Thoughts From a Cathedral in Vienna

Almost two years ago, I went on an amazing month-long trip to Europe. After writing my blog post about the benefits of a travel journal, I decided to reread the ones I have created. I came across an entry about St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. I thought it was worth sharing, and it helps explain my heart and passion behind travelling. enjoy.

“Yesterday I went to St. Stephen’s cathedral for church. Yep it was Sunday. The service was in Latin or German, I still do not know which. It was a truly beautiful Romanesque building. I know this because my Art History professor told me to memorize every era of architecture all the way down to each part of a doric column. Once I got through naming all the parts of the building in my head, I started thinking about the people that have been in that church. I would look up at the ribbed vaulted ceilings and think of the people who looked up at the same ceilings and thought about God. They found hope in this church, and they found God. Being in a service put me back in a time when you needed those ceilings and the ornate architecture to get through the day. To get through to God. There was also a homeless man there. Yes, he looked up at the ceiling, but he also sang with immense faith. It’s fun to see famous people sing on stage, but I would trade anything to see a homeless man worship. I guess that moment is what makes me want to create a nonprofit, to see people with hope.”

I will be posting tomorrow about Vienna, Austria to compliment this post!

Top Things To Do in Geneva

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  1. Visit the United Nations

When I went to the United Nations during study abroad, we were able to tour the building. It was incredible the amount of countries and languages that interact in this building. While it is ideal to tour the building, the outside is a must-see, as well. Not only is there the rows of all the flags, but there is the Broken Chair memorial. The Broken Chair is a giant chair (39 feet high) with a leg missing. It was created in opposition to land mines, and is owned by Handicap International.

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  1. International Monument de la Reformation (Reformation Wall)

This is a monument that represents key figures in the Protestant Reformation.

  1. St. Peter’s Cathedral

I recommend climbing the tower in St. Peter’s Cathedral because you not only get a beautiful view of Geneva, you get to see the detail of the Cathedral up close. It amazes me that not only were the architects intricate on the ground level (where people will see it), but there is an incredible attention to detail all the way to the top.

  1. Jet d’Eau (Water Jet)

This is Europe’s tallest fountain that blasts 132 gallons over 450 feet in the air! I would recommend walking up to the fountain. On a sunny day, me and my friends grabbed some gelato, walked down the rock path, and found a place to sit and hang out for a while. It is important to take time to enjoy the place you are at!

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  1. Go Paddle Boating on Lake Geneva

This was my favorite thing I did in Geneva! Me and my friend rented a paddle boat and spent, what felt like hours, on Lake Geneva. We could see beautiful views, talk about life, and relax. I remember we found a bottle floating in the water, so we put a message that said, “Greetings from Texas” in it. We remembered shortly after that we were in a lake and not an ocean, so whoever found the message might be confused. We also listened to “I Want to Feel Alive” by The Lighthouse and The Whaler. It is a song that transports me back to that moment every time I listen to it. Also, it is a great song.

  1. Shop in Old Town

Geneva is super fancy. So, if you want to feel just as fancy, Old Town is the place to shop. Here is where a shopper would find the luxurious (out of my price range) shops. Although, it doesn’t hurt to look. There are great cafes for lunch in this area, too!

  1. The Flower Clock

If you find a postcard for Geneva, chances are it has the Water Jet or Flower Clock on it. So, while it isn’t something to do, it is something to see. So, put on your touristy outfit and check it out!

  1. The First Red Cross

I wasn’t able to tour this place due to time, but I was able to see it. It is incredible what the Red Cross does, and was special to see where it originated. I was able to see it when I was going to the United Nations.

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Benefits of a Travel Journal

            I started to keep a travel journal when it was a part of my grade for study abroad in college. While it was hard to keep up with it while travelling, it is now priceless to me. I have a few suggestions to help (that don’t include getting graded) keep a travel journal.

 1.      Write what you can, when you can.

Take it with you everywhere you go. I would jot down ideas throughout the day in a notebook. At the end of the day, I would write down the details and stories. Find a time that works for you! If you are a morning person, go to a local coffee shop and write.

I love to paint and draw, so when I got tired of writing, I would doodle what I was seeing or experiencing.

2.     Dont feel bad if you dont fill up your journal.

Just because you don’t fill up your journal, doesn’t mean your trip wasn’t fulfilling. I have never filled a journal, but I am filled with stories and memories (hence the blog). To be super cheesy, it’s not how many words you write, but what is in the words you write.

3.     On the plane flight back home, write.

I always write on the plane flight back to make sure that I wrote down what is most important to me. These are things that I want to make sure I don’t forget. I have them in my last section of my journal which makes them easy to find.

Sometimes it is just a list of my favorite things I did. Other times it is a detailed story of a conversation I had with someone.

 4.    Try a blog.    

I created a travel blog when I went to Europe. While this was mostly for my mom, my friends and family could keep up with my experiences I was having. A blog is beneficial for people that prefer typing rather than writing. It also helped me organize my photos with my memories. I could write about an experience and have the photo to compliment it. It is also a good way to keep various people from back home updated.

Here is an excerpt from that blog:

“Day Ate

 

To begin this blog post, I want to let yall know that I’m in a cafe in Europe writing this entry. I never thought I would ever be able to do this, and I am so pumped right now. anyways..

 

Yesterday we woke up and met to go to the Eagle’s Nest. There were no birds there. It was super foggy so I couldn’t see any of the remarkable views of the mountains. However, you can still google it if you want to see just how awesome it was. There was also a trail! even though it was raining and kind of slippery, I still went down the trail. (sorry mom). If you know me, you know that I love hiking. Heck I still wish I was back on my week-long hike that I did a couple of years ago. So, needless to say it made me feel alive hiking up and down that short path. I really hope I have that opportunity when I got to Switzerland to hike some more. I got a shot glass for my dad at the eagle’s nest gift shop, and for myself I got some legit socks.

 

Then for lunch we stopped in this small town where I got BRATWURST! I know my family back home was waiting to hear when I got bratwurst. It was amazing. I know what I’m getting for all the days that I’m in Germany.

 

Then we got back to the hotel and I headed out with some friends to Fuxn. Its sounds the way you kind of hoped it didn’t and means “fun” in German. No surprise here, I got some more Bratwurst. It was still amazing. I also got their house red wine, which was SUPER good.”

You see, it doesn’t have to make any sense, and can have the worst grammatical errors. The important thing is that I can look back on it and remember what I did and how I felt in those moments.

5.    It is the best souvenir.

While I am a souvenir junkie, I would never give up any of my travel journals. Travel journals last forever, and can put you back into a specific moment. The worst thing a traveler can do is invest in a once in a lifetime journey, and not document it! Find what works for you: vlogs, blogs, journals, photo albums, etc!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Things To Do in Boston

 

Me and my family love to take family vacations to Cape Cod. On our way in and out of Cape Cod, we love to spend a few days in Boston. That’s is why I am excited to share some of my favorite things that I have done over the years in Boston, Massachusetts. Also, most of these things are FREE!

 

Walk the Freedom Trail

 

            This is the first free thing on this magnificent list. If you are a history buff, you will find some amazing historic views on this 2.5-mile walk. You are bound to not get lost on the trail because it is a brick path that says “Freedom Trail” on it. This was very helpful for my dad. On this trail, you will find the Paul Revere House!

 

Boston Commons

 

            This is a beautiful city park in Boston. Making an appearance in Jimmy Fallon’s movie, Fever Pitch, this park is a great place to sit and relax. If you want to take a break from all the tourism Boston has to offer, this is the place to go. You can sit on a bench and people watch (my favorite) or even have a nice picnic (my actual favorite because…food).

 

Go to Cheers

 

            Okay, I will be honest, I haven’t been able to completely enjoy Cheers because I have only been 21 for a year now. Seeing it was fun, but this is the first thing on my bucket list when I go back to Boston. Cheers was a popular show that I grew up watching with the fam, so it holds a special place in my heart.

 

Eat a Bowl of Clam Chowder

 

            The fact that I loved Boston was incredible because I don’t like seafood. However, I love New England Clam Chowder at a true Boston restaurant. If you are going to get a cup of chowder, find your own hole-in-the-wall place and enjoy. Some of my suggestions that serve delicious New England Clam Chowder are Legal Seafood and Jimmy’s.

 

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

 

            If you are a food buff, you’re welcome. Faneuil Hall has three different markets in one location. This is a fun market to get groceries, but since me and my family only visit for a couple of days, we grab lunch here. This is also a place to go if you can’t decide what you want to eat. Instead of having the “I don’t know…what you want?” argument, go to the place that has everything. This has local pizza, soups, salad, sandwiches, Boston classics, and so much more. Tip: the seating can be hard come by with big groups. My advice is split up or take shifts saving spots and getting food.

 

Go to a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park

 

            Whether you are a Red Sox fan or not, Fenway park is a must do in Boston! There are so many traditions such as singing Sweet Caroline and the Green Monster. I went when the Red Sox were playing the Yankees, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. Being a long-standing rivalry, there was a lot of tension in the stands (especially after the game…). I am not a huge sports fan, but it was amazing being a part of the passion in Fenway Park.

           

New England Aquarium

 

            This is something the whole family can enjoy. The New England Aquarium is located on the pier and includes many exotic sea creatures. There are multiple types of passes and exhibits to fit your personal preferences and schedule. My personal favorite was the Atlantic Harbor Seals Exhibit!

 

Bunker Hill Monument

 

            Another piece of history to dive into is the Bunker Hill Monument. I went with my dad and sister. The monument has a total of 294 steps to climb to the top. One of the funniest memories is when we finished going up the monument and were leaving. My dad looked back at the monument and said, “It didn’t look that big when we first came!” It is a lot of steps, so wear something comfortable (especially comfortable shoes). I still wear my Bunker Hill shirt from time to time to remember my time in Boston.

 

Go on a Ghost Tour

 

            This is a unique and fun way to tour Boston. My family and I went on a historic ghost tour at night. We wanted a tour that was playful and explored downtown Boston. There are a lot of ghost tours offered in Boston, so you can find something that fits your style. There are family friendly ones (like the one I went on) and there are more scary ones as well. Take time to see what’s all available!

Ways to Travel in Your 20s

 

I love to travel, and I always try and find the best ways to travel. Don’t let your age stop you from reading this post! I am writings this for everyone, so enjoy!

 

 

 

There are a lot opportunities out there for young adults! So, I narrowed down the list to the most popular and my favorites! Let me know if you want to see information about other opportunities! Since I am 21 years old, I am speaking from my experiences and research! I am always researching this subject for myself and others, so feel free to contact me with your questions and feedback!

Internships

            This is great for college students and recent graduates, but it’s open to anyone! With this opportunity, you get to kill two birds with one stone (never liked that analogy, but it is relevant). You not only get experience in your career, but you get to travel! The best ways to get connected with internships are: LinkedIn, the company’s website (usually under careers), and networking.

 

            My advice with an internship abroad is: enjoy the job and location. I recommend not choosing a location and searching for any available internships. However, on the flipside, don’t be too eager to accept a job if you don’t think you would enjoy the location. Research, research, research. There is going to be a lot of pros and cons with each internship and location. Take the time to hear other people’s experiences in the company, and learn about the location.

 

 Study Abroad

 

             This is my jam. I highly recommend doing a study abroad program while you are in college. Not only do you get to get college credit, but you get to see the world with your friends!

 

            I spent a month in Europe and made the greatest friends (key word: made, because I didn’t know anyone going into it). Me and best friend met during study abroad, and loved travelling the world  so much together, that we are planning our next trip together! I will create another post that will tell more stories of study abroad, but here is a funny one. I went to see the band Pentatonix with the group in Geneva, Switzerland at a music festival. We came two hours early to get good seats (afraid that this wouldn’t be enough time). They were the final act, so we listened to quite a few local bands before Pentatonix was supposed to come out. Before we knew it, it was midnight, and people were taking down the stage. Confused, we walk up to the set list manager, and ask where Pentatonix was. He said, “They were just on.” Uh oh. So, we went to a local music festival and saw Patatonix…but not the Pentatonix that you (and me) were thinking. While it didn’t turn out to be an epic story, it is still one that I love to share, and I would not change a thing about it.

 

            I also spent two weeks abroad in Rwanda. This was a hybrid of a mission trip and study abroad, but was officially labelled and regarded as a study abroad t. I will talk more about my personal experiences in Rwanda, but check out my blog post “Top Things to do in Rwanda” to see some of the things I was able to be a part of!

 

https://www.ciee.org/

 

 Become an Au Pair

 

            There are a lot of amazing companies that offer connections with families looking for an Au Pair. I would learn and communicate with the family ahead of time, as much as possible. You want to enjoy the family you are working with, trust me. My friend was an Au Pair in Geneva, Switzerland and worked with a family that could be described in the movie, The Nanny Diaries.        

 

            Being an Au Pair is a lot of work. Sometimes you don’t get clear set of hours, so you are constantly in your job. I am personally not passionate about kids and babysitting, so I thought being an Au Pair would not be a good fit. However, if you love kids, this is the perfect job for you. Please don’t let my personal preference steer you away from this kind of opportunity. If you been an Au Pair abroad, and would like to share your story on my blog, please contact me!

 

            Tip: love the place you stay. Take time to see the things around the area you are staying. Look at restaurants, attractions, young adult communities, and places you can travel to if you get time off. If you do something like this during the summer in college, you could connect with friends that are abroad, too!

http://www.bunac.org

 

http://www.allianceabroad.com/

 

 Cruise Lines

            Cruises are a unique and fun way to travel, and there are jobs available with them consistently. This is my new research obsession, because I have been considering working on or with a cruise line. I have heard from multiple people that it is a lot of work. However, it is truly rewarding.

 

            A couple of my roommates in college took a cheap spring break cruise, and loved it. The chose to make it a relaxing and adventurous break from college stresses. Cruises also help with organizing a trip. A cruise has lodging, food, and destinations already planned for you. I went on a cruise in the Baltic Sea with my family, and we to Finland, Sweden, Russia, England, Estonia, and Demark. We could hit the best attractions in in each place with help of ahead-of-time research and the cruise concierge. My favorite place was Helsinki, Finland where I had reindeer meatballs at local market!

 

            Here are some links to cruise line jobs:         

 

https://www.allcruisejobs.com/

 

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ourCompany/career.do

 

https://jobs.carnival.com/careers

 

https://www.ncl.com/about/careers/shipboard-employment

 

 Mission Trips

 

            Mission trips are a great way to learn about a culture, and learn how you can best serve them. Going to a Christian university, I have a lot of connections with people that have gone on a mission trip. I have been on an official mission trip, but it is on the list! If you are connected with a church, inquire about mission trips available. If your church doesn’t a mission trip or one that you can go on, they can connect you with one. Churches will also be able to help you with how to best fundraise which is not only beneficial for a trip, but is helpful for future endeavors as well!

 

Teaching a Language in Foreign Country

 

             This involves similar research in becoming an Au Pair. Most cites that involve Au Pair services and connections, include ways to teach languages in different countries. This is fun way to travel, work in a different country, and help people. Also, there is a huge network of people that you get connected with that are doing similar things as you!

 

 https://greenhearttravel.org/

 

How to Prepare for a Long Fight

Photograph taken at Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France.

Long flights can be boring. Here’s some tips to prepare for a long flight. Most of the things on this list could also help with boredom in general! I do some of these things before a long road trip or a chemotherapy treatment. Like most of my posts, utilize it in what best suits you!

 

 

 

So, you have your plane ticket purchased to go to your dream destination. You calculate the time it’s going to take to get to your destination…uh oh. It’s going to be a long flight, but, not to worry. Here are a few things I do to prepare for my flights.

 

 

 

Create a Legit Playlist

 

 

 

            I use Spotify when creating my playlists for flights. Spotify allows you download your playlist, so you can access it offline and save battery. I recommend starting your playlist and download it at least a day in advance. Once, I started downloading my playlist 30 minutes before my flight, and it made me more stressed than I already was! If you are going on a 6 hour or more flight, I recommend around 300 songs on your playlist. If you don’t have enough songs on your playlist, there is a good chance you are going to hate those songs by the end of your trip. However, too many songs could cause you to skip songs more than listening to them.

 

            Another encouragement is to tailor it to your trip. I love listening to my Africa playlist because it reminds me of the fun times I had in Rwanda.

 

 

 

http://www.spotify.com

 

 

 

Plan Your Outfit

 

 

 

            There are two things you need to plan for your outfit: comfort and warmth. You get the privilege of spending way too many hours in this outfit, so make it comfortable. Some people say you should look a certain way on a plane. I say, wear what you want to wear, you probably won’t see most of those people again. Comfort should include layers for warmth. I always bring a jacket so that I could regulate my temperature better.

 

            Don’t forget (because I have so many times) this outfit becomes an outfit on your trip. So, when you are packing, include your plane outfit with your other outfits. Pro tip: make sure the layers you are bringing on the plane work with other outfits you are bringing in your suitcase. Layers become your best friend for long trips!

 

 

 

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks.

 

 

 

            I don’t know if anyone’s told you, but calories don’t count on a plane. Okay, this might not be a hundred percent true, but treat yourself. I love getting cashews, granola bars, and chocolate treats. Granola bars also come in handy throughout your trip to as a snack. Sometimes you get so caught up in exploring that you forget to eat. I haven’t had this happen to me personally, but I have heard stories.

 

 

 

Download Movies

 

 

 

            A lot of planes for long flights have movies already offered. I suggest watching those first. This summer, I flew from Rwanda to Houston with a connecting fight in Amsterdam. I started the movie Fathers and Daughters at the end of the first flight with my friend, and the movie didn’t show up on the second flight! I waited a month to finish the last fifteen minutes. All that to say, browse the movies when you get on the flight, and if you don’t like what you see, it is nice to have a few movies already downloaded for backup.

 

 

 

Add a Few Free Game Apps

 

 

 

            I tend to fill my time playing Solitaire or Sudoku on my phone while listening to music. Before your flight, I suggest adding a few games that work offline. Don’t add too many games because it might slow down your phone. I also like to use some flight time to learn about new apps.

 

            If you are a blogger, I recommend brainstorming what you’re going to write about throughout the trip and maybe write a few blogs to have on hand. You can never have too many saved blog posts!  

 

 

 

Hydrate!

 

 

 

            Hydrate before you dydrate. Going to Italy, I was not aware of importance of hydration. When I didn’t drink water, my feet swelled to about twice the size. This is a product of dehydration (my body decided to retain water in my stubby toes) and not moving around on the plane. Get up at least every 2 hours and move around, but the more you move, the better you will feel! Even though you are on vacation, your health is still important. I suggest bringing an empty water bottle with filter in your carry on. When you get through all of security, you can fill it up at your gate.

 

 

 

Sanitizers and Wipes

 

 

 

            While we are on a roll with health, don’t get sick. Airplanes have a lot germs, so bring wipes to wipe down your seat tray and remote. You might look like a germaphobe, but you won’t be getting sick. Also, who cares what people think! Hand sanitizer is a must, too! Going throughout the airport you touch a lot of things, and you don’t know who and how many people touched it. Tip: take Emergen-e or other vitamin C supplements to help prevent getting sick as well.

 

 

 

Sleeping Masks, Pillows, and Blankets

 

 

 

            Find what makes you comfortable, and know when is the best time to sleep. Don’t just sleep on the flight when you are tired. This could cause bad jet lag. Tip: Sleep when the place you are going is sleeping, and for sure stay awake when they are awake.

 

            Sleeping masks, pillows, and blankets can help make you plane flight more comfortable. Most planes will give you a blanket on your flight, so bringing a blanket would be your preference. I personally don’t bring a blanket anymore because it saves a lot of space and hassle.  

 

 

 

Invest in Headphones that Work for You

 

           

 

            Don’t forget headphones! Headphones are going to be more expensive in the airport than at a place like Amazon.com. Do research and weigh the benefits of different aspects such as: noise-cancelling, wireless, colors, etc. I would pause before buying the least expensive headphones before your flight. I have bought headphones for around $10, and no matter the brand, they end up physically breaking or just stop working. However, on the flip side, an expensive pair of headphones aren’t guaranteed to have everything you want. When I researched headphones, I found that some of the more expensive headphones lack what I wanted. If you find yourself traveling often, headphones can make or break your experience on your flight. Don’t underestimate this decision like I did!  

 

 

 

Charge while You are Waiting to Board

 

 

 

            Don’t forget to charge your electronics before you get on a plane! Business class and newer planes usually have outlets (mostly in the form of a USB port). However, it’s better to be as prepared as possible before getting on the plane.

 

 

 

Make Sure You Know Where Your Valuables Are Always

 

                       

 

            If you are bringing valuables on the plane, consider a lock for your carry-on luggage. On top of having locks on your luggage, know where your valuables are in your luggage. I always designate a specific pocket in my carry-on that is for my passport. Because of this, I know where it is and can access it quickly.

 

 

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/airline-rules-locked-luggage-61495.html

 

 

 

Top Things To Do in Rwanda

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Visit Musanze

Musanze is the best place to visit to go Gorilla Trekking. It is has very beautiful views of the thousand hills of Rwanda. Just over the hills in the photo below is Uganda.

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Gorilla Trekking

This is a once in the lifetime opportunity that I highly recommend. Rwanda is very well known for their gorillas, so you will be able to find a lot of information and testimonies about it. I made the mistake of not going gorilla trekking. However, people in the group I was with did go on the trek. They said they were led through a jungle with a guide. The guides know exactly where the gorillas are, so they will guide right up to them!

Inema Arts

This place is the best. That is not an exaggeration. Not only is there beautiful art everywhere you look in this gallery, but it also has an amazing café. I got to know the artists and owners in the short time I was there and have kept in touch since! A truly incredible experience!

http://inemaartcenter.com/

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Meze Fresh

While it is important to go to the traditional Rwandan buffets, I recommend trying this restaurant in your trip. If you like Chipotle, this restaurant is very similar. It sells burritos that you can customize to your liking. I recommend adding the garbanzo beans.

https://www.facebook.com/MezeFresh

Belgian Memorial

The Belgian Memorial is a memorial for the Belgian Soldiers that were killed in the Genocide. There is the original building and holes from the genocide. There is also a part of the memorial that explains what specifically happen there.

Hotel des Mille Collines

Known to most tourist as Hotel Rwanda, this is the hotel that kept people during the genocide. It is also has the original pool that provided water to multiple people. This place was a safe haven for many people, and is important to recognize it as such.

Go to a Coffee Plant

When I was in Rwanda, I toured Rwanda Trading Company. It is a coffee factory that produces Rwandan coffee. It started in Little Rock, Arkansas and has grown into a major supplier of Rwandan Coffee. It can be found by going to Westrock Coffee’s website. I also got the opportunity to tour a coffee field, where people sort through the beans. This is where I got my favorite souvenir; a burlap coffee bag with the logo on it.

https://www.westrockcoffee.com/origins/rwanda-trading-company/

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Go to the Market

If you want to share Rwanda with your friends, get them a handmade souvenir from the market! I got so of my favorite items such as: Kitenge jacket, wood carvings, and the classic Rwandan baskets.

Go to a Tea Field

I went to Sorwathe tea factory, and it was incredible. Right when we got out of the car, we smelled the tea in the air. We went on a tour throughout the factory that went through each step of their tea process. At the end of the tour, we did my favorite thing, we drank some! We were able to drink a sample of all their teas, and Silver Tips was a crowd favorite.

https://www.facebook.com/Sorwathe-Tea-Factory-Plantation-348410791844096/

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Rwandan Genocide Memorial

Rwanda has a tragic history, and this memorial displays it incredibly well. This is the memorial that recognizes and honors the people that died in the 1994 genocide. Before going to Rwanda and this memorial, learn about the genocide. The genocide was a major tragedy in a beautiful country.
It is important to recognize the tragic history of Rwanda. It is also important to watch Rwanda grow in beauty and strength each day.

http://www.kgm.rw/

How to Pack in 10 Steps

 

I am here to share with you my top-secret process of packing. Okay, it’s not top secret, but I haven’t told anyone yet! I encourage you to not only listen to my process, but to adjust it to your own style.

 

 

 

Step One: Plan

 

 

 

Before you even bust out the suitcase, you need to know what you are packing for. Create a travel plan or itinerary. This is important to know what you will need for all parts of your trip. I recommend getting it down in writing so it could become a checklist later!

 

 

 

Step Two: Research

 

 

 

If you are doing a lot of attractions on your trip, research what you should bring and wear. For example, when visiting churches and cathedrals, most have dress codes. When I was in Rome, I had to have my shoulders and legs covered to even walk through the entrance. Rules like this are in place to offer respect.

 

Also, research the weather of where and when you are visiting. There are common seasons for rain in places like Dublin and London. When I went to St. Petersburg, Russia, I was caught off guard by 76-degree weather in the summer.

 

Another thing you can research is what people (such as bloggers) recommend you bring to the place you are going. There are many “what to pack for _____” post out there, utilize them!

 

 

 

Step Three: Make a List

 

 

 

While a detailed list could beneficial, it is also time consuming and unrealistic. What I recommend is creating a “Necessities” and “If I Have Space” list.

 

The “Necessities” List includes things you can’t go without. Camera, Camera Card, Underwear, Rain Jacket, Student ID, etc. are things that I put on my list. My warning with this is to make sure you are honest with yourself. Make sure things you don’t need to creep onto this list.

 

The “If I Have Space” List includes things you want to bring, but can go without. This is a dangerous list, too. It won’t punch you in the face, but it might make your bag overweight. I recommend making the list of all the thing you want to bring and narrow it down to one or two of the things when you are ready to go to the airport.

 

These lists could be as comprehensive as you want. Tailor it to your personality and needs!

 

 

 

Step Four: The Suitcase

 

 

 

I would get a medium size suitcase for any trip. While a large suitcase holds more, it is unrealistic to carry abroad. When I went to Italy the first time, I travelled from Rome to Naples to Capri to Pompeii to Florence. I was thought, this is a big trip and I need a bag to match it. NO. After that trip, I spent five weeks travelling Europe. I brought a 23” suitcase for this trip, and it was perfect.

 

Also, know your carry on and what needs to be in it! Always bring travel toiletries and a change of clothes!

 

 

 

Step Five: The Carry On

 

 

 

My favorite carry on so far has been my Patagonia or Osprey backpack with a lot of pockets! My carry on always has a change of clothes and my valuable and/or breakable items. For example, I keep my camera with me. I have my laptop in a separate pocket for easy access in security. Also, I keep my liquids in a baggies that can be easily accessed, as well. Other than that, my carry on has snacks and books that I buy before my trip!

 

 

 

Step Six: Get the stuff together

 

 

 

Look at you itinerary and lists and get the stuff you have all together in one place of your home. Even though you might wear the clothes before your trip, I recommend putting together outfits about two weeks before your trip. By doing this you know what you have and what you need to buy. Also, know what you are planning to put in your carry on.

 

If you love lists like me, you will like this! At this point, I create a “Things I Need to Buy” list. This is a list to tell you what you need (or want) to buy to make sure you are prepared for your trip. This will correlate or be added on to your “Necessities” list.

 

 

 

Step Seven: Its in the bag

 

 

 

Now it’s easy. Just put it all in your suitcase. This is the first time you put all your stuff in your suitcase. I would do this around a week before your trip. If there are clothes that you want to bring but wear in that week before your trip, lay them out and plan for it. Since this is the first time, make sure you have space! There will probably be things you remember to bring or still need to buy. This part of my process usually tells me how much space I am working with.

 

 

 

Step Eight: Repack, Repack, Repack.

 

 

 

I repeat this step constantly throughout the week. I recommend you do this at least twice before you take off. Repacking multiple time helps you know exactly what you are bringing, gives you the ability to organize, and will ultimately provide for a less stressful trip! I organize my bag using packing cubes and Ziploc baggies. These are so beneficial and helpful throughout your trip too! Especially if your hopping from place to place on your trip, packing cubes are a life saver.

 

Make sure you leave space for souvenirs and gifts! NEVER stuff your bag before you go on a trip. You don’t want the reason you don’t buy something special a lack of space in your suitcase!

 

Pro tip: I recommend rolling up your clothes instead of folding or stuffing! It really does save space!

 

 

 

Step 9: Close the Case

 

 

 

Step 10: Enjoy your Adventure!