The holiday season is coming up and like many Canadians, I will be flying home for Christmas. I live across the country from my family, so every December, I know I will be paying a silly amount of money to spend Christmas morning with my nieces and nephews. As I travel quite a bit, I consider myself something of a packing expert. I have my tried-and-true carry-on essentials and am always eager to experiment with new travel hacks. While I tend to stick to my carry-on suitcase when I fly domestically, the holidays are an exception, as I need check-in luggage to house Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers for my family. Ahead, I've gathered six travel essentials I will be packing for my flight and, honestly, items I use every time I board a plane. To find out why each has earned my seal of approval, scroll below.
A dream come true for interior organization
The carry-on bag has earned a 4.9-star rating on Away Travel
It's the "perfect suitcase," according to reviewers
A marker of adulthood for me is investing in nice luggage. While owning Away's entire suitcase line is on my vision board, I'm starting with the brand's Carry-On Flex suitcase.
The hardside suitcase boasts immaculate interior organization, 360-degree wheels, and an additional 2.25 inches (six cm) of expandable space. My particular suitcase is in a limited-edition colour called Sky which, unfortunately, is now sold out. However, the colour is still available to shop in Away's The Medium Flex.
Magnetic and leakproof travel containers
CATSA and TSA-compliant
4.8-star average rating
Prior to trying these Cadence capsules, travel toiletry containers were my mortal enemies. No matter the brand or price tag, I was almost guaranteed to discover an unpleasant surprise of spilled shampoo, face wash or another pain-in-the-butt liquid inside my toiletry bag. However, Keep Your Candence has renewed my trust in travel containers, thanks to their leakproof design.
No matter what you throw in them — medications & vitamins, shampoo & conditioner, face wash & moisturizer — the magnetic capsules will prove their worth within one mess-free trip. Shoppers who love a bit of personalization (who doesn't?) can customize their bundle by colour and label, and if you need more room, Cadence has a ton of container sizes and shapes to choose from.
Perfect for short trips and long-haul vacations
Water-resistant and easily washable
Fits a shocking amount of products
I will go on record and declare Everlane's The Renew Transit Catch-All Case the best travel toiletry kit I have ever used — seriously! The water-resistant case features five interior drop-in pockets and one exterior zip pocket, which makes it perfect for organizing toiletries (and other small things).
But you don't have to take my word for how great it is. With an average rating of 4.8 stars on Everlane, shoppers agree the versatile dopp kit "fits everything" and is the "perfect little travel bag."
This set of four packing cubes is water-resistant and features a mesh top for visibility
They've earned a 4.9-star average rating on Away Travel
According to one reviewer, they're the "best packing cubes ever."
I grew up in a meticulous home, and therefore, as a product of my environment, I, too, am an organization freak. If, like me, clutter and chaos are not your jam, I recommend checking out Away's best-selling packing cubes.
Made from water-resistant nylon, the packing cubes compress and organize everything inside your suitcase. Plus, they feature a mesh panel to make it easy to find what you need without fully unpacking.
A multi-purpose companion for travel and work
Available in nine colours in nylon and vegan leather
4.9-star average rating
Ok, hear me out. Yes, this is an expensive backpack. However, if you use a backpack almost every day as I do, I think it's worth it — here's why.
The Monos Metro Backpack is water and scratch-resistant and made from vegan materials. It has a dedicated 15-inch laptop compartment and a hidden back pocket with a quick-access magnetic closure, perfect for your passport, wallet and more. A stretchable, waterproof privacy compartment in the bag can store things like shoes and a bagged lunch. The bag has a removable Metro Classic Kit and a trolley sleeve to secure it to a suitcase handle while travelling.
In the photos, it looks brand new, right? It's not. The backpack has been my carry-on bag, grocery store companion, and a daily accessory when I trek to my office — all without any indication of wear and tear. My colleague asked me in our mini photoshoot for the bag: "Did you just get this? It looks brand new." That's how fresh and pristine it looks. The bag has earned me several compliments from strangers and inspired a close friend to buy her own Monos backpack. If the light purple isn't for you, shoppers can choose from classic colours, including black, ivory and mahogany.
Cocoa butter-infused mineral sunscreen stick
Formulated without octinoxate and oxybenzone
Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Oh, how I love this little sunscreen stick. If, like me, your Instagram feed is teeming with dermatologists and skincare fanatics, your sunscreen collection could rival that of Sephora. I use different formulas for my body and face (this being one of them), but if I'm travelling light or need sun protection on the go, I turn to Beautycounter's Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30.
This clean beauty SPF stick protects against UVA and UVB rays and is infused with cocoa butter, so it's ultra-moisturizing without leaving a white residue. Importantly, for travel reasons, the palm-sized stick measures just 15g / 0.5 OZ — an A-OK size for planes.