5 Essential Tips for Packing

Living out of a suitcase as a flight attendant taught me to be judicious when packing so as not to overpack. I also learned to work magic and turn pretty much any suitcase or tote into a real-life Mary Poppins bag.

Before I (finally) give details on our Europe trip, I wanted to provide a few packing tips. I knew when planning the trip that I wanted to take one suitcase and one tote bag with a small purse inside. The tips below are some of the ways in which I was easily able to do so.

  1. Make a packing list. As you are preparing for and planning your trip, begin a list of items that will be helpful and necessary. For Europe, I knew that I would want an empty water bottle, umbrella, electrical adaptor and a y-splitter, which comes in handy when sharing an audio guide with your travel buddy. Trips to Dallas would not necessarily warrant these same items. Starting the list in advance prevents the forgotten necessities or a last minute rush to think through every aspect of the trip and what you might need.
  2. Lay out all clothes before packing. Try to stay within the same color scheme, or at least make sure that all tops can be worn with at least two bottoms and vice versa. If you must bring dress shoes, pack a pair that are neutral in color. I knew we would be celebrating Dave’s birthday with a nice dinner one evening, so I brought a pair of nude heels, but I only wore them the one time and could have easily worn a pair of flats that I also used for sightseeing. Keep in mind that you can re-wear some pieces and that you can usually find a laundromat to clean anything that gets soiled. Some items like little footie socks can even be rinsed in the shower or sink of your hotel and laid out to dry.
  3. Pack layers! Even if the place you’re visiting is expected to be an extreme temperature, you’ll likely encounter other various temps throughout your travels, especially in airports and on planes. Light sweaters and scarves can usually serve multiple purposes and also add some variety to your wardrobe while on the road.
  4. Roll clothing. I honestly didn’t believe that this was beneficial for the longest time, but it works! I packed for 10 days in Europe all in one roll aboard suitcase with extra space, and honestly could have left a few items out.
  5. Never check valuables or important items. Use your “personal carry-on” for charging cords, medications and any necessary travel documents such as passports, as well as money and jewelry. Even if you are not planning to check your larger suitcase, keep in mind that you may be required to check it at the gate last minute due to lack of overhead bin space. Although rare, it is possible for a checked bag to be misplaced, and packing essential belongings in a tote that can be stored underneath the seat in front of you will prevent having to part with these items.

Happy Travels, y’all – hope these tips help!


tuesday things : it’s summertime (what I am reading)

Thanks to my friend Christian for sharing this video, which basically sums up how I feel in these last hours before our trip begins.

We leave tonight for PA to drop the pups off with Dave’s mom and sister then our flight for Europe leaves tomorrow!! My Kindle is fully stocked for my reading enjoyment. Here is what I am reading and why!

1. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital By Mark Leibovich
I live here, soooooo …

Front Cover

2. The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese By Michael Paterniti
I love cheese, sooooo …

The Telling Room

3. A Moveable Feast By Ernest Hemingway
I somehow have not managed to cross this book off my list, despite my love of all things France. After reading The Paris Wife, I feel very compelled to take a dive into Mr. Hemingway’s psyche.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone By J.K. Rowling
I know, I should have read this book AGES ago. (I have seen the movies, if that makes it any better?!) Years ago, I tried to start the series and just couldn’t get into it because it seemed to be written for a small child. My friends have said that once you get to the third book it gets better, so I’m trying again.

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets By J.K. Rowling
See number four.

I’ll be back in June with a recap of our trip and also some highlights from the last few weeks since I haven’t had much time to post.

À bientôt! Or should I say … “Na shledanou!” … “Bis Später! … or “Később találkozunk!” (Thanks to Google Translate for those – I don’t even know how to pronounce them, or if they are correct!)

Happy Birthday in advance to Dave! We will celebrate on Saturday in Prague :)

tuesday things : travel tips needed


In exactly two weeks from now we will be driving to Pennsylvania where we will drop off the pups with Dave’s mom and sister. The next day we’ll take the train to JFK and fly out for Prague, the first stop on our European adventure! I. Can’t. Wait!

Ten days, three countries and at least four cities – we are still working out some of the details. As I learned from my previous stints (France and Italy) though,  it’s best to leave some of the plans up for grabs.

There are a few things about which I don’t want to be spontaneous, and I’m asking for your help. What advice can you offer on the following? Have you learned any travel tips you’d like to share? My own personal travels and time as a flight attendant have taught me quite a bit, but today I want to hear from all of you. (Even if the only people who will leave a comment are Aunt Bev, Olivia and maybe my mom!)

1. footwear – In France I wore my crocs. Not my finest apparel selection, but they totally did the trick. In Italy I wore flip flops for at least part of the trip. You can see them on my feet in the picture at the top right of this page. Who knows how those served any sort of practical purpose … needless to say, I am interested in finding a solid pair of shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. Does this exist? Tell me about the shoes you wear/have worn to travel!

2. currency – Likely I will end up using my credit card whenever possible, but there will definitely be many places that accept only cash. As I said, we are going to three different countries. All speak different languages and use different currencies. That’s three different currencies! (I can’t even concern myself with the languages yet.) How have you handled this in the past? Do you typically change money at the airport before leaving? Do you take cash from the ATMs? Where do you find the best exchange rate, and how much should I plan to have on hand in each country?

3. general tips for Prague, Vienna, Salzburg or Budapest – As I said, we are still working out details. In fact, this weekend I will spend a lot of the time doing some final planning. If you have tips for any of these places, I am open to sites/restaurants/random recommendations. Please leave them in the comments below!