Top 5 Travel Tips | Nik Snacks

This is the first of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have  tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun.

Bonjour, je m'appelle Nicolette* and I spending my free time traveling around the world. I have a yearly goal of visiting ONE international destination every year. I cannot believe my luck. I get to travel to the most amazing places.

Most of the time, I travel solo and occasionally I pick ONE or two friends to accompany me on my international adventures. I have been traveling solo for over 10 years and I have packing down to a SCIENCE. I have never missed a flight, I don't pay for extra luggage and I manage to have everything I need and look like a fashion plate at every port.

Lavender fields at Matanzas Creek Winery

Only pack ONE carry-on.
That's it.
No checked luggage. No baggage fees. No problem.

You can safely pack up to 10 days worth of clothes, accessories and essentials into one bag. Let me show you how:

Most airlines allow one carry-on bag and one personal item. Your carry-on standard luggage should measure 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. It's meant to be stowed away in the overhead compartment, but I usually slide it in the seat in front of me and don't worry about shuffling others' items in those compartments. Also, bashing someone in the head with your bag is the worst cardinal sin of airline travel next to people taking their shoes off and farting.

Your personal item dimensions should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm), because FAA rules say it should be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

1. Start with essentials: undergarments (bra, underwear, socks, hosiery). Count the number of days you'll be on your trip and add 2 pair. No more than 2 bras (strapless and conventional) and 2 pairs of shoes (flats or sneakers; sandals or boots). 

2. Next, think of dresses, rompers and other one-piece options. Separates include tops, t-shirts, sweaters and pants, skirts, leggings. Mix and match your options so you have plenty to choose. Use the same formula as you do for undergarments. Count and add 2.

Don't forget nightwear. I always do and I end up sleeping in my clothes, which I hate. 

3.There's no need to "plan outfits" when your baseline choices give you options throughout your trip. Last, choose accessories: bathing suit, jewelry, outerwear (blazers, cardigans, light jackets).

4.Your toiletry bag or as I like to call it, your TSA bag, will be in your personal bag. No need to pack hair products (save for the gel you use to tame that pesky cowlick), a dryer, flat iron, and in some cases, a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

Don't forget 3-1-1 for carry-ons -- up to 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to be placed in the screening bin (unless you have TSA pre-check, which is worth all 8,500 pennies, even if you only travel twice a year--and it is valid for FIVE years) 
[I admit, I always pack more than 1 TSA bag in my luggage]

Call ahead to your hotel or message your Airbnb host and ask what, if any, personal amenities will be available. You can explain your conservative approach to packing and you may be surprised what the answers will be. As much planning as you put into your trip, invest the same amount of time into packing your one and only carry-on.

You can safely and securely pack one suitcase for your trip while still being fashionable. There are ways to be a fashion plate while being conservative with all of your choices. 

Next up: Top 5 Travel Snacks Tips

*My first full name is Nicolette and the only people who call me this are bill collectors and people who went to elementary school with me.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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