don't count on them "being nice" and having pity on you for foolishly packing an expensive, full-size face wash in your carry-on bag. Remember the 3-1-1 rule - you get 1 quart-size resealable bag with your toiletries in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces. I love these little containers from Cool Gear because you can fill them up with your regular face wash, lotions, etc. They are leak proof and come in fun colors.
  2. TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry
    For a little extra money, and some planning ahead, TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry status are absolute musts for the frequent travel. TSA-Pre-Check gets you in a faster security line where you don't have to take off your shoes or remove your laptop and toiletries. You have to schedule a 5-minute interview, and it costs $85 for 5 years. It's definitely worth it as the Pre-Check line can be considerably shorter at busy times. Global Entry is great for international travels. It costs $100 for life, but will definitely save you time on arrivals when returning back to the United States. You'll be glad you signed up the next time you arrive exhausted and bleary-eyed from overseas travel, and get to breeze past all the other suckers waiting in the customs line.

PACKING LIGHT - STICK TO CARRY-ON BAGS

One of the best ways to save time while traveling is to forgo checking your bags and sticking to carry-on only. I try to avoid checking a bag whenever possible, even for multi-week, international trips. It's not easy, but you can cram a lot into a carry-on bag, especially if you plan to wear the same things over again. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. The Capsule Wardrobe
    A capsule wardrobe is a limited collection of a few essential items that can be mixed and matched to create a number of different outfits. You typically start with a few classic items (black pants, a cute rain jacket, etc.) that can be combined and layered with other items to create a bunch of stylish looks. You can add in a few fun accessories to make it pop. You can read more about the capsule wardrobe here.
  2. Pinterest It!
    I actually made a Pinterest board for our recent trip to Paris and Amsterdam. You might think that sounds a bit excessive, but it was actually a really fun way to prepare for the trip. We had booked the tickets months in advance, so pinning outfits and dreaming about the trip only added to my joy and excitement around it. I stuck to mostly basics (black pants, striped shirt), but added a few fun touches like a red purse, blue blazer, and leopard print shoes. You can see my Paris fashion inspiration board here.
  3. Make a list
    This might seem obvious, but I'm surprised how many people actually travel without one. I have a master packing list that I print out for every major trip - it's basically the same stuff every time. It helps take the stress out of packing when I'm in a hurry. I don't need to think too hard or worry about forgetting something important when it's all written down. Be sure to check the list before your trip, and also when you're packing up to go home.
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Those are some of my best tips for traveling like a pro. I've logged a lot of miles in the past few years, and it really helps to be prepared. What are your secrets for staying sane during the busy holiday travel season?

About the author: Laura Weatherbee
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