Pack the Suitcase & Go

A Little Advice to My Younger Sister {Travel Edition}

Well, hello my little jelly bean kittens and Happy Monday! I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend, filled with autumn and October goodness.   Now as you may remember, as I have been chatting about it for a few weeks, I am getting geared up for my younger sister Becky’s visit to the UK in two weeks!  Not only is she our first official visitor to the UK, but she has a fun and up for anything kind of spirit. She loves Starbucks, taking pictures and adventures of all kinds.  Yes, she is my younger sister, kind of a chip off the big sister block.  Since we get along like little peas in a pod, I am excited for her time here.

Belinda and Becky

Us striking a bit of an attitude. What what!

Her trip to the UK is a big moment for my sister too, because this is her first international trip! In fact, prior to booking her ticket she didn’t even have a passport. What!?! Can you believe that?  Especially with me as her big international travel lovin’ big sister?  But every traveler has to have their first international travel experience, right?  I remember my first big trip abroad that had me clutching my passport nervously:  to Brazil in 2007.  Before the trip I research and planned, as a way to calm my nerves.  And you know what even after so many stamps in my passport I still get butterflies when I board a plane to a new place.

In the spirit of helping “rookie” international travelers like my younger sister, I thought it would be fun to give her some advice for her first international trip! Oh, and I ask my lovely Twitter followers for their thoughts…and let me tell you, they had some good advice to share!

Ready, let’s chat about first time travel advice!


Question #1:  Calling my world travelers: What advice would you give to someone flight a long haul (8 hrs+) for the first time?  





I have to say, I LOVE all of this advice that was tweeted to me. And yes, to all of the above!  Most know about wearing layers or comfy clothes, but the idea of face cream might not be.  Airplane air that circulates around and around does nothing good for skin. Ever. For me, about 3-4 hours into a long flight, I will use face wipes and then reapply face lotion, and then I reapply before landing.  Oh, and water? It’s the most important thing to off set jet lag, and keep my body clock ticking.  And as for comfort, I bring with me anything that I need to cozy up and sleep. Eye mask, ear plugs, pashimina and my own pillow.  Sleep is my best friend on those flights!

Question #2:  When traveling, How much do you plan ahead? Or do you go with the flow when traveling?






I have to say, once again I have to agree with you all about striking a balance between planning and going with the flow.  For first time travelers, I think it’s important to strike a balance between planning certain must sees, and just enjoying it all.  My sister has asked me, “How much time should I spend in Wales? Or London or Scotland?” My reply has always been, “It depends on what you want to do.”  To a certain point,  you have to reference guide books, to have an idea what is a potential option but then know how to edit. When we travel I made mental lists attractions, and then rank the attractions in order of importance. When we visited Paris, we made a major rookie mistake: trying to visit too much in a condensed period of time. By the end of the trip we were exhausted. So, learning from that… you need to know when to just stop and enjoy.

And typically, you can’t catch me traveling without DK travel guide in my hand. I LOVE these guide books, because they have beautiful interior illustrations and drawings, explaining nooks and crannies of museums, churches and cathedrals. My Europe travel guide has been by my side for years, the spine is broken and it is very much loved.

DK Travel Guide

But, no matter how great these guide books are… they are heavy to throw into my bag with my camera kit.  Until now. Kittens, I am so excited to let you in on an exciting announcement: DK Travel is launching an awesome new travel site, perfect for those who LOVE their traditional guides.

DK contacted me, a few weeks ago to take a sneak peek on their new site, DK Travel Planner and then share my thoughts with you all.  And I am so excited!  Let me give you a bit of the details.

First, there are two different ways to utilize the DK Travel Planner site. First, you can use the website directly. Login, and it is your one stop for all of DK’s amazing travel content. Heading to London or Paris? You can start with pre-made itineraries, or build your own.  The site includes opening times, admission fares, nearby attractions and so much more.   Heck, the site can even tell you where to have lunch or dinner. Perfection!

Secondly, you have the new app itself.  Once your itinerary is complete, you can download it directly to your smartphone for a small fee of  £1.99 but it’s well worth it.  You get a top of the line itinerary built just for you, with the attractions you want that you can access without Wifi or roaming!  I LOVE this! Whenever we travel, we have to be aware of roaming charges or being only on Wifi. Now, you don’t have to worry about that. You can access the custom guide book, right on your smart phone perfection for being out and about in travels. This is what the mobile version looks like, look how complete the information is! Such a wonderful resource!


The website is launching soon, but you can sign up to get an announcement once it is launched. {Trust me, if you are a crazy travel planner like me you will want to know when this site has been launched!}  Learn more about the DK Travel Planner and sign up for the  launch announcement here.

Now, I turn to you my dear readers… what advice would you share with my sister before she boards her first international flight? Tips for a long flight? Planning your trip?  Making the most of your trip? I want to hear them, all!  I will make sure she reads everyone’s advice for making the most of her first international trip!




Please note, I have received two complimentary DK Travel guides for my review. My opinions of the site and product are my own.  I am more than happy to answer any additional questions you may have about this new travel app.


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