What I Bring When I Travel Part II


Hey guys, I’m back from LA and utterly exhausted. I also caught some weird virus (on my birthday, nonetheless!) that gave me a rash all over my stomach and arms, and I’m now trying everything homeopathic to get rid of it before I move onto antibiotics. I’ve been up most of the night trying not to scratch myself, but holy crap am I itchy! Definitely not a welcome home present. 

I got back to Beverly (where I’m currently staying), and the roof in the hallway had collapsed before I left, yet is still not fixed despite my attempts to contact the property manager. I’m also on my period and it’s raining for the next four days, so with all this being said, I’m in kind of a humdrum mood. 

Today I’m going to talk about what I brought on the plane with me last week when I went to LA. I’m able to fit a whole lot in a backpack, and people have always asked me how I do it. I guess because I’ve traveled so much my entire life, I can spatially visualize what will fit. I’m also always on the hunt for bags that are spacious, soft, and easily collapsible. I think what makes the best travel bag is a super soft fabric that folds up really small. Though the backpack I brought doesn’t fold up (it’s leather), it’s a super soft leather that will stretch and mold the more I use it. 

So onto what I pack in my carry-on personal item: 

THE BAG:

This backpack I got from the Allsaints outlet for like, $100 marked down from $400. A pretty damn good deal if you ask me! Although I already had an MCM leather backpack at the time that I got this, that bag was so stiff and barely held anything. Plus, it had studs on the straps which made it extra heavy, and not a good bag to travel with at all. The other travel backpack I have is a fuzzy faux shearling one from Urban Outfitters that holds a ton, but it only has one large compartment. 

E-BOOK:

I am currently reading Dracula because it’s on my classics list of books to read, but the book is huge and though it fit, I didn’t want to schlep a massive, hardbound book with me. So I filled my Kindle with books and slipped it right on in the bag. 

PILLOW:

I have gone through probably twelve pillows before I found this one which I love. It’s called Infinity Pillow and I got it on Amazon for $40. It’s obviously not the most space-saving of pillows, but man am I glad that I don’t have to wear the stupid thing around my neck in the airport like the normal travel pillows require. You wear this pillow just like an infinity scarf, and it allows you to sleep in any seat on the plane without your neck getting kinked. It also comes with a Velcro strap so you can tie it up as tightly as possible. Highly recommended! 

PLANNER:

I don’t go anywhere without my planner. You can’t really see in the picture, but this thing is stuffed to the brim with my calendar, invitations, business cards, notepad, White Out, store credit cards…the list goes on. I like physically writing things down (though I also make lists on an app called Keep Note on my phone) and any time I don’t know where to put random, loose papers, I just shove them in my planner. Besides the pillow, this takes up the most room, but I’d be lost without it.

 

REUSABLE DISHWARE:

I brought with me both my reusable coffee cup and water bottle, plus a bamboo cutlery set and two zipper bags for snacks. The reusable coffee cup I bought at Starbucks a year ago; some of the stores do a promotion where if you purchase this cup, you get free coffee or tea for the entire month of January. The cup was $40, which is ridiculous for a coffee cup, but I got free coffee for a month, and now I use this thing every day. Two-in-one purchases, I love it! 

My yellow water bottle I just got from Amazon (where else?) by Simple Modern for $17. It came with two lids and keeps your drink cold for about twelve hours. Plus it also fits in cup holders, which is a big plus. I wouldn’t say it’s an amazing bottle (mostly because it’s not dishwasher safe), but it does the trick, and it looks like a bumble bee. It comes in almost forty colors and multiple sizes, too. 

If I was going to be staying in a hotel instead of my dad’s house, I would have slipped a bottle brush into one of my cups so I could clean them every day. All of my soaps (by my company VARDO) are nontoxic and technically edible, so I’d use them as the dish soap. 

My reusable cutlery I bought from Wild Minimalist and it’s by TO GO WARE. You can definitely find a cheaper one elsewhere, or you can just shove some metal utensils in your bag, but if you’re bringing it on the plane, you can’t have metal. It came with a fork, knife, and spoon, and I add a reusable straw and chopsticks to it. I didn’t end up needing this on this trip, but better safe than sorry – I hate feeling guilty when I have to use single-use plasticware because I forgot or didn’t bring my reusable ones. 

The zipper bags are Nordic by Nature Sandwich and Snack Bags that I bought years ago from – you guessed it – Amazon for $20 (you get four different sized ones). I actually am not a fan of these bags. Because there’s a zipper, the bags don’t keep your food fresh since air can get into them. I didn’t finish all of my snacks on the plane, and had to throw them all out the next day because they were completely stale. If you’re considering reusable bags, I suggest getting the reusable zip-locked ones as I heard they preserve better. 

NUUN TABLETS:

I recently bought a set of six bottles of Nuun hydration tablets (Amazon variety pack) that are full of vitamins and electrolytes to help battle dehydration on the plane. It was seriously hard for me to not drink them every day I was there and leading up to my trip – they are delicious! And honestly, they make you feel amazing! Nuun makes a ton of different tablets like daily vitamins, caffeine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, relaxation and rest, and sports tablets. I highly, highly recommend them! 

ETC:

I am an avid gum chewer, so in went my giant bottle of Mentos gum. Not the most travel friendly packaging, but I reuse the bottles for things like keeping change in my car. 

I have reading/nighttime glasses that I never wear, but bring with me anyway because sometimes my eyes refuse to let me get away with not wearing them. 

Phone charger because, obviously.

I switched my handbag to a clutch so I could easily slip it right into my backpack and not have to worry about carrying that as well as rolling my suitcase and lugging my backpack. It has all my daily stuff in it, but it limits the room that you have, so you can't over stuff your purse and your carry-on. It’s also really easy to use as a day bag and the events I needed to go to when I was in LA. 

And lastly is my Sony Walkman (yeah, you read that right!) that I bring in case I can’t sleep on the plane. I didn’t end up needing this either, but better safe than sorry! 

If I’m not going on a work trip, I generally don’t like to bring my computer as it takes up a lot of room and adds weight to my backpack that I definitely don’t need. 

With all of this stuff, you basically learn to Tetris it together so it fits nicely in a single bag. It may take practice, but it’s totally worth it in the end. 

I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to pack a whole lot in a small bag, and please let me know the things you can’t live without when you travel! 

All my best, 

Alexx

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