Twelve Packing Tips Every Traveler Should Know

Twelve Packing Tips Every Traveler Should Know

There is a reason they call it the “Art of Packing.” For some, packing is just second nature – a “right-brained” talent that is done on the fly. But for others, it is a skill that must be practiced over and over again, and regrettably never mastered.  In travel, first comes dreaming, next comes planning, and then comes packing.

To help make your packing travails a little less laborious, here are twelve quick tips:

CARRY-ON LUGGAGE:  The first rule for carry-on luggage is to check with your airline’s website to find out specific dimensions for carry-on sizes, so you are not caught off-guard at the last minute and forced to gate-check your luggage.

– Passports and travel documents should go in your carry on, not checked luggage, and make copies just in case. Bring your driver’s license even if you aren’t taking a driving trip – it’s a good backup form of identification to have on hand.

– A large scarf or pashmina can do triple duty as pillow, blanket and fashion statement.

– Always keep an airline-friendly one-quart zipper baggie packed with your essentials ready to go: hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes (to tidy up tray tables and arm rests), lip balm & moisturizer (for those extremely dry cabins), nasal spray, and air sickness pills for turbulence or those dreaded circling, holding patterns.  Make sure all liquids are less than 3.4 ounces.

– Request extra prescription medication to bring with you in case of travel delays.

luggageCHECKED LUGGAGE: Make sure all luggage is clearly tagged with your contact information, and add a colorful ribbon to the handle to help separate your bags from the sea of suitcases.

– Create a packing list and begin the packing process early. The week before your trip, start collecting items and place in a spare room or in an empty, plastic laundry basket.

– Think in terms of the “layered look” when planning your wardrobe.

– Never pack valuable items in checked luggage (money, electronics, jewelry, travel documents, and prescriptions).

– Making several stops on your itinerary? Purchase zippered pouches or “packing cubes” to separate clothing items by type. (See or The pouches can easily be lifted from the suitcase and placed in hotel drawers and then back again.

– Always pack one or two clothing items for the opposite weather of where you are traveling because you never know how the temperature can change.  Heading to Miami? Bring a sweater or warm wrap. Leaving for London? Take a few tank tops or camisoles to wear under a blazer.

– Do not lock bags unless using a TSA-approved lock that can be opened by an agent, or risk your locks being broken if bags are selected for screening. Concerned about your zipper accidently coming undone without the lock? Thread a baggie twist tie through the two side-by-side zipper pulls and mate them together.

– Place all liquids in plastic bags before packing in luggage. And, pack a few extra bags, especially large white garbage bags, to use for wet bathing suits, sandy shoes, laundry, or liquid souvenirs like wine or olive oil.

– Make sure not to over-pack —  always leave room for gifts and souvenirs!

Herricks Travel American ExpressFor more information on my trip planning services, please click here.

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The Art of Packing

The Art of Packing

The Art of Packing, Herricks Travel American Express & St. JohnPlease join me at my travel-themed customer event at the St. John boutique in the Americana, Manhasset, Long Island, New York on January 28th.

Join Herricks Travel American Express and St. John for the “Art of Packing” on Thursday, January 28th, between 12Noon and 4pm. Hear up-to-the-minute destination advice and packing tips with key styles from the latest collection, and enter to win a weekend stay in Manhattan and a St. John gift certificate.  For more information and to RSVP, you can email me, Hope to see you there!

Herricks Travel American ExpressFor more information on my trip planning services, please click here.

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Twelve Top Travel Apps

So, you’ve contacted your travel agent, booked a trip, and packed your bags, but are you really ready to go? Before you leave, take a moment to download these useful travel apps that will help make your vacation a smooth and stress free adventure. Load them up (and sign into your personal accounts when required) while you’re at home where the Wi-Fi is much faster and safer.

delta appAirline apps: There’s one for just about every airline: American, Delta, JetBlue, United, etc. Enter your frequent flyer numbers and flight information. Many allow you to check in, pay for bags, change your seat, check for upgrades, and display your boarding pass.

Flight Board: You know those digital arrival and departure boards you see at the airport? You can actually see them on this app. This comes in handy, especially when traveling during bad weather. Stay on top of delays and cancellations, or check out the boards at your connecting or arrival city to get a glimpse of potential problems that might lie ahead.

seat guruSeatGuru: This is THE source for seat reviews, information, and aircraft configuration that separates the good from the bad seats on virtually any flight and airline. Want to avoid those pesky seats that don’t recline, don’t have a window, have minimal legroom, or are too close to the bathroom or galley? Check out this app.

FlightTrack: This app give you 24/7 timely push notifications of departure, arrival or gate changes to your flights or those of friends and family. It even provides aircraft speed and altitude and colorful, zoomable live maps with satellite and weather radar imagery, and flight paths when available. Airport terminal maps are included (handy when you are trying to catch a connecting flight). You can also link to SeatGuru and FlightBoard.

gate guruGateGuru: Trying to decide if the airport dining (and coffee) selection is better before or after security is always a challenge. This handy app (my kids’ favorite) offers a guide to eateries, shops, and services at the terminal and at the gates where you will be departing and arriving, making the decision much easier!

LoungeBuddy: Not all airport lounges are exclusively for first class flyers. This app allows you to check out more than 2,000 lounges in 600 airports, and determines which you can access. Enter the details of your trip, airline status and membership, or premium credit card info (like Amex Platinum) and it will let you know which lounges you can visit for free or for a one-time fee. Includes lounge hours and locations.

TripCase: This is THE place to keep ALL the details of your trip in one place — an itinerary management tool that also delivers real-time information, delays, and cancellations, and consolidates reservation numbers and hotel and car rental addresses and phone numbers.  Just sign up and then start forwarding all of those confirmation emails – hotel, car, flights, tours to TripCase, and it will merge the information into trips for you and trips to follow (for family and friends).

whats appWhatsApp: This international calling and messaging app allows you to call someone around the world for free as long as that person also installs the app – no hidden costs or international fees.  It even saves incoming messages when your phone is off.  Easy to use, your contacts are transferred from your phone’s address book.

Currency Convertor: There are plenty of them out there — pick one that’s free and you are ready to go from pounds to pesos, and dollars to dinars.

Sky Guide: This is not specifically a travel app, but we use this whenever we are out of the New York area and visiting a place with less light pollution. Satisfy your inner amateur astronomer and identify all those heavenly bodies you can only see in a truly dark sky. The app uses your device’s own GPS to know which direction you are pointing your phone to immediately reveal a map of the stars, constellations, galaxies, and planets, above and below the horizon.

OpenTable: This online, real-time restaurant reservation app is available in many cities around the globe, and includes reviews and a frequent dining program. Search by location, date, time, cuisine, or price range.

amex appAmex App: This one is for the American Express card, but most credit cards will have an app to help you keep track of spending, pay your bill, check your reward benefits, and most importantly, provide you with immediate fraud alerts if your card has been stolen or compromised while traveling.



Herricks Travel American ExpressReady to plan a unique trip for you or your family? Contact me at For more information on my trip planning services, please click here.

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Header image courtesy of m.vank