We are home from our big trip to Europe and I decided that the year 2023 is the year that I become *that mom* and start getting more organized with our travel. Typically, I just sort of throw items into the bag or haphazardly sort them, but I am NO longer taking that route. Here is the list of my top must-have, mom-approved travel items to become *that mom.*
I will also being doing a separate blog for toddler-approved travel items soon!
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Three characteristics that I am looking for in a carry-on bag: are good, solid wheels, ease of access, and functionality. I ordered this matching luggage set that has one check bag and an incredibly functional carry-on. Not only does it have front access, so you can pull items out that you want accessible without opening the entire bag, but it has inner organization zippers to help keep everything from getting jumbled up. Added bonus? Both the main pocket AND the easy-access front have a TSA-approved lock that keeps unwanted people from accessing your items.
Up next, is THE must-have personal bag. What is one of the top things that ALWAYS weigh down your check bag? SHOES! This personal item-sized bag has a bottom compartment perfect for storing 2-3 pairs of shoes and keeps them separated from your other items. It has interior pockets on both sides (one side is zipped, the other is not), and even fits a 15″ laptop with room to still close. My personal favorite feature about this bag is that the side has a cutout that hooks over your carry-on handle and the entire bag rests perfectly on top of your wheeled carry-on. The cutout also has a zipper serving as an extra pocket that is handy for your phone, a small wallet, boarding passes, and more.
2One thing I learned when running around the airport is that it gets hard to balance holding your phone, plus a drink, plus a personal item, plus my carry-on, so to free up my hands, I grabbed this SUPER affordable velcro beverage holder that slips over the handle of my carry-on bag. It has room for two full-sized beverages as well as a pocket for a phone, passport, etc. Even when we were cruising through the airport, it kept my drinks snug and upright. I will state that this will NOT WORK for a carry-on on bag that you tip when you wheel and an open beverage, but will work with an upright wheeled bag like mine.
Packing Cubes – I know, I know. These seem like such a waste, but honestly they keep me from tossing things around the suitcase and losing everything that I didn’t mean to lose–LOL. Depending on the duration of my trip I will use these one of two ways – I will separate the cubes by article of clothing, or I will take and stack ALL the clothing for each day by outfit, roll them up together, and then place them in packing cubes. Honestly, though, I don’t always know what I am going to wear each day and I am INCREDIBLY indecisive when it comes to how I want to mix and match my outfits, so I tend to use one cube for underwear, one for shirts, one for pants, one for swimsuits, etc.
Makeup Organizer–I have gone back and forth on these for years, I used to always have them and then I got away from them for a long time and I’ve found myself just shoving my makeup back into the travel bags and inevitably something ends up lost, broken, or I just forget what I have. I grabbed this gorgeous makeup organizer off Amazon before our trip and I love that it had different-sized sections, some organizers inside to help keep my stuff from falling all over, and it was super affordable. When we were in Europe, it was also super easy to hang up and then put my makeup items away instead of spreading them out all over the counter.
I am not a huge jewelry person, however, in my pursuit to become *that mom* I decided what little jewelry I take with me when I travel was going to be organized and as such, I loved this cute, elegant zippered jewelry box. It doesn’t store a ton of jewelry, but they do have larger sizes if you travel with lots of options.
As an avid reader, I picked up the new version of the Kindle Paperweight Signature Edition and I LOVED so many things about it. Number one, this version is water-resistant and as someone who enjoys reading in the bath, this was a must. Number two, this also uses a Type-C charger, which is what basically all of our devices now use so it’s convenient to not need to bring an extra charger. I did opt for a larger size so I could download more books for our international flight, but storage was definitely not an issue. I grabbed this super cute case that helps protect it from getting scratched up in my bag and has a magnet in the cover so it doesn’t swing freely when I am using it.
Listen, I know – they look nerdy or tacky or whatever, but this easy-to-store and comfy neck pillow SAVED my neck on our long flights. Even though most of the longer flights gave us pillows, they were small and flimsy and if you fall asleep they fall. This pillow rolls up into a small bag that easily fits in my personal item and it was grooved in all the right places so I could comfortably rest. Even my husband, who doesn’t like having things around his neck, found it to be comfortable enough to catch some ZZZs.
Last, but DEFINITELY not least, rounding out my list of must-have travel accessories is a small, compact digital luggage scale. I am a chronic over-packer and absolutely do not want to pay overweight fees. So this small scale comes with a short strap that wraps around the handle of our bag you lift the bag up and it will tell you what your bag weighs, saving you the hassle of hoping its underweight, weighing it at the airport, and then having to scramble and jumble everything around IF it is overweight. We brought this with us in our carry-on and the peace of mind is totally worth it–plus it’s super affordable.
Thanks for checking out my 2023 must-have travel items to become *that mom* and let me know in the comments if you think that I missed anything!
Lexie Undem ~ The Undem Family Adventures
Lexie this is an excellent list. Good job. I need my carry-on and backpack to travel light….and fast!