Travel to me is one of the greatest pleasures in life. And when I travel, I have my packing and my routine down to a science. I like to feel put-together by having all the things I need easily accessible. And I like to be comfortable!
When I travel, I am always packing two bags no matter what suitcase I bring. That includes my weekender and always my toiletry bag. If you’ve been a follower of this blog for a while, you’ll know my number 1 tip to make packing easier is to always have a toiletry bag ready to go.
It cuts down on packing time, stress and forgetting anything. Mine is always ready to go with the essentials. As I use items in it, I stock back up as soon as I return so I don’t need to worry about it again.
Since traveling seems to be picking up with everyone, I wanted to share a few of my favorite travel bags. From weekender bags, to suitcases, toiletry bags and why I love a fanny pack.
After trying many travel bags over the years, I have fine tuned my favorite bags from toiletry bags, weekenders, packing cubes and more. Here are my personal favorite travel bags that I know you’ll love.
The Best Travel Bags To Invest In
My Favorite Toiletry Bags
Large Cosmetic Bag
I recently received this to review and then write my travel tips for Vera Bradley (you can read those here). I love it so much for a few reasons. One, it’s huge. It holds all of my toiletry items (which are quite a lot) and my makeup brushes. The bag has its own separate compartment for your brushes to protect them. Thankfully, it comes in lots of colors and prints and don’t worry, it also comes in solid black if you’re into that.
Barrington Gifts Makeup Bag
This is my go-to toiletry bag for quite a while now. I love that you can customize it however you like. I have my initials on mine and chose the fun palm print. It’s also huge and holds everything. The main difference between this one and the Vera Bradley is that the VB one has space for your brushes. Depending on if I’m carrying on or not, I switch between the two to save on space. If I bring this one, I usually pack my makeup and brushes in a separate bag.
Curling Iron Sleeve
If you bring a curling iron or flat iron on a trip ever, you need this in your life. Every time I travel I find myself trying to cool my iron off before rolling it up and hoping it doesn’t melt something in my bag. This takes the stress out of storing your iron on those busy mornings.
Dagne Dover Mila Toiletry Standup Pouch
Dagne Dover has some really great travel bags. This tall toiletry standup pouch is great for makeup. It has spots for your brushes, and keeps everything organized. You can utilize the separators if you want, personally, I don’t find a need for them. There is also a short version but note that brushes won’t fit in it.
My Favorite Weekender Bags
I feel like a weekend bag is probably the hardest to find. There are so many things you want it to do for you. Have enough space, be easy to carry, cute and versatile to go from weekender to a personal bag on a plane.
One thing I didn’t realize I desperately needed in a weekender bag was one that can replace my backpack when I carry on. I usually travel with my checked bag and a backpack and that’s it. Lately, I’ve tried to ditch the checked bag (you may remember this fun experience in Paris with lost luggage) and the backpack wasn’t cutting it.
VERA BRADLEY ICONIC WEEKENDER BAG
Adding this bag was the best thing that happened to my travel routine. My favorite part is that it has a trolley sleeve which means it slides right onto the handles of your carry-on luggage. Makes getting around in an airport so easy.
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall
The Dagne Dover Landon carryall is a fantastic weekender bag. It comes in a few sizes and I went with the large. I find it’s the perfect size to fit under the seat on a plane.
Inside, there are lots of pockets and compartments. And it even comes with a couple of small bags to contain your items.
Herschel Supply Duffel Bags
A duffel is essential to any one who travels a lot. Whether you pack an empty one to fill up with goodies to bring home (learn more about what I always bring home from fun trips here) or if you’re the most badass packer and can do a weekend in JUST a bag. This bag is it.
My favorite part of it is the separate shoe compartment. There’s nothing more gross to me than my shoes touching all of my clothes. I usually put my shoes in shoe dust bags, but this just makes it easy to pop them in and go. This bag also comes in lots of color combinations so mix and match to find your best weekender bag.
My Favorite Suitcases
CALPAK Hard Case Luggage
I don’t personally own this one but have several friends who love and swear by this suitcase brand. While I’m not a hard case luggage girlie, I thought it would be good to include an option I know people love if that’s your vibe. I prefer a soft case as I find you can cram more in.
This copper one is beautiful, but there are tons of options to shop at CALPAK
I’ve been a Samsonite suitcase user for my entire adult laugh. I prefer a soft side suitcase over a hard case any day. I love that there are front pockets to keep things that you need easy access with.
I have the carry on size and the 25 inch size for checked bags. This feels heavy duty without causing you to go over the weight limit.
My Favorite Travel Accessories
Leather Cord Organizer
I used to carry all my extra cords and headphones in a little jewelry bag when I traveled. It never failed, everything always got tangled and felt so messy. I finally ordered a few of these leather cord organizers and they help to keep everything organized.
I always like to have a passport holder or case instead of just carrying mine around as is. Why you ask? Well, I always like to include two additional things when I travel (especially on international trips) and that includes a spare credit card and a few extra dollars.
Just in case of emergency, I like to have these spare things all in one place. A passport holder helps to keep these things nice and safe and easily accessible in an emergency.
I wrote about why I always carry this kind of purse with me when I travel, and it usually requires me to swap out my giant wallet with something much smaller. You sure don’t need all these cards, loyalty cards and such when you’re traveling.
Having a small wallet to hold just the necessities cuts down on prime real estate in your bag. I also recently got this iPhone case that holds cards and I can’t travel without it now.
Finding great toiletry containers that actually work, don’t spill, and are easy to use can actually be hard to find. I usually try to re-use any travel sized items that I have that work well.
For example, I’m still refilling an eye makeup remover bottle from 7 years ago. It simply works. But for those other products, I love these from Amazon and they come in two sizes. A mix is great to have!
Traveling with jewelry can always be a little tricky. You don’t want things to get tangled or ruined. I love this jewelry box from The Daily Edited. It keeps your things organized, safe and it’s pretty! It’s not massive, so it works well to travel with even with a carryon.
I am never without a water bottle when I travel. It’s always so hard to drink water when you’re out and about traveling, but by bringing my own water bottle, I always do a better job of getting in my H20.
Spare Packable Duffel
I always find myself at the end of a big overseas trip trying to shove everything back into a suitcase but with MORE stuff. Between buying wine, gifts and what have you, it’s always a struggle. Instead, I bought this packable duffel and it has been a game changer.
It is basically a carry-on bag that you are able to fill up with goodies. Will never travel without this again! No need to leave extra space, just pack this and check it at the end of your trip.
Also, this makes for a great laundry bag if you’re staying a while. You can carry everything to a laundromat easily and it zips up so things aren’t falling out.
Yes, I swear by a packing cube. I know some people are either on board or not, but I’m on. Not only do these help to compress things, but they also just keep you organized. This is especially nice if you’re visiting two destinations and want some clothes for one versus another. Instead of unpacking everything, you can keep things separate.
I have these which are great for smaller trips as they aren’t SUPER big. They’re definitely heavy duty though. And this set has a good mix of sizes along with really large ones which are great for checked bags.
My Favorite Backpacks
Travel Day Backpack
I’ve been using this backpack for YEARS. It has survived so many trips and I also get so many compliments on it. It holds an immense amount of things (as in my GIANT camera, small purse and laptop).
It’s usually what I bring with me when I check a bag since it keeps my hands free and don’t need to worry about my purse since it fits inside (this also makes it a great personal item when checking a bag). It’s just a good basic backpack and has easy access front pockets to grab your favorite things.
Depending on where I’m headed and what I’m doing, I sometimes opt for my fashion backpack versus my more giant Everlane travel one. This is sometimes one I pack in my suitcase and use when exploring versus on travel days. It will replace my purse at times making it easier to explore hands free! I recently bought this one from ABLE and you can get 15% off with code INDIGODAY15.
I never loved any of the fanny packs until I got a Dagne Dover Ace fanny pack. They are so chic, water resistent, has a small front pocket, adjustable strap and is just so perfect.
A fanny pack is best for when you want your hands free and need access to essentials. I use this anytime I fly pretty much. I keep my phone, passport, a card and chapstick and I’m good to go.
Small Travel Pouches
Whether you’re using it for more makeup, or keeping it in your personal bag to contain your essentials, a few small travel pouches are essential. I like to keep all my plane essentials in here like any drugs, tissues, extra headphones and cords in these types of bags. They allow me to quickly find what I need in what can be the chaos of a weekender bag.
All photos by Sydney Bruton Photography
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