My entire goal when I travel is how do I travel with less so I can experience more.
With that philosophy always in mind there are core products that I just can't live without when I travel. If someone would look at my luggage for a 5 day trip vs a 30 day trip they would find the exact same items just a few extra pairs of underwear, shirts, an extra layer here or there.
I hope that the hours of research I have put in for my own travels brings a much easier and relaxed travel experience for you. We all have different travel needs but hopefully this makes purchasing that big ticket item such as your bag is now a little easier.
If you plan on traveling a lot and you don't want your items to start looking like a dumpster fire dark colors will keep your items looking great most of the time. Trust me! If you end up checking luggage it's going to get scuffed, marked, stained. Another reason to stick to the darker colors is to not stand out like sore thumb. As a solo female traveler I DO NOT want to draw any extra attention my way no matter how much that hot pink or lime Lululemon belt bag is calling your name; get the black, navy, dark green option.
MAIN PACKING BAG - Osprey Porter 30 Travel Pack
The first time I really got serious about researching the perfect bag option was when I went to India in 2017. I was going to be gone for 30 days with unknown laundry situations and the longest trip to date I had been on. One piece of luggage that stood out across the travel world was the Osprey Porter 30 Travel Pack. It is a no frills luggage back pack that is carryon approved for most airlines. With the U shaped opening it allows you quick and full access to your entire luggage vs the traditional hikers backpack that is a top fill. Another perk is that it will fit under most airlines seats too. So if you have tight connections and they are wanting to gate check your bag because you're on a small plane (NO THANKS you can de-board to sprint to that connection).
I know own two of these bags and have used both for the same trip and guess what?? One is my carry on and one is my personal item and when I get to my destination and I may or may not buy to many pieces of art or I want to bring back that local Mezcal, perfectly fine. The back pack straps tuck into the bag and zip up and now I have a checked luggage that is sturdy and I know my items are safe with the padded sides.
DAY PACK - Arcane Tote Pack - Everyday Use
This one I am still searching for my absolute favorite day pack. On a day to day bases I cary an open top tote bag and I cannot live without it but for travel that is not exactly a great option. Not because of the open top but the tote style bag itself. You want to have equal weight distribution especially if you are sprinting through the airport and even if your not having to flip the bag from one side to the other as it strains and pulls on one side of the body is not an ideal way to start a trip (already sore).
But don't worry I have bought WAY to many bags in the search for the perfect one and I'm sure I will be updating this blog post if I find an even better option but for now Osprey wins again and since I love a tote bag; this combines both the backpack and tote option. Top reasons that this is the bag I am currently going with is the roll top giving me space to expand the bag if needed, protected laptop leave because I never travel without the computer these days and the size. It is the perfect option for going out exploring either in a city setting or out on the trail. I would like it to have a chest strap but ideally. I'm sure I will sew one on myself one of these days or Osprey might finally just add them to all their bags because why not?
MONEY BELT - Lululemon Belt Bag
I wear this bag daily not just for travel. It is large enough for my wallet, phone, keys, chapstick and other miscellaneous items. I had originally had a very similar bag I picked up in Brussels in 2019 but it only had the main pocket and I didn't like that my passport might fall out if I wanted to grab my phone. As soon as that bag started to wear out and get a hole I started my search and I was just not a fan of the traditional fanny packs. They were to bulky and hung in a way that was not flattering.
Enter the Lululemon Belt Bag, it has an external zipper pocket on the back side perfect for stashing that extra cash or passport and on the inside a mesh pocket that went the entire width as well as to mini mesh pockets perfect to keep my chapstick. essential oil roller, and other little things exactly where I needed them to be.
**If the links do not work just do a google search. We all know that websites change their product links or upgrade the version I have listed for you here.