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9 Travel Essentials for a Working Mom

Life has become quite hectic and exciting in the last couple of years of my life as an entrepreneur, professional blogger and now an author. I’ve had to not only learn how to manage and attempt, just attempt, to balance my professional life and my personal life to lead a life with some semblance of normalcy, but I’ve also had to adapt to the necessary travel that is happening a lot more often than ever before.

This means that I’ve gradually had to learn tips and tricks on how to make my traveling life more comfortable, less chaotic and even productive. I used to completely over pack or underpack; I would always forget to carry at least one of the essential cords for my many gadgets; I would run myself on empty or eat too much junk food in a hurry at any given airport. Now, I’ve learned from my mistakes and have developed an almost fool-proof plan to make my constant travel more organized and less stressful by investing in these nine travel essentials.

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  • The essential carry-on bag. 1 of 9
    The essential carry-on bag.
    I've started to master the art of packing only a carry-on. For this to happen and not be under-packed, it's important that you get organized and make a list of the activities and how many outfits you will need. If possible, choose mostly dresses because they are so easy to pack and a good pair of jeans (more on the perfect pair of jeans to travel with below). Traveling only with a carry-on bag will save you a good 30 minutes in the airport each way waiting for your bag to appear, and it guarantees your suitcase doesn't get lost because it's always with you.

    Tumi Voyageur Carry-On, $148 at Neiman Marcus

  • The perfect pair of jeans 2 of 9
    The perfect pair of jeans
    I love to travel with jeans for many reasons. First of all, the right pair of jeans are perfect for a plane ride -- they keep you warm, are easy to clean after any spill ups, and, well, you always look good in them. The perfect pair of jeans you wear on the plane can also be used during your trip (if you avoided any spills or stains, that is!), thus saving you packing space (see slide #1), and can easily be dressed up or down with the right tops, shoes and accessories.

    I've happened to found that perfect pair of jeans in my Levi's Mid-Rise Skinny jeans in Night Fall Wash color, available at Macys.com
  • Extra juice 3 of 9
    Extra juice
    My gadgets and I suck up juice like crazy, especially when I travel. Plus, there's nothing worse than getting stuck in an airport for hours and run out of battery on your phone or tablet. There are many options for powering up on-the-go, but I love this light Mophie juice pack powerstation duo because it's easy to carry around and good for two USB devices.

    Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo, $99.95 at Mophie.com
  • A light and comfy layering cardigan 4 of 9
    A light and comfy layering cardigan
    I detest feeling unexpectedly cold. Don't you? I always pack a light cardigan in a neutral color that I can throw in my handbag and have ready in case the plane cabin gets too cold. Even in obvious cold weather, you don't wear your heavy jacket with you on the flight, so it's good to have a lighter sweater handy for in-flight.

    Mossimo Women's Layering Cardigan at Target.com
  • A good pair of sassy headsets 5 of 9
    A good pair of sassy headsets
    When I'm too tired to be productive on a flight, all I want to do is space out with a good movie or show. For that, I carry a pair of headsets that block off the outside noise and also make me look sassy.

    Sol Republic Headphones, $129.00 at Best Buy
  • Wi-Fi. My need/want to be connected is insane 6 of 9
    Wi-Fi. My need/want to be connected is insane
    Not all airports have free wi-fi, so the cost of paying for internet at the airport, during the flight (if available) and at hotels really adds up. I've found it much more affordable, and reliable, to either pay the service to tether my phone as a mobile hotspot, or to carry something like Sprint's Overdrive.

    Sprint Sierra Wireless Overdrive 3G 4G Mobile Hotspot, $54.99 at Amazon.com
  • A comfy neck pillow 7 of 9
    A comfy neck pillow
    Sounds basic to carry a pillow, but for the longest time I would refuse to because I just didn't want to be lugging around something else. But, truth be told, a good pillow is a must if you travel a lot because it's really the only way to get some decent sleep during a flight.

    Brookstone BioSense Neck Travel Pillow, $29.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • All-in-one makeup kits 8 of 9
    All-in-one makeup kits
    A huge chunk of my carry-on is taken up by cosmetics and hair essentials. I've found that many cosmetic lines carry compact cases with the basic makeup needs like blush, eyeshadow, liner, lip-gloss and mascara. Invest in one with neutral shades you feel good in and keep it in your carry-on all the time so you don't even need to worry about unpacking it when you get home.

    e.l.f. Medium Makeup Collection, $30.00 at Target.com
  • Nice flats, just flats 9 of 9
    Nice flats, just flats
    I've learned the hard way that there's really no need to wear any sorts of heels or even sandals when you're traveling. Have you ever been late to catch a flight only to find out your gate is the very last one? Yeah, it's happened to me many times, and, trust me, you don't want to run that in heels or sandals. Plus, I hate it when my feet get cold in the plane, so I avoid sandals. Instead, I go for cute and easy flats or trendy sneakers that are easy to slip on and off at the security check points.

    Patent Ballerinas, $79.90 at Zara.com

What is your must-have travel essential?

A big thanks to Levi’s for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion. 

******

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Buy the book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.

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