My top 10 travel items

I was a flight attendant for three years. It didn’t matter if I had a 24 hour layover or a seven day block of trips, I had the horrible habit of over packing. I religiously had to sit on my suitcase or ask for help from the pilots to close it in between trips.

 

7-ways-to-pack-lighter-mixandmatch-360x240After leaving the airline industry and trading my suitcase on wheels for a simple backpack while traveling through Central America, I learned you don’t need nail polish to match every single bikini and some things are better left at home.

 

Here are my top 10 survival items I can not travel without.

  1. Baby Lips

I love this product! Not only is it affordable and easy to buy almost anywhere, but it serves as a great soft moisturizer and color at the same time. I used to love glosses that came in tubes but found they didn’t hydrate my lips as well. They plastic glosses in squeeze tubes can melt and leak, and forget a windy day. Hair blowing into to glossy lips is always a disaster. Baby Lips has so many subtle and fun colors too!

baby lips

2. Foldable bag

With all these baggage fees who wants to travel heavy now days? Yet, you never know when you will need extra space for souvenirs and purchases made when traveling. Maybe you are traveling to a destination and taking a small trip outside of that destination and don’t necessarily need or want to bring all your gear. The foldable travel bag is a great solution and there are many sizes and brands easily found on Amazon.

foldable travel bag

3. Jacket in a bag

I was always in limbo of whether or not to bring my bulky winter jacket on vacation down south. Sure I’d be freezing after I arrived getting back to my car, but did I want to lug it around? Well now I travel with a jacket in a bag. This plush jacket is so warm and can easily roll up and be packed into your carry on. It can serve as a pillow if you get stuck during a connection. Even traveling to warm destinations, it is nice to have a jacket. Hikes up mountains in even the hottest counties can get chilly, and you never know when you will need it when you least expect it.

jacket in a bag

4. Nail Polish Remover Pads

I love having my nails painted, but I despise when they chip. I have a horrible habit at picking at them once one little nail chips. Traveling with liquids can be a pain, so I carry this tiny package of wipes when I travel. They work really well. Just a few pads wipes off a few layers of polish and I never have problems going through security with them packed in my carry on.

nail polish wipes

5. Boo Boo Serum

This is one of my top travel items. Forget toting around an array of products for every ailment and beauty regimen. This all natural product made with organic ingredients is a miracle in a bottle. It is 1 ounce, so I can pack it into my carry on. It heals every skin ailment under the sun. Bug bites, sunburns, fungal infections, cuts, burns, and it even works well nourishing my skin and relaxing wrinkles. It is gentle enough to use on my baby when she had eczema or diaper rash, and my husband uses it on his cracked hands.

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6. Pens, Pens, and more Pens

As a writer, I find you can never have one too many pens. How quickly they can just disappear when you need them the most. Paper you can find almost anywhere. Napkins, receipts, airplane magazines are always accessible. You never know when you will spark a great idea or want to exchange numbers and your cell phone is dead. Customs forms can be a pain when you are in a hurry with no pen, and writing down tips from locals.

pens

7. Zip lock bags

I always carry a few extra on me. They are great for security when you need to get your liquids through, or if you have dirty socks or wet clothes and don’t want to contaminate your luggage.

plastic bag

8. Cute Slippers

I find it so gross when I am traveling and the passenger next to me decides it is time to get comfortable and take off his shoes to let his feet breathe. I once had a guy next to me not even wearing socks! I always bring a newer pair of cute slippers to wear on the plane or trains during long periods of travel. They are great for going down the halls of hotels too when you need to get ice or get something from the front desk, but don’t want to put on your shoes, and they are a fun conversation piece.

slippers

9. Plastic Zip Wallet

These are so convenient when traveling. I’ve been using the same crusty one for over ten years. When you are at the beach and traveling alone with no one to watch your stuff, having a cheap zip wallet gives you some freedom to worry less about the money you are carrying on you. I normally bring the money I need for the day and possibly a credit card and house keys. When I set up my towel, I subtly dig a hole under my towel and bury the wallet before placing my towel and other non valuable items back on the towel. That way if my backpack happens to get stolen, I don’t have to worry about my money or credit cards. Just make sure high tide isn’t coming, or you don’t hike an hour away like I did once and remember your wallet is still buried after you get back into town. Luckily I found my wallet after digging like a dog hours later, but it was a close call.

wallet

10. Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets, not only do they make your clothes smell good, but dryer sheets work as bug repellents. Try rubbing your clothes and skin with a few sheets before a hike and see if your hiking buddy gets more bites than you. You can add them to your shoes to not only make shoes smell better during travel, but ward off bugs at your feet. They work great for taming wild hair too! A simple and cheap solution to travel woes.

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While those are my top 10 items, here are a few others items that can come in handy when traveling.

  • Lock- you never know if you need a locker or storage for stuff when traveling
  • Resistance band- they are easy to carry and keep your body in check if you don’t have a gym nearby and find yourself over indulging in delicious cuisine during your travels.
  • 2 copies of your passport and credit cards stuffed in separate travel bags. If you lose one, you still have another copy.
  • Poncho- it is easily flattened and small to travel with. You don’t have to worry about it being misplaced or broken like an umbrella.
  • Extra flip flops or water shoes. I love water shoes for the versatility of them. I can jog in them, splash through rivers, and they dry so fast.
  • A clean pair of panties, tiny mouth wash, and toothbrush in my purse- just in case my luggage gets lost or I get stranded temporarily.

Bon Vogayage!

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Sesame Orange Chicken

I’ve come a long way since the days of living in the city and ordering in delivery. I used to be scared of touching raw meats, but I got over that hurdle and found my place in the kitchen. Recently, it was my turn to host dinner for my in-laws. My mother in law never fails to impress us with her Sunday dinners. From a spread of appetizers to gourmet fresh unique meals, we always leave satisfied.

I wanted to make an easy dish that wouldn’t be time consuming considering I’m pregnant with a toddler, tasty, and simple. The last time we all ordered in Chinese delivery, it was a huge disappointment, so I decided to attempt a healthy version on Sesame Orange chicken.

It was so easy to make and flavorful I had to share. It took less time to make than waiting for takeout, and it was quite tasty!

Ingredients
2 medium chicken breasts, cut into small cubes (about 1 inch by 1 inch)
3 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon all purpose flour (substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch for gluten-free option)
a pinch each of sea salt and pepper (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
sesame seeds and/or thinly sliced green onions for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the chicken breast cubes to a medium bowl along with the cornstarch and flour (and salt and pepper, if using). Stir to coat. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and while it’s heating whisk together the orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, and cornstarch until well combined. Set aside.

  3. Once the skillet has heated, add the oils and then the chicken coated in the cornstarch and flour.

  4. Brown the chicken in the skillet until each side is crispy and golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

  5. Pour the orange juice mixture over the chicken in the hot skillet and toss the chicken in the sauce until it thickens.

  6. Serve over rice with a side of steamed veggies.

  7. Garnish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds (if desired).

Recipe Notes

Feel free to use more cornstarch in place of the all purpose flour if you stick to a gluten-free diet. The added flour helps the chicken get extra crispy, but it’s not necessary.

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Even my husband approves!