I’ve written before on what I’ve packed for winter and summer travels to Europe but the focus was more on what I wore. And although I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to my favourite gear, I realised I hadn’t ever written a post about it. So after 2 years of heavy testing of my suitcase and travel gear, I felt the time was right to share what really works.
I consider myself a frequent traveller, whether it’s constant road trips or international flights. I have elite status on most airlines thanks to work and wanderlust and more miles on my young car than I care to admit. So I have really high standards for suitcases and gear: it has to look good, it has to be really functional, and it has to be very durable.
Suitcases & Bags
For the longest time, I used my very much loved Victorinox suitcase because it was such a great, overall workhorse, It could expand, it was sturdy, it came with a suitor that was really important for some work wear. But as carry on luggage restrictions got tighter – especially international – this one no longer served me. I need a carryon that would work international, could work for up to a week, was light weight and would be very easy to move around an airport if I had to either run to a terminal or if I had a few hours to kill walking around one. I gave my Orla Kiely carry on a go and then started checking my Victorinox. The good news? The Victorinox was great at checked luggage – really durable. The bad news? My Orla Kiely once had to get checked and came out scrapped. And as a carry on the amount you could fit was limited and things got squished. So I retired the Orla to home decor/storage and sought out a long search for a new carry on.
After a lot of research, I took the (expensive) plunge and bought the Rimowa Salsa Air – Ultralight Cabin Multiwheel (shown at the very top). This is one of my all time best purchases ever. The shear lightness alone has me swooning. I love that it opens in the middle and you can put things on either side and each side has its own mesh zip cover. The handle can be adjusted into different heights and the wheels are the smoothest and easiest to use (even pushing it down a tight plane aisle). I’ve rested bags on top with ease. It’s just a very smart, light, easy to use piece that the price tag for me ended up becoming a bargain with all I’ve put it through. I’ve taken it on two week vacations and been great with all it can hold.
My newest bag is the Lo and Sons The Catalina Deluxe Small (video below). I bought their original Catalina bag and honestly, wasn’t a fan. There was a lot of hype that I feel it didn’t live up to and just never loved using it. It was too big to work as a carry on, there was only one internal non zipable pocket, it didn’t easily sit on my suitcase whilst rolling it, and was just too big and bulky. But this new version looks like they’ve earned from mistakes. My favourite part? There’s now a back sleeve that you can slip your luggage handle through, so this bag can sit securely on top of your suitcase. It still has the seperate, zippable compartment which is great for shoes or heavier things like books. There’s an additional outer zippered pocket and inside there’s a lot more zippered pockets. I treat this like my purse for a flight; so my liquids bag, my lap top, camera, makeup case, wrap, phone, wallet, pak essentials (see below), and snacks all go in. Plus this size, for me, seems perfect in extended what I can take on a flight (or I can extend what I buy and bring home!). It’s very roomy – see in their video below all the things you can fit:
Video by Lo & Sons. Disclosure: I bought this bag – this is not not a sponsored recommendation. I just thought the video was cool + showed the features best.
For carry on liquids, I love Flight 001’s Aeronaut Carry On Clear Quart Bag. It fits all regulations so I can keep all my carry on liquids it it and get it through all securities. I just keep it in my travel bag for easy in and out access. For travel, I always use travel sizes or decant originals into GoToobs tubes.
If you’ve ever flown business class on British Airways or a similar airline, you know they have a drawer/bin in which you can put your things like earplugs, phone, books etc. I won’t admit how many times I’ve forgotten something in that bin so I finally got smart and bought Flight 001’s Seat Pak. It’ll fit in one of the drawers/bins but it can also be hooked onto the back of a seat in coach. Why this bag is so genius is because it holds and organizes a lot – from your ticket and passport to eyeshades, lip balm, ear plugs and your phone and charger. I keep this in my carryon bag/purse and when I board I just take it out, slip it into the drawer, and I’ve got everything with me that I need for the flight. More importantly, I’ve got everything I need when I leave the flight!
I’m a huge fan of Bag-all Women’s Weekend Getaway Bag Sets and other bags. I use them for my blow dryer, lingerie and dirty close. They’re fun, they’re useful, they keep me organized and don’t take up a lot of room. For keeping my electronics together like computer and phone chords, camera chords, chargers, etc. I use different clear bags but I’m not too finicky here. My main thing is to be able to see them in case security wants to question what’s in the bag – they can see really quickly and easily without having to dump everything out.
Electronics & General Gear
I’ve had my Bose Noise Canceling Headphones for a couple of years – the in-ear ones and I love them. I love them even if I’m not listening to music because it helps block sound out so well. As someone with little ears, these don’t hurt mine and I’ve worn them comfortably on a 10hour flight. They’re easy to pack with their own case and I slip them into my Flight 001 pak.
Eyeshade is critical especially on overnight flights. Almost any will do but this one is my favourite because they really do help block out light plus they don’t move around. But I like the Fluert ones for the cheekiness of them.
My favourite, favourite adapter is the MOCREO Travel Charger Wall Charger Adapter Plug Built-in with Dual USB Ports. I swear I’ve tried every single one and this one has done me right. I went on one trip from Dublin to London to Denmark to Singapore all in one go and all I had to do was take this one adaptor. It’s small, light and super easy – it also charges my phone with its USB adapters which means one less plug to carry. It’s not a convertor so keep that in mind. My Apple Air works fine on it as does my curling iron. But check out gadgets first to make sure you don’t need a converter.
If a car trip is your thing, Kenu Airframe Car Mount for Smartphones is a great way to hook your phone up so you can see your driving directions. It clicks into your air vents (So downside, if you’re blasting heat or AC this could be an issue) and really stays on. I’ve used it to be able to see directions on my phone and it works really well.
I keep all my travel gear together in my suitcase when not travelling. Makes packing quick and easy whether it’s for a weekend or two weeks. I don’t tend to stray too much because I like having the same packing routine with the same things; the new can come with the destination.