Must-Have Travel Essentials: The Suitcase + Bags You NEED for Your Next Trip

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When I was younger, I used to throw everything in a huge suitcase and go. I’ve learned over the years, though, that the more you compartmentalize things, the easier they are to find. I picked up a new suitcase and some new bags as we were preparing for our trip to the Bahamas that are truly must-have travel essentials.

First up is my new suitcase. It has taken me FOREVER to invest in hardside luggage. Chauncey got a carry-on first, and that’s what convinced me we needed to take the plunge. My biggest considerations for hardside luggage is 1) size and 2) weight. This is the 28″ Samsonite Freeform suitcase and it weighs in at under 10 lbs. It’s relatively lightweight. It also has an expander zipper, which will give you a little extra room if you need it. I went with white, and it made it SO easy to spot on the luggage carousel! The picture above is from my trip–while it had a couple of marks on it, it still looked great at the end of the trip! It’s 20% off this weekend when you use code LETSGO. The carry-on version is also on sale here with the same code. You can find my seashell luggage tag here.

Now, for what bags to put INSIDE the luggage. These are all bags that I carry inside my suitcase or carry-on when traveling.

  1. Vera Bradley Hanging Travel Organizer: I typically just lay this flat in the bottom of my suitcase with nothing in it, then fill it up with my other items once I get there. If you’re not carrying any other water resistant bags, you can fill this up with your hair stuff, etc. to make sure they don’t get all over your clothes.
  2. Sonia Kashuk Square Clutch Makeup Bag: this is the bag on the top left. I hate digging through a makeup bag where you can’t see anything, especially on the tight quarters of a plane (because I always get ready on the flight or at the airpot). This bag is SUCH a good size, and perfect for cosmetics.
  3. Sonia Kashuk TSA Travel Makeup Bag Kit: the latest in travel bags is TSA approved bags for your liquids in your carry-on. I didn’t want to pay a ton of money for one of these, and was thrilled to find this one at a fraction of the cost of others. PLUS it comes with travel size containers you can use, and even a little funnel to help get your product in. For $7.99, this is definitely the BEST travel deal. I just got one for Chauncey too. No more having to search the house for a zip lock bag.
  4. Packing cubes: y’all, why did I wait so long to get packing cubes?! When I went on my girls’ trip in February, both of my friends had packing cubes. It opened my eyes to the fact that I needed a set. They make it so easy for sorting out what you’re packing, and keeping your suitcase neat and tidy. This set comes with 6 pieces, including 4 cubes, a drawstring bag perfect for shoes, and a zipper pouch.
  5. Waterproof phone case (not-pictured): second-best purchase for the trip! These cases fit my iPhone XS Max with case and pop-socket! We got great pictures on our phones while they were in the case. I do recommend following their instructions an doing the tissue test before using. At two for $7.99, you can’t beat it.
  6. Vera Bradley Iconic 4 piece travel set: All 4 of these bags are great to use for a trip, but I always use the large clear bag for haircare (other 3 bags not pictured). That way, I’m not stressing out over something leaking, because it will be contained for the most part. I placed my full-size haircare products in here and then placed it in my luggage. Plus, it’s essentially already organized when I get to my destination, and I can just pop it out on the counter. I just checked, and several patterns are on major sale!

These bags are all must-have travel essentials, and I highly recommend each of them to you. Having the right bags really makes travel so much easier.


Nice to meet you!

Hi there! I’m Tif Fannin, the blogger behind Bright on a Budget, based in Lexington, Kentucky. Bright on a Budget is a Southern fashion and lifestyle blog where I share everyday looks, beauty, and travel, along with a behind-the-scenes look at my life as a working mom of two. I have a penchant for bright colors + good deals. Follow along for posts that are relatable to the everyday woman.

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