In this post, I’m breaking down a few of my favorite essential travel items. Some of these products I’ve been using for years, all for at least six months. Read on to see if you have any yourself.
Okay, so I’m not necessarily talking about essential travel items like moon cups or more practical things. Rather these are my favorite products and brands for general travel. I’m weirdly picky when it comes to buying clothes, bags, or shoes, and as I get older because I hate replacing things or discovering how poor quality something is later. These items I’m listing have gone through the ringer and all come out on the other side successfully. And trust me, I’ve broken my iPhone twice in the span of a month, I do not go easy on my belongings.
10 Essential Travel Items for Women
I’m absolutely smitten with my Away carry-on and not only because I find it aesthetically pleasing. I got it back in February right before Elissa came to visit and we went to New York City for a few days. I had first heard about it on Un-Fancy when both Caroline and Robin, one of her interviewees, talked about how much they loved their Away luggage. Plus, Robin had been living out hers while traveling the world full time!
Now the luggage is like $225 for the smaller carry-on, so I wasn’t about to only take a blogger’s review into account. I spent a good few hours reading through their whole site from their history (cheers to women entrepreneurs!) to the actual technology behind the suitcases and more before I made my purchase. Yes, I also read pretty much all their press releases and posts comparing it to other smart luggage brands.
Since February, my carry-on has been with me to NYC (three times), Atlanta, Santiago + the Atacama Desert in Chile, North Carolina (twice), Providence, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, and all over Korea. The only thing I’ve done is take a damp cloth to the outside, and it still looks nice and new.
If you’re a customer, you get a referral code, so if you want to get a suitcase, here’s mine. You get $20 off, and I get $20 credited to my account, so win-win!
The first time I ever heard about Everlane was a Facebook ad about their LA-made, high-quality tees. That was nearly three years ago now (right before I went to Namwon), and I’ve kept an eye on their newer products since! While the material has always been high quality, sometimes the fit hasn’t always been my favorite. A lot of their trendier styles definitely favor that model thin, androgynous look which doesn’t really translate well to my body type.
However, the tees have always been solid, and I absolutely love how the different styles fit. They’re great to wear under a thicker sweater in the winter or with shorts in the summer. I have two U-neck tees, the pink box-cut 100% Human tee, the red V neck tee, and I just got a box-cut burgundy pocket tee as a second item for my jeans purchase.
** If you can’t get Everlane, I’m also liking my H&M tees. I haven’t used them as long though.
Of all the skirts I’ve ever owned, the H&M flare skirts have been the best at lasting and being comfortable even after a major buffet meal. Some H&M products I’ve owned have shrunk over time, but the skirts have always stayed solid. They’re also incredibly flattering! I buy the softer feeling skirts (if that makes sense) and avoid the more polyester feeling ones.
In the winter I just pair them with those control top style tights on days that aren’t super freezing.
Birkenstocks are my favorite sandals for walking around! I guess I’m just getting older, but I can no longer walk around in flimsy gladiator style sandals and be fine. However, I hate just wearing sneakers on bigger travel days. Birkenstocks fit my style; they last a long time, and they have arch support (apparently I have close to flat feet). My main pair is these gold strap ones. I thought they might be too flashy when I first got them, but they’ve actually been perfect.
Michael Kors Bags + SLGs
Okay, this is a little biased because I did work here throughout college, so all my bags and small leather goods (SLG) besides a Kate Spade wallet have come from when I had a nice employee discount. However, I’ve been out of college for 3 years now, and these bags have been through the works. I have a tote, the Selma bag, a slim wallet, and a crossbody I’ve dragged around the world with me (not to mention the bags I’ve left at home with my mom and sister). Honestly, between the clothes and products I’ve accumulated in nearly 4 years, I could write a whole post on what’s worth it to invest in and what’s not from MK (and which is better for what — outlet or retail).
The key is to get durable leather because you really should be able to buy a few good bags to last you for years if not forever. I really like Saffiano leather if you’re going to invest because it’s scratch and water-resistant, which means it lasts. Most of my bags are Saffiano.
If you like softer leather, then look for pebbled or with creases. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Astor tote as well but missed getting it when it was in stock. Some purses, in general, come in this really smooth, really soft lamb leather. It’s bad news if you want something that you can take around the world.
Amazon or Gmarket Sunglasses
In Korea, I obviously get Gmarket products over Amazon, but I loved having so many choices while I was home! So much so that I wrote a whole post on my summer essentials. I’m a big sunglasses person, and while I’ve bought and been gifted more expensive, fancier pairs, I do find myself grabbing for my cheaper sunglasses more often. I had a particularly hard time finding a white pair I loved on my face this summer until I found this pair on Amazon and wore the crap out of them! I accidentally sat on and broke them in Jeju, so I just got this pair from Gmarket to replace them.
Glossier Rosewater Spray or Avene Thermal Spray
Elissa introduced me to Avene Thermal Spray when I stayed with her in Seoul, and since then I’ve always made sure to have some sort of hydrating mist with me when I travel. I got the Glossier spray back when I went to their store in NYC to try out, and I’ve really liked it. It’s lasted a surprisingly long time considering I use it almost daily!
Kindle (in all its forms)
So, I used to have a Kindle Fire and got the Kindle app on my phone. I meant to get one of the paperweight Kindles before I left, but I forgot to order it in time. As much as I love reading physical copies of books, I know it’s impractical to try and ship a box of them across the sea! Right now most of my books are in storage and any new books I download to my app. I like having it on my phone because I can just whip it out to read anywhere, even if it’s just a page or two at a time. Here are some of the recent books I have downloaded to mine:
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Burt Bees Lip Balm
I’ve actually started to just use coconut oil to moisturize my lips at home because I learned a lot of lip balms aren’t particularly natural or helpful. I like grabbing Burt Bees for on the go because it’s all-natural, and I can’t feasibly grab a whole bottle of coconut oil to take with me. I also like the little peppermint touch!
This last year I’ve started to really favor bralettes. Honestly, I hate wearing bras in general but I don’t have a flat enough chest to get away with going totally braless. I was constantly wearing thinner sports bras for the longest time, but they only work under so many shirts. I’ve so far only really tried Target and Victoria’s Secret bralettes, and I like Target’s just a smidge more. I have the same size in both, and my Target ones have better coverage.
What would you add to this list?