The lighter the better. We do not want the suitcase using valuable weight. Many countries limit the weight of a carry-on to 10 kilos (22 pounds). Choose a suitcase that has packing room on both sides. Most people refer to these as clamshell. It is nice to have a side for your dirty clothes. We don’t pay a lot for our suitcases. We like them to be unique so they are easy to identify on the baggage carousel. If you do have a black bag, we suggest adding a bright ribbon or tag. I think the last bag we purchased was on clearance at Ross’ for $23.
A great light weight tote for packing easy access items such as electronics, ear buds, medicines, jewelry, etc. Consider a diaper bag because of the over the shoulder strap. Our favorite thing about a tote is most airlines consider it a shoulder bag so there won’t be weight restrictions. If your carry-on is too heavy, you can always shove items in the tote. We wouldn’t go any larger than a diaper bag. You don’t want the airline to consider it an actual carry-on. You want it to still be a personal item. Some airlines have size restrictions for personal items. One of my personal favorites is the diaper bag from Coach. I love all the pockets. If you can get a light weight travel tote that has the pocket to slide over the luggage handles – even better.
We highly recommend packing cubes. They aid in keeping your clothes organized. A money saver tip – use the plastic bags from curtains, pillow cases, sheets, etc. Different sizes are good. We will use the smaller bags for t-shirts or intimates. We use the larger bags for jeans, shorts, capris, etc.
Once you have your cubes packed you just throw them in your suitcase.
We NEVER leave home without a luggage scale. They are inexpensive and can save you loads of money (weight overage fees) in the long run. You can usually get them on Amazon within a couple days. We recommend one that are small and light for easy packing. We keep them in our tote for easy access.
Take one that is large enough to use as a blanket but not too large that it is cumbersome. It can get really cold on some flights. Plus, it can keep you warm once you reach your destination. You will be glad you have it.
Newer domestic flights and most international flights have separate monitors for each seat. I was just on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Orlando and was able to watch a movie. You can buy/rent headphones of course but why not take your own and save the money? Plus, they are way more comfortable. They are invaluable to me because I do not go anywhere without my White Noise app on my smart phone. We will talk about that more under Essential Travel Apps. Coming soon.
If you love to read, you can download the Kindle app for your smart phone but if you are someplace sunny like the beach you will need the Kindle whitepaper to see the screen. It is so much easier lugging around a Kindle than an actual book.
We use our smart phone for so many things when traveling. If you are traveling overseas and opt out of an international package for your mobile you can rent or buy a TEP so that you will have portable WiFI and you can take advantage of so many great phone apps. A lot of places offer free wifi but you can’t be mobile. I love having the option to be mobile so that if we are out walking we can use MAPS on our phone. We can't tell you how many times we have been wandering and got lost. However getting lost can make for a great travel experience. However, you do eventually want to get home.
When traveling overseas a great alternative to an international package for your mobile phone is a TEP device. Checkout 10 Travel Tips on our website for more information on the TEP device. We love ours and it is so easy to use.
Sanitary Wipes – yes you heard us – we take sanitary wipes on every trip. We use them for so many things. For instance: sanitizing the tray table, seat-belt, and seat handles on a plane; to freshen up after a long flight; as napkins at our destination because it is crazy how many countries don’t hand out napkins with food; as a toilet paper substitute in case there is not a square to spare; sanitizing door knobs, phones, etc in hotel/apartment rooms; sanitizing the steering wheel on a rental car.
Fabric sheets keep your clothes smelling fresh. We usually make sure we have several. When we get home from a trip we will place a couple in the suitcase before we pack it away for our next trip.
Always take medicines in your tote. We make sure we have a wide variety. We usually place them in a quart or gallon size baggie. Here is our list: Sleeping pills – you will need these on a long flight * Ibuprofen * Allergy /Sinus medicine * Tums / Stomach medicine * Nausea / Diarrhea Medicine * Airborne - they help build your immune system * Alka-seltzer * Eye Drops – if you use them because your eyes will get dry on the flight * Prescription Meds – if needed
As simple as it sounds you will be glad you have one. If you need any arrival forms they will typically pass them out on the plane. You will need a pen to complete them. We usually take a pen with black ink.
Passport / Visa (photocopies included) * trip documentation including boarding passes, flight- accommodation – and rental card information; credit / ATM card bank contacts * Driver’s License * Credit / ATM Cards * Cash * Membership cards if needed such as AAA * Toothbrush & Toothpaste * deodorant * floss * makeup wipes * small comb/hair brush * inflatable neck pillow * eye mask * snack and gum * reading glasses * pair of socks for the plane * emery board
We didn’t mention camera. Many people use their smart phones now instead of a camera. However, we do travel with a small camera and we just purchased a GoPro Hero 5.