The Traveler: Things I Bring Part 1

Being a constant traveler means curating a few things that go with me everywhere, whether to make packing easier or to help me feel more stylish and comfortable without my full wardrobe.  This post is Part 1 in a series where I’ll share some of my secrets and favorites for making travel simpler and more fun and fabulous.

For the past few years, I’ve been traveling with two carry-on bags. The first is my Louis Vuitton Delightful Tote, which was a gift and which I am convinced is both bulletproof and bottomless...if you travel often, I suggest investing in a bag with strong handles and a tough exterior. I have shoved this one under countless airplane seats and used it to tote my iPad and files around to meetings all over the world.  The second is my Coach Explorer Overnighter, which is endlessly stylish, timelessly cool, and easy to smush into an overhead airplane bin to avoid the dreaded “gate check” when space runs low. What I love most about both my bags is that no matter how banged up or weathered they get, the high quality leather means they just become more beautiful and authentic. Just as my smile lines tell the story of my life, these great bags help tell the story of my travels.

For the past few years, I’ve been traveling with two carry-on bags. The first is my Louis Vuitton Delightful Tote, which was a gift and which I am convinced is both bulletproof and bottomless...if you travel often, I suggest investing in a bag with strong handles and a tough exterior. I have shoved this one under countless airplane seats and used it to tote my iPad and files around to meetings all over the world.

The second is my Coach Explorer Overnighter, which is endlessly stylish, timelessly cool, and easy to smush into an overhead airplane bin to avoid the dreaded “gate check” when space runs low. What I love most about both my bags is that no matter how banged up or weathered they get, the high quality leather means they just become more beautiful and authentic. Just as my smile lines tell the story of my life, these great bags help tell the story of my travels.

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But what do I put inside them? Here are a few things that are currently in my bags—or my hotel room!

 

 Metallic Flats. Flats for travel may seem obvious, but often I try to minimize the number of shoes I bring to save space in my suitcase. Metallic flats go with everything, from jeans and a tee to a statement skirt and leather jacket or a fabulous floral romper or jumpsuit. My current favorites are from Hobes

These cool Hobes flats in Antique Gold are always with me these days. In fact, I’m wearing them right now! I love that they don’t have laces and they are light as a feather. I don’t need a lot of arch support (which they don’t have) so they are perfect for me, and they are great for changing into in the middle of an event or while running to catch a flight. I bring them in my carry-on bag just in case my luggage gets lost, because I know that whenever I arrive at my destination I will want to a) go out exploring or b) change outfits to feel refreshed. I can’t tell you how many ladies along the road have asked me where I got them.

These cool Hobes flats in Antique Gold are always with me these days. In fact, I’m wearing them right now! I love that they don’t have laces and they are light as a feather. I don’t need a lot of arch support (which they don’t have) so they are perfect for me, and they are great for changing into in the middle of an event or while running to catch a flight. I bring them in my carry-on bag just in case my luggage gets lost, because I know that whenever I arrive at my destination I will want to a) go out exploring or b) change outfits to feel refreshed. I can’t tell you how many ladies along the road have asked me where I got them.

I also love these pretty Cendrillon Ballerinas from legendary Parisian ballet store Repetto

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If you want something with more arch support, try these spacey rouched slip-on Coe Haans.

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Ziploc Space Bags. I discovered this packing technique a few years ago and it has changed the way I travel. Space Bags are clear plastic bags that come in varying sizes for checked and carry-on luggage. You just fill them, fold them, and then press them till all the air is removed from the bag, leaving a much smaller package to put in your suitcase. It’s like vacuum-packing your clothes. The great thing is it keeps the interior of my suitcase really clean and my clothes superbly well organized, because I fill the bags according to type of clothing—lingerie, sweaters, dress clothes, evening wear, etc. It makes unpacking a breeze, too.

My secret: I bring one or two empty Space Bags on every trip, just in case I find some irrestible new wardrobe items while I’m on the road or in case I want to separate my dirty laundry from my still-clean items. These genius bags have saved me extra baggage fees more times than I can count! They are inexpensive and reusable many times over. 

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 Another Ziploc tip: I use the 1 gallon-size freezer bags for a variety of travel purposes. I like to pack my chargers and power converters/adapters in one so that I can see what I have without unzipping anything. I use them for bars and snacks so I can keep them all together and just pull them out when I need them. I keep one stocked with “office supplies” — my iPad pen, an extra ballpoint pen for when fellow travelers ALWAYS ask me to borrow a pen on the airplane to fill out their immigration and custom forms and I don’t want to give them my personal writing pen (long story, but someone broke my precious Montblanc a couple of years ago by yanking it open instead of unscrewing it, and since then I don’t lend my actual writing pen anymore), my Mophie battery, and my wireless headphone case. Again, I like to be able to see what I need without pulling out a bag and unzipping it. I even use them to store different currencies when I am traveling between countries. Recently I was in Ibiza and Istanbul the same week, and I kept my Turkish Lira in a Ziploc while I was using my Euros in Spain, and then switched out when I headed to Turkey. Why the freezer bags? They are just more sturdy and I can reuse them many times.

 

Here’s a video showing how the Space Bags work. 

What do you bring? If you’re a travel bug like me, I hope you’ll share some of your favorite travel tips in the comments below, and look for more of What I Bring here on the site. 

Karen Bussen