Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.
Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.
Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.
The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."
Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."
Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."
Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."
Whenever I travel, leggings are a must. They’re the perfect travel-day outfit, especially when paired with a baggy sweater or long shirt, for a chic but comfortable look. There’s so much to love about a good pair of travel leggings. They’re slimming, they stretch, and they don’t take up tons of room in your suitcase. Plus, should you feel the need to utilize the hotel gym or join a pop-up yoga class, you’ll be ready for a workout.
The Best Travel Leggings
Below I’ve divided the best travel leggings into the three most useful categories for travelers: the best leggings with pockets (to hold your phone and documents), the best leggings to make a fashion statement (to show off your personality), and the best leggings that don’t look like leggings (to travel comfortably incognito).
The sleek cool Speed Up Tight has sweat-wicking fabric and four-way stretch—and four pockets. With two side pockets large enough for your phone and two waistband pockets perfect for tucking away cash, these leggings are a great choice for the active traveler with stuff to carry.
With both mid-rise and high-rise waistband options, Core 10’s Onstride Run Full-Length Leggings are customizable for everyone, and they come equipped with a drawstring for adjustability. The two side-panel pockets and a stylish behind-the-knee mesh detail prove that these travel leggings combine function and fashion.
The High-Waist Cargo Leggings from alo features numerous pockets throughout the leg but are stylish enough to run errands in, and comfortable enough to work out in. They’re also available in multiple colors, such as black, bone, and olive branch.
The Clever Travel Companion leggings pack comfort and security into one ultra-functional pair of pants. These leggings for travel are equipped with two zippered pockets. The first is big enough to hold your phone and passport; the second slightly smaller pocket is still large enough to fit your credit cards and keys.
With blocks of navy and black, the 3/4 Two-Tone Warmup Leggings are chic while still maintaining an athletic look, which makes them great for both the airplane and a jogging trail. The material is sturdy, comfortable, and opaque, so you won’t have to worry about anything showing through. If you’re a big fan of the color block style, make sure to check out the Outdoor Voice’s tri-colored Zoom Leggings, too.
Up for some serious adventure or maybe just a day hike, but want cute leggings that still work? Sturdier than the average yoga pants, the PFG Tidal™ Leggings will perform well in the great outdoors. Made of moisture-wicking and UPF 50 sun-protecting fabric, these travel leggings are smooth to the touch and even include a large pocket on the side.
For a fashion statement that’s extra comfortable and eco-friendly, the Trail Compressive High-Rise Leggings from Girlfriend Collective really deliver, and come in a slew of gorgeous colors. Made from 25 recycled water bottles, sizes also range from XXS to 6XL, so there is truly something for everyone.
If your flair is a little more bohemian, check out these high-waist lounge pants for a fashionably daring set of pants that are just as comfortable and flattering as any pair of leggings. They’re affordable, available in lots of different patterns, and fabulous for flying.
If you want to make sure you’re maintaining a little class while staying comfortable on your flight, check out the Dress Pant Yoga Pants from Betabrand. Made of comfortable, stretchable material, they’re totally chic. I love that they come in multiple colors and are perfect for a business-casual look.
If you need jeans to complete an outfit, but dread the discomfort of wearing denim on a long-haul flight, get yourself a pair of jeggings like Wit & Wisdom’s Jeggings, made of lightweight stretch denim that can be worn around the city or to a casual dinner. No one will ever know the difference.
Sport a lean silhouette with an edge with these super-stretchy faux-leather and faux-jeans leggings from Blank NYC. These flattering jet black jeggings are also very comfortable and will go a long way in your travel wardrobe.
With what they’re charging for bottled water at the airport these days, nobody should be traveling without their own water bottle. However, it’s fair to be a bit wary of drinking from the tap, especially when you’re traveling to a place that doesn’t have a great reputation for clean water. This is why filtered water bottles make the most sense for travelers.
Filtered water bottles can be a little more expensive than regular reusable bottles and may involve a little more maintenance, but they’re worth it for the peace of mind you’ll have with every sip. Here are some of my favorite water bottles with filters for traveling.
If you’re the kind of person who would buy a filtered water bottle but never get around to changing the filters, a LARQ could be the bottle for you. Instead of filters, this bottle purifies water using a UV-LED light hidden in the cap. The light is powerful enough to kill germs, and the same kind of light is even used in hospitals to disinfect surfaces. The best part? It’s as easy to charge as your phone, with a universal charging port that will plug into any USB port.
Fans of Brita, rejoice: You can take the 36387 Premium Water Filter Bottle on the road. The 26-ounce bottle is sleek enough to slip easily into car drink holders. The BPA-free hard plastic bottle has a carrying loop and an enclosed straw for ease of use. The chlorine-reducing filter improves the taste of tap water, and the filters are easy to replace.
Glass isn’t necessarily travel-friendly, but at the same time, every drink tastes better when you’re drinking it from a glass. Why else would airlines go the extra mile to use them when serving their first-class customers? If you like glass but are worried about it breaking, check out The Escape, a glass water bottle that is protected by a silicon sleeve and uses a multi-stage filtration process to keep your water clean and tasting good.
The Kiddo is a filtered water bottle designed with kids in mind. From its fun design to its wide-flow straw, which makes it easier for kids to use, this is a great choice for parents who want their kids to carry their own water bottle. The filters are also interchangeable with those of other Epic Water Filters bottles, so you can stock up for the whole family.
If you will be spending time outdoors and might need to drink from a fresh water source, consider the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier. With its press-down filter design, this travel water bottle can filter sediment as well as chemicals like chlorine without leaving an aftertaste.
LifeStraw is one of the most trusted brands for water filters. Its LifeStraw Go bottle has a heavy-duty filter built in, making it super easy to filter your water on the go. It is also available with a one- or two-stage filter, so you can choose the one that fits best for the trip you’re planning.
If you have an affinity for stainless steel water bottles, The Outback might be the best choice for you. With an easy-grip design and a non-slip rubber base, this is a sturdy water bottle with a filter that will last. You can use it on the road or at home to purify both tap water and natural water.
Whether you’re going camping or building a disaster kit, the Seychelle Water Filter Bottle is a good addition to your arsenal. Its super strong filter removes everything from bacteria to agricultural run-off, so you can be 100 percent sure the water you’re drinking is safe. It’s a squeeze bottle, but it’s made of durable plastic material.
On the newest smartphones and other electronic devices, headphone jacks seem to be an endangered species. As more and more companies ditch the jack in favor of Bluetooth connection, it’s time to get with the program. If you’re wary of change, know that a pair of wireless headphones will simplify the way you travel: As you walk through the airport, along the beach, or on the trail, you’ll fall in love with the freedom of not having a cord tie you to your devices.
Wireless headphones come in all different models and price points. Here are some of the best options for every travel budget.
If you prefer the subtlety of earbuds but worry about wireless earbuds getting easily lost, check out the SoundPEATS True Wireless Earbuds. Each pair of earbuds comes with its own charging case that can charge the earbuds up to 10 times before the case needs to be recharged. The earbuds come with different sized ear tips to fit a variety of ears comfortably.
If you want to connect to your music in style, Marshall, the iconic amp-maker touted by all your favorite rock stars, also makes wireless headphones. The recently released Marshall Major III headphones are extremely comfortable and convenient for travel since they include a cord to transform them back into a regular non-wireless pair of headphones. This is extremely handy should you find yourself on a long-haul flight unable to connect wirelessly to the in-flight entertainment system.
If you like the idea of wireless headphones but don’t really like the way they feel or look, check out the Wireless Headphone Hat. This beanie doubles as a pair of Bluetooth headphones that can sync to your phone, so you can stay cozy without missing your tunes.
These wireless earbuds from Yevo are extremely comfortable and secure, which makes them great for working out or on your more rigorous travel days. The carrying and charging case is also very portable and these earbuds are equipped with HD premium sound, so you won’t miss out on quality.
For a more affordable pair of wireless headphones that still deliver sound quality and long battery life, check out the JLab JBuddies, which have 13 hours of battery life and fold up to for portability. Sized to fit kids, but great for smaller adults as well, these wireless headphones feature memory-foam cushion, which provides comfort on a long flight.
If you like the idea of wireless, but really worry about dropping your wireless headphones and losing them, check out these wireless, but not 100-percent-cordless pair of earbuds like Jaybirds. Connected by a wire, you can enjoy a wireless workout without the anxiety of losing an earbud.
If you don’t think a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds can make it through your workout, the RunPhone Wireless will give you the confidence that your headphones aren’t going anywhere. Though it looks like a regular sweat-band, there are hidden speakers that let you listen to music wirelessly.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line pair of wireless headphones to get you through a long-haul flight, try the 1000XM2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones from Sony. With high-resolution audio quality, 30 hours of battery life, and a noise-cancelling profile made just for the in-flight experience, these wireless headphones are worth the high price if you crave a quiet flight.
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
Whether you’re going through security, hiking up a mountain, or exploring a new city, there’s one essential item you should take everywhere: a good water bottle. Anyone who has ever paid too much for bottled water at the airport knows how convenient and cheap it is to bring your own water bottle and fill it up after passing security. But not all water bottles are created equal. Some leak, others are too bulky, and some are just plain ugly. Below are some of the best water bottles to keep you happy and hydrated on your travels.
The Kor Nava is a stylish bottle that filters water through a built-in straw and replaceable filter. With a sleek design and a comfortable handle that makes it easy to carry, this water bottle is great for walking around a big city or waiting it out at the airport. The click-open cap ensures that the bottle won’t leak in your bag and protects the straw from outside contaminants.
If you’re tight on space, the Element Anti-Bottle from Vapur is a convenient solution. When empty, it’s totally flat and easy to roll up into a very small package. And because it’s so flexible, it’s easy to pack even when it’s full of water. The spout is covered by a cap that will keep your water free from dirt. Despite its appearance, the bottle is extremely durable, dishwasher-friendly, and BPA-free.
If you’re worried about the drinking water in your destination, you can save money on bottled water with the self-cleaning LARQ Bottle. LARQ uses UV-C LED technology to sanitize water as you go, killing bacteria with a powerful ultraviolet light. Simply fill up the bottle, press the button on the cap, and give it a shake. At $95, the LARQ is on the pricier side for a water bottle, but having safe water to drink is worth the investment for frequent travelers.
S’well makes fashionable bottles that promise to keep your cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12. The bottles come in a multitude of designs, perfect for every personality, and though they’re on the pricier side, some of the proceeds go to charity.
If you’re going to be spending time outdoors, this metal canteen is durable enough to survive the most rugged adventures. Its slim design will fit easily into your backpack, and insulated siding helps keep drinks cold or hot. Made of steel, this is a tough bottle that’s sure to last.
This collapsible water bottle is made of a durable silicone material, which makes it leak-proof but also very flexible. For easy storage, roll it up and secure with the rubber strap. The sleek bottle also comes at a fair price.
Forget sightseeing, walking tours, and signing up for adventures you don’t have the energy for. It’s time for vacation to mean vacation again, and there’s no better way to escape completely than by taking a trip to a spa—preferably one in the middle of nowhere. These days, the only way to truly relax is to get off the grid and emphasize in your out-of-office message that you’ve set off for somewhere where the Wi-Fi is “very limited.”
If you’re looking for a vacation where no one can bother you, check out these luxurious and far-flung spa getaways and their most delectable treatments.
Naia Resort and Spa in Placencia, Belize
Although Belize is closer to the U.S. than most people think (just a two-hour flight from Miami), you’ll need to take another short flight on either Tropic Air or Maya Island Air to get to the Naia Resort and Spa in the small city of Placencia. The hotel itself is lovely on its own, located on a wild beach lined with ocean-view studios and villas, but the spa hidden away on a private lagoon is what makes this resort really worth the trip. Perched over a lily pad-speckled pond, each treatment room has a private deck perfect for enjoying the spa’s quiet serenity. You can book a treatment whether or not you’re staying at the resort, and you’ll also have day access to the spa’s pool area.
Top Treatment: The Maya Cacao and Cinnamon Wrap is one of Naia’s most famous and delicious treatments. Your body will be exfoliated with a mix of dark chocolate, brown sugar, and hydrating coconut oil, and then wrapped in warm towels to infuse. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to becoming a chocolate brownie.
dipiu at Hotel Giardino in Ascona, Switzerland
The Hotel Giardino is “located where the Alps meet Italy’s lemon trees” and is home to the dipiu Spa. Named for the Italian phrase “a little more,” you’ll be wanting a lot more when you see the facilities like the indoor pool and lovely treatment rooms. In the small town of Ascona, right on Lake Maggiore, the hotel offers a peaceful atmosphere halfway between the busy financial centers of Zurich and Milan.
Top Treatment: You can’t go wrong with the Fusion Stone Massage, a treatment that blends classic massage techniques with hot stones and aromatherapy.
Forest Spa at the Bwindi Lodge in Uganda
If you want the adventure of a lifetime and a remote spa getaway all in one trip, it’s time to think about Uganda. At the Bwindi Lodge, when you sign up for a gorilla trek, you’ll also receive a complimentary 30-minute massage upon your return. You can choose to have your treatment in the spa or in your room. There are eight private bandas, or bungalows, for guests, each with its own luxury shower, sitting area, and terrace overlooking the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Top Treatment: Try the African Rungu Massage, which uses a rungu, a Maasai throwing club carved out of eucalyptus wood. This treatment uses long strokes and deep pressure to reduce soreness and improve blood circulation.
Maya Spa at Azulik in Tulum, Mexico
On a secluded beach in Tulum at the adults-only, eco-friendly resort of Azulik, the Maya Spa offers spiritually inspired treatments meant to reinvigorate your mind and body. From sound-bathing and biomagnetism to massages and facials, you’ll find the perfect treatment to suit your physical and emotional needs—whether you’re looking to relax or rejuvenate.
Top Treatment: For vitality, try the Ancient Traditional Massage. Using traditional Mayan techniques, this full-body massage utilizes lemons and herbs to detox your body, as well as cupping to help restore balance and give you more energy.
KurSpa at the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, British Columbia
If you want to get away to somewhere quiet but don’t want to stray too far, check out the Sparkling Hill Resort, one of the most luxurious spa getaways you can get, where the 40,000-square foot-spa is the height of luxury. This wellness resort is owned by the Swarovski family and decked out in beautiful crystals everywhere you look, from the large chandeliers in the lobby to the decorative details in the guest rooms. At the spa, you have all the basic spa treatments available, as well as the opportunity to visit the Wellness Clinic, which customizes treatments for guests to address issues like chronic pain, inflammation, and slowing the aging process.
Top Treatment: For something on the colder side, test out the KurSpa’s three-chamber approach to cryotherapy. Guests pass through a series of chambers that get progressively colder. The cold treatment boosts the nervous and circulatory systems and is effective for treating arthritis, multiple sclerosis, blunt joint trauma, sleep disorders, and more.
The Arctic Bath in Harads, Sweden
The trendy Arctic Bath is a floating spa that made waves when it opened in 2018. In Harads, Sweden, this timber- and ice-inspired building will feature four saunas, a pool, outdoor showers, and overnight lodging in rooms featuring large skylight windows for appreciating the northern lights in the winter months.
Top Treatment: The Arctic Bath might not be open yet, but there’s no way you won’t be able to get a classic Swedish massage when it does. Is there any place better in the world to get a Swedish massage than floating on a lake in Sweden underneath the northern lights?
Jawa Juu Spa in Pacuare, Costa Rica
At the Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica, Jawa Juu is a spa where you can experience the rainforest all around you. Treatments are inspired by the ancient traditions of the indigenous Cabecar culture, and the spa offers a menu of holistic massages, reiki, and rituals that combine aromatherapy, sound therapy, and yoga. Jawa Juu’s wellness philosophy has been instilled with all things restorative with an emphasis on using local materials.
Top Treatment: Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, so while you’re staying at the Pacuare Lodge don’t miss a chance to try the Invigorating Coffee Exfoliation. After the coffee bean rub leaves your skin silky smooth, the infusion of orange-essence body cream will have you feeling fresh and renewed.
Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain in Chengdu, China
Settled in view of the majestic Qing Cheng Mountains in China near the city of Dujiangyan, Six Senses is a decadent spa retreat with beautiful suites and villas. No trip to Six Senses is complete without a visit to the spa, where the architectural design of the facilities matches the natural beauty of the mountains. Every treatment is incorporated “with the purity of Taoism” and uses a variety of holistic therapies personalized to guest needs.
Top Treatment: While in China, treat yourself to the Bamboo Massage. This treatment uses different types of bamboo sticks to apply firm pressure to your back, legs, and arms. At Six Senses, it is followed by a face massage that will reduce signs of fatigue.
SpaTerre on Little Palm Island, Florida
Florida might be the last place you think of as remote, but in order to get to Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, you’ll need a seaplane. Located on an exclusive island in the Florida Keys, SpaTerre is inspired by Balinese spa treatments and Thai rituals.
Top Treatment: Order the Madrugada Water Massage for a blissful experience you’ll never forget. With your massage table located right in the water, you’ll be surrounded by the sounds and smells of the ocean while receiving a customized massage that makes use of seashells. Note that this massage is only available in the morning and when weather conditions are suitable.
Passport wallets are more than just protective cases for your most important travel document. When done right, a good passport holder is a tool for protecting and organizing all your important travel documents.
Henley Fox Passport Holder
For serious organization, you need a passport holder like this one from Henley Fox. This passport wallet has multiple compartments that can hold both passports and credit cards, and also has room for your boarding pass and a smartphone. All of this is zipped up in a lightweight and stylish RFID-blocking case that comes with an adjustable wrist strap. This is a great passport holder for any traveler with a lot to protect.
BAGSMART Passport Holder and Document Organizer
If you need a passport wallet that will keep you organized without cramping your style, the BAGSMART Passport Holder is a great option. Slim and minimalistic, it’s got navy, black, or gray anti-rip fabric on the outside and plenty of compartments on the inside. This passport organizer is also lined with RFID-blocking fabric so you know your information will be protected.
If you’re going out on the water for the day but you don’t want to leave your passport behind, this waterproof passport cover is a great way to keep it safe from potential water damage. The triple seal creates an airtight enclosure that will protect your possessions up to 32 feet under water. Available in multiple colors, the best part of this passport holder is that it is also touch-screen friendly so you can still operate your smartphone while it’s in the bag.
Venture 4th Neck Wallet and Passport Holder
If you feel more comfortable keeping objects tucked away in a hidden money wallet, the Venture 4th Neck Wallet is a functional way to secure your passport, phone, and other valuables. With plenty of colors to choose from and a sleek, lie-flat design that can be worn under or over your clothes, this is the best passport holder for the cautious traveler.
Zero Grid Family Passport Holder
If you’re the person in charge of knowing where everyone’s travel documents are, you’re going to need an organizer like the Zero Grid Family Passport Holder. With room for six passports, 10 cards, and a mini-pen always at the ready, this is the perfect master organizer for large group travel in a package that’s not cumbersome to carry.
For fashionistas, the Gallaway Leather Travel Wallet combines style with organization. It holds two passports and nine cards, and easily transforms into a cute clutch bag that you can use for a night out on the town.
Tory Burch Leather Passport Holder
Looking for a cute passport holder? Consider a sleek Tory Burch passport holder like this one. Not just a passport holder, it also has a secure pocket on the back exterior that’s the perfect place to stash a credit card or cash.
Phone-Charging Passport Holder with Power Bank
This is the passport cover for the traveler who wants it all—a stylish, durable place to store their passport, cash, cards, and smartphone. Plus, this cool case includes a built-in charger that’s compatible with most smartphones. The lightweight holder also blocks RFID signals. It comes in various color options with travel-inspired notes etched on the front—like “Adventure Awaits,” “Up and Away,” and “Take Me Anywhere.” A plain option with “Passport” on the front is also available.
Zoppen Multi-Purpose RFID Blocking Travel Passport Wallet
What’s cool about this passport case is that you can also use it in your everyday routine—it acts as a wallet with space for credit cards, cash, and your driver’s license, plus a slot for your passport or, when you’re not traveling, other odds and ends. It’s a wallet and passport case in one, and it comes in just about every color imaginable.
Luxsure Family Passport Holder with Hand Strap
Planning an international trip with kids? This case can easily stash the whole family’s important documents. With space for up to four passports, it can also hold credit cards and cash and has a zippered pocket that’s perfect for coins. Your smartphone can be placed in a pocket on the case’s exterior for easy access. This passport holder has a wrist strap and zippers for secure protection.
The same company that makes your durable luggage has an equally durable product for your passport: the Samsonite Travel Wallet. The simple black case stores up to five credit cards, cash, folded boarding passes, and two passports. At less than $15, the price is right, too.
GDTK Leather Passport Holder
This leather passport holder from GDTK is elegant, simple, and functional. With RFID protection stitched in, it’s a great travel wallet for keeping the personal information stored in your passport’s and credit card’s RFID chips safe from hackers.
When you’re traveling light, your travel wallet has to do double duty as your regular wallet, and this passport clutch is perfect for any occasion. Large enough to hold your passport, it also comes with RFID protection. With plenty of card holders, pockets, a pen holder, and even a clip to attach a key, this multi-functional and cute organizer is the full package.
Wanderings Leather RFID-Blocking Travel Wallet
This elegant but compact RFID-blocking wallet from Wanderings might seem too thin to be effective, but it’s big enough to hold your passport, cash, and credit cards, all in one sleek package.
Valante Family Document Organizer
This family-sized organizer is great for keeping multiple people’s passport, tickets, and money safe and zipped way. Its slim, portable design makes it easy to keep track of everyone’s documents with multiple spacious pockets.
Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Passport Case
A Michael Kors passport holder will add a touch of class to your travel accessories. This travel wallet has six credit card slots, a slip pocket for your passport, and a couple of other pockets for cash or travel documents.
Why settle for a wallet that looks like everyone else’s when you can have your own personalized passport holder? Seller LightyTavy on Amazon will put your name and a customized charm onto a PU leather passport cover available in a variety of colors.
Looking for Our Favorite Footwear for the Season? Check Out Allbirds
For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.
When you travel a lot, it’s natural to develop habits that work for you. For me, the few days before a trip tend always to follow the same pattern: I review my itinerary, make a mental list of what I want to pack, plan accordingly, and make my bed before I leave the house. Unfortunately, I’ve also developed a few bad travel habits along the way.
Bad Travel Habits and How to Quit Them
One habit that’s proven particularly hard to break is refusing to splurge on cabs when I’ll be out all day. Because I try to walk everywhere to save money, my feet are the ones paying the price at the end of the day.
We’ve all got our bad travel habits, but the good news is that you can break them with a little bit of effort. Whether you’re a workaholic walker like me or a packing procrastinator, here are some ways to break even your most persistent travel habits.
Not Learning Basic Vocabulary
If you frequently land in a new country and realize you never learned how to say hello or thank you, you’re probably with familiar with how silly it makes you feel. Learning new languages is difficult and might not seem worth it if you’re passing through many different countries or staying for a short amount of time, but knowing the basics can make all the difference when it comes to how comfortable you feel and how well you connect with local people.
Solution: Of course, there are plenty of language apps and tutorials you can use to learn a language, but there’s an easier solution if you don’t think you’ll have time to practice. Instead, make it a point to look up the basic words of the new language at least once before your trip and write them down. Keep them somewhere handy, like saved on a note on your phone, and when you get there, you’ll have them at your fingertips.
Booking at the Last Minute
You can tell yourself that you’re waiting for the prices to drop, but unless you’re very flexible, that can backfire: The longer you wait, the fewer options you’ll have. Whether you’re booking flights, accommodation, or a tour, you’re almost always better off booking well in advance and having everything organized before your trip.
Solution: If you still want to hold out for low rates, set a “book by” date for yourself at least a week or two before you leave for your trip. Consider it a self-imposed deadline and do whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable. I like to schedule my personal deadlines into my calendar to make them feel more official.
Not Giving Yourself Enough Time to Pack
If you’ve got packing problems, it’s likely you’re a repeat procrastinator. This is one of the most common travel habits and it can be tough to break when life is busy. If packing lists have no effect on you, there’s one thing you can do that you probably have to do anyway.
Solution: A few days before you leave, do your laundry. Instead of putting your clothes away in your closet, pack the fresh clothes right into your suitcase. Not only will this ensure that the clothes you wear most often are fresh and clean, but it will also help you get a start on planning your outfits before and during your trip. After you put in your first load, pull out your luggage and start researching the essential items for your destination.
Packing More Than You Need
If you’re a chronic overpacker, you’ve probably had your fair share of struggles with the check-in luggage scale and bags that just won’t close. You might think you need to take advantage of your airline’s full luggage allowance, but the truth is you shouldn’t be filling up your luggage just because you can.
Solution: Use a smaller suitcase. Take into account how long you’ll be traveling and how many of your outfits can be reused, and then find the appropriately sized luggage for the length of your trip. You’d be surprised how little you’ll need.
Not Splurging When You Should
This one varies from traveler to traveler, but everyone has that one thing they hate to spend money on. Personally, I’m very stubborn when it comes to paying for cabs or public transportation and often choose walking instead. The downside of this is that I’m often too tired to enjoy a night out or I suffer from aching feet. For others, being too stubborn to spend might mean booking accommodation far from the center of town or missing out on a special food because it’s a little pricey.
Solution: Give yourself a budget to splurge. This small act of premeditation can make a huge difference in your travel experience. Knowing you’ll have a little money set aside to live a little will help you feel more comfortable spending spontaneously. Remember, this should be a set budget totally separate from your emergency fund to remove any guilt you might have.
Not Learning the Exchange Rate Ahead of Time
If this is one of your bad travel habits, you’ve probably found yourself wondering over and over again if you’re paying a fair price whenever you’re confronted with a new currency.
Solution: Keep a currency exchange app on your phone. Take out all the uncertainty at the cash register by keeping a reference ready. What’s great about the apps is that they are constantly updating, which means you’ll always know the most recent rate.
Ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? It’s probably because you’re signing on for too much. When you’ve only got a set number of days somewhere, it’s tempting to try and do it all, but that’s no reason to treat your vacation like one long to-do list.
Solution: Make peace with not being able to see everything. And if you can’t do that, make a list, identify your priorities, and book only those priorities. Leave everything else up to the moment. Trust me: That cooking class probably won’t seem like such a good idea after you’ve actually completed the three-hour walking tour.
Travel puts our bodies through a lot, whether we’re stifling our circulation on long flights or shocking our digestive systems with new foods. Staying healthy isn’t just about avoiding junk food (though that helps). Certain foods known as “superfoods” are packed with vitamins and other health benefits that can prevent some of the worst travel symptoms. Incorporating any of these superfoods into your diet before and during travel will ensure that you’ll have a healthier and happier trip—and keep you feeling good between vacations, too.
Nothing ruins a trip like getting sick, which is why you’ll want to get in the habit of asking for water with lemon. Because lemons are rich in vitamin C, they act as an immune booster that can help you ward off fevers and colds.
Anyone who’s spent a long day sightseeing while simultaneously fighting jet lag after a transatlantic flight with no sleep knows how tiring traveling can be. To prepare for long and exhausting travel days, you can fill up on beets to boost your stamina.
Ginger reduces inflammation, helps with digestion, and fights nausea. Whether you incorporate ginger into your meals or just treat yourself to a cup of tea before bed, keeping this super root around is a good idea.
If you’re feeling nauseous or suffering from digestion troubles, peppermint is a great way to fight back. Like ginger you can drink it as tea, or you can take peppermint oil capsules to relieve nausea. Bonus: Peppermint can freshen your breath as well.
When you’re trying a lot of new and foreign foods, indigestion is never far away, which is why yogurt is a useful food to combat an unhappy stomach. Yogurt is filled with good bacteria that supports a healthy digestive system.
These tart little berries are the perfect snack to keep in your travel bag, especially when you have some long days ahead of you. Goji berries are a natural source of energy and also help ward off sickness by boosting your immune system.
Related to the ginger plant, it’s no surprise that turmeric is a healthy and powerful spice. It not only supports your immune system, but also can help with arthritis pain. Consider drinking it as a tea or adding the spice to your meals.
A good tote bag is one of the most versatile tools in a traveler’s packing arsenal. Travel totes can hold all your stuff, fit pretty much anywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes to suit your style. Plus, if you need to push the envelope on how big your personal item can be, there’s no better bag to rock than a travel tote bag. Here are some of my favorite tote bags for travel that will totally come in handy on your next trip.
The Everywhere Bag from Away is the perfect carry-all for your Carry-On, with a modern silhouette and thoughtful features that keep what you need at hand. This bag is designed to slide over the handle of any suitcase (or slide onto your shoulder) and is made with a water-resistant nylon that can stand up to anything—and look good doing it.
Puffy bags like the Sutton Shoulder Tote are not just for show; they blend function and fashion by offering your items a little extra protection. This travel tote is the best choice for the traveler who isn’t checking a bag and needs to fit stuff a few more pieces of clothing in their personal item.
Osprey’s Arcane Tote delivers dual functionality, with both comfortable tote straps and padded, comfortable tuck-away backpack straps for two ways to carry. The top-zip main compartment can be made even more secure with a roll-and-fold closure, and interior organizational pockets (including a padded laptop sleeve, document sleeve, and key-stash pocket) keeps belongings in place. Made from recycled bottles, the tote comes in a range of great colors.
If you’re packing as much as possible into your personal item, the Catalina Deluxe Weekender Bag from Lo & Sons will have your back on everything from weekend trips to week-long vacations. Lightweight and super functional, it has a place for your laptop, shoes, and more with plenty of color options to choose from.
For another choice when shopping for a convertible travel tote bag, the Totepack from Amber & Ash has function (organizational pockets and convertible straps) and style (multiple colors and leather handles) all in one. It is also super lightweight and made from a water-resistant and durable material.
Nylon is an incredibly useful material for travel bags, but unless it’s designed thoughtfully, it doesn’t always look great. Longchamp’s Le Pliage Tote is a great example of how to do nylon right. It is waterproof and folds flat without wrinkling, so you can rock the signature style of a Longchamp.
Whether you’re away for the weekend or for any other amount of time, this weekender bag is here to make your trip as easy as can be. It’s got plenty of space for the essentials, a detachable mesh pouch inside (that you can fold the whole bag into for easy storage), and a sleeve on the back for a luggage handle that makes it the ideal carry-on.
No matter how much you love the beach, there’s nothing worse than finding sand at the bottom of your tote bag long after the fun in the sun has ended. Rather than pack an extra beach bag, opt for CG Gear’s Sand-Free Tote IV. It addresses the sand issue with a mesh bottom that will keep the extra debris out, and is cute enough to use throughout your trip.
A modern travel tote for the fashionista, the Birdie 43 Tote from Jemma is a beautiful vegan handbag that fits your 13″ laptop, shower essentials, change of clothes, plus anything from boxing gloves to your dance shoes—and maybe even both. The bottom shoe compartment (holds two pairs of shoes) has a mesh strip for ventilation to ensure your clothes and smelly shoes will be able to air out properly. Also included are a cosmetics case and laundry bag, and there’s a zipper pocket on the back that becomes a trolley sleeve.
Traveling on business? You’ll need a business travel tote you can take straight from the plane into your big meeting. The Nylon Business Tote from Tumi is a waterproof and stain-resistant bag that makes a strong impression with a clean and straight design. Plus, the exterior sleeve lets you easily attach it to the handle of your wheeled luggage.
For a tote bag with a classic look, check out the Waterproof Tote from Rains. With multiple compartments, including a padded pocket for your tablet, this fashionable tote will keep you organized on the go and in any weather.
Express your personality with the spacious Iconic Vera Tote. Available in multiple colors and patterns, this large tote bag is great for travelers who tend to overpack their personal item. Plus, its padded exterior will offer your belongings a little extra protection from bumps and drops.
For an elegant and expensive-feeling (but affordable) tote, the Preston Leather Tote Bag is a great option. Its design is simple, but with three pockets and plenty of room for miscellaneous items, it’s got built-in functionality. The straps are also extra-long, which makes it more comfortable to wear over your shoulder for long periods of time.
If you’re just looking for a straightforward tote bag, the Vintage Leather Tote from S-Zone is a simple and functional option. It has two compartments big enough to hold your devices and other items, is made of sturdy leather, and has lots of pockets for keeping organized.
An elegant travel tote available in basic colors and fun patterns, the Dagne Dover Legend Tote is a functional work bag that can hold a 15-inch laptop and a pair of shoes at the same time. It’s designed for long days, which means it will be the perfect companion for travel.
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Instagram@jamieditaranto.
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Having a good backpack for your travels is vital—whether you’re rocking the stylish underseat laptop carrier on your way to a business conference or swaggering through a European train station with a monstrous 60-liter pack holding all your worldly possessions. Travelers in search of a good travel backpack need something that will keep them organized and can stand up to the most rigorous of travel days. Most importantly, they need a backpack that will keep up with the times.
Modern Travel Backpacks for an Updated Life
As technology advances, so do backpacks. With more space for our gear and new ways to organize our arsenal of devices, chargers, and must-have accessories, the following new and modern travel backpacks will update the way you travel.
This two-in-one backpack was made for the traveler on the move. The Osprey Ozone Duplex 65L is a large and spacious backpack that splits into two bags—one daypack, equipped with plenty of organizational pockets and room to carry a 15-inch laptop and a long weekend’s worth of clothing; and a detachable “cargo bag” that adds a lot more space and comes fitted with compression straps to pack it all in. While transforming backpacks aren’t a new invention, I love how extra comfortable and small this carry-on size bag feels, and how there are pockets hidden in all corners of the bag.
Just because you don’t need a huge backpack for your short trip doesn’t mean that you should forgo a backpack that will keep your organized. The Setout Divide Backpack from Tortuga is a fashionable choice for the digital nomad. With a slim and easy-to-reach pocket for your laptop and other gear, plus a luggage compartment that expands from 26 to 34 liters, this backpack can hold as much or as little as you’d like.
Living up to its modern look, the Clickpack Pro from Korin is intelligently designed, with multiple internal pockets that can be removed and reconfigured to best fit your needs. With anti-theft and weight reduction systems, you can wear this backpack comfortably and feel secure with the TSA-approved zipper-lock, retractable wire-lock, and slash-proof fabric. The Clickpack Pro opens up all the way to lay flat, making it easy to grab and find items. It also features a built-in USB wire to more easily charge your devices. Note: this backpack does not include a lithium battery, just the charging cord.
If you’re traveling for a business meeting, you probably don’t want to squish your suit or other easy-to-wrinkle garments in a compression backpack. To keep things professional and wrinkle-free, check out the Roll-up Suit & Garment Backpack. It may seem like a one-trick-pony compared to the other do-it-all backpacks on this list, but this specialty travel backpack does its job well, and ensures that your special-occasion clothing arrives at your destination wrinkle-free.
If you love backpacks but haven’t found the right one to suit your style, take a look at the CLUCI Backpack Tote. This chic leather handbag transforms into a backpack and is spacious enough to hold your day-to-day accessories. The tablet sleeve can accommodate any tablet or small laptop, and the included straps transform this travel backpack into a satchel or tote. Available in a slew of colors, the CLUCI will go nicely with any travel outfit.
Nomatic’s Travel Pack is a sleek-looking travel backpack that starts at 20 liters and can be expanded to 30 liters. With plenty of hidden pockets and a strap system that lets you transform the bag into a briefcase, this minimalist bag maximizes functionality. It also has practical bonus features like a removable sunglass shell and magnetic water bottle pockets to keep your water bottle from falling out.
You’ve probably seen Away’s sleek carry-ons rolling through the airport before, but new from Away is The Backpack, a simple and chic travel backpack. It’s small, but with three easy-to-access compartments, this backpack makes the most of its size. As a personal item, this bag packs a punch.
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the U.S. State Department is encouraging potential visitors to reconsider all travelabroad. Read more here for updates on the situation and information on when it might be safe to travel again to destinations like the ones below.
No trip to Brazil is complete without a trip to at least one of its beautiful beaches, but with over 7,000 miles of coastline, you’ll need to find the beach that’s right for you. Some people like to swim in the waves, others want to stay as still as humanly possible as they get their tan on, and many of us fall somewhere in between. Here are the best beaches in Brazil for every type of personality.
Rio de Janeiro: The Olympian
Rio de Janeiro was host to the summer 2016 Olympics, but even when the city is not in an Olympic year, Rio de Janeiro is all about movement. If you want to jog along the Atlantic or maybe find a pick-up game of volleyball or futebol on the sand, Rio is the place to be. And as you explore the city along the shore, you’ll find outdoor gymnasiums where you can tone your muscles while you tan.
Even if you’re not the type of person who packs their running shoes on every vacation, you’ll still want to stay close to the beach to appreciate the beauty of the city and, maybe, be lucky enough to witness some prime Olympic eye-candy in training.
Grumari: The Day-Tripper
Only an hour from the crowds of Copacabana in Rio, the beach town of Grumari has less than 200 inhabitants. The Atlantic forests and its mountains meet the sea, making the neighborhood a panorama like no other, making it the perfect day trip from Rio. How to get there? A tour company, like SouthAmerica.travel, will bring travelers to Grumari’s off-the-beaten-path beaches inaccessible by car—including Praia do Perigoso, Praia do Fundo, Praia do Inferno and Praia do Meio. On the way back to Rio, guests stop at a traditional seafood restaurant for famous dishes like Moquca de peixe (a Brazilian saltwater fish stew) and pastel de camarão (shrimp pastry).
São Sebastião: The Adventurer
If you’re looking for nature in Brazil, São Sebastião is renowned not only for its tranquil and clean beaches like Juquei and Camburi but also for its thick jungles and trails. Take the ferry across the channel to explore the island of Ilhabela. Once you’re there, it’s best to sign on for a jeep tour in order to ride the one road that will take you through the mountains to the other side of the island, where you’ll find the beautiful and remote Bonete Beach. Nearby hiking trails lead to stunning waterfalls like Cachoiera do Gato pictured above.
Guaruja: The Beach Bum
Among the most popular beaches for native Brazilians, Guaruja and the nearby city of Santos are great spots for travelers who want to sit back, beer in hand, and enjoy the ocean. With plenty of bars and snack-shops right on the sand—with vendors plying—you’ll never need to stray far from your towel. Because in Guaruja, everything comes to you. This beach-shopping culture is common throughout Brazil, and here you’ll see it in full effect as people stroll by selling everything from peanuts by the handful to horse rides. Praia de Enseada is the city’s main stretch, but if you’re looking for something different, the smaller and little-known Eden Beach is a little less crowded, as it takes a short drive through the forest and a steep hike down a staircase to get there. Despite this, when you arrive you’ll find all your needs met with a restaurant and full bar.
Ubatuba: The Surfer
Known as the surfing capital of Brazil, Ubatuba hosts more than ten important surf competitions every year, and it’s not hard to see why. Just down the coast from São Sebastião, Ubatuba offers beaches perfect for surfers of any level, though some, like Brava Da Almada, can only be accessed by hiking paths. If you’re looking to stay in touch, Felix Beach is located in a lively neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and bars to visit after a long day in the ocean. With plenty of beaches to choose from, you can always find the right one to suit your mood.
Revered as the ultimate beach town escape from the bustling Brazilian cities of Curitiba and Florianopolis, Praia do Rosa’s verdant Atlantic forest, white-sandy dunes, and picturesque beaches have brought photographers and models here for photoshoots throughout the years. The area is also known for its cobblestone streets as well as cultured, eco-conscious residents, who contribute to its reputation as a “sophisticated surf village.”
Traveler Tip: Peak migratory season for the endangered Southern Right Whales is from July to November.
Natal: The Resort Lover
The city called Christmas, or Natal in Portuguese, is a gift to beach-goers. Its proximity to the equator combines with a constant breeze to make this city the perfect resort town for stress-free vacation seekers. But Natal doesn’t only have beaches—visitors can also visit the world’s largest cashew tree or tour the epic sand dunes via dune buggy.
Salvador: The Historian
Salvador, aka “the capital of happiness,” is well known for its Afro-Brazilian history and is the perfect city for blending cultural immersion with your beach vacation. As the first colonial capital of Brazil, the city began as a main port for the slave trade, and no city has preserved the unique and colorful culture of Afro-Brazilians like Salvador. In the streets of the Pelourinho, the historic center of the old city, you’ll find musicians playing everything from samba to reggae and street performers practicing capoeira, the Brazilian fight-dance martial art that was invented by African slaves. Throughout the city, you’ll find museums, monuments, and some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in all of Brazil. Best of all for beach-seekers, Salvador is located on a peninsula, which means there’s plenty of coastline.
Beaches close to the city center are not known for being very clean, so it’s best to follow the locals and head to beaches in the city’s smaller neighborhoods like Farol da Barra Beach, Itapo, and Flamengo.
Ilha Grande: The Naturalist/The Adventurer
Blessed with white-sandy beaches, crystal-blue water, forested rolling hills and crisscrossing trails, Ilha Grande is an island paradise and small detour between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The area’s unruffled environment boasts 93 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, tranquil villages, and secluded beaches—the island does not allow cars, which makes it even more quiet and reposeful. If you’re looking to book a tour, SouthAmerica.travel brings you to stunning beaches, like Lopes Mendes Beach, which includes a boat ride and a hike through the forest to get there. There is also Ilha Comprida, which is home to Lagoa Azul—known as the “Blue Lagoon”—a crystal-clear lagoon with calm waters and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Jamie Ditaranto identifies most with “the adventurer,” but also has “beach bum” tendencies whenever her book is good enough. Follow her on Twitter@jamieditaranto.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. This article has been updated since the date of its publication with the input of SouthAmerica.travel.
If you’d like to go beyond Dublin on your trip to the Emerald Isle, set your course for these secret villages in Ireland. From the steep cliffs of the west coast to the lush hills and historic ruins of the countryside, Ireland is worth exploring. In these small Irish towns you’ll find cozy abodes, peaceful walking trails, and deep history.
Just thirty minutes north of Dublin in the Boyne Valley, Slane is an Irish village recognized for its Georgian architecture, prehistoric sites, and a 300-year old castle known for its high-profile concert and whiskey-making operation. Slane Castle is a sustainable distillery that employs locals, and heat from the active distilling process heats the historic castle. Its lawn has also played host to rock performances by the likes of U2, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Metallica. Although the castle is the town’s biggest attraction, you can also visit nearby ruins or stroll down main street to a local pub like the popular Boyles of Slane.
Where to stay: For a unique experience, go glamping on the castle grounds with Rock Farm Slane.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:4436536″ /]
Near the scenic Wicklow Mountains and among the ruins of Ireland’s Ancient East, Wicklow is a small village with plenty to see and do, like taking ghost tours at an 18th-century prison or hiking to the legendary Mottee Stone. While you’re in town, you can stop for a healthy meal at the Vital Health Café or make a pit-stop in the nearby town of Delgany to try an award-winning pastry at Firehouse Bakery.
In the county of Cork, Kinsale is a fishing village with a lot of character. Its history dates to the twelfth century, but the food in Kinsale has always been ahead of the times. Whether you go upscale at a place like Finn’s Table or indulge in seafood at Fishy Fishy, you’ll eat well in this brightly-colored town. While visiting, you could also brush up on your maritime history at the Old Lusitania Museum or pay a visit to Desmond Castle, which doubles as a wine museum. If you’re hankering for beer, stop by Blacks Brewery for a tour and a pint.
Where to stay: The Trident Hotel offers modern accommodation with gorgeous views of the River Bandon.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:212859″ /]
If you’ll be driving the Ring of Kerry, don’t pass over the adorable village of Dingle. It’s most famous for great surfing conditions and as the bizarre home of an out-of-place bottlenose dolphin named Fungie, and you’ll have plenty of fun meandering through the town center. You can also visit nearby attractions like the ancient Gallarus Oratory or grab your boots for a hike up to the viewpoint on Mount Brandon.
Where to stay: Just a walk down the road from the main town, Pax House offers guests a beautiful space to unwind on a visit to Dingle.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:213034″ /]
On the rugged western coast of Ireland, there’s plenty of culture to be found in this secret Irish village beyond its iconic Westport House. With nearby attractions like the slopes at Croagh Patrick, Rockfleet Castle, the National Museum of Ireland, and Killary Fjord, there’s plenty to do throughout Westport. Considered among the Irish to be one of the best places to live, it’s a three-time winner of the Irish Tidy Towns Competition.
Where to stay: At the family-owned Hotel Westport you can stay in comfort and style on seven acres of private woodland.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:287712″ /]
Another secret Irish village on the Wild Atlantic Way, Bantry is a lively harbor town packed with history. Best known for being surrounded by rolling hills and stunning vistas, the village of Bantry puts on annual Walking Festival; a weekend of organized hikes worth checking out if you’re traveling to Ireland in the spring. In addition to the beautiful surroundings, visit the historic Bantry House, shop at the farmer’s market, or take a boat out to Garnish Island to explore its all-encompassing gardens.
Where to stay: A modern hotel on a large property complete with landscaped gardens, a duck pond, waterfalls, and nature trails, the Westlodge Hotel is a relaxing retreat.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:1146016″ /]
Smack-dab in the middle of Ireland, Birr is a unique Irish town famous for Birr Castle, Georgian architecture, and the Leviathan of Parsonstown—which at one time was the largest telescope in the world. In addition to visiting these nearby attractions, you can also use a trip to Birr to take a foraging workshop or pay a visit to the unique Lough Boora Discovery Park, a sprawling bog that is part nature reserve and part sculpture gallery.
Where to stay: For great hospitality and comfort in Birr, book a bed and breakfast like the Emmet House in the center of town.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:2098684″ /]
With major historical chops like being the site of the first transatlantic radio transmission and the landing site of the first transatlantic flight, Clifden has a lot to boast about. Here you’ll find many Irish traditions are still alive thanks to the region of Connemara’s historical isolation from the rest of the country. Tack on cultural sites like Kylemore Abbey and the Marconi Radio station, or just enjoy the town and take a walk up to Monument Hill for a picturesque view.
Where to stay: Built in the style of a traditional railway building, the Station House Hotel is unique and close to town.
[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:568422″ /]
If you’re venturing westward in Ireland you’ll probably be drawn towards Donegal County’s dramatic coast, but no visit would be complete without a visit to Donegal Town. In this small Irish village, you’ll find the remains of 15th-century Abbey and Donegal Castle right in the town’s center. Located on the River Eske, Donegal has been occupied by humans since prehistoric times and there are many unique sites to visit nearby, like ringforts that date back to the bronze age.
Where to stay: Embrace history and spend the night in a castle at the Lough Eske Castle.
Every frequent traveler has seen passengers rolling their massive carry-ons and lugging equally large bags and backpacks onto the plane as their “personal item.” So exactly how big can your carry-on and personal item be? The general rule about personal item size is that your bag must fit under the seat in front of you, though some airlines do specify maximum dimensions. Meanwhile, airlines have a wide variety of carry-on size restrictions. Many airlines, especially outside the U.S., also have weight limits for carry-on bags and personal items.
Carry-on vs. Personal Item: What You Need to Know About Baggage Policies
For years, personal items have flown mostly under the radar, but in the new world of basic economy—in which airlines are offering cheaper base fares but charging for carry-ons—more and more people will be traveling with nothing but a personal item.
When you’re traveling on the cheap and trying to pack as much as possible into a very limited amount of space, knowing the rules is vital. Here’s a look at the personal item and carry-on size limits for 10 major U.S. airlines and 20 top international carriers.
On Alaska flights, your carry-on must not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches. The following items may be substituted for your carry-on bag even if they’re over the limit: paintings, small musical instruments, art/advertising portfolios, human organs, fishing poles, and “delicate scientific equipment.”
Personal items are only defined as a “purse, briefcase, or laptop computer,” and the airline notes that either your carry-on or personal item must fit under the seat in front of you. Jackets, hats, umbrellas, personal pillows, food, child safety seats, strollers, service animals, medications, assistive/medical devices, and a “reasonable amount of reading material” do not count toward your carry-on or personal item allowance.
Your personal item on Allegiant is free and may measure up to 16 x 15 x 7 inches. Examples of personal items include purses, briefcases, and small backpacks. In addition, you may bring assistive devices, strollers, a coat, a small umbrella, a diaper bag, and food to eat during the flight.
American limits carry-on bags to 22 x 14 x 9 inches, although soft-sided garment bags up to a total of 51 inches (length + width + height) are also acceptable. Note that musical instruments and pets will count as a carry-on item.
Your American Airlines personal item should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches and must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. Potentially larger items that don’t count as personal items include diaper bags, child safety seats, and medical and mobility devices; these may be brought aboard in addition to your carry-on and personal item.
The maximum carry-on size on Delta is 22 x 14 x 9 inches or a total of 45 inches combined. There’s no carry-on weight limit except at select Asian airports, where the maximum weight ranges from 15 to 22 pounds.
Delta does not give size dimensions for personal items, but says they should be approximately the size of a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, or diaper bag. Things that can be brought aboard in addition to your personal item include jackets, umbrellas, food and drinks purchased in the terminal, strollers, child seats, and medical and mobility devices.
Your personal item can be up to 18 x 14 x 8 inches and must fit under the seat in front of you. All flyers can bring a personal item for free. Coats, diaper bags, canes, assistive devices, and foot rugs “for use during prayer” can all be brought aboard as additional free items.
Personal items should not exceed 17 x 13 x 8 inches and must fit under the seat. You can also bring duty-free items (in “a reasonable and limited amount”), a diaper bag, assistive devices, a coat, an umbrella, and/or an infant car seat without eating into your carry-on or personal item allowance.
Southwest has a more generous carry-on limit than most U.S. airlines, allowing bags up to 24 x 16 x 10 inches. If you’re bringing a pet, its carrier will count as either your carry-on or personal item.
On Southwest, your personal item must be 18.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches or less, and fit under the seat in front of you. Assistive/mobility devices, jackets, canes, umbrellas, and food to eat during the flight all count as extras that you can bring in addition to your carry-on and personal item.
Spirit has a slightly more generous size limit for its carry-ons than most other U.S. airlines, with a maximum of 22 x 18 x 10 inches. The catch, though, is that you’ll have to pay extra to bring anything beyond a personal item (see Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide to learn more).
On United, the maximum carry-on size is 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Note, however, that if you’re traveling in basic economy, you may only bring a personal item. (There are a few exceptions: those traveling on transatlantic flights, and Premier members or primary card members using qualifying MileagePlus credit cards.)
United personal items must fit under the seat in front of you and may not be larger than 17 x 10 x 9 inches. Items such as jackets, umbrellas, diaper bags, food purchased in the airport, assistive devices, child safety seats, pet carriers, cameras, and reading material may be brought aboard in addition to your carry-on and personal item.
Carry-on and Personal Item Size Limits on International Airlines
The chart below features the maximum sizes for carry-on bags and personal items on 22 major international airlines. Note that baggage restrictions may vary depending on your specific route. Some measurements are approximate, having been converted from centimeters into inches or from kilograms into pounds.
You’re at the gate. You’ve got your boarding pass. You’re heading somewhere exciting and you just can’t wait until you get there to share the news with your friends on social media. So you snap a picture of your boarding pass and post it to Facebook. Harmless, right?
Because the information printed on your boarding pass actually reveals a lot more than you think.
Boarding Pass Don’ts
As explained by KrebsonSecurity, there are websites that can read the barcodes on your boarding pass and provide someone else access to your travel information—your phone number, frequent flyer number, and information not only about the flight in question but also all future flights booked through the same number.
With access to your boarding pass, someone could even change your seat on the plane, cancel any future flights, and reset your account PIN.
You may love your friends, but would you trust everyone you know on Facebook or Instagram with your private travel information? Didn’t think so.
The takeaway here: Don’t post pictures of your boarding pass on social media.
Coined the World’s Best City by Travel + Leisure in 2019, Charleston is having a moment and everyone is booking a ticket to the colorful metropolis. From the blooming architecture and flourishing culinary scene, the city of Charleston offers a slew of hotels right in town. But what many tourists don’t realize is that just outside downtown are spotless beaches and ocean views good enough for celebrities like Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert.
The Isle of Palms is a place where you can have it all: ocean, golfing, tennis, and of course, proximity to Charleston. So if you love city-living as much as you love relaxing on the beach, follow this weekend itinerary and experience the best of both worlds in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hotel: Located twelve miles from downtown Charleston on the Isle of Palms, the Wild Dunes Resort, is a peaceful and leisurely retreat from the bustling city. With access to tennis courts, bike rentals, two top-rated golf courses, restaurants, and beautiful beaches, Wild Dunes has plenty of options to entertain families. You can book a room at the newly renovated Boardwalk Inn or rent one of their properties located within the resort and have the golf course and beach right in your backyard.
Friday: Once you’ve checked in, take the day to explore your new home at Wild Dunes. You can ride a bike through the resort and check out some of the glamourous vacation homes or rent some tennis rackets and enjoy a quick match. Don’t forget to get in at least a good hour or two at the beach, where the warm water is clean and the waves are gentle.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for an eco-tour at the front desk to explore South Carolina’s barrier islands and learn more about their environments. Have dinner at Coastal Provisions, a high-class restaurant located on the first floor of The Boardwalk Inn—you can even choose to eat poolside or enjoy cabana service. After dinner, head to the nightly bonfire and pick-up s’more supplies at Hudson’s Market.
Saturday: If you’re traveling to South Carolina for golf, Wild Dunes is a great place to get an early tee time at either the Harbor or the Links Course. If you’re not a golfer, you can wake up early to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on the beach before heading into Charleston for the day.
To get a ride into the city, forget Uber and call Captain Bob, a town car service that will give you a ride from Wild Dunes to downtown for just $20. (Ubers are hard to come by on the Isle of Palms.) If you’re lucky, you may even get to ride with the affable Captain himself, who is more than happy to make recommendations for what to do, see, and eat in town and he’ll even customize a special tour just for you.
Once in Charleston, sign up for a carriage tour of the city. This is great for kids and the best way to explore its offerings at a leisurely pace. You’ll be able to buy tickets for the carriage rides in town but can also book ahead online. After the carriage ride, take some time to explore the rest of Charleston, but don’t leave without stopping for dinner and drinks at the stunning 5Church restaurant. Located inside a renovated mariner’s church, this is the perfect place to enjoy the harmony of old and new in Charleston.