Travel Tips and Tricks

Don’t give up hiking because you need frequent breaks! Slow it down; add a light-weight folding stool to your daypack; take all the breaks you need.

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Go ahead and book your Amtrak travel early. If you find the rate has gone down for your travel dates, call in and ask for the lower rate.

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Keep some reusable shopping bags in the car (or backpack). Not only do they come in handy for those unplanned stops at the store, they can also be used to carry miscellaneous water bottles, trash, books, mail, or other items into the house when you get home.

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Traveling with children and elderly can be tricky. Consider your companions’ toileting needs and attention spans when planning a day trip. Make sure to bring snacks and water.

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Cold wet weather can be miserable. Dress to stay warm and dry. Take extra vitamin C. Drink warm fluids. Postpone travel during bad weather, if possible.

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Dress in multi-purpose layers: long johns can become pajamas; a hip-length fleece jacket can also be a robe.

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Lightweight fabrics can layer well, wash in the sink, and dry overnight.

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Plan your holiday travel now. Aim for midweek for fewer crowds.

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Carry a bicycle instead of a tow car. Less weight, less expense, and great exercise.

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A crushable hat or an umbrella help protect from rain and sun.

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Get one of the new, compact jump-starters. They do duty as powerful flashlights and gadget chargers as well. Bonus – they can charge your gadgets several times before needing to be recharged.

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Pack a small, light jumprope. Handy for when you can’t get out to exercise.

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Rotate food supplies in your camping or bug out gear so they don’t go stale.

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Take your pup out to play. Visit a dog beach, bark park, or go for a run in the countryside.

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Multi-use sari wrap: skirt, beach coverup, shawl, scarf, light blanket, beach towel.

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Keep some trail mix and a water bottle handy for emergency snacks.

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Use multi-purpose items for travel. Soap/shampoo/laundry bar. Lotion/make-up remover/fragrance bar. 

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Make a master packing list that can be tweaked for each trip. Just cross off what is not needed, then check off the rest as you pack. 

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Make separate packing lists for: suitcase, bathroom bag, carry-on, cooler, food box, kitchen box, etc.

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Spritz some vinegar on a sunburn to cool it off and relieve the itch.

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Wrap your ice pack in a paper towel or washcloth to keep it from sweating all over your lunch bag.

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Pack a bugout box with non-perishable snacks, can, and box goods for a quick weekend getaway.

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Make a bugout bag for hiking. Include sunscreen, snacks, water bottle, rain poncho, compass, hat and light jacket.

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Keep your passport up to date. With new Real-ID regulations, you may need it to access certain federal facilities: courthouses, libraries, etc.

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Time to lighten the load – purge your suitcase of unused, outdated stuff. Get rid of that sweater you refuse to wear, the scarf you hate, the grungy cosmetics you never use. If you need it that bad, you can get it at your destination.

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Keep immunizations up to date to avoid getting sick on trips. Double check your Tdap/Td, flu shot, pneumonia shot, MMR, and other vaccinations we tend to forget about once we’re out of school.

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Cold weather packing tips: wear layers. Sweaters over flannel or wool shirts, over long underwear. Remove a layer as you get too warm.

Bring extra socks, cold, wet feet bring misery.

Neck scarves add lots of warmth. They can also be wrapped around your head.

Gloves not enough? Wear liners – the thin gloves you get from the dollar store work great underneath heavier ski or work gloves.

Hats, scarves, and gloves can be tucked into coat sleeves, coats can be rolled up and stuffed into their own sleeve for a handy travel pillow. Coats also make good blankets on long rides or flights.

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Life on the road is better with friends. Whenever we change locations, we try to meet up with friends where we’re going. If we don’t know anyone, we check our Facebook groups, RVillage or old-fashioned face time: we get out, walk around and say “hi”!

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Eat healthy on the road. Keep a stash of carrot and celery sticks and small containers of your favorite dip handy in the fridge. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts, trail mix and sliced cheese all make healthy snacks or light meals. Grab an ice pack from the freezer and load up an insulated lunch bag before you go. Don’t forget a water bottle!

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Wish you could just take off at a moment’s notice? Keep a partially packed suitcase, along with a list of what to throw in before you head out the door.

Some ideas:

Keep a bathroom kit in the suitcase, with toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and other necessaries. Make a note to toss in the makeup bag before you head out.

Keep a set of underwear, a tshirt or 2, and a pair of jeans in the suitcase; tape inside a checklist of what to add when you’re ready to go.
Shorts, bathing suits, skirts, shirts, sweater/coat, hiking boots, etc.

Just remember – the lighter you pack, the sooner you can get out the door and have some fun!

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Traveling by car or RV? Not much worse than a flat tire or a breakdown 100 miles from nowhere. If you have Roadside Assistance, it can be your best friend. Turn on your hazards, pull over to a safe location, and call AAA, Good Sam, or one of many other Roadside Assistance providers. The yearly membership fee will more than pay for itself with just one call.

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To avoid having your credit or debit card denied at the gas pump, call your bank  and let them know you’ll be traveling – dates, itinerary, etc. As a back up, carry some cash so you don’t get stranded. If you still have problems, call the bank from the pump and verify that you are the one attempting the charge.

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Is the thought of packing the car for a weekend away daunting? Make a list of what you need a week or weekend trip. Get one or two big plastic storage bins and load them up with anything non-perishable that you need for a quick getaway – paper plates, plastic forks, boxes of cereal, canned goods, blankets, camp stove, snacks, etc. Keep these bins in a handy place, then just add the perishables and put them in the car. You’re off!

Don’t forget to check the boxes every couple months, to rotate items in and out.

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Pets frequently get car sick. Rather than give them doggie or kittie drammamine, withhold food and water for at least 6-12 hours before a long drive. We travel with a dog and a cat. We usually leave in the morning, and if we are on the road all day, will give them a few sips of water at each 2 hour rest stop. When we stop for the night, we will feed a little less than usual, then put food and water up. This has worked for us. If your pet is still having too much discomfort, check with your vet about natural or mild remedies for motion sickness.

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Hate digging through your suitcase to find a pair of socks? Try this: tightly roll all your socks in pairs and put in a quart or gallon size zipper bag. Squeeze as much air out as possible as you’re zipping and place in your backpack or suitcase. Do this with other like items or each complete outfit and then you just have to grab the right zipper bag without messing up all your other clothes.

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