I just flew back from Europe and, boy, are my arms tired! ::crickets::
I was in Paris, London, and Oxford for 10 days. Among the highlights was meeting Dee (adoredee.com) IRL for an English breakfast and a spot of tea. (Let’s just get all the stereotypes out of the way now, old chap.)
I don’t actually fly that often (at least not as often as Renee). When I do fly, I like to bring just carry-ons and avoid checking my bags–even on a 10-day-long trip. I did check a bag on my trip home after racking up the frequent buyer miles at Boots, Citypharma, etc., but that was unavoidable, eh?
I’m always looking for ways to improve packing efficiency. This post shares some of my favorites and essentials for travel with a close look at how I pack skincare and makeup. (Still a beauty blog after all!)
- My carry-on bag: Lo & Sons O.G. Bag
- My toiletry bag: eBags Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit
- My makeup bag: Sonia Kashuk All Over Zip Around
- My packing list
Review: Lo & Sons O.G. Bag ($295)
Ever since I bought the O.G. bag 2.5 years ago, it has come with me on literally every. single. trip. Whether it’s a weekend bus trip to visit Renee, a road trip into the Virginia countryside, or a flight to Europe, this is THE bag that I rely on to carry everything that I care most about: skincare, makeup, jewelry, electronics, etc. It even fits under airplane seats jets in case the overhead compartment space is taken up.
One caveat about the O.G. is that it’s quite large and overwhelming on my petite frame (especially when stuffed to the gills), so it’s reserved purely for travel.
I love this bag so much that I bought the smaller version (the O.M.G.) as a gym/weekender bag. They’re pricey, but watch out for periodic 20-25% off sales, especially around major holidays. Their durability, relative lightness, and professional style make them worth the money for me.
Review: eBags Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit ($30 on sale)
When I began the search for a new toiletry bag, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I only knew that I needed something smaller, lighter, and more squishable than the brick of a bag I’d been using. When I saw this eBags one, I was struck by the novel and ingenious design. Of course! A FLAT bag! Although it takes up more surface area than I’d like, it’s way easier to find room for an extra 1-3″ of thickness than 5 or 6″ ::side glance::.
For a much cheaper option (if you buy on Amazon), the Davidsbeenhere toiletry bag sports the same design. I don’t have this one, but from what I’ve seen and read online, the differences between eBags and Davidsbeenhere are:
- the fabric–although both nylon–has different weaves/patterns
- the dimensions of the Davidsbeenhere are possibly slightly larger (varying info is out there but it looks to be at least as big as eBags)
- the leftmost compartment of eBags is lined with PVC film to enable storage of damp items, whereas Davidsbeenhere lacks this lining
- the middle section of eBags is comprised of a main elastic pouch stitched down the center, a small zip mesh pouch, and a small zip mesh pouch under the cover vs. Davidsbeenhere has just one main large elastic pouch and one large zip mesh pouch under the cover.
After using eBags, I have to note some cons with the bag:
- Davidsbeenhere’s middle section would have been good for stashing my TSA Ziploc bag. The stitching down the middle of eBags’ section limited what I could store in there.
- the narrow hanging hook was mostly useless as many hotels lack an adequately sized rod (::side glance #2::). I ended up laying it flat because my hotels had glass walls instead of shower rods, towel warmers instead of towel racks, and even their door knobs were too big.
Review: Sonia Kashuk All Over Zip Around Bag ($18)
This bag had two things that I was looking for in a makeup bag: a flat design and a built-in brush holder.
My two previous bags by Muji (similar style here) and Hold Me had built-in brush holders but weren’t flat and were, respectively, too small and too large. The Muji can’t hold the UD Naked palette, and the Hold Me is way too large when I need to conserve space for purchases in Europe. Both become dense bricks when stuffed.
Enter Sonia Kashuk! I went with the All Over Zip Around, which is light and slim at only 1.5″ thick–yes! ::side glance #3::. It’s designed simply with two clear zip compartments divided by a brush holder.
The brush holder is one big pocket, so even the thickest tool would fit in there ::side glance #4::. It unfolds completely flat so that you can see everything easily. The only improvement would be if the clear compartments unzipped all the way around so that you could access everything in there at once. A small detail since the compartments are large enough to easily reach into.
I’ve used the same packing list for years, updating it now and then and filling it out a few days before packing. Next to each item, I’ll write in the exact product to bring (e.g., for face wash, I’ll write “MRCS” [su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick]; for brow palette, I’ll write “Anna Sui”). On the back side, I’ll sketch the outfit for each day. Takes some time, but it helps avoid overpacking and makes it efficient when it comes time to actually pack.
Having a list also minimizes the chances of forgetting something. I finally took the time to type up one when I forgot my eyelash curler and brow powder. Quelle horreur! And I can’t count the number of times I forgot to pack PJs until I finally added them to the list.
Well I hope this helps. Leave a comment if you have travel hacks, and stay tuned for a look at my vacation hauls!