Well hello! It’s been awhile. I took a little summer vacay and then kind of needed a vacation from my vacation. Can you say jet lag? But I’m finally back into the groove of things and have lots to share. First up I thought I’d offer a few items I found really nice to have while traveling. I tend to travel quite a bit within the country but all of these listed below felt like they made the international trek just a bit easier.
eBags Packing Cubes
If you are like me and prefer to keep an organized suitcase and know exactly where everything is these eBags are your new must have. I bought the 3-piece set and packed everything with similar items…dresses in one, shirts + shorts in another and undies + pjs in the smallest. Not only did it help keep everything in its place but I avoided the constant folding and refolding that tends to happen when you are living out of a suitcase. A new favorite I will use every time I travel from now on.
Thank the Fashion Gods that Birkenstocks are in style right now because they were the best shoes I packed. Better even than my Nike sneakers. SERIOUSLY. While we were in Italy we experienced some record breaking temps, probably the hottest I have ever been, and these sandals kept my feet cooler than sneakers but with enough support and comfort to keep me going for the 20 mile days (Rome, we walked everywhere). Three days into our trip the hubs even bought a pair and I bought a second pair in a different style. If you are heading out on summer travels and know you will be doing some walking these are a must buy. Oh, and if you are going to Rome there is a store in Trastevere that sells them for crazy low prices, my waterproof t-straps were only $25!
Rick Steves Podcasts
Rick Steves is the ultimate travel guru and everyone from the Pacific Northwest seems to know that, but I was shocked that most Americans we met while traveling had no idea who he was. I should start by saying I was a bit of a skeptic, assuming that his suggestions would be super touristy the way that the Piers in San Francisco are…I would never want to do that living here and knowing how cool the rest of the city is. But it is different in Europe. We were doing the touristy things but everything Rick suggested was really spot on. From walking/driving tours through Rome/Tuscany to the restaurant suggestions (the best meal I had was his suggestion!) and even sights to see/skip, we found ourselves referencing his book more and more as the trip went on. MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!…if you are traveling to Europe Rick has an app available on the App Store called Rick Steves Audio Europe that is a total game changer. He has dozens of podcasts on general topics but also specific sights and museums. We saved time and money by bringing our phones (data turned off of course) and headphones and using his tours through the Vatican, Roman Forum, Accademia and more. It even has guided walks through different neighborhoods which led to explorations we would have never known about. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend downloading his app and checking it out. It’s free so you have nothing to lose.
Lululemon Travel Bag
The original plan I had was to use an old beach bag on the way to Italy as my carry on with my small crossbody purse for everyday wear tucked inside. I would buy a gorgeous leather tote in Florence (the leather in Florence! Oh my!) and return home with that instead. Well, in a last minute panic situation I ended up buying this bag from Lululemon while out running last minute errands. Weird on so many levels but mainly because I don’t tend to shop at Lulu…but man am I glad I panicked. This bag was the best friend a traveling girl could ask for. It holds a TON of stuff but has plenty of pockets and pouches to keep everything organized, even some that are waterproof which is perfect for those lotions, sanitizer spray and water you want to keep with you but don’t want to ruin anything else in your bag if they leak. It was easy to carry on top of my rolling suitcase but also comfortable with two carrying options when I had to hold it alone. I even used it as a supportive pillow to sleep on the flight to Europe. No wonder I love it so much! The best feature is the top closure which stays tucked neatly in the bag for a tote look, or pulls out to keep all your items secured if you have overstuffed it (hard to describe and no pics online, but trust me it is a really smart feature). I ended up with the black but definitely would have gone with the fun print had I seen it.
The items above are my must haves but a few honorable mentions:
Earplugs + Eyemask Having your own set of these will help with the jet lag transition and keep you sleeping through the church bells and clock towers that are all over Europe and sound at all hours of the night.
Fake Lashes While not for everyone, I found getting a set of fake lashes made my getting ready routine super easy. I could basically get dressed and go everyday but still feel cute and put together. Even in the sweltering heat where makeup didn’t stand a chance the lashes made my eyes pop and felt flirty even though I was actually a puddle of sweaty mess.