There are packing-nerds (like me) who pack their bags weeks or more in advance of a trip. There are the packing-challenged, who procrastinate, digging out the suitcase until late night before travel. And then there are the cool, ‘packing is no big deal’ adrenaline junkies who leave packing for an international trip to just a few hours before the flight. For those of you who fall into the first two categories and would like to start your journey organized and stress-free, try these five travel tips — and let me know how it goes!
1. BE LIGHT — BRING ONE SUITCASE & ONE SHOULDER BAG
It’s much easier to keep track of — and carry — one shoulder bag and one suitcase. As soon as you start having small miscellaneous bags, you are bound to lose track of one! And if you’re like me and enjoy collecting gifts and treasures to bring home, try starting your trip with a suitcase that is only 2/3 full—leaving room to fit in souvenirs you find along the way!
2. BE ORGANIZED — DOWNLOAD THIS APP!
My new favorite travel companion is TripIt, an app that automatically downloads all of your travel information (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.) into one master itinerary that is accessible on your phone, with or without internet. It also stores important travel documents such as passport information, driver’s license and emergency contacts. As you decide on each aspect of your trip, remember to use the same email address for all of your bookings!
3. BE HEALTHY
Carry a water bottle. Keeping hydrated is key to good health! Drink a full bottle of water en route to the airport; fill it again once you’re past security; then on the plane, ask the flight attendants to fill your bottle instead of using plastic cups — so by the time you’ve reached your destination, you’ve hydrated with at least three full bottles of water!
Carry healthy snacks with you. Consider what kind of snacks make you feel energized and satiated, and are easy to travel with. In my handbag I always carry a packet of unsalted nuts, an energy bar and an apple. When preparing for a day of travel, I include a few packets of instant organic oatmeal, a handful of ginger-lemon tea bags and two hard-boiled eggs for protein (which I politely wait to eat until I’m at an airport and refrain from eating on the plane due to smell!).
4. BE RELAXED
We all get anxious sometimes – how we deal with our anxiety is the true test of our yoga practice. Even with the best of planning, sometimes plans will get off track — this is the nature of travel (and life!) Remember to “stay in the flow” — and use a bit of humor instead of a complaint! If you feel yourself starting to stress out, reconnect with your breath through the simple pranayama breathing exercise Sama vritti: breathe in through your nose for a count of five, hold your breath for five, then exhale through your mouth for a count of five. This simple “equal breathing” exercise will relax your mind and calm your nervous system.
5. BE GRATEFUL
SAMPLE RETREAT PACKING
As you pack for your yoga retreat, think layers – clothing that is versatile, multipurpose and in the same color family. Choose yoga leggings and tank tops that become part of an outfit for sightseeing or a nice dinner out. Add your favorite scarf or cute shoes to pull it all together. Bring a sweater for cool evenings, a comfy sweatshirt for lounging and a lightweight compressible down jacket to keep you warm in transit on planes and trains. Make sure you love each piece you bring, because you’ll be wearing it more than once!
• depending on the retreat, a pair of casual, comfy shoes that have a little style
• airplane outfit: something warm and layered, a hat or scarf to keep warm, a compressible down jacket
• bathing suit and wrap
• 3-5 tank tops or T-shirts to use for yoga that can double as day wear
• 3 yoga pants: one short, one capri and one full-length
• feather-light, compressible down jacket or cozy fleece
• a lounge outfit consisting of your favorite sweatshirt and leggings.
Travel kit for the plane or train
• eye pillow
• ear plugs
• immune booster (vitamin C or Source Natural’s Wellness Formula)
• scarf to use as blanket or wrap to stay warm on flight
• water bottle, tea bags and healthy snacks
• 2 international power adapters
• a back-up ATM card to get cash
• copy of your passport, in a separate bag from your passport
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.
Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. – Susan Heller