The Art of Traveling Ultra Light

The Art of Traveling Ultra Light

One glance at me and you presumably think I am the type of girl that packs a full luggage filled with shoes, to accompany a second (maybe a third) filled with millions of outfits that most likely will never make a cameo. Well, you have me all wrong.

I wasn't always a master at the art of traveling light. Over the years I've learned to pack smart. Like many females, I used to pack a BIG ASS suitcase (sometimes 2) filled with tons of outfit options, shoes, and accessories. After countless trips, I started to master the art of packing and quickly realized that I didn't need copious amounts of options. Each trip I take, I learn more and more about editing my outfits and shoes. Plus, if you are traveling from place to place, it's pretty easy to move swiftly from one location to the next.

When I tell people that I traveled for 18-months straight with a 25" suitcase, they never believe me. I show them this photo, and their jaws drop in disbelief. I should also add that this was towards the end of our travels, with three months more to go. A few more clothing items made their way into my luggage. Hey, how can you not shot in Paris, Berlin or Barcelona? I even managed to fit a paella pan miraculously; my wheels were about to burst off, but it fit.

 Here  are my arsenal tips for traveling ultra light:

Check the weather before your trip. Why? This way you'll know what to pack. I used to never do this and sometimes I'd over pack the wrong items and under pack the needed items.

Select your day-of-travel outfit wisely. Why? Because it will create more efficiency when you pack your luggage. I'll typically wear heavier shoes (wedges or boots), a coat or jacket, and a hat. These items will save you space and weight in your luggage. (Note: In the video, I packed my light coat in my luggage since I had room to spare. I generally take it on the plane with me.)

Pre-select your outfits. Picking your outfits ahead of time will not only save you the headache of "what am I going to wear today?" but it will also allow you to pack clothing items that can be combined into multiple outfits. Style your outfits and snap a photo. This will help you keep an inventory of what you have and different outfit combinations. For me personally, I love dresses and jumpsuits. You can dress them up or down, layer them with cardigans, jackets and button downs.

Choose a color palette.  Pick a favorite item that you want to emphasize in your packing list. Then choose two other colors that compliment it well. These three colors will be your color palette for your packing list. I like to pick neutral items as a base like black, white or beige and this will help me decide what I pack.

Pick outfit items that can be repurposed. This is probably my favorite one. Pick out items that can be worn in various ways.  All of the tops should coordinate with all of the bottoms you pack. All outerwear items like a  cardigan and blazer should match everything else, all tops and bottoms. Layering is a great way to get lots of combinations from just a few items. Make sure your tops are thin enough to layer and have coordinating colors. 

Accessories to help change an outfit. Accessories are a great way to change up an outfit. Bring a belt that has enough holes so it can be worn at either the waist or the hip. I generally will back two colors: a brown, black or white belt, all depending on my outfits. Bring at least one piece of statement jewelry that can dress up your looks.

Know how to pack efficiently. The pack in roll method is what I have found to be the most efficient. You can neatly pack items that won't generally wrinkle as much.

Stick to a 25" suitcase or smaller. This will hinder you from over packing. There is really no need for anything bigger unless you are going somewhere where you are required to being bulky items like Iceland or Alaska in the winter or a ski holiday.

Filmed and Edited by: Valerie Fidan / Music by: Yanis Soundress Hypnotized (Dim Sum Remix) / Camera: Olympus E-PL7 with 14-42mm IIR Lens / Luggage: Samsonite Spin Tech Luggage 24" (Similiar item)

Insiders Guide to Tipping

Execute the correct tipping custom in a new country can be an etiquette minefield that can pose possible problems--especially when you don't know the local language. Here are five tips to help avoid any sort of awkward situation and be on point.

Screenshot Go Compare

Screenshot Go Compare

Be suspicious about what’s on your bill. When it comes to tipping it often pays off to be suspicious about what’s on your bill. You don't know what's included if you can’t speak or read the language. Get some advice from the hotel staff about what is commonly loaded on the bill.

Follow the local lead on tipping. If no one does, then don’t. (I get it, it can be weird not tipping.)If tipping requires paying more on top of than you would at home than not doing so much might place you in an extremely awkward position.

Don't over tip. American’s often over tip in foreign countries. Being an overly generous tipper can have unintended consequences, especially for travelers who come after you. They might be expected to follow your lead.

Have a stash of low-denomination bills ready for doormen, porters, and taxi drivers. Think of it as being part of the price, rather than an optional extra.

Find out from an independent source of truth for how much to tip. If someone has no vested interest in recommending you to tip, then you're more likely to get accurate information.

Want to see a full interactive map? View it here

Related: Use This guide for tipping around the world.

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How A Good Concierge Can Make Your Trip Unstoppable


Think a concierge is only for the wealthy business type? Think again. I’ve made a career out of helping Silicon Valley elite with their daily lives, and you can sure bet that coordinating travel is a big part of it. With ten years in my line of work, I’ve got some secrets, and it starts with the concierge. A concierge can make a difference in your trip.

That extensive knowledge is available to any guest, absolutely free.

A great concierge is the gatekeeper to their city and is the key to unlocking exactly the experiences a guest at their hotel is after. They are the ultimate insider. They’re a great place to start for personalized suggestions and advice on tours and outings. As they are specialists in their city, you can expect a pretty solid and tailored piece of advice.

I can’t tell you how many times hotel concierges have helped with arranging hard-to-get Michelin starred restaurants from places in London or Tokyo to reserving hard-to-snag tickets.

Best of all? That extensive knowledge is available to any guest, absolutely free.

Concierges engage guests in a variety of ways. From helping with basic necessities, like finding parking spaces or getting directions, to planning the entire duration of a stay to helping you find a power adapter to your electronics that you forgot at home. If you have an unusual request, like trying to hunt down a certain gift to take back home, a concierge can save you a wealth of time and help find the best in class. They can even arrange to buy it on your behalf.

Know that an experienced concierge won’t be fazed even by unusual requests, so don’t be shy about asking for help. If they don’t know the answers themselves, they’ll have an impeccable contact book to find someone in the city who does.

My best advice is to call in advance and share your itinerary. The concierge is a local and can tweak your activities in a way you cannot. And, keep in mind the higher rated the hotel, the more well connected the concierge.


Know of other costly services and an alternative?

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5 Ways To Ruin Your Vacation (And How To Avoid Them)

Traveling is a lot of fun, but more often than not it can be hard work, too. You might feel a bit frustrated if your plans don't go accordingly. We all want our vacations to be perfect. After all, with all the time and money we spend on them, an unenjoyable day seems like a major waste. But are you planning your vacation the right way? Don't let your lost luggage or poor planning get in the way of your perfect holiday. Prevent potential problems by avoiding these five mistakes.


Mistake 1: You only socialize with the people you're travelling with.

It’s the easy way out to just talk to the person you’re with, but it doesn’t make for nearly as enriching an experience. And especially if you're visiting an all-inclusive resort, it's all too easy to travel abroad without meeting any locals. But is that really travelling?

The fix: Be open to talking to people along the way. Whether it's your taxi driver, a shop owner or another tourist on your group tour. You never know who you might meet, or what you might learn.

Mistake 2: You take things too seriously.

Every trip you take, there something is bound to go wrong. That's just life. If you can laugh about it, it makes things that much better. Sure, worry a little about keeping your passport safe and getting to the airport on time and hoping that the airline doesn't lose your luggage. But worrying about every single little thing that might go wrong during the whole trip – or anything, which hasn't gone accordingly, isn't exactly going to be a whole lot of fun.

The fix: Have a sense of humour about things. Don't take yourself so seriously! Besides, learning to have fun even in unexpected situations is a skill that will serve you throughout life, not just when you're travelling.

Mistake 3: You only do thins you've done before.

Sure, your hotel room likely comes with a TV and multiple channels. But did you really travel just to watch "Pretty Woman" with subtitles? Didn't think so. The worst travel regret is always the things you didn't do or try.

The fix: Get out of your comfort zone and try something different when you’re away. Do something that you can’t do at home – you can watch TV or sit in a bar anywhere!

Mistake 4: You neglect the status of your passport.

Passports expiring too soon can cause problems, as many countries require that they're valid for six months beyond your travel dates, and also blank pages to stamp for both entry and exiting.

The fix: Prevent problems by ensuring both that your passport has enough empty pages for the trip you're going on, and that its expiry is far in the future. While you're at it, make a photocopy, scan or digital photo and store it somewhere you can access it in case of loss or theft.

Mistake 5: You forget to check on entry requirements.

As an American, we have it pretty easy when it comes to travelling abroad. There are plenty of countries that allow us entry either visa-free or with some quick paperwork at the border. Others require planning ahead and obtaining a Visa. If you don’t have the proper documents, they won’t let you into the country.

The fix: A quick Google search will tell you what you need to know. Just make sure to do the research earlier than the night before your trip – some visas can take weeks to procure.

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Travel Bag Essentials

When it comes to packing, I like to think of myself as a pro packer. And, when it comes to my carry on or travel/day bag, I tend to keep it light as well, with only carrying my true essentials. Many of you have asked what's in my travel bag? Well, here they are! I'm sharing with you my top essential items that re in my travel bag. These essentials range from electronics and gadgets to sunscreen and accessories.

travel bag essentials 1. REI Agility Pack. I love this backpack. It's bright, light and uber comfortable; most importantly, it holds all of my items and I have even stuffed my black Gucci purse in here, too.

2. bkr Glass Water Bottle. Travelling with a water bottle is smart. You can refill it anywhere - especially at the airport. I love bkr's ubbly glass water bottle that features a soft silicone sleeve in an array of vibrant colors. You can purchase a bkr water bottle here.

3. Sharper Image Travel Pillow. This is a godsend on long flights. But of course if I'm touring and exploring a city during the day, I'll leave this behind in my room.

4. Eye mask. This is an essential while travellig; but of course if I'm touring and exploring a city during the day, I'll leave this behind in my room. You can purchase this super cute lace eye mask ok Etsy.

5. BunOut Sun Screen. You should always wear sunscreen. BurnOut Eco-sensitive Zinc Oxide Sunscreen is oil free, chemical-free, paraben-free, petroleum-free, fragrance-free, eco-sensitive, ocean safe, and biodegradable. It is available online and also at Whole Foods (where I bought mine).

6. Basic make-up. I don't wear a ton of make up. My make up bag tends to have the bare essentials: eye shadow pallet, blush, mascara, concealer, gloss and brushes. Some of my favorite products are the Naked2 Basics is so versatile for daily use - and can be used from day to night. For blush, I switch between the Naked Flushed (pictured) and NARS Cosmetics Orgasm -- it's a perfect all in one blush and bronzer. And, of course I always have mascara - it just helps brighten your eyes and look more awake.

7. Veja Wallet. This is an obvious. I love this envelope wallet by Veja because it holds all of my cash, cards, passport and phone. It also doubles as a chic clutch.

8. Cloche Hat. French for bell, the cloche was made popular in the 1920s and is synonymous with elegance and sophistication for its close-fitting, asymmetrical shape and simple unembellished lines. I love this style hat since it's east to travel with and adds a touch of girliesness to any outfit. You can purchase a similar one here.

9. Sunnies. Packing a pair of sunnies is essential for any type of travel to protect your eyes, add style to your look, and save your life early mornings after a late night out or a horrid red eye. Choose a neutral pair and they will go with everything you’ve packed. I tend to pack two pairs: Chanel Cat Eye (pictured above) and Ray-Ban Wayfarer.

10. Scarf. Packing a scarf is an essential you should be packing. A square or rectangular scarf is, arguably, the most versatile item you’ll have in your luggage or pack. It works as a fashion accessory, makeshift set of sleeves or cover up for temples or conservative areas, an emergency towel, a top, headband or bandana for bad hair days, and a turban to protect you from the sun.

11. Evian Facial Spray Keep your cool and face hydrated by packing an Evian Spray in your bag. The 1.7 fl. oz. travel size mist sets make-up, removes perspiration, and even rehydrates your skin mid-flight or in dry climate places.

travel bag essentials

12. Camera. I use a Canon PowerShot SX1O IS  (nothing fancy!), and [as of recently] a Fujifilm X-E1 with a 18-55mm Lens (Black)

13. GoPro. The GoPro is perfect for underwater video recordings and taking wide angle shots. I used mine for the first time during my Galapagos trip - I must say this was one of the best purchases ever.

14. GoPro Arm Extender. Along with the GoPro, utilizing an arm extender is a great accessory to have. This is great for not only selfies but getting wide angle shots. ATian(TM) Chest Harness & Head Strap Mount & Monopod Tripod Adapter is a great packaged set of GoPro accesses that is worth purchasing...and you can't beat the price at less than $25.

15. EZOPower 4-Port USB Wall Charger Travel Kit. The EZOPower 4-Port USB Wall Charger Travel Kit with Interchangeable Plugs is probably my favorite gadget for...well...gadgets.It's compatable with US, UK, EU, AU plugs and eliminates the need for multiple wall chargers and outlets.

16. iPhone. Smartphones can be a great essential bring along with you. You can use apps like Google Maps to help navigate through a city or FourSquare for local insider tips on wifi passwords and such. By turning on the WiFi setting, you can access the internet to check email, the weather and post on Instagram. If you're traveling out of the country, DO make sure to turn your turn off your cellular data to avoid roaming fees.

17. iPad. I can never travel without my tablet. Before traveling anywhere I always load it up with ebooks, emagazines, and videos.

18. MacBook Pro. This one self explanatory. If you're on the go as a digital nomad or travel for work, a laptop is essential.

19. Moleskin. I love carrying a Moleskine classic notebook, which is great for taking down notes, journaling, etc.

What are your essentials? Share them with us!