A few Good REASONS TO TRAVEL BY BUS🚉

  • .You’re free of the hassles of traffic, roadmaps, parking and backseat drivers. You’re finally free of distractions and responsibilties; free enough to enjoy the travel while a professional driver handles the wheel.
  • Finally. YOU can see the sights. What good is it to drive through the scenic mountains and deserts and villages of the Nation if your entire field of view is a broken white line or the bumper ahead? In a motorcoach, your own panoramic window is a magic carpet.
  • Sleep if you’d like. Today’s luxury motorcoach provides you with stylish and comfortable recliner seats. This is what luxury travel used to be like.
  • Get up and socialize. If you’d rather get up to visit with friends and fellow travelers, you can do it virtually any time you feel up to it. There’s no better way to meet new acquaintances or to enjoy the company of old friends than the adventure of travel together.
  • Enjoy a movie. Can’t sleep? Not up to conversation? In most cases, you can now enjoy a full-length feature film or videos of your group’s own activities while you travel.
  • Save money. There is no more economical way to travel. Period. You’ll be surprised to find that luxury doesn’t come at a high price on today’s motorcoach. In most cases, each traveler’s share of the cost of a professional motorcoach will be far less than other modes of public transportation and even less than private autos. (By the way, have you ever tried to coordinate the movements of 20 separate cars for a single trip? Do you want that headache again?)

  • Door-to-door service. Your charter coach can go where you are and take you to where you want to be. There’s no substitute for the tremendous convenience of a motorcoach’s door-to-door service. Nor is there a substitute for the security and peace-of-mind which comes from that service. You don’t have to worry about dark parking lots in strange cities or shady characters on street corners.

Seven reasons to travel by Train🚅🚉🚆

Of course, trains can’t get you everywhere — they can’t cross oceans, and many remote areas don’t have access to them. But for traveling from city to city within a continent, they’re pretty great.

Here are nine reasons you should consider taking a train to your next destination.

1. Cost.

 

In the U.S., trains aren’t cheap. But in general they’re cheaper than flying, especially short distances. In addition, many railway services offer discounts that you’ll never see airlines touting. On Amtrak, children under 2 years old ride free and kids ages 2 to 15 ride half price. Train prices are also generally pretty stable, so there’s no need to track price trends as you would for airfare.

2. Sanity.

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Air travel involves a lot of waiting in lines — check-in lines, security lines, boarding lines. Those lines can drive any innocent traveler to the brink of his or her sanity. Train travel eliminates those lines. Most railway services do not involve check-in, and have self-service ticket kiosks or use e-tickets instead and trains rarely have TSA-style security. There may be a line to board, but it should go quickly. For the most part, you just arrive and walk on to your train.

3. Charm.

train travel

There’s something old-school and charming about riding trains. Between the food car, the conductors, and the world flying by outside your window, there’s a nostalgic appeal to train travel.

4. Freedom.

train travel

With no take off, landing or seat-belt signs, you’re not stuck in your seat for endless amounts of time. You can move about the train as frequently as you wish. Since someone else is doing the driving, you’re free to eat, drink, nap and get up to stretch your legs whenever you like. You’ll also never have to turn off your electronics or listen to a flight attendant give the safety spiel.

5. Comfort.

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Train rides are smooth and turbulence-free, meaning they won’t jostle the contents of your luggage or your stomach. Seats are usually roomy enough — certainly roomier than the back seat of a car or an economy-class airplane seat.

6. No traffic!

car traffic

Goodbye, road rage!

7. No hidden fees!

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Generally, trains aren’t picky about how much luggage you bring on, as long as you can handle it yourself (and some services, like Amtrak, have free red-cap service that will help you when needed).

 

Packing For A Motorcycle Trip🏍️🛣️

Heavy on the Bottom
Stuff heavy gear closest to where the bag will be mounted on the bike. I like to use a three bag system on extended trips: one big sack for the large stuff, a medium bag for necessities and a smaller one for traveling fast and loose. (This one comes in handy off the bike.) The big bag should be weather-­proof, durable, and flexible enough to accommodate different loads on different bikes. Attachment points, stiffeners or frames help the cause too. The medium-sized bag should essentially be a stuffable, soft bag that can be rolled up, and I usually grab a backpack for light, off-bike excursions.

Pack Small
For clothes, two shirts, two pants, two pairs of socks and underwear, one pair of shoes (not including riding boots) and two pairs of gloves are all you need. Group smaller items into small, plastic freezer bags. Clothing gets rolled up and put into a mesh bag. Store these separate bags vertically, so they’re easier to access.

Dump Your Cotton
Cotton is bad—you get so much more space out of your luggage if you stock up on synthetics instead. A laundromat is usually easy to find, and washable garments made of Coolmax can dry in a few hours.

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Multitask
Pack items that have multiple purposes to minimize space. A Leatherman tool can handle three or four chores, while a waterproof dry bag can be used for laundry, storage on the bike or a beer cooler at the campground.

Spread the Load
First Aid kits—only one rider in the group needs to carry one. Same with other large items—one person can stow the pump, the other a set of jumpers and so on. And don’t buy cheap stuff! Once you purchase quality gear, you should be done shopping for years. It’s worth it in the long run.

Is It Safe to Fly During covid😷✈️

Every airline, airport, and flight may be a little different. Because there are so many aspects of air travel that are, well, up in the air. I’d recommend driving to your destination if possible and if you don’t have to spend too many days in hotels. Of course, you’ll want to scrub REALLY well after filling up your tank or using public restrooms. But, driving generally poses fewer coronavirus risks as long as you are traveling with your sheltering-in-place posse (traveling in a car with closed windows hugely increases the risk of COVID transmission). Plus, just think about the memories you and your little ones can make on the open road!

However, if you must fly, here are a few ways to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible:

Wear a mask when flying during COVID.

Coronavirus is mostly spread through the droplets we expel while coughing, sneezing, talking—and even breathing. That means you and everyone in your family over the age of 2 should wear a mask to protect yourselves…and the people around you! It’s especially important to wear your mask on the plane where it’s much harder to keep physical distance, but it’s still important to wear it at the airport (especially when you’re near others).

Eat at home or at your destination if possible.

Not only does eating require you to spend time with your mask off, but you risk spreading germs every time you handle your face mask to take it off or put it on. Consider bringing a few clean ones to avoid this. Pro tip: Don’t touch the front of your mask to take it off! Your mask is filtering out the virus, meaning that those icky droplets you’re trying to keep out are getting caught in the fabric of your mask.

Scrub your hands…often to prevent COVID.

And I mean scrub. To give germs the heave-ho, a quick rinse won’t cut it. You need to vigorously rub them off. Make sure you and your children are lathering up  your hands (or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) after touching communal objects (door handles, the faucet, the rail on the escalator, etc.) and before and after touching your face…that includes before and after using your mask.

Keep your distance when you can when at the airport.

When you line up for TSA or even for the bathroom, make sure you’re at least 6 feet from your neighbors. While you’re waiting for your flight, try to stake out a spot in the lounge away from others. If you must dine at the airport, choose the least crowded eatery.

Wipe down your seat and surrounding area on the plane when flying during COVID.

Though germs sailing through the recirculated plane air are cause for concern, viruses can also spread through touch. Once you’re on the plane, wipe down your seat, tray table, seatbelt, armrests, and anything else your kiddos can get their hands (or mouths!) on. (The best wipes to use are a little DIY magic: fold up some paper towels, stuff them in a zip-lock bag, and douse them with some rubbing alcohol).

If you fly, be prepared to self-isolate or get tested for COVID when you arrive.

Certain states are requiring travelers (particularly from other states with big outbreaks) to quarantine for two weeks or take a coronavirus test to avoid spreading the virus. Be sure to read up before you go to find out if this affects your family. But getting tested upon arrival refraining from non-essential activities isn’t a bad practice, no matter where you’re traveling to and from. Remember, any germs you pick up at home— or in the course of your travels— are hitching a ride to your destination as well. Also, a negative test just means that you are negative the day you tested…that means you can still become infected. So, if you develop any symptoms after a negative test, be sure to get tested again!

Let’s work together to keep each other healthy and stop the spread of this terrible virus!😷😷😷✈️

IS It safe for famiLies to travel?

 

If you decide to travel

Not all vacations or trips carry the same risk. For example, traveling by car to a vacation rental home is much safer than flying to a busy hotel to spend the week at a crowded beach. The key is to think about number of close contacts you’ll likely have during the course of your travel plans.  The more contacts, the higher the risk.

There are steps you can take to lower travel risks:

  • ​Have everyone in your family who is eligible (12 years and older) and those whom you plan on visiting, get their COVD-19 vaccine. Many COVID infections come from household contacts. By ensuring everyone is vaccinated, you’ll limit the number of suspectable contacts.
  • Check the COVID-19 spread rates where you plan to visit. Locations with high rates of community spread means higher risk of someone in your family being exposed to COVID-19.  If the intended destination has a high rate of spread, be extra cautious when in public. Keep in mind that outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones.   ​
  • On a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transportation, make sure everyone in the family wears a maskeven those who are fully vaccinated. Keep them on at the airport or station, too. The masks should cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly with no gaps at the sides.
  • Try to travel by car if possible. While the airline industry has taken amazing steps in helping to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission (HEPA air filters, air exchange, electrostatic spraying), traveling by car will limit your contact with the public. In addition, the road trip experience can be a great way for older children to see new places. During any rest stops, remember to wear masks and wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Also, consider packing your own food and snacks.
  • If you must fly: Try to look for direct flights when possible. That will limit the need to change planes and walk through busy airports. Plus, the shorter the flight the better, since longer flights raise the chance of infection. Keep your masks on for the entire flight; consider opting out of meals so you don’t have to remove them. Don’t forget to bring disinfectant wipes to sanitize all the high-touch areas.
  • Pack extra masks and hand sanitizers. Along with toothbrushes, diapers, and the portable crib, be sure to tote along those important pandemic essentials. Pack at least two masks per child in case one is lost or being washed after use. When packing hand sanitizer, include a travel-size dispenser that can be stored in a purse or backpack as well as a larger container for refills. Ensure that the hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol.

Remember

COVID-19 has affected everyone and the past year has been stressful for families. The urge to travel might be tempting, but the pandemic is not over yet and it’s important to consider the risks.  As the vaccine rollout proceeds, your family will be able to enjoy a relaxing trip soon.

Taking you pets on Vacation

Pets have never been a bigger part of the family. So it only makes sense to include yours on the family vacation, right? Before you go, we’ve compiled some tips to help keep your pet safe and comfortable.

CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN

Your pet should be healthy enough for travel and current on his or her vaccinations. Share your vacation destination with your veterinarian so they can determine how to protect your pet from potential risks in that region. When you’re escaping the snowdrifts for the beaches, it’s easy to forget about flea, tick and heartworm preventives, so make sure you bring the right parasite protection.

UPDATE YOUR PET’S IDENTIFICATION

No matter how careful you are, pets can escape and get lost in unfamiliar locations. That’s why your pet should have an updated ID tag on his or her collar, including the address of your destination and your cell phone number.

If your pet dashes out without their collar, a microchip provides a backup. Veterinary clinics, shelters and animal control centers can scan your pet and find out how to reach you. Before departure, make sure your microchip company has your current contact information, including where you can be reached during vacation. There are even GPS devices with apps that enable you to track your pet’s location from your smartphone.

MAKE YOUR PET AT HOME IN A CARRIER

Whether you’ll travel by plane, train or car, it’s best to have your pet in a well-ventilated carrier. The carrier should be roomy enough to allow your pet to stand, turn around and lay down. Always provide fresh water and a litter pan for cats.

If your pet isn’t accustomed to being in a carrier, introduce it to them at home, several weeks before your departure. Pad the bottom with their favorite blanket and place treats or toys inside so they associate positive things with it. Leave the door open so they can explore inside, then try closing the door for short periods, gradually extending the time the door is closed.

TRAVELING BY PLANE

For flights within the United States, you’ll need a health certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of departure that verifies your pet is healthy and current on vaccinations. International travel means additional paperwork and some countries require a quarantine period, so it’s important to determine what’s required well before you leave.

Although small pets may accompany you in the cabin in an approved carrier, larger pets generally travel in the cargo bay. During warmer months, try to schedule flights in the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler. In winter, book flights in the middle of the day. Because tranquilizers can slow your pet’s breathing, they’re typically not recommended.

TRAVELING BY CAR

Inside the car, pets should be in a carrier so they don’t distract the driver or become airborne in the event of an accident. The carrier should be anchored down so it doesn’t shift with the movement of the car.

Although dogs may ride in a seat if they wear a harness that fastens to a seat belt, avoid the passenger seat, because pets can be seriously injured if the airbag deploys. Regardless of how cute it may be, never let your dog ride with his or her head out the window while the car is moving. And never leave your pet in the car unattended.

If your pet isn’t used to riding in a car, make a few trial runs in the weeks before your trip. Place your pet in the carrier, drive around the block and then reward your pet with praise or treats. Gradually extend the length of the drive, ending somewhere fun, like a dog park.

LOCATE PET-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS

Before you go, find pet-friendly hotels along the way. Some may have limitations in terms of pet breeds and sizes, while others may offer special services like dog walking while you’re out for dinner. It’s best to know before you go.

BRING THE RIGHT STUFF

Things to pack include:

  • Your pet’s regular diet
  • Food and water bowls
  • Bottled water
  • Regular medications
  • Flea, tick and heartworm preventives
  • Cat litter pan, litter and scoop
  • Dog waste bags
  • Leash and collar
  • Bedding
  • Grooming supplies
  • Life vests for dogs
  • Sunblock for pets prone to sunburn
  • Current veterinary contact information
  • Contact information for clinics en route and at your destination
  • Proof of current vaccination status
  • Pet first aid kit

CONSIDER A PET STAYCATION

While it may be fun to have your pet accompany you on vacation, travel can be stressful, especially for cats and elderly pets. If your pet’s health or temperament could make travel a challenge, consider a pet staycation. Many boarding facilities offer group playtime, swimming and other activities. And if your pet can’t stay with a friend or relative, it’s possible to hire a pet sitter to care for your pet in the comfort of your home. With the right planning, a little R&R can do you both some good.

Best Vans for road trips🚌🚐🚌

  1. In Europe, the best vans come with a certain cachet. You can rent a vintage VW camper van, for instance, and tour the Scottish Highlands. In the United States, however, vans are associated with utility. No one buys a van unless they’re an electrician, a daycare director or an Iron Maiden cover band.

Now, at last, that may be changing. Adventurous spirits are discovering that full-size vans are great for camping, surfing, road-tripping, off-roading and even living.

Why buy a van?

1. You can take the party with you.

If you regularly shuttle around more than four people, your vehicle options are limited. Most people choose a third-row SUV or a minivan. Trouble is, big SUVs can be expensive. On the low end, $25,000 for a base-model Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe. But on the high end, $70,000 for a fancy Ford Expedition or GMC Yukon. And minivans are… minivans. Full-size passenger vans are affordable and can easily seat five, seven, 12 or 15.

2.You can carry a LOT of stuff.

Even a small Ford Transit Connect Wagon — basically, a minivan that’s not a minivan — is a cargo champ. With both rows of seats folded, it can carry 104 cubic feet of stuff. That’s more than a Tahoe, Car and Driver points out. Bigger cargo vans can haul nearly five times that amount.

3. You can sleep — or live — comfortably in a van.

Whether you want to stretch out for a few nights or live the nomadic life for months, a van is the way to go. A van’s not a gas hog like an RV, and they can be customized to add beds, storage and even kitchens.

Are you feeling van fever yet?

Here are a few of the best vans you can buy.

van in the desert

The Best Van to Live in

The Ford Transit Connect has it all: seating for 7, 20/27 city/highway gas mileage and plenty of room. It even has a sort of adorkable charm, with a stormtrooper-esque grille and boxy rear. The rear seat backs can be folded down or removed, and the front passenger seat back can be folded flat to serve as a writing or eating surface. And with a few modifications, the Ford Transit Connect is one of the best vans for “stealth” sleeping, a.k.a. living in a van without anyone knowing.

Here’s a Transit Connect with a wooden bed frame that’s also a food storage area, a camp stove, solar-powered LED lights, and even a solar shower. And here’s one with an even more homey layout: kitchen cabinets, a cooktop that swings out for al fresco cooking, a microwave, a tiny fridge, an awning, and a solar panel.

The Best Comfy and Cheap Vans

If you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s, you may have fond memories of road-tripping in a conversion van with cushy captain’s chairs and rad racing stripes. Guess what? A lot of those are still on the road — and they’re relatively cheap vans to buy these days.

A quick search of conversion vans for sale turns up many for as little as $3,500, such as the Ford E-150, the Chevrolet G1500 and the GMC Savana. Will it have more than 150,000 miles? Definitely. Will it have curtains and a VCR? If you’re lucky. However, the captain’s chairs are as cushy as ever. Go ahead — try them out. We’ll wait.

The Best Van for the End of the World

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is a well-built, sleek cargo van that has a secret superpower: four wheel drive: “A push of a button switches the van from a two-wheel-drive hauler into a four-wheel-drive off-roader that just happens to carry a massive volume of stuff,” as Car and Driver puts it. The 4WD Sprinter handles rock-studded, steep dirt roads with ease, making it perfect for fleeing zombie hordes or an alien invasion. Watch it in action here. On the inside, the Sprinter can carry up to 487 cubic square feet.

The Best Electric Van

After teasing van fans for years, Volkswagen is reportedly close to producing an electric van that takes style cues from the classic Microbus. A concept vehicle called the I.D. BUZZ, which premiered at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, is a two-toned, playful van with powerful batteries and a range of 372 miles. Here’s the bad news: this sweet electric van would go into production in 2022, at the earliest. “In the year 2025, if man is still alive, a production version is likely to offer Level 5 autonomy, also known as full autonomy with eyes-off-the-road capability,” Autoweek reports.

How to pack A duffel bag

  • ​How to Pick a Duffel

Duffel is a catch-all term for any large bag made of fabric or leather. Their flexibility is useful on car trips, safaris, ski vacations or any other getaway that requires hauling bulky, odd-shaped gear. Another advantage: Traditional duffels fold up easily when empty, requiring little storage space. Additional features include shoulder straps and wheels that keep them feeling light, and external and internal pockets that keep smaller items from getting lost in the bag.

Recommended Duffel:

Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffel, $150

This water-resistant, large duffel is sturdy and easy to lug around: It has wheels, a removable shoulder strap that’s padded and adjustable, an external pocket and lockable zippers. And, it folds compactly into the accompanying pouch.

​How Big Should Your Bag Be?

Check-in bags tend to range in size from 24 to 30 inches. Mr. Saltzman encourages travelers to choose a design that’s 28 inches or less because some airlines may consider a 29- to 30-inch suitcase oversized, which could mean paying a fee to check the bag.

​Best High-Tech Accessories

There are bags (almost always hard-cased bags) with GPS tracking, phone chargers, built-in scales, biometric fingerprint locks and other tech features. But both Mr. Saltzman and Mr. Bettinger say you should not necessarily buy one of these yet; the category is new, so kinks in these bags are sometimes still being worked out. They’re also pricey.

You could also turn your current piece of luggage into something more high-tech with minimal effort, and at a lower cost. For ideas on how to do this, read The Wirecutter’s guide to smart accessories for your luggage. The most useful add-on is a Bluetooth tracker to improve your chances of finding lost luggage.

Ways to pack A suitcase💼🧳🧳

1. The bigger your suitcase, the more you will put into it: The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a hard-sided suitcase, no more than 22 inches tall (so it can work as a carry-on) with a structured shell so you can’t squeeze in any extras.

2. Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs. Throw in a swimsuit and exercise gear or a suit jacket and dress if you’ll need them.

3. Lay out what you think you’ll need, then edit ruthlessly: “Think twice about everything you want to put in your bag,” , who writes about flying first-class at No Mas Coach!, part of the BoardingArea blogger network. The jet-setting couple once flew to Morocco for nine days with only carry-on bags and backpacks. “Fully get rid of the ‘just in case I need it’ category,” he said. “If and when you need it, you can buy it.”

4. Think Tetris: The best way to fit everything into one bag: Fill every inch of space. For example, footwear should be stuffed with socks. Then lay your shoes together heel to toe at the bottom of your suitcase in a plastic shopping bag to protect clothes from dirt.How exactly you arrange everything in your suitcase is a matter of personal preference.Here are some popular strategies:

  • Roll your clothes. This helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  • Use packing cubes. These smaller bags help you keep your clothes compact and your outfits ordered.
  • Try the bundle technique. Carefully wrap each article of clothing around a central core, with underwear and T-shirts at the center, and large tailored items like blazers and dresses as the outer layer.

5. Keep liquids in easy reach: “Toiletries should always be placed on top of your suitcase in a clear bag since you never know when T.S.A. might be interested in looking,” said Matthew Klint, a frequent flier and the award expert at Live and Let’s Fly.

6. Never unpack your toiletries: “I recommend keeping a separate toiletry kit for traveling,” said Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Keeping a set of bathroom products already packed also ensures that you don’t forget a toothbrush or contact lens case that you might use the morning of takeoff, she said. “Keep these items in a small pouch or box in the corner of a cabinet or drawer for easy access when packing for a trip.” To streamline what you need, consider all-in-one options like BB creams, which combine foundation, moisturizer and sunblock. To prevent leakage, double up that plastic bag.

For more on packing strategies, read ”The Right Way to Pack for Travel.

How to Pack a Suitcase

 

Packing may seem simple, but it is a science with rules that travelers often learn the hard way over thousands of miles on the road. Doing it strategically can be the difference between a harried vacation with countless detours to local drugstores and a streamlined one with everything you need at your fingertips. Here’s our shortcut to packing the right way: how to find the best suitcase, minimize your load, pack what you need on a beach trip or a business trip and cut down on wrinkles.

6 Packing Tips

Follow these basic tips to pack efficiently and effectively for any trip.

1. The bigger your suitcase, the more you will put into it: The simplest way to avoid bringing too many things is to buy a hard-sided suitcase, no more than 22 inches tall (so it can work as a carry-on) with a structured shell so you can’t squeeze in any extras.

2. Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs. Throw in a swimsuit and exercise gear or a suit jacket and dress if you’ll need them.

3. Lay out what you think you’ll need, then edit ruthlessly: “Think twice about everything you want to put in your bag,” said Ben Nickel-D’Andrea, who writes about flying first-class with his husband, Jon Nickel-D’Andrea, at No Mas Coach!, part of the BoardingArea blogger network. The jet-setting couple once flew to Morocco for nine days with only carry-on bags and backpacks. “Fully get rid of the ‘just in case I need it’ category,” he said. “If and when you need it, you can buy it.”

4. Think Tetris: The best way to fit everything into one bag: Fill every inch of space. For example, footwear should be stuffed with socks. Then lay your shoes together heel to toe at the bottom of your suitcase in a plastic shopping bag to protect clothes from dirt.How exactly you arrange everything in your suitcase is a matter of personal preference.Here are some popular strategies:

  • Roll your clothes. This helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  • Use packing cubes. These smaller bags help you keep your clothes compact and your outfits ordered.
  • Try the bundle technique. Carefully wrap each article of clothing around a central core, with underwear and T-shirts at the center, and large tailored items like blazers and dresses as the outer layer.

5. Keep liquids in easy reach: “Toiletries should always be placed on top of your suitcase in a clear bag since you never know when T.S.A. might be interested in looking,” said Matthew Klint, a frequent flier and the award expert at Live and Let’s Fly.

6. Never unpack your toiletries: “I recommend keeping a separate toiletry kit for traveling,” said Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Keeping a set of bathroom products already packed also ensures that you don’t forget a toothbrush or contact lens case that you might use the morning of takeoff, she said. “Keep these items in a small pouch or box in the corner of a cabinet or drawer for easy access when packing for a trip.” To streamline what you need, consider all-in-one options like BB creams, which combine foundation, moisturizer and sunblock. To prevent leakage, double up that plastic bag.

For more on packing strategies, read ”The Right Way to Pack for Travel.

The Best Toiletry Bag

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How to Pick a Suitcase

Buying a new suitcase? This will make your choice simple.

You don’t need a pile of suitcases to be ready for all types of trips. Luggage essentials can be three key pieces: a carry-on bag, a check-in suitcase and a duffel bag.

This trio, said Anne McAlpin — a travel expert, frequent globetrotter and author of the packing advice book “Pack It Up” — covers the bases for trips ranging from jaunt through multiple cities to a cruise to a nature-themed journey like a safari. “It’s unnecessary and expensive to have a big collection of luggage because most travelers tend to use the same pieces again and again,” she said.

Here’s how to choose within those categories:

How to Pick Your Carry-On and Check-In Luggage

Though most carry-ons and suitcases have boxy proportions and hard or soft shells, they can vary widely. That makes picking the best one more complicated than choosing a duffel bag. There are three basic variables to help guide your decision:

1. Two vs. four wheels: Which is the best way to wheel? Two-wheeled bags require you to drag them behind you in a straight line, and pulling heavy ones can be real chore. Four-wheeled bags, also known as spinners, rotate 360 degrees and are easier to maneuver; they can even be wheeled when they’re upright. But their design means that the wheels are more susceptible to damage.

2. Frequent travelers vs. occasional travelers: Travelers who are on the road several times a month need sturdy luggage that won’t fail even several years down the line. The more durable a bag, the pricier it will be — think $500 and up for a carry-on and $700 and higher for a check-in. But Lyle Saltzman, the director of merchandising for Luggage Factory, a Lambertville, New Jersey company selling more than 60 brands of luggage, said high-end bags come with generous warranties. “Many premium brands have a lifetime warranty policy that protects your investment, so if the bag gets damaged, they will repair or replace it for no charge,” he said.

Since occasional travelers don’t rely on their luggage nearly as often as road warriors, they can get by with a midrange bag, which will last them several years, and may have a limited warranty.

3. Soft- vs. hard-shell suitcase: There are benefits to both hard- and soft-side suitcases; ultimately the decision should be based on personal preference. Hard bags are aesthetically sleeker, said Dan Bettinger, an owner of Altman Luggage, a New York company that sells more than 100 brands of luggage. Hard bags also offer stronger protection than soft to the items inside and are less susceptible to wear and tear. As we mentioned earlier, a hard-shelled suitcase will also strictly limit how much you can stuff into your bag — a benefit if you tend to pack too much. And since the new models are made with lightweight polycarbonate, they don’t scratch easily and aren’t heavy. In fact, some models weigh less than soft suitcases, but be wary of a bag that’s too light: its frame may be flimsy.

The upside to soft bags: They tend to be light and have external pockets, which some travelers use to keep items like books or jackets handy. Many soft bags also have some give, a bonus if you like to cram as much as possible into a bag.

Our Luggage Picks

Just want a great bag? Consider these options from The Wirecutter.

Five best RV’s for full time living

If you are still committed to full-time motorhome living, here are the 5 best RVs for full-time living that you should consider:

1. Newmar Dutch Star

For a truly luxurious ride, the Newmar 2019 Dutch Star is like a hotel on wheels (sort of).

Rather than choosing an RV with generic or limited furnishings, the Newmar offers several furniture options to make your caravan feel more like home. The inside can be outfitted with a fold-out sofa, ceramic counter tops, a home theater, even bunk beds. Another useful feature of the mobile home is a durable outer shell and aluminum frame that offers solid protection against any elements. Whether the seasonxs hot or cold, you can enjoy heat and air controls, too, with excellent ventilation to stay comfortable and remove odors from the bathroom or kitchen.

Other benefits include:

  • Multiple USB ports throughout the vehicle
  • Huge fresh water reservoir and large shower
  • Comes with a convection microwave, gas cook top, high-end dishwasher and refrigerator
  • Easy to drive with cruise control, back-up camera, and adjustable power seats

Possible cons include:

  • Costly repairs and maintenance
  • Poor gas mileage and sub-par tank size

2. Airstream Classic

Nothingxs more American than the Airstream Classic, the biggest travel trailer in the companyxs fleet.

Not only does it showcase a contemporary style reminiscent of the 1930xs, but it offers a modern environment replete with versatility. For instance, the Airstream Classic comes in four different models that each emphasizes a certain level of comfort. The most spacious option is the 33FB version that extends the trailerxs length by three additional feet, along with being equipped with a large memory-foam mattress, pull-out sofa, and luxurious shower. Also, the RV comes pre-installed with a top-of-the-line satellite radio, tons of USB ports, and a 65x projection TV. However, if youxre on a budget, you can also find older models at an affordable cost with similar qualities.

Other benefits include:

  • Bluetooth capabilities to stream music or videos from your smartphone
  • Remote control access for lighting and vehicle maintenance updates
  • Residential-style kitchen with full appliances
  • Rear-view monitoring and power-controlled retractable awning

Possible cons include:

  • Requires a vehicle to tow the trailer (fifth wheel)
  • Expensive to maintain and repair
  • May be tough to maneuver due to size and weight

3. Roadtrek CS Adventurous

If bulk isnxt your style, then the Roadtrek CS Adventurous is a sleek alternative with plenty of perks.

First of all, this class B camper van is made for the person (or family) that loves to go the distance. With towing power up to 7,000 pounds and a 188 horsepower engine, pulling an additional trailer for more space or an extra car for small excursions is no big deal. The mobile home also comes with a bevy of amenities, such as solar battery technology from EcoTrek, propane hookups, and 9-passenger seating. Some people may be turned off to the idea that the CS runs on diesel fuel, but it actually prolongs the mileage, getting you up to 19 MPG. Anyway, itxs a Mercedes after all: what more could you want?

Other benefits include:

  • Large windows with natural light
  • Heated floors and walls throughout the camper
  • Comfortably sleep three people, while seating up to six
  • filtered drinking water and hot water spout

Possible cons include:

  • Refrigeration problems with cooling during long road trips
  • Heat buildup under the RVxs sofa may be unpleasant
  • Storage options are limited

4. Grand Design Reflection

It may not seem possible to live in excess in an RV, but the Grand Design Reflection offers a spacious experience with an air of opulence.

For starters, this fifth wheel monster stretches to 41 feet in length with the 367BHS model. Inside the unit, travelers can enjoy a fully operational fireplace, two fold-out sofas, a king-size bed, and a full kitchen with an island. On the outside, there are two motorized awnings that expand your living space even more, which is great for making extra shade in the summer months. With that in mind, one of the best qualities of the Grand Design is that itxs an all-weather vehicle. Whether youxre blazing across the Mojave or trekking through the Yukon, you can add the Arctic 4-season protection plan that gives you a heavy-duty furnace, reinforced roof and wall insulation, and a heating system that circulates throughout the entire floorplan.

Other benefits include:

  • Split baggage doors for additional undercarriage storage space
  • Stainless steel deep sink in the kitchen
  • Outdoor shower and speaker system
  • Large panoramic windows

Possible cons include:

  • Too much space to maintain
  • Hard to maneuver due to over-sized design
  • Top-of-the-line amenities are hard to upkeep
  • Costly repairs

5. Casita Spirit

Most of the above options are heavy on the pocketbook, but the Casita Spirit is an essential RV with just enough flair to make it feel like home.

Marketed as a lightweight travel trailer, the standard version of the Casita Spirit comes with all the features youxd expect to find in a cozy class C motorhome. You have a roomy double bed at one end, a bunk bed at the other, a full range stove along the side wall, a kitchen sink, and a refrigerator. On the opposite wall is a fold-out table with booth style seating that doubles as more storage underneath. A roof vent allows for steady airflow throughout the RV, and the entire fifth wheel extends to about 16 ft long. For a family of four or an adventurous couple, itxs the perfect little getaway while youxre taking in the countryside. Not to mention, the price point is much cheaper than RV options that stretch into the six-figure range.

Other benefits include:

  • Small toilet and stand-up shower
  • Lightweight design that allows for easy towing on a variety of vehicles
  • The Deluxe model offers a larger bathroom and shower area

Possible cons include:

  • May be too cramped for families exceeding four people
  • Not great for extreme weather conditions of hot or cold
  • Limited power supply options or upgraded features

Home is Where You Make It

Full-time RV living is made a lot easier with choices that embody the traditional lifestyle, and why shouldnxt it be? Just because you crave a life unencumbered by trivial tasks and responsibilities doesnxt mean you canxt enjoy yourself along the way?

Even if you donxt go with an RV of mainstream caliber, you can buy an old VW bus, convert an old pickup truck, or buy a van and customize it yourself! RV living is less about maintaining the same standards at home and more about adapting to life as it happens each day.

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