‘Tis the season for lots of traveling. Everyone is planning on heading home to families, friends and holiday vacations. It seems like that’s the topic of conversation among friends these days. Where ya headed? Going home? Staying here? As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be staying in Atlanta, but driving south about 45 minutes to my parents in the burbs. It still means I pack a bag. Usually a weekender and always my toiletry bag. Which if you’ve been a follower of this blog for a while, you’ll know my number 1 tip to 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 picks up so much this time of year, I wanted to share a few of my favorite travel bags. From weekender bags, to suitcases, toiletry bags and more. I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to give so many a try that I’ve really figured out what I love and need when I travel. Here’s my personal favorites that I know you’ll love to. Plus, these all make for great gifts this holiday season for that person in your life who loves to travel.
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.
My Favorite Weekender Bags
VERA BRADLEY ICONIC WEEKENDER BAG
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. Adding this bag was the best thing that happened to my travel routine. My favorite part is that it has the trolley sleeve which means it slides right onto the handles of your carry on luggage. Makes getting around in an airport so easy.
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
Herschel Supply Co. Hard Case
This hard case with spinner wheels suitcase is great for a reasonable price. Comes in lots of colors and sizes. I personally did not love the carry on one, it was too flimsy, but I find the medium sized checked bag is great. I use this for when I don’t need to bring a ton, but know I want to check a bag.
My parents got me a set of new suitcases back in 2017. I was so excited to have a GIANT bag to check. But to be honest, it’s almost too big. It really is the best suitcase to travel to cold destinations with since it fits boots and jackets without a problem. My only complaint is that if you pack it to the brim, it’s usually over the 50lb weight limit. Keep that in mind if you go big! I also have a small carry on size from them that’s great for shorter weekend trips. However, I do love my carry-on version of this and use it the most.
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 Duffle
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 duffle 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!
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.
All photos by Sydney Bruton Photography
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