The Best Carry-On Luggage 2017 (As Tested By A Frequent Flier)

  The Best Carry-On Luggage in 2017 I bought my first luggage set in high school and it was a pink/purple Diane von Furstenburg set that faithfully stood me by for about 10 years! The distinctive color made it easy to spot on the luggage carousel and its sturdy construction withstood the pull, tug and […]


LeahFebruary 8, 2017 - 8:04 am

I am all about good luggage!! These sound awesome!

KenzieFebruary 9, 2017 - 2:53 pm

I’ve been looking for some new luggage! Those packing cubes look like a great buy too!

JoyceFebruary 21, 2017 - 9:21 pm

Love this comprehensive roundup! The samsonite omni, raden, and tumi look super interesting!

Characters & Carry-ons

[…] I particularly recommend Raden, Tumi or Samsonite for work carry-ons since they have very sleek and understated black options. Raden’s bags are also especially light weight and have built-in GPS and charging ports. Read this review post for the best carry on luggage options. […]

[…] If you have a sandwich-construction suitcase, I keep shoes on the zippered off side with my toiletries and then clothes on the other half. You can read more about my recommendations for best carry on luggage here. […]

Bri GibbsApril 13, 2017 - 9:10 am

What are the two brands of luggage at the top of the article?
You have two pieces on the left and one piece on the right. They are all shades of green. What and where can I find those pieces?

SherApril 14, 2017 - 6:29 pm

Hi Bri – those are from Away luggage. I haven’t tried them yet but they’re another new, “smart” luggage type brand with sandwich-style construction. Let me know if you get it and end up loving it!

[…] NYC | Carry On Luggage […]

The Best Spain and Portugal Itinerary | 10 Days

The best of Spain and Portugal in one easy trip.


JoyceJune 1, 2016 - 12:33 pm

Cordoba and Grenada look gorgeous. I love all the flower shots in Cordoba, what a great time to go! I love all your pictures & travel style too! I might be planning a Spain trip for this summer, I’ll bookmark this and avidly follow all your recommendations haha

AmandaJune 1, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Gah you’re making me so jealous, girl!!!! I studied abroad in Salamanca in high school and spent a lot of time in Barcelona and Madrid, but I haven’t been back since. I desperately want to go back and go down to Granada to see the Alhambra!

Adaleta AvdicJune 1, 2016 - 10:14 pm

Wow, so much information & this is so detailed! I may be going to Lisbon in November, so this is cool to know it’s like San Fran. I have my list of must-sees made after reading this post!

She JohJune 1, 2016 - 10:55 pm

Wow, what an incredible trip and your pictures are absolutely stunning! I want to go now!

CoryJune 1, 2016 - 11:34 pm

Nice tips! I will going to Spain later in the summer, so this will help a lot.

EliseJune 1, 2016 - 11:42 pm

Your photos are stunning! Now I want to visit :)

ColbyJune 2, 2016 - 12:12 am

Your photos are absolutely stunning! I’ll be moving to Spain in the fall and will definitely refer back to this.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 12:24 am

Aw, thanks for the kind words Colby!

MelissaJune 2, 2016 - 12:37 am

Your vacation looks AH-Mazing!!! And the photos!!! Makes me want to book a trip asap!

aicha robertsonJune 2, 2016 - 1:43 am

Wow I can’t wait to visit Spain someday, what a great post! Thanks for sharing x

Trang DoJune 2, 2016 - 1:49 am

Great pictures!! Amazing photos!!!

JulianJune 2, 2016 - 8:50 am

Excellent review and nicely planned trip. Pictures of Granada and Cordoba look very nice. Too bad you didnt see Porto, such a nice city as well. Many thanks for the inspiration.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:33 pm

Thanks Julian! Yea – I keep seeing Porto all over now. Wish I had gone but it was nearing 3 weeks at that point and I had to get back to work! If only haha.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thanks Melissa! It was an amazing trip, I hope you have a great summer!

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thank you Trang!

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:35 pm

Yes, Spain is amazing! Hope you visit soon. xoxo

AmyJune 2, 2016 - 3:58 pm

Fantastic and comprehensive post! I always appreciate a post catering to first timers, as that is quite often what I am, myself! Beautiful photos, thanks for the insight into such spectacular places!

MaggieJune 2, 2016 - 5:17 pm

Your photos are simply stunning!! Awesome trip!

Leslie Rossi | alifewellconsumedJune 2, 2016 - 10:40 pm

i did portugal a couple of years ago! i loved it, sintra was unreal.

Alexandra A.June 4, 2016 - 3:52 pm

All these places are amazing,I definitely have to visit them someday!

[…] just got back from a fabulous trip to Spain and Portugal and for the first time used Airbnb for a significant portion of my trip! For some reason I thought […]

Carmen's Luxury TravelJune 25, 2016 - 2:11 am

I am absolutely in love with Spain and Portugal but haven’t visited all of these places you’ve listed. This is a beautiful and helpful guide. Thanks so much for sharing and happy travels :)

AndraJune 25, 2016 - 11:53 am

Love your list! And what amazing photos. I just googled the Patio Festival in Cordoba and it looks so nice! The houses look amazing then. Nice tip

Long NguyenJune 25, 2016 - 1:50 pm

A very well arranged guide for the travel you have experienced. I found this clear and easy to understand with structure of information and pictures coming along with. I have printed it for the trip to Spain in next two years. Thanks.

NatashaJune 25, 2016 - 6:56 pm

First of all I have to say I LOVE your photos and the way they are set up in this post. Haven’t been to all these places in Spain but definitely have to get back so I can visit more.

SherJune 25, 2016 - 7:02 pm

Hey Andra! Yes the patio festival is amazing. I recently posted about it with tons of photos, have a look! :)

SherJune 25, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Hi Natasha! Thanks so much for the kind words. xx Sher

JoannaJune 26, 2016 - 2:20 pm

I will be going to Granada in autumn for 5 night and I am very looking forward to it. Thank you for the tickets tip, I will keep it in mind and book them at least 2 months in advance. :)

Renne SimpsonJune 30, 2016 - 2:11 am

Wowwww I’m just in love with Sintra because of your photos <3 I have a thing for colorful cities. Beautiful….

SherJune 30, 2016 - 2:13 am

Thank you Renne! Yes I’m so glad I took a detour to Sintra on this Portugal trip, it was a really fun day trip and actually 2 days would have been better!

ShobhaJune 30, 2016 - 5:29 pm

Love the itinerary and the photos! I’ve been to all these cities and I can say that you pretty much covered everything for a first time trip.

Stephanie LangletJuly 1, 2016 - 2:02 pm

I’m also more a fan of Barcelona than Madrid. In the highlights there, I would add the palace of the Catalan Music – one of my favourite places with the Sagrada Familia – and la Boqueria, the market on the Ramblas.
Great guide!

SherJuly 2, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Yes! I loved La Boqueria too – had a great seafood brunch there. Can’t believe I forgot to add that, thanks for the note Stephanie!

LiaJuly 4, 2016 - 12:28 am

I love this :) I did this trip exactly back in 2012 with the addition of Porto. Your photos are beautiful!

AmiJuly 5, 2016 - 10:18 am

That is a concise and well planned itinerary. Very useful and am bookmarking it for my future trip.

Rob TaylorJuly 6, 2016 - 12:56 am

All of these places are must-visits, especially Sintra… and Grenada… and Madrid… I think adding the day trip to Segovia is brilliant.

FabioRosadoJuly 12, 2016 - 6:08 am

I really enjoyed your post and the pictures look amazing.
Lisbon has a lot to do and see, 2 days might not be enough if you want to visit Sintra as well, but that’s my opinion :)

Did you enjoy Belem as well? I can see that you went there because of the picture of the famous Pasteis de Belem :D

SherJuly 12, 2016 - 6:23 pm

Yes! I wish I had spent an extra day in Sintra – there was a lot more to see than I had realized!

[…] Evening: Grab one last bite of tapas and pack up to depart Granada for the next stop on your tour. I recommend flying to Madrid or Barcelona and starting my Essential Spain itinerary. […]

TaraJanuary 1, 2017 - 10:21 pm

Hi! I am planning an 8 day trip to Europe in April and am torn between two different itineraries:
1. Fly into Barcelona, explore Barcelona, and do monterassat, and then take a flight to Lisbon and explore Porto and sintra


2. Fly into Madrid, do Sevilla and Granada with day trips to Córdoba and Sevilla

Any insight you have would be wonderful!!

SherJanuary 1, 2017 - 10:30 pm

Hi Tara – either itinerary would be amazing, it really depends on what you’re looking to do on your trip? Between Madrid & Barcelona, I liked Barcelona a lot more (personally) as it’s a larger, vibrant city with amazing restaurants, lots of sights (mostly of Gaudi’s works) and Montserrat was very different.

Madrid is more historic and I really loved South Spain. Andalusia has Moorish history so there’s lots of beautiful arabic-influenced sights like the Alhambra. Tapas are really good in Sevilla! Cordoba really comes alive in early May for the flower festival.. Either way there’s lots to see in both options you outlined! Maybe you can extend your trip for 2 weeks?? :)

[…] Spain and Portugal Itinerary Advice for 10 Days […]

sheenaJanuary 27, 2017 - 10:02 pm

Hi Sher! Im in love with your photos! Im also planning a same trip for July. I just want to ask a few questions , I hope you don’t mind. your first stop was Madrid right? then from barcelona did you fly to lisbon? And was it easy to travel via trains also? I don’t drive so I’ll probably be commuting my entire trip. Im already thinking of flying to Madrid from Singapore(where i come from) and do the same itinerary as yours then go back to Singapore either from Barcelona or Lisbon( I cant decide yet). Thanks for reading my comment . Any advice is a great help thanks;)

SherJanuary 27, 2017 - 10:32 pm

Hi Sheena, aw thank you! Happy to help. Yes I flew in to Madrid and yes also flew from Barcelona to Lisbon. In between I took trains from Madrid down south to Seville/Cordoba/Granada. All of those train rides are very doable and you can find the train schedule on renfe.com The site doesn’t fully translate from Spanish to English but the time schedules are easy enough to read. To actually book the tickets I used rail europe (i have a link to that in the post) because it’s easier to pay – with renfe you pretty much need a spanish credit card or it won’t work.

I didn’t rent a car so to get from city to city I took the train or flew. I felt like walking in any of the Spanish cities was very doable and walked pretty much everywhere! Even 30 minutes in some cases but I also don’t mind to walk. There are local buses and taxis to get around too so no need for a car!

I definitely really liked Lisbon but I went with family and they were kind of tired after 10 days in spain, so if you decide to go home after Barcelona that could be fine too. Lisbon is very hilly (kind of like San Francisco if you have been there?) and you mostly have to walk around for sights and such but there’s also the trolley to take which is fun. If you do go to Lisbon, I highly recommend Sintra! There are some colorful palaces and mansions there which are really unique.

Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for reading :)

[…] Spain and Portugal Itinerary Advice for 10 Days […]

JeanneMarch 6, 2017 - 3:02 am

We’re planning to go visiting Spain and Portugal departing from the UK for 13 days, wondering what would be the best itinerary be for our first time visit on these both countries and we need to head back to Hong Kong after, need your suggestion to see if we’re able to fly direct either from those countries or get back to the UK first. FYI, we don’t drive.

Many thanks for your help in advance.

Tanya GomezMarch 17, 2017 - 5:42 am

Wow! your itinerary is perfect! ;) Great choice of places and I also loved your pictures.

Sara BunchMarch 18, 2017 - 5:37 pm

Love this itinerary! I’m planning a trip now hoping to hit most of these places, but I only have about 14 days. How many days total was your trip?

SherMarch 19, 2017 - 2:59 am

Hey Sara! Glad you like it :) I took about 2 weeks so it sounds like you have plenty of time. With shorter time the day trips from Madrid are probably easy to cut and maybe less time in Cordoba if the patio festival isnt going on

AngieMarch 31, 2017 - 6:12 am

Hi Sher,
I love everything you posted here, especially the itinerary and the photos. its so easy to understand and the photos are all amazing. I’ll be doing Spain and Portugal trip for 16 days this May, adding few days to spend in Porto and Barcelona. Im planning to do the whole exact thing as yours, I can’t wait to visit Cordoba for the flower festival and Sintra! Thank you so much for your itineraries :)

NamrataApril 8, 2017 - 10:04 pm

Hi Sher your blog was really insightful! I have a question. I’m planning to buy train tickets in advance (traveling to Spain and Portugal) but since my itenerary is not finalized so how do I go about making reservations? Is it hard to make same day /2dayreservations in advance for train seat reservation? Thanks for your help!

SherApril 8, 2017 - 10:10 pm

Hi Namrata, glad my posts were helpful! Hm, it depends. When are you planning to go?

If spring/summer I would recommend you finalize your itinerary and buy the tickets online before you go. Spain gets quite crowded as early as May and certain popular places will sell out. For example, the Madrid day trip to Toledo is strangely very popular!

I booked all of my trains ahead of time, except my Portugal day trip to Sintra. the line at the train station was very, very long the day of. In hindsight I would have bought it ahead of time to save time.

If you are visiting in the fall/winter its probably less important to book ahead.

For the Alhambra you absolutely need to buy a ticket ahead of time (I have a whole post on that). In general the high speed train runs pretty frequently, you just might not the time or seat you want if you buy the day of. Hope that helps!

Where to Stay in Manhattan: 4 New York Hotels Under $150

Here’s to Budget Friendly in the Big Apple


DanielleJanuary 30, 2017 - 9:23 am

Saving this for when we go to Manhattan! :)

DeasyJanuary 30, 2017 - 9:03 pm

This is a great list. Park Savoy Hotel seems very promising! I’m always looking for hotels with great value in Manhattan since I’m more interested in spending money on activities instead!

MollyJanuary 31, 2017 - 8:37 pm

Great places- I didn’t know of any of them! so helpful!!

[…] NYC Neighborhood Guide & Hotels Under $150 per night […]

What to Wear in Cancun, Mexico: Packing List, Souvenirs & More

I have nothing to wear.


JoyceJanuary 25, 2017 - 12:58 pm

Loveeee this packing post! I clicked on a lot of links and added things to cart :) Clothes are soo pretty and the other stuff is awesomely functional!

Characters & Carry-ons

Ashlyn | From Heart And SeoulJanuary 28, 2017 - 2:31 am

Love all the outfit recommendations! Also ordering a Go Pro Dome now. Just curious, which location is the photo of the pink adobe hotel from?

[…] are the absolute essentials to pack for Mexico. For my complete packing guide including outfits and what to wear in Cancun, you can read […]

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JuneMay 25, 2017 - 5:50 pm

Hi! I couldn’t find the link for the midi dress in your post – happen to know where it’s from?


SherMay 25, 2017 - 6:47 pm

Hey June! Oops, I realized I numbered the packing guide wrong and totally skipped the dress! I found the dress again here

Still a splurge but it’s 50% off now!

The 8 Best Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico

The best tacos I’ve ever had.


[…] Read more: The 8 Best Restaurants in Tulum Mexico […]

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[…] Tulum Travel Guide | Tulum Eats & Restaurants […]

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Tulum | Travel Guide

A complete travel guide for Tulum!


JoyceJanuary 18, 2017 - 1:49 pm

I spent wayy too little time there last time. I can’t wait to go back and really experience Tulum! Thanks for this guide!

[…] to enjoy the whole experience. You can explore Tulum by yourself, with a tour guide or by reading this guide on everything you need to know about visiting Tulum. The beaches are beautiful and usually you are able to go downstairs and swim (best to bring your […]

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[…] this year alone, I feel like I’ve nailed down the art of packing for what to wear in Cancun, Tulum and the Yucatan! My essentials? Fun prints, breathable cotton and lots and lots of color. So far […]

Tai Cobb KlamApril 24, 2017 - 9:24 pm

Do you recommend Be Tulum over Casa Malca?

SherApril 24, 2017 - 9:49 pm

Hi Tai – im not familiar with casa malca sorry! But yes be tulum is a gorgeous hotel and one of my favorites on the beach strip

What to Pack for Jamaica: Outfit Ideas & Packing List

What to pack for Jamaica, answered.


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