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The BEST Travel Essentials

The BEST Travel Essentials

After traveling consistently the past couple of years, I have discovered tried and true travel essentials that make packing and life easier. Because we fly standby, we only pack a carry-on and one personal item (even for two-week trip), so I have had to become savvy in the items I do bring with me.

Today I thought I would share my favorite travel essentials.



Briggs and Riley Expandable Spinner Carry-On

Micah just gifted me with this suitcase from Briggs and Riley, and I’m SO EXCITED to use it! We haven’t gone on a trip with it yet, but I’m especially pumped about the double-wheel feature.

 See how each corner has two wheels? That means no more getting stuck!

See how each corner has two wheels? That means no more getting stuck!

My previous carry-on was also a spinner, but it was sitting on just one wheel in each corner, so it was easy for one to get stuck, leaving me dragging it around (not fun and makes it way heavier). Also, look at that olive green Micah picked out! This was such an unexpected and special birthday surprise.

However, if you’re looking for a less expensive option (which if you travel a couple times a year or less, you really don’t need something like Briggs and Riley), then I suggest a Samsonite like this one. I have used a version similar to this the past two years, and it really has worked pretty well.

Vera Bradley Iconic Weekender Travel Bag

I have the older version of this, and it is my absolute favorite travel bag for a “personal item”. It has pockets on the outside for easy access to the things you need to grab quickly and a bunch of pockets on the inside for organization.

I love the short handles, which make it easier to pick up and maneuver, but there is also a long strap in case you want to put it over your shoulder or wear it as a crossbody.

It’s durable, and the black color is classic and doesn’t show stains (which always happens when traveling, no matter how careful you are).

Last, but certainly not least, the strap across the back so you can securely attach it to your carry-on is a MUST. It only took me a trip or two to realize this is a feature you can’t live without if you travel often (nothing worse than trying to run to a flight and your bags are falling all over the place).

Make sure to get this size and not the larger one because gate agents will make you check one of your bags. Also, I’ve noticed that the Vera Bradley Outlet has this exact same bag at a reduced price (and they often have sales). That would be a great place to snag it.


Packing Accessories

1. Travel Bottles

I have tried many different kinds, and these by far are the best I’ve come across. They don’t leak AT ALL (which is a miracle), and the silicone base makes it easier to squeeze out every last drop of lotion, shampoo, or conditioner (which can be crucial when you are on day 12 of your trip).

2. Cosmetic Containers

I use these for my various facial moisturizers, but they would also work great for foundation and any serums you want to take with you. Again, they have been leak-proof for me so far, which is magic.

3. Wash/Wear Travel Pouch

Perfect to keep your delicates separate. I bought this on a whim at JCrew Factory when Micah and I first started traveling, and it is easily my most used travel accessory.

4. Travel Jewelry Case

My best friend gave me one of these from Mark and Graham as a Christmas gift, and it’s amazing. While I can’t find the exact one she gave me, this one is similar. You want something small in size that will keep you from losing an earring.

5. Travel Pouch Set

My mother-in-law gifted me with a travel pouch set not too different from these, and they have been so useful! I love the varying sizes, and they are easy to use when you are packing lightly because you can divey them out wherever there is space in your bag. I used to use the Vera Bradley hanging travel organizer, and it was great once you got to your destination, but the organizer itself took up so much room. Transitioning to the pouches made way more sense for saving space, and I am still able to organize my toiletries. I use the smallest to corral charging cords and headphones.

So there you have it! When you have to pack lightly, it’s important to use organizers that help maximize what space you have, and these definitely do that for me. Perhaps one day I’ll share my secrets on how to pack with just a carry-on.

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