I love traveling, even if it’s just within the US or visiting family in a place I’ve been to many times before.
What isn’t fun is packing, especially if you don’t have the right gear to optimize your packing routine.
The more places I go, the more I try to streamline my packing process. I hate when I overpack, bringing more than needed “just in case”. Funny thing is, rarely have I ever needed to use those “just in case” items.
More often than not, I end up using far less than I thought I would need.
In this article, I’ll be showing you my favorite carry-on options – both roller style and weekender – plus a few travel essentials I never leave home without.
Related Post: How to Pack for Summer Travel
EG’s Favorite Carry-ons
They’re thoughtful and well designed, have plenty of compartments, come with TSA-friendly locks, and include a charger for your USB devices. And in case you need to check in your luggage, you can remove the battery in case your airline asks you to.
I haven’t spent time with the NoviConnected travel roller from Incase, but I’ve owned plenty of gear from the company (from headphones to iPhone cases, laptop cases to backpacks) and everything is well-designed and minimalist, which I love. I imagine their new roller is also 👌🏽
EG’s Favorite Duffels and Weekenders
For a somewhat minimalist traveler, a weekender works just fine for trips — even those as long as a week or more.
I was talking with my friend Ashley Weston a few months ago, right before we made this video. She and her husband Dorian each take one leather duffel when they travel abroad for a few weeks every year.
Now that’s some efficient packing!
There’s a good chance that if you can’t fit your essentials into a cavernous weekender or duffel for any trip less than a week, you’re doing something wrong.
I’m so excited about this bag and if you’re reading this, I want you to buy it RIGHT NOW BEFORE IT DISAPPEARS.
It keeps selling out on J.Crew’s site… then they have it in stock… then it disappears again. (If it happens to be sold out when you click, keep checking back.)
I have a similar garment weekender from this brand, Combat Gent (which I won’t even link to because apparently something’s going on at HQ and people haven’t been receiving orders). It’s fine, but it’s sparse in terms of compartments, and the zipper situation is a bit funky.
The Ludlow Garment Duffel from J.Crew is awesome. Plenty of built-in compartments, the ability to pack a few suits flat and separate from your other clothes, and finally, enough room for shirts, pants, and everything else once you zip it up to its duffel shape.
Leather Garment Weekender Duffel Hook & Albert via Huckberry
I believe Hook & Albert created the first garment weekender bag. At least, it was the first one I ever saw. Still a great model, well constructed, and made from nice leather.
If you got the billz, grab one of these. Otherwise, the J.Crew garment duffel above is a great option with the same core features.
Duffel Pack II Aer
If you’re more of a hands-free kinda guy, this duffel pack might be what you’re looking for. You have easy access to the main compartment from the center zip, with the convenience of backpack straps.
There’s also plenty of interior and exterior pockets, including a special shoe pocket and a dedicated laptop pocket.
EG’s favorite travel and packing extras
Instead of stashing your wires in one of your bag’s pockets, or worse, just throwing them in the main compartment, have a separate pouch for everything electronic that will keep all your wires and gadgets organized and easily accessible.
Maybe another pouch is too much for your situation. Maybe you need something simple and minimal. This wire organizer might be up your alley.
You can lay out and strap in your cords a number of ways, making organization super flexible and easy. Plus, this will lay flat in your carry-on or backpack.
Flat, Hanging Toiletry KitAmazonBasics
I like that this toiletry bag / dopp kit is flat and its U-shaped main opening is wide, making it easier to access my stuff inside. Most dopp kits have a single zip down the middle, which can be incredibly difficult to grab the stuff at the bottom / corners of the kit.
Bonus points for the ability to hang this thing, which keeps your bathroom counter clear.
A few things I love about this Anker charger.
One, the charger plugs directly into the wall, so no annoying extra cords. Two, when plugged in, you’re able to charge two USB devices simultaneously. Three, the charger itself holds charge, so it acts as a portable battery you can take with you and charge your devices on the go.
I’ve gotten at least 1.5 full device charges (from almost 0% to 100%) when the battery is fully charged, but rarely do I let my phone get to 0%. So if you need to juice up from, say, 20% to 60%, this battery will keep you charged for a long time.
Beats Studio3 Wireless HeadphonesBeats by Dre
I used my Apple earbuds on flights for years and thought over-ear headphones were overkill. I was wrong.
The noise cancellation, the comfortable encapsulation of your earholes, the entire aural experience… I can easily tune everything out when I slip these on.
Sure, there are other highly-rated, more affordable wireless over-ear headphones. But I didn’t want to spend a lot of time testing, and I knew the Beats headphones would sound incredible. Plus, I’m willing to spend a bit more for brand reputation and quality if I know I’ll be using something regularly.