From packing to the return home, here are some travel tips I like to incorporate when I go on vacation.
  1. Pack with a uniform color palette in mind, which will help you pack less (e.g. limit your shoe and purse selections) as well as help mix and match on the go.
    I like to pack a lot of black, white, and grey items with some colorful statement pieces.
  2. If it's a long trip or you're worried about room for things you're planning to purchase, bring items that you can throw away/donate to lighten the load later.
    Old gym sneakers, old gym clothes, old PJs, socks, magazines...
  3. Stock up on hand sanitizer to carry everywhere you go.
    You'll thank yourself later!
  4. Bring a bag for dirty clothes.
    I don't like my clean and dirty clothes to touch.
  5. Look up the weather, but plan for it to be colder/warmer/rainier than you expect.
    You don't want discomfort to take away from the experience.
  6. If you're planning to rent a car, bring an aux cable and a car phone charger.
    Make sure you are set up for success to stay charged and listen to your favorite tunes/podcasts!
  7. On a similar note, bring a portable phone charger.
    To bring on those long days when you're out and about.
  8. Purchase airplane internet in advance of the flight to save $$.
    GoGo Inflight is significantly cheaper this way.
  9. Book the first and third seats on an airplane.
    My husband always does this. If the flight isn't full, we're more likely to have the row to ourselves since people tend to pick the middle seats last. If someone does have the seat in between, we just ask if they'd mind switching with one of us and they are always more than happy to oblige.
  10. Bring some airplane bottles of liquor if you are flying coach and feel like a (cheap) drink in flight.
    My favorite is a little Bailey's with my coffee.
  11. If you're stuck at a bad coffee shop and need caffeine, ask for iced coffee.
    The cold temperature will help mask the bad taste.
  12. Buy your favorite snacks, beverages, and even breakfast items early on in the trip.
    So you'll be covered when you accidentally sleep in and need to get somewhere fast, or when you really want a late night snack (but don't want to raid the mini bar).
  13. Turn off your work email.
    Hard, but worth it. If you must check, limit yourself to a certain # of times per day.
  14. Get restaurant recommendations ahead of time so you're not making mediocre decisions on the fly.
    Ask friends or look at local blogs or city magazines. Or search on @list! I like to use Yelp to verify my choices. I don't use TripAdvisor much abroad anymore, as it often directs to more touristy spots.
  15. Don't be afraid to bring up disappointments nicely to service staff (e.g. asking about a room with a better view if you were expecting a nice one when you booked).
    You never know and it's better to just ask vs. mutter about it internally the rest of the trip.
  16. Budget in advance for those additional things that may come up.
    So you don't feel guilty about an extra bag check or cab ride when it really makes things easier.
  17. Set yourself up for an easy return to make the end of the trip and your homecoming as enjoyable as possible.
    Maybe it's leaving with your home clean, staying a little later at work the night before, or booking as few meetings as possible on the Monday you're back at work. I also like to return at a reasonable hour the day before I go back to work so I have some time to get my life in order.
  18. Plan something to look forward to for after your return.
    This will help combat the last-day-of-vacation blues!