Imagine this. You're from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You're used to slightly overcast skies, relatively low humidity, pleasant temperatures for most of the year, a higher elevation, and farm to table dining is a regular staple in your daily life. You decide that you want to come to Florida to experience Disney World. As soon as you step foot on the ground in Orlando, you realize that you haven't adequately prepared yourself for the drastic change in temperature, the thick air, and the extremely bright sun. Talk about a shocker. And shoot, you didn't pack sunscreen, tank tops or a hat. Sound like something you might do? It's okay if it is, we've all been there while traveling. I tend to err on the side of being over prepared, but I've certainly had a trip or two where preparedness wasn't quite my strong suit. Because of this, I thought a post about how to be better prepared for travel from coast to coast would help you avoid some of the more common mistakes. This first piece of advice I have for you - ALWAYS CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST! I know that sounds like something we would all do... but sometimes we check the weather the week before, and forget to check it the day before. Or sometimes we check the weather but don't actually read the entire description. It is super important to know what you're flying into. A lot of places in the mid-west, for example, have extreme shifts in weather from the morning to the evening. A day that might start at 32 degrees could end at 72 degrees. And if you're only prepared for the 72 degree weather (because that is a heavenly temperature), you're going to be miserable! Once you've checked the weather, remember to pack LAYERS! This will help you prepare for any circumstances. If you are going somewhere that is known for rain, it never hurts to have some water resistant or waterproof gear (jacket and pants, perhaps even boots). I know these can take up a lot of room but in some locations (think Venice, Italy) these staples are necessary for a huge chunk of the year (even if you only need them for an hour each day). Ask a local. Call your hotel. Yep, pick up the phone! As them what weather is usually like during the time frame of your trip. Find out if they've experienced any anomalies in the weather lately that could alter your trip plans. Think snow in May or a heatwave in December, or unusual road closures due to weather or construction. Conventions or the like, that are happening at or around your destination. Things that might alter the normal circumstances. If you are planning to do certain activities while on your trip, such as snorkeling or hiking, research the types of rentals available in the area. Are you best suited to rent the items that you need for the excursion, or should/can you bring your own equipment? Going to Yellowstone? You'll need bear spray. But you can't bring that on a plane. Luckily you can rent it. Your hotel might even have some extra handy. You'll likely need a winter coat and waterproof boots too (Yep, even in July). Neither of which will be available to rent, but easily found at one of the many wilderness ready stores in the main areas of town. Call a park ranger, have them help prepare you to enjoy the great outdoors! Snorkeling in Aruba? Awesome! It's a popular tourist destination and all the equipment that you need is readily available for rent at a reasonable cost. Some of the hotels & resorts even have the equipment available for free. But remember that one size doesn't always fit all, so if you are particular about how things fit and have your own, bring it! Rent the right kind of car! I can easily help you determine what is best for both weather and terrain. For example, in NYC, you don't need a car. Maybe not in Aruba either. But you can't be without one in Chicago or California, and certainly not while visiting the mountains. And each location has vehicle types that may be better (compact car, mini-van, 4-wheel drive, etc). Check your bag. It's going to make packing for all-weather so much easier on you! My ALWAYS pack list includes an umbrella or poncho, first aid kit, sunscreen, lotion and antibacterial wipes or foam/spray. I would LOVE to hear about your experience traveling into different terrains and weather types. How did you prepare yourself? What would you do differently? Share it in the comments section!