Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travel Essentials: Hotel Livin'

People always ask how I can manage to live in a hotel for months on end. 
I can give you the, 

"I traveled for 9 months last year, I just got use to it" 

answer, but I would be telling a white lie. 
You never really get use to it, you just learn to make it work.

The best piece of advice I can give is:

Let loose. Don't let the hotel, the idea of no kitchen, and everyone else's opinions get in your head. Make it your own space.

During my first tour, I moved every few days and shared a room. Making it my own space was difficult. Now, I stay in a hotel for weeks at a time and have the opportunity to personalize my room a little. Below are a few things that make living in a hotel easier for me.

1. Hotel pillows are hit or miss. They are normally too firm, just like their beds, so I bring my pillow from home. Trust me, if I could bring my bed, I would!
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2. It never fails that early morning sunlight seeps into hotel rooms causing you to wake up before your alarm. If you already wake up numerous times throughout the night, and believe that every second of sleep counts, try a sleep mask!
3. Are you addicted to your DVR back home? Then you will want a digital a/v adapter for your tablet or laptop.  You may think this is not necessary, but when your trips last months and you work from your hotel room, you will be happy you invested in one!
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4. If you are like me and like to cuddle up with your pillow, your road boyfriend, Hulu, and a nice glass of wine after a long days work, then you will need a corkscrew with bottle opener. These are compact in size and fit perfectly in your luggage pockets. Store one in your suitcase between trips to ensure you have one once you arrive to your destination!
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5. My two favorite hotel essentials are things you will always find in my home. They both mean a lot to me,  and a simple glance at them can turn my day around. If you know me, then you have probably guessed this by now, flowers and pictures of Family and Friends. I believe that flowers feed the soul and can liven up a room, even one as dull as a hotel room. Pictures remind you of your support system back home and that no matter how hard it gets, they are always there for you. 
*A fun, cheap, space saver way to store your flowers on the road is to use your empty wine bottle!

My next two items are not those of personalizing your room, but essentials one needs to make the stay easier.

6. Powerstrip. Most hotel rooms lack power outlets. If you are like me, you have a laptop, two cell phones, a tablet, an e-reader, and so on. One or two outlets just won't cut it! You pick up a power strip on the cheap at the local grocery store!

7. Laundry bag. If you are at a hotel for more than a week, chances are you will need to do laundry. Those little plastic bags that are provide in the closet will break with more than 3 pieces of clothing. Again, you can pick up a laundry bag at the local grocery store for a few dollars, and it will save a LOT of hassle!
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What are some of your hotel livin' essentials?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Travel Essentials: Jet Setter

I will be hittin' the road in a mere 5 days. Did I mention it was for 8 weeks?

 Initiate panic attack.

So, during the upcoming days I will am going to share with you my travel essentials, and today is for all of my jet setting friends. 

1. Carry on bag! For my extended trips I like to carry a small duffle bag. Naturally, this will carry all of my essentials below. I have a Steven Madden duffle that I acquired from Marshall's. She has been wonderful, and of course, half the price!
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2. Comfortable shoes. I personally like my cowboy boots or Chuck Taylors. Let's be honest, security is a pain in our tushies so I make sure to wear shoes I can get in and out of in a snap. Sandals would be the easiest, but who wants to walk barefoot on that ground? Not this gal.
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3. Cardigan. No matter how you cut it, planes get cold. I always carry a little cardigan or light jacket with me. They stow easily, and can make a plane ride that much easier.
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4. Water Bottle. Traveling dehydrates you. Why pay a bajillon dollars for water at the airport when you can refill your own water bottle for free? I suggest a filtered bottle. You never know how a city filters their water, or how it is going to taste. You may pay a little bit for a filtered bottle, but I promise it is 100% worth it in the long run!
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5. Toothbrush and toothpaste. You never know what could happen. Flight delayed, or worse, cancelled. Airlines lose your checked bags. You decide to eat those raw onions on your sandwich. All call for a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can Never be too safe!

6. Chap stick. Like I mentioned before, traveling dehydrates, especially flying. So care for those beautiful lips. My favorite is C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve, the apple flavor is magical!
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(ps. they are B2G1 right now!)
7. Portable charger. We all complain about our smartphones battery life, which can be no more! Someone smarty pants finally created a portable charger. The best thing about this one is that it is universal! I can use it on my phone, tablet, or ereader! We should all send a big thank you to who ever created this!
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8. E-Reader. I love to read and I don't get a lot of down time for it making jet-setting a crucial catch up time. I prefer a back lit device so I love the Nook family, but I have heard WONDERFUL things about the Kindle Paperwhite.
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9. Nose cancelling headphone. Bose headphones are a lifesaver. I have a hard time flying with screaming babies and angry cats. Yes you heard me correctly, angry cats. You can listen to your music, watch tv/movies, or simply wear them to muffle the sounds around you. Big investment. Big lifesaver.
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10. Document holder. I like to deal with one day through security so I typically check my purse in my bag. Therefore, I like to carry a document holder, or clutch will do, that you can toss in your carry-on bag. I want something big enough to carry my cards, my flight information, and any other essential personal information.
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What are your must-haves when jet-setting?