With all the trips I’ve been on, I’ve packed a suitcase more times than I can count! I’ve traveled in pretty much every situation you can imagine — long term, short term, cold weather, hot weather, and a mix of both, with one backpack or multiple suitcases, and more. The more I travel, the less I take – and that means choosing items with “quality over quantity” in mind. I buy things that are going to last and that I can wear and use on all my trips. With all of this experience, here’s a breakdown of the top 11 packing items I think are totally worth splurging on.
1. High-Quality Luggage
You have to get good luggage! It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find good deals on luggage at department stores; just watch when they run sales. Amazon also usually has really good baseline prices. You can see all my favorite luggage brands in this article.
2. Quality Tote Bags
Especially if you are carrying around a bag with a camera all day for sightseeing, instead of a little purse try to get a nice quality tote bag. I go for leather or suede and make sure it’s big enough for my camera, phone, wallet, umbrella, and a water bottle. You can see all my favorite tote bags here. Here’s a little guide of what to put INSIDE your tote for travel.
3. Packing Organizers
I LOVE packing cubes. I use Ebags usually but there are cuter ones out there. I just find the Ebags brand to be cheap, long-lasting, and practical. I also have a cord case that organizes all my tech stuff, a laundry bag, and a shoe holder. You can read my 17 packing hacks here.
4. Travel Pillows
How cool do I look there? Ha! I HAVE to have my TRTL travel pillow. Here’s is an in-depth review of this pillow. It isn’t for everyone, so read and see if you like that or a traditional style travel pillow. This one is so small that you can throw it in your tote bag and it doesn’t take up much space like a normal pillow. I can sleep in middle seats, sitting up, with this pillow. Obsessed! Bonus, don’t forget a nice, fluffy sleep mask! I love the ones from UGG the most but also love the style I have in this photo which kind if puff out at the eyes so you can open your eyes inside the mask.
5. Basic Clothing to Have as Staples
There are some pieces of clothing I buy as staples in my wardrobe that are a little pricey but go on every trip. Topshop Jamie jeans are a good example of that since I wear them everywhere. I also love a good pair of Levis (like these) and button-up cover up shirts in linen and silk. They can make an outfit! I buy higher quality undies, tee shirts, and basics that will last longer as I travel. You can click here to see all my favorite places to shop, my clothing staples, and what I’ve been wearing on Instagram this month.
6. Quality Jackets and Outerwear
There are basically 3 jackets that I need to have: a black leather jacket which is what I wear the most, a puffy winter jacket for when it’s freezing, and a rain coat. I use the same ones for like 10 years. My leather jacket that I always wear is actually 9 years old and looks even better all worn in. It might have seemed like spending $200 was a lot for it, but with how much wear it has, it’s not! I just got a tan suede jacket while I was in the USA. It was also around $200 and I bet I’ll wear it for another 10 years.
7. Comfortable + Stylish Shoes
I travel with the same shoes all the time. Platforms like the ones above from James Smith, slides in black or tan leather, and tennies (right now I’m loving the Tye tennies from UGG in the color slate). I also love these UGG kari sandals. I also like a pair of Tom’s for laid-back trips. If I have space and will be at the beach, I’ll throw in some basic flip-flops. All of my shoes are a little more on the pricey side but I wear them until they break! It’s best to have a comfortable shoe while you travel no matter the cost. I am all about fashion these days but when I first came to India, I splurged on Chacos and still wear those on all my adventure trips. Here’s a guide to my favorite travel shoes and here is how to decide which Chacos to buy.
8. Travel Insurance
Of course, you need it! As the saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. Even in cheap countries, they might see a foreigner as a walking ATM even in hospitals and try to scam you, so it’s always best to have as much coverage as possible.
9. Luxury Skincare + Make-Up Products
Since you can only take a few things with you as toiletries when you go, you should make them count. I love for Sun Bum sunscreen, Clinique Moisture Surge face lotion (it’s my favorite!), and Aveda Blue Malva shampoo. I also use a Clarisonic once a week while I travel to take off dead skin (read about my skincare routine here). For makeup, I keep it pretty simple now with Laura Mercier tinted sunscreen moisturizer, creamy blush that you can also put on your eyes, and an illuminator. I’m also loving these eyeliners.
10. Quality Camera
I actually used a cheap Chinese phone called Xiaomi for the first three years of this blog. When I switched to a camera, it was like the day I got glasses as a kid and could actually see. I’ll never go back! Even my new iPhone doesn’t compare to this camera. It’s so tiny and it’s the BEST investment I made for my blog – plus, if I were not a blogger, it’s just amazing to have high-quality photos from your trips. Read more about how I upgraded to my current camera here. If you do want this camera, check out Megagear for the cases that fit perfectly.
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