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How the Right Products Changed the Way I Travel

I can't stress how much I love travel and seeing new places in the world. I haven't traveled as much as I've wanted, but I see a lot more of it in my future. Life is short, and there's a whole big planet to explore!

One part of travel no one loves, is worrying about what to bring, how much to pack, how much room to save for treasures you'll bring home, how you'll keep your important documents secure and the list goes on and on. Somehow between pre-pandemic, frequent work trips and traveling for pleasure, I've somewhat mastered my approach. Although, I haven't yet traveled anywhere that's too remote or rustic, I have figured out how to manage for most popular destinations.

Choosing the Right Suitcase

Full disclosure, I'm a carry-on traveler. In other words, I don't check a bag. Ever. Unless I'm forced to by the airline. I've taken a carry-on suitcase and a weekender bag on trips of a few days to almost a month. That usually includes 3 pairs of shoes and a handbag.

I've been through a few carry-ons but my current Away Bigger Carry-on in the colour Petal is a dream. I purchased the model with the integrated battery so I can charge all my devices on the go and I splurged on a custom, hand-painted monogram.

Custom Away bigger carry-on suitcase in petal pink

In the carry-on are some great features. One is the compression panel on the one side of the case. You can really pack in a lot and then clip down the side panel and pull the straps to compress your clothes. This feature really makes a difference. The exterior is incredibly durable and the spinner wheels make it easy to maneuver this case through the airport and down the narrow aisles of any airplane.

Packing Cubes

I consistently use packing cubes to organize my items in my case. I sort by undergarments, swimsuits and sleepwear in a smaller cube, and then pants and tops in another larger one. I have about 5 cubes, with one designed to hold two pairs of shoes, each in it's own compartment. These cubes then allow me to unpack in a flash and use the drawers of any bureau in a hotel room without worrying about cleanliness. I leave my items in the cube and pop it in the drawer. I use Heys cubes and have had them for several years. There are so many brands out there, but get a well-made set or you'll be replacing them pretty quickly. Mine aren't quite the same as these, but pretty close.

Heys packing cubes

Packing Toiletries

A couple years ago I also bought a large travel case from Sephora. It's a cube shape, that fully zips open and includes 3 removable zippered sections and an area to store make up brushes with a protective cover. I love it! It's a little large for my suitcase, but the level of organization it affords me is worth it.

Choosing the Right "Personal Item" to Accompany your Carry-On

Lastly is what I carry on as my personal item. It's a Herschel Strand duffel bag in black. It's canvas and extremely durable. It doesn't have a sleeve to slip over the handle of my suitcase, but I purchased an ingenious and inexpensive strap that slips right over the handle and keeps everything secure.

The Herschel Strand duffel bag is essentially a big open bag with no sections and this makes it perfect for me. I use whatever small purse I'm bringing as a space to section off my travel documents, wallet and any other items I want to zip up securely. I also keep any electronics or liquids I'll need to pull out at security in it for quick removal. I make sure whatever I'll need access to on the plane is also in this bag. A book, headphones, chargers, small make up bag with basic toiletries, like a toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen up after a long flight. I keep a small pouch for safety items like sanitizer and face masks, pain killers, some gum and lozenges. I always remember to throw in a sweater or a scarf in case I get chilly and make sure I'll be using it on the trip too, so it's not an extra item to bring.

I really do love my Herschel weekender bag. It's even perfect on it's own for shorter getaways.

The key to traveling light is to compartmentalize with durable zippered pouches for everything and make sure every item you're bringing will serve more than one purpose. Happy travels!

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