So today I am on my way to Quito, Ecuador. As you know by now, I don’t like to pack that much when I travel. However, this time I feel like I have packed quite a bit. This is what my bags look like:

Because I always fly standby, I almost NEVER check a bag. I will be gone for two weeks and I have everything I need in those two bags (the bag on the left acts as my personal item, the paisley as my carry-on)I was going to take a pair of tennis shoes cause I think me and my friend will probably be doing lots of outdoor things but I didn’t have any room so I figured it would be better to buy a cheap pair of local sneakers when I get down there. I have done that before. I have a pair of sandals, a pair of boots and some walking shoes. It’s raining in Quito, it rains a couple hours a day and it’s in the 60’s so because of the variety in temperature and weather, I have more than I normally take with me. Here is what I’m taking:

1 pair of jeans

2 pairs of leggings

1 pair of shorts

1 raincoat

6 tops

4 dresses

a couple of things to sleep in/walk around the house in

bathing suit and cover-up

house slippers

socks

personal items (we all know what these are, no need to name names)

toiletries

computer

a few books/other reading material

travel tip: I ALWAYS have a small backpack or purse in my carryon, one that I can crumble up it doesn’t take up much room if I don’t need to take it out. However, since I do travel on standby, many times I am one of the last people to board the plane so overhead space is normally gone and I have to gate check my bag. So, I open my carry-on, take out my purse and transfer all my valuable things from my carry-on into my purse. This way, all of my important items, (passport, money, computer, camera, etc.) are with me.

Check out the pic below so you can see what I’m talking about:

You can see it balled up in my carry-on in the first pic. Also, I NEVER carry a designer bag when I travel to a country I’m not familiar with. There is no reason to draw anymore undue attention than I need and, in my opinion, carrying a designer purse just says,

“Hi, I’m an American, please come and rob me because I must have money since I’m carrying this designer purse.”

Oh, one more thing. There is an American Express office in Quito so I have American Express Traveler’s Checks from AAA (Automobile Club of America). I find this is a much more efficient way to carry around cash. Think about it, what happens if you have your cash on you and you lose it or your wallet gets stolen? No way to get that money back. With Traveler’s Checks, if you lose or get them stolen, you will be reimbursed. Plus, it is normally so expensive to take money out of a foreign ATM, I hate getting charged unnecessary fees. When I go to the Amex office I don’t get charged for changing my checks and I don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash. To me it’s a no brainer.

We rented an apartment for our stay in Quito. I have great success with www.VRBO.com. The woman we rented from will be picking me up from the airport which is such a nice way to arrive, not having to worry about finding transportation. I’ll post pics of the place when I get there. Whenever I travel to a place I will be staying for several days, I always ask if it is possible to be picked up from the airport. It is an extra charge but money well spent so that I don’t have to navigate anything when I get off the plane. Don’t get me wrong, I can and have done it but if I don’t have to, I choose not to.

Now let’s just hope my standby seat turns into an actual seat…maybe even in business class!!

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Some people travel. Roni IS travel. For over 20 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, www.RoniTheTravelGuru.com. Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you make your travels an adventure. No where else can you find the uniquely helpful ins and out given to you by someone who has lived overseas for 4 years, speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.

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