Friday, November 16, 2012

travel essentials.

Do you get to travel as much as you'd like to?

On my 101 in 1001, I have a couple of items directly relating to traveling. Namely:

11. Visit five new states.
58. Travel out of the country. 
82. Take a road trip.
96. Visit a castle. 
100. Go whale watching. 

Problem is, as a member of a family of six, we drove just about everywhere as kids so my list of states left to visit is actually very low and most of them are very, very far away. And since I know that you're dying to know, these are the states I haven't been to yet: 

New Jersey
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
West Virginia

That's it - 15 left. And somehow, I want to get to at least five of them before May 13, 2015. I need to start planning strategically and knock out a couple per trip! Anyone up for a Washington & Oregon trip? How about Minnesota & Wisconsin? I hear it's beautiful up there! 

When it comes to traveling, I have a few things that are an absolute must. Flying back and forth from Texas to Tennessee in college taught me how to pack well and what you can afford to leave behind. Here are my suggestions: 

1. It's absolutely essential to have a great piece of luggage that you can carry-on. Come on people, you don't have to check a bag if you're just going for the weekend! Personally, I don't like to roll suitcases through airports, so I opt for bags that are easy to carry. I just received this Longchamp Expandable Travel Bag for my birthday last month and it's already my favorite. First of all, it's Longchamp, so it's sturdy. Second of all, it's expandable, which means you can make it as big or as small as you need it to be. Third of all, when it's expanded, it's BIG - plenty big for a weekend trip, even with a hair dryer and three pairs of shoes! 

2. I have long been a fan of Vera Bradley. While I don't carry her tote bags as much as I used to, I still stand by her cosmetic bags. They're lined, which makes them so much easier to clean should you have a mishap in transit. The large cosmetic bag, pictured above, is big enough for a full-size shampoo and conditioner, body wash, face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. If you're taking a carry-on, thus no full size bottles, you can fit even more in there! 

3. There's nothing worse than juggling a purse AND a carry-on while traveling. Since I usually try to not check a bag, I'm limited to just one other bag for my essentials. Having a bag that meets all of your needs is a must! I have tried all of them, it seems like. There will be some things that I love about a bag, and then one thing that I hate which makes it a never go-to for air travel again. I usually travel with my laptop (maybe this is my issue), so I need a bag that is big enough to have my laptop in it and strong enough to at least be propped up. My go-to bag for this purpose is the large Longchamp tote. I place my laptop in its sleeve in the middle of the bag and pack other things around it. Works like a charm! 

What are your travel essentials that you never leave home without? 

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