“Every adventure requires a first step”
- Alice in Wonderland
Amen, girl! That’s why we’re giving you our best tips and tricks for your next adventure. This month’s Uncommon How-To was written for you if:
A. You are itching to get out of the Minnesota winter and you’re booking a trip to somewhere - ANYWHERE! - warmer
B. You’re starting the new year with a new side hustle or other on-the-go routine
C. You just want to see how Uncommoners travel ...
Well, we’ve got you covered with our latest and greatest travel tips. So let’s go!
Travel: Flying + Packing
No surprises here: Flying can be pricey! We often check Google Flights, Southwest, and Hopper to see what our best options are. Try thinking outside of the box for alternate long-distance traveling:
Is there a train ride to your destination that you can take instead of flying?
Maybe consider flying to a stop between home and your destination and getting a rental car to drive part of the distance.
If all else fails, try making it a road trip (see below!)
Packing can be one of the least fun parts of traveling ... unless you’re a self-proclaimed nerd like Sal, that is!
Sal has just a few packing tricks ... that’s why her hair is so big. It’s full of secrets. “A few years ago, I made a Master Packing list.”
“In it, I have a few quirks. I bring a plastic bag for dirty laundry, and if I’m bringing a curling iron, I’ll bring an oven mitt to slide it into, because I may not have time to let it fully cool down before I have to pack it again. Thanks, Pinterest!” She uses OneNote, but this could work in plenty of other digital platforms as well.
Here's how it works: “It may seem like overkill to some, but every time I need to pack, I copy the master list, paste it into a fresh new page, and I just delete what I don’t need for that specific trip. When I’ve packed an item, I change the text to gray. As I go, I highlight any items I need to buy before the trip in yellow. If I know that there are some items I won’t be able to pack until the day I leave (certain toiletries, cell charger, etc), I bold those in the list to make sure I don’t forget them!” It looks a little something like this:
Katie has also tried a much simpler solution - the capsule wardrobe! She says, “I’m the worst packer ... I forget everything! So, a couple years back, I tried a capsule wardrobe, and I LOVED IT! Basically, a capsule wardrobe means packing items that all coordinate together and can be used throughout your trip. You can layer outfits up and then wear things by themselves. To get started, I Googled capsule wardrobes and then copied exactly what was on their list! I didn’t reinvent the wheel. I just followed the wisdom someone else had already put together, and it worked great!” Two resources we like on capsule wardrobes come from Wantable and Stitchfix.
Sal also used to travel often for work and got in the habit of keeping things like travel-sized toiletries, earbuds, gum, writing utensils, and notepads already packed in a carry-on suitcase. “It’s much easier if I keep it all together with my luggage. I just edit what I need when I pack for my next trip!”
I got my carry-on suitcase from Marshalls, and I got my shoulder tote on clearance at Target. That particular style is discontinued, but this one is similar! I love to use this as my personal item because it has sturdy handles, a zipper, and lots of easy-to-access pockets. I found my toiletries pouch on Amazon, and it packs what I need tightly together!
In addition to listing items to pack, her master list has a travel to-do list as well. “When I fly, I also do a few things beforehand: Set a reminder 24 hours before my flight to check-in, keep my liquids easy to access in a pocket of my personal item, and I pack an empty waterbottle I can fill up after getting through security. I always like to have my boarding pass saved to my “wallet” in my iPhone, and I like to print my boarding pass at a kiosk at the airport before going through security so I have a physical copy on hand. The day I fly, I keep my phone on power saving mode because I always end up using it more than normal.”
For working on the go, Sal has a few things to make the process easier. “I often use Google Drive to keep track of my personal and work projects. Unfortunately, I need WiFi to fully access them, which can be a challenge while traveling. So, I use the Notes app on my iPhone so that I can work without WiFi. Here’s what I did while working on this very blog post while traveling for Christmas! Before I left, I “shared” a document that I just needed to view for reference with my Notes app.”
“I had started a "Travel Blog" Google Doc in my drive. I knew I’d need to edit it while traveling, so I copied and pasted the text into a fresh Note in the Notes app. I was able to work on it on my phone without WiFi while on the plane and when I got home, I re-saved the new text into the Google Doc!”
Road-Tripping + On-the-Go + Dietary Tips
If you’re road-tripping, many of our packing tips still apply, but we know you have a few other needs :)
First things first: Snacks are your BFF. And a Starbucks gift card doesn’t hurt :)
Now, for those of you hitting the road for business, get used to tracking your miles! Katie swears by MileIQ for mileage tracking: “I was hesitant at the time because I am more of a pen and paper kind of gal but I had had it with recording mileage on a paper calendar, so I bought the app for $60/year and never looked back! The app lets you track personal and business miles, and you can make notes on each drive. You can also have multiple cars loaded on the app, you can delete drives that you weren’t driving within your own car, and you can run reports for each job to then keep a printed copy with every invoice for taxes. I would highly recommend it!”
Katie’s dietary needs also mean she has to be extra careful about a critical part of travel - food! “Traveling with dietary needs is tough. I won’t sugar-coat that for a minute. When I travel I ALWAYS pack food. When flying, TSA is now checking all food passing through security, so I always pack packaged goods (things that haven’t been opened!) I also put all of that food in a gallon-sized bag so that it’s easier to remove!”
“As someone who doesn’t eat gluten or lactose because of dietary needs, I always look for Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, or Starbucks. I always order the same thing so I know there won’t be any surprises. I also make my dietary needs known to the person taking my order. I make sure they note it on my order and ask if they would take precautions when preparing my food! Washing hands, changing spoons & tongs, and making my food on separate surfaces are all things I look for when someone else is preparing my food!”
We know that this list isn’t complete, so ...
1.) If you’re looking for more specific resources, try these:
Our Texas Girls Trip gives you some specifics and a little glimpse into our own adventures.
For those of you working in the film or event industries, our Tool Kit Post is super insightful!
For general organizing tools for packing and planning, check out "Let's Get Organized!"
2.) Tell us what we missed! What have you learned? What else do you want to learn from us!? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Uncommon Team