Travel edit: low maintenance edition
We’re pretty low maintenance over here at Sicily South. We don’t need a lot of fancy, fussy things to be happy - especially when we’re traveling across Sicily. An airplane travel pillow? Not a chance! But we do have a few things we can’t travel without.
So in a time when suitcases can charge your electronics (but might be banned on the airline you’re flying on?!) and carry-ons can give you a ride across the airport, we’re doing our own little travel edit for low maintenance travelers like us.
We don’t have a favorite brand but we do have some features we won’t compromise on when it comes to luggage.
360-spinner wheels are AH. MAZING. I don’t think this feature needs much explanation. Whatever you do, just make sure that the wheels are good quality and aren’t going to fall off as soon as you start rolling your bag across cobblestones and ancient pavement because that will happen in Italy.
We’ve been traveling with this Skyway carry-on for three years now. It’s been checked. It’s been a carry-on. It’s showing almost no wear or tear. At 22.5in x 14.5in x 9.5in, it’s a great size that we’ve used for trips lasting up to four weeks.
It’s not your cheapest option at $90, but we actually scored this at Costco back in the day for waaaaaaay less than that (I swear we paid no more than $40 for it there), so you may want to keep your eyes peeled the next time you set off to spend no less than $300 on your next Costco run.
Solid beauty products.
When your goal is to check a bag, you have to get creative when it comes to travel liquids. For years, I used whatever shampoo was in the hotel bathroom. And (horror of horrors) skipped the conditioner unless they had it, too.
Needless to say, this strategy never gave me great hair while traveling.
Same for my skincare. I use an oil serum at home (aka a liquid), so I usually ended up using whatever lotion is found in the hotel. The. Worst.
But luckily, Lush Cosmetics has a solution for both. Shampoo, conditioner, and face oil bars. The shampoo and conditioner lather under water, and the face oil warms in your hands so you can easily apply it to your skin. Lush sells these snazzy little tins to store your product in.
Not only do Lush’s products smell great, they actually work. Plus, Lush has a great philosophy of using only fresh ingredients that are never tested on animals.
Liquid free carry-on: ✅
Elea Blake cosmetics.
This is a local favorite of ours and we’ve been fans for a loooooong time. Elea Blake is a Chattanooga, TN cosmetic company that focuses on making sure everyone is wearing their best colors, blending custom makeup and providing color analysis services. You never have to worry that they’ll put you in a color that just doesn’t work for you.
Not local to Chattanooga? No worries! They’ve got online color drapes available to help you find your perfect colors.
As you can imagine, having been a customer of theirs for over 10 years now, I have a TON of their colors in my makeup drawer (theirs is the only makeup I'll put on my face). This can make narrowing things down for travel pretty tricky. But lucky for me, Elea Blake is close by, so before our last trip, I took my makeup bag in and had them help me create the perfect low maintenance travel look, so I ended up traveling with only five makeup products (foundation, blush, lip palette, eyeliner, and mascara).
Plus, their color analysis has way more applications than just makeup. Knowing your bets colors can make shopping for clothes and creating a cohesive packing list a breeze.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve.
Air travel can wreak havoc on your skin with it’s super dry, recirculated air. In recent years, I’ve started traveling with no makeup on. First, because honestly, who am I trying to impress? A bunch of people I’ll literally never see again? Secondly, because I like being able to easily re-moisturize multiple times throughout the flight.
I always think of Smith’s Rosebud Salve as a glorified Vasline, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for their beautiful, vintage apothecary-inspired branding. Plus, their salve just smells heavenly and makes me feel precious. But I digress.
At home, I use the salve on my lips often. It’s way thicker than I would normally use for my face, but airplane air is just that drying. And this stuff does the trick.
Okay, stick with me here. Things are about to get a little weird.
The other thing I use Smith’s Rosebud Salve for during air travel is the inside of my nose.
Yes, you read that right: the inside of my nose.
Drying air doesn’t just affect the skin on your face. For me, it dries out the inside of my nasal passage SO. MUCH. And as someone who suffers from allergies and typically has an itchy nose anyway, the few days after air travel can be absolute torture when it comes to my silly, itchy nose. So to avoid the discomfort (and apparently help fight off all the germs you come into contact with while traveling?!) I put a small amount of the salve on the inside of my nostrils several times throughout the flight.
Weird I know. But it works for me. Plus, I’m a sucker for a multipurpose product for traveling, and this one helps with face, nose, and lips!
When you’re moving locations and getting in and out of your suitcase frequently, it’s easy for things to get messy fast.
I started using packing cubes a few years ago to help combat this problem, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Not only do they keep the inside of my suitcase nice and tidy, they actually help you fit more. Now, the more you cram into your packing cubes, the heavier they get. So, if you’re using a larger suitcase, you’ll want to be aware of this because heavy packing cubes can put your luggage over the allowed weight pretty quickly. If you’re using a smaller carry-on size, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it too heavy unless you’re packing bricks.
This multi-size pack from Eagle Creek are the exact packing cubes I have.
Most things on our list are pretty inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. Enter Rothy’s.
These expensive flats may also make the cut for a luxury edit, but I absolutely adore them and wanted to tell you why, despite the $125+ price tag, I won’t travel without them.
Rothy’s are lightweight, woven flats for women and are made out of recycled plastic water bottles. Not only are they stylish but they’re environmentally friendly. Plus, they release new micro-collections what feels like every week, so just beware that you’re going to find yourself wanting to buy a new pair of Rothy’s quite frequently.
I bought my first pair of Rothy’s before our inaugural trip back in 2017. I took a chance and broke one of the first rules I always tell our travelers to follow: no new shoes on the trip. But luckily for me (and our travelers), the gamble paid off. I had not one single blister, no discomfort, nothing. And I’ve worn them exclusively ever since.
Of course, everyone’s feet are different and they may not have the same effect on yours that they do on mine, but I’m a lifelong Rothy’s fan. I’ve so far purchased a pair of the point, the loafers, and the sneakers. And I love them all!
Pssst… I have a $20 off code for you! Oh, and this is my referral code so I will get a $20 credit if you use it. Just keeping things above board, here!
Skyroam mobile hotspot.
As I’m sure you can imagine, being connected when we’re on the road is vital to our business. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), wifi coverage can be a bit spotty in Sicily, and free wifi (including that in hotels) isn’t always reliable.
We never leave home without our Skyroam mobile hotspot. It lasts all day on a single charge and you can connect up to 5 devices. We switch our phones to airplane mode and connect only to wifi to make sure we’re not hit with any ridiculous roaming charges, so the hotspot helps us avoid having to pay for multiple international cell plans.
You can rent or purchase the hotspot itself and then purchase the right data package for you, either day by day, or the monthly unlimited like we do.
Drawstring cosmetic bag.
We simply LOVE this cosmetic/toiletry bag because it helps when counter space is limited. It opens to lay flat, so there’s no unpacking and packing, simply pull the drawstring when you’re done and POOF! everything’s packed and ready to go.
Collapsible duffel bag.
If you’re ready to try taking just a carry-on on your next adventure, but you’re not sure you’ll be able to fit everything in it on the way home (Italian leather, spices, wine, cannoli..., anyone???), a collapsible duffel bag is essential.
These inexpensive little duffels take up almost no room and weight almost nothing, so just stash one in your bag. And if you’re having trouble repacking with all your new-found treasures in tow, just whip this baby out and you’re all set.
We’ve even loaded our duffel with dirty clothes and checked it on the way back to make wheeling our carry-on through the airport a breeze.
This little guy functions as my wallet while we’re en route. I like to keep the family’s travel documents all in one place and most wallets just can’t accommodate a passport. So, I make sure that all passports and important cards are stowed in this carry-all pouch inside my backpack or purse.
Plus, we absolutely ADORE their cute travel-themed designs.
Well, dear reader, that’s a wrap!
We’d love to hear from you: what can you not live without when you travel?
PS - If you want more fun packing tips, head over to our Packing in a Carry-On post!