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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Review: Serenity Tray Organizer

By now, we all know that the airplane tray table is the dirtiest part of the plane, followed pretty close by the seatback pocket, where everyone puts their garbage. The pocket is never big enough for things you want to put in there either, or you're in danger of forgetting whatever you've put in there because it's out of sight. The solution: bring your own pockets.

Serenity Organizers has this awesome tray organizer that slips over the airplane tray that has 4 pockets, is antimicrobial, and machine washable.

Serenity Organizers has this awesome tray organizer that slips over the airplane tray, so you don't have to touch it. It has 3 small pockets and a large pocket, for all the things you want to have on the plane with you without having to rummage through your bag throughout the whole flight. Besides, it's too hard to pretzel yourself in order to even get to your bag with how little leg room you probably have.

The Serenity Tray Organizer keeps you from holding things when you aren't using them, keeps your lap clear, and helps you stay organized, too. I, generally, have a plan of things I want to do and eat when I fly, so being able to have all those things with me, but contained, is really important. I'm able to have my backup battery and cord for charging my phone in between reading and playing games, a magazine when I'm over screen time, headphones for listening to podcasts or the in-flight entertainment, snacks are very important, as is my water bottle, and my sunglasses for once I get to my destination. All of these things fit in the tray organizer, and have their own place in it. 

The organizer fits snugly over the tray table and is antimicrobial. This means the germy tray never touches the stuff on it. 

It also means if you want to eat directly off of it, that's fine too, because you have a barrier. once you get home from your trip, you can empty it and throw it into the washing machine, so it's clean and ready for your next trip. 

Once you reach your destination, you can slip off your organizer, flip it inside out, and cinch it closed. I, especially, love that part, because getting off the plane is chaotic enough, and no one wants to spend 10 minutes cramming everything back in their bag while being jostled by everyone else trying to get to their things to get off the plane.

You can either just tote it with you, or toss it in your bag and go. On my way home from Vegas, I only had a backpack and a tote with some things that I wanted to try out while in the air, so it was easy for me to take my tray organizer off and just toss it in when I arrived at my home airport. 

(My video from the plane wasn't great - I still need to practice doing things while also holding my phone - so I used a chair with a smaller back to recreate how I would add all my items to the Serenity organizer and then slip it off when I am done with it.) As you can see, it holds quite a bit and it's perfect for those that like to stay organized or when you are traveling with little ones. Kids can have their own stash of books and snacks and games and toys with this organizer, so they are entertained their whole flight. 

The only downside I encountered with it is that when your tray is down, if you have bigger items in the pockets, it all ends up in your lap (though it doesn't fall out), so if you already find the tray table comes down too far and is uncomfortable, this won't help, but Serenity also has a seat organizer that lips over the airplane seat and then has the pockets on the bottom, which would be behind your legs when you're seated. This might be better for taller people. 

On the plus side, all your belongings fit snugly in the tray organizer, so anyone who needs to get past you to get to the bathroom won't end up cracking their knee on your water bottle or dump half your stuff onto the floor by knocking into it. 

Other reasons the Serenity Tray Organizer is awesome:
  • It's quick-drying, so if you spill on it, or need to wash it, the lightweight fabric dries fast.
  • It weighs less than 3 ounces, taking up almost no space in your bag when not in use.
  • The drawstring is long enough to wear over your shoulder.
  • It was created by two amazing ladies, so it's supporting a great woman-owned business.
  • You can get one in 6 different fun colors: charcoal, cool grey, blue indigo, fire orange, rose pink, and powder blue.
Get yourself an organizer, or one for a gift, now, and always be organized and on your travels. Purchase on Amazon or on Serenity's website (use code Friends25 for a discount).

How much better would your flights be with one of these?

Show Serenity Organizers some love. Follow them online on their socials or check out their website

Disclaimer: I was given the Serenity Tray Organizer for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own. ***  Support Shereen Travels Cheap by using the links in my posts to shop. I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so I can continue to create helpful free content. I earn from qualifying purchases made to the featured retailers. Thank you. I appreciate your support!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Review: Cheat Sheets Laundry Sheets

As you know, I am a big advocate of packing light and doing laundry on trips, in order to maximize the small space you have. A small capsule wardrobe can really become a larger travel wardrobe when you mix and match and a lot of times that means you'll have to do a bit of laundry. Of course, you may just need to do laundry in an emergency situation, as we did when we found our washing machine didn't work in Edinburgh.

Cheat Sheets laundry sheets are great for travel, because they take up no space and you don't have to hope the laundromat has affordable detergent.

I always travel with some laundry sheets and a pop-up hamper. Laundry sheets are great for travel, because they take up almost no space and you don't have to hope the store or laundromat has affordable detergent, or detergent at all. And if you only need to do a few things in the sink, they usually aren't great for that, but Cheat Sheets are different. 

Cheat Sheets are fast dissolving and don't do big suds, so you can easily do a hand wash in the sink and your items don't take forever to rinse. Depending on how much you need to wash, you can use a half or whole sheet. I used a half sheet for these few items that I've taken on trips before and they were fresh and clean at the end. 

Here's a time-lapse video of me washing my few pieces in our small sink. As you can see, there are no visible suds, but you could see that the clothes were getting clean, as the water was dirty, and I rinsed until it ran clear, then squeezed out as much water as possible. 

I found these sheets way preferable to sink washing with other products I've used before, since it didn't take me forever to rinse them out and I could tell they were clean before I started rinsing them, due to the low sudsing.

Because I don't normally hand wash my clothes, I tried All Purpose Cheat Sheets out in my washing machine, too. The great thing about laundry sheets is that you can use them in regular or high-efficiency machines without changing anything or using a special kind for one over the other. You are meant to start your water and toss in a sheet, then add your clothes once it has dissolved, but since these are so quick to dissolve, I threw my sheet in on top of my full machine. 

Not only did it dissolve without leaving any trace behind on my clothes, it washed the whole load of laundry as well as any of my normal detergents have. 

Other reasons you should invest in Cheat Sheets for your travels (and at home):

  • No messy liquids, which also means you aren't restricted to 3.4oz limit.
  • Everything is pre-measured, so you always know how many loads you can do with what you have.
  • They're eco-friendly and biodegradable! No microplastics go into the ground water and sheets come in an easily-recyclable cardboard container.
  • They're hypoallergenic, for those of us that are allergic to everything and have to be careful of the detergent we buy because of sensitive skin.
  • Free of harsh chemicals you want to avoid: phosphates, fluorescer, dyes, sulfates, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, parabens, and more unnecessary additives. 
  • They work equally well in hot or cold water.
  • They don't add any weight to your luggage!
Cheat Sheets come in 3 formulas. (The Sea Spray fragrance is very light and clean, so if you're sensitive to smells, this shouldn't bother you at all.): 
  1. Gentle: for all your unmentionables. This comes in Sea Spray and Fragrance Free
  2. Swim: for all the damaging chlorine you picked up at the pool. This comes in Sea Spray
  3. All Purpose: for all your normal clothing that doesn't need gentle care. This comes in Sea Spray
Get your own either on Amazon or the Cheat Sheets website. Your purchase will support a woman-owned business.

Have you been looking an easier way to do laundry on vacation and at home?

Disclaimer: I was given the Cheat Sheets Travel Sheets for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own. ***  Support Shereen Travels Cheap by using the links in my posts to shop. I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so I can continue to create helpful free content. I earn from qualifying purchases made to the featured retailers. Thank you. I appreciate your support!

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Planning Your Summer Travels

It's that time again. Time to start planning your summer travels, if you're going somewhere. Don’t wait until the last minute, because that’s when you’ll pay the most. Airfare alone can jump as much as 40% during the summer months, so here are some tips to help keep you in the black this year and have an amazing time:

It's that time again. Time to start planning your summer travels. Don't wait until last minute and end up shelling out buckets of cash.

Shop for airfare on Tuesday and Wednesday and look for flights that depart on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday for the lowest fares. New fares are posted every Tuesday and Wednesday are the perfect time to get the best deals, and when you fly on less popular days, you can pay less and have a better chance of not getting bumped off your flight due to overbooking. One thing that'll make you happy is that this summer, flights will be the cheapest they’ve been in seven years. Of course, that doesn't mean you should slack and leave booking until later. You still need to get on that ASAP.

Go early

 If your kids get out of school sooner the rest of the country, take advantage of your good fortune and vacation before the second week in June. Many schools have release dates in May, so if you can take time off before Memorial Day weekend, you can save a ton. The middle of June through the middle of August is going to be the most expensive time to travel almost anywhere, and the most crowded.

Go somewhere different 

Your kids are always going to want to go to theme parks or the beach during the summer, but by changing up your destination, you can actually save a little or a lot of money. If they insist on going to the beach, look for lakeside resorts near where you live. Most still have a beach and everything that goes along with it, unless surfing is on the agenda. Other ideas are to visit cold-weather destinations or South America. The Southern Hemisphere experiences winter during our summer, making it a less desirable place to vacation. Less desirable equals more affordable. South America is close, but there are so many different places to choose from that are amazing, tropical and super budget-friendly.


Airfare can become a costly burden if there are many of you traveling. If you can spare the extra travel time, take a good old fashioned road trip to get to your destination. Make sure to plan fun stops along the way, like to see the world’s biggest ball of yarn, ghost towns or museums. It makes the whole trip seem like an adventure if you don’t just drive straight through. 

A pic from our boat tour of Portland

Plan a staycation 

If everything just seems too far out of budget this time of year, opt to do things around your own town and take your vacation over holiday break. Prices will be lower, most destinations will be less crowded and you will be able to see and do more than in the summer. Need some ideas for your planning? See my staycation post and check out my staycation board on Pinterest.

Don’t forget your cash back! 

Help keep a little money in your pocket or stretch the dollars you have by using Rakuten to book your flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. You can even get cash back for buying essentials like sunscreen and shorts! It's totally free to join and it's super easy. In fact, they give you a gift just for making your first purchase. How can you beat that?

Plan ahead

Start planning for a cheap summer trip next year by picking up my Secrets to Summer Savings ebook. I give you all my travel saving tips to make summer travel cheaper and packed with more fun.

Don't forget that traveling light can save you a lot of money in the long run, too. At the very least, you'll save $70 by not checking a bag on your roundtrip flight. More if you're an overpacker. Here's how I packed for a whole week in a backpack and here's how I pack my toiletry bag.

Where will you be going for your Summer vacation?
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