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Lindsay Carreiro, a globetrotting teacher who blogs about her adventures on Traveling Linds, is our guest blogger today. Below, she shares her top five travel-size products.alba green tea moisturizer

When the TSA put into effect that liquid travel items must be no larger than 3.4 ounces, I imagine this caused quite a run on travel-size products. For many years I have tried coming up with new ways to get my travel products through security without inhibiting what I can pack. It can often be frustrating for travelers, especially women travelers who like to bring certain items along on vacation. Buying travel-size items in your local drug store seems fun, and they sure are cute, but really, how many of us are actually using the shampoo and conditioner they are marketing in travel size? After many years of shopping around, I have finally found some of the best products that are travel friendly and do not scrimp on product. These products were used by me and also my boyfriend on a recent trip to Alaska. I would argue that these products would fit perfectly into any vacation you are planning.

1. Alba Botanica Aloe & Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer (3-Ounce Bottle)
This moisturizer is hands down the best moisturizer I have ever used. It is light and non-greasy. It doesn’t feel like you are wearing a mask on your face. The aloe is really soothing and came in handy when my boyfriend became slightly sunburned on his face.

2. Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment (.75-Ounce Bottle)
I swear by this stuff whenever I am traveling. This is a perfect travel-size product for those rather annoying pimples that pop up at the worst time. It does exactly what the commercials say it does: reduces pimple size in four hours — very true! While in Alaska this was used several times by me and my boyfriend. The liquid goes on clear so you can treat pimples without anyone noticing.

3. Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel (1.5-Ounce Bottle)
This chafing relief powder reduces chafing from many areas on your body: inner thighs, bikini area and also your heels of your feet. This is made by Monistat — but don’t let the brand confuse you. Men all over are trying this out because it really does work. I used it a lot when wearing skirts and dresses, and my boyfriend put it on his feet to prevent blisters. Having blisters on a 10-day cruise to Alaska can really spoil the mood.

4. Bausch and Lomb Advanced Eye Relief (1-Ounce Bottle)
Airplane dry eyes: We all get it, and every time it happens we say “should have packed eye drops!” This product not only targets dry eyes, but it also targets redness too. If you are an allergy sufferer like me, then itchy, watery eyes are the worst. I really recommend using this — it works just as well as prescription eye drops.

5. Sunbug Handsfree Sunscreen & Insect Repellent, SPF 30 (2-Ounce Bottle)
If you are like me and bugs such as mosquitoes just seem to be drawn to you, then this stuff will work great. With an SPF 30, it will keep the harmful sun rays away from you, but it also works into the night to create a bug barrier. It has a convenient attachment right to your backpack or purse so you can keep it handy. This sunscreen and insect repellent is hypo-allergenic, oil-free and sweat-proof. It was the perfect combination for a long trip. Plus, it saves suitcase space!

Of course, there are many products out there that work great for traveling, so the choice is ultimately yours. I have found each and every one of these products to work great. It is nice to know that wherever I am traveling, I know at least five products I am definitely taking with me. Trying to pack light is always on everyone’s to-do list, and if you can eliminate taking too many products and just get it down to the necessities you will be better off.

–by Lindsay Carreiro, Editor of Traveling Linds

What are your favorite travel-size products?

tiger cubWe’ve seen some strange things in people’s suitcases, but this just might take the cake: Last week, a Thai woman was arrested for packing a baby tiger cub in her checked luggage.

According to ABC News, the woman was attempting to smuggle the cub (which had been drugged and “hidden” among a bunch of stuffed tigers inside her suitcase) into Iran, where it could have been sold for a tidy profit on the black market. The cub has been rescued and sent to a wildlife conservation center, while the woman is looking at a hefty fine and up to four years in jail.

Although we hope that none of our readers are intentionally smuggling exotic creatures when they travel, it turns out that several of you have had some inadvertent animal encounters when packing — check out our Top 10 Packing Disaster Stories for the surprising true stories. (Wildlife involved: iguanas, kittens, ducks…)

And animals aren’t necessarily the strangest things to make it into your suitcases. Our readers regularly write in to ask whether they’re allowed to bring certain out-of-the-ordinary items onto a plane. A partial list:

– A hand-held taser (um, NO)
– A license plate
– Sea kelp
– A blender (for making margaritas in flight?)
– 10 pounds of scrapple
– A device for shaving back hair (we are not making this up!)

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever packed?

hurricane caribbean Hurricane Earl is currently barreling toward the East Coast — just in time to derail the Labor Day weekend plans of travelers heading to the region. For those of you wondering whether the storm will affect your upcoming vacation, we’ve answered five key questions about Earl.

1. What is Hurricane Earl?
Hurricane Earl is a powerful storm that caused damage on several islands as it tore through the Eastern Caribbean earlier this week. It’s now moving toward the East Coast of the U.S. Evacuations have been ordered for North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island, and more evacuations along the East Coast could follow within the next few days. The coasts of North Carolina and Virginia are on high alert.

2. Will Hurricane Earl affect my Labor Day travel plans?
The National Hurricane Center reports that the outer bands of Earl could reach the North Carolina coast by Friday morning before the storm heads to the New England coast as early as Saturday morning. Although Earl is expected to stay offshore, it still might cause a ruckus for vacationers along the Atlantic. According to the New York Times, “Forecasters said that even if it fails to hit the Atlantic coast directly, the storm could still cause trouble up and down the Eastern Seaboard, generating large waves and hazardous riptides that prompt beach closures and force vacationers to stay away from the ocean during the final week of summer vacation.” Expect lots of rain, strong winds, rough waves and dangerous riptides on East Coast beaches this weekend.

3. Will Hurricane Earl affect my upcoming cruise?
Our sister site, Cruise Critic, has reported numerous cruise itinerary changes for ships sailing in the Caribbean and along the East Coast. Cruise lines that have announced altered itineraries include Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and NCL. Get the full list of affected cruises in Cruise Critic’s Hurricane Zone.

4. Will Hurricane Earl cause flight delays?
Although it’s still too early to predict exactly how bad the weather will get on the Eastern Seaboard in the next few days, it is possible that Earl may cause some flight delays in the region, including at airports around New York City and in New England.

5. What should I do to prepare?
If you are traveling to coastal areas between North Carolina and Maine, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather. Many local tourism Web sites, like visitnc.com, post weather advisories for travelers coming to the area when there’s something significant like a hurricane happening — so you’ll want to periodically check the site for your destination to see if an advisory is posted. You can also monitor the progress of Earl and check storm warnings on the National Hurricane Center Web site.

Flying this weekend? Get tips for dealing with delayed flights in Airport Delays: Six Ways to Cope. Airline Web sites and call centers are not always the best sources of information for travelers looking to see if their flights are delayed (the airlines are slow to release this information). Instead, try FlightStats.com, which has an excellent Flight Tracker tool.

If you’ve already purchased travel insurance, read the fine print to see whether you will be covered if your flight is delayed or you have other issues getting to your destination. However, if you haven’t purchased travel insurance already, don’t bother doing so at the last minute. You won’t be covered now that the storm has formed. Read more about travel insurance here.

If you decide to change your plans to avoid traveling this weekend, check with your airline to see whether you may do so without penalty. For instance, both AirTran and Continental are currently waiving change fees for travelers flying to, from or through airports that may be affected by Earl.

Are you concerned that Earl will affect your Labor Day travel plans? Tell us about it!