Our Favorite Items When Traveling
Over the past few years (since the blog’s beginnings) we’ve been fortunate enough to do lots of traveling…TOGETHER! Seeing new parts of the country is always amazing, but it’s even better when your bestie is right by your side!
All of these trips have definitely made us better travelers, and we’ve even gotten better at not over-packing. We are far from perfect in this category but practice makes perfect, right?!
We figured it might be fun to share some of our favorite items that we use when away from home, as well as a few tips to make your next trip more organized and less stressful!
Our Travel Essentials
SCARF: We both always try to travel with a scarf… even in the summer! If we’re not wearing this scarf on our bodies, we will keep it in our purse so that we can use it on the plane if we get cold. And if we don’t get cold (which hardly ever happens) it’s great to have as a “pillow” on the plane. Outside of our travel days, we also like to have a scarf with us throughout the trip just in case the hotel/weather is colder than we anticipated. We love this neutral scarf that goes with just about anything.
BIG PURSE: Most airlines only let you on the plane with two bags as carry-ons, so we like to get the most bang for our buck with that second bag… especially if we didn’t check our luggage. Having a large bag/purse allows us to make the most of that second bag and carry on as much as we can. Usually, we keep everything in our purse that we want easy access to while on the plane (i.e. computer, chargers, camera, book/magazines, etc.). This one is the perfect size!
TOILETRY KIT: Our toiletry kits are DEFINITELY not fancy but they are very practical. We’re sharing more details later in this post, but building a travel toiletry bag has been the biggest game changer since we started traveling. We have a travel toiletry bag ready at all times and can quickly grab it and go when packing for a trip, which saves SO much time and stress. And when we come home from our trip and one of our items is running low, we will add more shampoo or conditioner OR buy the item and add it to the bag so it’s all set for the next trip. Here’s an inexpensive bag we both have that makes traveling so much easier!
COMFY SHOES: Both of us always travel in gym shoes so that we are comfortable. It’s also convenient because when we have to take our shoes off to go through security, we always have socks on. Once we had to go barefoot through La Guardia’s security after taking our sandals off. Let’s just say…. lesson learned. Gym shoes + socks from here on out. Bridget loves her converse, while Casey prefers her Nikes.
LUGGAGE: Casey splurged on this TUMI luggage as a wedding gift and loves hers! Bridget’s luggage is just average but does the trick… for now. We like these lightweight bags because they’re different colors, which makes telling the difference between the two of them super easy. Having wheels and the ability to pull or push them is probably the biggest priority for both of us… and having lots of pockets to keep them organized!
CLASSIC CLOTHING: We try to pack items that can be as versatile as possible. We bring one jacket that will match with everything (like a leather jacket or a neutral blazer), one pair of “dressy” shoes that will match with everything (like nude wedges or TOMS) and one pair of gym shoes (like converse). That way we can save space on doubles of the same type of item. We also try to choose layers that will work with our day or night outfits.
NIFTY FIFTY AMERA LENS: As much as it’s sometimes a pain, we ALWAYS travel with our DSLR camera. We actually really love capturing the beauty of new places with our camera, both for the blog and for our own record. When we travel with our camera, we usually just bring this lens because it’s super lightweight and captures the pictures well. When we REALLY want to be overachievers, we bring our favorite lens (this one) but it’s SO heavy and expensive so we try to avoid it whenever possible.
PHONE CHARGERS: We keep our cell phone charger in our purses, so that we can have easy access to it throughout our travels. We were recently on a flight where there were chargers in the seats, so having our cell phone chargers accessible was a huge perk! We also add colored washi-tape on each of our chargers (more details here) so that we don’t get them mixed up. It’s such an easy and temporary trick that works wonders!
EARBUDS: We ALWAYS bring earbuds and try to have our favorite podcasts downloaded onto our phones so that we can listen while we travel. And usually, we roll up all of our cords, clip them, and put them in a zipper pouch (like an old pencil-case) to keep our wires from getting tangled in our bags.
Our Travel Tips
- WHIP UP A DOCUMENT: Before you bid your home farewell, we recommend taking 15 minutes to whip up a sheet with all of the important information about your trip. On this document you can include your airline information, hotel address and phone number, travel agent contact information and more. We make and print one of these sheets for EVERY SINGLE trip we go on together or with our hubbies. We like having a paper copy of this info just in case you don’t have access to wifi and you need answers ASAP! This handy-dandy sheet has helped us out many times throughout our trips. Be sure to share this doc with someone at home too, just in case.
- PHOTO SHARING: We always create a photo sharing plan ahead of time, that way you can easily track down all of the vacation photos that everyone took on the trip. If you’re taking pics on your iPhone, we recommend creating a photo stream and inviting everyone in the group to share their travel photos. If a DSLR camera is more your style, set up a Dropbox folder ahead of time and invite all of your travel companions to join in. Everyone can dump their photos into one common place, so you all can enjoy the memories throughout the trip and well beyond!
- MAKE A WARDROBE PLAN: It may sound straight up crazy, but we often write down our outfit plans for each day of our trip (day & night). We started doing this so we don’t accidentally show up to an event wearing the same thing (it’s happened before…), and we loved this technique so much because it forced us to think ahead and not overpack. It may be a bit more work on the front-end, but we promise it’s worth it when you can just wake up and get ready for the day while on vacation. No more hemming and hawing in the morning, and more time spent enjoying your vacay!
- CREATE A TOILETRY KIT: Another thing we both have is a small toiletry kit that contains mini items of everything we need. When we come home from traveling, we don’t take the items out of this kit. Instead, the items stay in it and we can just grab this kit the next time we head out-of-town. We even use our little kits for sleepovers! All you need is a small toiletry bag, and inside you can add travel-sized items of all the essentials. (hairspray, deodorant, toothpaste, travel toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, etc.)
- CHARGE & DOWNLOAD: We always joke that throughout DIY Playbook’s history some of our best ideas have been born while we’ve been on a plane together. Probably because that’s some of the only time we are together with no internet or distraction… just time to chat and brainstorm. And when we aren’t chatting or brainstorming, we are most definitely trying to get as much work done on our devices before landing at our new destination. In order to do this, we like to have our computers, cameras, and cell phones completely charged before getting on the plane. If we’re alone, we also like to download some recent podcasts episodes (YHL has a podcast + Chris Loves Julia podcast) so that we can be entertained (and inspired!) while working away!
P.S. To see more of our travels and trip recaps, be sure to check out our travel page here!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.