The "Carry-On" for the Win!
Natalie DiScala doesn’t just travel for business. Travel is her business.
A digital content creator and travel writer, DiScala has tested the durability of luggage across the continents, acquiring a wealth of insights along the way. She shared a few of them during a conversation about suitcases, accessories and devices that help make business travel easier.
What differentiates good luggage from bad for business travel?
DiScala: For business travel, I firmly believe you should travel with just a carry-on. I’m always looking for something light, easy to maneuver, compact, and with four telescopic wheels. I always like to know that I can handle my luggage on my own, that I can easily lift it into an overhead. When I made the switch to hardshell luggage, I never turned back. I find them durable and strong, plus they look great. Monos has a hardshell suitcase, the Carryon-Pro which has an external pocket, perfect for keeping things within reach. A lot of hardshell suitcases don’t have any type of pockets, so this feature makes things more accessible. You can stick your laptop and passport in this compartment, which is great.
What challenges with luggage have you faced while traveling for business?
DiScala: Both my husband and I are travel writers and fly all over the world. We used to circle the globe and did it all with only a carry-on. When we first met, we had our first trips to Hawaii and Australia. He told me, “You can only bring a carry-on,” and I thought, “Wow, this guy is crazy!” He told me in Australia we would be taking small planes so we had no choice but to take small luggage. We even got married while we were there so I had to think about a dress and heels, which made things even more challenging. However, after that trip, I was sold on carry-on luggage.
I’ve also had luggage break. We were going to Nairobi and my suitcase fell apart enroute. If I hadn’t checked it, that wouldn’t have happened. I also had a wheel snap off one time in New York City, so I had to drag it. Lost or damaged suitcases are extremely inconvenient.
What are some pieces of hand luggage you recommend for business?
DiScala: A backpack is always great because it’s hands-free. My favorite is from Mark & Graham. It’s called the Commuter Backpack. I’m also excited to travel with a new bag that Sarah Jessica Parker created in partnership with Samsonite called The Carried Away Convertible. It’s a great little backpack you can wear multiple ways. It can be a backpack or a crossbody. It’s really multifunctional and perfect for every traveler.
What are some smart ways to bring toiletries on a business trip?
DiScala: I have a hanging toiletry bag that allows all of my stuff to be in one spot, hanging from the door. I also use a packing cube for things like hair dryers and straightening irons, brushes and other products. A recent study says that a hair dryer is the dirtiest item in a hotel room. That’s why I always bring my own, from Drybar, which folds in half. I also think it’s great to buy doubles of products and always have a toiletry bag packed. Then my toiletry bag is always ready to go and I don’t forget things because I'm transferring products back and forth.
Are there any other gadgets or devices you like to bring on business trips?
DiScala: I love using a tech organizer where I put all of my cables, cords, chargers, and batteries. It’s essential and keeps all my stuff organized.
Are there any COVID-related devices you pack that you didn't pack previously?
DiScala: I use the CleanPod UVC Sterilizer. It uses UV light to sterilize my suitcase or anything I'm traveling with. Sanitizing products are going to be huge in the post-COVID world, in my opinion.
What's your number one packing tip?
DiScala: As I mentioned before, I always say not to check luggage, so it won’t get lost or damaged. You have so much increased flexibility. If you have to change a flight or leave earlier, you don’t have to check your suitcase. I also really love packing cubes, they keep you organized. Shoes, clothes, toiletries — I use them for everything. Lastly, I roll everything! You can fit so much stuff when you roll and stack your clothes.
Have packing tips to share? Tell us in the comments below!