When it comes to travel, Sara knows a thing or two.  Since January, on a mission to guide people to good health through heritage, she has already visited colleagues in England, Italy, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Madrid, and South Africa – not to mention cities in the U.S.  We asked Sara to share some of her travel savvy with us.

Here is what Sara, a traveler who likes clothes, over packs, and loves almost every moment of traveling, told us:

Packing Tips

I’m of two minds when it comes to choosing clothes for a trip (maybe this applies only to people who love clothes).  On the one hand, there is a lot to be said for not wasting time and energy, searching through an over-packed suitcase for something to wear.  There’s no fuss or muss if you bring just three dresses or three shirts/pants.  But then, there’s the other side of the coin.  Why wouldn’t I want to bring a lot of my favorite things when I travel (particularly on vacation)?   

Hence, I am not known for packing light (my Oldways colleague Georgia is the master).  However, I do have one packing trick that saves time, keeps clothes looking fresh, and cuts down on clutter.

  • Use lightweight hangers and layer two or three shirts or dresses on one hanger.
  • Cover the clothes on hangers with a large plastic bag (a dry cleaning bag or two is perfect).
  • Fold the plastic-covered, hanging clothes carefully and put in the suitcase at the last moment.
  • When you arrive, your clothes are ready to hang up, and (if you’re careful) not wrinkled!

Baggage Tips 

  • For suitcases…find the lightest one that fits your needs.  Some suitcases weigh 15 pounds, even before you start packing.  A mid-sized suitcase should weigh less than 10 pounds.
  • Wheels are good – not just good for checked bags, or carry-ons, but also for a computer bag or a briefcase.  There’s nothing worse than looking and feeling like a Sherpa — shouldered with a purse and a computer bag.
  • To avoid fumbling in the aisle of the plane, I always fill a tote bag with any work, newspapers or books I plan to use during the flight.  And, I try to remember to take it out just before boarding the plane, so I don’t have to open the wheeled carry-on and find what I want to use once on the flight.  Then, after the plane lands and as it is taxiing to the gate, I’m able to put everything back into the tote bag, which is ready to go back into the wheeled carry-on, once I’m in the terminal. 

Hotel Tips

  • When traveling on business, pick a hotel that fits your needs and your budget.  Choosing a place strictly on a budget always ends up costing more money – you have to go somewhere else to pay for the Internet or copies, or everything takes too long.  Pay the extra money and make your business life easy.  If so inclined, penny-pinch on vacation.
  • On tipping at hotels…I like to tip when I check-in, rather than when I check-out.  The service is always better, and everyone is happy. 
  • Since I travel quite a bit, I have many opportunities to collect small bottles of shampoo and body lotion (etc.) from hotels. After finding I had a cabinet full of tiny little bottles I’d never use, I only take the ones I love (love, not like), and save them for future trips.   
  • Here’s a tip from cookbook author and teacher Susan Herrmann Loomis:  Take the shower caps from the hotel bathroom.  They’re great for covering leftovers.

Other Tips

  • To nap or not to nap, after an overnight flight?  Everyone is different.  I like to unpack and then take a brisk walk, discover the neighborhood, and find a spot to have coffee, tea, or lunch.
  • Eat like the locals.  Follow the rhythm of the place you’re visiting.  Why eat an American lunch when you’re in Rome?
  • One different way to learn and experience a place is to book a manicure or a hair appointment.  In addition to getting a sometimes needed freshening up, it’s a great way to practice language skills and learn about a place.  I always ask the manicurist or hairdresser about cooking, food, wine and what their mother cooks.   

 Wishing you safe travels filled with good food, wine, friends and memories.


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