Five Types of Suitcases You Absolutely Must Have

Different trips call for different luggage. Here are a few suitcases I own that I adore and how I decide which I will use:

  1. Duffel bag. An overnight bag is like a little black dress for travelers. Everyone should have at least one. I like to use a duffel bag for this, I have three different ones. The key is to find one that has enough storage space as well as pockets on the inside and out to fit everything you need and keep it organized. In addition you can also use a large back pack or oversized purse.
  2. 15″ rolling under the seat luggage. For longer weekend trips, whether you are driving somewhere nearby, or flying out on business, a small rolling suitcase that can fit under an airplane seat is my favorite thing in the world. It is slightly smaller than carry on bags and fits under all airplane seats. Brandon and I both have one for short trips back to NJ to visit our families. The suitcase is roomy enough to fit everything we need yet compact enough to fit on smaller commercial airlines.
  3. Standard carry-on rolling bag. If you are like me and need to bring 3 pairs of shoes on every trip longer than 24 hours, the standard sized rolling bag is a great addition to your luggage collection. One reason I love this is because a standard sized commercial aircraft has room above your seat to store these. Modern technology has made me so lazy. I only fly on airlines I can check in from my phone so I can skip the lines at the gate. Very rarely do I ever check a bag. I hate standing in lines with people who don’t know how to navigate an airport or hardly ever fly. I am inpatient and love being able to get out of my car and walk directly to security so I can grab my Starbucks and relax once I get to the gate.  I hate standing in baggage claim waiting for airport employees to unload the plane and get me my luggage. I’ve also seen one too many suitcases lost or contents stolen in airports. If I can keep my possessions with me at all times I am a happy gal.
  4. Large sized luggage. Buy a nice large luggage bag with a good lock, and don’t skip out on the toiletry bag. When I am going on longer vacations like when we were in Hawaii for 2 weeks, I like to bring a large enough suitcase that I have everything I would need for one week including shoes. You’ll have to check your bag, unless you are lucky enough to live near an airport with curbside check in. In addition, you will need to stand around and wait for your luggage to get off the plane and you’ll run the risk of items being stolen. As long as you are careful, have a good lock on your bag, and pack smart you should be alright. Finger crossed and let’s hope that everything makes it home with you! Luggage sets are nice because they are usually roomy are made well, and come in a matching set which makes it easier to spot on the conveyer belt.
  5. Laptop bag. If you’re like me you’ll want to bring your laptop on the flight with you. I have a laptop bag in the form of a backpack which I found on Amazon. There is a ton of cushion so your laptop doesn’t get damaged and they are really nice and well made. I own the HFSX Vintage Laptop Backpack. You can buy ones with built in phone chargers and a place to store your phone, keys, wallet, and passport. Plus, it will fit under your seat. is my favorite place to shop for luggage. They have great luggage that makes travel easy and organizing natural. Their hard side carryon is amazing. You can also find packing tips and lots of travel related gear other than luggage. You can all of the above INCLUDING universal travel adapters which work in 150 different countries. Another great thing to do if you can invest is to buy a luggage set that includes all of the pieces above. You will save money in the long run and everything will match (if you have OCD like me than that’s really important). Don’t forget to comment below with links to your favorite pieces of luggage and why.


Happy travels!

Road Trip Essentials

Road trip essentials

Wherever you go, go with all your heart

Road trip essentials for long drives

The road trip essentials I listed below are some things I can’t go on a long road trip without. Many of them can be tweaked to fit your needs. Also, be aware that along with the things listed below there are so many other important items to remember like a spare tire and jumper cables. In 2013 my parents took me on a road trip across the country that was full of memories we will never forget. That trip was the best vacation my parents and I have ever taken. The road trip essentials I’ve listed below have treated me well and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  • Pour over coffee maker (with coffee grinds and travel mugs. The one I use is here. If you can’t drink this type of coffee you can stop at a coffee shop or you can always buy the pre-packaged Starbucks coffees.
  • Car charger for your phone, watch, and any other electronic devices. See here.
  • Your hiking boots! It’s common to find impromptu hikes in remote areas. Why not stop and enjoy a little? Hot out? Check out my favorites; Keens or Tevas. They are much alike but have some important differences so research and try both. I used Keens in Hawaii, but use my Tevas when hiking in my home state of Wisconsin.
  • In contrast to those hiking boots, bring slippers to wear in the car to keep your feet warm and cozy.
  • A Flare gun. We carried one with us when we drove across the country. It not only can be fired into the air in the event of a serious emergency, but anyone trying to rob you probably doesn’t want it shot at them either.
  • Layered jacket. Temperatures above and below the mason dixon vary greatly and can change in an instant. Find a good jacket that has layers that you can zip in or out . It also helps if you have lots of pockets. I use this kind here.
  • Protein bars and energy drinks. For protein bars I use Quest, cookie dough and cookies and cream are my two favorites. You wouldn’t even know that’s what you’re eating. I use to swear by red bull but I really love Uptime energy drinks. They are way healthier and full of vitamins and minerals your body needs through out the day. So ditch the red bull and pick up some uptime.
  • First aid kit/Medicine bag. I’m a medical assistant so I am always aware things might not go as planned. Pack a first aid kit/medicine bag with essentials for headaches, cuts, and anything else you might think of.
  • If you are going to be camping make sure you bring a weather radio to stay aware if weather conditions begin to change rapidly. Make sure to also have a heavy duty flash light like this one and spare batteries incase you have some night time car troubles or need to find something in the dark.
  • Bring a camera. I recommend buying a Nikon 2100 if you want still shots since that’s the one I am about to purchase too, or use a GoPro. I have the Hero5 and shoot everything with that, you can take still frames of whatever you want and even pull stills out of your video that still have really great quality. Plus you can document all those impromptu and “promptu” hikes.
  • Bring cash. Make sure you bring cash with you on your road trips. Even though credit cards are pretty universal now, cash is still king. Plus, if you stop at a small town shop along the way that doesn’t take credit cards you’ll be left high and dry.
  • Hopefully you do not break down, but make sure you have AAA or road side assistance through your insurance Incase of any car problems. If you rent an RV or a car then make sure that you ask the rental service questions about how many shops they have and what you should do incase of an emergency. If the rental company tells you not to drive through Death Valley, you probably shouldn’t drive through Death Valley on this road trip.
  • Bring a tent and/or get a membership for a campground found in multiple places all over the US. KOA is the one we used and it was really easy and the employees were super friendly.
  • Bring survival gear. Probably not a road trip essential because you most likely won’t get stranded and if you do someone should be along soon enough, but you never know. Especially if you are hiking in large parks, be prepared. Bring a lighter or fire starter, iodine kit to purify drinking water, and some rope (survival straps are enough, See here.) You most likely won’t need any of this but if there is a situation that arises you’ll be completely prepared.
  • A good guide book and a map. Learn how to use a real map, not just the one on google. Surprisingly enough there are a lot of dead zones in the US. (Yes, there are people without internet and WiFi out there). Learn to use a real map and mark out your planned trip before you leave to help you follow it more easily. You can usually pick a good one up at Barnes and noble

If you can think of any more road trip essentials to add to this list comment below!