Thursday, August 10, 2017

Packing Light: Travel Accessories to Make Life Easier and When to Buy the Travel Size

I'm in Tampa for training this week and will be flying back on Saturday morning.  Back in the day, I was a horrible packer. I would pack way too much stuff and would end up having like three bags plus my purse. It was nuts.  Now that I travel two to three times a year for work, I've become a much more efficient packer.  Mostly because I hate checking bags and when traveling alone, you don't want to be stuck wrangling huge bags my yourself. My goal is always one personal bag, one luggage bag.

Luckily, there are awesome people out there that have come up with some amazing products that make packing lightly something that is actually attainable! Here's what helps me keep everything in one bag! Note - these are just products I use myself and love. Nothing is sponsored nor am I an affiliate.

Eagle Creek Pack-it Garment Sleeve
This guy is the BEST! I got this last year when we were packing for our Alaskan cruise.  I wanted something to protect our fancy night wear that wouldn't take up a ton of space and this guy is perfect! At one point, we had two of my dresses and Aaron's dress pants in there and it still folded flat! The sleeve only comes down to just below the waist, but you can easily fold longer garments up into it.  The cushioned rods keep fabric from creasing. I like it because it's an easy way to hang my dresses and dress pants without taking up a lot of room and without wrinkling them! I place this guy on the bottom of the suitcase and pack up from there!

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

Jewelry Case
My favorite jewelry case isn't sold anymore.  It was from Stella and Dot. I've had it for at least five years and I love it! I'll give you a few options, though, based on what I like.  This is really only needed if you're an accessory nut like I am.  If I'm going to the beach, I just use one of my many mini-cosmetic bags because chances are I'm going to live in the same thing every day (silver or gold hoops, maybe a bracelet or a necklace). But when traveling for work, I take more stuff. I tend to wear basic pants and a top, or a dress, that all coordinate and then change it up with jewelry.  You can take a load of jewelry and it take a lot less space than five different pairs of shoes! When looking for a jewelry case, I like them to be flat, have hooks for my earrings, something to keep my long necklaces in place, and a few pockets for those things that don't snap into place super easily.

Stella and Dot Travel Jewelry Box ($38) - Pros: They make and sell jewelry, so their cases are the best designed, in my opinion.  Cons: It's not flat anymore! This makes it bulkier to pack. But worth it if you have a lot of big jewelry to carry. Still only takes up the room of one pair of heels!

Vera Bradley Ultimate Jewelry Organizer $54 - First off, I have never, ever been a Vera Bradley fan. But while searching for a good, flat jewelry organizer, this one hits a lot of the features I mentioned above.  It's $54, which is a little pricey, but if you are a big accessorizer, this will make your life so much easier! And it lays nice and flat!

Mini Surge Protector with USB Ports ($15)
Another item I purchased for our cruise that has become a lifesaver! A lot of the newer hotels have lamps with plugs or, if you're lucky, USB ports. But a lot of your older hotels don't have those features.  Add to the fact that most of my chargers are now USB ports, it can get a little hairy if I forget to bring the plug for your USB cable. Which has happened more than once.  Now, I just keep this guy in my luggage. It's perfect for charging all of my electronics on the nightstand, or wherever, if there is a shortage of outlets.

To Buy the Travel Size or Not?!
I don't know about you, but I have a ton of travel size items in my house.  And they are mostly things I don't even need a travel size for! There are some items you should never purchase travel size for (ie - toothpaste, just go to your dentist!), but some items you can't really avoid.  Here's my list of must have travel-size items.
  • Face wash - I wash my face in the shower. I'm still not entirely coherent at this point and find it easier to just use a smaller version of a tube I'm used to than to try and put it in one of those little travel size tubes.  I end up putting too much in there and then I feel like I've wasted it.
  • Salon hair care - My conditioner curdles, straight up curdles, when I put it in travel tubes. I have no idea why it does it, but it does. And it's disgusting. I pay way too much money for that stuff for it to curdle.  Luckily, the travel size is only $5 and it lasts me about two to three trips. 
What are some of your favorite travel accessories? 

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