Year in Review, 2018 Travel Goals | RebeccaWanderlusting

2017 Recap & 2018 Travel Goals

I won’t lie to you, 2017 was not my year.  Though, I have no illusions that I’m alone in saying that.  On a very surface level, I didn’t travel as much as I would have liked to this past year.  Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t an awful problem to have.  However, this is a travel blog that I write and not traveling means a lack of content.  So, before we get right into it,  I’d like to start off by saying that one of my resolutions for 2018 is to post more authentic and unique blogs.  I hope to do much more traveling this year, even if it’s smaller trips throughout the Midwest.  So, hopefully, this means I’ll be posting more travel essays and trip planning blogs.

Year in Review, 2018 Travel Goals | RebeccaWanderlusting

That being said, I did have a few highlights in the past year.  I went back to one of my favorite cities in the Midwest: Grand Rapids to see my all-time favorite musician, Aretha Franklin.  I visited St. Louis for the first time via a Pullman Car pulled by an Amtrak Train, an amazing experience in and of itself.  I drove to New Buffalo, MI to experience one of the prettiest beaches on Lake Michigan.  I got the opportunity to explore Toronto and the surrounding area, including Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake.  And, last but not least, I was able to spend more time exploring my hometown of Chicago.

Year in Review, 2018 Travel Goals | RebeccaWanderlusting

Okay, on to the more optimistic portion of this post: my 2018 travel goals:

  1. Later this month I’ll be heading to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico solo for a long weekend of beach time and relaxation.  Let me tell you, I could use it.  I’m very excited to experience Mexico for the first time and most importantly, see Chichen Itza in person.  I’m so looking forward to this trip!! I will share more of my travel plans for this one next week.
  2. In the beginning of March, I’m heading to NYC for a quick trip to visit my cousin, Gracie.  You may remember her from the beautiful photos and words she shared about her journey to Jordan: here, here and here.  I don’t have any solid plans for the weekend except to visit with my friends in the city and enjoy their company.
  3. That being said, I’d also like to visit my lovely friends in Salt Lake City and Denver sometime this year if I can!  It’s lovely to have friends all over the country to visit (and stay with!).
  4. Before work gets too busy (starting in May), I’d like to explore a new Midwestern city for a weekend.  I think maybe Minneapolis, Madison or Indianapolis could be fun.  I could take the Amtrak to any of those cities or rent a car and do a little road trip.  If you have any strong feelings about any of these cities please share!
  5. This summer, I’ll be heading to Traverse City with my family for a long weekend on Lake Michigan.  We’re renting a house right on the lake and plan on relaxing the whooooooole time.  I’d like to check out some of the wineries in the area.  We also will be visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes to swim and explore.
  6. I’m playing with the idea of taking a solo trip to Acadia National Park in the Fall.  I can imagine that it would be the prettiest time to go, and that timeline gives me enough time to save for it.  I think the best way to go out about it would be to fly into Boston and drive up the coast.  I’m dreaming about a little cabin in the woods where I can write and hike all day long.
  7. The last big plan I have for 2018 is to go on a little birthday trip somewhere warm-ish.  I’m thinking of trying to get to Antelope Canyon in Arizona or Albuquerque, NM; somewhere in the Southwest for sure.  Again, if you have any suggestions, please share!

Year in Review, 2018 Travel Goals | RebeccaWanderlusting

I am hopeful that this year will be wonderful and full of adventures, both big and small.

What are your 2018 travel plans?

27 in 27 Goals Recap + A New List | RebeccaWanderlusting

27 in 27 Goals Recap and A New List

What a year it has been.  27 was an interesting age to be; there were certainly a lot of ups and downs.  I feel very proud of what I’ve accomplished in this year, and it makes me hopeful for the year ahead.  Though there were some losses, I also feel like this year brought me some amazing new experiences.  I always start the year with a list of goals correlating with the age I turn, and my list of 27 goals proved to be quite the challenge.  I think I did pretty good considering.  Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Canadian AdventureDONE! – I went to Toronto and Niagara in Ontario in October.  Read about that trip here, here, here or here.
  2. Take a Trip on an Amtrak TrainDONE! – An Amtrak train transported me in style from Union Station in Chicago to Union Station in St. Louis.
  3. Run a Race – My friends, I tried my best to make this happen.  I signed up for two different races this year and couldn’t do one due to an injury and the second one was cancelled on me due to a crazy storm.  This one will have to be added to next year’s list.
  4. Have an Article Published in a MagazineDONE! Magnificent Mile– It was an online magazine but it still counts! I wrote something for Viva Lifestyle & Travel this summer about the here in Chicago.
  5. Read More Non-Fiction  – DONE! Out of the 25 books I’ve read so far this year, 15 of them were non-fiction.
  6. Be Better About NetworkingDONE! – Thanks to Shapr and attending local events, I can confidently say I am better at networking than I was at the start of this year.
  7. Find a CollaborationDONE! – I started the year with a new blog, co-written and edited with a friend of mine (which is now no longer a thing, but that’s totally fine – live and learn!) and am now endqqing the year as one-seventh of a wonderful group of women that host fundraisers for charities in the Chicago area.
  8. Figure Out my Personal StyleDONE! – It was a lot easier to work with a personal style when I don’t have to spend all my fashion money on suits like I used to.  I utilized Stitch Fix and shopping all the good sales to get some key items that suit my simple style.
  9. Invest in a Solid Wardrobe StapleDONE!  – As I said in #8, I was able to get quite a few key pieces like some great black booties and a camel colored trench.
  10. Go to MexicoHALF DONE! This trip is booked but I won’t be going until next month.
  11. Write More Fiction – There was not enough time this year to work on fiction writing, but I’ve got high hopes for the future of my fiction writing.
  12. Make & Sell Some Candles – This was a lofty goal. I made the candles but just ended up burning them myself, so at least I did half of it.
  13. Take a Yoga ClassDONE! – I found a yoga studio by my old apartment that I absolutely loved (Yoga for All Beings in West Town) and went to frequently.  Now, I’m attending a gym in Wicker Park that offers a multitude of other classes that I’ve been exploring.
  14. Learn to MeditateDONE! – I tried out the Headspace App to work on this one and I’m not entirely sure that sitting still for so long is for me, but I’m happy that I pushed through to make it work.
  15. Get a New TattooDONE! See for yourself:27 in 27 Goals List | RebeccaWanderlusting
  16. Explore a New Chicago NeighborhoodDONE! – Lincoln Square: neighborhood guide coming soon.
  17. Get a New JobDONE! – I started a new position as a Catering Sales Manager back in February and have been much happier since.
  18. Go to a National ParkDONE! – The Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
  19. Master Conversational French – I wish I could have accomplished this one! I’m switching over to Spanish now though in anticipation of my Mexico trip.
  20. Get a MassageDONE! – I visited the Spa at the Four Seasons for a massage and dinner by the pool earlier this year.
  21. Buy a Piece of ArtDONE! – Technically I won my pretty flamingo print in a raffle, but regardless of how I got it, it’s here and it’s lovely.
  22. Make Homemade PastaDONE! – This was not the most delicious meal I ever made.  In fact, the homemade noodles looked more like soggy french fries than anything, but I’m glad I tried and I think it will be much better next time.
  23. Take an Educational ClassDONE! – I’ve already talked about my creative non-fiction class quite a bit here but I would be happy to take another class with Gotham Writers any time.
  24. Go on a Trip Without Writing About ItDONE! – It was our yearly trip to Wisconsin but it was still nice to travel without the pressure of having to come up with new content.
  25. Organize a Clothing Swap – Nope. Just didn’t happen.
  26. Make Something for the ApartmentDONE! – Two woven yarn wall hangings, one for over the bar and one for over the bed.
  27. Go to a PlayDONE! – A Winter’s Tale outdoors in Forest Park in St. Louis.

27 in 27 Goals List | RebeccaWanderlusting

21.5/27 GOALS DONE – I think that’s pretty good!

 

This year’s list includes a classic literature reading list, a few travel goals (a mother-daughter trip, a beach vacation and visiting a new country), seeing a favorite musician in concert, checking out some new Chicago attractions and mastering some new recipes.  Here’s hoping 28 is my best year yet!

What are your goals for this upcoming year? 

Winter Reading List | RebeccaWanderlusting

Winter Reading List

It is completely clear to me that it is now winter in Chicago.  This season always makes me want to curl up in a ball and read book after book, glass of wine in hand.  I’ve been looking forward to slowing down a bit and catching up on my winter reading list as the weather grows colder and colder.  Hopefully, I’ll be reading on some planes and some beaches as well, but more on that later!

I mentioned in my last reading list that I was trying to get through the books I already own before I start snapping up new ones.  I’ve made some serious progress, but I am in need of some fresh new literature as well.  I have to say, there were a couple of duds on my shelf that went straight into the donate pile, but I pushed through to finish them nonetheless (am I the only one that HAS to finish a book once I’ve started it??).  My winter reading list covers a wide variety of subjects, but they’re all ones I’ve been meaning to read or have heard really good things about.  Here’s hoping I can get to them all!

  1. “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn – I’ve read both “Gone Girl” and “Dark Objects” and loved them both, so it seems only natural that “Sharp Objects” be on my list.  I love the way Gillian Flynn keeps your interest to the very end and that her twists and turns are so genuinely surprising.  I recently read a Buzzfeed article that noted this book as having a jaw-dropping twist and I can’t wait to see what it is!
  2. “You Are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero – The first book of this two book series (“You Are a Badass”) was on my last reading list.  I read it, loved it, and immediately told everyone I know to read it.  Jen Sincero is such a personable writer and her advice is sage.  I’m so looking forward to reading more of her tips and tricks as they apply to financial stability.
  3. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote – I have been on a real Capote kick lately.  I read “In Cold Blood” and was immediately obsessed.  I then watched Capote, the movie, and was even more intrigued.  So, obviously, I need to read his other well-known and renowned work, and possibly all the rest of his work after that!
  4. “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville – One of my upcoming goals for the new year is to read more classic literature and this one has been on my shelf for years.  I figured it (along with #3) would be a good place to start on my classic literature journey.  I do love everything related to the sea, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this quintessential novel.
  5. “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver – I am surprised it has taken me this long to read this novel.  My mom has noted it as one of her favorites for decades, so I think she will be especially happy that I’m picking this one up.  I’ve heard so many good things about Barbara Kingsolver and I’m excited to finally read her work.
  6. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty – I, along with everyone else I know, instantly fell in love with the HBO series based on this novel.  How could you not feel a kinship with each of the characters?? The ending was so surprising, but I don’t think it will hinder how much I will enjoy the book.  I have a feeling this one might be a novel that I come back to time and time again.
  7. “Wilderness Essays” by John Muir – I picked up a beautiful copy of John Muir’s essays when I was in San Francisco.  Actually, I got it in the gift shop of John Muir Woods just north of San Francisco.  I’ve always admired Mr. Muir’s philosophies and I will happily read his thoughts and travel vicariously through his adventures.

Winter Reading List | RebeccaWanderlusting

Have you read any of these?  What did you think? What’s on your winter reading list?

Top Five Friday #25: In Flight Comfort Essentials | Rebecca Wanderlusting

Top Five Friday #25

 In Flight Comfort Essentials

There are few things I enjoy more than cuddling up in a window seat en route to an exciting destination. I’m pretty easy to please and don’t need much, but there are a few key items I require to be comfortable on a flight (my in flight comfort essentials, if you will).  Due to it being almost that wonderful, magical holiday season, I thought now would be a good time to share them to provide some gift ideas for the frequent travelers in your life.  So, without further ado, here are my must-have items to be my utmost comfy on airplanes:

  1. A Good Book: I love to read, I know I’ve made that plenty clear on this blog.  Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction but my favorite thing to read on a flight is a captivating novel.  For me, it’s one of the things that makes a long-haul flight more enjoyable.  If you’re in need of a good suggestion, of course I am ready and able to provide a few: 1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl 2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart, 3. The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan 4. Horns by Joe Hill 
  2. A Blanket Scarf: It may be overplayed, but a blanket scarf is truly one of the things I will not fly without.  I mean come on, it’s a scarf that doubles as a blanket for when your on a short flight that doesn’t provide blankets or your neighbor stole yours or you need an extra.  It’s great, and it makes the flight so much cozier.
  3. Comfy Sweats: I am most certainly one of those people that wear sweats/leggings on planes and I am not at all ashamed.  If I have to sit for that long in one chair, you better believe I’m going to be wearing stretchy bottoms.  We actually came across a really cozy brand when we were in Toronto that I’m a little obsessed with now, Roots Canada.  No matter the brand, sweatpants are a must.
  4. Solid Snacks: No matter how long the flight is, snacks are necessary.  I also need lots of gum because my ears pop and the gum helps (this could be a myth, but it’s always worked for me).  As far as snacks go, I prefer granola bars, Shock Tarts, Chex Mix and white cheddar popcorn.
  5. Headphones & A Good Playlist: When I need a break from reading, I need a good playlist to occupy my time.  I don’t have fancy headphones (though I am in the market for some – like these), just the normal little earbuds, but they are essential for flights of any length. If you’re in need of a fantastic travel playlist, I’ve shared my favorites below:

What are your in flight comfort essentials? What won’t you fly without?

Top Five Friday, Favorite Travel Bloggers | RebeccaWanderlusting

Top Five Friday #24

My Favorite Travel Bloggers

When I first started this blog, I looked to other female travel bloggers for inspiration and encouragement.  As they succeeded, I started to form some idea of where I wanted my own blog to go.  Of all the blogs I read for the last couple years, there are a few that stand out to be favorites for their writing style, chosen destinations and photos.  I’ve followed these ladies for a while and will continue to do so as long as they continue adding new content.  So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorite travel bloggers:

  1. The Everywhereist – Geraldine is not only one of my favorite travel bloggers, but also one of my favorite writers.  I started reading her blog a few years ago and just recently read her book as well.  I love the way she picks up on small details of her trips and writes about them as opposed to writing about a destination as a whole.  Her writing makes me laugh out loud in an embarrassing way (especially so when I’m on the subway or at work).
    Post you should read: “Driving the Amalfi Coast Highway”
  2. Be My Travel Muse – This woman is the epitome of solo female travel.  Her adventures are amazing and make me so, so jealous.  I love her confidence and her approach to travel, and her advice is always spot on.  I can only hope that I will have half as many exciting experiences in my lifetime as she has had in her time of travel blogging.  I would count that as a success.
    Post you should read: “This is Why We Travel”
  3. Alex in Wanderland – I love this blog so much.  Her light and fun writing is a joy to read, and I honestly think it saved my sanity when I would read it at my previous job.  It is just such a nice break from reality, and the content is diverse in destinations which provides some great trip planning inspiration.
    Post you should read: “The Maine Thing”
  4. Young Adventuress – This is another blog that I have been reading for quite a long time; actually, it’s probably one of the first travel blogs I had come across.  While I do love Liz’s travel photography and tales of adventure across the globe, some of my favorite posts are her snarky or satirical commentary on the travel industry.  She now resides in New Zealand and has some really great insight on the area.
    Post you should read: “Chasing Elves in Iceland”
  5. This Battered Suitcase – Brenna is a beautiful writer and her content is both personal and travel-oriented.  This Canada native now traverses the globe, indulging in excellent adventures and writing as she goes.  She is so personable and relatable that I always look forward to reading her new posts.  She’s working on a book now and I can NOT wait until it’s finished so I can read that too!
    Post you should read: “Going Back to Copenhagen”

Top Five Friday, Favorite Travel Bloggers | RebeccaWanderlusting

Who are your favorite travel bloggers? I’ll take any and all recommendations for new blogs!

Creating a Travel Capsule Wardrobe| RebeccaWanderlusting

Creating a Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Every week or so, I decide that I’m going to go through all my clothes, donate everything I never wear and be left with a perfect capsule wardrobe.  Due to my inability to part with clothes I rarely way, it never happens, but the idea behind this obsession has inspired me to pack capsule wardrobes for each of my last few trips.  The point of a travel capsule wardrobe is to streamline your packing and allow you to mix and match staple items for multiple outfits while you’re abroad.  I used this method for a few of my longer trips and it worked like a dream.  Not only was my luggage much lighter, but I had different outfits for every day I was away.

Here are the 12 pieces you can pack to make for 10 days of outfits; aka, the perfect travel capsule wardrobe:

  • Jeans
  • Leggings
  • Skirt
  • Dress
  • White Button Up
  • T-Shirt
  • Blouse
  • Tank Top
  • Cardigan
  • Booties
  • Sneakers
  • Flats

Creating A Travel Capsule Wardrobe | RebeccaWanderlusting

Day 1: Jeans, White Button Up, Flats

Day 2: Leggings, T-Shirt, Sneakers

Day 3: Skirt, Blouse, Booties

Day 4: Dress, Cardigan, Flats

Day 5: Jeans, T-Shirt, Flats

Day 6: Leggings, White Button Up, Booties

Day 7: Skirt, Tank Top, Cardigan, Sneakers

Day 8: Jeans, Blouse, Booties

Day 9: Skirt, T-Shirt, Flats

Day 10: Dress, Booties

The key is to bring mostly neutral colors so everything can mix and match easily.  Add in a seasonally appropriate jacket, some jewelry and a purse and you’ll be good to go.  What is the best way to accumulate these items for a travel capsule wardrobe, you ask?  Well, with the right resources it’s pretty easy and not as expensive as you’d expect.  Here are my favorite shopping hacks for buying clothes on a budget:

  1. Raise: Raise is a brilliant way to spend less on your everyday items by buying discounted gift cards through their online marketplace.  I’ve used them to buy gift cards for my favorite clothing stores (Gap, Madewell & Nordstrom), and it’s super simple to buy the gift cards, print them out (or download them into the Raise mobile wallet app to keep them handy with all your other gift cards) and use them instantly.  If you’ve never used Raise before, use the code WANDER20 for $20 off your next purchase of $40 or more.
  2. Stitch Fix: This online stylist has changed the way I shop for most of my clothes, especially the basics that would comprise a capsule wardrobe.  It’s basically a subscription box customized to your shape and style that can come once a month or as often as you’d like.  My coworker talked me into trying this service and I have been hooked ever since.
  3. Outlet Malls: So obvious that it has they have to do the trick, outlet malls are my go to when I feel the need to supplement my wardrobe without spending too much.  The outlet mall closest to us is the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, IL which feature two levels of stores.  Outlet malls can be a free for all of bargain hunters elbowing their way to the deals, but sometimes you can find pieces so good it’s worth the fight.

Creating a Travel Capsule Wardrobe | RebeccaWanderlulsting

What are the key pieces in your travel capsule wardrobe?  What are your best tips for building a wardrobe on a budget?

Save Money While Trip Planning, RebeccaWanderlusting

6 Unique Tips to Save Money While Trip Planning

I’ve touched on this a little bit here and there, but this year did not start out very well.  Slowly, each month it’s gotten better and better, due to a change in career, a change in neighborhood and an all-around change in attitude.  I think one of the big things that has helped is for the first time all year, I’m planning a trip outside the Midwest.  Oh man, it feels so good to be making travel plans again!

Mike and I are heading to Toronto in a couple of months, and planning all the details has been such a joy.  More on the specifics of this trip later, but I forgot how much I love looking into new destinations and picking out hotels and restaurants.  I got a little bit carried away and started planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta for my birthday in December too.

Save Money While Trip Planning, RebeccaWanderlusting

It was one of my goals this year to visit Canada and Mexico, so I’m trying to make it happen as well.  Because I’m trying to fit in two larger trips for the last few months of the year, I’m currently saving up and working on a budget to make it doable.  I’m always on the lookout for new ways to save some money, especially when traveling as it’s my most expensive habit.  I’ve tried out quite a few different tips and tricks to save money while trip planning and here’s what has worked best:

  1. Be flexible: The best way to start trip planning is by having no plan at all. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you open yourself up to the cheapest options available.
  2. Clear Your Search History & Utilize the Right Websites: Your search history can impede your ability to get the best deal out there on airfare and hotels. Before you start your trip planning online, clear your search history and use the right websites to find the best deals.  My personal favorites are skyscanner.com, rome2rio.com, and tripadvisor.com.
  3. Join Ibotta: This app allows you to get money back from your everyday purchases and in the way of rebates, which can be used towards your travels. You can also use it to search for deals on popular travel booking sites.
  4. Check Groupon/LivingSocial: Either of these sites can provide you with discounts on hotel rooms, dining, and activities.  We’ve used both to save money at restaurants when we travel or to book tours and attractions.
  5. Master Travel Credit Card Points: I am, admittedly, a novice at this skill, but it’s still a great way to get money back when you pay for trips with your travel credit card. (If you’re looking for a great resource on this, check out The Points Guy).
  6. Use Raise Marketplace: I just started using this online hub for discounted gift cards and it’s quite the handy resource. On it, you can purchase gift card for your trip from airlines, hotel brands, AirBnB, and more for a percentage off the total.  As an added bonus, use my code (WANDER20) for $20 off your first purchase (of $40 or more).

Save Money While Trip Planning, RebeccaWanderlusting

How do you save money while trip planning? What are your best travel budgeting tips?

Eclipse Plans, 2017 Eclipse, RebeccaWanderlusting

Making Plans for the Eclipse

In exactly three weeks, a rare eclipse will happen occur over the United States.  This eclipse can be seen in totality in a diagonal line across the country, but can also be partially seen from most areas in the U.S. as well.  When I was in St. Louis last month, there was a lot of excited talk about this eclipse, as the city was directly in the path of totality.  This path stretches from Oregon across the U.S. to the East Coast, in South Carolina.

Unfortunately, I’ll be at work in Chicago at 11:54am on Monday, August 21, but, barring any cloudy weather, I fully intend on watching it from the Riverwalk on my lunch break.  I’ve even sent out a calendar invite for my coworkers to come join me, as I can’t imagine why anyone would want to miss this piece of history.  This one will be the closest to a total solar eclipse Chicago has seen in over ninety years.  But, wherever you are in the United States, you’ll be able to see a partial eclipse, which is what makes this event so exciting.  If you aren’t able to get to a destination in the path of the total eclipse, you’ll still be able to see something really amazing.  So, what should you do to get ready?  I’m glad you asked:

  1. Make sure you’re properly equipped. You will need special viewing glasses, this is non-negotiable. You won’t be safe in regular sunglasses or anything homemade.  Luckily for you (and me!), Warby Parker is handing out free viewing glasses is handing out free viewing glasses at any of their stores starting tomorrow.  You can find a store nearest you here.  This is serious though, you don’t want to do any damage to your eyes by not having the correct viewing glasses.
  2. Be in your chosen viewing point early to ensure you won’t miss a thing. This is crucial, because the eclipse won’t last very long (probably about two minutes, depending where you are in the U.S.)

    Eclipse Plans, NASA, RebeccaWanderlulsting
    Photo via NASA’s Eclipse Website
  3. Make an event out of it if you can, but get outside either way to see it. This will be an amazing sight!  Like I said, I’m making sure to get out on my lunch break to enjoy this beauty, but even if you can’t take an hour to sit outside to see it, try to get outside to take a peak (with your eclipse glasses of course).
  4. If you’re planning on traveling to a point of totality, be sure to make your arrangements as soon as possible, if they aren’t made already.  This is a major astronomical event, and believe it or not, many people are traveling just to see it.  In case you don’t already know, here is the map depicting the cities in which the total eclipse will occur:

Eclipse Map, NASA, RebeccaWanderlusting

I am so excited to see this eclipse, and I hope you are too!  Please be safe when viewing it and, if you’re willing, share your experiences seeing this beauty with me in the comments!

Weekend Getaway Essentials, Packing List, RebeccaWanderlusting

Weekend Getaway Essentials

This summer has consisted of multiple weekend excursions that I’ve had to pack quickly and rush off to.  From a quick trip up to our lake house in Wisconsin to a last minute trip to St. Louis, I’ve had to throw things together and go a couple of times.  Now, I’m not complaining, I think better when there’s a time limit and pack minimally when I can only bring a small duffle bag.  The preparation for the trips I’ve had so far have made me into a little bit of an expert in the quick weekend getaway essentials.  There’s still some summer weekends left this year, which means I’m sure there will be a couple more getaways in my future (and hopefully yours too!).  So, without further ado, here’s my complete list of weekend getaway essentials, ready for you to pack and go and a moment’s notice:

Clothes:

  • Jean Shorts
  • Pants
  • (1) Dress
  • (1) Skirt
  • (2) T Shirts
  • (2) Tank Tops
  • (1) Blouse
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit & Cover Up
  • Undergarments & Socks

Shoes:

  • Flats
  • Sandals
  • Comfy sneakers

Accessories:

  • Versatile Necklace
  • Watch
  • Default Earrings
  • Lightweight Scarf
  • Small Purse

This little capsule wardrobe gives you plenty of options for casual, comfortable or more dressed-up.  With these few items, you can have about ten different outfits for whatever activities and outings your getaway throws at you.

Weekend Getaway Essentials, RebeccaWanderlusting

Beauty:

  • Whatever’s in Your Normal Make-Up Bag
  • Face Wipes
  • Moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Razor (if you aren’t flying with only a carry-on)
  • Hair Serum
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush & Hairties

Extras:

Weekend Getaway Essentials, RebeccaWanderlusting

All of these items would fit in my duffle bag and tote, which makes for an easy check in for flights, train rides, buses or however you are getting to your destination.  Safe travels to all and enjoy your weekend getaways!

What are your weekend getaway essentials? Where are you headed next?

National Emerald Club, Airport Anxiety, RebeccaWanderlusting

Dealing with Airport Anxiety

I have this problem with anxiety. It makes me overthink and do certain things I wouldn’t normally do, just to calm my brain. One of the main problems I have when traveling is the anxiety that comes with trying to make a plane, train or other mode of transportation on time. This issue wreaks havoc on my brain in the weeks before I travel. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve woken up in a panic from a bad travel dream. Past nightmares have included: Getting to the airport too late and missing my flight or getting to the airport on time but forgetting something critical (like my passport), etc.

The result is usually me arriving at the airport or station obscenely early. This is not a horrible problem to have (especially because in the best-case scenario) as you usually have time for a meal and to read a book, and if the airport is crowded (in the worst-case scenario), you have extra time to get through long lines at security.

Early airport arrival has been my consistent practice ever since I started traveling on my own. I’ve made a habit of wandering around the airport, getting a coffee or a mimosa (depending on my mood) and finding a good place to read.

National Emerald Club, Airport Anxiety, RebeccaWanderlusting

Recently, I was at O’Hare (ridiculously early as per usual) and visited the National Emerald Club Lounge. This lovely oasis in the sea of suitcase-wielding travelers is equipped with TVs, lounge chairs, free Wi-Fi and tablets to check your flight status. It’s a great place to recharge, both literally and figuratively, since the lounge has charging stations, too. For this particular visit to O’Hare, it was the perfect place to drink my coffee (there’s a Starbucks right next door) and wait for Mike to get to the airport to pick me up.

For someone who is through security two hours before boarding time, it’s a luxury to have these amenities readily available. The comfy lounge chairs are a great place to relax and read or check the news if you didn’t bring a book. And, if you’re not already a member, you can enroll in the Emerald Club loyalty program directly from the tablets. There’s a National staff member around on weekdays to help you if you have questions.

If O’Hare isn’t your home airport, you’re still in luck. National Emerald Club Lounges are located in each of the main airports with the highest volume of business travelers: Denver, St. Louis, Dallas/Fort Worth and Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.

So, if you’re an anxious traveler (like me) and you happen to be in one of these airports insanely early for your flight, check out the National Emerald Club Lounge for a comfy resting spot to relax before you board.

National Emerald Club, Airport Anxiety, RebeccaWanderlusting

How do you fight pre-flight anxiety? What’s your go-to spot in the airport to relax before a flight?

Full Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with National Car Rental. All opinions are, of course, my own.