Preparing for travel, I’ve had the opportunity to purchase some indispensable items and test out some great gear. Being the carry-on-queen I’m always conscious of weight, packing size, and if possible multiple uses of an item if it is going to make the cut and be invited into my one accompanying bag. I hope you find the following as useful as I have.

Language books

Let me be honest and up front: mastering a second language (little lone a third or forth) has always been a challenge for me. I have the greatest admiration for people who collect languages like Instagram followers. But if you’re anything like me, keeping it simple, with the help of visuals can help. While these may feel a little like returning to elementary school in their simplicity, they are remarkably effective for learning the basics. And as we all know, having an understanding of words and phrases under your belt can make travel much more enjoyable.

See it & Say it in Spanish

See it & Say it in French

See it & Say it in Italian

See it & Say it in German

Comfort gear

Trekology inflatable camping mat

This is the comfortable and compact sleeping mat I wish I had had during several days camping in the Italian Dolomites with my daughter last summer. If you haven’t read about our “tenting light” experience yet, check out the link HERE. Needless to say, this sleeping mat is a lot better than the half yoga mat equivalent we used. Unless you need a mother/daughter bonding camping experience story which will be repeated until the end of time, may I suggest you pick up one of these? All my family members have one now, and I even keep two in my vehicle – to be able to sleep in the back of the van in an emergency. Ninja packing tip: this mat will fit rolled up in a shoe inside your bag.

Handy to have

Wandf foldable duffel bag

I always travel light with a carry on bag, but inside that bag I wouldn’t be without an additional lightweight and durable fold up duffel bag. This item is indispensable as an additional day bag for smaller outings, or as a great way to “expand your load” when returning home. It’s durable enough to toss in with checked bags, or sized properly to take as your carry on to be able to check your other bag. I basically use it to check stuff that is OK to go missing for a few days (airlines usually find and deliver your stuff eventually). Think stinky hiking boots, dirty laundry or guide books no longer in use, allowing you room to retrieve gifts and goodies secured in your carry on.




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