Updated: May 14
Hello from Arizona, my dears!
My husband Steve and I recently took a five-night trip driving from our home in the Greater Phoenix area to Tucson, Arizona. We had a wonderful time exploring that area of Arizona and I will share with you some of the highlights of the beautiful Tucson area desert scenery and their great eateries and lovely resorts here later.
My Travel Budget Form
Before any trip, we plan using my Travel Budget Form. The categories we use vary by trip, of course. Your travel categories might be different, but you could use my form as a guide to make your own form, which I encourage.
5* Trips on a 3* Travel Budget
This particular trip to Tucson, we stayed five nights and six days and our dollarwise budget covered our nice lodging, great restaurants, and (our brand of) fun, and anyone who know me knows I'm not a gal who stays in Super 8 hotels nor camps near porta-potties, so stay tuned for future posts here if you want to know how we orchestrated our 5* Tucson trip on a 3* budget. BTW, our travel m.o. can transfer to any locale, not just Tucson in case you don't have a hankering to vacation in Arizona.
Richer in Experiences
One thing I wanted to share with you today is that even though I have traveled my whole life in various ways and to varying locales, if there's one thing I've learned it's that every trip is different, and can be stressful even when also fun, so I am always trying to simplify and streamline things to make travel overall the most enjoyable.
Cinderella, You Need Comfy Travel Shoes!
Now that we are in our 60s, I am also integrating as much comfort into our travel m.o. as possible too. (Fellow Boomers, you can relate to travel at 60 being different than at 30, I'm sure -- as in comfy shoes anyone?!) :) I used to wear this shoe years ago to travel and missed it now, so I went back to the Minnetonka brand recently. They are super soft leather that molds to your feet, and much less expensive too than other leather brands I have bought. They are SO great and they carry the same styles year after year as well as add new ones. For everyday and travel sandals I wear these as they have a rubber no-slip bottom, and for dressier travel events I wear these as they have a comfy padded sole and cute embellishment. (Shoe alert: This similar brand had no padding and I had aching legs after just one event so off to Goodwill it went, brand new.) You don't want to slip while on a trip, (that's a poem!), so you might want to use these on the bottom of all your shoes, just to be cautious. I personally use one on the ball of the shoe and cut another one in half for the shoe heels too.
Here are some things I learned on this (driving) trip that might help you in your future travels, too:
Rethinking Packing Cubes
I have used these packing cubes for years and really like them because they are lightweight and you can hang them by the handle, plus toss them in the washer. This time, however, I found they picked up some odor for some reason and I had trouble washing it out and don't want my future clothes for a trip to smell weird, so I am considering using 2-gallon Ziploc bags as (inexpensive) "packing cubes" in the future as they can just be tossed after the trip. (I know; I am concerned about and try hard to not overuse plastics because of environmental issues, but some plastics are just necessary.) The 1-gallon size bags work for some things, but I figure the 2-gallon size can better hold whole outfits, and my hubby's size 12 shoes will fit in the bigger size too. The downside I see of using Ziploc bags? They are slippery.
Plan Your Outfits
I lay my outfits out on my bed before we go and pack them by outfit, complete with undies, socks, sweater etc., (but not shoes), as shown below. And since I bought the 2-gallon Ziploc size bags since arriving home, I think a whole outfit will fit, especially if you roll items.
Ziploc Bags We Love You!
I also take a wad of empty Ziploc bags of varying sizes when we travel as they seem to come in handy for various things that come up on a trip. And I also take several empty large drawstring trash bags too as those little trashcans/bag liners in hotels and inns I find annoying for multiple large coffee cups etc. so I always have my own drawstring trash bag available, neat freak that I admittedly am.
Carrying on ...
We say NO to One Little Bag
You know those people who can pack in one little carry-on bag and live to tell about it, and chic-ly so? Well, we're happy for them, but that's no longer us and I don't think it ever was! We both want our personal creature comforts with us before we go so we are not shopping and schlepping in a strange city for "our brand" of an item we might run out of or that I really need because of my high-maintenance bod.
Vera Bradley, We Love You!
This time my hubby suggested packing in several quilted bags instead of one large roller suitcase as he felt it was easier to pack in the trunk as the bags are "squishy-er." (You can buy Vera Bradley bags on sale on her site when the old patterns go out for the new patterns.) I am not sure I like this multiple squishy-bags m.o. all that much, but my hubs is the one who carries all the bags and packs the trunk so I did what he suggested, and I do see his point that a huge roller suitcase is not all that easy to get in the trunk around car-care things etc. I think if I were traveling alone though by car, I'd still try and use a larger hardshell suitcase like this as I like the rollers and observed how easy it was for people wheeling those in and out of the resorts where we saw people checking in. I'd just stick it in the back seat of the car and forget the trunk probably. Also, I think these covers are neat for protection and because you can wash the "airport yuck" off them.
Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate Some More!
Clutter Control in Your Hotel Room
I love using a large hanging toiletry bag and I bought removable hooks for our B&B room this stay to hang it but there was literally no place to use those, but there was a big counter so I kept it there. Every lodging room is different! Since we arrived home, my hubby went to the Dollar Store and we bought six small baskets similar to these so that for a future trip we can use one in the bathroom, one on our nightstands, and one for electronics etc. to keep personal things together, yet his and hers separate too. They are easy to pack too. Next time, we are also going to take one of these pocket holders to hang over the bathroom door on the inside for toiletries etc. and one for the outside to put our cell phones and cords etc. as that will keep them easily visible but not lying all over the room. These will just roll up and pack easily. (This B&B stay the owner had many personal knickknacks in the room so it made it visually harder to see our own small things when we needed them, unlike a knickknack-free hotel room so this pocket m.o. would help that cause along.)
Smile, You're on Kathryn's Camera!
I can't even tell you how much I love my new Sony point-and-shoot camera after buying and using many cameras over the years. So easy to use and lightweight for travel schlepping too. The battery stays charged a long time which is great when you're out travel-touring all day!
It takes great night shots too ...
That's it for now and I will post more pix and tips of our dollarwise trip to Tucson, AZ soon.
Travel well, whatever that means for you.