Pre-Travel Checklist: 24 Things to Do Before You Travel

Everyone knows the last few days before a trip can be hectic.

Whether you are going to the beach for a weekend or traveling abroad for a month (or two, or three), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be done.

To help alleviate a lot of stress and last-minute running around, we created this handy pre-travel checklist.

Here are the 24 things you should do BEFORE you travel: (more…)

16 Tips to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

Walking along the beach in Bali and gazing out over the expansive water was enough to make us dread our upcoming flight the next day.

A flight that would begin our 27-hour journey back to Philadelphia.

Flying home for the holidays sounded like a great idea — until it really sunk in that we would be in transit for longer then it takes most people to plan their entire trip.

Because this was not the first time, nor the last, that Trav and I would be embarking on such a long journey, we decided to make a list of all the things we do to make long-haul flights more enjoyable bearable. (more…)

The Ultimate Packing Guide for Women – Fall Weather

Ultimate Packing Guide

Packing for a trip can be the worst part of planning – and wondering if you are packing too little, too much, or even the right items for the climate can be a daunting task.

I have taken enough trips to have packing down to a science.

And although that doesn’t mean I look forward to it, I have narrowed down my packing necessities.

The following list is exactly what women need to pack for a cold weather trip.

Clothing

Fav Chambray

Tops

1 White Button Down – My favorite look is an oversized white blouse that looks equally good with jeans as it does with leggings. Try these options from H&M and J.Crew

1 Chambray – One of the most versatile tops  you can own. The classic one from J.Crew is worth the splurge, but just in case – here is a cheaper option from Old Navy.

2-3 T-shirts – Definitely bring one or two white v-neck tees and add a comfortable black and gray for good measure! Here are a few of my favorites from Nordstrom, J.Crew, Amazon and H&M.

1-2 Dressy Blouse – I love this one from J.Crew and this from Zara.

2-3 Sweaters – A wrap sweater or an over size cardigan are the two best things to pack for added coziness. I recently bought this sweater from Forever 21 and wore it all over Cape Town.

cozy sweater

Bottoms

2 Pair of jeans – A pair of semi dark skinny jeans are perfect because they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I bought this pair from J.Crew in June and have taken them on the past four trips – they definitely pulled their weight! Plus, they don’t stretch out so you can wear them multiple times before washing.

I almost always pack a pair of white denim. If that is not your jam, then consider a boyfriend jean or black or gray skinnies.

1-2 Pair of leggings – cheap pair from Target always come in handy for travel days or even for pajamas. I always make sure to have a pair with me.

An upgraded pair is also a necessity. I wouldn’t wear the Target leggings out to dinner but I would wear these (and often have)! I also have this pair (similar pair) and wear them quite frequently at home and abroad – the space they take up rolled in my suitcase is negligible.

Slouchy pants – By far some of the most comfortable pants out there. The fact that these pajama-like pants are considered fashionable is great news for travelers – now we don’t have to worry about what to wear on the plane!

Pair these with a t-shirt and sweater with a pair of flats and you’re ready to go. My favorites include these from H&M and these from Old Navy.

Outerwear

1 Wool Jacket – This is a great option from Amazon.

1 Packable Puffer – This piece is perfect for layering or on those days you are doing more active activities. This Patagonia puffer is actually warm and can easily fit under a more structured jacket on those especially cold or damp days on the road.

1 Blazer (optional) – A black blazer is perfect for elevating any look to something extra special. It easily fits folded at the top of your suitcase and pairing it with a scarf and skinny jeans makes for a seriously chic evening look. A good blazer is worth the investment and I turn to J.Crew for the best versions.

Activewear

1-2 Pair of running leggings

1-2 Sports bra

1-2 Active tops

Shoes

ankle boots

1 Pair of Flats – Buy the most comfortable pair you can find – remember, you want to be able to walk around all day without blisters. My favorites are usually from Madewell and J.Crew.  This pair will elevate any look and can be worn while sight seeing and then out to dinner. I also have a classic pair (similar to these but older) and they have held up well for the past three years.

1 Pair of Sneakers – My favorite pair of sneakers for travel are my Nike Internationalist – and not just because of the name! They are the most comfortable waking shoe and can even be worn for a run if I don’t have running shoes with me. If you want a running shoe, the most fashionable pair are neutral colored (I love black and white) Nike Frees.

Both of these sneakers look equally good with jeans or leggings – check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

1 Pair of Boots – I typically pack a pair of ankle boots or riding boots for those trips with cooler weather. I find ankle boots to be more versatile in fluctuating temperatures because you can wear them with long pants or with shorts and dresses if the weather is warmer. My favorite pair are Sam Edelman (pictured above but are sold out). Here is a similar pair – Sam Edelman Petty Boot.

1 Pair or Heels (If the occasion calls for it – otherwise don’t bother.)

Bonus – A simple pair of flip flops is a good idea to bring on every trip. This way you are prepared for a jaunt to the pool or spa.

Accessories

necklace

2 Pair of Dainty Earrings – a simple pair of studs works with every outfit any time.

1 Pair of Statement Earrings – swapping out a pair of studs for statement earrings is an easy way to transition from day to night activities.

2-3 Dainty Necklaces – My favorite necklaces are from Layered and Long. I wear these constantly whether we are at home or traveling. (You can use the code EPOP10 for a discount).

1 Statement Necklace – Another easy way to take your look from day to night. The best necklace (and one I am currently coveting) is this versatile piece from Stella and Dot. You can wear the Plume Necklace in several different ways which makes it the perfect piece for travel!

1 Watch – My current favorite is this Michael Kors piece, which I wear practically everywhere.

Beauty

 laptop

Electronics

 Travel Accessories

  • Eye Mask – Save (This one has a place to keep your ear plugs) or Splurge
  • Ear Plugs
  • Cozy Socks
  • Sleep Aid
  • Headphones
  • Blanket Scarf – Save or Splurge
  • Pen

Luggage

Suitcase – Trav prefers to travel with a backpack but I love having a suitcase because I really hate schlepping a backpack over my shoulder all the time! I have had a very sturdy canvas Samsonite for the past three years. This is a great suitcase but I would love to upgrade to a sleeker option such as this Delsey hard shell luggage.

Tote Bag – I take my Cuyana tote with me on every trip. It is very resilient and looks great as well. If you prefer a day pack I also have my trusty Osprey (similar version) which I will take on occasional trips.

Final Word(s)

The above list is intended to take the guesswork out of packing and help you minimize your travel stress and your suitcase.

Make sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more travel packing inspiration.

What are some of the things you can’t live without when you’re traveling?  Let us know in the comments below!

Top 10 Things to do in Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany Ten Under 2

Tuscany is a vast area in central Italy where gorgeous landscapes of olive groves and vineyards are abundant. There are many cities to explore and countryside villas to stay at.

Here are the top 10 things to do in Tuscany, in under two minutes.

Want more details, including the best sandwich in the world and Trav’s pick for the best gelato?

Below are the Top 10 Things to do in Tuscany.

1. Stay in a Farmhouse

Tuscany has it’s fare share of beautiful villas to rent. We had the most unbelievable experience renting this farmhouse, which was a short 45 minute train ride to Florence.

If you would like to read the full review of our stay in Tuscany, click here.

2. Relax

The whole area of Tuscany effuses relaxation and a slower pace of life. It is almost impossible to feel stressed out in this region.

The people are friendly, the food is meant to be enjoyed and the wine flows freely. Make sure you take to time to truly take in the atmosphere of this region.

3. Learn How to Make Italian Pizza

What better way to relax then to enjoy the simple process of pizza making. Fortunately, our farmhouse came equipped with our very own outdoor brick oven. (Read about our experience here.)

Nothing tastes as good as fresh pizza from a brick oven, and even better when made outside enjoying the countryside.

4. Wine Tasting

There are wineries spread throughout Tuscany. Make sure to do some research and visit ones that are locally operated and organic. (Sulfate free means less headaches the next day).

The winery featured in this video is Fattoria Castellina – their Daino Bianco wine has a history that is very interesting to learn during the tasting.

If you stay at a local villa or farmhouse, your hosts should be able to tell you the best ones in the area.

5. Rent a Car

The best way to see Tuscany is by car. There are so many small villages to explore and the only way to get there is by car.

Make sure you have a GPS or some maps and hit the road. Some of our favorite small towns include Vinci (home to Leonardo De Vinci), Carmignano and all of the small towns in between. You might get lost, we certainly did, but it is all part of the adventure.

6. Eat, Eat, and Eat Some More

It is Italy, after all.

There are so many delicious places to eat in Tuscany including some of the best gelato and the most incredible sandwich you will ever eat at All’ Antico Vinaio.

Some of the quintessential Tuscan dishes include ribollita, porterhouse steak, wild boar and pecorino cheese.

One of the best restaurants to experience a classic Tuscan meal is at Trattoria Mario, where you can sample a traditional steak and don’t forget to order the ribollita (a delicious soup-like dish consisting of bread and vegetables simmered overnight and dosed in olive oil).

If you don’t feel like venturing out, you can find some of the most delicious meats and cheeses at any local grocery store. Just make sure you are brave enough to order at the butcher’s counter – it is worth it!

7. Spend the Day in Florence

With all of the eating in Florence (refer to #6), you would be crazy not to spend some time here. But food is only one of the reasons to explore this gorgeous city.

The Duomo is one of the most magnificent cathedrals ever built – and climbing to the top of it is worth the view.

There are also numerous museums and squares all through out the city. It is where many of the Renaissance artists resided and seeing Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia is an unforgettable experience.

8. All’ Antico Vinaio

Trust us, this sandwich is so good it deserves it’s own number.

There are so many great variations it can be overwhelming deciding exactly what to order. We recommend asking for their favorites or you can try one of ours:

Pecorino cheese spread with fennel salami, shaved zuchinni and eggplant

Prosciutto with mozzeralla, tomato, arugula and olive oil

9. Indulge in Gelato

Trav’s pick for the best gelato is Gelateria dei Neri in Florence. However, most gelato shops in Italy are legitimately delicious, just make sure to follow the gelato pro tip!  We are also fond of La Carraia – with multiple locations around Florence, and Le Bonta in Lucca.

10. Visit Lucca

This charming medieval town in northwest Tuscany is the perfect day trip. You can walk around the city walls and wander through the various alleys and streets throughout the city.

The Piazza San Michelle and the Lucca Cathedral (Duomo di San Martino) present the perfect picture taking opportunity. Lucca is just the right size to wander around for a day and feel like you have seen almost everything.

Final Word(s)

If you are planning a trip to Europe, then Tuscany is the best place for a rejuvenating yet adventurous vacation. It is one of my favorite places in the world and is perfect for a summer or autumn trip.

The best part of our time in Tuscany was acclimating to the local culture. We stayed for two weeks and by the end of our time the women behind the deli counter recognized us and we had no problem ordering and then picking up that 4Euro bottle of red to go with it all.

If you book the same apartment we did, we can guarantee you will have an excellent experience as our hosts were some of the best people we have met.

Have you ever been to Tuscany? If so, what are your top 10 things to do there?

 

Further Reading (Posts handpicked for you, by us!)

None of that automatic “read more” stuff you’ll see everywhere else on the internet!

Women’s Packing List: How to Pack in Only a Carry-on

Packing light

When planning a trip, most people get excited about the destination or the itinerary but feel overwhelmed when it comes to packing.

Here at EPoP, we have tried many different strategies for packing – me more than Trav, because he is much happier with much less – and it always comes down to packing light.

Packing less doesn’t have to be a death sentence for fashion.

Here are my tips to packing less and looking great while traveling.

Want more traveling fashion advice?  Head to Heather’s newly redesigned site – Sartorial Stripes.

1. Neutral basics

This means grey, white, black and navy. This doesn’t mean you can’t pack colorful items – but it simply makes it easier to mix and match outfits if you have a neutral palette.

2. Minimal shapes

Jeans, button downs, wrap sweaters, slouchy pants, and basic dresses.

3. Pack a Punch

This is where you can add that color. Chose a colorful cardigan, sweater or scarf that you can easily throw over your basic pieces. I love the selection and the cause at Jacobs Scarves.

4. Accessories

My current favorite pieces to travel with are dainty necklaces. You can wear this every day for a polished look. I love everything from Layered and Long’s ETSY shop.

Also, I always bring a statement necklace, statement earrings, stud earrings, and a nice watch (silver or gold).

5. Shoes

This is the hardest part for me. I always pack too many shoes – even after agonizing over which ones to cut, I still end up with a number that makes zipping my pack or suitcase nearly impossible.

That being said, three pairs of shoes is sufficient (I guess).

A casual sneaker – such as these Nikes, these grey ones from New Balance or these navy New Balance from Amazon.

A flat walking shoeboot or sandal.

A dressy option – I love these from Zara and these wedges J.Crew (wedges are the most comfortable dressy option, especially for walking on cobblestone streets) .

A plastic flip flop – (for the beach or just in case your accommodation bathroom is not up to par) My favorites are Havaianas.

*See what I did, I even sneaked in an extra pair here!*

6. Outerwear

I try to pack something casual and something dressy.

My favorite picks are:

Utility jacket – for every day use in any country and any situation. It is the perfect jacket that always looks fashionable and put together. (Other options include this from H&M, a removable hood from Nordstrom, and these from Amazon).

A black blazer – this is perfect if you need a nice jacket for a night out and can transition into many different looks with a scarf or accessories. (Other options include this navy version from Zara, this black one from Zara, and this casual one from H&M).

Wool coat – this is only necessary if you are traveling during winter seasons. All other seasons you can layer sweaters under the utility jacket or the blazer.

A packable puffer coat – the compact puffer is great to throw in any bag if you think it’s necessary. Many companies make light, packable ones. I have this one from Land’s End. You can also layer it under your utility jacket.

7. Luggage

Main Bag

I go between using a backpack and a suitcase. Backpacks are great for Asia and South America where the travel is a bit harder and rolling a suitcase behind can be more difficult.

I love my Osprey Farpoint pack.

If we are traveling more slowly and in more developed areas (Europe, US, etc), I tend to pack in a suitcase.

Right now I am using a carry on size canvas Samsung, but it is looking slightly banged up and I would love to upgrade to a hard shelled case.

Tote Bag

If you have been following our travels through my Instagram, then you already know how much I love my Cuyana tote! It has held up perfectly over our last few trips and is well worth the splurge.

This is what I generally cram into my tote (which I use as my personal item along with my carryon luggage).

  • laptop
  • chargers
  • notebook and planner
  • kindle
  • passport
  • makeup
  • lotion
  • facial cleanser

8. Roll your items

If you pack your heavy items at the bottom (shoes and toiletries) and then roll all of your clothes on top, you can fit a lot more into your bag.

The Packing List

Pack in Carryon Longer

//H&M Jacket, J.Crew Blazer, DVF Scarf, Sunglasses, Earrings, Cuyana Tote//

//Topshop Top, Zara Striped Top, J.Crew Top, Topshop Draped Top, Topshop Lace Top//

//Jeans, White Jeans, Drapey Pants, Striped Romper, Zara Dress//

//New Balance Sneakers, Sam Edelman Boots, Zara Sandal, J.Crew Wedge//

//Madewell Shorts, Zara Shorts, Boyfriend Shorts, Statement Necklace//

//MK Watch, Necklace, Earrings, Bracelets, Statement Earrings, Clutch-Crossbody Bag//

Do you have trouble deciding what to pack? What are your packing tricks?

We’d love to hear from you! Leave comments below.

Don’t forget to head to Heather’s site – Sartorial Stripes – for even more fashion travel advice.

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