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Stop, Pop and Roll!

Hi DLM readers! I just returned from my too-short vacation to Cabo San Lucas. Here are five travel tips to keep in mind as you embark on adventures this summer:

1. Pack light – and an extra bag. While packing ask yourself: In all honesty, can I live without this item for a couple days? If not, can I purchase it easily at my destination? My greatest piece of advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Often a quarter of what is packed remains unused! Eliminating those items from your luggage not only makes traveling easier, but also leaves room for souvenirs that you may collect on your vacation. And, if you plan to buy more than you can fit in your luggage, I recommend packing a foldable bag (Longchamp works great) for all of those extra purchases.

2. Upon arrival, avoid sales traps. Being the trusting and naive traveler that I am, when we arrived in Cabo and were immediately led by young men in Polos to booths at the airport, I thought nothing of it. They said they knew where our hotel destination was and would help us get there. I didn’t realize they would help us get to our hotel only after purchasing various vacation packages! Once we realized we’d been tricked, it was very difficult to disentangle ourselves from the conversation. Avoid these awkward situations early!

3. Never be too ashamed to bargain. Generally the rule is that you can bargain at markets, but never in stores with legitimate price tags. That rule does not apply in countries such as China, Turkey, and Mexico! And, if you are purchasing items from souvenir stores or sports booths where there are multiple companies competing for your money, it is totally acceptable to ask for deals. Often prices are marked up to account for bargain hunters, so don’t be duped into spending more than what is fair. If the vendor is unwilling to budge on prices, you can always go on to the next – or back down and humbly offer the desired amount.

4. Before checkout, double check your receipts and calculate a final cost estimate. If we hadn’t checked our receipts carefully, we would not have received various hotel discounts – and we would not have noticed that the hotel was adding on daily fees for its charity fund! I have no problem donating money; however, doing it unwittingly and without consent is not okay. I have to wonder how many budgets are blown at the hotel due to the undetected added charges. Be aware of where your money is going – or else!

5. If your bags are too full: Stop, Pop, and Roll! How many times do you unpack everything, only to find that clothing won’t go back in the same way? If everything isn’t fitting into your luggage or the zipper won’t close, relax. Take a deep breath and stop trying to shove it all in there. Instead, pop out all of your items and roll up your clothing. I learned this trick from my 6th grade English teacher and I have used it ever since. Below is a picture of my suitcase when I packed for 7 months in Turkey – all in a carry on! I rolled up the lighter articles of clothing and stuffed them in the bottom of the suitcase. I then arranged the larger pieces like jeans and jackets flat across on top. Shoes fit shoved into the side spaces!

I hope my tips will help you achieve relaxation and peace of mind on your summer travels. Hugs from Cabo!

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