Streamlining your travel bag collection is very useful with increasing baggage fees and restrictions.  I spent my 20s and most of my 30s with a random collection of luggage which I added at the occassion arose to grab an affordable randomly sized piece.  When airline baggage rules evolved, this proved to be a weak strategy.  We had multiple trips where we hoped for no overage charges because my bags were simply to big and clunky.  I developed a more minimal packing style and have never felt more confident packing for a trip.


Maybe you have heard of the Away Luggage brand that popped onto the scene in 2015 or at least these bags look familiar as dozens of copycats can be scene in big box stores and online.  I received the Bigger Carry On (hard side) for Christmas 2018.  Here’s what I LOVE about it:

  •  Sleek and stylish
  • Moves well across surfaces
  • Inside space layout is very smart
  • The zipper is unbreakable
  • Tough enough to be tossed around

One side of the away bags has a mesh zipper top which has a packing cube effect and encourages me to squeeze my items in efficiently.  The other side is covered by a hard framed pocket that lays flat and can be tightened to press excess space (air) out of the packed contents.  I cannot believe what I can fit in here and it still zips!

The Bigger Carry On is great because it’s just slightly (.7″) larger than carry on restrictions, but fits perfectly in the overhead compartment giving you just a bit more space.

The second bag we added was the Child’s Carry On because my daughter is also a huge Away enthusiast.  It offers almost as much space.

Visit Away to see all of their offerings!


I never would have imagined at 36, I would take my first backpack trip across Europe, but that’s exactly what we did.  Granted, we didn’t trapse without a plan from hostel to hostel if that’s what came to mind.  We traveled with our three kids (ages 8, 6, and 3 at the time) and my parents from Rome to Copenhagen.  The backpacks provided efficiency for all of the little hands that needed held or to push a stroller.

I researched and researched which bag would suit our family.  Chris and I each carried one.  The eBag Motherlode Weekender Bag was a great choice for us for these reasons:

  • It packs like a suitcase with sectioning and secure straps
  • Easy access outside pockets for grabbing items along the way
  • Great length for shorter people (I’m 5’4″)
  • Interior mesh pocket for separating shoes
  • Tons of extra zippered sections for dividing small items
  • Laptop pocket tucked into the back

We chose the Brushed Indigo and a dark Green that is currently unavailable.  We have also checked these bags and they held up great.

(Amazon Link to check out all of the colors)

Personal Item

Away Luggage is my go to in this category as well.  I received The Everywhere Bag as a gift late last year.  I wanted this bag to use a carry on, but also as a daily work bag.  I carry a larger laptop (15″) which can limit my choices.  When I received the bag, I was packing my laptop in the inside side pocket which would be great for smaller laptop, but mine fits best in the middle section.  Once I made this change, I have LOVED how sleek and smooth this design is.  The exterior pocket is perfect for passport access (even if you’re carrying 5).

I honestly feel so pulled together pushing my Away Bigger Carry On with The Everyday Bag slid over the handle through the airport.  It’s so easy and I’m not straining or dropping things as I try to juggle everything.

I chose the Sand Nylon version.

Travel Purse

Travelon Signature 3 Comparement Crossbody

I commonly see the question of which travel purse to purchase posed in travel groups.  I have been using this bag for over three years.  I feel confident that everything is secure with their clip close zipper pockets and strap that can’t be cut.  The cross body fit is perfect for me and keep it out of the way for holding a little one’s hand.  The best part are the variety of pockets.  Before each trip, I organize the 4 separate pockets for different purposes – the large center pocket with my wallet, my personal items (hair clip, toiletries, etc), and the side pockets with easy access items like kleenex, gum, headphones, etc that the kids might need quickly.

I chose black, it is offered is several colors.

Amazon Link to view more detail


The term daypack was introduced to me when I was researching our backpacks (listed above).  Before having kids, I just carried a purse and then when there were younger, we had a diaper bag.  A daypack allows us to take minimal number of bags and more efficient luggage with the daypack tucked away for use once we arrive at our final destination.

We love these Bago Water Resistant Daypacks because they fold into themselves to make a tiny pouch.  They are great for handling the day’s supplies (water bottles, extra jacket, sunscreen, etc).  Plus, if you find yourself in a rain shower or carrying it through a sweating jungle (happened), the contents are not soaked.

Check Amazon for all of the color options.  

Carseat Bag

J.L. Childress Padded Carseat Bag

Managing all of the gear when you have a small child can make air travel daunting.  We really liked using this carseat bag to initially moving through the airport easier.  When our kids were bigger and we didn’t use the carseat on the plane, but wanted to travel with it, we checked it planeside in this bag and stuffed it with anything extra we didn’t want to manage on the plane.

It’s pretty handy and affordable!

Amazon Link 

Toiletry Bag


Magictodoor Hanging Toiletry Kit


We just used this bag for our 3 week trip to Thailand for all 5 of us.  It is amazing.  There are so many pockets and ways to separate items.  The lining made me comfortable that if a semi-wet (I know, gross, but kids) toothbrush landed in the bag, I could wipe it out.  There is an expander zipper to allow for more space.  But really it’s the layout of the pockets that make this bag (15″ wide, but only 9″ tall) so versatile.  I filled the main section with the few full size items (i.e. deodorant) and all of my toilety size hair products, detergent packet, our razors, etc. I used the side pockets as a medicine section, skin care section, tooth related items.  Plus, the portion that unfolds to hang is perfect for little items like hair ties, tweezers, etc.

Check it out on Amazon – super affordable


Lay N Go Drawstring Makeup Bag

I love the flexibility of this little bag.  I typically only put my makeup in it, but when we inevitably cannot fit something else meant to go in the toiletry bag upon repacking, this little bag always can handle something extra.