8 Kinda Quirky Travel Essentials


Phone charger, extra camera battery, underwear… there are some items that we ALL highlight and circle 5 times on our “Don’t Forget to Pack” travel to-do lists. But what about those items that are your must-haves, and yours only? We asked some of our favorite jetsetting digital friends where they’re heading this summer, and for their #1 travel essential. (Some gave us #2 too.) Check out these unique picks – whether you’re traveling with 4 kids or flying solo, something here will surely help make your trip more convenient or glamorous.

WHO: As the community manager at Daily Grommet, which features daily useful items that have yet to hit the big time, we wondered what quirky grommet Tori Tait packs for her summer trips.

SUMMER DESTINATION: Every summer, my family and I set sail on a houseboat for a week-long (technology free!) vacation. Our trip involves endless days of boating, swimming and soaking up the sun.

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT IT: One of my #1 travel must-haves is the water bobble. Staying hydrated is a must when traveling (and especially for those sun-soaked trips). The bobble is great because it allows you to ditch using those disposable plastic bottles, you just refill this one wherever you happen to be. The built in filter cleans the water as you drink — it’s so convenient and great for the environment which is a plus in my book!

WHO: Formerly known as “have kid will travel,” we wondered what makes Family Rambling editor Jody Halsted‘s family vacations the easiest they can possibly be.

SUMMER DESTINATION: We are looking forward to a trip to Eureka Springs this year. This beautiful town in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas became a resort for “taking the waters” in the late 19th century. The town is filled with historic hot springs spas and hotels and is also famous for its Passion Play. Nearby a castle is being constructed using a 13th century design, tools and techniques. It will take about 20 years to build.

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT IT: My #1 travel essential is a pair of cute but comfortable shoes. Or two. I turn to Crocs for this, as the shoes are cute, water resistant and very comfortable. I have walked one end of Walt Disney World to the other in a pair of Crocs wedge heels and never had sore feet!

WHO: Traveling to wellness should be everyone’s travel goal this summer, so we asked Anne Dimon of Travel to Wellness what she can’t live without on her journey.

SUMMER DESTINATION: I’m planning an extended road trip to the province of Quebec to check out spas, fitness adventures, culinary tours and festivals, and beautiful, scenic places to just “be.”

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT IT: I always pack my running gear, laptop, camera, plus sunscreen – my fav is ColoreScience‘s mineral powder sunscreen.

WHO: Founder and CEO of AHAlife Shauna Mei spends her days curating WOW-products for her website, but how does she curate her suitcase contents for her many getaways?

SUMMER DESTINATION: I’m going to Rio Fashion Week the 1st week of June to kick off summer, pretty excited for that.

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT: This Card Speaker couldn’t be tinier for traveling; those  iPod docs in hotels never work with the iPhone. Also, instead of my three step beauty regime, when I travel, I just bring this Argan Oil set – for face, body and hair. And psst, I always bring my leather notebook to write poetry when I fly… my secret hobby. I never share my poems.

WHO: We were curious as to what’s in Erika Johnson‘s suitcase, who blogs her inspirations from interiors to her favorite destinations on Radiant Republic.

SUMMER DESTINATION: This summer, I plan to spend a lot of time on the beach in Cape Cod.

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT IT: Because I love the smell of salt water and sun tan lotion, I can’t get enough of the Bobbi Brown Beach scent, which seems to capture both. I especially love the oil, which gives my skin an extra glow during summer nights.

WHO: What about someone who’s LIFE is a vacation? We asked Hawaiian Sarah Burns, The Ohana Mama, what she needs on vacations… although why would she ever leave!?

SUMMER DESTINATION: San Diego and and Laguna Beach at the end of July

CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT: This is a must-use for those traveling with kids…the Trunki holds a ton of clothes, locks for safety, and best of all acts as a ride on toy for those long walks in the airport. My three year old sat on it while my 6 year old pulled her. It rocks!  ALSO – when staying at a hotel we all want to reuse our towel, but with them all being white, it’s hard to make sure you aren’t sharing cooties with your family. I’ve created Tag a Towels just for that purpose! You simply choose your tag color, clip it to your towel, then reuse your towel with confidence, not cooties!  I’m launching in July!  Everyone can sign up at to receive 10% off once we launch :)


Travel Tuesday: Relaxation or Bust!


Now that you have your road trip music (and your ripped abs), you  need to check into one of these 5 fully-loaded spa resorts across the USA. Each retreat from across the country has its own philosophies about health and wellness… and is definitely worth the drive. Grab your man or a girlfriend and pack the station wagon… it’s road trip time, relaxation or bust!

The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa

Reconnect with nature at the Spa at the Equinox in Manchester Village, VT as you are enveloped in products indigenous to the surrounding Vermont region and incorporated into a long menu of treatments. The spa captures the natural energy and healing atmosphere permeating the surrounding mountains, trees, and water flowing freely from the famed Equinox Springs.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

When you first enter Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, CA you are greeted by a wellness consultant to help create your personal program. Developed in coordination with international health and beauty experts, the tailored Beauty and Body program will provide the ultimate experience and help  restore your body to its natural balance.

Sundara Inn & Spa

At the resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI, enjoy the heated outdoor infinity edge pool, sculpted fireplace, waterfalls and curving deck connect seamlessly with the tranquil environment. The main building is representative of some of the most striking Organic-style architecture in the Midwest. Inside, the principles of Feng Shui contribute to a soothing environment. Plus, the spa treatments incorporate the finest organic products from around the world.

Bedford Springs Resort and Springs Eternal Spa

Springs Eternal Spa, in Bedford, PA is one of the few spas in the country utilizing natural spring water in all of its treatments. The spa’s treatments are inspired by the resort’s eight mineral springs, first used by the local Native Americans for their healing properties.

Boyne Mountain Resort and Solace Spa

The relaxed and luxurious surroundings at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, MI features soothing whirlpools, cedar saunas, purifying steam rooms, indoor  and outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness and training facilities, a Cafe, and a beautiful salon.

For more information on spa resorts you can road trip to visit: spaweek.com/spa-travel

Your Road Trip Music Mix (PLUS: Tone While You Jam)


School is winding down, the weather is getting nice and summer is almost upon us… and hopefully you’ve got a sunroof. While on your journey to relaxation (spa resort? music festival?) take a listen to these trippin’ favorites (thanks for your recommendations!). If you’re driving or sitting for more than a few miles, try these 5 road trip workouts below to keep your body as entertained as your ears. Whether it’s a Free Ride down Electric Avenue, you’re on the Highway To Hell, or you’ve got No Particular Place To Go… baby you were Born To Run

Now, the toning part:

Exercising while driving (or sitting) is all about isometrics. The isolation and contraction specific muscles helps to engage and strengthen them just like other traditional moves like push-ups or squats. Here are some fun exercises to try behind the wheel.  Just be careful and pay attention to your driving and traffic. There are not many health benefits to a fender bender. Missing work, maybe.

Abs: Sit up straight with your shoulders back.  Grip the wheel at 10 and 2. Where the seatbelt hits your waist will be the target for this exercise. Focus on this area and every time you pass a speed limit sign, squeeze for 10-15 seconds. As you let go, give a big breath out. This contraction is similar to that of a sit-up.

Biceps: Try some steering wheel curls. Grip the wheel with both hands near the base of the wheel with your wrists pointing towards the car ceiling. Pull up and toward you. When you feel the most tension, hold the squeeze for 15-20 seconds. Don’t pull too hard, as it is easy to damage the steering shaft this way. Just pull enough to flex your biceps and shoulders.

Kegels: Thanks to celebs like Oprah and Dr. Oz, the world knows what Kegel exercises are. Try these at the next red light. Do some rapid fire squeezes, (clench “down there” like you are stopping a pee stream). Try to contract and release as fast as possible before the light turns green. Plus, the giggling you will be doing knowing that all the other drives are clueless you’re working out your private parts will also burn lots of extra cals.

Chest and Shoulders: The next time you’re in traffic, grasp the wheel at 9 and 3 with your knuckles facing in like you are trying to read a watch both wrists. Now lean forward and pull out like you are trying to stretch the wheel. You will feel the tension in your upper arms, chest and shoulders. Burn baby, burn.

Another great move to try is having great posture. Constantly telling yourself to sit up straight is a great reminder that you have abs and need to use them in order to support your body. If you practice the art of slouching (like I do), then after about 10mins of driving in the upright position will feel like a work out. Your body will get used to sitting properly again, you just have to practice.

Spa Week Road Trip! Weekend Guide 4.18.10

Are you enjoying your full week of pampering? By now you should be refreshed and well-rested, ready to take on the next edition of our Spa Week Road Trip Weekend Guide presented by Cozy Wallet. But first, congratulations to Susan Carroll @grumpy1970 , the winner of the $100 Spa Week® Gift Card in our  I Feel Pretty giveaway! How pretty are you feeling now Susan? May you use it in the best of good health. Check out CozyWallet.com for some swank ways to save money. Here, they rounded up what’s happening this weekend in Spa Week cities around the country, so you can enjoy some fun events along with your final Spa Week indulgences.

1. New York – National Volunteer Week (April 18 – 24, 2010), Celebrating People in Action, is a call to action for Americans to volunteer, and a week to inspire by example. Created by executive order of President Richard Nixon in 1974, this week signaled a recommitment to creating a culture of service in America. Millions of Americans volunteer this week and demonstrate the positive community impact that engaged individuals, families, businesses and organizations create year-round. Join National Volunteer Week as they celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things to transform their communities!

Get involved in Hands on New York to give our city a good spring cleaning. Get New York City parks, gardens, and community spaces ready for summer by gardening, painting, weeding, and revitalizing these urban oases. Saturday, April 24th 2010 from 9:30am – 3pm, Hands On New York Day.

2. North Carolina – “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Stop by Community Yard and Craft Sale  Art Event in Durham, North Carolina to buy and sell secondhand and craft items in the site’s picnic area – April 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m – 2828 Duke Homestead Rd. Durham, NC 27705 (919) 477-5498 – ibiblio.org/dukehome

3. Philadelphia – Need something old to add to your something borrowed and blue? Or if you just enjoy the pleasure of antiquing… stop by The Philadelphia Antiques Show. Founded in 1962, is one of the longest running antiques shows in the country. 2010 marks the 49th anniversary and it continues to be internationally acclaimed as the premier American antiques and decorative arts show in the country. The Preview Gala kicks off the festivities and is scheduled for April 16, 2010. The Show itself will take place April 17 – 20, 2010 – Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at The Navy Yard, located at 5100 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, just past the city’s popular sports complex, The Philadelphia Antiques Show.

4. Pittsburgh – Enjoy a day with family and/or friends of fun, fresh air and easy exercise to help save lives and create awareness for colon and rectal cancer. (Walk or run for colon and rectal cancer awareness and research) Proceeds support theAllegheny General Hospital Center for Colon and Rectal Surgery in conducting research and educational activities that raise awareness and advance treatment for colon and rectal cancer. An event T-shirt will be given to each participating walker or runner. Starts @ 8am beginning at the pool parking lot and wind around the South Ridge of North Park. http://www.bigbluequest.com/events.htm

5. Nashville – Are you a movie buff craving some new material?? Stop by the Nashville Film Festival this weekend where you will find Over 240 feature films, documentaries, shorts, workshops, and panels. It will definitely be a unique film-going experience. April 15th – April 22nd 2010 http://www.nashvillefilmfestival.org/Home/tabid/106/Default.aspx

6. Austin – Bull Riding.. Tie-Down Roping.. Mutton’ Bustling.. This is an event not to be missed.. Longview is the place to be this weekend, when top professional cowboys and cowgirls perform in the non-stop action 20thannual PRCA Rodeo. April 16th – April 17th 2010 Longview Rodeo Longview, TX 75606-1166 http://www.longviewrodeo.com/