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!
As retirement approaches, many people worry about what they will do with their newfound free time. For some, the prospect of having so much time to fill can be overwhelming, while others relish the opportunity to explore different hobbies and interests. If you're looking for educational and rewarding hobbies for retired people, travel is undoubtedly one of the top options.
Traveling allows you to explore new places, experience different cultures, and create lifelong memories. But travel is just one of many hobbies that can help keep you engaged and fulfilled in retirement. Here are five other options to consider:
1. Learning a new language - Learning a new language can be a fun and rewarding way to stay mentally sharp in retirement. You can take classes, hire private tutors, or use language learning apps to get you started. This hobby not only helps keep your mind active but can also come in handy during your travels, allowing you to connect with locals and better understand the culture.
2. Joining a book club - Joining a book club is a great way to continue learning and engaging with others in retirement. Book clubs provide a social setting for discussing literature and can help expand your literary horizons. Additionally, book clubs often give retirees a sense of purpose, as they are committed to reading and sharing their thoughts on a regular basis.
3. Volunteering - Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to the community while staying active and engaged. There are countless organizations that need volunteers with different interests and skill sets, so you're sure to find one that aligns with your passions. Volunteering not only feels good but also provides a sense of purpose and contributes to a more meaningful retirement.
4. Gardening - Gardening is a great outdoor activity that provides physical exercise and a sense of accomplishment. Whether you have a small balcony or a spacious backyard, there are numerous plants and flowers that you can grow based on your level of experience. Gardening also allows you to connect with nature and is a therapeutic way to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Photography - Photography is a creative and rewarding hobby that can be enjoyed at any age. It's a great way to explore the world around you and capture special moments and memories. You can take classes, join a photography club, or simply practice on your own. Additionally, you can use your photography skills during your travels to document your adventures and share them with others.
Retirement offers the opportunity to explore new hobbies and interests that provide education and fulfillment. Traveling is an excellent option, but remember, there are many other rewarding ways to engage yourself in retirement. Learning a new language, joining a book club, volunteering, gardening, and photography are just a few examples of hobbies that can provide lifelong enjoyment and satisfaction.
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.
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.