Tag: packing tips and tricks

DIY travel spice kit: easy, affordable and convenient

DIY travel spice kit: easy, affordable and convenient

I don’t claim to be a foodie and my palette is anything but refined. But a travel size spice kit does make it into my suitcase on certain trips and I am glad for it. I decided to make my own, personalized spice kit and 

DIY Airplane Facial Kit: Pamper your Skin on a Long Flight

DIY Airplane Facial Kit: Pamper your Skin on a Long Flight

In this post I share the steps I took and the products I used to make a DIY airplane facial kit that provided a nice distraction and a little pampering on an overseas flight to Europe. Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if 

Unique Tips for your Next Road Trip

Unique Tips for your Next Road Trip

I love a good road trip, that is no secret. I have discussed the elements of a good road trip and we have talked about some of our favorites including an three-day Oregon Coast road trip and an epic road trip through the South. But even if you enjoy a good road trip the way we do, that does not mean every mile is exciting…especially if your road trip begins at home where you may have to cover familiar ground (yet again) to get to somewhere new. There are times the scenery is less than beautiful. There are times monotony settles in. There are times you are stopped because of construction. To combat these less-than-exciting times while driving down the road, I have put together some unique tips for your next road trip to help keep things interesting.

yellow field in Idaho, blue skies
Views from an Idaho road trip.

Learn something new

When it comes to navigation, well, we all pretty much stick to our phones these days. I do recommend you keep a map or atlas around for backup. But they are also useful for looking at what is nearby (e.g. mountain ranges, cities and towns, reservoirs and lakes, etc.) and help inform you about the area you are driving through.

If you want to take it to the next level, we have a tip for your next road trip: pack a book about the area. This could be historical or geological or cultural. There are many good options out there.

A few years ago, our friend C gave us a copy of “Idaho for the curious.” We’ve talked about this book before, but it deserves another mention. It is an oldie but a goodie. Although it is not entirely accurate these days, we actually read it for the history. It is or organized by highway. So as you are driving along, you can read about the history of the area you are driving through.

girl holding a book, Idaho for the curious, guide
This book is a must-have on any Idaho road trip.

I have no doubt there are similar resources and books for other states, countries and regions. You may have to do some research. Go to the library. Talk to a local. But if you put in a little legwork, as you drive along, it is a delight to learn something new about the history of the area you are driving through.

Note: if the road is windy and you get car sick, reading may have to be put on hold until the road evens out.

Pack a picnic

Snacks are a road trip must have. Do not leave home without your favorite munchies and be sure to bring enough to share.

If you are looking to take your snacking to the next level, I recommend trying out a theme or unique packaging. On a recent road trip, I was tasked with preparing the food. The timing of Friday night’s dinner came just an hour or so after we got on the road. Since we would not be anxious or ready to stop and eat at a restaurant, a “sack lunch” made the most sense. I decided to try something fun and different: I put our meal in picnic baskets and added a gingham handkerchief.

road trip, picnic basket, red gingham, snacks
Road trip picnic baskets.

This was not remotely necessary, but it was fun and I enjoyed preparing our Friday night picnic. There are loads of themes you could try. A couple I found include:

  • Fish food, which means snacks in the shape of fish (e.g. Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish) or a tackle box filled with different kinds of candy.
  • Weird chip flavors courtesy of Lays and their offerings like fried green tomatoes and crispy taco.
  • A collection of snacks and candy that are packaged or colored the same (i.e. all red snacks or all green snacks). You could do a color each day of the road trip.

Just get creative! And maybe use Google.

Consider your beverage options

Hydration is important and you will want to pack some water. I will admit that finding the balance between staying hydrated on a road trip and not having to stop every hour to use a WC is something I have yet to master. But I keep working on it.

Rather than sticking to plain old tap water (or maybe in addition to a reliable water bottle filled with plain old tap water), I recommend choosing a beverage or two that is fun. Maybe something unique or something you would not normally choose to drink. I am currently obsessed with Topo Chico and I find it makes a fun road trip beverage. No, the miles do not feel shorter when I drink it. But it is more fun than plain water.

Topo Chico bottle of water, cars
Topo Chico. My new favorite drink on and off the road.

Warning: stay away from fun alcoholic beverages for obvious reasons. Alcohol and road trips do not mix.

Get local with your podcasts and tunes

While we were driving through the Faroe Islands, R turned on a podcast about fly fishing in the Faroe Islands. It was fascinating and made even more interesting by the fact that we were driving through or near the areas they were talking about in the podcast. Not all podcasts are winners but I think even a mediocre podcast is made more interesting if you are experiencing the location in person at that moment.

highway, water and mist in the Faroe Islands, green, road trip
Road tripping through the Faroe Islands listening to a podcast about the Faroe Islands.

When it comes to tunes, I suggest creating a fun playlist. This is actually something I keep meaning to get better at because there are so many possibilities.

You could create a playlist with songs that feature the area you are exploring. Texas and California probably have the most to offer with this kind of playlist. You could put a playlist together with songs from artists who are from the area you are exploring. I know we played a lot of Jason Isbell when we were rolling through Alabama. We particularly liked listening to his “Alabama Pines” song.

You could create a playlist with a theme like favorite soundtracks, Christmas (duh), songs about rain, favorite covers, weirdest covers, etc. You could listen to a new album all the way through. R has some friends who like to make a game of it: one will create the playlist and the other has to guess the theme. Really, the possibilities are endless. But you are going to have to do a little work up front, which is usually where I drop the ball.

Bring something to do

I like to crochet. C knits. On our last road trip, we both brought projects. She was knitting away in the front seat trying to finish a dress for her friend’s new baby and I was working on an Etsy order that involved wooden blocks and glue. Poor R was stuck chauffeuring.

If you have got a craft or two that is easily transportable and okay to work on in a moving vehicle, bring it along. It helps to pass the time when the scenery is familiar or monotonous. Again, if the road in windy, you may have to put the crafting on hold.

girl knitting on airplane
C knitting on a plane. This is not a road trip photo, but she looks just like this when she is knitting on the road.

Read and reminisce

Reading a book on a road trip is not unique or new. Reading a journal however, now that seems just weird enough to be entertaining. No wants to hear me read about my family drama or my day job. But previous trips? Yeah, those can be fun to read.

I sometimes grab a travel journal or two and read excerpts to R. They are full of memories and it is a lot of fun to reminisce about previous trips as we roll down the road. Since reminiscing is an important part of the travel experience, a road trip gives us a chance to make the most of that third stage.


There you have it, a few unique tips for your next road trip. If you do not enjoy a good road trip to begin with, I am not sure how much these tips will make a difference. But I figure it does not hurt to try. And for those of you that enjoy putting some miles on your car, these unique tips may take your road trip to the next level. Drive safe!

A novice’s guide to traveling with essential oils

A novice’s guide to traveling with essential oils

Have you ever tried traveling with essential oils? Perhaps you have read about them and their many health benefits, but are not sure where to start. Or perhaps you know someone who swears their latest vacation would not have been the same without their essential 

Christmas on the road: what to pack, how to prepare

Christmas on the road: what to pack, how to prepare

In 2017, R and I spent our first Christmas on the road and away from home. As the only single gals in our respective families, traipsing across Europe for Christmas sounded like a fine idea. We love our families, but we are lucky enough to 

How long do solid travel toiletries last compared to liquid travel toiletries?

How long do solid travel toiletries last compared to liquid travel toiletries?

Remember the post I wrote about travel toiletries and how long they really last? Well I decided to try another experiment to see how long SOLID travel toiletries last and compare them to their liquid counterparts.

In general, solids go further. A lot further.

solid travel toiletries last comparison
In general, solids go further than liquids when it comes to travel-size toiletries.

Solid shampoo

I have been using a shampoo bar on my trips for years now. I love them. Recently, I experimented with making my own and on the third try, I finally got it right. By making my own, I know exactly what is in my shampoo bar and I can tailor the scent to my preference. Lush carries a wonderful selection if you are not interested in a DIY option.

As your shampoo bar gets smaller, using it does become a challenge since it is harder to hold onto. But that is about the only con I have found with a solid shampoo bar.

Solid v. Liquid:

A one-ounce solid shampoo bar lasts me 44 washes. Compare that with one liquid ounce of shampoo, which lasts me nine washes. Talk about a bigger bang for your buck! Note: I have short, fine hair that does not require a lot of shampoo. But even if you require a lot of shampoo, a shampoo bar should last longer than liquid shampoo.

Solid lotion bars

Lotions bars are a different animal compared to their liquid counterparts. They often require you to warm them up using your hands before you can start applying. However, they go a lot further. If you do not mind a little extra effort in the application process, they make a fine travel companion.

They are also SUPER easy to make with only four ingredients. See my DIY lotion bar recipe.

homemade DIY travel lotion bars
DIY travel lotion bars are easy to make. They only have four ingredients!

Solid v. Liquid:

One ounce of lotion last just over a week for me at eight uses. Compare that to a one-ounce lotion bar that lasts through 22 uses.

Powdered toothpaste

Powdered toothpaste is a new find for me. Even though it predates liquid toothpaste, I had never tried it before this experiment. I like it…a lot. I have started using it even when I am not traveling. I just like the way my teeth feel after using it.

I have also tried Lush’s toothpaste tabs. They are interesting. I like them in theory, but in practice I find them a little weird. They do not go as far as powdered toothpaste. In fact, they lasted the same as liquid toothpaste. But they have the same benefits as other solid toiletries and come in unique flavors like limelight. I really like that you can take the exact number you will need for a trip (e.g. a two-night stay is four tabs). Overall, I am still on the fence about these little guys.

Solid v. Liquid:

One ounce of powdered toothpaste gets me 90 brushes compared to the 50 brushes I get from one liquid ounce of toothpaste. Note: one ounce of Lush’s toothpaste tabs equals 49 tabs which equals 49 brushes.


There is not a lot to say here other than to note that soap goes a lot further than body wash. You have got to find a good container (such as a tin), but life is easy after that. I like to make my own. R really enjoys picking up soap on our various adventures. The nice thing about a bar of soap is that you can cut off a chunk from a larger bar and take that on your trip.

Solid v. Liquid:

Once ounce of body wash was good for 15 washes. Compare that with a one-ounce bar of soap which was good for 88 washes.

Face Wash

I was not aware solid face wash existed until I started researching solid travel toiletries. Options are limited, but they do exist. The problem I found was that even though solid fash wash is available and goes a lot further than a liquid face wash, I could not find a travel-size option. So I ended up with way too much solid face wash. I suppose I can just cut off a chunk for my next trip and store it in a small tin.

Solid v. Liquid:

I was able wash my face 116 times with one ounce of solid face wash compared to the 31 washes I got out of one liquid ounce of face wash.

Reusable travel containers and bottles
Reuse and refill to your heart’s content.


Like solid face wash, I had never heard of solid moisturizer until I began researching solid travel toiletries. Also like solid face wash, options are limited. So I decided to make my own because it is easy to do and recipes abound on the internet. The end result was a nice vanilla-scented moisturizer with minimal ingredients.

Solid v. Liquid:

This was the only product that ended in a tie for me. Both the solid moisturizer and the liquid moisturizer lasted through 72 uses (for one ounce). Seems weird, but that is what happened. I may have to try the experiment again to see if I get the same results.

Shave soap

Shave soap is another old-school toiletry, like tooth powder. You could probably use regular soap to shave, but shave soap is more moisturizing and a much better option in my opinion. I have never been a big fan of shaving cream and have mostly used conditioner to shave my legs. Now I have made the switch to shave soap and prefer it even when I am not traveling.

Solid v. Liquid:

Get this: my little can of shaving cream lasted through five shaves. A one-ounce shave bar lasted through 56 shaves! That is awesome. Plus, you will not be throwing out cans of shaving cream which is better for the environment.

Best travel razor
The Best Travel Razor in all it’s glory. And convenient traveling package. However, that is not the best shaving cream. A shave bar is a MUCH better option.

Solid toiletries: what’s the verdict?

Okay, so you have seen how long solid travel toiletries last compared to their liquid counterparts. Now let us discuss some basic pros and cons of solid travel toiletries.

Pros for solid travel toiletries

  • They are not subject to TSA regulations. (The exception is toothpaste power. There is a 12 oz. powder limit for both carry-on and checked bags. Given that 12 ounces of toothpaste powder is good for 1,080 brushes…that is 540 days of clean teeth…I doubt most people need to fret.)
  • They do not leak. Let’s say it again: they do not leak!
  • Because they go further, you do not need to pack as much. Yeah for packing light!

Cons for solid travel toiletries

  • They are different to use. A shampoo bar is kind of weird at first. Same with powdered toothpaste.
  • Selection is limited. Lush has a wonderful line of shampoo bars, but finding options for other solid travel toiletries is not easy.
  • They can be expensive. However, given that they last a lot longer than their liquid counterparts, I find that most are worth the investment.


In general, solid travel toiletries last longer than liquid travel toiletries. They can be a bit different to use, but once you get the hang of them, you many never look back. The next time you struggle to get all of your liquids into that TSA-approved bag, look at a replacing a few of them with solid alternatives.

Best Travel Razor for Women Travelers

Best Travel Razor for Women Travelers

This post is premised on a few things: 1. B and I travel. 2. B and I are proponents of shaving. You might not agree with #2, and that’s just fine. Do whatever makes you feel free. However, if you are on board with these 

Women’s wool sock comparison for travel

Women’s wool sock comparison for travel

Mostly for kicks and giggles, I thought it would be interesting to experiment and conduct a wool sock comparison for travel to see which ones I should take on my next trip. Here at Jane Sees the World, we have been quite vocal about our 

Travel Toiletries Tips

Travel Toiletries Tips

One of the most challenging aspects of getting ready for a trip, is to get together all of the toiletries you will need. This post will discuss some travel toiletries tips that will hopefully help you the next time you get ready for a trip.

Empty travel-sized bottles. They lasted me a lot longer than I thought they would.

Travel Toiletries Tip 1: travel size items

Have you ever noticed things are so much cuter when they are small? I know it is ridiculous to think of deodorant as cute, but the travel-sized deodorant is adorable compared to its full-size sibling. Beyond being cute, travel-sized items are very practical. B conducted an experiment a while back that investigated how long travel sized items last. The gist? A lot longer than you’d think. So get yourself on over to Target and hit that travel section.

These are good travel-sized items:

  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and dental floss (care of dentist’s six month checkups)
  • Hairspray
  • Hairbrush
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Lotion
  • Nail polish remover pads
  • Razors

Travel Toiletries Tip 2: samples

Save your favorite items from your subscription boxes and sample items you get for purchasing random other things (e.g. Clinique kits). These items are compact and most of the time really nice stuff. If you save them for travel instead of use them everyday, you’ll feel special on your trip.

Samples from Clinique or Birch box are perfect for travel.

These are good sample items:

Makeup, hair care, you name it. B and friend G both have a history with Birch boxes that I reap the rewards of when they don’t want certain things. Ha! That’s a tip in itself: scrounge off friends’ sample items.

Travel Toiletries Tip 3: Mini appliances

One day a while back, I came home with the cutest little hairdryer ever. It folded up and fit in the palm of my hand. Wouldn’t you know, when B walked in that very same day she had the same hairdryer, albeit in a different color. Apparently we think alike. Anyhow, a mini hairdryer is a lot easier to pack than a big one. I’m not going to lie, though, some hair is better suited to mini hairdryer than others. B has no problem with her short hair. I have to go with a combo of air drying and using the hairdryer for the finishing touches. Ross, TJ Maxx, and the like are good places to check for travel appliances.

Mini hair appliances are the cutest. Just make sure to bring your adapter!

These are good mini appliance items:

  • Hairdryer
  • Hair straightener
  • Curling iron

Travel Toiletries Tip 4: reusable packages

There are lots of small-sized containers available that you can put your everyday items into. An easy example is shampoo and conditioner. Don’t limit yourself to just that, though, you can really fill these babies up with anything from your normal routine that you don’t want to take the normal sized container. I’ve experimented with many of these and my favorite kind aren’t rubber, they are more like a thick plastic ziplock. It takes up less room since it only has to form to whatever is in it.

These are good things to carry in reusable packages

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair smoothing balm
  • Lotion
  • Night cream
  • Sunblock
  • Toothpaste: I put this on here for B, as she likes to refill a toothpaste/toothbrush combo. It seems like a lot of work to me.

Five colored reusable travel shampoo containers
There are plenty of reusable options. I prefer the squishy orange container because it gets smaller as you use it.

Travel Toiletries Tip 5: multi-purposing

Lots of times are pretty similar in their makeup and can be multi-purposed on trips to solve a few problems. For example: makeup. Products exist that can be used as blush, eyeshadow and lip gloss, all in one convenient package. Lotion can double as sunblock if it has the right ingredients. Makeup removers wipes can be used as a quick sponge bath if push came to shove. When you are packing your toiletry kit, think of items that can be used in more than one way. (Just make sure you have enough if you are going to use this product in multiple ways.)

Things that can be multi-purposed

  • Makeup
  • Lotion
  • Wipes
  • Baby powder (dry shampoo and anti-chafe)
  • Aquaphor (lotion, chapstick, and scratch ointment)
  • Allergy medication (sleeping pill)
  • Motion sickness medication (sleeping pill)

Pack less…

One last tip is too “common sense” to list as one of the above tips. It is this: pack less. Obvious, right? Well, what I mean by this is that you don’t have to take everything that comes in the box when you travel. I like a good deal, so I like to buy in bulk. Packing less means that instead of taking the entire container (it might even be small!) of q-tips, I only take as many as I know I’ll need. You can pull some of your makeup remover wipes out of the bag and just take as many as you need. No need carrying around a 40 sheet pack when you only need 10 (2x per day on a five-day trip).


Traveling light is a challenge and one area that can really weigh you down (figuratively and literally) is in the toiletry kit. By economizing and only taking what you’ll actually need, these travel toiletry tips will keep your toiletries under control. As an added bonus, you’ll be ready to make it through security without checking your bag if you don’t want to. Also, even if you make a mistake with your packing, it isn’t the end of the world. Shopping for toiletries in other countries is a lot of fun and you just might find your new favorite shampoo in a foreign country grocery store.

Travel toiletry tip packing tricks
Like this post with tips on how to pack travel toiletries? Pin it!

DIY Mini Travel First Aid Kit

DIY Mini Travel First Aid Kit

What is the best travel first aid kit? The one you make yourself! Outlined below are simple steps to make your own mini travel first aid kit. I also provide free printables for both a travel first aid kit checklist and labels for your kit