Packing My Bags

Bring Good Habits and Tea on the Road

By Kara Richardson Whitely

I do a tremendous amount of travel for speaking engagements. With each trip, I’ve learned little tips to make traveling less of a hassle. As I’m planning for a summer of work and family adventures, I though I’d share some of my pointers.

I’m pretty precise about packing so airport security is not such a bear. (I finally remembered to put all my liquids in a one-quart plastic zip-close bag and keep them there. The TSA doesn’t care for fancy toiletry bags.)

I’ve learned what to leave behind (shampoo, in most cases) and what to take with me (exercise clothes). I try to make activity part of every trip I make. With many trips being a day or two, a morning walk is my only way to explore a region.

But there is another must-have thing that I bring with me: tea bags. When I’m at home, tea is my way of relaxing. At home, after the kids are asleep, I come downstairs and prepare two cups: one for my husband and one for myself. I especially like fruity teas — the kind that make you feel like you’re having a dessert but that doesn’t cost you any SmartPoints®. It feels like a guilty pleasure but it isn’t. In fact, at the end of long day, it is a well-deserved moment of Zen.

So, I carry that teatime habit with me no matter where I go. There is something about a warm cup in my hands to bring me into the present moment. It doesn’t matter what time I have to be awake to catch my next flight. When I take the time for tea, I can just be still and calm for a few moments. It’s a great alternative to coffee (trust me, I get my fill of that) when calm is better than caffeine.

I’m planning some travel with my family; I’m working ahead to bring the things that will keep us active, eating healthy, and on budget. So, for example, as we’re planning our trip to Chicago, I checked out the major sites such as the Chicago Institute of Art to verify if they have any limitations on strollers (so we can walk there). I’ve been looking ahead at menus for the Field Museum to make sure there will be healthy choices for my kids and me. One of the hardest things about traveling with kids, at least, what I’ve found, is that food choices for children are carb-y and repetitive. But if I take a moment and research the food ahead of time, it helps me decide whether or not to plan some prepacked picnics for our adventures. And who wouldn’t love a picnic in Millennium Park?

Regardless, I plan to bring my healthy habits with me on the road and I hope you do the same! Happy Trails!

Follow Kara on Connect @gorgegirl15

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