As a travel advisor, who is constantly on the go, I learned that having the right travel items can make all the difference in having a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. Clients ask for packing lists and recommendations all the time, whether they are headed on an Alaskan Cruise or a Multi-City European adventure!
As I prepare for a weeklong River Cruise down the Danube with AMAwaterways, I am making my list! I am staying a night pre-cruise in Budapest, Hungary and post cruise in Nice, France. I am so excited to bring all my essentials with me as I stayed in 5 different countries in 10 days!
Here are a few items that I consider must-haves for any trip:
Disclosure: I may receive a small commission on purchases from some of the links on this post. This, however, has no bearing on my reviews and comparisons. These are items I actually own and use!
Packable Backpack - Whether you're exploring a new city or going on a day hike, having a sturdy and lightweight backpack is essential. The Outlander Packable Backpack is my go-to because of its lightweight and compact size when not in use, yet it's big enough to carry my winter coat, a hat and my husbands vest along with snacks, and 2 water bottles! Its comfortable mesh straps made it easy to carry during long excursions, and it’s stylishly adaptable for any situation.
Packing Cubes - Staying organized is crucial when packing for trip with multiple stops, and I find packing cubes the best way to sort and access my clothes. I brought the 6 Set of Various Colored Packing Cubes in 4 Sizes that I have had forever! Rather than packing my things in one cube and my husbands in another, I prefer to pack a day or 2 for each of us in each cube so that if luggage is lost or stolen, we both still have clothes. I always suggest having at least 1 outfit per person packed in your carryon and the various sizes in this pack make that very easy.
European Power Adapter - Power outlets in European countries differ from that in North America, so I knew I would need my European Travel Plug Adapter. This is a necessity to charge my electronics and keep me connected throughout my trip. I choose to get the 2 pack and I was so glad I did. My husband was able to have his phone charging on one side of the bed while I had my phone charging on the other. The USB plugs are handy for ipads and other devices that also need to be charged.
Travel Bottles - Although cruise ships and hotels all provide soap, shampoo and conditioner, I prefer to bring my own toiletry products. The Gemice Travel Bottles for Toiletries are TSA approved and a great way to bring my usual products with me on any trip without compromising on quality. I fit the perfect amount for my 10-day trip, which made me so happy to have my own products.
Luggage Scale - One of the most important things to remember when traveling by air is that airlines have strict weight limits for luggage. That's why I always use my Amazon Basics Portable Digital Luggage Weight Scale. This small but mighty device helps me avoid the stress and hassle of overweight baggage fees and ensures my luggage meets the airline's weight restrictions. It's small enough to pack if you want to, I generally weigh my luggage before I go and leave it behind (one less thing to carry!)
By having these items, I was able to navigate my River Cruise with ease, and it allowed me to have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Before your next trip, consider packing these essential items - you can thank me later!
Travel insurance is something people groan about all the time!
Since the cost of the insurance is based on the total cost of the trip (and your age), it is usually quoted last and a forgotten expense. So try to remember to include insurance in the vacation budget!
Why Would I Need It?
How much will it cost?
The cost of a policy is determined by age, level of coverage and cost of trip. There is no one size fits all when it comes to insurance coverage for a trip. For example, a domestic vacation may not require the medical benefits that you want with an international trip. There are many choices of policies, so ask an insurance professional which plan is right for you.
Can I wait to buy it?
Generally speaking, if you want a pre-existing condition waiver included in the policy, you will need to purchase within 7-14 days of initial payment on your trip. Otherwise, you may purchase a policy up to 1 day prior to departure. It is in your best interest to purchase the policy as soon as possible so that the coverage begins before an emergency takes place. Again, each plan is different so be sure to know the specific terms of the policy you are considering.
What is Cancel For Any Reason?
Some companies offer cancel for any reason as an optional benefit. This type of coverage adds to the cost of the policy and you should check the reimbursement percentage, it can start at a mere 50%. If you think that you may cancel for a reason not typically covered (think Zika scare a few years ago) then definitely consider looking into this option.
Which Travel Insurance Companies do you recommend?
There are several reputable travel insurance companies available to you. I personally work closely with Travel Guard and Allianz.
The most important benefit of travel insurance is peace of mind. It's tough to relax and fully enjoy your vacation if you're worried about hurricanes, getting sick, losing your passport or missing your flight. Choosing an insurance policy is a personal matter, everyone's needs are different and there is a policy for every need. I am happy to answer questions or refer you to a trusted partner who can help.
So you had a vacation planned and it's just not going to happen. Whether it was a local trip to visit an aunt or an international trip of a lifetime, COVID 19 has put a damper on all our travel plans.
Maybe you already cancelled or perhaps you have been playing chicken with the supplier holding your reservation. Either way, there is a right way to unravel those vacation plans and I am here to help:
This can be frustrating and difficult, believe me, I understand. But if you want most or all of your money back in cash, it is essential to pay attention to the cancellation terms and dates.
Of course, if you were working with a travel professional, all this would be taken care of for you. Why would you want to sit on hold with multiple companies fighting for your money back when you could simply make one short phone call to a person you know and then get back to sipping wine while it is all sorted on your behalf.
I love working with seniors! I thoroughly enjoy guiding clients through the planning process, from finding the right destination to organizing the logistics to hearing about the trip upon their return. I am a strong advocate for my clients when it comes to price, quality and service. Trust and building lasting relationships along with continuing education are all extremely important to my business.