Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday - Packing and Preparing

Hey y'all, welcome to part two of my Travel Tips series, part one is right here. Last week we discussed research and today we're talking about packing and preparing which is perfect because I'm in the throes of doing this right now. We leave for San Francisco in three days and I have open suitcases and piles of clean clothes scattered all over the place! I still consider myself a bit of a novice when it comes to travelling light, I've never been away for more than a week just with a backpack and I find it pretty hard to take less underwear than there are days in the trip. This is mainly because I hate doing laundry and I know that I'd just end up buying more if I packed less -when we start going on lengthier trips this is something I'm going to have to address!

Anyway, without further ado here are my top tips for packing and preparing for your trip:

  • Aside from doing some research my top tip for travelling as a vegan is to pack some emergency snacks. It doesn't matter whether I'm taking a transatlantic flight or popping up the M25 to visit my in laws I will always have snacks on me. This tip may not be for everyone but I know what I'm like when I'm hungry (irritable, light headed, no fun at all) and I'd rather have a few Clif bars, Spacebars or shelf stable sachets of hummus and peanut butter with me than risk being stranded and hungry at a random bus stop.
  • Book the VGML but take backup. The VGML, airline code for Vegan Meal, should be available on the majority of long haul flights. I've had a non-vegan breakfast as part of this meal before as well numerous non vegan margarines and dubious bread rolls so, read the labels people, but the majority of the meal has always been okay. I like eating though so I take backup snacks! Hummus and carrot sticks have to be my favourite plane snack, delicious, fresh and crunchy they're the perfect accompaniment to your probably overcooked airline meal. I also have a stash of Clif bars, chocolate, and other non-perishables because it's no big deal if you don't eat them but if you're stuck at an airport, or worse, on the tarmac, facing a long delay they can be a lifesaver. I also like to take popcorn on longer flights because watching a film or two is a great way to pass the time and watching a film without popcorn is no fun. These are the snacks I've packed for my flight to San Francisco this Friday. Minus the carrot sticks because it's only Tuesday and I don't think they'd appreciate it!

Clockwise from 11 O'clock, Oatcakes, Clif Bar, two Spacebars, Sweet 'n Salty popcorn, PB sachet, Hummus sachet, chocolate, creamy basil pate. 
  • Keep an eye on the current liquid bag restrictions. I've heard so many stories of vegans having their jars of Speculoos taken away whilst trying to board a plane outa Belgium and it makes me sad. You can't take a huge glass jar of spread onto a plane in your carry on guys, pack that shit in your checked bag! Tubs of hummus are also a no-no unless you package it into containers 100ml in size or less and fit them into your clear 20cm x 20cm liquid bag. For example two or three of those mini tubs or sachets of hummus is fine, one big one is a no no. Sometimes my liquid bag is the most vegan thing ever, I was feeling a little under the weather on my way to Dublin earlier this year so I even packed a mini green smoothie alongside my moisturiser, mascara and lip balm. There's also a walnut butter sachet in there to perk up an apple on the flight!

  • If you read a lot and can afford it buy an e-reader already. I've only just gotten my head around this one and mine arrived last week. I usually pack 4 paperbacks for a 1 - 3 week trip so it's saving me a whole world of space. I'm sure it'll be even more useful when we're packing stuff into a backpack each rather than the three suitcases we usually take abroad - hey, I never said I was perfect and two of them are cabin sized! For the type of travelling we've been doing it's not been impractical to take a tonne of stuff but as I said at the beginning of my post I'm working on becoming more of a packing light kinda traveller. There's no way I'm lugging anything bigger than a backpack around Japan's rail network for three weeks!
  • I always get asked how I bring home things like Tofurky, Daiya and Veganaise and the answer is pretty simple, I just pack them securely in my checked bag. Foods like these will be totally fine unrefrigerated for 24 hours or so and you're allowed to bring packaged foods into most countries. To give everything the best chance of surviving I insulate refrigerated or frozen items in t-shirts and pack them snugly in the centre of my case; nobody wants to get home to clothes covered in smashed glass and mayo!
  • Plastic cutlery is your friend. I always have my little plastic spoon & knife in my bag. At a push just the spoon will do. Perfect for making sandwiches and spreading Tartex pate on everything.
  • Always take a food clip! This is kind of an ongoing joke between Nick and I because I always have one of those little bag clips right by me whether we're outa the house or lounging in bed. I love trying new snacks (like this Earth Balance White Cheddar Popcorn pictured below) but you often can't eat the whole thing in one go and you really don't want it spilling out of the pack and rolling around in your bag. Along the same lines I always take a couple of those zip seal food baggies with me, they're perfect for storing that half of a sandwich you couldn't manage or the one donut leftover from the box of six you picked up.
Classy, amiright?!
  • If you're going to be self catering for a short period of time pop a mini bottle of washing up liquid and a sponge into a zip seal baggie and take it with you. These things are unlikely to be provided in your average self catering apartment or cottage and it's annoying to have to either a- splash out €6 of your travel budget on an eco brand or b- resort to buying something cheap and probably animal tested. It's something you're going to use a tiny bit of and then leave behind so why waste the money? I use a smaller version of this.
  • If you think you'll want to do laundry or soak in a bubble bath whilst you're away you should definitely pick up a bar of FUN from LUSH. I've sliced a piece off of mine and I take it away with me in one of these little jars. You can wash your body, hair and clothes with it but it gets a little messy when wet hence the leakproof container.

So those were my top tips for packing and preparing for a trip. Have I missed anything amazing that you pack when you travel? I'm always excited to learn something new so leave your tips in the comments.

19 comments:

  1. I'm a big "don't rely on airport food" person, even before I was vegan. I also take a squishy reusable water bottle with me. Bring it empty through security, fill it from a water fountain or at a concession stand in the safe zone!
    I hate buying bottled water, especially at airport prices.

    I use shampoo bars and solid conditioner from Lush on hols as well. Light and no risk of exploding. Also handy if you're just taking hand luggage on a trip.

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  2. I am the absolute worst about packing food for travel. I always pack like 1 Lara Bar and an apple and that is not enough food for anything! I find myself hangry before we're even up in the air. We have a trip coming up in November and this was definitely inspiring. Packing a food clip is genius.

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  3. Thanks for sharing the fun list of packing & travel tips! We love traveling and on different airlines and classes. I always bring a natural hand sanitizer (it's gross in the airline bathrooms). Good idea on the laundry bar of "FUN" from LUSH.. most of my clothes are black, I guess I will have to rely on dark laundry soap! AND YES, food clip! I always use my hair clips or barettes to clip them.

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  4. Great tips, especially about the lush stuff for washing clothes, I never knew about that.

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  5. I love that mini pump bottle idea! And I cannot believe you are travelling and mofoing at the same time and also leaving comments. You win mofo!

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  6. Fab tips Jojo. The clip idea is genius! Must remember to pack one the next time I travel. I always pack a boatload of snacks when I travel. Some may call me paranoid but I just call it prepared :)

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  7. This is great -- especially about how to package things and what's allowed as carry-on. I'm so worried security will toss all my goodies that I end up packing nothing more than pretzels and getting air sick because I'm hungry. Sigh.

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  8. Ah, the dubious breadroll. I used to eat them when I was lacto-ovo vegetarian, and I have to say you're not missing much. The food clip suggestion is great, though I usually bring rubber bands for that purpose - you can roll down the top of the bag until it's totally closed and secure it with a rubber band, which takes up virtually no space in your luggage.

    My other tip would be to pack wet wipes and hand sanitizer (or first-aid alcohol wipes). Wet wipes are useful for wiping food residue off your fingers on the airline, and while I don't normally use hand sanitizer/alcohol I do pack it for flights, because the airplane toilets are not exactly the cleanest. :X

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  9. Great tips and I'm totally taking one of those green smoothies next time I travel!

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  10. I hope I remember to revisit this post before the next time I plan a holiday! Good tips.

    I generally take a pot of mixed nuts, dried apricots and chocolate chips in my hand luggage, because they're nice as a combination but you can also pick out elements you feel like having - does the same job as an energy bar but more versatile.

    Love the picture with the popcorn!

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  11. Nice tips!
    Take my word, people, if you ever have the opportunity to watch Jojo pack a suitcase, take it. After Vida Vegan Con and subsequent travels together, I watched her pack TWICE what a normal person should be able to fit into a suitcase. It was quite something.

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  12. O man, you are such a seasoned traveller! I thought I was clever for always remembering to pack zipper bags, but I have yet to graduate to bringing home multiple packages of foods! So many good tips.

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  13. I'm really going to have to start traveling more; you're a pro. Great pic! I'm totally addicted to the cheese puffs.

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  14. Love all of these traveling tips, so many things that never even occur to me to do. Thanks! :-)

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  15. Great tips! Especially about the Lush bar and doing laundry. It's annoying trying to find laundry detergent when you're traveling - again, it's like the washing up liquid! I used to take those little sachets of laundry powder but I haven't seen the vegan ones they used to do in Waitrose lately. They were great and didn't count against the liquid requirement! I was wondering what to replace them with but now I'm going to replace with the Lush FUN bar - yay, thank you!

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  16. I also meant to ask where you get those nut butter sachets from? I actually took a whole jar of nut butter with me to a festival in the summer! Sachets would be more sensible...

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  17. Great tips. I always pack heaps of snacks when I go anywhere. I have been stuck a few times getting a non-vegan meal even when I have ordered vegan. Plus annoyingly certain airlines do not offer vegan options (I'm looking at you JetStar and Hawaiian Air).
    I haven't seen little sachets of hummus like that, which is sad because I am always looking for savoury snacks. But little tubs of pate are great. I also will often pack a sandwich for the first leg of the trip, especially if there is no vegan meal! Cup noodles and soups are also great to take along, the airline people have always been happy to fill them up with hot water for me to rehydrate when I am hungry.

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  18. I always pack way too much food every time we travel, but it's better to be safe then starving. I'm super paranoid about food going bad, so I always pack a little cooler bag and mini freezer packs in my carry on for stocking up on goodies. I've yet to find any of those mini hummus or nut butter packets, which is too bad because they would be super convenient.

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  19. When me and Trout found Daiya in Berlin, at the start of our 10 day holiday, we posted it back to a friend's house in the UK!

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