Over the last few years with 9 international trips, I've made a number of mistakes. Today I want to share with you some things I've learned (the hard way!) and tricks to keep your bags organized and as lightweight as possible for a long haul trip.
HERE WE GO!
For my first couple of international trips, I borrowed a bag from my mother-in-law, but when we booked the next trip, I decided to be a big girl and get my own bag. I didn't think luggage quality was too important until I was dragging my $30 bag through Italy for 5 days because a wheel broke. I can't even explain how angry I was. Italy has a lot of cobblestone! I now feel really bad for my husband who had to endure it. Oh, and cherry on the top, American Airlines ripped a giant hole in it.
After Italy, I purchased a Tumi Extended Trip Packing Case. It was certainly pricey but as much as we travel, it was necessary and it's still going strong. There are other great options, though.
The best type of luggage is dependent on how often you travel and how far, but I recommend buying a quality brand with a hardshell. Away Luggage is solid and the large bags come with a hidden laundry bag. Another hardshell brand I love is Calpak Travel. If you're looking for a fun design, color, or print, this is the bag for you and they are affordable.
Packing the right amount of clothes for a long trip can be challenging, so when in doubt, overpack! I've had to purchase a sweater on vacation one too many times. These next few handy dandy items are essentials in my bag.
Travel packing cubes not only look good but are functional! These are my favorite because they're pink and collapsable so you can squeeze even more into the bag. I think the best way to use them is for shoes. I'm not a germaphobe but it does keep the germs zipped up and separate from everything else. I also love the laundry pouches. In the past, I've brought plastic grocery bags but these are way cuter and greener.
I don't travel long distances without space saving bags because I ALWAYS end up buying stuff and needing more space. These are my favorite bags because no vacuum or pump is needed. Simply add your clothes, seal the bag, then roll the bag to push the air out of the bottom. These bags have saved me from leaving clothes behind!
Chances are, you've seen something like the beauty case below. The reason I included it is because a) it's beautifully blush and b) it's SO functional. The pouches are removable and hold everything you could possibly need for a long trip. This blush case is actually a little bigger than I like to carry but if you need the space, this is the one for you. I prefer the smaller size.
Since I don't travel with full size bottles, I use this awesome set of travel bottles. It has a hairspray bottle (I'm very particular about hairspray) and day & night face cream containers which I love. Plus, the bottles are BPA free and TSA approved in case you want to carry them on.
If you've ever traveled with a hat, you know how much of a pain it can be. You either have to cram it in your suitcase or wear it on. It ends up on the dirty plane floor or crushed in your luggage. This foldable hat solves this problem!
When traveling long distances, I don't bring a carry-on bag and I keep my personal item as small as possible. I once ran through Schiphol carrying a duffle bag and vowed I would never do it again. Here's how I keep it lightweight but with everything I need for an overnight flight.
First, find a small, lightweight bag. I love this GAP messenger bag because it doubles as a backpack and it has two pockets on the inside.
WHAT'S IN MY BAG
I bring a small pouch with face wipes, a toothbrush & toothpaste, touchup makeup (base/powder, concealer, lip balm), contact case, bandaids and melatonin. I don't take off my eyeliner and mascara but I do wipe off my base and powder then reapply in the morning.
A good sleep mask will do wonders for catching shut eye on an overnight flight. The Bucky 40 Blinks Sleep Mask is my absolute favorite because it doesn't press on my eyelashes. Ladies with long lashes (real or fake!) know what I'm talking about. Mine is in the Peach Mimosa color.
I don't travel with my normal wallet. I bring a thin credit card wallet instead that can fit into my pocket, if necessary. The one I have was gifted to me when I worked for Michael Kors but below are some similar ones.
A passport cover is great to have to protect the pages from spills or tears. This marble one is so cute.
You'll definitely want some noise canceling earbuds or sleeping. These are my favorite because they're so comfortable.
Don't forget cozy socks!
OTHER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Luggage Scale - Weigh your bags at home to avoid fees.
Power Outlet Adapter - This one is universal and works in Europe, UK, China, Australia, and Japan.
GHD Flat Iron - This straightener has universal voltage so it won't burn up when used in Europe, Asia, etc. You can't just plug in a regular flat iron to a power adapter. It will fry it. Trust me...I ruined two. I actually saw flames.
Door Jammer - Stay protected on vacation in home rentals or hotels.
- Don't Forget! Bandaids, Advil, Dramamine, extra hair rubber bands, a book for the plane.
That's everything! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and happy packing!