Happy Friday everyone! Today I want to share with you a new project I have been working on: my Candie Travels Amazon store! This store is a one-stop-shop for all of my must-have items when traveling. (Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.) In full disclosure, if you purchase through my store a teeny-tiny amount goes to me. Think of it as buying me a glass of wine (or at least contributing to one) on my next vacation!
In all my years of traveling, I have learned a lot about what I absolutely need when I travel and what I can probably leave at home. I’ve learned that as much as it can be nice to have a lot of clothing options and “just in case I need it” options, I’ve learned that it is immensely nicer to have a light bag that isn’t hard to lug around. In case you don’t already know this, a lot of things we take for granted (i.e. elevators!) are not available in many destinations. And lugging a 50 pound suitcase up 7 flights of stairs is not at all fun – take my word for it and save your energy for walking around all day and having adventures!
With that said, here are my favorite products for traveling. All products are available at my Amazon Store.
I have two suitcases: a carry-on bag that I use the vast majority of the time and a larger roller that I use for longer trips.
- Carry-on: The biggest suggestion I can make in choosing a carry-on suitcase is to pick the lightest weight bag that you can find without bulky outside pockets or a large frame that takes away from your already precious space (or makes it hard to squeeze into the overhead bin). My husband bought a smaller version of a bag similar to this one and made by the same company (IT luggage) from Marshalls last year, and I try to steal it whenever possible. It was less than $100 and is the lightest suitcase I have ever used (his is only 21 inches and less than 3 pounds) and it always fits in the overhead bin. Some of the reviews criticize the bag for not being too sturdy, but I think the point is that this isn’t a bag that you should check. Carry-on only!
- 25 in: For longer trips or trips where I have a lot of bulky clothes, like skiing, I have a great Samsonite 25 in spinner. It isn’t too heavy and is much sturdier than my carry-on. I’ve found Samsonite to be a great quality and reasonably-priced brand over the years.
- Additional bag: I also like to bring my Longchamp Le Pliage (small or large tote) to carry any reading materials, guidebooks, or other items that I want with me on the plane (see my must-have accessories below).
Don’t forget a cute and bright luggage tag like this one, especially if you have a black suitcase. Both bags above come in several colors besides black if you want your bag to stand out on a luggage carousel!
When traveling, I have two criteria for a purse. 1- It has to be light if I am going to be carrying it all day. And 2- I have to feel comfortable that no one is going to snatch off of my shoulder or pickpocket me on the train.
- Dressier: For me, a cross-body is the way to go. My favorite purse is hands-down the Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC which easily transitions from day to night. I have it in almond (tan) because it goes with everything, but the purse is offered in many colors!
- Casual: If I am traveling somewhere where I prefer a more casual bag or know I am going to be spending a lot of time outside hiking, I have a cloth cross body bag. I felt more comfortable using it than my Rebecca Minkoff in Peru because everyone was dressed very casually, especially in Cusco. The one I use was about $5 on sale from Kohl’s, but I really like these options as well: LeSportSac and The North Face.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a big fan of walking everywhere when traveling. Unfortunately, I feel like I have the feet of a 90-year-old woman (meaning they get sore easily and I need arch support), so it is imperative for me to wear good quality shoes. Like any girl, I am also a fashion lover, which doesn’t always mesh with my need for sturdy shoes, but I do what I can. Here are my top three shoes for travel, in no particular order:
- Toms Classics Slip Ons: Toms are pretty much the best shoe ever. I can walk miles and miles in them without my feet getting sore or getting blisters. They are versatile and work with lots of outfits in all kinds of weather. I always travel with my Toms!
- Sperry Bluefish 2-eye boat shoes: My Sperry classic boat shoes are just slightly warmer and more supportive than my Toms and can also take miles and miles in a day. I like to bring these along with my Toms and rotate them so my feet feel fresh both day and night.
- Frye Jillian slip on boots: If you haven’t heard, Frye boots are totally worth the investment. I actually thought my parents would judge me for buying a pair of shoes that are more than $300, but when I showed them my boots, they told me Frye is the best brand ever and that they both had Frye boots that lasted over 20 years. I like to bring a pair of boots when I travel in cooler weather. As a bonus, riding boots can help dress up an outfit while still being practical flats. (Side note-don’t even bother bringing heels when traveling unless you have a specific event to attend!)
Most of these items are things I just throw in my Longchamp Le Pliage. All of these items are brought solely for one purpose: comfort. Especially when a flight is long, I want to have everything I need within reach and I want to maximize my chances of getting a lot of sleep on the plane so that I can arrive refreshed, energized, and ready to explore!
- Convertible travel pillow: I love this pillow that transforms between a neck pillow and a small pillow. It’s especially nice if you have the luxury of laying down in business class or on a train to have a “real” pillow instead of just a neck pillow.
- Eye mask: I am very sensitive to light when I sleep so this eye mask is essential for sleeping both on a plane or in a hotel. I love this eye mask because it gives your eyes room to breathe and doesn’t smash your eyelashes.
- Ear plugs: I am also sensitive to noise when I sleep so ear plugs are a must both on a flight and in a hotel. These are my favorite earplugs (made for women) and as a bonus, they come with a little carrying case to keep them clean and easily findable in a bag.
- Compression socks: My legs tend to get stiff and feel puffy when I am on a long flight so I love having a pair of compression socks to promote circulation and prevent swelling. They really work!
- Face moisturizer spray: I once read about this spray in a magazine, decided to try it, and haven’t looked back since. It really helps your face retain moisture and balance after sitting in dry plane air for hours!
- Lotion/hand cream: Plane air can really do a number on your skin so it is important to keep moisturized on a long flight!
- Blistex: Same as above, but for lips. I have been using this lip balm since I was a child. It is the best!!
- Systane: Same as above, but for eyes. I am prone to dry eyes, so it is imperative to me to have a bottle or two of moisturizing drops
- Luggage scale: My mom bought me this as a stocking stuffer and I have found it to be a very useful way to weigh your luggage. No more standing on a scale, subtracting your body weight, and hoping for the best. If you are prone to overpacking, I highly recommend one of these to avoid luggage fees!
- Bag for dirty clothes: I always bring an extra bag to separate my dirty clothes from unworn clothes. I find this to be especially important on trips where I work out, hike, or generally am hot! A plastic bag works just fine, but a cloth one is more environmentally friendly! Take my advice and don’t be the smelly guy.
- Hand sanitizer: When it comes to flying and public transportation, I can be a bit of a germaphobe. Having a bottle of hand sanitizer with me when I travel makes me feel a bit better.
- Airborne: Ditto above. I am especially thankful to have a few packets of Airborne if I am stuck next to the dreaded cougher or sneezer on a plane!
- Large water or Nalgene bottle: Don’t be the guy who asks the flight attendant for 25 cups of water. Just grab the biggest bottle (or bottles) you can find at the airport or fill up a Nalgene (unless of course you are flying somewhere where the water is not safe).
- Magazines or books: If you have a long flight, chances are good that there will be a movie or two, but I always like to have a backup in case I have seen the movie or am not interested!
My number one suggestion for technology is to invest in a European hair dryer. The one I linked to is a bit pricey; I bought mine at a Cortes Ingles on our last trip to Spain and love it. Trust me- it is so much better to have a European hair dryer rather than risk bringing your American dryer and blowing it out with the higher European voltage on day one of a vacation. Of course, you can always bring a converter, but having a hair dryer with a European plug makes life easier. This is totally worth the investment if you plan to visit Europe a few times (or if you are generous and lend it to friends!).
My other technology must is a great pair of headphones. The way I see it, you can either bring a compact pair of headphones, like YurBuds, or you can go all out and bring Bose noise canceling headphones. For purposes of conserving space, I personally prefer the compact route, but I have to admit that I am always slightly envious when I see a Bose-wearing guy sleeping soundly on a plane.
I hope my packing list has helped and I hope you enjoy shopping at my Amazon store! Do you have any favorite items that you always bring when traveling? I would love to hear about your necessities!