My Must Have Bags for Traveling

I love to travel and I try to travel as often as I can.  Over the years and countless trips, I've learned that having the right gear (i.e. bags) is the key to making my travels a lot easier.  Since I just returned from a fun filled week in Costa Rica, I thought I'd share my favorite bags and what saw me through rainstorms, bouncing around the back of numerous cars on gravel roads, and wedged into damp storage holds on a ferry boat.  Throughout it all, my clothes, camera gear, and everything else stayed dry and in one piece!

My favorite pieces include a suitcase (of course!), a backpack, and my favorite camera bag that doubles as a rugged carry on.

These workhorses got me through my trip (and not just this trip!) carrying all my essentials, day to day things, souvenirs, and you could sanity!

For my trip, I used three suitcase (checked), one backpack (carry on), and my camera bag (carry on).  That is probably more than most people would need and prior to getting into photography, I would've only taken the suitcase and backpack.  

Let me start off by saying that I am not one of those people that can pack for vacation in just a single carry on bag.  While I do like to keep things to a minimum, I also like to bring home a few souvenirs and shoving everything into a carry on bag leaves me no space for any little extras I pick up along the way!  

So, I've accepted my need for my checked suitcase when it comes to vacations (now, weekend getaways are a completely different story!!).

Suitcase:  The Mother Lode TLS by eBags

eBags Mother Lode TLS Junior 25" Wheeled Duffle

I've used this bags for multiple trips including a two week trek across Europe and it's a definite keeper.  It's not too big to be obnoxious, but not too small, so I can fit plenty of stuff in here, but still have room for souvenirs.  

I LOVE that the bottom portion is a hard case and the top is soft.  I don't really want a full hard case suitcase since I like to have a little extra give if I need to stuff it full.  But, the hard case on the bottom provides good protection if I do need to pack away something fragile.  

I also love the moveable dividers in the bottom section of the bag.  This allows me to really customize how I'm packing my bag to get the most storage space, yet keep things nice and organized.  It's not too heavy when it's empty so I haven't had any problems stuffing it full then having it overweight at check in (which I've had happen with other suitcases that shall remain nameless!).  

I bought the turquoise to set it apart from all the black and navy suitcases out there and every time mine comes rolling out of the back and onto the luggage conveyor, I know immediately that it's mine :).

Backpack: Twill Backpack by Everlane

Everlane Twill Snap Backpack

I bought the popular Everlane backpack for this trip, but also with the plan to use this for work when I take the train into NYC for the day.  

Sometimes I meet up with friends after work and want to change out of work clothes, and this has a slot for my laptop and plenty of space for my clothes.  

But, back to the trip!  I love the look of this backpack.  It's functional and roomy, yet looks rather sleek and not too school-ish, if you know what I mean.  It's an updated more adult version, if you will.  

This trip was it's maiden voyage and it didn't let me down.  I LOVED it!  I wouldn't mind a few extra storage pockets on the inside, but nothing that kills my love for this sweet backpack.  It held SO much stuff!!

Camera Bag:  The Audrey Lu by 3 Annies

3 Annies Audrey Lu

I've reviewed this bag in the past (read it HERE) and still love this bag.  I wasn't planning to take this bag with me because I thought it might be a bit 'fancy' for hiking through rain forests.  

I was okay with it not being a backpack...I don't really like my camera in a backpack, but I did consider a more 'rugged' bag for this adventure.  

In the end, the 'rugged' bag just didn't hold all of my gear and the night before I left, I threw everything back in my Audrey Lu and prayed I wouldn't destroy her on the trip.  

Well....let's just say I was SO happy I stuck with my girl.  She was a trooper and came back looking just as good as when she left.  And yes...she got rained on in the rain forest (it POURED!), pooped on by a toucan (yes, that really happened!  Thankfully, it just hit the bag and not me!), and had me stashing stuff in and yanking things out all week long!  Yet, she perfectly held my gear, kept everything dry, and all my essentials within easy reach.  

This is seriously the best bag ever!!!

I can't recommend each of these bags enough!  They will all last you for years, look great, and get you where you need to go in style!