Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s AfterGlo

Slimmed down summer travel

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

A large part of crawling out of winter hibernation and into the days of spring and summer involves the excitement of exploring new places. Whether you are off to your favorite amusement park or indulging in a tropical vacation, chances are likely the warmer days ahead will involve some bit of travel.

And while I typically reserve this space for talk about all things health-related, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a gal – or guy – also wants to look good, right? Well, because it’s tough to look like a total Betty when working to juggle a multiple suitcases, here are a few of my favorite tips for more efficient summer travel.

Consider slimmed-down essentials

Sure, you need shampoo, makeup, hair gel and other personal care items, but smaller versions of your favorites are necessary to keep excess baggage at a minimum. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to swap looking fab for practical options. Choose products that do double duty (i.e., great for travel and keep you looking like a stunner), like Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($5 and up, Spritz it on to keep oily hair at bay and perk up limp locks. Guys and gals will also love easy refillable liquid travel bottles, like GoToob squeezable travel tubes ($15,

Don’t forget your sunscreen

If you’ve ever opened your suitcase to find your sunscreen made friends with your shoes, blouse and belt, then you know that not only are these SPF bottles often bulky, they can be messy. Choose body wipes that contain sunblock, like Tocca SPF 30+ sunscreen towelettes ($24, With the blood-orange-scented wipes, all you have to do is wipe and go.

Pack your mainstays

Compact personal care items, like facial blotting papers, tweezers or your tried-and-true mascara, can always easily find a home in your travel bags. I also love to score samples of my favorite lotions and face creams at department stores or beauty meccas, like Sephora, and stash them away until it comes time to travel. Mini perfumes, lipsticks and hair products take up minimal room in a suitcase.

Keep it simple, gorgeous

Put outfits together ahead of time to minimize excess clothing in your suitcase. Ladies, depending on the reason for travel, a good rule of thumb is to pack: 

• One dress (decide on casual or cocktail)

• One skirt with a matching blouse

• Two pairs of pants – one black pair and one pair of jeans

• Two cardigans or light sweaters

• Two simple, casual shirts

• Three camisole tanks

• Hosiery (if necessary)

• One pair each of socks and underwear for each day (plus one extra set)

• A long-sleeve shirt

• Two bras (one strapless if necessary)

• Exercise outfits for days you will be active

• Sneakers

• One pair of flats

• One pair of heels

Choose one evening bag that goes with all outfits, and carry on your everyday handbag. If you are wearing a jacket, then consider wearing it on the plane and removing it if necessary. You’ll save suitcase room, and half the time planes are so darn chilly anyway!

And, guys, I’m not forgetting about you: Men should consider picking a primary color that will dominate the rest of their wardrobe decisions. Choose a neutral color palette, like gray, navy and tan that can be paired with multiple clothing options, making it easy to transition from daytime wear to dinner attire. Layers, like a light sweater over a T-shirt, are also key for minimizing the amount of items that are packed. 

Of course, another rule of thumb I always keep in mind when traveling is to come prepared with snacks. I never rely on airport food to be readily available – plus, it’s so pricey – so I always pack pre-cut veggies and fruit, homemade trail mix and food bars in case I get hungry en route.

Cinnamon and Sugar Kettle Corn

Gluten-free and vegan

Makes 3-4 cups


1/3 cup safflower oil

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

sea salt, as desired

cinnamon, as desired


(1) Heat the safflower oil in a large pot over medium heat.

(2) Once the oil is hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover, and every 30 seconds to 1 minute shake the pot to keep the sugar from burning –  be sure protect your hands.

(3) When the popping has slowed down to about once every 2 seconds, remove the pot from the heat, while continuing to shake until the popping has stopped.

(4) Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt and cinnamon.

(5) Let the popcorn cool, stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping.

Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at

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