Summer adventure is comin’ in hot and so are our travel plans.

We’re sure this won’t be your first season flying carry-on only, but it could be your most efficient. Here are some key recommendations for your best packing experience list yet. 

For your personal article:

At least two credit cards; at least one of which has no foreign exchange fee. Use that one primarily – or whichever one offers best ROI overall – but you definitely want to have a backup in case you lose your first choice. This recommendation seems obvious, but here I am doubling down in case it’s not! Personal finance expert Barry Choi is a great source for researching which cards may be best for you.

Lip balm with at least a 30 SPF (two of my favourite picks are Sun Bum Lip Balm with SPF 30 and Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30), single use or mini tube face mask (like the Caudalie Mini Instant Detox Mask or any of the Dr. Jart+ Sheet Masks), and a comfortable sleeping mask for both plan and destination. Silk ones seem to be the most popular, but for the silk-averse, cotton loyalist like me, this Sleepy Jones X The New Yorker one is timelessly cute. 

A mini size facial spritz, like Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray, is a quick way to moisturize and freshen up throughout your travels. Tired-feeling faces and plane-parched skin will appreciate the occasional boost. Once you start carrying a mini spritzer with you, you’ll never look back and you’ll keep finding new occasions during which you’ll appreciate having it with you. Every step of the actual home to destination trek is an invitation for a spritz, especially when we get into those long haul international itineraries. Catch too much sun today? Spritz, spritz! About to settle into bed? Spritzzzz and relaxxxx. Want a midday perk up that doesn’t include caffeine? You got it. 

Nail polish to match your mani for touch-ups. butter LONDON Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer comes in thirty different colors, is not tested on animals, and is free of parabens, phthalates, and other chemicals our nails don’t love. Bring a bottle with you in the same colour as your mani for on-the-go touch ups if you’re the kind of traveller who doesn’t want to spend their vacation in a nail chair. 

Powerbeats Pro. I will sing/type these earbuds’ praises until the end of time. As a seasoned runner and historically finicky earbud reviewer, these are easily the best I have come across. The behind-ear hook has always been absolutely essential to me. I can’t even bring myself to bother trying Airpods – I am that loyal to the hook! The ear hook, plus excellent sound quality, long and reliable listening time (9 hours per earbud, with up to 24 hours including the case), super fast charging (a five minute charge delivers up to 1.5 hours of playback), and sleek, quality design we’ve come to expect from Apple, makes this one of my personal Best in Class products. It’s rare I’ll stray from a certified BIC item, save for upgrading as new versions come out. Powerbeats Pro can be used with Androids as well. 

And for your standard carry-on article:

First things first – have an amazing standard carry-on article! Any self-respecting traveller should invest in a carry-on that is both sharp in style and functional for your needs. Legacy travel brand Samsonite has led the luggage industry for over 100 years, creating iconic, top quality designs for all types of travellers. Business travellers have a range of sizes and styles, from the sleek Sarah Jessica Parker Carried Away Convertible Backpack that can be worn five different ways, has a special laptop pocket, and easy SmartSleeve™ so you can slip the bag over most suitcase pull-handles, to the Upright Wheeled Mobile Office that is very much what it claims to be and more. This beauty, with gold hardware, houses both your business essentials – in organized, individual compartments might I add – and your overnight packing needs in one sophisticated, rolling design. 

Samsonite’s Elevation Plus Spinner Carry-On™ comes in black and a dapper cypress green and is a top quality pick for style, modern design, and thoughtful detailing. Key for having easy access to your tech essentials without having to open and dig through your whole bag, the QuickEntry™ front pocket can hold a 13-inch laptop, and has a removable Tecfolio™ zippered pouch for your chargers and cords. The interior has a compression packing system so you can fit more than you expected (helpful in both prep or to help with fitting your travel shopping). Dual spinner wheels are the Mercedes S-class of rolling around airports and planes in that they are extra easy to navigate narrow airplane aisles and different ground surfaces.

There are lots of cute and helpful packing cube sets out there. This set of three pieces from Samsonite includes three sizes, all of which have mesh tops so you can easily see what’s inside before you unzip. I was a late packing cube convert and I’ll never look back. 

If you tend to leave your room or accommodations for long periods of time each day, you will probably want a large-ish shoulder bag to pop in smallish things that you buy throughout your day, instead of having to carry any handheld shopping. The Paravel Cabana Tote Bag or Garfield Canvas Tote Bag are both definite vacation winners. (This could of course be used as your in-flight ‘personal article’ as well)

Stain towelettes are extremely compact and may save you from ruining a dress you definitely wanted to wear again. Emergency Stain Rescue wipes are highly rated for working quickly and effectively on colorsafe washable fabrics and are 100% biodegradable. Honourable mention to Tide Travel Sink Packets so you have just enough detergent to do a sink hand wash if you find yourself stuck needing something twice.  

Apple  AirTags™ are now an obvious, “why didn’t we have these before?”, addition to most travellers’ bags. Like most Apple products, AirTags™ are so easy to set up and use. Also great to attach to your keychain, your pet’s collar, and other super important things, they could be the key to ensuring your suitcase doesn’t get crudely donated by your airline. The peace of mind alone is priceless. Each of the pieces in Samsonite’s Elevation™ Plus Collection include integrated Apple AirTag™ holders.

A recent study from Booking.com found that some of the top motivators for Canadian LGBTQ+ travellers to choose a particular destination are beautiful natural scenery (55%), tasty local cuisine (53%) and great beaches (46%). In the spirit of Pride Month, make sure you smell absolutely primo on your trip and order a destination-inspired scent from Queer-owned brand Arquiste. Award-winning perfumer Carlos Huber’s collection has TSA-approved travel sprayers in scents like Bondi Beach and Mexico City. Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux collaborated with classic sunscreen brand Vacation to create, that’s right, “Vacation”, that’s essentially nostalgia in a bottle, spraying sunscreen and summer anytime the mood strikes. 

A few other travel VIPs to consider: a travel lint roller, mini tweezers, Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier packs, jewelry organizer, and an electric outlet adapter for going international. 

And for a very last bonus idea: powdered face wash! An innocent cheat to your liquids allowance. Try out DHC Face Wash Powder which turns into a creamy, non-drying delight on contact with water.