Packing Tips

Now that you have chosen your destination, the next obvious question is what and how to pack. The “what” all depends on where you are going. You don’t want to pack 8 bikinis if you’re off to Alaska for a fishing tour, you don’t need one piece snowsuits (do people still have those?) in your suitcase if you are headed off to Hawaii, etc.

The first step I take in packing a suitcase is to make a list. The list will make sure everything you take also comes home with you. The list contains everything from toothpaste to specific pairs of shoes. Everything that I think I need on a daily basis. The next step is to take that list and cut it in half. I find myself going through my closet and tossing in my suitcase every shirt, short, skirt and pant (because you never know what mood you are going to be in next tuesday). Here’s the thing: I don’t ever end up wearing HALF the clothing I bring with me on vacation. I end up buying a lot of clothing, shoes, and especially new swimwear while on vacations and then find that there isn’t enough room in my suitcase when it’s time to go home. Recently, I visited Sin City (Las Vegas) and over half of my suitcase was just for shoes! I only ended up wearing one pair of comfortable, (yet stylish), versatile, black heels and managed to come home with two extra pairs!

If you are going on a beach vacation for a week, you do not need a different swimsuit for every single day. Two MAX. Swimsuits dry and can be worn again (NEWS FLASH). Chances are, if you are in some tropical, sunny destination, you’re not going to be needing pants everyday of the week. Pack one pair of casual pants for chilly nights. Two dresses (for women, two dress shirts and one pair of slacks for men), and 1 tank top/tee-shirt and 1 pair of shorts for each day of vacation. I also like to throw in a bathing suit cover up in there incase. The only thing you may need more of than days of vacation are underwear and socks. At least one extra pair than days.

Toiletries: there is no need to pack everything in your medicine cabinet, bathroom drawer and makeup bag. One toothbrush per person, one travel sized toothpaste, hair brush or comb, and the make up you wear on a daily basis is all you need. Do not take shampoo and conditioner or soap with you if you are staying at a hotel or resort, they will supply all of that and it will just explode all over your bag anyways. No need for the ENTIRE bottle of Advil, take a few pills in a plastic baggie or a travel pill box. I would suggest chewable Pepto-Bismol or Imodium, especially if you are heading to Mexico, but keep that in your carry-on, you never know when you’re going to need it.

Now that you have your list of everything that is going with you, time to shove it all in the suitcase right? WRONG. A well organized suitcase will save you a lot of time and hassle, especially at the airport when you get chosen for one of their random searches. Best bet is to make sure any liquids are in plastic Zip Lock bags. I don’t need to go over a physics lesson here, we all know what happens to liquids in sealed containers when the pressure builds up at 30,000 feet. TOTAL DISASTER. If you have a pair of shoes in your suitcase it is best to put them in a large Zip Lock so the rest of your clothes don’t get dirty. Rather than folding pants, shirts and such, I roll. Rolling your clothes saves space. I can get mine and my husbands clothes, shoes and toiletries for a one week vacation into one standard sized suitcase because I roll everything, even my socks. The more space you save the less you may get charged at the airport for extra baggage. Even better if you have saved so much space all you need is a carry-on piece. You can save all that extra time at the airport since you do not have to check any bags and therefore you do not have to wait among the throngs of people at the conveyer belt for your bag to (maybe?) come down the chute. No chances of losing your bags this time!

In short, at least in regards to packing for your vacation, less is more and more is a waist of time. So get out there and enjoy your vacation.

Safe travels

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How to Choose Your Destination

The first question I always ask myself is not “Where do I want to go?” but “What am I looking for out of this vacation?” Do I want to play a wicked game of golf (a favourite pass-time of mine)? Bring out my inner child at an amusement park? Party on like Wayne and Garth? Or just RELAX on a quiet beach while sipping on slushy drinks at the tiki bar during happy hour?

The next question I ask myself is: “How much time do I have?” I want to see EVERYTHING when I go to a destination (who knows when I’ll be back). So, if my boss is only giving me 1 week vacation I am NOT going to Disney World. Likewise If I have one week off, I am not going Las Vegas (4 days tops).

In my experience Disney World takes at least 2 weeks if you want to see and do everything. And there is A LOT to do at Disney World with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 1/2 golf courses (I do like my golf), and much more to see and within the Disney property alone! If you want to visit Universal studios and surrounding Orlando and nearby Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach then I recommend adding on another week.

But Disneyland, much smaller by comparison, you could do in probably 3 days. If you have 7 to 10 days Mexico and the Caribbean are always a good choice for me as the food down there doesn’t always agree with me and I end up borderline anorexic after a week. Las Vegas I found after 4 days I was both broke and bored. Hawaii- well I could live in Hawaii year round, if I could afford it.

So that’s my next question: “How much vacation can I afford?”

Any destination can be done on a budget (I’ll show you how in other posts, later). So this question really begs us to ask the first question again: “What do I want to do on my Vacation?” If you are looking to relax on the beach, work on nothing but your tan and your beer belly, and your budget is limited then an all-inclusive vacation somewhere in Mexico, or the Caribbean, is your place to be. If you want to relax on the beach and your bank account is a little more generous maybe Hawaii or Turks and Caicos is your destination of choice. Want to party hard like its your last day of freedom (Bachelor party anyone)? You can do Cancun, Mexico and Las Vegas on all kinds of budgets, although no all-inclusive in Vegas, which can get quite pricey if you’re a heavy drinker/party animal. Need your adrenaline rush at the theme park but can’t shell out for 3 weeks in Disney World, try some of the smaller parks such as Disneyland (only need 1 week tops) or a Six Flags park (11 locations in the USA, 1 in Canada and 1 in Mexico), or Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, Canada.

Once you’ve narrowed down the general area on the map where we would like to go (say Hawaii, California, Mexico) the next step I recommend is to flip through travel magazines (the ones you can find at travel agencies), cruise the internet (like this blog!), browse the travel section in your local bookstore, or ask your friends and family on recommendations to narrow down your destination.

Welcome to TippingIsNotACityInChina!

Thank you for visiting my travel blog! I have always loved planning vacations and have become quite good at it. In fact, before I even get home from my vacation, I am already planning my next one. Here I hope to show you some of the best tips I have learned through my travels as well as offer you a guide to your own travels. So far I have been to Mexico (East and West Coast), Hawaii, Las Vegas and both Disneyland and Disney World. I hope you will follow with me as I journey to more destinations so that I can offer the best insider information such as where to eat, stay and play. Hope you enjoy reading and travelling with me! Image