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New Zealand, Part IV: Queenstown

It took me nearly a full day to travel from Bay of Islands, at the northern tip of New Zealand, to Queenstown on the South Island.

It began with a drive, followed by a car ferry, followed by more driving.

Next up, was a small jet from KeriKeri to Auckland.

The airport in KeriKeri is small and charming.

There’s a woman who makes cookies and sells them whenever a plane comes in.

(A long cry from the chaos of Los Angeles International Airport!)

From Auckland  it was about a two and a half hour flight to Queenstown.

I arrived around 4 p.m.

It was pretty easy to find my way out of the Queenstown airport.

Way Out © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

“Way Out” – Many of the signs in New Zealand made me smile.

I picked up my rental car and headed to my hotel downtown.

It was a spectacular late afternoon in Queenstown.

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand, just before sunset.

The sky was clear, the weather was warm, the air was dry, and the scenery was stunning.

I hurriedly dropped my bags at the hotel and set off to explore.

My first stop was at a small cafe with an outdoor patio on Lake Wakatipu.

I hadn’t eaten in about twelve hours and I was starving.

I ordered a New Zealand craft beer and a $20.00 (New Zealand dollars!) steak.  (The equivalent of $13.40 US.)

The beer was STRONG and I was tipsy after just a few sips.

(Yes, I’m an alcohol lightweight, and also … empty stomach!)

Once I had refueled, I began walking the town and eventually hiked to the base of the world-famous Queenstown gondola.

I wanted to time my gondola ride for sunset.

In no time at all, I found myself approximately 1,500 feet (450 metres) above the city of Queenstown.

The view of the town, Lake Wakatipu, and The Remarkables was breathtaking.

Queenstown looks small when you’re on top of the mountains!

I hiked around as much as possible, mountain-top, before sunset.

I was already in love with Queenstown and my plane had only landed a few hours prior.

When I saw the mountains turn a beautiful indigo and golden rose with sunset, my heart skipped a beat.

The Remarkables bathed in sunset beauty!

Once the sun was out of reach, behind a mountain, I took the gondola back down to town.

I took this photo from the Queenstown gondola when I was over halfway down the mountain.

I don’t love heights, but the gondola ride up the mountain was definitely worth the view.

In large part, my day had been consumed by travel.

But, I definitely had made the most of my afternoon and evening in Queenstown.

I knew I was quickly falling in love with New Zealand.

(New Zealand travel stories to be continued ….)

New Zealand, Part I

New Zealand, Part II: Bay of Islands

New Zealand, Part III:  More Bay of Islands

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Life As It Is

I thought I’d break up the New Zealand posts with a short (more current) update.

Since I’ve been back from New Zealand, I’ve been very busy.

I’ve been working like a maniac because I won’t be able to work for quite awhile post-surgery.

I’m exhausted, but I keep telling myself I’ll have plenty of time to “relax” when my right arm is in a sling, I’m not allowed to travel and/or drive, and pain medication is making me groggy.

In the meantime, I can’t seem to get enough done, no matter how hard I try.

I’m absolutely dreading losing use of my right hand.

Last Wednesday I flew to Oregon to visit my parents.

I got home Sunday night.

The visit was great and very overdue … Oregon is such a beautiful state.

In my post-New-Zealand days at home, I’ve had more than just work to keep me occupied.

I’ve had a pre-op physical done, a pre-op EKG done, and (at a different location) a pre-op chest x-ray done.

I could not lift my right arm over my head for the chest x-ray and the technician was very disappointed.

???

Because I’m a “melanoma survivor” I also have a dermatologist do full body skin checks on me four times a year.

I recently had this done, and on Monday I followed up by having an “abnormal” mole removed.

So, yes, now I have four stitches in my right leg.

Isn’t my life FUN??

I’d like to suggest to ALL of you to please get a full body skin check at least once a year.

People assume they don’t need to do it, they’re bullet proof, they’re too busy, etc.

And …?

That’s why so many people die from skin cancer.

Today, I’m meeting with my arm surgeon one last time.

I’m hoping to convince him to fix both my elbow and shoulder in ONE surgery vs. two.

I’ve been told he probably won’t do this for a multitude of medical/doctor reasons.

But, I’m going to try anyway because I’ve been a mess since the INCIDENT in November.

I just want as much fixed as can be fixed, and (more importantly!) to get the whole thing over with.

I’ve also been *attempting* to lose some weight.

I think I’ve lost 5-6 pounds since I got back in the United States.

I’m very health-focused right now.

I feel like I’ve lost my way with all the pain I’ve been in these past few months.

It’s time to get my life, and health, back on track.

Of course, I’m always Fred-focused.

Fred and I have been having big snuggle-fests lately.

He’s been taking full advantage of the guilt I feel when I leave him.

I’ve been spoiling him rotten and he LOVES it.

Fred The Newf – Feeling happy on a recent rainy day!

I’m also rushing against the clock to get my New Zealand travel journal completed and put together before I “lose” my right hand/arm post-surgery.

I kept a journal each day I was traveling.

I’m now adding in tickets/receipts/memorabilia.

I’m almost done with it …

And, I’m determined to complete it before my surgery.

I think I have six more days to get things done?

In any case, tomorrow’s post will be another New Zealand update!

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New Zealand, Part III: More Bay of Islands

Due to weather conditions, I found myself on a popular, somewhat crowded, tour boat one afternoon in Bay of Islands.

Everyone else had rushed on board to find the “best” seats.

I took my time and climbed the stairs to the outdoor, top, deck.

I didn’t take a seat.

Instead, I stood in the far back corner of the deck – behind the last row of seats.

I had a slight advantage over most of the other tour members.

I’ve grown up with the ocean and sea life.

I knew we’d come across at least a few dolphins.

And, I know dolphins LOVE to play in the wake created by boats.

I ignored the odd looks from a few of the seated tourists.

(“Why is that woman standing in the back corner of the boat with that huge camera?”)

The weather for the afternoon was less than ideal.

There were very high winds.

Most of the time the sky was overcast.

Occasionally, pretty blue sky would break through the clouds.

And, yes, there was also occasional rain … just in case wind and humidity weren’t quite enough to make me look my prettiest.

But, it wasn’t long until I spotted company alongside the boat.

A dolphin swimming alongside the boat.

An entire pod of dolphins had come to greet us.

I’ve been around dolphins my entire life, but THESE dolphins could really jump high!

A dolphin leaps for joy in the wake of our boat.

I was expecting the dolphins, and I had my camera settings ready for them long before they appeared.

However, even I was surprised when one dolphin jumped SUPER high and directly at me.

I honestly think I could have touched him if I hadn’t had my camera in my hands.

The dolphin shot of a lifetime!

My entire day was made by photographing the dolphins.

But, my day was not OVER.

The boat tour had just begun.

As it continued, I was treated to some beautiful scenery.

“Hole in the Rock” is a famous boat touring spot in Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

At one point, the boat docked and we were given some time to explore one of the many islands.

Several of us decided to hike to the top of the island and take in the amazing view.

View from the top of Urupukapuka Island, New Zealand

It ended up being a great afternoon.

A “tourist boat trip” hadn’t been my first choice for the day.

But, I was glad I went, and happy with the sights and shooting opportunities.

I wish I had been shooting under better weather conditions, but it was a great day, regardless.

(New Zealand travel stories to be continued ….)

New Zealand, Part I

New Zealand, Part II: Bay of Islands

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Oregon

Hello again!

I’ll have another New Zealand post published for you on Monday.

I’m in Oregon right now visiting my parents.

I had planned to visit them early last fall, but I was sidelined by some urgent family business.

Then, I re-injured my arm in November.

Next, came the holidays.

After that, it was a mad rush to prepare for, and journey to, New Zealand.

Now, I’m facing a big surgery in twelve days.

There’s never a “good” time to take a few days off, is there?

My doctor won’t allow me to travel for quite awhile post-surgery.

And so, that’s how I ended up traveling to Oregon THIS week.

I admit, I’m a little tired of living out of a suitcase.

And, it broke my heart in two to leave Fred again.

(He’s with family members and in the best of hands.)

But, I know I’ll be home 24/7 for a long, long, time post-surgery.

(Fred knows it too …. I told him!)

In any case, I’ll have the next New Zealand post up for you on Monday.

Enjoy your weekend!

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New Zealand, Part II: Bay of Islands

New Zealand, Part I can be read by clicking here.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being disappointed with the weather while I was in Bay of Islands.

But, when you travel you learn to make the most of whatever life gives you.

On Sunday, I had arranged to have a catamaran take me out for the entire day.

I wanted to get a feel for my surroundings, and also have an opportunity to do a lot of shooting.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the morning to a message cancelling my trip.

The owner of the catamaran felt it was too windy to go out.

My lodge hosts sprang into action and immediately booked me on an afternoon cruise with a bigger boat.

They apologized because it would be a much more touristy (and shorter) experience, but the larger boats were able to handle the weather.

I suddenly found myself with a free morning.

I decided to hike to Long Beach.

Long Beach is not pronounced with the same cadence as Long Beach, California.

The Bay of Islands Long Beach is pronounced Long (pause) Beach.

(Because it is a LONG beach!)

The walk/hike felt very tropical-ish.

It was warm, humid, rain clouds were hovering in the sky, and I found myself surrounded by tropical fauna.

Bay of Islands Hiking Trail, New Zealand

Eventually, the path led me to a road and I caught my first, exciting, glimpse of the turquoise ocean at Long Beach.

First glimpse of the sea at Long Beach, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

I also saw threatening clouds just ahead.

I walked down to the beach and decided to walk the entire length of the (long!) sand.

Halfway through my walk, it began to POUR.

At first I continued walking, but the buckets of rain falling from the sky threatened to ruin my photography gear.

I decided to take shelter at the only place available.

Mobile Espresso © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

Mobile Espresso – Long Beach, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

I had never seen a mobile coffeeshop before, but I was more than happy to see one then.

I stood under the small shelter, where you see the kids seated in the above photo.

I ordered a cappuccino and chatted with my Mobile Barista.

He was really nice … and, originally, from California.

In a short while, the rain stopped and I continued on with my plans to walk the beach.

By the time I walked all the way to the end of Long Beach and back, I knew it was time to head back to the lodge.

I’m used to very dry air.  Between the rain, the hike, and the humidity I was a mess.

I needed to get cleaned up before my afternoon boat trip.

(Although, I later realized there was no point in attempting to be presentable while shooting on a boat in rainy New Zealand!)

(New Zealand travel stories to be continued ….)

 

 

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New Zealand, Part I

I’m going to publish some of the details of my trip to New Zealand.

The easiest way to do this is through multiple posts.

The posts might not be posted on consecutive dates … but, I’ll provide links as I write them to tie them all together.

First of all, I have to confess my excitement to travel to New Zealand was over the top.

I’ve wanted to visit since I was a child which truly made it a trip of a lifetime.

I was very fortunate to be able to travel on Air New Zealand which is ranked as one of the top airlines in the world.

In addition, I was able to travel as a Business Premier passenger which is Air New Zealand’s version of first class.

I, honestly, wanted to squeal with delight at the very thought.

The first advantage of being a Business Premier passenger begins before you ever leave with increased baggage allowances,

And, more importantly, Business Premier passengers get access to the Air New Zealand lounge … in my case, at LAX.

After checking my baggage, I got to hang out and wait for my flight in a fancy-schmancy lounge.

Drinks, tons of gourmet food, fast wi-fi, comfortable chairs and chaises … it was a NICE pre-boarding experience.

When it came time to board the plane, Business Premier passengers were allowed to get settled in first – so the standing in line hassles were avoided.

On board, I was greeted with a glass of champagne, a seat which later converted to a lay-flat bed, and zillions of other conveniences and advantages I’m not accustomed to getting when I fly.  (I especially loved the airline provided “travel kit” which was a bag made from New Zealand wool with all sorts of essentials inside like a toothbrush/paste, sleep mask, lip balm, socks, etc.)

Like most of us, when I fly, I’m usually squashed in a middle seat between two massively overweight passengers who won’t share the armrests.

It was such a TREAT to experience flying in a different way.

(And, truly, a lifesaver on such a super long flight!)

I took an evening flight which is what I recommend if you travel from California.

After a surprisingly good meal on the plane, I read for awhile.

I converted my seat to a bed eventually, and got a decent 6-7 hours of sleep.

When I woke up, I was greeted with a small “smoothie,” followed by breakfast.

A short time later, I was landing in Auckland … it was 7 a.m. in New Zealand and I had “lost” one day by crossing the international date line while in flight.

It was raining/pouring in Auckland when I arrived, but I wasn’t staying in Auckland so I didn’t mind.

After going through customs, I transferred to the domestic terminal at the Auckland airport.

I had a few hours to kill due to a layover, and I was happy to hear I could spend those hours (once again!) in the Air New Zealand lounge.

By afternoon, I had arrived at the KeriKeri airport in Bay of Islands … which is at the top of New Zealand’s north island.

(The KeriKeri airport was the cutest airport I’ve ever seen.  It consists of one building and is CHARMING.)

A rental car was waiting for me, and the adventures of driving on the wrong (left!) side of the road began!

(There might have been some gasping and screaming involved.)

It was around 2:00 in the afternoon when I arrived at my bed and breakfast (Flagstaff Lodge) in the town of Russell.

At this point, I had one, and only one, thought on my mind –

I wanted a shower!

After a lot of research, I had high expectations for my time in Bay of Islands.

I was disappointed not to experience the poster-perfect weather I had read about.

It was grey and rainy, and warm, and humid upon my arrival … although, still beautiful.

I donned a rain poncho, grabbed my camera and headed out to explore.

After all, you can’t control the weather but you can control your attitude about it, right?

(If I’ve learned nothing else over the years, I know you have to stay flexible and adjust your expectations when you travel.)

Kiwi are endangered and it isn’t unusual to see signs reminding the public to take care of them!

I was hungry and thirsty after so many hours of travel.

I made a short stop in a little cafe and then walked/hiked for hours – exploring the small town, the beach, and the rest of my surroundings.

My awesome hosts (Jessie and Ruth) invited me to an early evening happy hour which I also enjoyed.

It gave me the opportunity to get to know them better, ask questions about the area, and begin learning more about New Zealand.

They had, very kindly, thought ahead to make a dinner reservation for me at one of their favorite restaurants.

(Russell is a VERY small town so there isn’t a lot to choose from and reservations are a must.)

I walked to the restaurant and was able to catch a beautiful sunset on my way.

Bay of Islands Sunset  — As seen from Russell

I enjoyed a great lamb dinner my first night in New Zealand.

The hours of travel and excitement had taken its toll, though.

I was exhausted and asleep by 10:00 p.m. that night – my very first night in New Zealand.

(New Zealand travel stories to be continued ….)

 

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New Zealand

I’m back from New Zealand!

New Zealand  —  Queenstown Sunset

Are any of you still out there in cyber-land?

Or, did you all give up on me?

I had the best-imaginable, three week, trip.

Of course, I’ve come back to total chaos and a lot of catch-up work to do.

First of all, Fred is FINE.

In fact, Fred is great.

Fred is his same, old, teenage-attitude, self.

The Newf © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

“Why are you accusing me of digging?  If there was any digging, it was definitely done by the neighbor’s cat!”

I missed Fred a lot while I was gone.

We’re happy to be back together again.

Fred covered me in thousands of kisses and lots of dog slobber when we were reunited.

I’ll write more detailed accounts in upcoming posts.

But, for today, here’s a little general information.

•  I had a fantastic time.

•  I took over 8,000 photos.  (I did end up taking two pro-camera bodies with me and I’m glad I did.)

•  Some of my trip was for fun and some of it was work.  (Did I mention … eight thousand photos?!)

•  It rains a lot in New Zealand … even in summer.

•  I fell in love with the natural beauty of the South Island and it looks like I’ll be doing some ongoing work there.  (Arm permitting!)

•  My arm is terrible … but, we all knew THAT would happen.  (The second half of the trip got a little rough pain-wise.)

•  Very nice Kiwis were shoving delicious food and drinks down my throat the entire time I was there.  (I’m on an emergency diet now that I’m home.)

•  I walked and hiked (and walked and hiked some more!) while I was in New Zealand.  It’s a VERY outdoorsy country!

•  I have approximately two and a half weeks until I have surgery on my arm.  I have a ton of pre-op appointments, and an out of state trip, that need to all happen during that time period.

•  I will be blogging again, but not daily.  (I keep telling myself I’ll have lots of time to blog post-surgery, right?)

•  I’ll be providing New Zealand stories and details very soon in upcoming posts!

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Travel …

I’m somewhere … over the South Pacific, and/or in New Zealand.

If time allows, I’ll upload a post and/or photos now and again while I’m traveling.

If not, you’ll be able to keep track of me via social media.

(Facebook and Instagram are the best bets.)

I’ll be in some remote areas some of the time, but I’ll share photos when I’m able to!

I’m looking forward to shooting as much as I possibly can while I’m in beautiful New Zealand!

 

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My Camera Bag

Let’s be honest, I own forty bazillion camera bags.

Different situations call for different bags.

I had a difficult time deciding what bag I’d be shooting out of while I’m in New Zealand.

In the end, I knew I didn’t want to haul an immense amount of weight with me everywhere I go.

I decided to transport my gear in my ThinkTank airport roller.

(I have many styles of ThinkTank Photo bags.)

The roller is excellent for transporting lots of gear around – especially when traveling by air.

But, which smaller bag would I want to use once I’m in New Zealand and shooting all day?

I was agonizing over making the “right” choice.

I emailed ThinkTank Photo and told them I was in search of the perfect “daily shooting bag” for New Zealand.

They surprised me by offering to send me a bag, of my choice, for free.

It didn’t take me long (maybe two seconds?) to tell them I’d love to take their new bag, Mezzo, with me to New Zealand.

Each day, I’ll take just what I need for that day out of my airport roller, put it in the Mezzo, and shoot for hours.

TT Mezzo 1 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

ThinkTank Photo Mezzo Camera Bag (flap open) – Designed for women, by women.

The Mezzo is the medium sized bag of ThinkTank’s Lily Deanne series of bags.

The line was developed by women for women photographers.

The smallest bag in this line is called the Lucido.  I love the small size of the Lucido, but for what (and how) I shoot it would be too small.

The largest bag in the Lily Deanne line is called the Tutto.

Based on how I shoot/travel the Tutto would be near-perfect … except, fully loaded, it would be staggeringly heavy.

I am a one-working-arm photographer.

A fully loaded, staggeringly heavy, camera bag is not an option.

The Mezzo, therefore, seems perfect as a daily carry around bag.

(I usually have my camera out of my bag, anyway, so it provides plenty of room for all my essentials.)

All of my gear is “pro” sized gear and the Mezzo is big enough to handle it.

The three styles of Lily Deanne bags come in black (licorice) and/or brown (chestnut).

I’m really tired of black camera bags, so mine is chestnut.

Let me tell you what I love about this bag …

THE DETAILS!

Finally, someone really put some thought into the details!

For instance, the exterior side pockets are expandable so I can keep a water bottle with me in one of them, and my sunglasses in the other.

(I always need water when I’m working because I’m *that* photographer … the one hiking, climbing, hanging upside down, etc!)

Also?

The zip opening at the top of the bag is secure when closed and very WIDE and easy to access when unzipped.

So much less fumbling around!

The robin egg blue interior is brilliant.

TT Mezzo 2 © Suzanne Haggerty 2016 W

I love the wide bag opening, and the bright Mezzo interior!

Why do most bags have black and/or dark interiors?

The bright interior of the Mezzo makes it so easy to spot lens caps, etc!

I realize a lot of female hobby-ist photographers like the girly/blingy bags which are available.

But, guess what?

I’m not them.

I need a professional looking bag that looks classy, is tough enough to handle REALLY hard work, and nice enough to have around corporate clients.

The Mezzo is a chic, very professional, bag.

It’s also a very comfortable bag to carry which counts for a lot when you’re shooting for hours at a time.

(I wear mine crossbody, of course, due to my bum arm!)

I won’t purchase/use camera bags that scream, “I’m a camera bag, why don’t you steal me?”

Bonus points for the Mezzo?

There’s an outer flap over the top of the bag.

It folds all the way back to get out of your way when you don’t want it – as seen in my above photo.

And, it secures with quiet, magnetic closures.

(No loud velcro screaming every time you reach for something!)

There’s a zippered interior pocket to keep your wallet/passport/keys extra secure.

The Mezzo also comes with a custom rain cover – which will be essential in New Zealand.

All ThinkTank bags come with extra dividers so you can customize them to your particular gear/needs.

There’s a large pocket on the back of the bag where I can store model releases and/or a magazine while traveling.

Also, very important for me, the Mezzo has a back slide/pass-through pocket, so I can slide my Mezzo onto my roller bag/suitcase for easy carrying while traveling.

(Saving arms and shoulders?  Priceless!)

A few other nice details include an interior padded cell phone pocket and plenty of room for storing memory cards, personal items, and small gear-related items.

Yes, there’s even an interior, padded, area for an iPad/tablet.

(I think I’ll be storing my travel journal in it!)

A very small detail, but a NICE one, is the attractive contrast stitching (in the same robin’s egg blue of the bag’s interior).

My new Mezzo is a gorgeous, very functional, bag with well thought out details.

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Packing Tips, Part II

Last week, I shared with you some general tips to take into consideration prior to traveling.

If you missed it, you can see that post by clicking here.

Today, I thought I’d share a few general packing tips.

After all, sooner or later all of us end up having to pack a suitcase, right?

First of all, I recommend you make stacks of everything you think you should pack, by category.

For some people, a category is a clothing item you wear like “pants/shirts/underwear.”

For other people, the actual day (or event) is a category.  For example, “On Tuesday, I’ll be at a fancy event.  I’ll need a dress, stockings, high heels and special jewelry.”

After you make stacks of what you think you’ll need,

Put about half of it back in your closet.

Overpacking is the biggest mistake we’re all prone to make.

If you’re traveling by air, I recommend you do everything possible to take a roll-on carry bag and one other small, carry-on, item like a purse/camera bag/laptop bag/etc.

Avoid checking a bag if at all possible.

If you’re like me and you have to use your two allowed carry-ons for camera gear and/or technology items (expensive stuff which should never be checked),

You will have to check a bag.

If you do, make sure you carry with you a change of clothes, any and all medications, and whatever you need to survive 24-48 hours in the event your checked luggage is lost.

(Oh, the humiliating horror story I could tell you from my early days as a professional in the corporate world!)

Packing cubes can really be a huge organizational bonus when you’re traveling.

Some people pack the cubes with what they’ll need by day/event.

Other people pack the cubes by clothing category … all socks in one packing cube, for instance.

Personally, I pack the cubes by clothing category.

However, if I’m attending a big event, I may have a separate packing cube with everything I need for that ONE special event.

(Families often use different colored packing cubes for each member of the family.)

I mostly use Eagle Creek packing cubes.  I like their very lightweight Specter line best.

I know some people LOVE using whatever shampoo products are “free” at hotels.

Most of the time, however, the free products leave me with “hotel hair.”

I like to bring my own products from home because I know they work for my skin/hair.

But, packing a cosmetic bag has always been an incredible hassle.

I’ve tried several methods, and I think I finally have my “forever” solution.

I keep a travel cosmetic bag of everything I need, ready to go, always.

Yes, I’ve gradually accumulated both a duplicate makeup and cosmetic bag (with all my shower stuff in it).

They’re both ready to go on a moment’s notice.

When I return from a trip, I refill my shampoo bottle and/or anything else I’ve depleted and I’m ready for the next trip.

I will only use GoToob travel bottles for shampoo/conditioner/etc.

They’re made out of a soft, squeezable, bpa free, plastic which allows you to get out every drop of product.

They also have big openings for refilling and/or cleaning … which makes the whole process WAY simpler.

(I used to buy miniature bottles of my normal products, but they’re overpriced and such a PAIN to clean/refill!)

I’ve also found the GoToob bottles almost never leak.

(I won’t say “never” because if I do say “never” someone will write and tell me they found one that leaked.)

I also use GoTubb small containers (even when I’m not traveling).

The GoTubb small containers are awesome for small portions of hand lotion/lip gloss/etc. which you might want to keep in your handbag or cosmetic bag.

For my most watery-liquids (like makeup remover), I use small, clear, spray bottles.

They’re the least likely to leak.

I’ve also been known to use a little washi (masking) tape around bottle seals as an extra precaution against leakage.

If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll probably need some type of power adapter.

If you travel a lot, it’s well worth investing in a universal power adapter … which will work in just about ANY country.

What’s the best way to pack your clothes?

I like to roll many clothing items, but everyone has their own preference.

I always have extra plastic bags in my suitcase.

One bag is a large trash/compactor bag for dirty laundry so it won’t get mixed in with clean clothes.

(Some people use a compression bag or packing cube as their dirty laundry bag.)

I, also, keep a few assorted sizes of empty ziploc plastic bags in my suitcase for emergency wet/leaking/messy items.

Remember to keep all your liquids in small containers, in an easy-to-get-to, see-through, bag for airport security.

(If you’re a frequent flyer, consider getting approved for TSA pre-check and/or Global Entry so you can avoid the entire liquid hassle.)

Lastly, all my shoes go in Shoe Sacks.

I can’t think of anything worse than getting to your destination and finding all your clothes smell like FEET.

(And/or have dirt marks on them from your shoes.)

Do you have some packing tips to add?

I’d love to hear them.

Because while you’ve been reading this …

I’ve been busy packing!