While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
I should have been on vacation but I couldn't stop thinking about the next big thing to share with you. If you've dreamed about a travel scarf with pockets, you're going to love this post!
What does summer vacation look like for a travel blogger? Probably a lot like it looks for everyone else! First, there are plenty of indulgent snack foods (hello there, poutine, ice cream, and popsicles). Next, there's a lot of laziness and lounging about in the sun, enjoying the breeze and watching the leaves ripple on the trees. There's even a good amount of time hanging out by the shore, collecting feathers and shells, and generally being thrilled to put social media on snooze.
Of course, there's also the unexpected rain - but we'll get to that in a moment!
This year, our summer vacation brought us to Craigleith Provincial Park for four nights of southern Ontario camping. Ryan and I stuffed our car with camping gear, beer, extra beach towels (but no pillows.... not our finest moment), a backpack brimming with books, magazines, and board games - and, of course, our dog, Oliver! Aside from the pillows, just one thing was missing and this one was intentional. My laptop was left at home and I couldn't have been happier!
But while I had officially banished work, I couldn't turn off the blogging side of my brain. Case in point: while camping, I was able to try out an incredible travel scarf with pockets, something I've been enamored with ever since I first heard about it. And I couldn't wait to tell you all about it! An infinity scarf with pocket features has been on my travel wish list for a while now. Originally I had visions of cuddling around the campfire in a chic scarf, looking glamorous while keeping my phone and keys safe, but Mother Nature delivered a heck of a rain storm that really let me put things to the test.
Check out our video showing just how gorgeous Ontario camping at Craigleith Provincial Park really is - on clear days and stormy ones alike! Then read on to learn more about my new favourite travel scarf (and enter to win one for yourself....)
What's the secret to minimalist packing? Maximizing the space in your bag by using straps and paracord, the stealthy workhorses of the travel world.
Five shirts - never four, never six - some brightly colored packing cubes, a couple of hot chocolate sachets... You probably know my minimalist packing list as well as I do! But there are a few items among my otherwise discerning selection of gear that may just catch you by surprise. One of them is a stick of menthol body glide. It keeps blisters and chaffed skin at bay. Another random addition is the handful of colorful pens I always toss in my purse at the very last minute. After all, you can't have ill-coordinated lists, even when traveling! And the most unexpected item of all? Rope.
Yes, this light packing, anti-adventurist gal carries rope in her backpack. Well, not rope exactly, but, depending on the trip, webbing, straps, and paracord might come along! No, I haven't secretly taken up mountain climbing or hang-gliding or even off the grid camping. Can you imagine? Yet this unusual gear is one of the unsung heroes of my packing success. And with our incredible round-the-world trip looming on the horizon, it is going to be more important than ever before.
Can you take bath bombs on an airplane? What about packing bath bombs in carry on luggage? Our readers ask the BEST questions and we can't wait to help!
I absolutely love it when readers send in their travel questions - and often those questions focus on packing, specifically packing and carry on luggage. And this month's question is an especially good one: Can you take a bath bomb on an airplane? The answer is yes. But I know you don't come to me for short answers! You want details! You demand explanations!
As a lover of relaxing baths AND easy to pack luggage, I am only too happy to dig a bit deeper into this query.
I'm a picky packer but these items have earned a place in my pack.
My idea of a rocking Friday night? Why, I'm in my room, all my travel gear spread out, and I'm playing "kit". Whether or not I have an actual trip coming up is irrelevant! And, as many of you know, I love checking out new travel items. Cute, interesting, and small sized products often catch my eye, but they seldom win my heart. For as much as I love messing around with all my travel products, the truth is that very few items win over my heart and earn a permanent place in my pack.
Maybe my years of travel have made me a very discerning consumer - or maybe I'm just getting old and don't want to be bothered hauling around gear that's not 100% up to par. Either way, lately I've been more likely to delete items from my packing list, not add to it. But these following items were the exception. They survived the purge and fought their way to the top of the list to secure a place in the pack.
A blizzard and a busted battery left us in a bad situation that was rapidly getting worse.
Winter driving is a fact of life for those living in cold weather locations, like us here in Ottawa. We mark the start of the season by installing new snow tires and celebrate its end by driving around in flip flops as soon as the temperature climbs above the freezing mark. Every winter is a delicate dance between a deep seated desire to leave the house and a prosaic prudence that warns caution and urges us to stay home.
Fortunately, we've had mostly good luck on our winter road trips - and so far this year we're having a wonderfully mild season - but one bad past experience proved to be a timely reminder on the importance of relying on preparation, and not just good fortune.
Travel can be gloriously chaotic, but your gear doesn't have to be.
Think keeping your travel gear organized is as easy as stuffing everything into packing cubes? Think again! Cubes (and Ziploc bags, mesh bags, and packing folders) are awesome organizational tools but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to simple packing for stress free trips.
And you better believe that easy packing and worry free travel is exactly what I need. Most of my trips are a combination of business and pleasure, sometimes with a dose of family mixed in too. I imagine most of yours are similar. Life is busy, at home and on the road, so anything that reduces strain and maximizes travel fun is a winner in my books. Here’s how I keep it all together when it comes to managing my gear and gadgets on the road.
Do GoToobs deserve a spot in your toiletry bag?
Cute travel gear? Yep, I find it just about irresistible - and I have an entire dresser drawer filled with my impulse purchases over the years. I'd rather a new suitcase than new shoes and I'd always pick shopping for packing cubes over clothing! That dresser drawer tells the tale of a hundred trips and a million ideas. Yet only half a dozen or so products make my list of essential gear.
Things that seemed like a great idea in the airport never live up to their claims and the hyped up products in the travel supply catalog are rarely worth their weight and suitcase space. And I find that the more I travel, the pickier I get. I've been traveling with GoToob refillable toiletry containers now for nearly a year and I'm still finalizing my opinion on them. Are they essential gear or just pretty impostors? Here's what I've discovered after a few thousand miles.
Less stress, more sunsets - here's what you need for every trip (and not a thing more!)
I’m a list maker, there’s no other way to put it - and travel goes hand in hand with lists! But I have to admit I sometimes have a tendency to get too bogged down in the details – after all, travel is about dreaming as much as it is about planning!
So where is that fine line between being organized and prepared and worrying too much? How can you pare down a list of 100 things you ought to do (but don't always need to do?) Whether you’re a spontaneous, last minute traveler or a compulsive planner who needs to focus on what’s really essential, here’s my ultimate check list of the top 7 things – the only 7 – you need to think about before you go out the door.
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