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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Be a Fabulous Host…or a Fancy Traveler 12.14.11

Don't forget to enter the holiday giveaway! You have until Sunday to get your name in to win fabulous (travel) prizes!

So, I know people have the hatred for airport security and limits on liquids and that “stupid” 3-1-1 bag they make you cram all your stuff into. You’re paying $200+ for an airline ticket and you still aren’t free to bring anything and everything you want? Lame! I know it can be a pain, but I have also come to think of TSA rules as a blessing in disguise…and a fun challenge. Remember the good old days when you could pack your whole closet and 32 pairs of shoes for a 3-day trip and not pay $700 for it to fly under the plane? Then the struggle of dragging your 92 lb. non-wheeled suitcase through the airport – after you were successful in wrestling it off the baggage carrousel – and seeing the taxi driver’s face as he attempted to pick it up and heave it into the trunk? Yeah? You miss those times?
Well, aside from still wanting to bring 32 pairs of shoes, I’ve decided that I don’t want to get a hernia from my luggage, even though it would make for some interesting pictures and stories. Do I really need a tuxedo pants or a satin ball gown and 5” stilettos in 3 colors when I’m going to Ecuador or Greece or even Seattle? I think not. So, why am I lugging that stuff with me everywhere I go? It will still be in my closet when I get home. Downsizing is a good thing. You aren’t cranky when you get to your destination (or even just on the plane), you don’t have to wait in the sheep-herding area known as baggage claim and you definitely don’t have to bulk up at the gym months prior to your trip in order to carry your bag from the car to the ticket counter.

Why oh why, would you complain about not throwing your back out, having much more time to relax and be on vacation and having everything your packed with you on your entire journey? We often talk about packing lighter by packing less, like making sure your tops and bottoms all match, you only take two pairs of shoes and using accessories to dress up a boring outfit. With so many people traveling over the holidays, it’s a must to mention toiletries. Make them smaller! You only have so much room in your 3-1-1 bag for liquids and gels, so make it count. I always pack products that do double-duty (tinted moisturizer, powder foundation, lip/cheek tint, shampoo/shower gel). There are some things that you can’t get that do something else, like conditioner, hair spray or facial scrub, but you can still make sure they fit in your bag by buying smaller containers of them. Now, where can you get these tiny miracles? There are several online merchants that I recommend, if you can’t find them at your local discount drug store or beauty salon. The best part is that if you want different brands and types of items, you don’t have to drive all over town to find them:

Here's an entire makeup routine: tinted moisturizer, powder
foundation, moisturizing lip gloss and beauty palette. Easy!
Minimus.biz – Your one stop shop for all things mini. Buy shampoo, moisturizer, hand sanitizer and then go on to buy single servings of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, ketchup packets or your preferred dressings and hot sauces. Not only are these freakin’ awesome to pack in your carry-on (assuming you have room for hot sauce and dressing with all your moisturizers), but they also make amazingly fun and simple care packages for other travelers, college students and your favorite war hero who can’t make it home for Christmas. Aside from their huge selection of items, you can get free shipping with $20 worth of product!

High-end skincare
3floz.com – For the fashion mavens among us who MUST use the same high quality beauty and hair care products everywhere we go. Whether you’re a loyal Murad skin care user or never use anything on your hair but Fekkai products, then this is where you go. You get free shipping on orders over $50 and they carry every fancy brand from 21 Drops to Yes to Carrots. You won’t find any mustard packets or travel-size antacid here though, so don’t be disappointed when you can’t find them. With all the fun-sizes available, you can easily get a few to slip into stockings!

Basket for a couple, full of useful items, like deodorant
toothbrushes, sunscreen, snacks and something to read.
This is easily customizeable for each guest.
Okay, so you have heard about how these two sites can make you a “fancy” traveler, but how can they make you a fabulous host? Well, there is always the possibility that you will have family coming to stay with you over the holidays – or any other time of year – and will need want to make them feel at home. Why not put together a little hospitality basket with products from either site? Stock it with shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, shaving cream, make-up wipes, maybe some cookies. Your guests will never want to leave! Wait, is that a bad thing? If so, make sure you encourage them to pack up early the day before they head out, so they don’t forget anything and are ready to go at the crack of dawn…for their afternoon flight! They're going to tell everyone what an amazing hostess you were, up until you kicked them out, and possibly want to pay it forward by making their own guest baskets for their next visitors.

Unexpected guest who overindulged? Here's an easy to put together "hangover" kit, including mouthwash, pain reliever, snacks and antacid so they feel fresh in the morning.
Have you ever put together this kind of basket for those staying at your house, or had someone make you one? They can make your visit seem even more inviting and you don't have to beg a ride to Target if you've forgotten your toothbrush.

Be sure to take a look at my guest post on the Alice.com blog on family vacations on a budget and also my author interview and book review with Allison from Allison Writes.

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