by Anna Sugden
The summer holidays are upon us, or very nearly! For the romance writers among us, it's conference season. There's going to be a lot of travel happening over the next few months, starting for many RWA members this weekend as we descend on NY.
By the way, hope those of you in the NY area will pop along to the Literacy signing on Tuesday June 28th - it's open to the public and you'll get a chance to catch up with the Banditas and many of our guests, as well as over 500 favourite romance authors. It's all for a good cause too as the money raised from the sales of books will benefit literacy charities in the area.
Anyway, back to today's post ... I thought it would be a useful time to share hints and tips for packing and travelling. Even veteran travellers like myself are always keen to pick up useful ideas to make our trips easier!
So to start you all off, here are my 5 Top Tips:
1. Don't throw away those plastic dry cleaning covers - use them to cover dresses, skirts, shirts and/or trousers. This will keep them from getting too wrinkled and, if you pack them on the hanger, means you can go from case to wardrobe with ease.
2. Pad out your shoes with rolled up underwear, tights (pantyhose), swimsuits or socks. Keeps the shoes from crushing and it's a great way to save room in a tight suitcase.
3. Mix and Match - so many of us over-pack (holds up hand!). We take so many things that we never end up wearing. It's all very well saying to lay out what you're going to take and halve it, but we all know how well that works if you're an over-packer! To get round this, I try to take clothes that I can mix and match. That way you can take fewer of the bulky items like skirts and trousers and you know that you can wear any of your tops with those you do take.
4. Pack an extra flat kit/duffle/sports bag. It's often cheaper to pay for an extra bag than it is to pay overweight charges! Also, get flat rate boxes from the post office, which you can pack flat in your case. These can be much cheaper, especially for shipping books home, than paying the extra luggage charges.
5. Write down the emergency numbers for your credit cards on a slip of paper and store somewhere safe, but separate from your purse or wallet. If the worse come to the worst, and your purse or wallet is stolen, you'll have the emergency numbers to hand.
While we're on the subject - empty your purse or wallet of all the usual junk/cards etc and limit yourself to one or two general cards that you can use anywhere. Credit cards are better than cash/debit cards as they don't access your bank account. If you don't like credit cards, take travellers cheques - they're not just for travelling abroad!
And make sure you don't have your PIN numbers written down anywhere or stored in your cell phone, or that you're not carrying identifying info like your social security card. You'd be amazed how many people do!
For an extra tip - pack any essential medication in your hand luggage. If you need a prescription for your medication, it's worth taking an extra prescription from your doctor in case of emergencies. That way you can get to a pharmacy and get it filled, even if you're miles away from home. That's a good idea too if you need glasses - carry your prescription info around with you - you never know when you'll lose/break your glasses!
What are your Quick Five Travel and Packing tips?