How to Travel in Style

My husband and I have several upcoming holidays planned which I’m really excited about. I love traveling. Whether it’s hitting the road with our little trailer, boarding a flight, or special cruise, I like to travel in style.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life traveling with Calpak spinner

Next year we’re heading to Connecticut for my husband’s 50th Prep school reunion, which will be a hoot! We’re also scheduling a sunny getaway in Loreto Bay to visit with my brother – I don’t see him nearly enough since we sold our vacation home on Vancouver Island. We’re also organizing a River Boat cruise to celebrate our 41 st anniversary.

Sponsored by Nordstrom and ShopStyletraveling with a tote and rolling spinner

Part of my organizing is realizing it’s time to retire my old suitcase. It’s traveled many miles over the last 25+ years but hauling it on and off of trains in Japan this fall made me realize it’s days are over. It’s a pain in the neck to maneuver, the zipper is wonky and it’s passed from a classic to a relic. It’s hard to travel in style with a shabby suitcase.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life showing Caslon linen pants and Vince Camuto denim jacket for travel

My daughter used a fabulous little suitcase from Nordstrom on our trip. It wheeled easily, held a lot and was cute to boot. So when Nordstrom asked me to share how I traveled in style, I zeroed right in on the one my daughter had.

Shop My Outfit

This Ambeur 20″ Rolling Spinner is an inch larger than my old bag but still carry-on size. I debated about getting these packing cubes which so many of you have recommended, but I’m an excellent old-fashioned packer so baby steps for me.Packing a Calpak 20" spinner on A Well Styled Life

It’s no secret that Nordstrom is my favorite store, for many reasons. They always seem to have what I want, their customer service is stellar plus they have free shipping and returns. Nordstrom has a reward program through the Nordy Club which is free to join and gives lots of perks.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life modeling Caslon linen pants

Luggage and travel accessories

Jennifer Connolly traveling with Calpak 20"spinner bag from NordstromClub members earn points for each dollar they spend which translates into Nordstrom notes to spend when you shop. I have a Nordstrom Visa Card which earns me notes even faster! You also get free basic alterations, reserve and try in store, curbside pickup and access to beauty and style workshops.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life using Calpak 20" spinner

Having an easy to maneuver suitcase is amazing but I also need to dress comfortably and that never means sweats for me. This denim jacket is perfect to take the chill off when your plane goes from stifling to frigid upon takeoff. I chose these linen pants in black which don’t look too summery when leaving a cold climate and will be cool when you arrive in a warm destination. Some lightweight tassel earrings, simple espadrilles, a classic striped tee and I’m ready to travel – and arrive – in style.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life sharing what it takes to travel in style

The Nordstrom travel section is filled with gorgeous bathing suits and cover-ups which I’ll be pouring over to find the one that flatters my shape. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

The December Half Yearly sale is in full swing with amazing treasures you might like to check out. Here’s what I found…

Do you have any travel plans in 2019?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.


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  1. January 4, 2019 / 1:52 am

    We began the year in Italy in beautiful Orvieto at Umbria Jazz Winter, and now are in Malta, a first for us. Breathtaking views across the harbor from our 6th floor apartment! The year ahead holds delights in Provence, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast to begin with…we’ll be up in the air a lot, as usual!
    Happy 2019 to all!

    • January 4, 2019 / 9:05 am

      We loved Malta. It’s such an exotic looking harbor to enter by boat. Happy New Year Anne!

  2. RoseAG
    January 1, 2019 / 8:17 am

    Nice looking warn weather outfit. You can add a scarf at your departing airport and ditch it when you step off the plan in your warm location. The denim jacket is heavy but since you wear it it’s not taking up suitcase space, and paired with black pants it looks nice.

  3. Janey
    December 31, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    I don’t comment often but I do read every post, and you are an inspiration as I really relate to your style.
    That case looks great, but like someone else said be careful of where you are travelling. Most european airlines and definitely all australian airlines have much stricter and smaller carry on limits than US airlines.

    • December 31, 2018 / 6:52 pm

      Thanks for being here Janey. I’m getting a little nervous about the size of this bag do may buy a smaller one to go to Europe.

  4. BJ
    December 31, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    Love the look. It is just my style. You will love the river cruise. We have travelled the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel on Avalon waterways. They were wonderful. We hoped to do the Danube last spring but an unexpected health scare came up and we had to cancel. Fortunately all was well so I hope to cruise again -perhaps the Danube or in France. Please post your plans.

    • December 31, 2018 / 6:51 pm

      Glad the health scare has resolved. We are so excited to go. I will definitely post all about it.

  5. December 30, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    I used to use Ziplock bags and they work, but it was hard to get all the air out and there was no over stuffing something in them or they wouldn’t stay closed. I love packing cubes now! I recently watched several Utube videos on rolling garments and putting them in bags and gave it a try. You really can put quite a bit in them that way, and things weren’t as wrinkled as I thought they would be. I packed for a 10 day road trip, rolled all my long sleeve tops and they fit in one bag. I could easily see what was there without having to go through the stack. Same with undies and socks. I also use bags the newspaper comes in if it’s raining and Subway sandwich bags for shoes.

    We did a river cruise several years ago and it was quite nice, however we prefer a small cruise ship, less them 700 passengers. They can go into ports and some rivers the big ships can’t go to and the food and service was outstanding. In fact, on the 2nd cruise we took on the same ship 2 years later, several of the crew still remembered us and we are rather reserved folks. My hubby was greeted at the pool bar, “Ah, Mr. Danny! Gin and Tonic?” We were flabbergasted and have continued to cruise with this line because they are so welcoming.

    • December 30, 2018 / 10:05 pm

      That sounds wonderful Susan. What cruise line did you use? We would prefer a small ship too.

      • December 31, 2018 / 1:50 pm

        The cruise line is Azamara. We’ve been on all 3 of their ships and enjoyed each one. You can usually find specials through Costco or AAA or contact them directly. They’re running a 2nd person 1/2 price at the moment. We’ve booked a Northern Capitals cruise in late August. Can’t wait!!

      • December 31, 2018 / 6:48 pm

        Awesome. Thanks Susan. We will check it out.

  6. December 30, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    Cute look! Interesting suitcase. Thanks and have fun. Happy New Year!

  7. December 30, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    I look forward to hearing all about your travels this year! Which river do you plan to cruise. We did a 3 day cruise on the Yangtze River in China a few years ago and absolutely loved it. We’re thinking about a river cruise in Europe, possibly in May. I have an older suitcase that I only use for car travel now and a newer one for flights. I was afraid the old one wouldn’t stand up to baggage handlers anymore!

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:29 pm

      We are thinking of the Danube but I am concerned about the water levels. I don’t want to end up being bused around so it’s still in the planning stages. The Yangtze sounds wonderful.

      • Dorothy Champion
        December 30, 2018 / 6:19 pm

        We cruised the Danube in late June-early July this year and absolutely loved it. That’s probably the last time frame I would plan a river cruise, though, as our captain was starting to get concerned about water levels.

      • December 30, 2018 / 10:10 pm

        That’s so helpful Dorothy. Thank you very much. We will check the earlier dates.

      • Joanna
        December 30, 2018 / 7:33 pm

        Jennifer, take the Danube Cruise! We went last spring and it was wonderful! We have no complaints, only many happy memories. Cruise in the SPRING when the water levels are high and you will avoid the many hassles and disappointments of low water – busing and hotels. We went the last week of May and it was perfect! We unpacked and called it home! The River Cruise ships are smaller, so you get much better service than on the huge ocean going ships. We went with Scenic, through a recommendation of a friend.

      • December 30, 2018 / 10:09 pm

        Thanks for the recommendation Joanna. I’ll look into Scenic! Xo

  8. Renée
    December 30, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    How funny–and how different are our tastes! I like the jacket. It adds just the right amount of casual and just enough color to break up the black and white. In short, I think it finishes the outfit without making it look too “outfit-y”–if that makes sense (I don’t like outfits that look as if all the pieces had been bought together).

    Variety. The spice of life–in fashion as in everything!

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:21 pm

      Thanks. Renee. Variety is what makes fashion fun and so personal.

  9. Kay
    December 30, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    I travel rather a lot. I have been using packing cubes for about 20 years. I wouldn’t go anywhere without them. They are good for squishing things into smaller spaces, and they are perfect for keeping stuff sorted. I learned how useful they can be in September of 2001 when the planes stopped flying and we got stuck in Ohio for a week. We were on the second flight out of the Columbus airport after the air ban was lifted, and every little thing in our bags was taken out and inspected before we could board the plane. Having all the things organized in little cubes made the inspector’s job easier. He did the unpacking and repacking in front of me, and he commented that the cubes made things easier for him. (We weren’t planning on going to Las Vegas, but those were the first planes out, and it got us closer to California. Vegas doesn’t shut down for long for any reason.)

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      Thanks, Kay. Another vote for the cubes so I will try them. You’re right, Vegas never shuts down for long:)

  10. Linda
    December 30, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    We live in NZ and are heading to Europe next year for 6 weeks. Love the simplicity of your travel outfit and your stylish travel bag. However carry on allowance must be far bigger in the States. That’s “check in” size here and for many parts of the world. I too use the packing cubes when I travel. They work. Highly recommend. Enjoy your holidays.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:18 pm

      How exciting! 6 weeks in Europe sounds awesome. Yes they seem to allow bigger bags on board here but probably not for long.

  11. Rose
    December 30, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Sorry to say that I did not like your travel outfit – the jacket. Did not find it – travelling in style. Comfortable – definitely yes. Would prefer a different jacket for the outfit.

    Do always enjoy your tips. Luggage – so many people now are taking carry ons that one hopes to be getting on at the beginning so one is not asked to check their bag. We always put our clothes in zip lock bags etc – so clothes are easy to find and stay tidy. This was my husband’s idea.

    Happy New Year to You – will enjoy looking forward to your future posts.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:16 pm

      Happy New Year Rose!!

  12. Diane Zueck
    December 30, 2018 / 11:24 am

    I will anxiously await your thoughts on your new carry-on when you return from your trip. We are planning a trip to Hawaii in January of 2020. We have not been a long trip in a very long time, so I have to think about new luggage. For now, I love that chunky silver bracelet on your wrist. Is it still available somewhere?
    Enjoy your trip.

  13. Phyllis
    December 30, 2018 / 10:39 am

    I love the packing cubes if I am going to be living out of a tote or suitcase for several days. I pack a complete outfit in each cube, including socks, and undergarments. My PJs are in their own bag. When I get ready for bed the dirty clothes go in the PJ bag. The next morning the PJs go into the empty bag from the new outfit. My tote or suitcase stays neat and I don’t wind up pulling everything out to find what I need. Now, if we are staying in a hotel where I can unpack, then the cubes aren’t nearly as important. I do like to unpack my clothes into the closet and drawers. But, my travel doesn’t usually give me that option; so the cubes are a wonderful option for keeping my bag organized. Nordstroms was a favorite place to shop when we were in the Pacific Northwest, but we don’t have Nordstroms where I live now. Love your new bag. I do love that color. The Nordstrom cubes look awesome, too.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:13 pm

      Excellent point about the sort of moving around the trip will entail. Japan was a different city every day with tons of trains to get there. Cruises are easy peasy. Pack and unpack once. I love your system with the packing cubes.

  14. Susan Adams
    December 30, 2018 / 10:00 am

    We travel quite a bit, and I pack very differently based on our plans. If we will remain in one place long enough to unpack/put things in drawers, etc., then the cubes work well. If we’re going from hotel to hotel every few days, then I’ve found I *love* this gizmo. It fits in my carry-on, it hangs easily in a closet or over a door, it shows you exactly what’s clean, and it eliminates the need to pack and unpack. Brilliant! (I found I didn’t use the large bag at the bottom, so I lopped it off.)


    And unless our travel involves fancy-schmancy events (rarely!) or skiing, we can easily travel for four weeks with just a carry-on and a large tote. This reduces the stress of travel so much: faster through the airport, no worries about bags making a connecting flight, no lost bags. (A friend went on safari in Tanzania, immediately leaving the Dar Es Salaam airport by small charter plane that dropped her in the bush. Her checked bag traveled on to Amsterdam and never caught up with her. That was enough to convince my husband to downsize to carry-on only.)

    The key to traveling this way is wardrobe planning: make sure every top goes with every bottom; wear your bulkiest shoes/jacket/whatever as you travel; select easy-to-wash, no-iron items. I find that 3-4 bottoms, 8-10 tops, and 2-3 cardigans/jackets are a good core.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:10 pm

      Your friend’s experience is my worst nightmare! I haven’t check a bag for many years and don’t want to start now. Which carry-ons do you have?

  15. Susan
    December 30, 2018 / 9:55 am

    Go for the cubes! Like you, Jennifer, I’m an excellent packer (my family nickname is “Packing Queen,” or just “PQ” for short), so the benefit isn’t that I can get more into my suitcase. It’s how organized I am once I arrive! No more rifling through the suitcase to find something. You can take the cubes out, stack them in a drawer or on a shelf, and repack in seconds. After watching me for several trips, I’ve even converted my husband — and that’s saying a lot!

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:08 pm

      That’s a benefit I hadn’t considered. Thanks Susan

  16. Joanna
    December 30, 2018 / 8:42 am

    Is it just me or are carry ons getting bigger? I think with the added cost of checking luggage and the possibility of lost, it is driving many to only pack the one suitcase. And, that piece has gotten bigger to accommodate all their pieces. I just got back from a trip east to visit family and on both legs, due to full flights, they asked people to come forward and check their carry on for free. I don’t like the added cost either but prefer to check my bag, regardless of size, so I don’t have to drag it around nor guard it all day when making connecting flights.
    I love the colour of your suitcase. Would you update us on how it weathers the harsh treatment of travel? I was afraid they might crack or dent. I would love to change my luggage for pretty.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:07 pm

      Carry-ons are getting bigger but airlines, even here, are cracking down. I hate to check my bag because I’ve had them get lost several times and that really is a pain. I agree it makes travel easier when you check them but I hate to.

      • Joanna
        December 30, 2018 / 7:42 pm

        I hear you on lost luggage. When we lived in Colorado Springs, my husband travelled often to Ottawa. Many times his suitcase didn’t follow him. Not having your uniform for meeting is less than optimal. He hated going through Chicago for just that reason. I always divide our clothes between two suitcase, knowing one will arrive and carry a tote with necessities (meds, undies and a change of top). Crossing my fingers any lost suitcase has not taken more than two days to show.

      • December 30, 2018 / 10:07 pm

        That’s smart to split things up but really, why are the losing so many? Everything is tagged.

  17. Linda
    December 30, 2018 / 8:26 am

    Could you do a post on how you folded your clothes and kept things neat? I am going to Europe for 10 days in June and am concerned on how to pack my suitcase.

    • December 30, 2018 / 3:33 pm

      I’ve written a bit about my packing here. I will try to do another before you go. I basically layer and lap to prevent wrinkles and folds.

  18. December 30, 2018 / 8:02 am

    I had the cubes for a while and really didn’t like them. I hope you have a better experience.

    Regarding the carry-on size suitcase…in the U.S., everything IS bigger! My daughter has a carry-on that is fine to take on U.S. flights. But she wasn’t able to carry it on a flight from France to Germany as it was too big and she had to check it. Made her nervous because they lost her luggage when she arrived in France and she was without her things for 3 1/2 days. When she had to check the bag on her France-to-Germany trip, her luggage was again lost for 2 days!

    • December 30, 2018 / 11:35 am

      Oh no! What size was that bag Barb??

      • Susan
        December 30, 2018 / 2:14 pm

        Internaitional carryons in Europe are smaller-like 19 inches and have very strict weight limits too. Check with your airline, but you will not be able to check most US carryon bags when flying country.to country in Europe. Always take a purse size tote with some essentials and any meds, glasses, etc. it’s much different there, i have flown in Spain, Italy, France, and all have smaller carryon rules. Does not matter if you are flying as a partner with an American airline.

      • December 30, 2018 / 3:01 pm

        Thanks, Susan. My old carry on is 18″ and has never been turned down for carry-on. I always have a personal item with all toiletries, meds and 2 changes of clothes. I will have to google around for measurements.

  19. Sharon
    December 30, 2018 / 7:25 am

    Read your posts all the time but this is the first time making a comment. Buy the cubes. They are life changing travel need. I too was why pack a cube to pack a suitcase but they make traveling so easy. And believe it or not you can get more in your suitcase using them. I will never leave home without them again.

    • December 30, 2018 / 7:36 am

      I’m glad you decided to comment. You’ve convinced me. I’ll order the cubes. Thanks Sharon.

  20. December 30, 2018 / 7:06 am

    Happy new year Jennifer! Sounds like some fun trips in 2019. I also replaced my luggage this year with some excellent spinner suitcases and a small bag I used as a carry on (fit under my seat) when I went to Italy for 2 weeks. I also purchased and used packing cubes and really liked how everything was easy to find and my suitcase stayed neat. I didn’t need to rummage around when getting dressed. I was amazed how much fit! I could see you with those lovely cubes that match your new bag. Enjoy the planning, the anticipation is part of the fun!

    • December 30, 2018 / 7:32 am

      Anticipation is sweet. I’m very curious about those cubes. I may have to get them. Happy New Year Deanne

      • Roxanne
        December 30, 2018 / 8:16 am

        Deanne, where did you buy your cubes? Thanks!

      • December 30, 2018 / 8:32 pm

        I ordered a set of 6 from Biaggi, I2 each small, medium and large and they held up fine for my 2 weeks. I think I saw a Facebook offer that threw in a free fold up backpack, which I took on my trip for possible overflow packing.

  21. Roxanne
    December 30, 2018 / 6:23 am

    My sister and I did a Viking cruise out of Bordeaux, France (where our ancestors lived) through Wine Country. It was fantastic. We’ve learned since that you have to be careful what time of year you travel bc of water levels on the rivers. We went in April, plenty of water from the snow melt, and perfect weather. I have friends who did the German cruise this past August. There was no water and the boat never moved. They had to get on a bus at 6 am for tours and didn’t get back until 8 or 9 at night, totally exhausted. Half the fun for us was cruising down the river, drinking wine and taking in the scenery. Go to rivercruiseradvisor.com and click on water levels for an excellent read. Love your new suitcase!

    • December 30, 2018 / 7:31 am

      Thank you so much for this site. I did know water levels are tricky and I’d hate to have to do what your friend did. This suitcase is such a delight compared to my old clunker:)

    • Kim
      January 1, 2019 / 6:35 am

      I second this recommendation to check water levels. This past October my MIL went to Europe for a river cruise and the water levels were too low for the ship to go. She had to do a lot of touring around on a bus and hated it. Enjoy all your vacations this year Jennifer!

      • January 2, 2019 / 7:19 am

        Thanks Kim! We’re looking forward to them.

  22. Nyla Watson
    December 30, 2018 / 5:48 am

    I love the silver bag; details please! I am always concerned about having a bag that zips when traveling.

    • December 30, 2018 / 7:26 am

      It’s a tote I got at Nordstrom several
      Years ago that not available right now but they bring it back every season in multiple colors.

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