Mobile Passport: This is a new app that is available for entry back into several U.S. airports. Although I don’t think we would have had a super long wait through passport control after landing back in Dallas, we definitely breezed through rapidly using this app. You just set up your information (can put every member of the traveling party on one phone), take pictures of the passports. Then, when you land and are taxi-ing on the runway, you just open the app, choose your port of entry, answer the customs questions, and it gives you a barcode for each person that you scan at the passport control station. Easy and free.
Google Maps: Definitely a must for direction-challenged people like me.
Google Drive: Not really an app, but I found it useful to upload our itinerary and copies of our passports, credit cards, and other documents just in case things had gotten stolen.
Accommodations: We stayed mostly in Airbnb’s, my first time doing so. We made this choice mostly for cost, since they appeared to be much less expensive than hotels. But I really enjoyed how unique each place was. I also appreciated having kitchens and washing machines. Here are the links:
I thoroughly read the reviews for each location before booking, and also made sure each listed the amenities we wanted (e.g., WiFi, hair dryer, washer).
Packing: I give myself a solid B+ on packing. We used carry-on size only, 22-inch roller bags, so I kept it pretty light. Not including what I wore on the plane, my bag weighed 19 pounds! However, I ended up never again wearing what I wore on the plane - I brought a light jacket, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and booties, “just in case it gets cold.” I was kicking myself, because it did not get cold and I just carried them around the entire time, so the real weight of my bag was more than 20 pounds. I almost mailed them back to myself while in Cordoba. I made sure every place we stayed had a washer, and we did laundry twice during the stay. All the Airbnb locations had drying racks, so I did not even use the clothesline I brought. Clothes dried so quickly on the racks in the outside dry air.
What went well with packing:
My walking sandals! I splurged on a good pair of shoes from The Walking Company: ABEO Fantine, https://www.thewalkingcompany.com/abeo-fantine-neutral-gold/34173. They were so comfortable and I wore them every day.
Packing cubes. I don’t travel much, so these were new to me and such a great idea. While they don’t save room, they keep everything organized and in place. We each used one large, one medium, and one small, of these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XLSZWE2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Making room for some creature comforts: I bought some travel slippers and a travel size flat iron for my hair. I think if you are used to wearing/using something everyday at home, it helps making room for it during a trip.
Travel size spray bottle of Febreeze - good for keeping clothes fresh-ish for multiple uses.
Extra ziplock bags - didn’t take up hardly any space and just came in handy for various uses.