8 items to travel like a pro out of JUST a carry-on

8 items to travel like a pro out of JUST a carry-on

April 01, 2024

We're six days away from our TENTH student tour, and I feel like I'm itching more than normal to get out of town!  All 35 of us that are going are REALLY excited for 12 days in Costa Rica and Panama: cooking classes, calypso class, drum lessons, white water rafting, snorkeling and even a Rumba en Chiva are just a few of the things that we're doing.

...and all of that out of a carry on.  The travelers MAY have looked at me like I was crazy but, listen: Traveling with 34 other people, four flights, buses and multiple people in each hotel room make carrying on the move.  Plus, we both did it last summer for three weeks in Spain, so anyone can handle 12 days.

That said, these are just 8 of the things that make travel easier

A legit carry-on - I love the handsfree life of a travel backpack. The original is lovingly known as Big B, but for a carryon situation, Baby B is it.  Forty liters of space, it's perfect for a 12 day trip to the tropics and will come in handy when I finally get to hike the Camino de Santiago. If you're more of a suitcase person, you need spinner wheels, two sides, at least one with a zip closure. Better yet, get a crazy color, in case they gate check your bag. It's so much easier to find in the sea of black suitcases.

A belt bag - aka fanny pack or "small cross body". Keep all that important stuff right on you in the airport and on the flight for smooth sailing. I fill mine with money and credit cards, my passport, phone and headphones and still have room for charging cables and an external battery. After I used one the first time a few years ago, I'll never not use one again for travel. Trust me here...don't knock it til you try it:)

That external battery - A. Must. Nothing says bummer like trying to get that sunset pic at Machu Picchu when your phone dies. Or when your phone dies and you don't have your map back home at 2am by yourself. Not that I experienced that or anything. This one is especially great, because it plugs directly in the wall and includes the cables.  No extra bits to lose.

Compression cubes - no, they don't require vaccuuming out the air or anything crazy, they just zip down, but they do make for a TON of extra space, and definitely do something in the organization department.

A travel towel - because you just never know. I've slept on it on sketchy beds (and hammocks), used it as a beach towel, a bath towel, a blanket on airplanes and as a mat for travel workouts. They are super light and don't take up too much space in the carryon. Plus they're cute. If you're looking to go the microfiber route, this one is great, too.

A slim water bottle - everyone loves their bottle of the moment, but for travel, the gigantic ones or not-spill-proof babies with the straw are anything but ideal. Opt for light and slim instead, so you're not lugging around that extra weight. Plus, in most other countries that I've traveled to, plastic water bottles are not common, so it's nice to be prepared.

Mini iron / steamer - While I don't think this is totally necessary, my mom sure does, and it gets that I'm rewearing this for the third time look out of your clothes for next to nothing.

Mini power strip - One thing that we've noticed on every tour is the lack of outlets in hotel rooms. As in, there is usually one in the room and sometimes one in the bathroom. This mini strip converts one outlet to 3 plus USB, so everyone gets some electrical real estate. Or, upgrade it to 5 ports with USBs instead. 

 What other must haves make it possible to carry-on only?



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