Tips for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

Tips for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

Figuring out how to pack everything you want on a trip can be difficult. There are probably so many things you want to bring and very little suitcase space. Believe me, I know the struggle. I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life, so I think I’ve finally figured out how to make it all work. If you’re interested to find out how I do it, check out this post!

Optimize Suitcase Space

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I have been lucky enough to travel a lot in my young life, but what’s always been hard is trying to fit everything I want to bring on my trip into a suitcase. Over the years, I’ve tried various techniques to stuff my bag to the brim. A couple of years ago however, I stumbled upon the perfect packing trick that helps me fit WAY more clothes into my small suitcase than I ever could in the past. Want to know what it was?

ROLLING! Yes, by rolling my clothes instead of folding them I am able to fit twice as many outfit options for my trip. This is incredibly helpful because I always want to bring more clothes than I know I could ever wear. All you have to do is fold your shirts in half and then roll from the top going down into a tight cylindrical shape then place it into the corner of your bag. Repeat this all the way across your suitcase and then add more levels as you begin to stack the clothes on top of one another. It’s also great because it doesn’t really wrinkle your clothes the way folding them does.

For shoes, I like to make them fit in like a puzzle which mostly means placing them at opposite angles from each other. For longer boots, try tucking one of the boots inside the other so that once its in, it looks like one boot with heels at each end. For sneakers, if you places them shoelace size down, you won’t get your clothes dirty.

Want this duffel bag? Find it here for a great price!

Toiletries

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When packing toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, face wash, makeup, lotion etc. you don’t have to splurge on buying new travel size products. Instead, head over to your local dollar store or Amazon and pick up a couple small travel size bottles. Then you can fill them up with the products you already have at home. Some bottles even come with a suction on the side so that you can stick it to the wall of your shower. They’re useful not only because you don’t have to buy a bunch of new products, but you can also reuse the bottles for any and all trips in the future, making them a sound investment.

Jewelry

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We all know the struggle of tangled jewelry on trips, so instead of putting all of your necklaces and bracelets together, put them in plastic wrap to avoid them moving around. This is easy and you probably have plastic wrap in your home anyways. You can also use tissue paper, putting a piece around each piece of jewelry.

You can also put rings inside of old pill boxes. In fact, pill boxes are great for a lot of things, like any generic medicine (ibuprofen) or actual medications you take, as well as pairs of earrings, hair ties, and any other small necessities you want to bring.

Carry-On

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My carry-on is my life-line when I travel, and I usually use something like a Longchamp bag because it is big enough to fit my belongings but small enough to put under my seat. I pack what I think I’ll need if my suitcase is lost or doesn’t arrive for some reason. So, with this in mind, I always make sure to pack an extra pair of underwear, socks, and some leggings. Along with these necessities I like to have a book, my chargers, a notebook and pen, some face wipes, a bit of travel sized makeup (mascara, lip balm, and BB Cream), and an empty water bottle.

Because this is a bunch of stuff, I like to use some different things to organize my bag. For the clothing items, I try to pick a cute little makeup bag because the clothing items are small enough that they’ll fit and they will be discreet in a bag seemingly for makeup. Chargers can go into either a plastic bag or another makeup type bag depending on how big they are. The face wipes and travel size makeup I like to put into a smaller makeup bag that can fit in the pocket of my carry on. This gives me easy access to lip balm and moisturizer when the flight dries out my skin. The empty water bottle is useful because, as most people know, you’re not allowed to bring liquids more than 3 fluid ounces through security. But, if you have an empty water bottle, you can fill it up in the water fountains once past security and won’t have to buy the pricey airport plastic water bottles.

I hope these tips helped, and if you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comment section. I’m always looking for new travel hacks!

Ciao for now!

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Hangin at the Langham

Hangin at the Langham

December

For the past two years, my mom and I have taken a yearly trip into Boston the week before my finals at college. It’s a really nice tradition that we’ve started and very generous of my mom to do this for me. Last year, we stayed at The Taj in Boston which was lovely and beautiful. This year, however my mom booked us a night at The Langham in Boston. Because it was around Christmas time everything was decorated in such a festive way, with Christmas trees and lights everywhere. The room was quite spacious as well, with two queen beds, a little sitting area, and a nice sized bathroom. The window was on of my favorite parts of the room because it was slightly slanted and had a gorgeous velvet curtain to cover it.

After we checked in, put our belongings in the room and rested a bit, my mom and I decided we should venture out into the 13 degree Boston weather and explore the city on out way to dinner. But, while I may live in Boston most of the year, I am not the best at navigating the city. I was able to take us from the hotel to Quincy Market, which we looked around at, but from there I was lost. We eventually just started walking in the direction that we believed the North End to be in. My mom had found a nice restaurant for us to eat at in the North and this is where our adventure began. It was a chilly walk in heels for both of us, but we were so excited to be hanging out to care that the wind was whipping our hair all around our faces. A twenty minute walk later and some sore feet and we had made it to the restaurant, Antico Forno.

After walking through the door, there was a velvet curtain we had to walk through to get into the restaurant and once through we were greeted with a rush of warm air and a smile from one of the hostesses. It was pretty busy in there, but since there were only two of us we were seated within ten minutes, which is very quick for a popular North End restaurant on a Friday night. At our table, we looked around and admired the crackling fireplace and warm lighting that surrounded us. Once our server came over, we ordered some drinks (wine for mom, water with lemon for me), and were given complimentary bread that was amazing. We ordered some calamari for an appetizer which was delicious and we ended up finishing all of it before our meals even arrived, as well as all the bread we were given. For dinner, I ordered the Linguini al Frutti di Mare which is essentially pasta with seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari). My mom ordered the Linguini con Puttanesca. We eat devoured as much of our pasta as we could because it was delicious! I unfortunately could not finish all of it since I’d eaten all that bread and calamari, so I got the rest of it wrapped up to go and brought it back to the hotel.

Once we finished dinner, my mom and I took the scenic route back to the hotel, stopping by the winter market outside Government Center. It’s essentially a little circle of wooden stalls that sell all sorts of homemade things. For example, some sell homemade hats and scarves, others sell soaps and perfumes, more sell handcrafted jewelry, and others sell food. It’s a cute little place to look around spend some time listening to live music. Although, since it was around 8 o’clock by this point and pretty cold out, we didn’t stay long. From the market, we walked back to the Langham where we put on our bathing suits and headed to the pool and hot tub for a nice relaxing night dip. The pool closed at 10, so we stayed from 9:00-9:30, during which time there were only two other people there and the hot tub really warmed me up from the cold winter air. After we left the pool area, we went into the sauna to dry off for about five minutes, and then we walked back to our room.

When we got to the room, it was a nice surprise to see some chocolates on the pillow along with the weather forecast for the next day on a pretty little card under the chocolates. After each taking a shower in the spacious bathroom, we spent the rest of the night watching Hallmark Christmas movies on TV and chatting. The next morning, we decided to have afternoon tea as a brunch. So at noon, we walked down to the lobby and into the dining area where we were seated on a couch and presented with a tea menu and our options. I had the peach tea which was nice and refreshing, while my mom went with the classic Earl Grey. There were three courses: tiny sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and mini desserts. Everything was so good and filling that I had to take the rest of the little cakes to go. Below I’ll show some photos of the different foods we were served, along with the tea (although the scones were so tempting that I didn’t get to take a photo before devouring them). While we sat and enjoyed this amazing experience, it was snowing outside, so we watched out of the large window as the snowflakes drifted down from the sky and landed heavily in the street. The snow covered the city in a blanket of quiet and white. It was quite a pretty sight to see as I sat sipping tea and eating  tiny cucumber sandwiches.

Unfortunately, after tea it was time to leave my beautiful respite from school work. We checked out of the hotel and my mom drove me back to school. I brought a piece of my night with me though in the form of the leftover pasta and the tiny tea desserts. Overall, I have to say that the staff at the Langham were quite friendly and the atmosphere was very nice and festive. The only issue we  had was that we were told we did not need to make a reservation for afternoon tea when we asked at check-in, but the next day when we arrived all the tables had been booked, so we were seated on the couch. It worked out well since we liked sitting at the couch, but we would have made a reservation had we known. Also, if anyone out there loves chocolate as much as I do and has the time that I did not have, there is a chocolate buffet at the Langham where you can eat as much chocolate as you like. And if you’re worried about all those extra calories, they have a nice gym to workout in. I thoroughly enjoyed my little vacation with my mom out in Boston and at the Langham, and I would recommend the hotel for those with a sweet tooth and a liking for nice atmospheres.

 

Leave a comment of your favorite spot in Boston!

Ciao for now!

 

Cape Cod-da Go Back

Cape Cod-da Go Back

Over the summer, I got the opportunity to stay with my friend and her family at their house in Cape Cod (Orleans) for a few days. While there, we rode bikes around the town, ate at restaurants like The Lobster Claw, went into Provincetown, and of course we went to the beach. We also bought matching sweatshirts at the store Cuffy’s because how else were we supposed to remember this trip?? I got to climb the Pilgrim Monument and Museum in Provincetown which had an incredible view from the top. In addition, we walked around Provincetown looking in all the lovely shops and buying candy from the many candy shops. It’s such a vibrant town bustling with activity. There were neat little decorations all over the town, such as sunflowers placed in glass and stone and drag queens rolling around in bathtubs dressed as Old Hollywood women. I loved it there.

And of course we went to the beach because that’s what you do in Cape Cod during the summer. The day we arrived, we rode bikes there. It was overcast so we just parked our bikes and walked along the shore admiring the vast expanse of the ocean. As the waves rolled up, we felt the cold water lap at our toes. By the time we biked back, our feet were freezing and covered in sand; it was great. The next time we went back it was also cloudy but the tide was low and we could walk really far out, so we did. We looked across so far that we could just make out Provincetown and the Monument. We also saw tiny little crabs scuttling along the sand in the water. Our last day in Cape Cod was luckily very sunny, so we went to the beach in the morning. The water was so cold that my teeth started chattering, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump and ride the huge waves coming at me. After ten minutes, I adjusted to the water and the waves. I was knocked down quite a bit, but I did manage to ride a couple all the way to shore after some coaching from my friend Allison.

We rounded out our day and the trip at The Red Barn where we ate pizza and played mini golf. Overall, the trip was really nice, filled with adventures with my friend and exploring the Cape Cod surroundings. There was so much to do, like visit the Monument and explore Provincetown, while also providing a calm respite from activity at the beach. Cape Cod has something for every type of person, and I thouroughly enjoyed visiting.

Catch a glimpse of my experience through these photos:

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The Monument
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View from the doors of the Monument
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View from top of the Monument
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Another view from top of the Monument

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The colorful stones and glass the sunflowers are placed in

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Ciao for now!

Ischia, Italy: An Island Like No Other

Ischia, Italy: An Island Like No Other

I love the island of Ischia because it holds so many memories for me. Situated next to Capri, this island of Ischia is a beautiful Italian haven filled with lots of color, beautiful sea views, and friendly people. I’ve stayed on the island maybe3 or 4 times and I love it more each time I go. This past summer, I was lucky enough to continue my Italian exploration after Venice by going to Ischia for another 2 weeks. The big occasion for this was that my grandparents, who live on the island for half of the year, were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary! (I know, that is a LONG time.)

My mom, the clever woman she is, booked us an apartment right on the water. This meant that our large terrace looked out onto the beach and across the Mediterranean. We could see Mount Vesuvius, hear the crashing of the waves, and as soon as we arrived, we could see all our family down on the beach. So of course, my brother and I put our suitcases on our respective bunks (because our room had a bunk bed), changed into our bathing suits, and met everyone down on the beach.

That night all 15 or so of us met for dinner at a lovely restaurant and everyone ordered pizza. It was really nice to see all of my family and laugh with my younger cousins. And, that’s basically what we did for most of the week: went to the beach for the day then went for dinner at night. There’s nothing better than living in a bathing suit every day and swimming in the cool Mediterranean Sea looking at the beautiful views all around you. It’s convenient too, because the beach has a restaurant if ever I got hungry or thirsty.

Friday July 7 was the day of my grandparents’ 50th Wedding party. We went to the beach as normal in the morning, but we left earlier than usual so we could all get ready. We had to be at the church around 18:00. I wore a white sleeveless dress with a cinched waist that went down to just above my knees, silver dangling earrings, and black heeled sandals. Once we got to the church, we watched the renewal of vows and I got to participate in the ceremony along with some other members of my family. It was lovely.

After the church ceremony, we all walked to the restaurant where the reception was being held. It was right across from the beach and had an amazing view of the sea just as the sun was setting. There was a musician who played beautiful Italian songs, people gave speeches and toasts, we ate too much, we laughed too much. It was a fantastic night filled with lots of love and the best family I could ask for. Per Italian style, we didn’t leave until 1 or 2 in the morning, by which point I was exhausted.

For the next week, we did pretty much the same as the week before: beach and swim every day. Although night time varied; we explored the island. We got gelato every night of course, but not always from the same place; we ate at different restaurants, saw different musicians, walked different streets. For an island, there is so much to do. One night we walked to my grandparent’s house on the other side of the island and ate a fabulous meal prepared by my Nonna. One of our last days on the island, we changed up our routine and went to the spa beach. It’s pretty expensive which is why we only go one day, but it is worth it. It has various levels of outdoor lounging, along with heated pools with waterfalls, a restaurant with a view to die for, and stairs that walk right into the sea. And once in the sea, there are floating chairs to lay in and docks to jump off of. It’s one of my favorite places on the island.

Unfortunately, our time on Ischia couldn’t last forever. So after doing some last minute shopping at the island’s many stores, we finally arrived at our last day. Weirdly enough, there was a fire in Napoli which we could see from our terrace, but the smoke made it seem like Vesuvius was smoking. That was an exciting 5 minutes where we thought perhaps we’d be the next Pompeii. Luckily, our flight wasn’t until noon the next day though, so we stayed the night in Napoli and got to experience the joys of the city where my family is from. We ate delicious food at a restaurant right on the marina, so that I twirled my pasta with one hand and tried not to touch the boat next to me with the other. After dinner, we walked around the streets of the busy city simply people watching and getting gelato before heading back to get a good night’s rest.

The next day, we packed up and ate our last meal at a restaurant a few feet from our hotel. It was a great way to leave Italy, with a view of a castle on the water and pasta in my mouth.

Here are some of the photos from Ischia and Napoli:

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View from our terrace
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Just a casual walk down the street
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View as we walked to my grandparent’s house

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View from the street
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This was taken from my table at the restaurant reception
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At the spa beach
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When we thought the smoke was coming from Vesuvius (you can see it in the distance)
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This is the view of Naples from the boat to get there
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View from our hotel room in Naples (this is one of my favorite photos)
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Another view from our hotel room (and also another fave photo)
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Me and my bro taking a sibling pic
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The boat(s) right next to me at dinner- taken at the dinner table
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View of Naples at night from the sidewalk near the Castle

If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to leave them below!

Ciao for now!