Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Broadway Box for Affordable Show Tickets

Do you ever plan a trip to a place that is known for its high production shows, only to be disappointed when you go to book one and find the prices to be astronomical? I mean, how has 80£+ to waste per ticket on a vacation? Well, some people do and others try to build that cost into their travel savings, but seriously, if they are doing 6-10 shows per week and the place is packed, do they really need to charge so much? I suppose that’s the number one thing you learn when it comes to supply and demand, but it’s frustrating for those of us that want to see quality shows that people have raved about, but can’t afford the ticket prices. I think Broadway Box was made just for us.

Broadway Box pulls together lists of all the shows available in Las Vegas, London, New York and Orlando and scours the web for all the best discounts, too. You can’t book anything directly through BB, but you can click through the links provided and use the promo codes to book your shows at much lower prices. Save a bundle or even get package deals like dinner and a show. Actually, these are the best ways to buy your tickets, because many times the dinner and a show packages give you prices that might even include your dinner for free. If not, it’s really not much more to add a fancy meal to your night out to see a fantastic musical, play or other kind of performance. Save up to 50% off regular box office rates.

Not only that, but you can even get massive discounts on tourist attractions. Save big off things like Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, tours, rental cars and receive shop discounts, too. Another bonus to using Broadway Box to find discount codes off everything you want to do is that you can pay for them up front and before you leave. It makes your vacation budget feel a little stretchier and pulls that total down a bit with each activity you pay for ahead of time. The more you already have booked, the less you’ll have to spend when you get there and, even though you still had to pay money for it, the easier it will be to fit more into your vacation, since there isn’t a huge dollar sign waiting for you on the day you leave. You know what I mean.

5,000£ vacation total
-100   activity, paid for 30 Dec
-50     activity, paid for 30 Dec
-600   hotel, paid for 15 Jan
-300   park tickets, paid for 15 Feb
-120   activity, paid for 20 Feb
-200   dining certificates, paid for 30 Dec - 1 Mar
3,630£ remaining balance needed on 13 March
Looks better than this:
5,000£ vacation total needed on 13 March 

Hopefully, that total is just a fictitious one, since there are so many ways to save on your travels that, unless you’re doing a bunch of really expensive things, your total can be cut by hundreds – and, more often than not, thousands – of dollars. In your quest to save, check out Broadway box for activities and more! I’ll certainly be using it on my trip to London this fall. West End shows are like New York’s Broadway productions and I'm dying to see one or two.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Now Pay Later on Venere

I discovered Venere years and years ago and keep telling people to use them for hotel bookings, because they just keep adding great features that make it super user-friendly. Venere is a UK-based hotel search engine that has listings for hotels, B&Bs and apartment hotels. It gives you all the information you could need on the majority of them, including pictures, amenities, location and traveler reviews. Then even offer listings for lodgings that don't yet allow for Internet bookings, but you can still see pricing and contact info so you can call them directly. 
Venere is branching out to include hotels worldwide. While they are adding accommodations, they basically only have major tourist destinations everywhere outside of the UK and Europe, but the list keeps growing, making them good competition for the bigger search engines out there. I have found amazing deals on Venere that I couldn't find elsewhere. Aside from that, many of the hotels don't require prepayment, so you can pay once you get there or just put down a deposit to hold your reservation. This makes it really convenient to use, because you aren't forced to pay for a big chunk of your vacation months before you go.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Your Passport to Budget Dublin

If you've been planning a visit to Ireland for years and have finally been able to make the dream a reality? If that's the truth, then you probably want to do as much as you can while you're there. I am a big fan of city passes, as they enable you to do a wide range of activities and see things you may not have considered before, or even heard of, like Casino, Marino or the Dublin Writer's Museum.

Get yourself a Dublin Pass. Not only is it a great deal if you plan to do a fair amount of sightseeing on the Emerald Isle, but it also it lets you skip the queues at the ticket booths. Your Dublin pass comes with an airport-city center transfer, entrance to over 30 top attractions, the Croke Park Experience (for those of you who are sports lovers), discounts on dining, shopping, and more, as well as unlimited public transportation! Purchase online before you go to save 20% off. Your Dublin pass is valid for 12 months from purchase and “activates” upon your first use.

Christ Church Cathedral
Choose from 1, 2, 3 and 6 day passes, each of which comes with a handy little guide book that gives you more details about each of the 34 attractions included with your pass and directions on how to get there. Convenient! Even more convenient, you can pick up your passes at the airport, the Tourist Centre on Suffolk Street or have them sent to you by post. You'll save so much, you might learn a jig just to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great British Summertime Escapes

This sponsored post comes to us from Web Cottages. A great resource for all your UK vacation rental needs. They have competive rates and lovely properties.

There is no better time to experience the wonders of Britain than in the summer. Blue skies and warm breezes make everything look even more beautiful and leaving you with memories that will last all year long.

There is nothing holding you back on a summertime trip to Britain, you can be on the beach in the morning, the city in the afternoon and the countryside in the evening, and all with a minimum of driving. This little country has so much to offer holidaymakers – you would have to try pretty hard to be bored on a summer holiday in Britain.

Take a nostalgic break at the great British seaside this summer. Britain may not be the first location you think of when planning a beach holiday, but some of the best beaches in Europe can be found along the coast of this little island. You’ll find the best of the best in the south west of England and Wales. Woolacombe in Devon and Polzeath in Cornwall are two to consider in England, while the four beaches surrounding Tenby in Dyfed Wales are great options for families. There are lovely holiday cottages to rent along the beautiful British coastline, just visit to view a great selection.

If a beach holiday isn’t your style don’t worry, there are breathtaking coastal walks all over the country that are sure to dazzle and challenge. The Wales Coast Path is the newest coastal walking path in Britain and travels 870 miles around the coast of Wales. You can choose to experience it in its entirety, or just in parts.

Filled with lush green fields, towering mountains, and ancient monuments, the British countryside is a sight to behold. There is no end to the activities available to you throughout the countryside regions of Britain, and really do range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The Lake District is one of the great outdoor areas of the country and its beauty has inspired poets and artists for centuries. Spend your days boating or fishing on one of the lakes, walking through the countryside, exploring ancient monuments, or simply relaxing in a cafe.

For a completely different kind of outdoor experience, why not take the family on a Go Ape! adventure? Swing from tree tops, fly through the forest on a zip line, explore the forest floor on an all-terrain segway, or whizz down country trails on a mountain bike. These adrenaline packed tours are sure to keep the whole family entertained.

Everyone knows what London has to offer travellers, but don’t let your visit stop there. There are great city breaks to be had throughout Britain, stretching from north to south, east to west.

Why not head to the north of the realm to have a truly unique holiday experience in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh? There is no shortage of things to see and do, from world class museums and galleries, to some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Europe. Don’t miss a trip to the Haymarket area of the city, filled with popular pubs and restaurants.

The famous university town of Cambridge is another great stop. This ancient city is a pleasure to explore on foot, and is filled with amazing architecture, stunning gardens, fascinating history. Take a guided tour through the hallowed halls of Cambridge University, or a punting tour along the River Cam.

Don’t spend your summer doing the same old, same old. Treat yourself to a summer escape to Britain, where there is something for everyone!

To find a vast selection of self catering holiday accommodation throughout the UK and Ireland visit Web Cottages today. Whether you are looking for a coastal cottage in Cornwall, or a rustic cabin in Scotland, Web Cottages will have the holiday cottage for you.

You can also find Web Cottages on Facebook | Twitter

Friday, May 18, 2012

Awesome Travel Infographic

Today's post comes to us from No.1 Traveller who bring you the best in UK pre-flight luxury and convenience. Ever wanted to know the name of the first cow milked in a plane? Or why a cup of tea never tastes quite right at 30,000ft? Well, the answers to these, and many more questions, lie in the infographic that we have created - all you need to know about the lesser-known wonders of modern air-travel.

Travel Infographic

Created by No.1 Traveller - a UK operator of airport lounges

You can also find No.1 Traveller on Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Airport Reviews? Yes!

If you don't know the awesomeness that is Airlikes, please take some time to check out their site and help this fairly new website grow, which can only be achieved by travelers like you. Even if founder Nicolas Pellier hadn’t added a link to my blog on his website, I would have gladly given him a great review, because his website is innovative and something I find very useful for myself and potentially for many travelers worldwide.

Airlikes is like TripAdvisor for airlines and airports. Aside from being able to search for flights and hotels, the whole purpose of this France-based website is to give travelers information on airlines and airports all over the world. There are always readily available reviews for hotels and car rental companies, but not so much on airports or airlines themselves. With Airlikes, travelers like you can post reviews of both to help out other travelers booking their vacations and trying to avoid airports that are always busy or inconvenient or just figuring out how to lessen the stress of being there and making it easier to navigate. With all that going for it, you can also find news on airports and airlines, as well as weather conditions, general information on the airports and the airlines that fly there and also information about the country it’s located in. Pretty nifty. Check out this nice
interview Nicolas did with tnooz, then go write a review of your home airport! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Products We Love: Nail Polish Strips

Don’t you hate it when you have just done your own manicure for your vacation and then 10 minutes after you get off the plane it chips and looks a mess? Did you pack your bottle for touch-ups? No! Did you bring remover? No! So, now you have a few options:

·         Buy remover and go bare.
·         Buy a similar color and touch it up.
·         Head to a nearby salon and have them make it fab again.
·         Ignore it and hope nobody else notices your manky nails for the next week+.
For the last few years, I would try to buy fun bottles of nail lacquer that could easily fit in my toiletry bag, but with the TSA ban on liquids, I need all the free space I can get in my 3-1-1 bag, so polish and remover just don’t fit – and if they spill, it’s the worst mess ever. My solution doesn’t require any extra room and touch ups only require a nail file!

Nail polish strips are on trend right now, because they are inexpensive and come in funky designs that match anything you want. Pastels are in, so you can easily sport baby pink nails with white polka dots, a girly plaid, florals or even birds. For going out, try animal prints, jeweled tips or dark, sparkly strips. You can’t go wrong. They are easy to apply, easy to remove and can be switched out super fast. You don’t have to go to the salon to get a new amazing manicure. You can do it at home.

Each pack comes with enough to do your nails at least once. If your nails are short, you may be able to do them two or three times with the same pack, thereby saving even more money over a professional salon. Simply peel the strip off the backing, place it on your nail, firmly press it down flat and file off the end. Repeat with the rest of your nails. You can even do it on your toes! If your nail “chips”, peel off the strip - or remove like regular polish - and put a new one on. Viola!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WhichBudget is Made for Budget Travelers

About a year ago, I was fortunate enough for WhichBudget to contact me through Facebook and tell me all about their website and Facebook pages. WhichBudget started up to help travelers learn about all the new budget airlines available which allow them to fly more often for much less. With the number of airlines increasing and many more people needing to travel inexpensively, WhichBudget is so helpful. Plug in your starting and ending locations and you will see all the airlines (and flights) that fly between those cities. With all the options and pricing available at your fingertips, it’s really easy to choose one that works for you. WhichBudget will direct you to the correct website where you can make your purchase and get ready to plan your holiday.

Another awesome thing about WhichBudget is the option to choose just a departure city to find the many places you can travel to for cheap and when. This is great for people who want to find new cities to travel to, but also for those who don’t know where they want to go, just that they want to travel somewhere. When I searched other sites for travel options between London and Paris, I got quotes in the hundreds of dollars range. With Which Budget, I got a quote on EasyJet for less than $100 per person. Try it! It works internationally, including the U.S.

Monday, May 7, 2012

MakeUp Your Face with Fewer Products

Changing up your beauty routine when you travel can be tough, since it's a change from the norm, but bringing your whole range of make-up and other supplies with you can be a bit overkill or may not even fit in your toiletry kit and 3-1-1 bag. When I travel, I pare down my beauty supplies and just bring the staples and then some smaller items that can take me from day to evening, if I need it. You don't need to go all out on your trips, because there are a few items that can give you some extra sparkle.

Makeup products that do double-duty are fantastic for travel, because they do the same job as two or three different items and also save space!

  • Foundation with SPF - You gotta put on sunscreen if you're going to be out a lot during the day. Instead of bringing a second "facial" sunscreen, make sure your foundation has an SPF in it, which most of the department store foundations do. I am a fan of the City Base Compact Foundation from Clinique. It has a 15 SPF and doesn't let me down.
  • Moisturizer with SPF - This is a great extra layer of protection if you are also wearing a foundation, or a a nice base layer if you don't wear foundation or can't find one you like with built-in sunscreen.
  • Tinted Moisturizer - If you're looking to dramatically cut down on your beauty routine, a tinted moisturizer is one way to do it. Ditch the moisturizer and the foundation and combine them, with something like Stila Cosmetics Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer. I have gotten this as a sample several times with Sephora and haven't quite broken down to get the full size yet, but it might be happening soon. Other great ones are Philosophy's Hope in a Tinted Moisturizer (it even has 20 SPF in it), Philosophy's Supernatural Poreless Flawless Tinted SPF and Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer (also available in oil-free).
  • Powder foundation - I love this product, because at home I can use it as a powder over my normal foundation. On vacation, I can forgo normal foundation and put this over a tinted moisturizer and have full coverage. Philosophy's Supernatural Airbrushed Canvas gives you flawless skin and lasts forever. Bare Escentuals has BareMinerals SPF 15 Matte Foundation. Light and easy to apply, plus it's also good for your skin!
  • Use a bright shimmery white eye shadow in the corners of your eyes for brightening your eyes and then under your brows to make your eye shadow pop and give definition.
  • Moisturizing lip gloss - Leave all your lipsticks at home and replace with two or three colored lip balms. It has been difficult for me to find a lip balm with color that is also moisturizing and lasts long enough to be as good as lipstick. My new favorites are Balmshell's many different shades. It is amazingly moisturizing and comes in fantastic colors. Smashbox carries O-Gloss lip gloss. It moisturizes and tints your lips their natural pink. You can get it in peaches (Gold) and berries (Noir) as well. Burt's Bees and Softlips have some bargain options for you.
  • Changing from a liquid to a powder is also a fancy way to save room in your 3-1-1 bag. You can keep them in your carry-on and not have to drag them out for inspection at security or worry about where to put them when you're packing your way back home.
    • Eyeliner - Do you live with liquid liner? If you think you must travel with eyeliner and need some space, try a pencil liner or even a good waterproof cake eyeliner that is applied with a small brush. Clinique has a new one that is seriously easy to apply (and I'm terrible at putting on almost any eyeliner). It looks like eyeshadow and is a powder. Bare Escentuals has a great powder liner that you just add a wet brush to and it glides on like a liquid.
    • Here's another point for powder foundation.
    • Lip Stain - Instead of lipstick, you can try a lip stain with moisturizing properties, like Clinique's new (back by popular demand) Chubby Sticks. They are like crayons and don't require a trip in your 3-1-1 bag. They come in some pretty colors and go on easily.

Trial sizes are your best friend. Know those great little sizes of beauty products you get free with purchase? They come with tiny bags that you now have a whole collection of and hardly ever use. Well, instead of using them up, save some that you love and pack away in your toiletry bag for your next trip. Tiny mascaras, foundation primers, compacts with several colors of eyeshadow and possibly a blush, dual lip glosses, little moisturizers. These are all wonderfully space-saving and perfect if you can get them of your favorite products. Next time you make a purchase at the department store beauty counter or makeup store, like Sephora, ask if they have any trial sizes of any of your most used products. Generally they have a  good supply of items behind the counter.

Downsize your current products into smaller containers for more room in your travel bag. You don't need full-size bottles and jars for one to two weeks. Any drugstore or store that carries toiletry items will have travel-size items and also travel containers to downsize to. Another tip I've heard from travelers is to use contact cases to store items you need very little of, like moisturizer. Since I am a contact wearer, I think this would just confuse me, I use jars that are just a little bit bigger. 
  • If you're a nail polish wearer, as I am, you want to take a bottle with you for touch-ups. I have found that the Sephora brand nail lacquer is a brilliant addition to my 3-1-1. The bottles are small and the variety of colors is huge! The also offer great coverage with only one coat and are long-lasting. And inexpensive! 
  • While we're on the subject of nail polish, chips and peels are bound to happen. Don't take a bottle of polish remover. Instead, bring a compact container of polish remover pads like my new favorites from LA Colors. They come in funky scents like pear and grape and one tiny pad can take the polish off all your toes or fingers (maybe even both!). It doesn't have that horrible acetone underscent either that you end up smelling for 2 days. I love them! You can also get some wipes from Cutex in the travel-size section. They come in their own packets, so they don't dry out. 
  • A cream blush might be just the ticket to downsizing. I hated bringing a blush brush, because at some point it would end up getting wet and crushed in my toiletry bag and being pretty useless. After some searching I found a great alternative: cream blush. It's not creamy enough to warrant being put in your 3-1-1 bag and takes up a lot less space. My two favorites are by Laura Mercier and Clinique's Blushwear cream stick. You apply with your fingers and can blend as little or as much as you want for more or less coverage. 
Pack beauty kits that have multiple items all in one compact. It save space and has everything you need all in one place. It keeps things from rolling around in your bag, too. If you like many colors, grab yourself an eyeshadow trio or quad or something that gives you a whole look in one place like these fun sets. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Creating Your Grab and Go Travel Bag (Part 2)

In the last post we started talking about how to be ready for any travel with a grab-and-go carry-on or, at the very least, one that requires little work to add to before you take off. Plan a big holiday or a last-minute city break and still be able to take off with minimal packing effort. While I love packing, I still keep all my essentials, useful items and clothing pieces in or near my carry-on. I know most people either hate packing or tolerate it and would like to do as much possible to make it less painful for all future trips. 

Creating a Travel Wardrobe
Want to start working on a great travel wardrobe? I have some warm weather and cool weather travel clothing pieces, but lately I've been looking at cold weather destinations and need to stock up on some warmer options. This got me thinking that other people probably want to know what kinds of fabric and brands to look for in a durable and attractive travel wardrobe.
  • While cotton is comfortable, it's not always the best option for travel fabric, because it wrinkles and holds odors. Look for items that have soy, bamboo or coolmax. These fabrics wick moisture and are resistant to odors, so if you can't wash your clothes right away, they won't smell up your CLEAN clothes and you can get another wear out of them if you need to. Nylon and rayon are nice lightweight fabrics that are also quick-drying. Wool and fleece are excellent layering fabrics, if you need to keep warm in a cold climate, because they have a tight weave that can be thin and still hold in quite a bit of heat.
  • Omni-shield clothing has built-in SPF for sunny locales. Just because your skin is covered up, doesn't mean you can't get sunburned.
  • If you'll be traveling to a destination that is known to have mosquitoes and other bite-y bugs, look for clothing with Insect Shield from ExOfficio. It has built-in bug repellent that can last up to 70 washes.
So, what makes travel clothes better for traveling than your normal wardrobe? This is easy. Travel clothes are made specifically for travel conditions. They are durable, lightweight and super packable. They can also be very versatile and stylish, with great pieces that are made for layering, and are convertible. You can have pants that roll up to make capris or zip-off into shorts. You can buy long sleeve tops that have roll up sleeves to make a short sleeve shirt, so it works for chilly weather or warm weather. There are dresses that can be converted into 20 different styles. Now you can even find reversible clothing, so you can wear one piece two different ways and get more looks out of it. So, where can you find these awesome clothing pieces? 

Other Useful Travel Items
I tend to have the same items packed for every trip, so now I just leave them in my travel bag all the time.
  • Small crank torch. You never know when you might need some extra light. These are great, because they are inexpensive and don’t require batteries. I found one at a local store that’s on a keychain, fits in the palm of your hand and gives off enough light with just a few cranks.
  • Pen and paper. Take some notes, play a game, leave a message for the maid. You really can’t go wrong by having this set in your bag. Even if you don’t end up using it, it takes up almost no room.
  • Folding, pop-up mesh hamper. They really are useful. Use as a hamper and a laundry tote for vacations of a week or more. For less than a week, use it to keep all your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones or as a catch-all for your purchases.
  • Laundry line. In case you plan to do laundry in your room, or want to save money on dryer costs by bringing back your clean clothes and hanging them to dry in your room. The best ones are the rubbery ones that have a braided line, so you don’t need to bring clothes pins, as the clothing can be held in place by placing them between the plaits.
  • Sewing kit. When you only take as many clothes as necessary, you don’t really bring anything extra. It’s imperative that if something happens you can fix it, whether it’s a popped button or an unruly hem.
  • Basic first-aid kit. I have a small one that fits in my toiletry bag, but it has all the essentials: band-aids, antibiotic meds, gauze, aspirin, gloves, tweezers…If you fall and break your leg, it won’t help you much, but if you skin your elbow at the pool, you won’t have to shell out $13 on a tube of Neosporin at the hotel gift shop. Great for clumsy people like me or those with kids.
  • Anti-bacterial spray and wipes. I like to have both of these on hand. The spray can kill germs on your hands…or anywhere else on your body and in the air and the wipes can be used for the same, on surfaces, to clean up spills or to refresh yourself after a long plane ride. Both are also wonderful if you have kids in tow.
  • Compass. Yes, I know this isn’t Boy Scouts, but sometimes, even in a big city, you’re confronted with a map and no real point of reference to where you are. A compass helped us out greatly when trapped in the depths of Hyde Park. The map doesn’t show you trees and benches, so knowing a general direction to head in got us back on track.
  • Packable rain jacket. You never know when a downpour will interrupt your vacation, but having a packable jacket can keep you dry and also serve as a light cover-up for a chilly evening, making it more useful and convenient than an umbrella. You can get affordable, lightweight options in a variety of colors. 
Need to know more about how to choose the appropriate makeup that will take up less room in your bag and still have the same great coverage? Some even do double the work, meaning you can use one product to replace two or three.  Check out my Monday post for help to make your toiletry bag lighter and more efficient.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Creating Your Grab and Go Travel Bag (Part 1)

Do you hate packing or always leave it to the last minute? What if you had your carry-on pretty much packed with all the essentials and then just had to add a few tops and bottoms to be able to take off? I find this to be tremendously helpful when I pack a bag, so much so that I buy travel items to pack and use on my trip throughout the year. Of course, if you go to the same types of destinations each year, then you could probably pack all of your holiday clothes as well. For those of you who do not, let’s look at what you can get away with packing that can be used in any destination.

First thing’s first: Make a packing list. You know what essentials you need to take for each vacation, so make a master list with these on them and then leave blank lines for clothing choices, since each vacation might need a different type of attire. You’re not going to be able to take your Bermuda travel wardrobe with you to Iceland and not freeze to death, so keep that in mind. You might want to make several different packing lists, if you’re the organized sort. I tend to keep mine as a Word doc on my computer, where I can leave all my necessary items on and then delete and replace the rest with travel clothing choices that are appropriate for my destination. If you aren’t sure where to start when making a packing list, follow the list below and then go from there or steal some other ideas from websites like TravelSmith or Independent Traveler, which has packing lists they create for different trips.

This seems like a given, but it’s one of those things that if you don’t put it on your packing list, you could easily forget. Keep 5 pair for each traveler in a zip-top bag (for freshness) in your bag, that way there’s no chance that you thought you packed them and then get to your destination without any. Socks can also be packed like this. I’m sure you take the same kinds of socks with you on most vacations (unless your destination is really cold and you need special toe-warming ones), so you might as well add these to your bag while you’re at it.

Shampoo & Conditioner can easily be bought in travel sizes or put in reusable travel bottles and if they don’t get used for months, it’s not a big deal. I know some people like to just buy these at their destination, but I travel prepared for anything. If I have a layover or get stranded, I would like to keep myself clean.

Soap/shower gel. See Shampoo & Conditioner.

Almost all Deodorant brands generally come in smaller travel sticks. If you can’t find them at your local store, look on If they don’t have them, you may need to settle for a similar brand, or take a full-size stick, but those take up a lot of room in a toiletry bag.

Toothpaste and toothbrushes are a travel must. We have a set of travel brushes that we keep in the bag at all times. That way, we don’t risk the chance of leaving them behind on the morning of our trip, because we left them in the bathroom. Travel size toothpaste is available almost everywhere. I have so many tubes, you’d think they gave them away free at the airport.

Hair care products always seem to take up so much space. Here’s how you can make them take up less and leave your everyday products at home. Buy an extra set of combs and/or brushes. If you require a comb or brush, buy an extra one that can pack neatly in your toiletry bag.  Obviously combs pack better than brushes, but if you need one, try to get a travel-sized one or a pop-up brush that takes up almost no room. You can find them in the aisle with other travel-sized items.

If you curl, blow-dry or straighten your hair, then consider getting smaller versions of those devices that will take up less space. Conair has some wonderful products specifically for travel that have gotten really good reviews. Or you can look for other brands. Look for folding models. You have no idea how much space you can save in a bag when you buy a smaller hair dryer that has a folding handle or even a curling iron that can retract into itself for easy portability.

If you wear contacts, keep an extra pair in your bag, with a spare case and small bottle of solution. That is a lifesaver anywhere.

Ladies who wear makeup, can buy a new bottle, jar or powder case when the old one has a few weeks of use left in it and put it in their travel bag. I do this with foundation. It is easy to estimate when you will need to go buy or order a new one, so instead of waiting until the last minute, I get a new one earlier, put the old one in my toiletry bag and am set for my next trip. I also keep a crème blush in my bag, to keep from needing to also carry around a brush, and a spare lip balm. I hate getting to my room and then having to dig around in my purse for half of what I want to put on my face. When you receive a gift with purchase, instead of using the samples, throw the mascara and eye shadow in your bag. They are usually smaller, work just as well and are easily replaceable. (Another plus is that if you toss it at the end of your vacation, you won’t feel like you’re wasting anything and you have less to carry on your way home!)

Easy 3-1-1 bag: Gather all the things that are liquid, gel, paste and whatever else they make you squish in there now and put it all in your plastic bag next to, or inside, your toiletry bag. That way, when travel day comes, you can just put it on the top of your packed items or throw it in your purse to be able to quickly produce it for security. Nothing is worse than when you see people get to the airport without a bag or all their products in 3 different bags or in their carry-on pocket and you end up stuck behind them in line. Preparation is key to whizzing through security and starting your vacation.

Now, I know you will be using all or most of your electronic devices during your daily life, so I’m not suggesting you pack up your laptop and iPod weeks or months before you trip. What you CAN do is purchase an iGo multi-charger (or win one via my Facebook page) and keep it in your carry-on with all your essential tips. That way, when you get ready to leave, you don’t have to hunt down chargers for everything AND you save so much space you wouldn’t believe it.  Imagine having to take only one adapter with you everywhere you go, even if you take twelve electronic devices. I don’t have an iGo adapter for my netbook, but you can buy those, too. They seem to take up the same amount of space, so I just make sure to add that to my list of must-haves on my packing list.

Create the rest of your grab and go travel bag in post #2