If you love to travel, I bet you can remember your first solo trip. Mine was as a teenager, visiting a friend in Atlanta whose dad worked for Delta. He sent me a “buddy” voucher for a seat to Georgia that was free if I didn’t check a bag. Ever since, I’ve made it my mission to travel as streamlined as possible, whether in the air, by car (I’m frequently driving throughout the South as G&G’s travel editor), or—my new favorite—on an Amtrak train to see my family in central Florida. (I hop on the Silver Meteor in North Charleston, South Carolina, and step out in Winter Park’s old-school and charming downtown station.) And though I don’t pack heavy, these items have proven to be worthy companions on my journeys. I hope they help make your travels a little easier, too.
A few years ago, Yeti released an easy-to-clean, wide-mouthed carry-all that quickly became my go-to grocery hauler, beach tote, and weekend getaway bag. I like this new smaller version even better—it fits comfortably at my feet on a train or plane and stays upright, keeping snacks, my water bottle, and a paperback within easy reach. $130; yeti.com
The crisp sheets from the Alabama cotton company Red Land are in regular rotation at my house, but I’m also a fan of the simplicity and utility of this “Go Anywhere Dress.” The lightweight piece is made of Southern-grown fibers and makes an ideal travel staple; it works as a sundress, pajamas, pool cover-up, or as a soft, breathable base layer. $95; redlandcotton.com
During a trip to Spain a few years ago, I had no extra space to pack the one-of-a-kind ceramics I planned to bring home. I found this simple duffel from Herschel at a surf shop, stuffed it with my fragile finds, and it has since become my favorite carry-on. The size is perfect for a short trip, and even if I check a suitcase for departure, I fold the duffel up inside just in case I stumble upon other souvenirs worthy of special treatment on the return flight. $65; herschel.com
I always pack a small stack of blank cards, such as these blue botanical beauties from Princeton Architectural Press, to use as thank-you notes when I travel. Everybody appreciates an old-school touch of thoughtfulness. It might be a note to a friend hosting lunch, a quick jot to make a great bartender or chef smile, or a tiny bit of reverse hospitality dropped by the desk of an especially helpful concierge or tour guide. $17; papress.com
Toiletries that perform multiple duties are invaluable, so I always pack this coconut cream from the Charleston, South Carolina–based RMS Beauty. It functions as my makeup remover, cleanser, and lip balm, and it’s the best moisturizer I’ve found to combat dry airplane air. Plus, it comes in a small, TSA-friendly no-leak container. $20; rmsbeauty.com
It gives me peace of mind when all the little odds and ends of life—headphones, phone charger, contacts case, Altoids, my favorite bracelet—have a designated home within my travel bag. These handsome leather travel pouches by Virginia’s Moore & Giles come in three different sizes and are an elegant way to keep track of every last necessity. From $60; ggfieldshop.com
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