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6 Foolproof Packing Hacks for Anyone Looking to Travel Light

6 Foolproof Packing Hacks for Anyone Looking to Travel Light

As airline baggage fees have continued to increase, more and more travelers have embraced a minimalist approach to packing. While some people have taken this to the extreme by advocating for not bringing a suitcase altogether, there is a happy medium to be found.

The solution? Pack what you need, but be strategic so that you can pack as light as possible. Here are some helpful hacks to help you out.

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1. Choose the right suitcase.

When people think about packing light, they often get so caught up in worrying about what goes in the suitcase that they forget to consider the suitcase itself. But choosing a lightweight suitcase is great for two reasons. One, it’s more portable, so you won’t throw your back out when you go to hoist it into the car or overhead bin. Two, it’ll help you avoid excess baggage fees, which can range from $100 to $450 depending on the airline. Bonus points if you constrain yourself to using nothing but a carry-on.

2. Make a list before you pack.

It seems so simple that it’s easy to dismiss, but listing out what you plan to bring can help you identify redundant or otherwise unnecessary items. When making your list, consider how many days you’ll be gone, whether you’ll be able to wash clothing during your trip, and whether you’ll need to be prepared for big changes in weather. Once you’ve made your list, stick to it—don’t toss in items at the last minute because you get caught up in worrying “what if.”

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3. Choose clothing wisely.

The best clothing for travel is lightweight, non-bulky, not easily wrinkled, and pairs well with the other clothing you plan to bring along. If a piece of clothing doesn’t meet these criteria, seriously consider whether it’s really worth hauling with you. If you’re traveling somewhere cold, pack lightweight (but warm) layers, such as thermal underwear and thin sweaters. Then, plan to wear your bulkiest layers (such as winter boots or a winter coat) on the plane in order save room in your suitcase.

4. Compress, compress, compress.

As you place each item into your bag, your goal should be to make it as small as physically possible. Fold and roll your clothes in order to shrink them down and save room in your suitcase. Ball up socks and underwear and shove them into shoes. You may even want to consider compression bags for your clothing if you really want to maximize space.

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5. Embrace multi-taskers.

Whenever possible, aim to pack items that can serve more than one purpose. For example, why pack a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner when you could pack a two-in-one shampoo/conditioner? Or take a sarong, which can be a skirt, a blanket, a sunshade, a towel, or even a bag if you wrap it up and tie off the ends. Think critically about every item you pack and consider whether you could accomplish the same end goals with less.

6. Use your smartphone to your advantage.

Speaking of multi-taskers, smartphones are probably one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. They contain a camera, communication device, travel guide, map, news and reading, and a place to take notes or jot down short journal entries all in one place. Download useful travel apps before you go and leave behind anything that has a function that can be carried out by your phone.

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Practice these strategies often enough and you’ll learn that you can make do with less and less. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find yourself packing for a multi-week vacation in a single carry-on suitcase. With the right strategies, it’s completely possible.

Featured photo credit: Jake Ingle via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

If You’re Staying In

  1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
  2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
  3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
  4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
    • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
    • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
    • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
    • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
      • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
      • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
      • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
        • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

        If You Want to Get Away

        1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
        2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
        3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
          • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
          • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
          • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
          • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
          • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
          • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
            • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
            • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

            New & Exciting Experiences

            1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
            2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
              experience.
              • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
              • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
              • Experience white water rafting.
              • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
              • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                  • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                  • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                  • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                  Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                  Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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