What's in Your Bag

What’s in Your Bag: SteamLine Luggage

There’s little else Dublin-based entrepreneur Sara Banks loves more than the unexpected joys of international travel. With a heart for wanderlust and an eye for functional elegance, Banks founded SteamLine Luggage with the aim of bringing old-world glamour back to modern travel. Learn how she, her husband and their three sons travel the globe together and what her top packing tips are for traveling with family.

Are you a pre-planned or spontaneous traveler?

With 3 little boys in tow, our spontaneous travel has been swapped for a little more planned travel for the time being. However, once we get to a destination, we go where we please, when we please – we never book in advance. The spirit of adventure is very much part of how we travel!

What is your favorite part of traveling?

Realizing you’re on vacation. The day when you appreciate that you are on vacation – you can feel your whole body relax as you forget about the worries of everyday life…for me, that usually happens around day 5 or 6.

What do you like the least about traveling?

The fact that flying has become so mundane – people used to get dressed up, used to look forward to a flight… I want to bring that back. Every aspect of an adventure should be fun.

Are you usually on-time or running-late to the airport?

Years ago, leaving Dublin for the first time (before it was my permanent home), I was so late for a flight that they put all my massive check-in bags through the carry on security belt. I was escorted to my gate. Running late was part of my personality.

However, the importance and courtesy of being on-time is one of the better qualities my professional life has instilled in me. I fought it for a while, but now I see how less stressful being at an airport early can feel! A coffee and relaxed walk around before a long flight never does anyone any harm.

Do you use a mental, digital or physical packing checklist?

My husband does a digital list so I go with a mental one. It’s not necessarily passing-the-buck as I am the one that does the packing for all five of us. But his list does help ensure we don’t forget anything.

What are your top 5 travel essentials?

A journal to document the trip, a multi-function shawl/blanket, thin markers (for the kids and me), Everything Balm and a beauty booster serum- it absorbs instantly to hydrate, plump, and brighten travel-worn skin.

What is the most beloved possession you travel with?

Can children be possessions? Anything can happen when you travel. I don’t get too attached to anything I bring aboard.

Do you roll, fold or use packing cubes for your clothes when packing?

One thing I have realized is that it doesn’t really matter what you bring. When we travel, we are so excited to get out the door that we wear whatever. It’s nice to have items that “spark joy,” but nothing to be precious about. Then we can all get dressed quickly and look sort of cute when heading out for an adventure.

What is a common mistake you make when packing?

I still bring too much. I eliminate and eliminate again, but never have I ever, been to a destination and wished “oh I wish I had that.” It is always, “oh I wish I had more space to bring this home!”

Do you have an airport ritual? Where to eat, relax, etc.

Breathe, survive, breathe.

Airplane food. Yay or Nay?

Used to be yay, now totally nay.

What is your favorite travel destination?

Oooh oooh. Impossible! Our last trip to Lamu in Kenya was heaven. I never thought I would relax so quickly, eat so much amazing food plucked from the ocean, have the kids pleasantly and brilliantly entertained by simplicity every day, and go crashing into bed every night. Locals – amazing. Weather – amazing. Scenery – amazing. To-dos – plentiful. Adventures – perfect.

Also, one of our favorite family destinations is Sri Lanka. Everything about this entire island is so wonderful. We are devastated by the recent attacks. It will cripple a country that was booming again after years of civil war. If anyone takes travel advisory with a grain of salt, I would hit up Sri Lanka now. Without a shadow of doubt, people will embrace you with wide open arms. Visiting Sri Lanka is like pushing an open door of paradise, and I am sure that people who travel there now will be treated like gold.

Where are you heading next?

We are hard pressed not to go back to Kenya next year. But Columbia has long been on my bucket list so we might try to get there soon. Also, someone shared with me their pictures from the Cenotes in Tulum and I think that Mexico might need another visit sooner rather than later!

What is best souvenir you’ve picked up during your travels?

Shells. I am self-trained shell-hunter. I nearly lost my mind with the number of sand dollars we found in Kenya. We sent most back to the ocean but took a couple of beauties home.

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How to's

How to fold, roll, cube

Love to travel but hate packing? We’ve broken down the steps for three essential packing styles: folding, rolling and cubing. Whether you’re headed on an international adventure or a local business trip, find your style and follow the outlined steps for stress-free packing!