Travel

What I Pack in my Carry On + Travel Tips and Tricks

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricks

*I have been compensated by QVC for this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricks

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricksAfter the airline (thou shall not be named) lost my bag last year, your girl has a small case of travel anxiety which has led me to pack a lot more strategically and efficiently. I devoted last year to traveling as much as I could and definitely picked up some travel tips, tricks and hacks along the way that I wish someone would have told me! Before we get started I figured I would share the crazy, semi-comical lost baggage story for your reading pleasure. If you are just here for the tips and tricks, keep scrolling to the bottom of the post!

BACK STORY:

Last July I flew to Miami for Miami Swim Week. Hands down one of the best weeks ever… until this situation happened. Silver lining: it was on the way home instead of on the way there which would have been an absolute disaster. Anywho, long story short, the last night we decided it would be a good idea to party all night long and go straight to the airport because YOLO. When we got to the airport (early I might add), we decided to check our baggage outside which I’ve never done in my life but alcohol told us this was a fantastic idea. Fast forward to landing in Houston, my bag never showed up.

At this point I was delirious from lack of sleep but was assured by the airline that my bag would show up on the next flight and they would bring it to me. FALSE. It never showed up. I was on the phone with customer service every day for the next week trying to get any sort of update on my bag. I even went up to the airport multiple times to try to get some kind of answers to no avail. I had thousands of dollars worth of product in that bag including ALL of my make up, ALL of my hair products/tools, and ALL of the designer swim suits and clothes I had taken and then been gifted in Miami. The airline couldn’t tell me anything. Supposedly it had been scanned in at check in and then never scanned again. Side note: They scan your bag at every check point (check in, TSA, on the plane, arrival, etc) and mine was just apparently MIA.

At one point they told me my bag might be in the Bahamas which made me LOL. I was all like “my clothes get a tropical vacation and I don’t?!”. I say LOL lightly because I wasn’t laughing. Funny enough though, my friend Kylee was traveling back to Miami the following weekend and offered to look for my bag at the Miami airport. I was sure that she would find it somewhere since I was so sure it had to still be at the Miami airport. Nope. She searched that whole dang airport with the help of a baggage claim assistant and it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I officially gave up hope after this.

I ‘m sure you are not surprised to find out that I had documented this entire process on my Instagram stories. Documented…ranted… same thing. So one of my sweet followers happened to be flying into a completely different Houston airport than I had flown into and messaged me that she thought she saw my bag. There was hope. I drove straight to the other airport and went straight to the baggage claim office. There were only 4 bags and none of them were mine. At that point I decided it was time to come to terms that I would never see any of my stuff again. I went and purchased new make up that day.

Then a miracle happened. Kylee happened to be flying into the Houston airport that my follower had said she had seen my bag. Kylee, who had flown into this airport many times, versus me who had never flown into that airport and didn’t know about the several cages that they store lost bags in, FOUND MY BAG. I woke up to several missed calls and FaceTime videos. It was possibly one of the best mornings of my life. The bag had been exactly where my follower had said it was but I just hadn’t looked in the right spot.

When Kylee found the bag they released it to her no questions asked. All 4 of my baggage tags had been ripped off which meant there was no identifier anywhere on the entire bag that could have tied it to me. No personal baggage tags. No airline baggage tags. No airline barcode stickers. Nothing. Sadly this happens more often than you think where baggage tags get ripped off somewhere during transportation from being on the conveyer belts. Now how my bag even made it on a plane, let alone to the correct city, just wrong airport, we will never know.

Something I learned during the process, if unidentifiable bags are “lost” for more than 30 days they are sold to a huge warehouse in Alabama where your beloved belongings are sold off piece by piece. 90’s kids: I immediately thought of Halloweentown and Gort’s cottage where all of the missing items go. Thankfully after a series of extremely lucky events, I got my bag back in tact, with everything still in it a little over a week later.

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricks

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricks

What I pack in my carry on, travel tips and tricks

TRAVEL TIPS:

NEVER check your bags outside.

The staff outside is employed by the airport, not each individual airline, so if your bag goes missing, the airline isn’t held responsible.

Always put some form of identification IN your bag

On the off chance that your bag somehow does have all of it’s bag tags or identifiers ripped off, you should always have an identifier inside of your bag that can link your bag back to you. This could be a business card, a copy of your driver’s license or passport, or even a print out of your flight itinerary. I was told by the airline it is best to have your phone number and email in case anything ever happens.

Invest in a luggage tracker

I suggest doing your research on which option is best for you but luggage trackers are 100% worth the money. It’s basically like buying insurance on your belongings when you travel and while it might not solve all of your problems should your bag actually get lost, it will at least help figure out the bags location which is more than the airline can do sometimes. The Tile is a popular tracking device that you can stick to just about anything (keys, phone, luggage, etc) and tracks the item via an app on your phone.

Always pack your “can’t live withouts” in your carry on

Obviously this might be a little different for everyone but for me this means jewelry, especially sentimental jewelry, make up, hair tools, designer items, a change of clothes, a couple pairs of underwear, passport, and laptop. To keep these things organized in your carry on I suggest purchasing a couple different bags or pouches. I’m linking mine for you below.

HANDY GADGETS:

Weigher

If you are always that girl at the airport unloading one suitcase to another to get below the 50 pound mark, save yourself the trouble and get one of these luggage scales! If I’m going on a trip where I know i’ll be coming home with more than I’m going with, I make sure to toss this in my bag!

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game changer for your checked bags and even mid size carry ons to keep your clothes organized, wrinkle free and room for more. If you are one of those people that can never find anything in your suitcase, these are for you!

Portable Charger

While you should definitely pack your normal chargers too, never leave for a trip without a portable charger. I can’t tell you how many times these have saved me when I didn’t have time to charge my phone or didn’t have the ability to charge my phone on the go.

Travel Size Makeup/Toiletries

Maybe not a gadget, but if you plan to bring your toiletries and makeup on the plane with you, you are going to need to invest in some travel size products. QVC has a great selection of name brand, travel size makeup and toiletries. You can also use TAKE10 for $10 off of your purchase for new customers!

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Vacation Wear Packing List

**CLICK ANY IMAGE TO SHOP THE ITEM DIRECTLY**

I asked you ladies what you wanted to see this week and the number one request was for vacation wear so ask and ye shall receive! Whether you are headed for some fun in the sun or to hit the slopes, I’m sharing everything you should have on your packing list! I have to say that I am pretty jealous that so many of you have vacations booked. As of now my travel list for the year isn’t too long. I’m hoping to decide if I’m going to move out of state and what timeframe that would look like by the end of next month. Until then, it’s hard to really nail down travel plans when you aren’t sure what city you will be living in! So far, here are my definite travel plans for 2019…

February: Fredericksburg & Nashville

March: Chicago & Tulum

April: Dallas

July: Miami

September: New York

Looking at my list, the cold is out weighing the heat which means I need to get to booking some more beach trips! I am a water, sand and sun girl through and through! I hope that this post is helpful when you are planning out your outfits and packing lists. Every picture above and below is clickable and will take you directly to the retailer’s site where you can purchase that item. Happy shopping!

SUN


SNOW


Vacation Wear, Beach Packing List, Snow Packing List
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Vegas in 48 Hours

Vegas in 48 Hours

Serious question: How can a hangover last longer than the actual trip? Apparently not everything that happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

My baby sister turned 23 this past weekend and what better place than Las Vegas? Imagine The Hangover (movie) minus the strippers, tigers, and unexplained baby and you’ve got a good idea at what 48 hours in Vegas looks like. I lost my phone to the pool you see pictured above so the pictures from the weekend are few and far between because unfortunately some things that happen in Vegas actually do stay in Vegas.

HOTEL


We stayed at the MGM Grand Las Vegas mainly because it was cheap, relatively nice and housed two of the clubs that we wanted to attend (Wet Republic and Hakkasan). I’ve been to Las Vegas before and stayed at the Palazzo which is a bit nicer but not as conveniently located. Nonetheless everything is just an Uber away and honestly there are few places you can go wrong hotel wise in Vegas! My one piece of advice is to try to plan out what events you want to attend while you are there and if you can stay on sight or within walking distance to some of your events, it will cut down on Uber expenses.

POOL PARTIES/CONCERTS


Use this website to find out what concerts will be going on, where and how to buy tickets. We attended two pool parties and two nightclub concerts while we were there. Pool party wise, we saw Kygo at Encore Beach Club and Calvin Harris at Wet Republic. Concert wise, we saw The Chainsmokers at XS at Encore and Zedd at Hakkasan. If you are going with a group of girls, it is not unlikely to get approached by promoters to get into concerts for free. This is 100% the way to go if possible. They will give you their phone number and get your group in for free. Unfortunately if you are going with guys, this will not work.

SHOWS


While we did not go to any shows this trip, it is certainly a fun thing to do in Vegas! You can use this website to see what shows are in town and buy tickets. I have attended several Circque du Soleil shows and they never disappoint. If you are going with a group of girls, especially for a bachelorette party, you’ve got to experience Magic Mike in real life via Chippendales or Thunder From Down Under.

FOOD


This one is not my area of expertise so I will just leave a few places that my family can’t go to Vegas and not go to for dinner. First one being Giada’s and the second being Emerils. The Grand Lux is a great breakfast option. Most hotels will have a food court and restaurants inside so if you are looking for a convenient food option or late night snack, look no further.

OUTFITS


If you are planning to attend any pool parties the attire ranges all over the place. If you want to be extra, Las Vegas is definitely the place for it so don’t be afraid to go all out! Keep in mind that you will most likely be taking your clothes and shoes off and leaving them in some random place by the pool. I learned the hard way that stuff does get taken. So don’t wear your brand new $200 cover up (RIP cover up). Other than that you will certainly see girls wearing heels with their bikinis but honestly you can’t go wrong wearing a swimsuit, kimono and sandals. As far as going out, it’s Vegas! Meaning throw on your sexiest attire, red lips, and high heels! See below for some of my outfits.

Las Vegas Pool party attire

Las Vegas Nightclub

Las Vegas Pool party attire

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Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

A couple of weeks ago Kylee (from Whine to Wine) and I put our college drinking faces on and headed down to Mexico for an adult Spring Break adventure. What is an adult Spring break you might ask? Well, it can easily be summed up as an attempt to relive your college glory days during a week that every college girl and boy pushes the party limits. Heading down to Mexico on one of the busiest travel weeks of the entire year might seem like torture to some people but we enjoyed every minute of it and like to think we fit right in.

While there, we had the opportunity to stay at two of the nicest properties in Cabo- Hacienda Beach Club and Pueblo Bonito Pacifica. Both were truly amazing but totally unique to their own. Whether you are going for a bachelorette party, girls weekend or anniversary trip, Cabo will certainly not disappoint!

HACIENDA BEACH CLUB

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

First up, was Hacienda Beach Club. This was my second time staying there and personally my favorite if you are looking to be right in the action. It is nestled on Medano Beach which has lots of popular spots including The Office and Mango Deck. It is also walking distance to just about anything and everything you might want to do while in Cabo. The Marina is a short walk from the hotel which is where you would catch a boat to go see the Arches or possibly a sunset cruise. It is also walking distance to tons of good restaurants, bars and other attractions. For being located right in the action, it is extremely quiet and luxurious. It is gated and hands down has the best staff. I do want to mention right off the bat that I left my Aggie ring (one of my most loved and expensive pieces) at this hotel and it was safely returned to me. If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.

While Hacienda is in a great location, you honestly would never have to leave if you didn’t want to. There are two pools- one adult only and one that is kid friendly, all day poolside service, beach access, free internet access, free kayak and paddle boarding, a putting green, an on site restaurant, and so much more. Although after a couple $15 cocktails, I would suggest walking down the beach to The Office or Mango Deck, two very fun places where the drinks are a little more budget friendly.

While pricey, Hacienda is hands down one of the nicest places I have ever stayed. The rooms are beyond spacious (bigger than any apartment I’ve lived in), offer a wrap around balcony that is perfect for drinks on the patio, a surround sound system and a massive kitchen (if you are in to that sort of thing). We enjoyed going down to the lobby for free coffee each morning and then coming back to our balcony to sip on our morning joe with an absolutely incredible view. We actually saw a whale one morning and you will also be able to see the arches in the distance.

Food/Drink/Activity recommendations near by:  

Edith’s – Dinner

Bar Esquina – Dinner

The Office – Lunch/Day drinking

Mango Deck – Day drinking

Mandala – Night life (Hacienda will call a cab for you)

Blue Sky Cabo – Boat excursions including sunset cruise to see the arches

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

PUEBLO BONITO PACIFICA

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip

We spent one luxurious day at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica and basked in all of it’s all-inclusive glory. This resort is tucked away off the beaten path outside of downtown Cabo behind two gates! It is an adult’s only property and is perfect for a couple’s or anniversary getaway. If you are heading down to Cabo for a bachelorette or girls trip, read below. This property has everything you would ever need to be pampered including multiple pools, beach cabanas, butlers, top tier food selections, a golf course, the spa and a hotel “dip pool” (a private balcony pool in each hotel suite).

Kylee and I felt like queens for a day and had a hard time leaving the relaxing luxury that Pueblo Bonito Pacifica offered. As this is an all inclusive resort, you have everything at your fingertips so that you never have to leave. The breakfast brunch was by far our favorite and offered hundreds of gourmet options. I’ve honestly never experienced resort style food this good- my plate had everything from crepes to ceviche to creme brûlée! For dinner, we ate at Península Restaurant, their on site newest restaurant that offers a variety of gourmet cuisine. I opted for the seared tuna and holy moly it was beyond good!

One thing to note about Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is that because of the location, the beach is not one that you can play in the water as the waves and low tide are far too dangerous. That being said, the beach is absolutely beautiful and a walk on the beach between cabana sessions is a MUST!


For more outfit inspiration, I have a beach trip packing list here and last year’s adult spring break outfits here.

Cabo San Lucas Travel Guide
Cabo San Lucas Girls Trip Travel Guide
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4 Beach Vacation Outfit Ideas

Sandals | Beach Tee | Jeans | Luggage Set | Passport Holder

My goal when traveling is always comfort with a little bit of chic thrown into the outfit. Because airplanes are always cold, you can almost always find me in a pair of jeans or leggings with a small jacket or cardigan in my carry on. This “Hola Beaches” tee is the perfect festive shirt for any beach vacay. Another favorite of mine is this “O Hey Vacay” tee.

Peplum Top | Jean Shorts | Sandals | Straw Hat | Straw Bag | Sunglasses

A day at the beach calls for denim cut offs and the most skin bearing top you own. This peplum cami is just $10 and comes in 6 colors! Two other beach necessities are a straw hat and bag. Invest in durable ones that will last you years to come. I’ve had this hat and bag for months and have lasted me through several beach trips so far!

Bikini Top | Bikini Bottoms | Cover Up | Towel | Beach Bag | Sunglasses

If you are heading somewhere sunny, don’t forget to bring along your favorite swimsuit, cover up, beach bag and sunglasses. I never want to bring my designer shades on vacation because let’s be honest, after a few cocktails, they are usually the first to go. These oversized aviator sunglasses are my favorite everyday glasses and are just $14!

Dress | Wedge Sandals | Clutch | Earrings | Bracelet

I’m convinced almost any dress can be turned into a beach outfit with the right pair of wedges and fun accessories. These wedges are my most recent and best purchase that I expect to wear on every vacation for awhile. They come in black, brown and blush– all are good colors that can go with any outfit and instantly dress up any outfit.


If you are still in need of some vacation outfit inspiration I have an entire page to beach inspired looks. Everything from swimsuits, to beach bags, to summer dresses, find all of the inspiration here!

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