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Expert Travel Tips From Away Co-Founders

Whether you're hopping on a bus, train, or airplane to get home this holiday season, chances are you will have a suitcase by your side. And in said suitcase will be everything from your dress-to-impress outfits to your lazy morning pajamas to your tried and true skincare regime. Oh and a few pairs of workout clothes and your sneaks in the hopes of squeezing in a workout or two. Oh and your daily supplements. And extra supplements to help counteract the alcohol and pies. Is it crazy to bring the new white noise machine you just got and can't sleep without? 

In other words: packing ain't easy. And it's especially hard around the holidays. So we consulted Jen + Steph, co-founders of Away Travel and experts in all things luggage, on their top tips for how to find the perfect suitcase for your needs, and, most importantly, what to put in it.

How did you get the idea to revamp the suitcase? What about that industry seemed broken?

Jen: I always look to my friends for recommendations, whether it’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in Tokyo or a new product. When I was in the market for a new set of luggage after mine broke, my friends were only able to tell me what not to get. There wasn’t a brand in the luggage space that was resonating with anyone I knew—that’s when I called Steph and the rest is history.

What should someone look for in a suitcase?

Steph: Look for one that makes your travel experience as seamless as possible. Size, weight, durability, and quality of materials are key (and obvious), but the rest is in the details. Does it have a place for your dirty laundry? Is the interior designed in a way that will let you stay organized while packing as much as possible? And, don’t underestimate how four smooth wheels can completely transform your airport experience. 

What are your tips for packing a full trip into a carry on? Any tips for liquids?

Jen: Lay everything out before you pack it in to really get a sense of what you’re bringing with you. Even if you’re not an outfit planner, it helps to see how many tops, pants, dresses, etc. you’re bringing, what colors they are, and where the gaps are in your packing list. I always pack travel-size versions of my favorite products. It makes wherever I am feel a little more like home and never holds me up in the TSA line. For products that don’t come in TSA-friendly sizes, I use the small plastic bottles that you can buy in the drugstore, or repurpose contact lens cases for the serums and creams that are used in small doses but come in bigger jars.

What do you never travel without?

Jen: A scarf that doubles as a blanket and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. With these, I can always create my own little respite on the plane.

Steph: No matter where I go, I always bring a bathing suit. They don’t take up much space at all, and you never know if you will have the opportunity to hop in the pool or ocean!

Where has your current AWAY suitcase been with you?

Jen: I’ve taken this Carry-On from New York to LA (a few times!), San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Marrakech—and that’s just in the past month!

What's on your travel bucket list?

Steph: South Africa is high on my list. I’d start my trip with a safari, do a road trip along the coast on the Garden Road, and end up in the mountain vineyards of Stellenbosch.

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