I’ve never been that girl with the fancy luggage, for that matter the super chic-ly dressed traveler. Well, ok, I have, but it’s just not me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the slob in Sponge Bob PJ’s pants and slippers, (please, please don’t make us look at your in your garb) but I feel unlike myself with fancy schmancy luggage and dress clothes on a plane. For those of us who travel a lot, finding good luggage is nearly impossible! I recently was forced to shop for new luggage as my planeside checked bag (yes, planeside checked) bag was squashed by American (to their credit they did reimburse me $130- I know, will wonders never cease). I am a complete dork, so I researched a replacement for hours. Various brands, features, prices etc. I took a gamble and went with a slightly smaller carry on roller board bag. I know, less room, but I look at this way….I hate packing and unpacking and it minimizes both, right?! Boy did I score! I bought the Mountain Hardware Juggernaut 45, a soft-sided pseudo duffle like bag. I considered Patagonia’s MLC Wheelie (Maximum Legal Carry on), but at the time, it was far more expensive. I couldn’t be more happy. The wheels spin like a dream, the numerous outer pockets serve as a purse while traveling, and best of all it’s compact. If you are forced to planeside check your bag, you are forced to wait on it at as you’ve arrived. Not such a big deal at your final destination, but with tight connection times, an extra 5-10 minutes can easily make you miss your connection. This luggage, even with smaller planes that won’t accommodate most roller boards, WILL FIT in the overhead bin. Score! I get there, faster, more organized and speed past Sponge Bob in the airport tripping on her tattered hem PJ pants.
So your bag is on the bed, and you’re standing there lost in thought about what to pack to take to Scottsdale (or anywhere else). It doesn’t matter if you are headed there with the gals (or guys for our male JANEers), taking your sweet mom on a well deserved getaway, or tossing a nightie in your bag to make your beau swoon, you’ll need one thing- a great water bottle! That’s right, practical and necessary. The desert leaches every bit of water out of your body, onto your body- you’ll sweat so much you have to stay hydrated while visiting. Many of us just refill ‘disposable” water bottles, but studies show plastics #1 & #7 reused can be harmful because of Bisphenol A (BPA). Pitch your old refillable bottles, microwaveable lunch containers and maybe even sippy cups and start fresh, I love, and swear by this bottle by Smart Planet. Classier than your old X Nalgene covered in bumper stickers for the board room, and just right to take to the gym-toss this bottle in your bag and make sure to stay hydrated in AZ, no one wants to ruin a vacation getting headaches (a common side effect of moderate dehydration)!
Packing is a challenge for most, but especially for long trips. I mean ladies, how many times have we seen our moms with enough luggage that they look like they need a porter to carry it! Pack smart. Invest in Eagle Creek brand pack it folders. They neatly and easily organize your sundresses and blouses. Think folding boards clerks use at the Gap, but they are inside a Velcro binder. They are available in several sizes, prints and colors so you can easily color code your clothes so you can grab what you want easily!
A key element to a fun summer is visiting parks, right? While your in Colorado, you’ll for sure want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s beautiful and knocking right on the door of Denver. Over the course of the year, you visit several parks so why not invest in a National Parks Pass? We love that you can buy yours at Rei.com and they always have free shipping. The “America the Beautiful National Parks Pass” is honored at sites managed by the National Parks Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and BLM Reclamation. If you are ever stumped on what to give for a great wedding or birthday gift, this is always spot on. Pick up a great coffee table book or guide book pair it with the pass, and voila, the perfect gift! (This is one of Jane’s favorite gifts to give!)