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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Doing Activities For Less

While just being in a new place can be awesome, it's what you do that makes a vacation. Sitting in your hotel room is fun and all, but you could do that at home for way cheaper. You want to do things. Experience your destination. Go home and brag about the cool things you saw and did. There are lots of ways to do that without draining your bank account. Here are ways to do activities for less when you travel.

cheaper travel activities

Daily Deals

If you missed out on my post last week, go back and read it now.


CityPASS

Skip the lines at attractions plus get a bundle of them for less. Generally, the more you do, the more you save. CityPASS can save you up to 50% on popular attractions in certain circumstances. There are over a dozen participating cities, including Dallas, Toronto and Philadelphia, and is one of the best ways I've saved on a vacation. You can read about my experience with the Southern California Pass if you missed it.


Smart Destinations

Like CityPASS, Smart Destinations' Go Cards and Explorer Passes allow you to do more for less. They cover different cities, too. I've blogged about these several times, most recently for Las Vegas. These have saved us a ton on activities in the past and will in the future.


City Cards

Not all cities are covered in the last two options, but that doesn't mean you're out of luck. Google "city card (insert destination here)" and see what comes up, even if you're headed out of the country. In the past we've used both the London Pass and the Paris Pass, and in the U.S. we've used VisiTicket and the Power Pass for Washington, DC and Hawaii. 


Free Attractions

This may seem like a no-brainer, but maybe not. There's always a (sometimes long) list of things to do for no money in a city. I just Google "free things to do in X" and I often get a lot more than expected. Look at a few sites to get a comprehensive list and them add the good stuff to your list of things to do and see how much further your dollars stretch.

You might be surprised by what things are free. Many of London's museums are free (with the exception of special exhibits), public parks may have awesome things to see in them (like sculpture parks), and city events may also have free admission. Expensive destinations often have more freebies too.


Find Coupons

If you're road tripping (and even if you aren't), you can fin coupons for dollars off things you want to do at your destination. Look online before you go, check the lobby of hotels and even rest stops. Not all of them can be as awesome as this one we stopped at in Virginia, but usually they have a good selection of brochures, with at least the most popular attractions.

Keep an open mind when you travel. Some of the lamest sounding things have turned out to be the most fun to us and some of the most expensive have been disappointing. With this in mind, I keep a list of random optional things with my vacation schedule, so if we find we want to bail, we have a list of other things to choose from. Also, don't be afraid to try new things that may be out of your comfort zone or to ask locals and hotel staff for suggestions. They live there, so they have a totally different perspective of a place. I've rarely been steered wrong, especially when it comes to food recommendations. A local's favorite place may turn out to be yours as well. We've found quite a few "hidden" gems this way.

What are your favorite ways to get deals on attractions and activities? What's been one of the best free things you've done in your travels?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

These Are The (Other) Travel Apps You Need

I have to tell you, as much as I think smartphones may have hurt us, because people don't talk anymore and have issues communicating and sit around the dinner table just staring at their screens, I'm also eternally grateful in how they have improved my travel experiences, especially with amazing travel apps. I try to limit my screen time on my phone, because I like to see places and taste my food and enjoy the company I keep, but travel apps can really save your sanity.

must-have travel apps

If you missed the last post, go check it out, because you're going to want to see the whole list. Some will want a few of these, some will want all. Your travel style may call for specific things. I don't use all of these apps every single time I travel, but there are several I do: Voxer, Evernote, TripIt. Here are 6 more must-have travel apps for you to consider to make your trips easier, funner (<< it's a word!) and less stressful.


Smart Receipts

As a travel blogger, I need to keep track of all the money I spend when I travel, because taxes. I also like to know where my money goes when I'm on a trip. Being on a budget can be hard, but if you've planned and keep up on your spending, you can make it easier and also be prepared for the next time you plan a trip. Smart Receipts lets you break down every dollar by putting your purchases in categories and allowing you to keep track of what goes where and you can even snap a photo of your receipt, so you have a record of it for tax purposes. I love it, because you can group purchases by trip and then by day within each trip. Download Smart Receipts for free.

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Voxer

Yes, you've heard me sing the praises of Voxer before. I opted for this over WhatsApp, which I know people love, but I didn't think it compared. Looking for a way to avoid paying crazy texting fees while out of the country, I found Voxer. It works on WiFi, it's free and it does more than a text. It's touted as a walkie-talkie app, but it's much more than that. Yes, you can use the push-to-talk option, which is helpful when you're somewhere you don't have hands free for typing (like the car), but you also have the option of sending a text message with no character max and photos. 

Doesn't sound that exciting to you? How about the safety aspect of it? Each time you send a message/photo, it is stamped with the actual date and time it was send, along with where it was sent from. It doesn't matter when they get it, only when you sent it. You can watch your message go as well, because it will show you it's sending, that it was delivered and if it's been read or not. There's no worry that your text has just gotten lost somewhere. If you click on the message, you can see exactly where it was sent from, with a little map. I love this, especially when I'm traveling alone, because if I get attacked, everyone I sent a message to can immediately pull that up and know where I was last.

If you aren't in a place where there's WiFi, you can still send messages. It'll just wait until you have WiFi to push those messages through but it will still show when it was originally sent, not when it finally sent. I love that. This was awesome when we were in Europe and I could stay in touch with everyone I needed to and share photos while on the go, all for free. And now I use Voxer at home instead of texting when I can. 


Evernote

Evernote is an invaluable app for my everyday life, as well as travel. I use it to make notes, work on blog posts while not near my computer, plan parties and keep important info close at hand. You can use this online and on your phone, so you can use it across devices to save articles you enjoy or want to read later, take pics of things you like and even share notes with others, which you can allow to make changes/additions. 

As you can see above, I've shown you my note that has pics of my editorial calendar, because when I'm on vacation, I like to take fewer things (like I'm not going to take that whole organizer), but also know if something is coming up that I could be working on while on the plane or waiting in line for something. Having a pic of my actual calendar is helpful for me personally.  

I have a premium account ($5/month) so I have 10GB of additions I can make each month and am also able to look at past versions of notes, in case I make the mistake of saving something accidentally. When traveling, it can be helpful to keep a copy of your credit cards, ID, passport and anything else that might be annoying if lost. You can keep your account from prying eyes by logging out and using a password. That way people can't get into your account for stuff like that, but you can get to it easily if you actually need it. You can also download penultimate and make handwritten notes as well. I love that feature. I enjoy being able to use Evernote offline and allowing it to sync when I have internet access again. This lets me do work or make notes while traveling, no matter where I am.

Google Translate

Okay, so I try really hard to learn foreign languages, but it's not realistic that you are going to learn all the words for a two week trip, only to learn a whole new language for another trip. There will be (a lot) of things you don't know, even if you can get by. Sometimes you need to ask for something specific, or someone is trying to give you directions anad maybe you don't understand a crucial word (believe me, this happens more than you would think). Google Translate will save your butt. Get your point accross, figure out what that weird thing on a menu is, find out what that joke the waiter just told was. For real. It'll help. And you can use it offline.  



Jetzy

So, you wanna meet some people while you travel? Or get a local's opinion on where you should go or eat or what to do? Jetzy allows you to share your own moments, while sharing in others' trips. I haven't tried it yet, but I have been messing around in it for a future trip and it's pretty cool. Connect with others to make your trips even more awesome. Chat with users and even meet up for a truly local experience. Jetzy is free!


Just Ahead

Can't find a tour that's free or affordable? You could spend $15-20 on a book that's half full of things you don't care about or you could spend that money on an awesome tour that your phone can lead you on. You don't need service or WiFi to use them and you don't have to keep up with anyone. Plus, if you miss something, you can always play it again. Much easier than having to explain that you weren't listening, because of that cute dog you just stopped to pet. Also, you can't stand the thought of wandering around with a pack of strangers, this is a great alternative. Download for free and pay for just the tours you want/need.  

Do you use any of these travel apps currently? If so, what do you think? Or do you have favorites you don't leave home without?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

These Are The Travel Apps You Need (Part 1)

Can't wait to get on your trip, but starting to feel unorganized, unprepared and generally stressed about it? I got you. It isn't unusual for me to have dreams about having to rush to the airport and not have my bag packed (or packed with a bunch of randomly useless things, like mismatched shoes and no underwear), whether I'm traveling or not. Travel apps can help. Get all your ish together and feel like you're ready for anything. 

necessary travel apps

These are the travel apps you need on your smartphone to calm your nerves, so you only have to worry about packing, because you've already planned. Right? Right?!


TripIt
I am a planner. Shocking, right? I like to make lists and schedules and know what I'm doing when. It helps keep me from worrying I'm going to miss something I really want to do and gives me structure when I'm somewhere new. Eric doesn't love the planning phase, but that's okay, because I take his list of things he wants to do, mash it with mine and figure out how to do it in the time we have. TripIt makes it all a little bit easier, because when you get an email confirmation, you can forward it directly to them and they'll stick it in your itinerary where it belongs. 

Now you have a list of important stuff, like confirmation numbers, addresses and phone numbers, all in one place. Add in other things as you plan, make notes directly on it and then share it with all your travelers and other people you want to have your details (like your mom!) and you're good to go. You can use it on your phone and on the internet, that's a screenshot up there, so you have it everywhere you need. They'll even add maps and weather if you like. This is my number one app that I use for Every. Single. Trip. And it's free. Get TripIt now.

Your airline app

Oh my goodness. Am I the only one who can't stand carrying extra crap I don't need. I keep my phone in my pocket, because I use it often while I'm at the airport (and on the plane), so why do I need extra things that my phone can do? Anytime I travel, I download my airline's app, that way I can skip checking in at the counter or the kiosk and do it right from my palm. It also allows you to go straight to TSA, because you've got your boarding pass on your phone. Only one of you needs to have the app, because security and airline crew are happy to use one phone for all boarding passes. There's no paper to juggle or lose, which I'm a fan of. Buuuuut, if you find it not working (like the Delta app that has a ton of problems or your wifi is all wonky), you can still go print out a boarding pass too. NBD.


Gate Guru

I can't be the only one who likes to know what's waiting for them at the airport, am I? I mean, I know what's at PDX and LAS, because I'm at both of them a lot, but other airports can be a mystery. While I love to wander and browse, I also like to know specifics, especially if I only have a short layover that allows me to grab food and then get to my gate. Gate Guru is a free app that maps out each airport and allows you to find what's in the whole building, or just what's close to where you are. Don't settle for crappy fast food if you can eat somewhere more local in the same time.


Airbnb

You know how much I love vacation rentals. I don't hate hotels, as some are really cool, but I like to stay somewhere unique. More boutique than cookie cutter. I love Airbnb because there are so many different things to chose from, and I always feel at home, in someone else's home. I get WiFi, and place to just kick back and relax while I'm sending emails, uploading photos or doing laundry. And I actually want to spend time there, especially in the morning when I can make my own breakfast to save money and time out. I like a lazy morning eating a bagel in my pajamas. Airbnb lets you check up on your rental and connect easier with your host if you need to. 


Whym

Okay, as much as I plan, I like to have time where I don't have anything planned. I can relax, just wander or do something the spur of the moment. Sometimes something exciting comes up and if you're booked solid, you're going to miss out. I haven't used Whym yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Get deep discounts on last-minute tours, activities and more. It gets you a fantastic deal and it allows the ticket vendor to make money and get butts in seats as well. I've been known to use Groupon while I'm on vacation and I feel like this can be just as useful. Try Whym, because it's free! 

My TSA

Is the security line 45 minutes long? Can I bring my knitting needles on the plane? Should I just leave my watch in my bag until I'm on the other side? MyTSA not only lets you know expected wait times for security, but also answers those other questions and more for you. If you start to freak out over having to pass through TSA, then you need this app. It'll give you peace of mind and let you know what to expect.

This is just the first six of my list of must-have apps. These will get you started on making your trips as awesome as possible without making you feel like you don't know what you're doing. While everyone else is running around, stressing out, you can be calm, cool and collected. 

What are your favorite apps for traveling?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cheaper Activities Through Daily Deals

Okay, you guys! It’s time to save some money. It’s right around that time when I am near my vacation and using daily deals to save tons on my trip. I have taken three trips this year, with another two on the calendar, so it’s more important than ever for me to save wherever I can, so we can fit the trip into our budget. It’s probably the same for you. I feel like if I find a daily deal for things I was going to do anyway, then it’s double-awesome. Sometimes I find deals for things I didn’t know existed or for fun restaurants, which shape a new unique vacation for me.

When we traveled to the UK and Europe, I found and purchased deals from Groupon UK and ncrowd for my trip to take a bus tour around London, a scavenger hunt through the Underground, a tour to Stonehenge, a dining card and afternoon teas. Why would I not use these savings to make my travels better where I can? Now I've got more than half of my food and activities paid for through Groupon for my New Orleans trip and when I come back, I'll be looking for a few in Los Angles. I used quite a few for Las Vegas as well.



Let’s talk about my favorite daily deal site: Groupon. I’ve used it at home and away and saved tons of money. For those of you who don’t know what Groupon is, it’s a pretty simple concept: Each day there's a new deal put up from a local company - and often more than one. They can be a salon, tour company, restaurant, yoga studio, shop or any number of other things. They will offer rockin’ deals for Groupon customers. The discount is almost always at least 50% off. 

Groupon means “group coupon”, so that explains why they need more than just one person to take the deal in order for it to help both you and company offering the deal. Companies get their name out to customers, customers try them out and everyone wins!


One of the cool things about Groupon – among many – is that it’s not just for the U.S. Nope, it’s available for the U.S. Canada and 40 other countries around the world including Colombia, Uraguay and Singapore. Pretty much anywhere you go, you can purchase Groupons to save you big time on your trip. If I want to do a bike tour in Mexico or get a manicure in Greece, I can do it, providing those things come up as discounts before I go. This is why I’m watching it daily until my trip.

Groupon has teamed up with Expedia to bring you fantastic(er) deals on travel! With amazing discounts on luxury hotels and accommodations, you can’t afford NOT to travel well while still on a budget. The rates may not be slashed to 90% off, but they will be great and you’ll drool over their gorgeous photos and long to go everywhere all at once.


So, how do you sign up for Groupon? It’s easy and free! In fact, you can use your Facebook account to sign in if you want. Use either your home location or your next vacation destination as the one you wish to get deals for and then look for them in your email. I’m getting updates for London, Paris and Vancouver, but can click through to look at my local area as well, and I can change my preferred destination anytime I want. I also have the Groupon app on my phone, so I can get the deals on-the-go and also save paper by bringing up the deal on my phone to use at the merchant, restaurant or attraction.

Do you know what’s even cooler? You can get 3% cash back on all your Groupon purchases by using Ebates, too, to make your savings even larger. If you aren't familiar with Ebates, you can read my post on it here. Why NOT save as much as possible on everything you do if you can? 

Other sites I like to use are Living Social, which is like Groupon's little sister, and Travelzoo, where you can also find great deals on travel.

Who else uses Groupon or is excited to sign up  for it? Or do you have another favorite daily deal site? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Getting More Exercise on Vacation

I don't exercise much, but I do try to keep in shape by eating right and parking further from the store to walk more and taking the stairs. When on vacation it's hard to eat healthfully, so I look for ways to burn more calories when I'm out and about...and eat make the effort to order vegetables. 

vacation exercise tips

Walk Whenever Possible


Instead of driving or taking public transit, try walking. Some destinations are more walkable than others, but you can easily walk 4-10 miles in a day (or more if you're going to a theme park) without even noticing. Look at your map and see how far your destination is for the day (maybe plan some things that are close to each other) and strap on our walking shoes if they are doable. At a slow pace, you can walk a mile in 15 minutes, which isn't that long or that far. Of course, if you're like me, you're more likely to want to walk in the morning when your feet are fresh, so give yourself some motivation to get up and stretch your legs. You can take the subway later in the day. You may face lots of stairs with this option, too. 

Besides the obvious benefits of walking, you will be able to slow down and see more of your destination, possibly finding some hidden gems along the way. We saw a really good portion of London by just wandering around. Just remember to stay aware of where you are and what's around you to stay safe. 

Get Up Early and Use the Gym


Lots of hotels we've stayed in have had workout rooms that are free for all to use. Now we stay in vacation rentals or timeshares, but many of them have gyms included as well. The same goes for cruise ships. Now, I find that I never actually make it to the gym, even though I say I will, but if I made more of an effort, I would at least make it down to get on the elliptical for a bit. If you're on a business trip, this may be the only exercise you get, so make sure to pack suitable clothes. My pajamas are generally a pair of running shorts and t-shirt, so I am set.


Or  Exercise in Your Room


This is easier to do when you have a vacation rental or a suite, where there is actual room for you to move around, but even if you only have a little free space and a chair, you can get in some extra calorie-burning:
  • Chair crunches - I love the fact that if you have a chair, you pretty much have a low-impact gym. Sit on the edge and pull legs up or do the bicycle or other ab exercises like these
  • Work your triceps - These also use a chair, though you can use anything flat and sturdy. At home, I use my coffee table, but you can also use a park bench. 
  • Planks - Work your core! They hurt, but I assume when I see results, they will be all worth it!
  • Squats - Work your butt. You can do these outside, too, but people might you funny looks. If you want to get more advanced, go find yourself a bench and do some step-ups.
  • Calf raises - Do these anywhere, like brushing your teeth, watching the news or waiting in line to get into the Louvre.
  • Arm curls - You can do these just about everywhere. Buy a couple of water bottles and use them as make-shift weights. If these aren't doing the trick and you don't have anything heavier around that could work, check out these traveling dumbbells called AquaBells that you fill with water for your workouts. 
  • Resist! Pack a resistance band (or set) in your carry-on and do more strenuous workouts in the time you have available. There are also these fancy loop bands you can use to strengthen your legs/thighs 


Get In the Pool


Eric prefers to get his extra workout in the form of swimming. If there's a pool, he's going to get in it and do some laps. I'm not a swimmer, but I'll come sit for moral support. Usually, this is when I do laundry. Lugging a laundry basket to and from my room counts as exercise, right?


Rent a Bike


The only thing better than walking your destination is getting around by bike. Lots of destinations now have city bikes you can rent by the hour or the day. See the city in a totally different way by riding around and moving those legs. Bonus is that many of them have baskets, so you have a place to put purchases and/or your day bag. 



Drink More Water


This isn't strictly helpful in exercising, but it will give you more energy if you stay hydrated, meaning you won't want to just be a lump (anymore than usual) when you could be exploring the city on foot or checking out another museum. It also helps if you don't overeat. If you're hungry, but not starving, remember that most places will serve you at least 1.5 times as much as you should eat. Sharing a plate is a way to satisfy your hunger without loading you down with carbs and other foods, so you won't feel like a nap in the middle of the day and drag, because walking is more beneficial when you do it at a brisk pace.

Do you exercise when you travel? What's your favorite way to burn all those calories you ingested over the course of each day?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Halloween Costumes You Can Pack - Part 2

In my last blog post we talked about packable Halloween costumes for warm weather. It can be challenging, when traveling somewhere hot to find a costume that doesn't give you heat stroke. It can be just as difficult to find a costume that isn't too bulky and will keep you warm when the temps drop. We went to Paris in October a few years ago and had tickets to attend Disneyland Paris's Halloween party. This trip to Paris was totally different from our last visit where it was unseasonably warm in November. This time, there was a crazy cold snap and early October saw temps in the 20s. Ouch. Let's look at costumes that can be worn anytime and also when it's super cold, but that are still easy to pack.



Mild Weather

If you're lucky, the weather can be cool, but not too cool to warrant a jacket. That's kind of my favorite weather for Halloween, because you have a wider selection of costumes to choose from.

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Be a Lumberjack
I always travel with layers, whether I'm traveling in the summer or the winter. A plaid shirt makes a great layer, so you why not toss one in your bag with a pair of suspenders and a knit cap. Just like that, you can be a lumberjack!

Toga, Toga, Toga
There are tons of different toga and toga-like costumes for both men and women. Make your own or buy one to be Caesar, Aphrodite, a frat partier, Socrates and more. Add a laurel and your favorite sandals and you're done.


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Yer a Wizard! (Or witch)
You basically just need a black outfit, a cape and a hat for this one. If you're a Harry Potter freak like me, you possibly have a Hogwarts sweater in your closet that you can put on with a black skirt or slacks, slip your wand in your pocket and you can be a wizard- (or witch-) in-training.


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Any Superhero
Always wanted to be Superman or Batman or Cat Woman? Now's your chance. When the weather is mild, you can go full-out or a little skimpy and not be uncomfortable. Of course, you can always be a superhero in disguise by wearing a part of your costume underneath your shirt, like Superman does. This is creative and also easier to pack.


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Burglar & Police Officer
In the top pic, I'm dressed as a burglar, but you can't really tell, because it was so cold in France that I literally had on four layers of clothes. It was also raining, which didn't help matters. I wore all black and rimmed my eyes with some serious black eyeliner and carried around a money bag. The effect was a bit ruined when I also had to snug up in my coat and wear a scarf, but it was an easy outfit otherwise. Get your significant other to dress similarly or wear dark blue or black pants and a blue/black button-down shirt with a badge to be a cop.


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Doctor/Nurse
This isn't done nearly enough and can be really simple. All you need is a lab coat and some semi-dressy clothes underneath. Make a name badge for yourself (ex: Dr. Bob, Nurse Barb) and add a cheap stethoscope, so you can do your job, and voila! Change this up into a mad scientist outfit by adding crazy hair and some safety googles.

Prom King/Queen
We always bring some dress-up clothes with us on vacation. At least, we usually do, because we tend to do a couple things where we need to look a bit nice. Even an LBD can work for this. Pair it with a Prom King or Queen and a crown and you're ready to party. You can bring a paper crown you've made, pick up a cheap one at a party store or, my personal favorite, stash this inflatable crown in your bag. They'll take up little room and if they get wrinkled, you can just blow them up.

Cold Weather

It's going to happen. You find that you're going somewhere that the weather is too cold to wear the traditional costume, but that leaves you free to be more creative with your choices.
Snow Bunny
Put that puffy coat and those furry boots you're wearing to good use. Adding an adorable hat and some ski goggles will really sell your outfit, especially if you've got a cup of hot chocolate in-hand.


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Mountain Climber
You can kind of wear everything for this costume, because you're climbing a mountain and it's freezing! This is when you'll want to break out that backpack again and put on a head lamp (you probably have one of these at home). Make yourself a cute little flag to make the peak and go conquer that mountain...and the cold weather.


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Polar Bear
So simple, it's ridiculous. White pants and a white coat, then add a pair of ears and paint your nose or wear this fun hat/scarf combo and run around going "Rawr!" The bulkier you are, the better, so don't be afraid if you have to put on some long johns underneath your clothes. 


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Mummy
This one works well with a bunch of layers as well, because you're just going to cover up with layers of white fabric. I'd suggest white underlayers and a set of thermals under that, since a coat would ruin the effect. You can use toilet paper for this, but if you don't want to unravel or walk around with toilet paper on your shoe, thing sheets that you've ripped into strips works really well. Just make sure you can get your pants off to use the restroom, or else you might hate this really quickly.
There's not much warmer than leather/pleather, so why not dig out your pants and jacket, a black sweater, some comfy boots and wrap a bandana around your head and go as a biker. You might be taking most of that on your trip anyway, so put it all together and get tough. This works for everybody and you can add more layers as needed, like a vest.


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Sherlock Holmes
If you've got a trench coat, you've got a costume. Sherlock Holmes is easily recognizable, especially with his trademark deer hunter cap and pipe. This works for men and women, you just have to wear some decently nice clothes underneath. Your significant other can wear a suit jacket and driving cap and be Watson.


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Hunter
Get your camouflage on. You can most easily create the hunter look with a camouflage jumpsuit, but you can also do this by wearing dark colored clothing with a camouflage jacket and cap. Get all Duck Dynasty with a big beard and you'll also keep your face warm if it's that cold out.

Are you traveling somewhere for Halloween? If so, do you plan on dressing up?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Halloween Costumes You Can Pack - Part 1

I often travel in late September or early- to mid-October. It's cheaper this time of year, the weather is usually pretty mild (depending on where you travel) and the crowds are thin. You know how much I love to hit up Disney in the fall and take advantage of Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party. It gives me a chance to dress up and trick-or-treat like a kid again. Obviously, there are other places you can go and dress in costume, even if it's just visiting friends or relatives over October 31st. I love dressing up, but I'm not willing to pack too much extra stuff to do it, because baggage fees. Nope. If it doesn't fit in my carry-on, it doesn't come with me. 


Halloween Costumes You Can Pack

If you want to pack a costume, but need a little help in finding something that is fun, but also doesn't take up your whole bag, I've come up with a list for you depending on your destination's weather, because there's nothing worse than trying to wear a costume that is too warm for where you are or, possibly even worse, doesn't have enough coverage for the cold weather and you have to cover it up with a coat.

Warm Weather 

If you've been to Florida ever, you know it hardly ever gets cool, even at nighttime. Early October, the weather can still be in the 90s. Ouch. We've also been to Southern California and had to change up a costume choice due to a heat wave in late September. You may not always be able to predict unusual temp changes, but make sure you monitor the weather before you leave, so you're prepared.

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Be a Tourist
Come on, you already have all this in your closet and probably taking most of it on vacation with you. Add a fanny pack (cheap on Amazon) and a map and you're good to go. 

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Go On Safari
Here's another one you probably have in your closet. Wear tan, khaki or brown pieces (a dress or shorts and top), throw on a matching hat if you have one and carry your camera. This is one where a pair of cheap binoculars can really make the outfit. We've done this as a couples' costume before and it was easy and fun.

Be a Hiker
You're already packing all this stuff in your carry-on, so add a lightweight backpack that you can pad out later and you're ready to look like you're on an adventure. If nothing else, it's a great place to keep your water and snacks. 
Impersonate the Toothfairy
Got a little white dress or some separates? This can work for a guy or a girl. Toss some white net wings in your bag and fashion yourself a wand with a big tooth on it (cut out from cardstock) and kids might be showing you their loose teeth wherever you go. Wait, is that a downside? This also works for being a fairy or an angel; however, those seem a bit overdone.

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Take to the Ballet
It's easy to (pretend to) be a ballerina. A tank top or a leotard with a short wraparound skirt or simple tutu (not one of those big poofy ones), coupled with pulling your hair into a bun and a pair of matching flats and you'll be attempting to do some arabesques. 

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Be a Boxer
This one will take a bit of prep. A plain tank top with some longer shorts and a matching short robe are easy enough to pack, and those shorts can double as pajama bottoms. Ditch the gloves, since they will take up too much space, and possibly opt for a fake black eye instead. 

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Be a Lifeguard
Grab some red shorts, throw on a lifeguard shirt and a whistle and you've got a costume that you almost never see. It'll keep you cool and adding a hat and/or sunglasses to it will only make it more authentic.

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Get Your Animal On
While this is a standard costume for a lot of people, you can do some creative makeup and be a less done animal: a raccoon, a fox, a deer, a goat. All you need is to wear a monochrome outfit and add the appropriate ears/antlers and tail.

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The Flintstones (or The Rubbles)
Nothing's better for beating the heat than not having to wear pants. The Flintstones are still easily recognizable and their outfits are all really breathable, even if you throw on some bike shorts underneath for sneaky wind gusts or being more comfy at the theme park. You can totally wear a wig, spray your hair or just go with your own normal hair. I'm also partial to this Pebbles costume that comes with shorts. This is another couples' costume we've done in the past and gotten a lot of compliments.

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Root For Your Favorite Team
I did this as a last-minute costume change where the weather turned out to be at least 20 degrees warmer than expected in Anaheim. I ditched my packed costume and bought an Angels t-shirt, hat and sweat bands for my wrists. It was a big hit with the Disney cast members and was incredibly easy. Probably you already have a bunch of stuff from your favorite sports team. Take it and wear it all at once to be a rabid fan. If you don't have a team or aren't really into sports (I get it. I didn't actually know who Pujols was on the Angels when I bought that shirt), get this funny shirt instead and add some sweat bands and painted face.

There are a lot of creative costume ideas out there that can use what you already plan to bring on vacation with you. Stay tuned for costumes suitable for mild and downright cold weather. You can also see some other ideas here.

What are your favorite ideas for packable costumes?




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