Tried and True Travel Tips

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Summer has finally arrived and many of us will fly off to cooler climates to see family or take a vacation.  But before you pack and head to the airport, read on to see some travel tips and packing tricks that may save you time.  As a former marketing manager for Southwest Airlines and currently a busy Mom who flies several times a year, I have used some of my time tested travel tips time and time again. 

Consider Carry On Rules Before You Carry On

An easy way to remember the carryon guidelines is to think 3-1-1.  Containers that are in your carry-on bag must be 3.4 oz. or smaller.  All items should be placed in a 1 quart size clear plastic zip-top bag and one carry-on bag per passenger should be placed in the security bin.  If you know the rules, you will get through security much faster than those who don't.  To see the most up-to-date travel rules, visit

You can’t take your water bottles or any beverage bottle though the security checkpoint, so drink up and recycle before you get in line.  You must also put your laptop and other electronic devices in an individual bin, so have it out of your briefcase.  And wear easy access shoes since those have to come off, too.

To ensure that your items are 3.4 oz. or under, check out a very useful website called  This cool website has been around for four years and carries just about every product you can think of in the FAA regulated size.  I ordered the Grab It & Go Essentials Travel Kit for Men that sells for $11.99 for my husband.  All Travel Sizes also sell a kit for women that includes 3 oz. items like hair spray, mouthwash, shampoo and more.  Other useful small sized items include toilet paper to go and flushable wipes, which most Moms find extremely helpful on a trip.  This website also offers free shipping on orders totaling $30 or more

Tried & True Travel Tips for Families

Packing Tricks:

My best suitcase space saving tips come from the flight attendants that I met when I was a marketing manager with Southwest Airlines.  Roll clothes instead of folding and you will not only fit more in your suitcase, but you will also minimize wrinkles.  To keep clothes perfectly pressed, wrap your rolled bundle in a recycled dry-cleaning bag for the best results.  And stuff chunky bracelets and necklaces in socks and then put the socks in the shoes.  With these tricks, you won’t believe how much more you can pack in one bag.

Although I have shown this several times this year, I've got to mention it again because I didn't forget one single thing on my last three trips.  The Pack This! checklist pad has tear-off sheets that display an exhaustive checklist of everything that you may need for your big trip. From stuff you expect like sunglasses to easily forgotten items like a lint roller or insect repellant, everything is covered.  I ordered my 60-sheet pad for $8 from a cool organizational website called

Streamline Suggestions at the Airport

We have found that when we follow the following tips, we proceed to our gate quicker and experience less stress at the airport….

*Arrive 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international trip.  And since airports are like malls now, there is always plenty to do if you find that you have extra time on your hands.

*Consider putting all of your important documents in a big clear zip lock bag.  I keep all four of our boarding passes, passports and itineraries in my one clear bag so that I can see what I need to pull out quickly and easily for the airport personnel.

*Don’t store away those backpacks yet just because school is over.  Both of my kids do well toting their own backpacks around the airport with their entertainment, reading and snacks packed away in their own bag that they are responsible for now that they are bigger….I love that!

*Keep some extra baggies on hand for trash and Heaven forbid….a barf bag because with kids, you never know!  I actually keep one oversized zip lock bag, along with a bigger bag to conceal the contents,  if one of mine gets sick.  The zip lock bag is big for a quick and easy aim and the zip lock keeps the yucky stuff in and air-tight (keeping the odor locked in) until it can be properly disposed of…sorry to be gross, but this works! 

My Favorite Travel Toiletries

*Goody QuikStyle Absorbent Microfiber Bristles because this funky-looking brush dries hair faster, which is great when we are sharing one hotel bathroom!  My daughter finishes faster because her hair dries in half the time with this cool brush.  Sold at Walgreens.

*If you are looking for professional salon style products in FAA approved travel sizes, check out Backstage Salon & Spa in Tempe.  Professional brands like Big Sexy Hair and Hempz Hydrating Shampoo are sold in travel sizes for $2 each.  Backstage is located at Guadalupe and McClintock next to Trader Joe's.

*Pack Toe Juice for a variety of head-to-toe needs!  Toe Juice by Dermavine is sold at Walgreens and treats ailments like Eczema, athlete’s foot, warts and more.  I was thrilled when they came out with travel sizes.  They also have the travel size hand sanitizer called Hog Wash that is perfect for travel, too!

*Shady Wipes SPF 30 Sun Protection Wipes are paraben free, water resistant and dermatologist recommended.  I love having sunscreen in handy travel wipes.  Buy your pack at

*For good travel coffee (because I'm a mom who must have my morning fix) try Nescafe Memento coffee packets.  Just mix one packet with hot water and you get an instant coffee drink in varieties like cappuccino, caramel latte and mocha.  Perfect for traveling.

*Cenoire sonic toothbrush is the perfect travel toothbrush because it is an electric toothbrush that is compact, so it travels easily in your makeup bag, suitcase or purse.  My dentist recommends using an electronic toothbrush and ever since my family made the switch, our check-ups have shown improvements with our gums. To learn more about the sleek and stylish Cenoire toothbrush visit Also sold on

*Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser comes in a great travel size now.  Just last week, I had several gals ask me what I use to wash my face.  I have had the absolute best results with Cetaphil, so I was thrilled when the travel size came out last year. I also sport very sensitive skin, so I'm happy to report that Cetaphil is the most gentle facial cleanser that I have found.  Cetaphil sells at drug stores and many grocery stores.

*Band-Aid plus Antibiotic bandages because if someone needs a band-aid on the run, these box of bandages comes with the ointment on the band-aid to prevent infection.  So with this brand, there is no need to pack a tube of ointment and I'm all for extra space in my mom bag.

*philosophy clear days ahead acne spot treatment because it is travel-sized, by the well-respected philosophy line and with since I now have a teen and a tween, spot acne care has become a newly requested item!  Sold at philosophy stores, Nordstrom, Macys and Ulta beauty supply stores.

And when you return home, don’t forget to donate your extra unused travel-sized toiletries to a variety of charities that can really use them to help the folks who are in need.

So happy travels and remember when it comes to air travel, knowledge is power.  Knowing how to pack and how to get through security smoothly will reduce your stress and save you time and money.  And that is the right way to kick off your vacation.  What are your best travel tips? 

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