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A Flight Attendant's Best Tips to Have a Great Trip: Advice on What to Pack, What to Keep By Your Side, and How to Interact with a New Country

10 Packing Tips

  1. Start Out Light. The weight you carry should be only what you put in the bag, so a lightweight but sturdy bag is essential

2. Pack Skinny. Think (and pack) thin. This assures you that youll always have the right clothes for any weather and will take
up as little space as possible. Leave the bulky, thick clothing at home. Pack thin, wrinkle-resistant fabrics, and layer, layer, layer when necessary.

3. Wear the Fat. Wear your fattestclothes (e.g., heaviest jeans, shoes, sweater, or jacket) on is at a premium.

4. Scheme It. One basic bottom color scheme is all you need.If you cant wear a top with more than one bottom and vice-versa, dont bring it along!
5. Accessories Rule. Punches of colorful scarves, a cool necklace, or a special belt changes a look instantly. Multitask your clothing!

6. Carry It On. Dont chance losing precious time if the airline loses your luggage...and save check-in luggage charges, too.

7. Get Technique. Roll clothes to save space and avoid wrinkles, and use packing cubes to fill the crevices in your suitcase.

8 The Rule of Threes. Bring three tops for every bottom, bring no more than three pairs of shoes, and eliminate anything you cant wear at least three times.

9. A Weeks Worth. A weeks worth of clothing is the most youll really ever need, even for a month of travel, so dont go overboard. Think hand washables!

10. Expandables. Expandable bags! Who doesnt come home with more than they left with?

10 Rules for World Travelers

1. Check for Holidays. You dont want to end up in Dubai during Ramadan (as I did).

2. Only Carry On. Dont check it in unless youre on your way home, and then dont check anything you could never live without.

3. Coffee. Dont forget to drink coffee before your withdrawal headachesets in. Keep this in mind when you get to your destinationwaking up with a throbbing headache is no fun.

4. Dont Think About the Time Change. Set your watch to the local time and dont think about it. It is whatever time it is!

5. Keep a Diary. Youll be glad you did. Youll never remember the name of that great restaurant.

6. Take Copies. Make a copy of your passport and drivers license and carry it at all times.

7. Download Skype or Viber. Two of the best, cheapest, and easiest way to make a call.

8. Always Bring a Bathing Suit. If you dont, at some point, youll wish you had.

9. Bring Food. Small packs of your favorite nuts, bars, coffee, etc., will be a lifesaver.

10. Bring a Clothespin. Indispensable item for closing curtains, hanging washables, etc.

10 Items to Keep Within Reach

These might sound obvious, but keeping these items in the bag under the seat in front of you will save you a lot of aggravation!

1. Devices. Laptops, iPads, cellphones, e-readers, Gameboys, etc.

2. Medicine. Ibuprofen, hydrocortisone cream, decongestants (for unexpected colds and stuffy sinuses), zinc lozenges, antacids, and, of course, whatever prescription medications you need to take.

3. Credit Card. This will save you a lot of rummaging through time when its happy hour and the airline is cashless.

4. Pen and an Extra. Duh. But Ive had to borrow one before, too.

5. Paper. Seems like you might not need this, but youll thank me.

6. Socks. Cold feet are the worst, especially on a long flight with blanket shortages.

7. An Extra Layer. Again, you never know. A sweater, a pashmina, or a light jacket can go a long way to keep you in comfort.

8. Food. Delays, late flights, no service on board...Being hungry is the root of a lot of crankiness--your own, your kids, your travel mate.

9. Toiletries. Anything you need to feel fresh, especially moisturizer to combat dry cabin air. I highly recommend packaged face towelettes. Theyre not counted as a liquid and double as hand wipes, spill wipes, stain remover, etc.

10. Hand Sanitizer. Use it often.

Reprinted from Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir by Wendy Sue Knecht. Wendys memoir details her adventures, life lessons, and some harrowing events that took place while working for the worlds most iconic airline, Pan Am.

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