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Saturday, March 28, 2020

How to Plan Trips When You Can't Travel

We're going into week 2 of forced exile, and I hope you're all keeping busy and not having too much cabin fever. I'm an introvert, but also working on some more product reviews for you, so it's fine for me. One of my three future trips has been cancelled, and I'm being realistic about the fact that the other two might also get postponed, but I'm keeping my travel spirits up.


I've been using the Joe Coffee App to order from local coffeeshops to get my coffee fix and help our baristas keep their jobs and the shops to stay open. You order and pay in-app and then get coffee delivered to your car when you arrive. It helps to keep your interactions minimal and you aren't hanging around inside with others. Portland Dining Month has been suspended for the time being, but I was able to go to two before lockdown, so stay tuned for those as well. 

Our new "eating out" normal

Right now is the perfect time to start planning a vacation, far in advance, since we don't know when it'll be safe again to get on a plane, but when we do, it's going to be exciting. What can you do right now to plan the perfect trip?

Save Money

If you're lucky enough to be able to work from home or get paid during lockdown, then you are already saving gas money and money you'd spend going out to dinner, lunch or the movies. Even if you get a few meals through take-out or Uber Eats, that's probably way less than what you usually spend. I know we're doing well on that front. Since you aren't going out for dates or whatever else, put that money in your travel account.

Research, Research, Research

What else are you doing besides binging Netflix/Hulu/Prime? Exactly. Now's the time to figure out everything a destination has to offer, everything you want to see/do/eat, and find deals on those things that cost money. You'll also have time to find all the cool free things or ask your friends on social media for all their suggestions. You'll end up with the perfect itinerary!

Book Far In Advance

If you know when you want to go, then this is the time to book those popular things in advance if you can, while no one else is traveling or booking. This means getting those hard-to-get reservations, which will make you feel like you won the lottery. 

Get Prepared Now

Order or study maps, learn the language, delve into the culture norms. You'll know how to get around and not offend anyone, and how to ask people where the bathroom is. People will think you're a natural and you'll feel great about yourself. Make a list of all the local foods you want to try or your destination's "specialty" items, like spices or toys or exports that you can't get elsewhere and you want to bring home for gifts or souvenirs.

Put Together Your Carry-On

This is the time to perfect your packing and get your ideal travel capsule wardrobe together. Make a packing list, pare it down to the essentials, buy the best travel bag for you, and then pack it! If you struggle with packing light, this is the time to practice it. If you're like the rest of us, you're surviving on the bare minimum of clothing and makeup right now, so that those ideas into your packing. Need new items for your toiletry bag? Check out Travel Pakt and get that squared away now, so you're ready when travel day comes.

There's more that you can do, but these will get you through Quarantine and get you excited about being allowed to travel further than the grocery store again. Need more ideas on how to survive lockdown when you have massive wanderlust? Check out my post on keeping your sanity. You can also see my post on Facebook with all the virtual tours and live streams to get you "out of the house". 

How are you satisfying your love of travel right now?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review: The Travelon Seat Pack Organizer

The Travelon booth at the Travel Goods Show this year was packed with a bunch of new and awesome products. As a blogger, I have the privilege of going home with a media bag with some of the new or popular products for the year. Travelon always includes some great products, but this organizer is one of my favorites, because I hate it when I get on the plane and have to rummage in my bag to pull out the things I want on my flight, but this keeps it all together and, as the name implies, organized.

The Seat Pack Organizer from Travelon has three sections and a slim profile, so it's easy to slip into your bag, and then pull out when you get to your seat.

The Seat Pack Organizer has three sections and a slim profile, so it's easy to slip into your bag, and then pull out when you get to your seat. This bag is perfect for people with kids, for keeping all your electronics at hand, or for those that don't want to stuff anything in the seatback pocket. I get it.


On the front of the organizer, you have two zipper pockets. They run the length of the bag and go all the way down. This bag seems small, but it actually holds a lot of things. 



The back of the bag is a full zippered compartment that is clear, so you can keep your tablet, iPad or other electronic in there. You can fully use the touchscreen through the plastic, and it also keeps it protected from spills. (You never know when turbulence will cause weird accidents.) You'll find two loops on this organizer: One of the top and one on the side. This allows you hang it on the tray table hook and watch or play vertically or horizontally. 


If you aren't watching a show or playing a game, you can flip your organizer around and have everything else right at your fingertips (in fact, I would store it this way instead of stuffing into your seatback pocket, because those are dirty and gross). I packed this the way I would for my flights, but if you have kids, you could throw in crayons, cars, sticker books, snacks. 


I was actually surprised that even with what I put inside, there was still room for more, so that it made finding items really easily. Inside I included my passport, a pen (for crosswords and customs forms), a package of tissues, lip balm, my earbuds, battery back-up, and phone cord. These are all the things I like to have throughout my flights, so having them all in one place will make my trips way more convenient and I won't have to pretzel myself to get able to get into my bag under my seat unless absolutely necessary. 

For those of you with kids, you can have their coloring supplies in one place and can hang their loaded tablet on the seat back, so they have their own little theater at their seat. Pair with a set of bluetooth headphones and they'll be set for a good portion of the flight. And if they want to play games, this is great, because it's protected from spills and crumbs from snackage. 


I know we aren't really traveling right now, but some of us are still going to work and some of  us are taking road "trips" just to get out of the house and see outside. And, eventually, we will travel again, and I'm looking forward to those days already. So, in this time of self-isolation and lockdown and social distancing, let's get our travel bags straight. That way, when we do travel, we'll be super ready.

Also, this makes a fantastic gift for the traveler or commuter in your life. Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations are coming up, so why not get them a super convenient gift that will make their travels easier. Even if they don't fly that much, they can use this on the train or in the car on road trips.

More info:
Where can I buy it: On the Travelon website (sorry, this looks to be out of stock at the moment) | On Amazon
How much is it? $15
What colors does it come in? Black | Gray Heather (shown) | Peacock Teal
Other specs: 10. 75" x 8" x 1", the rear panel allows the gadgets to be fully accessible while in the organizer

Love Travelon and all they do? Follow them on social media:



Disclaimer: I was provided with the Seat Pack Organizer for the purposes of sharing it with my readers. **This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I may be compensated. This helps me keep this blog running and I'm grateful for all your support. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Review: Travel Pakt Toiletry Bags

If you're like me and like to have a toiletry bag always in your carry-on, so you don't have to keep packing and unpacking and making sure you have everything you need, then I bring you the genius of Travel Pakt. This small company lets you choose all the items you want to bring with you, where it will be pulled together and put into a 3-1-1 bag for you, then sent straight to you, ready to toss in your bag. 

ravel Pakt is a small company that lets you choose all the items you want to bring with you,

Travel Pakt chooses brands that are good for you and, when possible, that give back. Products are all natural and many are eco-friendly, including compostable packaging for some. One great brand they work with is Spinster Sisters, which has a 100% wind-powered  production facility. You can learn about each brand on their listing.


If you're tired of digging through your travel and trial-size items that you may or may enjoy, then Travel Pakt helps to eliminate that annoyance. Find items between hand sanitizer (yes, they do have it in stock!) to shower gel. Everything is TSA-compliant. Don't want to pick products yourself? I mean, I get it. Sometimes you just want stuff to be easy. Well, you can choose from pre-packed Pakts, too.  


If you purchase $40 or more of product, then Travel Pakt will put your items in a suitably sized silicone zip-top bag. These are great, because they have a really reliable seal, plus they're super cute. Don't worry though, because if you purchase less than $40, your products will still come in a TSA-compliant plastic bag that you can still toss into your bag. This is also perfect for those that have already ordered a larger batch of items and already have one of these adorable silicone bags. You can also reuse these silicone bags for things when you aren't traveling, like chips or fruit.


Why a zip-top silicone bag? Well, compared to the normal plastic toiletry bag with a zipper top, the seal will keep any spills inside and are way easier to clean in case of accidents. Your liquids will not end up getting into the rest of your bag. There's nothing worse than getting to your destination and finding something has spilled and then leaked onto your clothes, meaning you have to do laundry when you could be out having fun.


I know we aren't traveling now, but that doesn't mean you can't prep for when you do start traveling again, or keep a toiletry bag with your favorite products in it for work or in your gym bag. Maybe you're a mom and like to keep certain products with you for messes and other unforeseen situations. Right now, I'm keeping this delicious-smelling ruby grapefruit hand sanitizer spray from Everyone in my purse. It comes in handy multiple times a day when I can't go wash my hands after touching something that might be contaminated with other people's germs. Their lotion is also perfect for keeping my hands moisturized after washing them a ton of times throughout the day.


This bag I have is the largest bag, but it also complies with TSA rules and I like that it's see-through as well. It has a flat bottom, so you don't have to worry about it falling over in the bathroom and all your items rolling out onto the floor, because that's a horrible situation.  

Start putting together your own toiletry bag at Travel Pakt's website. And if you love what they're doing, go follow them on social media, too: 



Also, don't forget that Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations are happening right around the corner, so if you're still too sad about not getting to travel at the moment, remember that these products could really brighten someone's day soon. Heck, you can even purchase an eco-friendly toothbrush at Travel Pakt and complete their whole toiletry bag, so whether they go on business trips or need a bathroom kit for the dorms, you're really the hero there.  And you're supporting a small women-owned business, which makes you a hero to them. Double win!

What's the most annoying part about stocking your 3-1-1 bag for travel? 


Disclaimer: I was provided with a packed Travel Pakt for the purposes of sharing with my audience.
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