I’m packing for a trip and I’m wondering:  Do you love packing? Or do you dread the thought?

Do you overpack? Or are you a minimalist?

What are your must haves? What can’t you live without? What’s on your “don’t leave home without it” list?

A year ago, I wrote about packing in a single roll-on bag for four weeks in Europe.  It was freeing and enlightening. I’d definitely do it again because at the end of the day, I just didn’t need all that stuff. 

As I began to gather my favorite traveling duds, I started thinking some of those items might be worth mentioning in a “Favorite Things” blog.  I stumbled on most of them from friendly recommendations or my own trial and error.  I’ll save you some time and share what I discovered and where to find them . . . but only if you’ll tell me about your favorite travel pieces too!

Here are some of mine:

Aquatalia boots

When my friend Ingrid Etzold (ingrid.etzold@nordstrom.com) from Nordstrom Waterside Shops, Naples, FL first suggested these, I thought she was crazy. “Boots? Why would I take boots? I’m packing light!”

Over the years I’ve learned to never doubt Ingrid. These boots are comfortable, waterproof, stylish, and versatile. I wear them on the plane or train so they’re never in my suitcase. My feet are happy in them which makes me happy.  And if it rains? I’m covered! (http://shop.nordstrom.com)


Bose Quiet Comfort 20 Noise Cancelling Headphones

They are small, powerful, block out conversations and jet noise, and are great for listening to your music or videos if you’re not trying to sleep (https://www.bose.com). I bought some for my husband and thought they were so great, I bought a pair for myself.


An Indestructible White Blouse

I prefer a tunic style for the versatility and recommend brands Foxcroft or Lafayette.  It’s the perfect white blouse.


On warm days, roll up the sleeves and pair it with lightweight leggings or cropped pants. On cool days, layer it under a wrap or vest with jeans and boots. Put it over skinny bottoms, add some flats, a scarf, and cool earrings and the French will think you’re one of them. It doubles as a swimsuit cover-up too. And if all that isn’t enough . . . the hotel laundry cannot possibly ruin this shirt. It really is indestructible.



Don’t leave home without one! I have two that I love, love, love. White + Warren’s cashmere travel wrap is perfect around shoulders or to layer under a raincoat or jacket. One of my favorite stores in Michigan,  Threads (www.http://shopthreadsonline.com) has a nice selection.

For a lighter wrap, my friend Clancey turned me on to the Louis Vuitton butterfly square. She warned me that it was pricey. It is. But I finally treated myself to one and have never been disappointed. Fabric is beautiful. Wrap it. Tie it. Fold it up. Instant chic even over a plain black t-shirt.



I have never been an earth mother and I will never be an earth mother. No sense pretending. Wearing a little make-up just makes me feel better.  For me, Trish McEvoy eye shadow base is essential. Use a good brush (MAC are the best) to apply eye shadow over this base and your shadow stays crease-free day into night.  For evening?  Use that eye shadow brush to deepen the color, then add a little blush,  a more intense shade of lipstick and you’re out the door.


Hair – What’s a Girl To Do?

Second to make-up for me (and most women) is the hair issue. I hate to pack a hat because even the uncrushables seem to get crushed no matter how carefully I pack around them.

My solution? I find the first street vendor and buy a cheap, cheap, cheap fedora style hat. If it’s cold and I’m in the city, I head to one of the big box retailers with a men’s department and find a wool or felt hat in the same style. Men’s hats are generally less expensive . . . . probably because men don’t wear hats too much any more . . . and they’re pretty cool!


Cross-body Bags/Purses

For travel, I’m a fan of Tumi bags in all shapes and sizes. They’re made well, unassuming, and the pockets are exactly where they need to be. Bagallini  is another good one. If you’re a bag snob you’ll turn your nose up at both but if you want something that functions well, consider either one.

For a nice little evening clutch, check out B. May bags (http://www.bmaybags.com).  They are made from beautiful leathers in lots of colors and styles. The clutch folds so flat you don’t even have to allow extra space for it in your suitcase. They’re only found in Petoskey, Michigan which makes them even more unique and special.


If the Sun Doesn’t Shine

I’ve looked and looked and I still think there is no better travel outerwear than Patagonia. Two items: the nano puff vest and the torrentshell city coat are my go to’s. Borrow my husband’s trick and roll each piece up tightly, secure with rubber bands and tuck in your suitcase or day bag.

My tip: buy both in the same or complimentary colors. If the weather turns really nasty you can layer the vest under the rain coat, pop the hood, and you’re covered.


Want something more stylish? Go ahead. But for the price and the layering options, good luck finding it. Remember: When you’re wearing this, it’s probably cold, rainy and nasty. Are you really going to care about style at that point??!!


Versatile bottoms

I just discovered my new favorite comfort bottom from Lulu Lemon: the Jet-Crop Luxtreme. It’s good for a yoga class, vigorous walk, or bike ride. It’s slightly tailored without the sweatpants look so believe it or not, you could wear it on the street with a pair of flats or city sneakers, a cute top or jacket and you’d be just as cool as the next person.

Another tip: These are in my carry-on bag for an overnight flight. I change out of my jeans and boots, put on these comfortable bottoms, a loose t-shirt, slippers, an eye mask and say nighty night. Before landing, I freshen up and put on jeans, a fresh top, jacket & boots. I’m certain I feel better than anyone else getting off the plane who hasn’t done the same thing.

That’s my list. What’s on yours? What are your best travel tips, packing tricks, and gotta have ‘em with me items?

Take a second to leave a note and share your favorite things with the rest of us. Won’t you please??