I wish I could say that I knew from the start what luggage and gear I needed for traveling. But, sadly, it took me many years worth of trial and error, plus hundreds of wasted dollars, to finally settle on the things I know function as expected while traveling.
I still have a stack of luggage in the closet that I’ll never use again. I remember one particularly horrible bag choice that I took on a solo trip to Eastern Europe. It was a rolling duffel bag that I’d had such high hopes for, but that ended up being one of the hardest to drag, roll and carry. I threw it out before I even made it home. Then there are years worth of cameras that have contributed to the load of bad photos I’ve taken.
Needless to say, the luggage and travel gear that you choose is very important to the journey. It’s my duty to help you avoid bad bag trauma by providing you with my recommendations for luggage and other travel gear that will make your trip easier and more organized.
Disclosure: The following list contains affiliate links. If you click them, I may get a small commission for your purchase at no additional cost to you. However, rest assured that the list contains only things I recommend and use myself for traveling.
Packing & Luggage
Above all else, I prefer traveling light. The amount of time we save getting out of the airport by not having checked luggage is the biggest benefit, so we mostly prefer to travel only with backpacks. If a suitcase is needed, we still want to be able to carry it on, so you won’t find any larger-sized luggage on this list.
Mountain Hardwear Agama 33 Backpack
This is my favorite backpack. We use it for trips of 7-12 days in length that don’t require a broad wardrobe. So much fits into it in an organized and compact fashion. The back is sturdy but not inflexible, so it’s comfortable to carry. My husband uses the Mountain Hardwear Enterprise 33 Backpack and he loves it. It’s very similar to mine and the same size, just different organization.
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 21 Inch Expandable Spinner
Are you envious of those people pushing their luggage through the airport with ease. I definitely am! This TravelPro Spinner suitcase is one of the easiest pieces of luggage to travel with. The 21-inch size will fit in most overhead bins (always check airline size requirements). It has quite a bit of space plus a couple of convenient zipper pockets for tucking things away. And don’t forget those spinner wheels that glide in all directions.
eBags Packing Cubes – 3pc Set (Raspberry)
I can no longer travel without these eBags. They’ve made our packing so much more organized. They really compress clothes so you can pack twice as much. I used to shove my clothes directly into the backpack, but everything quickly became unfolded and messy. Now, everything stays in a neat stack and there’s no chance of things falling out at inopportune times. We both have our own color for when we share a backpack. Use them once and you’ll never go back to any other way of packing. I use the medium size the most because it fits nicely in the backpack. Two mediums or one large can be put into the main compartment together. The large bag works best for suitcases. They also have shoe bags that will keep your shoes from making everything else dirty.
Vapur Eclipse 1-Liter Water Bottle
We love this collapsible water bottle. We take it everywhere we go, so we can fill up at a water fountain in the airport or at an event rather than buy expensive water. The attached clip makes carrying it very easy and it never pops open or leaks, even if it’s tipped upside down or squeezed between items in a carry on. It expands well to fit the full liter of water.
My Favorite Electronics
We take two cameras when we travel. Since we’re not trying to be professional photographers, we prefer the ease of point-and-shoot cameras. We have one that’s ultra-compact with an incredible zoom and one that’s a bit bigger and makes us feel more like we mean business – even though both probably take equally good photos.
This camera receives very high ratings. It combines an impressive list of features with great image quality, ease-of-use and really impressive zoom quality. It’s a good gateway camera for an SLR with more user control, but can be used by a novice just as easily.
The Canon PowerShot is a great compact camera to have when space is limited or you don’t really want to haul out the big gear. It has great stability and resolution in low light, plus a 30x optical zoom and bluetooth pairing capabilities.
Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
Long hours on a plane are so much more bearable when we have a tablet on which to watch whatever movies and TV we want. You could even listen to an audiobook while playing games. We get addicted to Word Search and Yahtzy on our trips. The Fire comes in different sizes and capacity. We like the 8.9 and 16 GB is enough storage space for a couple movies.
My Favorite Apps
There are so many travel apps available that can help with all aspects of travel, but there are four that are absolute musts for me. You can find all of these apps in the App store on iTunes or the Android Play Store.
- FlightAware – This app delivers up-to-date flight information in just about any format you want. You can view flights at any airport as a list or on a map, you can watch flights coming and going on the map, search for any flight by airline, airport, flight number or route.
- TripAdvisor – The app provides reviews for everything, just like the website, so I can find a good restaurant on the go, or even download city guides with tons of useful offline information about my destination.
- Google Translate – This app just got infinitely more useful because you can use it in offline mode. It translates up to 90 languages using voice, image, typing or handwriting. With this app, there’s really no such thing as a language barrier anymore.
What are your favorite things to have along when traveling? Tell us about the travel products you can’t live without.
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