People ask me all of the time what I recommend for a suitcase. For the longest time I could not stomach the price of an Away Suitcase. BUT after going to Europe several times and dragging my suitcase over cobblestone roads, I broke down and purchased an Away suitcase. I have not regretted it! In fact I have loved it so much that my husband, who refuses to have a carry on, purchased the Medium suitcase. Why do I like the Away Suitcase? It rolls so smoothly, it has the best compression straps, allowing me to pack more. If you decide to purchase the Away Suitcase, reach out to me ([email protected]) and I can get you $20 coupon.

Checked Bag?

You will not have to carry the suitcase through the airport

You can take more clothes

You can take more liquids

It will give you more room to bring home souvenirs

Moving from different locations, it could be cumbersome.

If you have to carry up stairs it will be too heavy and awkward.

The airport may lose your luggage.

Carry on Bag?

Easy to pull around or carry.

You don’t have to wait to get your luggage when you arrive at your destination

No chance of losing your luggage

You can’t bring as much with you.

You won’t have any room for souvenirs

Standard Measurements:

22″ x 18″ x 10″ (I used British Airways measurements)

Types of Carry On Bags:

Like I mentioned earlier, I use Away suitcase. You cannot beat the wheels, especially if you are rolling your suitcase over cobblestones.

My sister who backpacks everywhere recommends Osprey. I struggle carrying “things” on my back, but a lot of people prefer not rolling a suitcase. They will carry the larger backpack on their back and the smaller backpack on their front.

Again not my choice of bags, but for some reason this is my son’s choice of bags. What I like about this Osprey Duffle bag is that it can also be a backpack.

Personal Item (underseat)

Standard Measurements:

18″ x 14″ x 8″ (I used British Airways measurements)

Types of Personal Items:

I prefer a backpack similiar to this one. It has a trolley sleeve (that hooks onto my carryon suitcase handle). It has a clamshell opening, so I can open it similar to a suitcase. It has compression straps so I can put more into the backpack and compress it. It has a separate pocket for my tablet and items I will need to get to on the airplane. It has a cup holder for my water flask. I can use this while I am at my destination to carry my personal items.

I prefer a wheeled under seat luggage similiar to this Coolife. It has a trolley sleeve (that hooks onto my carryon suitcase handle). I can wheel this around if I choose to check my suitcase, so I do not have to have a heavy backpack on my back. It holds quite a bit of items to help me not be so overpacked in my suitcase. It has an outside pocket for items I will need access to on the airplane.

I love this Tote Bag, because it packs down to nothing and then expands to be very large. It has a trolley sleeve (that hooks onto my carryon suitcase handle). It has a small outside pocket for items I may need to get to quickly.

I personally do not care for a Duffle Bag, but my son always travels with his. I love this duffle bag that folds down to nothing and has a trolley sleeve, plus outside pockets. What is great about a duffle bag is that you can slip it over your shoulder. It also opens wide enough that you can see everything in your bag. Now days duffle bags even have wheels, but I doubt these would fit under your airplane seat.

Packing clothes is simple, it is everything else that takes up my time and what I forget the most. So I generally sit down and think about every action and write it down before I go and start throwing these items in a bin to pack later.

What are you bringing on the airplane with you?

I have purchased so many travel pillows over the years, that I feel like I have become an expert. I have a hard time sleeping on the airplane. I can never get comfortable. This pillow wraps securely around your neck and allows you to switch what side you are sleeping without adjusting the pillow. I also prefer something snug around my face, strange I know but that is what I like. This also rolls up into a small carry case that can hook to your carry on easily.

This travel pillow is called the trtl. You look like you are in a neck brace when you wear it, but it gives you serious support in your neck. Since there is no cushion in this pillow, it folds up to nothing. The only issue I have with this pillow is that if you are like me and switch my neck position often when I sleep, it only will work for one sleeping position, so then you have to move the pillow.

Especially as you get older you will notice that your legs will start to swell. You need compression socks to keep the circulation moving in your legs. I have really fat ankles and find it very difficult to put on the socks. I now use compression leggings (like leg warmers) and then ankle socks. I prefer the socks without the toes in them, but it is your preference.

What is so great about this device is that you hook it into the airplane system and you can use your headphones.

What should be in your Wallet:

If you spouse is traveling with you have him/her carry a different CC

American Express is not widely used in Europe

For Europe I use GeoBlue Medical Insurance. You need to have additional Medical insurance if you are traveling internationally. Most likely your health insurance will not cover any medical expenses in another country. Your general travel insurance will not cover enough for a medical emergency.

Did you know that some credit cards has travel insurance? So if you purchase your trip using that credit card your trip will be automatically covered so you will not need to purchase additional travel insurance or car rental insurance.

What are you going to carry your toiletries in?

What I love about hanging toiletry bags is that you can hang them up in the bathroom. What I love about this toiletry bag is that you can unzip the bottom portion for TSA inspection.

I love this draw string toiletry bag. You can easily spread it out on the counter and quickly grab everything to move to the next location.

I struggle to recommend a counter toiletry bag like this. They really do not hold that much and everything gets lost, but some people love these.

Pouches to me make the most sense. I like to divide where I will need the pouch and so it makes it easy to unpack and pack up. So for example I have a pouch that is for the shower and I keep all of the things I use in the shower in that pouch. Some TSA will accept these, London does not. They require you to use their bag when going through security.

Toiletry Packing List:

Shower:Hair Items:Night Time:Eyes:
ShampooBrushEar PlugsContact Case
ConditionerCombChapstickContact Cleaner
Body Wash/Soap*Blow DryerMelatoninGlasses
Loofah*Curling IronEyeglass Wipes
Shaver*Flat IronTeeth:
Face WashHair SprayToothbrush/Cover Miscellaneous:
Shower CapDry ShampooToothpasteCotton Balls
Hair Bands (Rubberbands)FlossQ-tips
After Shower:Bobby Pins, clipsRetainerNail Clippers
DeodorantRetainer CleanerNail File
LotionMake Up:Sun Screen
Perfume/CologneFace/Eye MoisturizerMen Items:Bug Repellant
Feminine Hygiene ProductsHeadbandShaver/RazorSewing Kit
Shaving CreamWrinkle Release

First Aid:

✔ Band Aids (different sizes)

✔ Moleskin (for blisters)

✔ Scissors (small)

✔ Advil/Tylenol/Excederin

✔ Cold Medicine

✔ Tums

✔ Antacid

✔ Z-Pack antibiotics

✔ Neosporin Ointment

✔ Benadryl (ointment & pill)

✔ Allegra

✔ Caffeine Pills

✔ Tweezers

✔ Vicks Rub

✔ Imodium

✔ Back Pain Ointment

✔ Dramamine


I like to put my vitamins and prescription in little baggies when I travel. I have to take my vitamins with food so I need something portable to take to the restaurant. These come in all different sizes.

Make sure you have a list of your prescriptions. Some countries require you to have your prescriptions in the bottle they come in, but I have never been stopped before. If you are going to bring a big bottle of liquid prescription I was told that you have to have the original prescription from the doctor to match the prescription.


If you are going to be somewhere that you are going to need to get dirt and mud out of your clothes, then I recommend getting something that you can scrub, like this Scrubing bag.

I have found the using a 2 gallon ziplock bag works or just letting your clothes soak in a tub.

I love using these laundry sheets. They rip down to doing small loads, so you do not waste a whole sheet. Plus they take no room in your suitcase and you do not need to take up precious liquid space.

Do not expect dryers internationally, it is very rare to find a dryer and when you do they have no power, so it will take 3 hours to dry something you are used to drying in 1 hour.

What is the best packing method?


✔ less wrinkles

✔ I can visually see everything

✔ I can use clothes randomly


✔ You can seprate by location

✔ You compress to fit more in your suitcase

Con: Your clothes tend to wrinkle

I like these compression packing cubes because you can see in them to get an idea of what you have packed in each cube.

These Compression Packing Cubes are mess, again great for seeing what is in the cube. The negative is that if they get wet for some reason your clothes get wet.

Packing Clothes – Finally!!!

✔ All clothes need to be interchangeable

✔ You need to be able to wear the article of clothing more than once

✔ You need to be able to clean it easily

✔ I would stick with neutral colors

✔ It should be wrinkle resistant

5 Tops

4 Bottoms

3 Pairs of Shoes

2 Jackets/Sweaters

1 Dress

✔ Sleepwear

✔ Underwear – at least 4 pairs

✔ Bras – at least 2

✔ Socks – at least 2 pairs

✔ Belt

✔ Scarf (s)

✔ Swimsuit (s)

✔ Jewelry