Monthly Archives: January 2018

5 tips for travelling light

 

A few lessons learned along the way after more than 300 flights in the past 9 years!

  1. How much is too much?

If you can’t fit what you are taking into one suitcase, you are taking too much!  Another general rule of thumb is lay everything out that you want to take, and then halve it. This is really true! However some other guidelines….

Do some research first. especially if you are going overseas. For instance, what is the culture of where you are going? Do you need to cover bare arms, bare legs or wear a hat. What is the weather likely to be? Hot or cold, or both? What activities you will be involved in? Hiking in the bush, beaches, swimming and water sports, walking miles seeing the sights, shopping, dining out all mean different items are needed. Once you have this worked out, then choosing what to take comes easier.

If you can’t pick up your suitcase yourself, or drag it through the airport yourself, or lift it onto other transport without relying on other people, you have taken too much!

My method

Personally, many of my trips include a “working” component and therefore I need to make sure I have the right clothes for this, then I add on the purely leisure items. Whatever I take MUST work with other items. So my basic wardrobe would be a black skirt, black pants and tops that mix and match with both. The add a couple more pants (maybe jeans and one other neutral colour) plus another couple of skirts especially if travelling to warm weather. Of course, if you prefer dresses to separates you substitute them. For casual, add crop pants (or shorts) and a couple of t shirts or tops. If you are taking bathers, then take a large wraparound which covers for pool use, but also for covering up when those bare arms shouldn’t be on display. If you have one in a darker colour, ideally in an uncrushable fabric,  it won’t show any marks or spillages and if you take it on the plane with you, then it also can be used as a blanket (airlines issue one on long haul trips, but it’s often chilly in planes air conditioning so good to have a stand by on all flights).  Make sure you have a cardigan or jacket for chilly nights, even if you are going to a hot country.

I have a tall clothes drying rack, but any hanging rack will do. I then hang on this all the things that I think I will need. Then I put various items together. If a “top” only goes with one “bottom” it doesn’t go! It’s as simple as that. So each top must be able to work with each item. Casual tops must be able to work with all pants and crops or shorts, and skirts, or they don’t do.

So once you have culled your pile, what accessories do you need? These make the difference for changing the whole look of an outfit, whether it’s jewellery, scarves, belts etc. However use same principle, try to make sure each item can be used with more than one outfit. I actually hang each accessory on the item it will be with, on the hanging rack. That way you can see what works, and also then you don’t forget to pack it. same goes for shoes. Make sure your shoes work with each item. I take one black and one neutral colour dressier kind of shoe, sneakers for walking, and add a neutral casual shoe.

Now you just need your toiletries, undergarments and nightwear and you are ready to pack. For toiletries, it is so worth buying a set of the travel size containers and filling them yourself with your favourite shampoo and conditioner (much cheaper than buying  the travel size items). So often, the hotel shampoo doesn’t suit your hair, so it’s worth taking these items along. A tip here, use the hotel shampoo to rinse through any small items of clothing, roll the item in one of the towels to squeeze out excess moisture and hang over the shower rail or on hanger and they will dry overnight.

Remember if you are flying, all your liquids gels, creams, aerosols or paste that are limited to 100ml or less per item must fit into a one litre resealable (snap lock type) bag – maximum size 15.24 cm x 22.86cm. This can be carried in your hand luggage. any items larger than this must go into your checked in luggage.

Top tip! Make sure you put your toiletry bag in a large snap lock bag in case of spillages, as can happen under air pressure. Its not nice to arrive with your shampoo all over your clothes!

2. How much is too little?

When you have to go and buy a jumper because you are freezing, or a top because you are roasting, fresh underwear because you couldn’t get your washing dry, bathers because that pool looked so inviting and you didn’t think you’d be swimming, or those new shoes are crippling you so you need others, then you know you have taken too little!  So plan plan plan! With careful planning you can take everything you need in one medium size case. Which cases are best? Thats a whole other topic for next time!

3. Packing cubes

These are the best invention ever for me! You can get these very inexpensively, I bought the Kmart ones, three  in a set (mixed sizes) for under $10 a set. The small one holds all my undergarments, nightwear etc. Accessories go in the other small one. The medium one takes all my tops and the larger one takes all my bottoms. It’s as simple as that. Then you just have your toiletries in a waterproof snapback bag, shoes in snapback bags and a couple of spare jumbo snapback bags to hold washing until you can do your laundry.

The beauty of packing cubes is, it is so simple to pack and unpack. You can actually pack a week ahead of time using this method, as if you need to put something else in, you just open one cube! If you need something in your case, just take out the cube, you don’t need to rummage through all your clothing. If you end up with a bag check at the airport it is much better than having all your clothes rummaged though too!

4. Roll or Fold? 

Personally, having tried both methods, you can definitely fit more in if you roll your clothes and they are far less crushed and wrinkled. Of course, taking clothes that resist   wrinkling in the first place helps. Just roll each item and place side by side in the packing cube.

5. Things you can’t do without!

Your passport, and it must be valid for six months from the date when you are due to return from your travel, not the date when you leave for your travel

Copies of all your documentation. Photos on your phone are good, as long as you don’t lose your phone, or your phone dies! So paper copies are a must. And keep them in your hand luggage in case your luggage is delayed or goes missing! Make sure you also have copies of your travel insurance too, with relevant contact numbers. You can’t take it for granted that nothing will happen!

Register your travel with the government at www.smartraveller.gov.au before you leave or overseas. 

Leave a copy of your itinerary (and ideally copies of vital documents) with someone trusted at home.

Make sure you have enough funds. We find a cash card ideal that lets you withdraw the currency in whichever country you are in. Our personal favourite is the Qantas card but there are many options out there. Using this avoids those nasty overseas exchange rate transactions on purchases, and you can lock in exchange rates for a number of countries before you go.

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Help! I’m drowning in paperwork

Do you have piles of paper on your desk? All that information you have been wanting to scan and archive?

Business cards waiting to be entered into your database?

What about your computer files? Is your inbox jam packed with emails that need sorting, categorising and clearing up. Its a bit like a wardrobe! You can pile everything in there and it just sits on the floor unless you have “hangers” to put them on.

This is where I can help you as a VA! let me take care of the mundane tasks while you get on with the important stuff only YOU can do!

Give me a call to discuss how I can help.

 

 

Fear of flying!

 

I had an innate fear of flying! If I knew I had to fly, I would have nightmares for weeks ahead of the flight. Always the same dream: the plane had a glass bottom that I could see through and it was endlessly going along the run way never taking off! There was no logical reason for my fear! However when I was on a plane, I tried not to put my full weight on the seat (as if I could somehow lighten the load on the plane!!!), and going to the bathroom meant undoing my seatbelt! Definitely not an option.

What a difference now. In the past nine years I have logged up around three hundred flights (that is not journeys, but I count a flight as where I get on a plane, fly somewhere and get off again, even if I then get on another flight! I am no longer fearful though I must admit I say a prayer before every flight!

What has made the difference for me?

  • I try to sit as close to the front of the plane as possible, you feel less turbulence.
  • I watch “air crash investigation” type programs on TV. You’d think this would be a silly thing to do, but it has actually reinforced, for me, just how safe planes are.
  • I “choose” my plane when flying. Just check which plane is being used when you do your booking. I actually don’t want to be on a small plane so I avoid these every time. Just check the flights offered when booking. For me, a 737 is the smallest I want to go on.
  • In all my flights, even though there has been turbulence on occasions, I have never experienced a huge turbulence where the plane “drops”. I never want to either, but it just reassures me that it is NOT a common occurrence. So I don’t dwell on it.
  • It has been a case of “mind over matter”. I CHOOSE not to let fear rise up in me! What I have found ironical, and very funny to me, is the number of times I have sat next to a very nervous flyer and I spend the time encouraging them it’s ok! I never fail to smile at the irony of this.
  • In extreme cases of fear of flying, you can attend one of the many courses available to overcome this fear.

Finally, If I can do this, ANYONE can do it.

5 Hot travel tips to make flying a breeze

Travelling, especially on vacation, is a joy to most people. The planning, the checking and all the associated details that go with it….. flights, transfers, accommodation, activities, insurance, visas, what to pack, currency exchange…. the list goes on.

  1.  Did you know there are certain days of the week that are cheaper to book flights on? Tuesdays and Wednesdays are counted as the cheapest options, and surprisingly enough, Saturdays ranks up there too. Why? Most people want to get to their destination to enjoy a whole weekend, so tend to fly Fridays or Friday nights even. Same applies for mid week flights. Don’t pick the early morning flights full of business commuters and you will get a cheaper flight.
  2. Nervous flying? If you sit at the back of the plane you are more likely to feel turbulence. Generally the further to the front of the plane you are, the less movement.
  3. How do you get seats closer to the front or “pointy end”? Well number one is staying loyal to one airline, collecting status credits which takes you up the tiers to achieve more options. This way you get to choose your preferred area of seating right from booking. But did you know that the airlines generally release the blocked seating 80 hours out from the flight, enabling you to select your preferred seat.
  4. Check out which flights go direct, which entail stop overs,  what days, what type of plane will be used (737 or jumbo type) to work out your best options. this entails large amounts of research…. or you can let me, as a VA, do this for you! Saves you the time and the $$$. You tell me your destination and dates and I will do the work and tell you your best options.
  5. Is your passport expiry date valid? Do you know that most countries require your passport to be valid for six months? And this is from the END of travel, not the start of travel. Don’t take the chance of being turned down for your flights at the airport!