Today's column is a lazy one for me. No real writing, no attempts at humor, just a plain old list of how to save time, work and money while traveling this summer. Take heed of the suggestions that fit your own itinerary. Who knows, you might discover a whole new way to travel for the future with whatever mode of transportation you prefer.
- For folks who like to take their own snacks, recycle coffee creamer containers (large or small sizes). Coffee-Mate is my brand so I just remove the outer wrapping and fill the plastic bottle with Gummi Bears or other delectables.
- A half-empty jar of peanut butter becomes a portable snack with celery, pretzels or apple slices.
- Ladies, forget the travel iron. For quick beauty touch-ups, utilize your flat-iron. Just press what clothing portion that needs de-wrinkling between the two halves where hair normally would go.
- For eye cream or small amount of makeup, pour some into contact lens cases.
- Always keep a change of clothing (or at least fresh underwear) in your tote or carry-on. We once arrived in the Bahamas on a Saturday night, luggage-less, 105 degrees, the condo air-conditioner on the fritz and not a single store open until Monday. A hard (and smelly) but, nevertheless, memorable lesson.
- Just 32 cents or so remaining on that gift card? Don't ditch it, wrap headphones and chargers around the card to keep them from tangling.
- Some experts advise packing shoes inside socks to keep other clothes clean. While a clever idea, I suggest using a shower cap, which can be washed or ditched.
- Utilize empty glasses cases to store power cords for cellphones or iPads.
- Tic Tacs aren't just to sweeten our breath. The tiny cases hold bobby pins, straight pins/needles, safety pins, small Band-Aids and the like.
- To freshen inside a suitcase, add a dryer sheet or the bar soap from your hotel.
- Belts can be employed not just for holding up one's pants. Roll the belt up and stick it inside collared shirts to keep them looking freshly ironed.
- Dollar stores sell divided shower caddies. These sturdy items are perfect to use in the car for eating on your lap.
- Don't have quite enough room in your suitcase? Once past ticketing or customs, pop over to an airport gift shop and ask for a big shopping bag (even if it costs a couple of bucks). Throw your extras inside; most airlines don't charge for this extra carry-on since you appear to have just purchased the contents.
- Say you've left home without your USB port to charge your devices. The back of most hotel televisions contains a USB port, although folks are generally unaware of this service.
- Pashmina scarves make wonderful travel companions. Use as a blanket or headrest and once at your destination, it becomes a wrap for day or evening.
- Pill containers make a safe solution to carry smaller pieces of jewelry on your person.
- Wear deep pockets on the plane to avoid wasting time digging through purse for wallet, passport/ID, phone and boarding pass. Pockets with zippers or buttons prevent sticky fingers from creeping into your pockets to steal your valuables.
- Carry medications with you at all times. Never place them in checked baggage or even carry-on for that matter. I ordered a fold-over soft pill case from Magellan.com with 14 pockets that takes up no room. I also include the most recent print-out of all my prescriptions from the local pharmacist and my mail-order pharmacy. Now, I'm protected from both TSA and the DEA, plus I don't need to lug a bunch of pill bottles that take up valuable space.
- Savvy travelers know to pack clothing around a color scheme (I like black/white/red) to easily mix and match. Change up appearance with scarves and jewelry, ladies; gentlemen can modify with a sweater vest or tie.
- And, finally, scan and email your itinerary, passport, ID and credit card info before departure to yourself and to a trusted family member or friend. Heaven forbid disaster strikes during your trip, but you're covered if it does occur.
Contact Ellen Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org