Something that I’ve always done no matter what kind of trip I’ve taken is journal, in one way or another. Journaling is something that can be hard to do, but it’s always rewarding. If you’ve never journaled before, I hope that you’ll consider my perspective and try it out for your next adventure!
Why is journaling so important? Journaling not only helps you to remember the big things – the who, what, where, and when – but it also helps you to recall the little things. The moments that weren’t captured in photos but that happened at another time or place. The funny quotes from the waiter at dinner or that one thing your cousin/friend/colleague said that stuck with you. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but your words can tell a story that is more than just a snapshot of time. The words that you use when you journal can be so descriptive and so telling of who you were and where you were, not just physically but psychologically and emotionally.
Journaling becomes increasingly valuable for you and for others as you age. Imagine 30 years from now, sitting down with your children or grandchildren and being able to read them an entry from a journal you kept during your favorite trip. Those memories captured on paper coupled with photographs will help you to recount your experience in the most accurate and special way.
So, how do you make it happen?
Make time in the morning – When you return back to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb/temporary home, you’re likely to be exhausted, and the last thing on your mind is sitting down and writing out all of the details of your day. If you’re too tired at the end of the day or simply forget, I suggest making some time each morning to record what you experienced the day before. Everything will still be pretty fresh in your mind and you can jot things down over your morning coffee or tea.
Type it – I will always be an advocate for handwritten notes, cards, letters, and journals, but to save time, typing is the way to go. If you don’t have a journal or want to spend the time to handwrite your entries, type it out! You can use down time that you spend on public transportation to type journal entries on your computer or mobile device.
Use your phone – Almost every second of every day you are in arm's reach of your cell phone. You might even be using it right now to read this post (and hey, thanks for reading!). You can use your phone as a journaling device, too. Something that I do when I travel is open up a new note and record short words and phrases throughout the day, so that I can remember the order of events and anything funny/interesting/notable. Sometimes this list is all I need to record. Other times I turn it into a larger journal entry or article. There are plenty of journaling apps and tools that you could consider, too!
Take photos for reference - Nothing is worse than remembering your thoughts and feelings about a place, but struggling to recall the name of it. Take a quick photo of a sign, door, business card, street light - whatever will help you to remember the details of where you were. It's always nice to reference those things later on when you're writing.
In the end, the choice to keep a journal is totally up to you. I love the concept of journaling because it helps me to remember the big things and the details, it takes me back to where and who I was at different times in my life, and it’s something that can live on when I no longer can.
In addition to keeping travel journals, I also journal about my day-to-day experiences. I keep a notebook in which I write 1 significant thing from each day, whether it be a thought, experience, or moment – good or bad – that happened that day.
Journaling helps you to appreciate every aspect of an experience as you recount it, and it freezes moments in time to take you back to a cherished memory or show how far you've come. If you're feeling inspired, start small and see where it takes you. Happy writing!
What's one of the most obvious travel essentials? Bags, of course! The perfect bag (or lack thereof) could make or break your trip. And it's not just about how you carry your things - it's about how you carry yourself! Feeling secure about where your stuff is and moving with ease while carrying all of that stuff is important to your travel experience.
Baggage can be a good thing. Here are my top 2 types of bags that I recommend for any adventure!
A Manageable Carry-On Bag // Jac Vanek
Ah, the carry-on bag. A traveler's best friend or worst enemy. After taking so many trips in planes and cars, and on buses and boats throughout my lifetime, I can tell you that a good carry-on bag is one of my top priorities when preparing to travel. Some of the things I look for in a carry-on bag include: Is it big enough to fit my laptop? Is it easy and comfortable to carry? Will it get dirty easily?
And if I can, I try to only bring 1 carry-on item on a plane. Unless, of course, baggage is an extra fee and I'm taking a quick trip. In that case, I'll use a small suitcase as my carry-on and bring a purse or backpack. But otherwise, I like to leave my main items in my checked bag and embrace "less is more" when it comes to carry-on luggage. It's surprisingly really nice to just have 1 bag to worry about - and one that is easy to manage.
A travel bag that I stumbled upon recently is a weekender from Jac Vanek (www.jacvanek.com). Not only is it the ideal size, but it also has some awesome travel inspo covering the surface in bold white text. "Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." The product description says it perfectly - "There are a lot of dumb things we spend our money on, but travel will never be one of them." I love the pom detail and the canvas fabric is nice and durable. I can't wait to take this as my carry-on for my next trip!
A Small Crossbody Bag // Francesca's
Have you ever found yourself arrived at your destination, unpacked and ready to go, yet still carrying the same bag you used to get there? It might seem convenient to use the same bag for everything, but again I'm recommending the "less is more" mindset. Once you get where you're going, switch your things over to a small crossbody bag. This bag type is perfect because it's lightweight, yet depending on the style and size, you can still fit a lot in there. It's good to leave some things back in your hotel room safe, so that you don't have all of your money or important items with you at once. A crossbody bag is also convenient for safety reasons - check out my tip for being mindful in this blog post. With so many brands, colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from, you can pick the perfect crossbody to match the outfits that you brought with you. You could even consider bringing more than one if you can fit them in your suitcase.
Though crossbody bags can be found virtually anywhere, one of my favorite sources is Francesca's Boutique (www.francescas.com). I like the variety offered - both in style and color. I recently picked up a grey circle crossbody with a half chain strap, pictured above. I've already taken it on multiple trips and I like to use it when I'm out and about. Not having to constantly adjust shoulder straps or carry around a heavy bag is liberating! Take a look online or visit a boutique near you to find your next crossbody bag.
So there you have it! A quick review of my top 2 travel essentials in terms of travel bags. Other notable mentions to consider are your makeup bag (hanging makeup/jewelry/toiletry bags are great, but sometimes bulky to pack), and your main go-to suitcase (remember: less is more!).
It's easy to get wrapped up in the process of packing, wanting to bring just about everything you own "just in case" you might need it. But I urge you to think differently the next time you plan to embark on a trip. Invest in a good carry-on bag and day-to-day crossbody bag, and pack less so that you can enjoy your travel experience more. At the end of the day, you're most likely the one toting your totes around, so consider what is easiest and most convenient for you. Happy traveling!
We all have our favorite items that we like to travel with/in. Things that bring us comfort. Things that make us confident. For me, it was hard to think about just a few - so that's why I'm highlighting my favorite clothes, accessories, and tools for travel each month here on my blog.
Below I'm sharing my perspective on 3 travel essentials and 3 of my favorite brands in the month of November.
A Good Pair of Sunnies // Sunglasses always seem to be one of those things that people forget to bring when they travel, but they're so important! Not only for your eyesight, but for your style. I always take a cheaper, more durable pair to the beach just in case they get sandy or wet, but it's essential to have a good pair of sunglasses for travel. Quay Australia (quayaustralia.com) is slaying the sunglass game right now (in my opinion). Adorned by celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Kylie Jenner, and Shay Mitchell, Quay sunnies make a bold statement - and that's what I love about them. They're empowering to wear. I'm a proud owner of the Lana, but I have a pair of Dream of Me in the mail. If you want something out of the ordinary for a reasonable price, check out Quay! Each pair is about $50 but you can find some deals through Urban Outfitters or Nasty Gal. If you find a pair under $50, wait for UO to have free shipping to snag your pair of Quay Australia sunnies.
Comfy Pants // No matter where you're traveling or for how long, you should always have at least one really comfortable outfit. True, it could be your pajamas, but it might be something to wear for a quick trip to the market, for a day in the park, or for your plane ride home. Whatever the case, comfy pants are a must. The Elephant Pants (www.theelephantpants.com) is a brand I fell in love with most recently. As a corporate sponsor of the African Wildlife Foundation, The Elephant Pants donates proceeds from every purchase to the foundation to help save the elephants. Every pair of the regular pants are $18 and they're extremely comfy. Better yet, they're light and easy to pack in any bag or tote. I have the Hattie pattern, pictured below. Buying a gift for a traveler this holiday? Consider The Elephant Pants' "mystery box" for a fun, useful, and meaningful gift.
Versatile Tee // One of the beautiful things about traveling is that sometimes you never know where your day will take you. Having a versatile tee that you can wear in a variety of ways will help you feel ready for whatever the day might bring, and make it easier to transition from a day to night look. One of my favorite brands recently is Rad (rad.co). The eclectic tees are always funny and sometimes mildly inappropriate, but my favorites are the tanks and t-shirts with hip-hop song lyrics atop famous artworks - two of my favorite things! These tees are comfortable for traveling or an active day, but they can also be paired with high-waisted pants or a skirt for a fun, hipster vibe. If you're not into prints, a solid tee will do. Stay casual with sweats or jeans or dress it up with a blazer and bootie heels. A versatile tee is a must-pack for any trip!