Journey With Jess | Inspiration for your Creative Side

Inspiration for your Creative Side

Travel Done Right: Tips and Tricks to Pack Efficiently Infographic

Travel, BloggingJessica WozniczkaComment
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Packing before a trip is my least favorite thing to do. It doesn't matter if I'm going away for 2 days or 2 weeks, I always stress out over it. I get so stressed over the mere thought of packing that I end up packing days beforehand since I know I'll end up sitting on the floor staring at my empty suitcase. I am notoriously known for over packing because I am always thinking of "what if I need __ " but in reality I never end up wearing it. A great example of this is when I went to Poland last month and I ended up packing not 1 but 2 dresses thinking that maybe I'll wear them out for a fancy dinner. Spoiler alert, I wore neither of them because it was too cold.

I know I'm not alone with my packing dilemma because of the many sources I see online about the best ways to pack a suitcase. Although my next planned trip isn't until December, I thought I would share with you this amazing easy to understand infographic by the Bluegala fashion site which outlines the best ways to pack a suitcase. I plan on saving this infographic for my future self - who I know will find this extremely handy.

Travel Done Right: Tips And Tricks To Pack Efficiently #infographic

The Best Packing Advice, courtest of BlueGala.com

Top 12 Things to Do in Tokyo

Blogging, TravelJessica WozniczkaComment
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Tokyo, Japan: the name alone invokes visions of bright neon lights, packed trains and a fast-paced organized culture. Tokyo is home to more than 13 million people who have created an unexpected mix of both ancient and modern traditions which coexist side by side. I'm not going to sugarcoat it; Tokyo is a massive city. Having to maneuver your way through a labyrinth of trains, subway stations and hurried businessmen can be very overwhelming. On top of that, you'll have to adapt to a world dependent on a completely different writing system and language. Despite this, Tokyo is by far one of my favorite places in the world.  

In September of 2016 I did the impossible. I convinced my husband to hop on a plane and travel 6,000 miles away from our home in Chicago to Tokyo, Japan. I’m no stranger to Tokyo. With 2 prior trips under my belt I felt like I was the perfect tour guide. But I knew this trip would be completely different. With this being my husbands first time to Asia and the fact I created so much hype about this city, I knew I had a huge task ahead of me. Before we even left, I made sure to create a list of what I thought were quintessential when visiting this city. As I was cleaning out my email and deleting old folders a couple days ago, I found my Japan folder. In that folder was the list I created before we left for Tokyo. I thought I would share with you my top 12 things for first timers to see and do in Tokyo.

1. Meiji Shrine

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Surrounded by a forest directly across from the bustling streets of Harajuku sits the Meiji Shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Following the tree-lined path through the forest away from modern society makes you feel like you’re being transported back in time. This is one of the most popular Shinto shrines in Tokyo and it attracts tourists from all over the world. The traditional Japanese architecture is absolutely stunning and the forest around it makes for a beautiful backdrop.  

2. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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One of Tokyo’s largest national parks, the Shinjuku Gyoen Park is a sprawling expanse containing several themed gardens, a greenhouse, an art gallery, restaurants and several tea houses. The park is divided into 3 separate gardens: traditional Japanese, English landscape and French formal. There is no shortage of vast open spaces, ponds with koi fish and colorful flowers. It’s easy to spend a couple hours here strolling through the many gardens they have to offer. Pack a lunch and head to the park to enjoy while also taking in the beautiful surroundings.

3. Ueno Park

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There is no other park in Tokyo that has as many attractions as the Ueno Park. This large park is a favorite destination for Tokyo residents, and is home to many of the city's main attractions including the Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Zoo and the National Museum of Western Art. Make sure to see the Kaneiji temple and try and catch a a boat ride on the Shinobazu Pond.

4. Tsukiji Fish Market

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This is the worlds largest and busiest fish market. With endless rows of hardworking fishermen slicing and dicing all different types of fish, it is easy to see why this is a favorite destination for tourists. Although the market itself is huge with plenty of room to roam, the internal environment is fast-paced. Take all the time you want, but be aware of your surroundings - this is a place of business and many workers don't enjoy maneuvering around stunned tourists. For those of you who are sushi fans, grab a sushi breakfast before heading into the market itself. If you're an early bird, be sure to get up early and check out the tuna auction at 5:00 AM. 

5. Tokyo Imperial Palace and Gardens

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The Imperial Palace is where the Emperor and Empress reside and is situated in the center of Tokyo. It is a short 10 minute walk from Tokyo station. The palace is surrounded by a water-filled moat and tree-covered grounds and is accompanied by the beautiful Imperial garden. Walk through a magnificent park set in the center of the city and get a taste of nature within the bustling metropolitan city. The Empress of Japan is personally involved with the garden itself - but more specifically the silk worms. The Park and Gardens are all open to the public free of charge. If you wish to visit the palace itself, you need to make reservations in advance through the Japanese Government website. Reservations may be made over the Internet and can take several weeks to receive approval.

6. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

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This building allows for the public to enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of Tokyo from an observation deck. Along with free views of the city, there are also souvenir shops and a resturant.

7. Tokyo Skytree

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Completed in 2012, the Tokyo Sky Tree Is a broadcasting and observation tower. It also contains restaurants and a 300 store mall. Heading up to the observation deck isn't necessary (it can be a little pricey) but it is a very cool to look at especially at night. The Tokyo Skytree is quickly becoming the new symbol of Tokyo, transforming the skyline signifcantly.

8. Tokyo Tower

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Similar to the Skytree, the Tokyo Tower is an observation tower providing 360 degree views of the city. This tower has been an icon for the city since it opened in 1957. The design is based off the Eiffel Tower in Paris and stands 9 meters tall than its french counterpart. Visiting the observation deck isn't neccessary, but it's a beautiful sight to see lit up at night.

9. Takeshita Street

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This is where Harajuku culture was born. Located across from the Harajuka JR Line, this famous street offers shops containing the latest Japanese fashion trends - most of which are unique and very well priced. There are also 1 yen stores here (similar to dollar stores), which make for a great place to pick up inexpensive souvenirs for friends and family members. This street can get very busy so visiting during the morning or avoiding weekends would be ideal. Make sure to pickup a delicious crepe or try out the Purikura (Japanese photo booths). For those of you searching for a little adventure, head over to the Kawaii Monster Cafe. You are served artwork-like food by girls dressed in Harajuku fashion. It is a little touristy and not on the cheap side, but it's a small price to pay for an interesting experience.

10. Senso-ji Temple

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Located in Asakusa, this Buddhist temple is Tokyo's oldest and most visited. The gate (Kaminarimon ) and the large red lantern are the first things you'll see when leaving the Asakusa subway station. Walking past the gate you'll be led into Nakamise street, where there are tons of shops and food stands. Making your way past the shops you'll be greeted by another gate (Hozomon) and beyond that, the main hall sits. This is a beautiful temple and you can easily spend half a day here wandering around the large grounds and gardens.

11. Akihabara

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Also known as "Electric Town," this town is home to shops selling the latest technology, video games and Anime related items. The streets are lined with colorful billboards containing promotional sales and advertising Anime shows or characters. There are plenty of gaming arcades and shops to check out. This is also where maid cafes are located as well as the Gundam restaurant. Stroll through the thinly lined streets and take in the quirkiness of this town.

12. Golden Gai

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Connected by several narrow alleyways and hidden among the dense high rises and buildings in Shinjuku, you'll find what the locals call the "Golden Gai." In this area you'll discover more than 300 bars and restaurants - most of which are only large enough to hold 4-5 customers. This area seems almost secretive and makes you feel like you've found a hidden gem. Each bar or restaurant has a unique theme, which you'll quickly notice by the interior decoration. Take the time to stroll around and possibly stop into one or more of these rare bars.

5 Ways To Be a Tourist in Your Hometown

Travel, BloggingJessica WozniczkaComment
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In our hunt for travel and exploring new and exotic locations, we often forget to see the places around us. Taking shorter trips that don’t require a lot of packing, airline hassle or traveling to other countries may not result in your top moments of an epic travel experience, but they can be just as rewarding.  The same goes for exploring your hometown and viewing it through new eyes as a tourist.  

I live in Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the United States with an abundance of museums, tours and attractions. I’ve seen people from all over the world strolling through the streets of Chicago with their cameras, travel guides and the look of amazement on their faces. Whether it is the jaw dropping height of the Sears Tower [sorry I’ll never call it the Willis Tower], the Chicago Theater lit up or the cultural melting pop that makes up Chicago.

And yet here I am constantly thinking of the furthest possible destinations to take me away from here - which is why I’ve decided to change that. A great way to see your city is to invite some out of town guests to visit and explore with you. Having others there viewing your city with fresh eyes can give you a new perspective. I’ve come up with 5 ways to be a tourist in your own hometown.      

1) Book a Room

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Nothing says vacation more than checking into a hotel room for a couple of days. Waking up in a hotel is the best way to set the mood for adventure and exploration. In addition to being away from your house, the amenities offered by a hotel or B&B are a great way to start the day. If you live in the suburbs, take a trip to stay overnight in the city and if you live in the city, head to the suburbs or spend the weekend in the town over. 

2) Sign Up for a Tour

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You can probably name iconic buildings in your hometown, but do you know the history behind them? Depending on what your city has to offer in terms of tours varies, but there are probably some available. Whether they are by bus, foot or water - tours are a great way to fill in the history gaps in your cities’ knowledge. Feel free to search for yourself and see what types of tours are offered in your city. Chicago for example is known for its 1920’s mobster activity, and the city offers a variety of Chicago crime and mob bus tours. Try something a little abnormal, you may surprise yourself. 
 

3) Splurge on “Toursity” Attractions

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Every city has that attraction that almost all locals avoid because it’s overpriced and extremely crowded. For me, it’s the Sears Tower (which I haven’t been to since I was about 11). You’ve already booked your room in the city so this is the perfect time to go and try it for yourself. Because you’re a local, you know the best times to go in order to avoid the crowds.

4) Take Pictures

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When you travel to new and exciting places, we typically stop and take pictures of cool sights and attractions along the way. But when we’re in our own city, we typically don’t do this. Take some time to walk around and appreciate the architecture or a popular attraction and don’t be afraid of taking that camera up to snap some photos. It will make it feel more like a vacation and it’s a great way to preserver your memories of your staycation

5) Try a New Restaurant

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One of the best things to do when visiting a new place is the get a taste of the local cuisine. Why not try that in your own hometown? Finding a local or family-owned restaurant is a great way to break from the everyday routine. If you live in a larger city that is broken up into subsections (for example China Town), be adventurous and try out some of their local specialties. Trying local cuisine is a great way to treat yourself as well as making you feel more like a tourist in your own city.

Feel free to adventure out to try something new and exciting in your very own city. You might even surprise yourself by finding a hidden gem you never knew existed in your hometown.

How to Survive a Long Haul Flight

Blogging, TravelJessica WozniczkaComment
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I hate flying. I have a slight fear of flying, specifically turbulence - which makes the entire experience a lot more uncomfortable for me. But more than that, I hate the cramped conditions, loud engine roar and food; the entire experience is enough to deter me from flying all together.

I have had my fair share of flying uncomfortably. My dad worked for an airline so I grew up flying and getting any left over seats the airline had available. Even to this day, my husband and I still use my dads perks to fly standby. Although this is a risky way to fly, it does give us the chance to get business or first class which is completely worth the gamble. Although we have been pretty lucky in the past, last September my husband and I took the risk and flew to Tokyo hoping we could get upgraded. We barely made it on the flight to Tokyo and ended up sitting in coach both ways for 14.5 hours. It was beyond brutal. To make things easier for you, I thought I would share some tips and tricks I've learned over the years that makes a long flight more bearable.

Book Tickets Early

This is kind of a no-brainer. The earlier you book that flight, the better your chances of securing your favorite seat. Tip: Try and select a seat near the back of plane. Typically most people try snagging one near the front of the plane which could potentially allow you an empty seat next to you.

If Possible Use Air Miles

If you have them, use them. I promise you it will be well worth shelling out those miles for a long distance trip - especially if you are able to get a first class or business seat. You'll thank me later when you're flying in comfort and style. 

Try for a Free Upgrade

It's worth a shot and you can't loose anything trying. Try and get to the gate early, dress a little nicer and flash them a smile. A little kindness goes a long way, especially when you're a gate agent who deals with angry passengers daily. You never know, you may catch someone in a good mood willing to upgrade you from coach to economy plus. And those extra few inches makes a worlds difference!

Check in Early

That last thing you need to worry about before a long flight is worrying about missing your flight. Getting to the airport early ensures you will have enough time to check-in, maneuver your way around the airport [especially if it's an airport you're unfamiliar with] and get to your gate with plenty of time to spare.

Relax and De-Stress Before

Since you're at the airport early, you'll have time to find a sit down restaurant and grab something to eat. This is a great time to relax - possibly reading a book or listening to music. Also, this is a great time to walk around and stretch your legs. You'll be sitting for a while and you'll definitely want to make sure you get in as much walking before you're stuck in your seat.

Bring Your Own Pillow

 I've seen many other people bring their own pillows onto flights. If you do plan on doing this, make sure you bring a small pillow. Large ones can take up a lot of space and can be slightly obnoxious. A pillow helps keep your head from falling to the side when dozing off. If you don't want to bring a physical pillow you can buy one of those neck pillows. I know, I know the look stupid, but its a small price to pay for comfort. 

Invest in Some Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I know they can be a little pricey, but they are well worth it. If you don't have the money to fork over $150+, bring some high-quality earplugs instead.

Pack an Eyemask

I ALWAYS bring an eyemask when I travel. They help when flying during the day to keep the light out from windows or from people with reading lights on. I'll pop my noise-cancelling headphones on, slip on my eyemask and I'll be comfortable enough to catch some sleep.

Dress Comfortable

This is an absolute must. Wear loose fitting and comfortable clothes. I'll typically dress in layers so I can remove a sweater or jacket if I get too hot. Tip: I always bring an extra set of clothes, pajamas and underwear in my carry-on. You can never be too prepared. 

Stock Your Table Up With Movies

Most airlines provide in-flight entertainment with the use of headrest screens, but sometimes they aren't reliable. I was on a flight once where my monitor wasn't working and the flight attendant told me there wasn't anything they could do. Make sure to stock up your tablet with plenty of movies and TV shows to watch at your convenience. Tip: For those of you who have Netflix, the Netflix app as a download feature that allows you to download movies and TV shows to watch when on airplane mode. 

Charge Your Devices

The last thing you need is for you tablet or phone to die when on a long flight. Some airplanes have in seat chargers, but many do not. So make sure you have all your devices fully charged before takeoff.

Stay Hydrated

DRINK LOTS OF WATER. I cannot stress this enough. A lot of people don't drink enough water when flying and instead go for alcohol (since most of the time it's free on international flights). As tempting as this is, I highly advise against this. With the lack of moisture and humidity in the cabin, you can become seriously dehydrated. 

Stay Healthy

Going along with staying hydrated, make sure to get up and walk around every few hours or so.  If you aren't able to walk around, make sure to at least stretch in your seat. This will help fight against deep-vein thrombosis which is caused from Sitting in a cramped position for a long period of time. 

Pack Extra Snacks

"What's the deal with airline food?" But seriously, I won't sugar coat it - airline food is the absolute worst. I've had some of the worst meals of my life at 39,000 ft. This is why I always pack a snack bag. When your food sucks and you're starving, having a backup snack bag is the best way to stay nourished. 

Sit Back and Try and Relax

I'm the last person to tell you this, but once you're on the plane and in the air there's nothing else to do. You'll be on the airplane until those wheels touchdown at your final destination so try and relax until then. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, hunker down into your seat and try and catch some sleep. 

Combat Jet Lag

Once you've landed, the fun doesn't end there. You'll have to deal with jet lag. I always have a hard time adjusting to new time zones and it is a struggle for me. The best thing you can do is to try and busy yourself and DO NOT GO TO SLEEP. As much as you want to, resist! It can have dire consequences and ultimately make it harder for you to adjust. Try and stay up as late as you can (we made it to 9PM when we were in Poland) and go to sleep then.

I really hope these tips help you deal with long flights, because the last thing we want to feel is both overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Just imagine yourself in the place you're going and how much fun you'll have and you'll be there in no time!

When I travel internationally I use Miers Labs No Jet Lag Homeopathic Jet Lag Remedy. I've taken this stuff on every international trip I've been on since 2007 and it really helps. I don't know if it's a placebo or not, but it keeps me awake and makes me feel not as tired. I've included a link if you're interested in trying it. 

Top 7 Must Do's in Krakow

Blogging, TravelJessica WozniczkaComment

I'm finally back from our 9 day trip to Poland! We got back last Thursday, but I've been procrastinating slightly since getting back because I always find it difficult to get back into the swing of things.

I'm no stranger to international travel, but this was my first time traveling to Poland. I've always heard great things about Krakow, but I didn't have any strong opinions about it one way or another. I figured I'll get there and I'll judge it personally. I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed my stay and we had such a great time. Krakow is an incredibly elegant and culturally rich city that somehow managed to not get destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. Soaring Gothic churches and architecture tower over the city and cobblestone line the streets. Their food was surprisingly delicious and unbelievably cheap. We honestly lived like kings and spent no more than $20 USD a day! With this being my first time to Krakow, I thought it would be fitting to include my top 7 things every first timer to Krakow must do.

Main Market Square and St. Marys Church

Main Market Square Krakow
Main Market Square Krakow
Krakow Market Square

The main square market (Rynek Glown) is the central hub of Krakow. The square is surrounded by beautiful pastel colored buildings. The square is lined with cafes and restaurants - each offering something different. Over looking the Square is St. Mary's Church. You can take a tour of the interior and climb the bell tower for a small fee.   

Horse Ride Krakow

Free walking tours are available in many different languages. Feel free to sign up for one or simply jump into a current one. Horse and carriage rides are found in the square and for a fee you can choose from several different scenic options. You can ride like a king through the cobbled streets with your own personal guided horse and carriage. This is another great way to take in the sites while sitting back and relaxing.

Rynek Underground

Source: https://www.inyourpocket.com/krakow/rynek-underground_72197v

Source: https://www.inyourpocket.com/krakow/rynek-underground_72197v

This museum is located directly under the market square and was a result of an archaeological dig done between 2005 - 2010. The museum covers over 1,000 years of history showcasing the underground vaults and artifacts uncovered within. This museum relies heavily on technology with their use of interactive touch-screen displays highlighting life before Krakow. Make sure to visit the vampire prevention burials from the 11th century. This is an incredibly immersive museum and allows for everyone to get their hands on history. 

Tip: This is an INCREDIBLY popular attraction and is limited to only 300 people at any time. Tickets should be bought in advance since you are given an entrance time. We bought ours 2 days beforehand to avoid long lines.

Wawel Castle

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Wawel Castle Church

Sitting atop Wawel hill is the impressive Wawel Castle. It is visible from almost every angle of the city and is the crown jewel of Krakow. It's truly an impressive display of dramatic spires and gold plated domes. It's an easy walk from the main market square - no more than 10 minutes. Tickets are available for individual sale for specific exhibits: the church, state rooms, coat of arms etc. Be sure to keep your eye out for the Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski), he's said to dwell in the cave below the castle. 

Tip: Make sure to arrive early because there are a limited number of tickets available for the day and they do sell out.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

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Located about 10 miles from the center of Krakow in the town of Wieliczka, is one of the number one attractions in the area - the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Although the mining of salt ceased in 2007, that hasn't stopped tourists and continues to be a major draw. The salt mine is home to a large collection of salt carved statues, but the highlight hands-down is the incredible underground cathedral. The St. Kinga Chapel is located within the mine itself and is made entirely out of salt. A guided tour of the mine is available and is offered in many different languages. The tour itself is about 2-1/2 hours and requires you to traverse an over 800 step descent. The tour is only accessible by walking, so for those who have difficulty with this I would suggest you to pass this one up. There are many stairs and the ground is uneven in some areas, 

Tip: Be sure to check beforehand what time specific language guides are available. 

Auschwitz-Birkenau

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A place that doesn't need an introduction - Auschwitz. Being in a place drenched with such a dark and disturbing past was incredibly overwhelming. Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau is located about 40 miles west of Krakow in the city of Oswiecim. More than 1.1 million people died in these camps - whether from disease, over exertion or simply gas chamber extermination. The concentration camp is comprised of 2 locations - the main camp (Auschwitz I) and the overflow (Auschwitz II-Birkenau). There is no entrance fee for either camp, but there is a parking fee which was roughly $2 USD. To enter the main camp, you are given a return time so I HIGHLY suggest getting there early so receive your time early in advance. We arrived around 2PM and had roughly 3-1/2 hours to kill before we were able to enter. While you wait to enter the main camp, there are buses available that shuttle to and from Auschwitz II. The bus ride is free and is about a 10 min ride from the main parking lot. Give yourself a lot of time to take in the atmosphere of both locations. It's definitely a life altering experience and very hard to put into words. 

Oskar Schindler Museum and Factory

Oskar Schindler Museum/Factory

Located south east of Krakow across the Vistula river lies the former enamel factory of Oskar Schindler. Currently a museum, Oskar Schindler employed about 1,200 Jews from the ghetto - essentially protecting them from being sent to the Plaszow labor camp. The museum doesn't focus as much on Schindler as I thought it would - it focuses more on the Nazi occupation in Poland. This is a really cool museum with a lot of interactive exhibits and is home to an abundant display of artifacts from WWII. For those with children under the age of 13, I suggest skipping this attraction. Some of the videos and photos are graphic and may not be suitable. Tickets were roughly $12.50 USD per person and gives you access to the entire museum which is 3 floors. Also, make sure to give yourself a lot of time - there is a lot to look at so plan on spending 2+ hours.

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I really hope you liked this comprehensive list of the top things every first timer should do in Krakow. I had a list myself of all the things I wanted to do, but we ran out of time. Since this was my first time visiting I wanted to make the best of the short time we had and I felt like we did. Although we didn't do everything I wanted to do, that just gives me a reason to go back.

International Travel + FREE PRINTABLE Checklist

Printable, Travel, Monthly BagJessica WozniczkaComment
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This coming Tuesday, I'll be traveling to Krakow, Poland for vacation and to also visit my husbands' family. We leave Aug 22 and get back home Aug 31 - which leaves us a full week to explore. We are flying to Berlin, Germany and driving to Krakow [to save us some $], so I'm excited to see the sites and landscapes on the 6 hour car ride there. I am no stranger to international travel, but this will be my first time visiting Poland. For whatever reason, international travel is always hard on me. It makes me so exhausted and I always have a difficult time with jet lag. We have quite the long trek ahead of us Wednesday and I would be lying if I said I was a little apprehensive about the journey. I know most people say to just sleep on the plane, but I can never get comfortable enough to sleep on a plane. My only option is to push through the day.

Before I even worry about getting there, I have to start the arduous task of packing. I hate packing. I'm an over-packer and tend to bring more than necessary. I plan on packing sometime Sunday so I don't feel rushed packing the night before. I always get really anxious about packing and possibly forgetting something. I'll even have nightmares about forgetting essential items such as my camera or phone!

To keep my sanity (and hopefully help with organization), I've created a packing checklist. I'm really big into check lists and without them I can sometimes become a little scattered-brained. This checklist is free for your personal use and you can print directly from your home printer. Although I'll be traveling internationally, you can easily use this checklist for domestic travel as well. The checklist is 8.5 x 11" PDF

We're staying at an Airbnb which has wifi available, but I'm not sure how easily I'll be able toblog while away. I'm hoping I'll be able to at least post a few photos and a little blurb about each. But If not, I'll be back to the daily grind of things September 1.

I absolutely LOVE the Lonely Planet travel guides. I used the Tokyo one last September it was so helpful! I highly suggest these when traveling internationally and the small pocket size book is the perfect size.

Carry-On Packing Essentials for Airline Travel

Blogging, TravelJessica WozniczkaComment
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Nashville, TN - Broadway Street

Nashville, TN - Broadway Street

This past weekend I was in Nashville for my friends' Bachlorette party. I took an extra day off work for travel so I had a hard time getting back into the swing of things, which is the reason for my lack of posts. I had an absolute blast in Nashville and can't wait to go back. Besides all the fun I had, it was a bit of a fiasco getting there. Me and 2 other people decided to save time and fly there thinking it would be quicker than driving 8 hours there and back. I'm usually pretty good about packing essentials and a change of clothes in my carry-on (I grew up flying standby so this is something we always did), but this time I was over-confident [note: lazy] and since the flight was only an hour I decided to throw everything in my checked bag. Fate decided to teach me a very valuable lesson. 

Airports - where dreams go to die

Airports - where dreams go to die

First, our flight was delayed for 4 hours because of a mechanical issue. We did a lot of waiting with many unhappy passengers, unsure if we would be going anywhere. The airline thankfully found us a spare plane and we took off a little after 6:30pm. Once we got to Nashville, I found out the airline lost my luggage and had no clue where it was and when it would get to me. This left me with literally nothing. Nothing to wear, no makeup, no toiletries - nothing. This was the first time an airline has completely lost my luggage and didn't know where it was. There is nothing worse than not knowing where your bag is and if it will even be found. Needless to say, the airline found my bag and delivered it to where we were staying the very next day - but those 12 hours without knowing were completely nerve-racking.

Which brings us to the topic of today's post; carry-on packing essentials. After realizing the airline lost my luggage, I had to go shopping to replace the things I needed for the weekend just in case they couldn't find it in time. I've created a comprehensive list of the things I will always pack in my carry-on as well as some of the essentials I ended up buying that night. 

A Change of Clothes

• 2 pairs of shirts
• Sweatshirt
• Pants/shorts
• Bra
• 2 pairs of underwear
• Pajamas
• Shoes/sandals
• Socks

Toiletries

I suggest buying travel sized items – remember to follow the 1 Quart maximum airline liquid rule
• Toothbrush/tooth paste
• Deodorant
For contact wearers: Eyedrops, contact solution & glasses
• Face wipes
• Moisturizer

Other Essentials

• Makeup
• Lipbalm
• Medications & vitamins
• Hairtie & brush
• Snacks

Entertainment

• Headphones
• Tablet
• Book/E-reader

I learned a very valuable lesson this weekend about the unpredictability of airline travel so it is important to always be prepared. If you travel a lot or you're going on a trip, I HIGHLY suggest packing some of the above items in your carry-on. Air travel can sometimes be a stressful experience, no sense on making it anymore stressful than it needs to be. From this point forward, I will always pack important items in my carry-on just in case I find myself in this situation in the future.

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