Travel “mind map” helps you pack

Have you ever arrived at the airport only to kick yourself for forgetting something? Maybe it was your digital camera battery that you left in the charger or that swimsuit you put next to your bed and then forgot to put in your suitcase. Didn’t that suck? If you’re a geeky, obsessive-compulsive like me, you avoid this hassle by making yourself a packing list. I find that creating a checklist of essential items helps me stay organized much better than if I leave it up scatterbrained chance (and prevents me from descending into a panic).

But as good as it is to have a packing list, it might be even better to have a mind map. What is a mind map, you might ask? It’s a more visual way of organizing information around a central, common theme – in this case “travel.” For example, think about the items you might pack as falling into categories. Perhaps one would be your “beach wear,” including your sunglasses, your swimsuit, your towel and your suntan lotion. In a separate category would be important “travel documents” like your passport, your plane tickets and your baggage claim check.

Writer Paul Foreman has taken this mind map concept to the next level, crafting a packing-themed mind map on display above. You can see the full-sized version on his website. Is it kind of dorky? Yeah, probably. But you know what? Not only is it pretty cool-looking, I think it’s a novel way to organize yourself before that next trip. And besides, maybe next time you won’t forget that swimsuit…

Where to go in the middle of the night

2itchIt’s 2am. You’re in the middle of nowhere. You’re up. What do you do?

Cleverly named will tell you what’s open 24 hours anywhere in the US and a few places beyond! You just enter in your location and they tell you what’s open. This is ideal for road trips, business trips, and visiting friends or family who go to bed early.

They currently have over 4,000 locations (including a random 400+ in Phoenix), and a ton are user-submitted, so if you want your town to rock at 4am, send in the right places for people to go!

You can even hook up 2itch to your mobile phone. Visit the website to see. Thanks to reader Tony R. for the tip!

A way easier soap for traveling

Anti-Bacterial Paper SoapWhen I first saw the Anti-Bacterial Paper Soap (right) at Flight 001 in Brooklyn (58 Fifth Avenue, 718-789-1001), I thought it was gonna be a little slip of paper that somehow dissolved in my hand, like a cross between Purell and those paper mints people eat. I was wrong.

The paper soap does indeed require water. But I still like it. You take a slip of the paper between your hands, stick your hands in running water, and as you rub, it becomes soap-like and actually very pleasant smelling (the fragrance I have here is mint and eucalyptus) — and it’s just the right amount. It works better in warm water. ‘Cause, you know, science.

Paper soap, folks.Do you need it if you’re going to a fancy hotel with tons of soap in the shape of like, seashells and stuff? No. But think about taking it with you to the amusement park or to the restaurant where you know they’ll be out of soap. Also, if you’re backpacking, staying in hostels, or going anywhere without the usual modern conveniences, packing these is a lot easier than dealing with a wet bar of soap. A lot.

$6.00 for 30 sheets. Not bad! Thanks to Quynhster, who helped me at Flight 001.

For more small paper toiletries (it’s a whole market, people), click here and read Scott’s reviews!

Take off that swimming suit in Grenada

Indecency.The Caribbean island of Grenada has banned bathing suits! Unfortunately, they don’t want to see your bits and pieces; they want you to put on something else.

Wearing your g-string at the beach is still okay, but walk around inland with just your bikini top on? You could be slapped with a $270 Indecent Exposure fine. No shirt, no shoes, no Grenada.

It’s fair enough, we suppose, considering that walking around in your swimming suit is akin to walking around in your underwear — and they don’t like that, either, the law also applies to low-slung gangsta pants.

Recently, a group of tourists who were at a Grenada fort in beachwear were sent back to their cruise ship to change. This ain’t no St. Tropez!

[via The New Zealand Herald]

Look good in your swimming suit photos

It’s happened to all of us. You’re lounging at the beach or by the pool, feeling all warm and glamorous. You want to remember that feeling forever, so you have a picture taken. Then, you look at the picture and realize you hate yourself.

Carson Kressley, who I had the privilege of interviewing over on StyleList, has put together the above video to help you look good in your swimming suit photos. No more “Oh my God, you have to delete that” out of you!

Even a size 2 can look fat in their bathing suit. Remember the Jennifer Love Hewitt scandal? The video includes tips such as:

  • Use a prop, like a beach ball, to hide problem areas.
  • How to do the Hollywood leg pose (for ladies).
  • Men, twist your torso.
  • Don’t be looking into the sun, you’ll squint.

See more of Nikon’s Look Good in Pictures series with Carson Kressley here at