Must-Have Travel Essentials

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I love everything about summer—the hot weather, backyard BBQ's and pool parties, time off with my family, and, of course, going on vacation.

I travel as often as I can, taking a couple of big vacations a year, with lots of weekend trips throughout the year. If I could travel every other week, I would. From airports to hotels and the journey in between, there is nothing I don't love about getting away, making new memories, relaxing in favourite hotels and just taking in the sights and sounds around me.

As you plan for your summer or fall getaway, remember this: you don't need to overpack. Trust me. When you're a smart packer, bringing with you only the travel essentials you need, travelling will be easier, and less complicated. I was on Daytime Ottawa recently, talking about must-have travel essentials.

Here's what you need to pack before you travel: 

Carry-on luggage

I usually pack a large suitcase when I travel—even for weekend getaways. I don't do well with trying to plan outfits and shoes ahead of time! For my recent press trip to Portugal I was determined to pack only a carry-on and... success! I brought only travel-sized beauty products with me, and only two pairs of shoes. (That was agonizing, you guys). Travelling with only a carry-on makes getting in and out of airports a breeze, and you'll have an easier time deciding what to wear once you arrive to your destination, because you don't really have a choice since you didn't bring your entire wardrobe with you.

I received two pieces of carry-on luggage to review for my summer travels: the Swiss Gear Global Traveller in silver, and the TravelPro Pathways carry-on hard-side spinner in dusty rose. Both pieces of luggage are amazing, sturdy, and can pack way more than you think possible. Both pieces of carry-on luggage are light-weight, have a top and side handle for carrying options, lined zippered pockets inside, and wheels that spin 360 degrees, so you can move your bag in all directions—just like a Rimowa. They are both stylish and functional. There is a 10 year warranty with Swiss Gear, and a lifetime warranty with TravelPro (for defects to wheels, zippers, extension and carry handles). I put both to the test in Portugal, Paris, and Miami.

Beauty products

I've learned that less is more when it comes to packing beauty products; pack only your essential items. On my most recent vacation, I managed to pack all my beauty must-haves into a carry-on. I bought small containers from the drug store so I could easily bring only what I needed, and I labelled the outside of each container with a Sharpie to easily identify each item.

For skin care, I love everything from Elizabeth Arden, especially the Prevage line. The day and night cream keep my skin smooth, moisturized, and protected. The Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Cream has an SPF of 30, so you don't need to worry about applying extra sunscreen on vacation. Another skin care product I can't live without (travelling or not) is the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. These capsules are perfect to use day and night, and really help my skin feel and look soft, while improving skin tone and clarity and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Also, they're perfect to pack in a carry-on, since they are not technically a liquid).

Keep your travel bag simple when packing make-up—a red, nude, and pink lipstick (along with some powder, eye shadow, blush, eyeliner, bronzer, and eyebrow pencil) is all you need. 

Ton Cosmetics is a fabulous new company based in Canada, and made in Canada—created by two sisters who had an amazing idea to create a brand that simplifies the beauty products people need, by helping them select the right shades of nude, pink, and red lipstick. They came up with nine variations of a single colour (nude, red, and pink) ensuring the perfect colour match for everyone's skin tone and complexion. I have tried the nude and red lipstick, and I love them both—especially because they are super long-lasting, and keep my lips soft and moisturized.

My biggest struggle when travelling is doing my hair, because I'm used to going to the salon for a blow-dry a couple of times a week. (I really hate blow-drying my own hair). If I'm not able to make it to a blow-dry bar on vacation, the next best thing is making my blow-dry last as long as possible.

Design.Me hair products–the hair spray and magic powders–work incredibly well to help keep any blow-dry last for days, and they come in travel sizes, too. The Hold.Me hair spray delivers a light, medium, or strong hold; all you have to do is twist the nozzle, and voila! It gives hair shine, hold, UV protection, and volume. The Puff.Me magic powders are like dry shampoo, but better. I've never had a product work so well in my hair, making my blow-dry last for days, while adding volume and texture.

Another must-pack item? The Conair Travel Hair Dryer, because it is small and compact, and ideal for travel. It's small but mighty, with dual voltage, 2 heat and speed settings, a folding handle, and affordable (at $29.99, and available at Walmart). Pack the Mini Pro Straightener in your carry-on, and you're good to go! This little straightener is perfect to bring anywhere, because it's so small, and delivers excellent results, like eliminating frizz, adding shine, and straightening hair, even when it's humid outside.


I love a company I can trust, that delivers what they promise, and has plenty of options—a company like Swimco.

I have partnered with Swimco for the last couple of years, reviewing bikinis and one-piece bathing suits, as well as sun hats, beach bags, and flip flops. Shopping Swimco online is easy and efficient, and I know I'll receive my package within days of placing my order. 

Swimco carries a large selection of cover-ups, beach wraps, flip flops, and beach accessories, like bags, sun hats, and sunglasses. You can do all your vacation shopping in just one place—easing your stress levels, and eliminating your need to go store to store to find the perfect, well-fitted bathing suit. My must-have piece this season? The beautiful kimono. It's a great beach accessory, and the perfect way to cover-up as you enjoy lunch by the ocean or pool.

Beach Accessories

Poppy and Peonies sells the cutest accessories for summer, from purses that'll take you from day to night, to must-have beach hats and bags. (How cute is this lemon beach bag?). Their new jewellery collection consists of fruity-themed earrings, adding the perfect touch to your vacation look.

Comfortable shoes

It took me a while to realize I don't actually wear all the shoes I pack in my suitcase, and stiletto heels are not ideal for cobblestone streets in Europe. I'm better off in cute wedge heels or flats. For travel, the best shoes to wear is a comfortable and stylish sneaker. My most comfortable pair of shoes are the Aimee Sport Tie sneaker by ECCO. This classic lace-up leather shoe comes in blush and goes with everything–like jeans an a cute t-shirt.

The ECCO Shape 65 Block Ankle Sandal is a great pair of shoes that are perfect to wear in the evenings with little dresses, jeans, and sweaters. These shoes are comfortable, like all ECCO foot wear, and super stylish; they've got a great block heel, cool crossing, wide straps and a secure ankle strap. The soft leather lining provides additional comfort.


I love Indigo because they carry a little bit of everything I love, from books to home decor to gifts for all occasions. I love stocking up on books to read for my travels, and while I'm shopping for books, I pick up other travel essentials, like beach towels and travel accessories.

Happy and safe travels!

Disclaimer: I partnered with these companies and brands and received the products mentioned in this post and on my segment for review. All views and opinions are my own. 
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