As we head into summer travel season, we consulted two expert packers to help guide us this year before we jet off. We wanted to find out everything there is to know about how to pack smartly — from the best suitcases to the must-have travel accessories we all should bring with us.
Here’s your expert travel guide to packing like a pro.
Cindy Kowalewski is a seasoned private flight attendant who has traveled to 89 countries, including Sri Lanka, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Monaco and many more.
Lesley Murphy is a travel journalist and TV personality. You might recognize her from Sean Lowe’s season of “The Bachelor” and the inaugural “Bachelor Winter Games.” However, over the past five years she’s been dedicated to running her travel site, The Road Les Traveled. Murphy is usually traveling two-thirds of the year and has been to more than 60 countries. A snapshot of Murphy’s passport includes stamps from China, Greece, Vietnam, India, Argentina and more.
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“I currently have 10 suitcases sitting in my room. My favorites are Away and Tumi at the moment,” Murphy tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “They’re both sturdy as hell and good looking luggage. If you can walk the line between functional and fashionable, that’s great in my book.”
Shop it: Away The Carry-On Suitcase, $225, awaytravel.com
“I use a Ricardo Beverly Hills suitcase,” says Kowalewski. “It opens up like a book and zips closed on one side, helping to further organize items.”
Shop it: Ricardo Beverly Hills Seriamente 26” Spinner Upright Suitcase, $110 (was $137), amazon.com
“I can’t live without packing cubes, dividing my tops in one or bottoms in another. You can find a variety of sizes and colors on Amazon,” Kowalewski tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Having everything compartmentalized keeps everything tidy, organized and easy to find.”
Shop it: Bagail 6 Set Packing Cubes, $25, amazon.com
“I always carry a scarf because it can turn into just about anything — a blanket, a pillow, an eye mask, etc,” says Murphy.
Shop it: MaaMgic Large Soft Cashmere-Like Wrap Scarf, $11, amazon.com
“I also never leave home without a swimsuit, running shoes and flips flips,” says Murphy. “You never know when a pool or running route will present itself.”
Shop it: Havaianas Slim Flip Flops, $26, zappos.com
Shop it: On Running Cloudflow, $140, zappos.com
“I always carry around my Longchamp tote — it’s lightweight, waterproof and doesn’t take up space in a suitcase if i need to store it,” says Kowalewski.
Shop it: Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote, $145, nordstrom.com
Additionally, “I have a pouch for my travel documents, such as my passport and vaccine records, and a power bank, chargers, headsets and adapters in another. If everything is separated into different bags, it will be quicker to find.”
Shop it: Zoppen Multi-Purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet, $14, amazon.com
For Kowalewski, “I can’t travel without my inflatable travel pillow and a warm thick scarf to double up as a blanket because planes are so cold!”
Shop it: AirComfy Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow, $19, amazon.com
Further, “I have multiple small pouches to keep everything organized. One is for my eye mask, melatonin, earplugs. I have one with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, Clorox wipes, Shout wipes (they get out every stain) and mini Lysol spray. Thank God for Target’s travel section! Airplanes can be so filthy and hotels don’t always have the best cleaning.”
Shop it: Shout Wipe and Go Wipes (12 Count - 3 Pack), $9, walmart.com
Shop it: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask, $10, amazon.com
Shop it: Anker PowerCore Portable Charger, $35, amazon.com
A “portable phone charger is a must because my phone always dies before noon from the amount of time I’m either on Google Maps or using my camera,” says Murphy, adding, “A worldwide adapter is imperative.”
Shop it: Orei 7 World Travel Adapter Plug Set, $19, amazon.com
“Baby powder can double up as dry shampoo, deodorant, and shoe powder to eliminate odors,” says Kowalewski. Additionally, “Shower caps can be used as shoe bags or a hotel laundry bag for dirty clothes and shoes.” Genius!
Murphy suggests, “Take a backpack or carry-on for overspill. Dress in pieces: reuse, recycle, rewear different pieces to make new outfits.”
For Kowalewski,“I pack everything in advance. Then the night or morning before my trip I have one more look at my clothing, and make myself take out at least two items.”
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