In our first month of marriage Sean and I made a big commitment: to take an International vacation every year before we have a baby. You may have heard about last year’s trip to Costa Rica in my 30 by 30 Review.
This year we are planning an even bigger trip! We’re going on a Mediterranean cruise!!! Even though our ship sets sail in July, we booked the cruise in January. So…planning started 6 months before we were scheduled to board the ship.
I just realized I’m investing more months of planning into this trip then I did our wedding. Maybe that little factoid should stay between us.
Unfortunately, planning always tends to lead to purchasing.
Here are the purchases I’ve made thus far that I’m most excited about!
Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports Travel Guide
Purchased From: Amazon
Price: $10.78, but FREE for us because we had an Amazon gift card!
After booking the cruise, this was my very first purchase! When it comes to traveling through Europe, Rick Steves knows it all. I love this travel guide because it was created specifically for cruise travelers (like us) who only have a few hours in each city. When you have a mission of seeing Athens in a matter of hours, you don’t have time to mess around. At this point I think I’ve read the sections on the ports we will visit at least twice. I’m also looking froward to downloading some of Rick’s free podcasts which we can use as our own private audio tour.
Patagonia Transport Tote
Purchased From: eBags
I have two go-to totes that I use for just about everything. Although they have served me well through the years, neither seemed suited for this trip. First of all, neither zip shut. Second, neither were actually designed for travel, so they don’t have features like internal compartments to keep things organized or an open pocket on the back that can slide over the handle of rolling luggage. After searching far and wide both online and in stores I realized that a tote actually designed for travel was going to cost a pretty penny – most likely around $100!!! I was so excited when I found this tote, and even more excited when it went on sale! It was exactly what I was looking for!
New-to-Me, Victoria Secret Rolling Duffle Bag
Purchased From: Varagesale
I did some online research about best packing methods for a trip similar to ours and discovered that taking the giant rolling luggage we typically use would be a nightmare. Instead, we need carry-on size luggage that can be easily hauled through train stations, down cobble stone streets and up narrow flights of stairs. I was originally looking at this Eagle Creek luggage but I wasn’t too excited to spend $100 on a packing experiment. When a rolling duffle came up on Varagesale (a safer, Craigslist-like website) for $35, I bought it. Sean thinks it looks like a middle schooler’s luggage….and I’m starting to agree with him, but I couldn’t beat the price tag!
OEDER Home Collection Memory Foam Neck Pillow
I typically fly 3-5 times per year. It’s been this way for the past decade. With the exception of my trip to Africa a few years ago, the flights I board are usually around 2-4 hours long so I’ve never felt the need to purchase a neck pillow. On this trip we’ll be flying overnight from PA to Rome and we’ll hit the ground running when we land so it seemed like the right time to make the investment. After researching the latest and greatest, I ended up finding this neck pillow at TJ Maxx for 1/3 of the price of others I had considered. Plus it was nice to actually try it out and compare it to other neck pillows in the store. I learned a valuable lesson. Not all memory foam is created equal.
Purchased From: Forever21
Over the last few weeks I’ve read through a TON of travel bloggers’ packing lists. All of them include one item I had never considered – a sunhat. It may (or may not) surprise you that Floridians do not rock the sunhat very often (if ever). We usually reserve that fashion statement for tourists. It also may (or may not) surprise you that these sunhats are EXPENSIVE – we’re talking $50! Although blogger after blogger swears that this crazy hat makes a significant difference in keeping you cool, I’m not sure I will have the confidence to actually wear it in public. When I found this sunhat on Forever21’s website for under $15 I had to give this functional fashion statement a try. Here’s to hoping I don’t look completely ridiculous!
Purchased From: Sierra Trading Post
While walking the aisles of Sierra Trading Post one weekend I stumbled on this water bottle. Although something like this never seemed to be of much use in normal, day-to-day life, it seems absolutely perfect for travel! It folds up to be super small when not in use and it weighs almost nothing. This purchase may be a giant failure, but for less than $5 I had to give it a try.
Guess What? There’s MORE! Stay tuned for Vacation Purchases I’m Most Excited to Use PART 2!
What do you think of my purchases so far? Do you use any of these items when you travel?