Only 5 days until my husband and I head to Jamaica for our honeymoon! We got married back in April but we have waited until October to honeymoon so that we could accrue enough paid vacation time at our jobs. We will be on vacation for nine days and I’m so excited! I just hope hurricane Matthew fizzles out before we arrive. Fingers crossed!
For the past few weeks we have been busy organizing our packing list, buying essential items for the trip, and making sure we have everything we need. I’ve put together this post to give you some travel organization tips as well as a thorough review of my three favorite tote bags.
Packing for a nine day vacation can be a bit overwhelming. One of my biggest pet peeves is packing a suitcase flat and it’s all nice and neat until you stand it up and everything falls to the bottom. I bought these super cute pink packing cubes on Amazon and they have been a lifesaver!
The kit comes with six different pieces so you can organize everything including your clothes, shoes, accessories, and even hair dryer/curling iron/etc. It also comes with a laundry bag so you can keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes.
To help organize my suitcase, I use these cubes along with several smaller cosmetic bags. Amazon has a great selection in all shapes and sizes. I use these to hold my cosmetics along with first aid, hair products, bug spray, etc. (basically anything that could spill). Most cosmetic bags have a nylon interior so spills wipe away easily.
That covers the suitcase organization. Now on to my favorite part: how to get the most out of your airplane carry-on bag! Most airlines will let you have only two carry-on bags. I always use a carry-on suitcase and a tote bag. Keep in mind that your regular purse counts as a bag so you can’t have a suitcase, a tote, and your purse. I typically pack my everyday purse in my checked bag and use a larger tote for my airplane carry on. My top three favorite totes are the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM, the Prada Saffiano Double Bag, and the Tory Burch Small York.
Let’s begin with the Louis Vuitton Neverfull. This tote bag comes in three different sizes – PM, MM, and GM. The MM is the middle size bag and measures 12.6 x 11.4 x 6.7 inches. In my opinion, this is the perfect size for a carry-on bag. The smallest size, the PM, is great for an everyday tote bag but doesn’t hold everything that I want to bring on the plane. The largest size, GM, is a bit overwhelming for my petite frame but I have seen several women use it to hold a ton of stuff. I’ve even seen it double as a diaper bag.
One reason I LOVE this tote for a carry-on is the exact same reason why I don’t love it as an everyday tote bag. The inside of the bag is just one big open space. There are not a lot of pockets or dividers for organization. I only carry a few things in my everyday tote and they always fall over and get lost in this bag. However, when I travel, I stuff this bag to the brim so the roominess of the bag works in my favor. I am able to fit my laptop, wallet, cosmetic bag, blanket, water bottle, flat shoes, book, iPad, and other miscellaneous items in here with no trouble. I also like that this bag has an open top. There is no zipper closure so everything is easily accessible. Just keep this in mind if you need a bag that zips shut. At $1,260, this is a pricey bag but it is certainly an investment piece. I’ve had mine for 5 years and it’s still going strong.
My next favorite carry-on bag is the Tory Burch Small York. This is the smaller version of the classic York Tote. Just like the larger LV Neverfull, the large York tote is a bit too big for me. The small york is just enough space and I LOVE all the pockets. It has a middle zip pocket that separates the two sides. This pocket is large enough to hold standard paper, magazines, folders, etc. The bag has a lot of interior pockets that can accommodate your cell phone, tablet, sunglasses, lipsticks, etc.
I have used it not only as a tote bag but also as my everyday purse. It holds so much without looking huge and overbearing. At just $245, this tote bag is a must have.
That brings us to my all-time favorite handbag, the Prada Saffiano Double Bag. This bag comes in a small and medium size. I have the small size in the color “cammeo rosa”. Primarily, I use this bag as an everyday purse but I’ve also used it for travel. The only downside of this bag is the lack of interior pockets. It does not have the standard two interior side pockets that so many other bags have. It has a middle flap pocket which I use to hold my cell phone. I haven’t found the lack of pockets to be an issue as long as you have some other way to organize. I use a small cosmetic bag to keep everything else organized. For everyday use, I just keep my essentials in this bag. For travel, I’m able to fit my tablet, book, and water bottle with no problem. For a shorter flight, this would make a great carry-on tote. For a longer flight or drive, I would probably use one of the other bags just so I could also bring my laptop, a couple magazines, and some snacks.
At $2,600 this bag is the most expensive. However, I feel that it is the most worth it. Not only is the style classic and timeless, this bag is extremely well made. It is structured yet soft so it won’t slouch or fall over. It is durable and easy to wipe clean. It holds everything you’ll need without being overbearing or weighted down.
Another essential travel piece is a jewelry organizer. I use the McKenna Leather Travel Portfolio from Pottery Barn. This organizer has holes for earrings, snap sliders for rings, zip pockets for bracelets, and snap closures for necklaces. I’m able to fit all my jewelry in this portfolio and it stays organized. I used to put my jewelry in a ziploc bag and it always turned into a tangled mess. This travel portfolio has been a lifesaver. You can also personalize it with a monogram!
My last travel essential is a good travel wallet. I love this one from Kate Spade because it has a spot for your passport. You can also have it monogrammed with your initials for only $10.
For our trip next week, I will bringing along my travel wallet, jewelry organizer, packing cubes, and my LV Neverfull as my carry-on bag. I also bought this crossbody sling bag for when we are on our excursions. Be sure to follow along on Instagram (@courtneylouise) and Snapchat (courtneyromine) to see all our adventures in Jamaica!
Do you have any travel tips and tricks to share? I’d love to hear from you!