All the Tanzania safari tips we wish we knew before we left

We took a three-week Tanzania safari trip for our honeymoon. We did all the research, and perused every safari packing list, and yet we still found ourselves in the middle of the Serengeti wishing we had brought a few things.

So here are all the Tanzania safari tips we either were glad to have known or we wished someone had told us… Continue reading “All the Tanzania safari tips we wish we knew before we left”

Pack for a Purpose: How to use your vacation to bring needed supplies to local communities

My favorite part of packing for our honeymoon safari in Tanzania were the toys and school supplies for Pack for a Purpose.

When we were planning our honeymoon safari, Courtney — the fantastic African Travel Resource agent who booked our trip for us — let us know about a charitable program called Pack for a Purpose. It’s a program that encourages travelers to Africa (and so many other destinations!) to bring much-needed school supplies with them.

We were really lucky to be able to do this for several reasons: One of our places to stay was Gibb’s Farm, and they’re one of the places that works with Pack for a Purpose. Plus it was our second stop on our trip. Which meant we wouldn’t be taking many vehicles that would force us to have weight limits on our bags. So unlike (perhaps) most people, we didn’t have skimp on the number of items we could bring based on weight.

Our bag on the way to Gibb’s Farm.

Gibb’s Farm provides a long list of the things that their nearby school needs, but I was getting overwhelmed with choices. So Mike suggested that I email them and ask if they know the top items the school REALLY needed. They got back to me and said, “We spoke with the teacher and they suggested pens and pencils, rubbers, sharpeners and a few netballs if you have space. Whatever you can manage to bring will be most appreciated by the school and the children.” So that’s what they got, plus some other items that our friends donated as well.

5 Easy Steps to using Pack for a Purpose

  1. Select your destination.
  2. Find an accommodation or tour company and a project it supports.
  3. Choose the supplies you wish to take from the specific items requested.
  4. Drop off the supplies at the accommodation or tour company.
  5. They will be delivered to the project; it’s that easy!

So if you’re heading to Africa, the Caribbean, Central or South America, Southeast Asia, or any of these places for your next trip, you should definitely add a little charitable action to your plans, and pack for a purpose!

How to stop tstetse flies from biting you

How to avoid tsetse flies - @thedashanddine
How many tstetse fly bites can you spot in this photo?

I just got back from a three-week safari trip in Tanzania. Everything was awesome, except for the dreaded tsetse flies. If you’ve googled how to avoid them and ended up here, you’ve probably already found out that they’re the large biting flies in Africa that hurt and can transmit disease and DEET does nothing to dissuade them. But you probably haven’t found any information on how to avoid them.

After a lot of painful trial and error, I finally found the trick that no one else mentioned on the interwebs… Continue reading “How to stop tstetse flies from biting you”

How I completed my Machu Picchu packing list almost entirely from one site

Athleta h2t.

For our first “married Christmas” we spent the holidays hiking our way to Machu Picchu. We started on Christmas day, and got to Machu Picchu on New Years Eve. It was amazing.

What I was NOT stoked about was having to shop (which I hate!) for clothes for something I had zero experience with (hiking trip through Peru during the Wet Season?).

Luckily I had three things on my side…

  1.  Mike’s already gone once to Machu Picchu in winter, so it’s nice that he has some ideas of what we were in for.
  2. A handy Machu Picchu packing list supplied by the company we used.
  3. My Athleta obsession.

Yup, I decided to manage my shopping anxiety by just sticking to one site, and in the end, I felt pretty great about it.

Clothes from my Machu Picchu packing list:

Since I am of the female varietal, and obsessed with athleisure wear, I took this packing list as an excuse to purchase a lot of things from Athleta. Check out my finds…

Broken-in hiking boots AND waterproof boots

Merrell Women’s Sugarbush Refresh Waterproof Hiking Boot

As “sneakers are not suitable” I had to buy actual hiking boots, and since they also put “waterproof boots” on the list, I thought I’d combine the two. Athleta used to have these shoes listed on their site, but I guess they sold out. (You can see them in a lot of their photoshoots.) Amazon has them though, and they’re awesome!

KEEN Women’s Oakridge Mid Waterproof Boot

Although they didn’t fit me all that well, so I ended up getting these instead and they were more comfortable, but not as waterproof as I wanted.

Rain jacket

Okay, here’s where I was already prepared and strayed from Athleta: I have a waterproof jacket from Marmot already — It’s super thin, lightweight, and packable, and saved me during many a light rain.

Rain pants AND Lightweight hiking pants (recommended)

Wander Utility Pant

But I didn’t have waterproof pants! So I decided to once again combine two list items into one: The Wander Utility Pant. According to Athleta these pants do all this:

  • ABRASION-RESISTANT. Resists nicks, tears and scrapes from errant branches and scrambling over rocks.
  • WATER-RESISTANT. Sleek outer fabric wards off unexpected light rain
  • PACKABLE. Packs down small in your bag (and comes out smooth as can be)

It did, indeed do all those things. Although, a couple of times during heavier rains and muddy treks, I broke out more industrial kind of rain pant.

Fast-wicking and quick to dry top and bottom base layers

My favorite purchases by far have been these fast-wicking base layers:

The Speedlight Heather Top.

I absolutely lived in this shirt because it’s:

  • UNSTINKABLE. Odor-controlling yarns.
  • SEAMLESS. Beyond-soft, chafe-free fabric stretches with your every move
  • WICKING. Pulls sweat away from the body so it can evaporate faster
  • BREATHABLE. Sweat can travel through the fabric so it can evaporate on the surface
  • IT FEELS: Lightweight, unbelievably comfortable
  • RATED UPF 50+ (Excellent Protection)
Pacifica UPF Top 2

I snagged this one on sale, and it’s also:

  • UNSTINKABLE. Wear it more. Wash it less.
    Natural silver salts give the fabric antimicrobial protection that lasts wash after wash
  • WICKING. Pulls sweat away from the body so it can evaporate faster
  • BREATHABLE. Sweat can travel through the fabric so it can evaporate on the surface
  • IT FEELS: Lightweight, super sleek, stretchy
  • RATED UPF 50+ (Excellent Protection)
The Power Up long sleeve in Abyss

Here’s a less tight wicking layer, the Power Up Long Sleeve (in my favorite color of theirs: Abyss) was good for warmer days. It is also:

  • UNSTINKABLE. Odor-controlling technology
  • Natural silver salts give the fabric antimicrobial protection that lasts wash after wash
  • WICKING. Pulls sweat away from the body so it can evaporate faster
  • BREATHABLE. Sweat can travel through the fabric so it can evaporate on the surface
  • IT FEELS: lightweight, ultra-sleek
  • RATED UPF 50+ (Excellent Protection)

Long-sleeve fleece/sweater

Funnel Fleece sweater

As a Los Angeleno I don’t have many fleece things, so I was stoked to buy this perfect cozy fleece sweater at Athleta! It was only ever used for hanging out during the cold nights. And I swear, I wore this sweater EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

I got this Heat Generating Flannel in black and white. SO COZY!

I literally forgot to bring this with me, and I was bummed about it. There were many times when I didn’t want a puffy jacket, and just needed a thin flannel layer. This would have been awesome.

Cold-weather jacket

The Summit Parka. (And look, there are those shoes I got, but in brown!)

I love this jacket because it’s super-warm but also lightweight, and it’s water-repellant. But the fur hood makes me happy. Although, I didn’t actually bring it on the trek — I mostly just wore it in Cusco.

Instead when I needed even more warmth I threw on this:

Puffy vest

Responsible Down Vest

I wore this puffy vest just about every single day. It was probably my most important layer because it was super light, packs away really small, and it was water resistant.

Day pack

The Everyday Convertible Backpack

The Everyday Convertible Handbag had me at this review:

“I bought this backpack for a trip to Peru. I needed a nice travel purse as well as a backpack. This worked great for both, and saved me so much room. It held everything I needed, and was so comfortable…..even hiking Machu Picchu!”

Although it looks like that’s discontinued and this is the new model that’s two bags in one!

Made it to Machu Picchu wearing all my Athleta gear.


 Comfortable shoes/flip-flops — I rarely wore mine, except for running too and from a jacuzzi.
 Woolen hat — I wore mine a lot
 Baseball cap or sombrero — I wore mine not at all
 Buff or bandana
 Binoculars
 Headlamp
 Sunglasses
 Comfortable hiking socks (at least 4 pairs) — I ended up having to wear two at a time.
 Sunscreen
 Insect repellant
 Bathing suit
 Gloves — make sure they are waterproof. Cold wet fingers hurt.
 Photo/video cameras and chargers
 Trekking poles
Refillable water bottle

Other things to bring to Machu Picchu

Diamox for altitude sickness
Printed Flight Itineraries
World adapter
First aid kit

If anyone else has been to Machu Picchu, we’d love to hear from you — what were your favorite Machu Picchu packing list items?

How I packed for my weekend trip with one carry on

Flew from Atlanta to Sacramento for the weekend and all I brought was this kitty backpack and a purse!

I never feel more badass than when I board a plane with only a carry-on, then get off and walk straight to the pickup curb. That’s right, I just used a plane as a freaking taxi, yo! And it’s because I’m pretty good at packing light.

My top tricks for packing light include:

  • A simple color palette (mine is always black and grey)
  • High-end athleisure wear (Athleta is my go-to for comfort and style)
  • Comfortable walking shoes that can also look dressy (I’ll get to that later)
  • Wearing the bulkiest items on the plane (coats, extra layers, bigger shoes, etc)

We just flew from Atlanta to Sacramento for the weekend, and I managed to pack everything I needed (including some of Mike’s clothes) into one backpack. Here’s what I packed for my trip with one carry on… Continue reading “How I packed for my weekend trip with one carry on”

#Morocstars: Tips for managing your “traveling women in Morocco” anxiety

OMG! I’m in Morocco and it’s awesome!

While Mike was producing Prison Break Season 5, we got the opportunity to go to Morocco, since they needed to use the desert town of Ouarzazate for their exterior “Yemen” scenes.) This meant we’d be “living” in Morocco for almost three weeks.

While I was excited as hell about traveling to Morocco, I was worried about a few things… I googled stuff obsessively: “Women in Morocco,” “what to wear in Morocco,” “American women in Morocco,” “living in the Berbere Palace,” and on and on and on… including brushing up on my travel safety tips and freaking myself out a little bit more.

But in short: Living in Morocco is a lot more chill than I expected to be.

To be more specific… Continue reading “#Morocstars: Tips for managing your “traveling women in Morocco” anxiety”

These noise canceling headphones are perfect for travel

I’ve never owned a pair of noise canceling headphones before. For years now, my parents have sworn by these guys for their many many many flights a year. They even offered to purchase a pair for me for MY many many many flights a year… but they’re just SO BULKY for a carry-on. So I’ve just been using my iPhone earbuds, and, like psssh noise canceling headphones whatever. I didn’t get the appeal.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

But I was gifted the Bose Noise Canceling Earbuds, and HOLY CRAP! I get it now… Continue reading “These noise canceling headphones are perfect for travel”

What to pack for Bogota with tips from someone who lives there

Clearly my color palette is of blacks and greys, feel free to wear more color than I do. BONUS: Most of these things can be either purchased from Amazon or Target.

We were heading for Colombia in December, and my huge question was: what to pack for Bogota? Fortunately, we have friends who’ve been living and working in Colombia for a couple years (shout out to Narcos!). So we reached out to them to get some tips on what to pack for Bogota in December. Although most of these tips will work for any time of year!

Here are the super-helpful tips from our friend and fabulous Colombian chica ShellyContinue reading “What to pack for Bogota with tips from someone who lives there”