Tamara Gruber from We3Travel Explains How to Pack Your Suitcases and Travel Every Month

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

I am Tamara Gruber and I’m a travel blogger, podcaster, and Virtuoso Travel Advisor. I live in Rhode Island, USA with my husband and 13-year old daughter and we travel about once a month (sometimes a little bit more.) We really love cultural exploring, finding emerging destinations, enjoying some soft, family-friendly adventures, and finding really great local restaurants and wineries. When I’m not working on planning our next trip, I enjoy losing myself in a good book or having a family movie night.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

How and why did you get into traveling?

When I was a kid, we never had the money to travel, but I always had a curiosity about new places. When I started working in corporate marketing, I did a fair amount of business travel and loved exploring cities in my free time. Leisure travel just became part of my lifestyle but it was really as my daughter got a little older that I became passionate about showing her the world and making her a global citizen.

I love the planning process and it is a huge reason why I started a blog and become a Travel Advisor. I have so much fun researching a destination and mapping out an itinerary so when we are there, we don’t need to stress about where to go and where to eat (although we do switch things up on the fly.) I still read guidebooks, then I turn to Pinterest to find blog posts and articles about the destination, check TripAdvisor for reviews, and spend time mapping things out so I don’t have us criss-crossing a city to get from place to place.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

How do you finance your travels?

We are like any typical American family except that we prioritize travel over other possessions or experiences. My husband travels frequently for work and we quickly build up airline, hotel, and credit card points to help offset our travel expenses. I keep an eye on airfare deals so we can jump quickly if we see something good. Because of my blog and podcast, we are also often invited to visit and hosted by a destination or hotel. We also make good use of budget airlines, Airbnb, and other budget saving tips to travel more frequently.

Why is traveling important for you?

I really think it is important to get outside of your bubble and be exposed to other ways of life in order to becoming an empathetic, open-minded person. This can be within your own country or around the world. I also strongly believe that the trials and tribulations of travel make you a more flexible and resilient person.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

How do you bring your things with you?

Occasionally, I travel carry on only, but many times I don’t want the hassle of fitting it in the limited space of the airplane overheads and just bring a regular size suitcase. We are very much a TravelPro family when it comes to suitcases. I particularly love my small hard case carry-on for when I do have shorter trips. I also use Eagle Creek packing cubes and love my new toiletries hanging bag from eBags.

I have found that these products work well for me — pockets in the right places, durable wheels, lightweight and easy to maneuver. Actually, after about 10 years, I think I finally need to get a new larger suitcase.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

How do you organize things in your bags?

I try to organize in packing cubes, or I organize by outfit with shoes along the bottom and sides. We tend to have a bag for each family member, but I always wonder if I should mix things up so if a bag is lost one person isn’t totally out of luck. I make sure to stick smaller items inside shoes to maximize all the nooks and crannies.

If I could design my own bag, I might include a built in water resistant/proof laundry bag and a flap to separate either dirty from clean or shoes from clothes (I find shoe bags too bulky.) The other thing I really wish I could find is a way to put a custom wrap on a hard case suitcase. I’d love to show off my logo when we are going through the airport.

Having waterproof/water resistant bags depends on your destination but if you will be swimming or visiting a spa, hiking, etc, it is very important.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

How do your bags and gear hold up?

They hold up pretty well for the abuse they take, although one of my suitcases is starting to split at the seams. I’m still very intrigued by the hard case suitcases, but find them awkward in larger sizes as they take up too much room in the hotel and don’t fit on luggage stands. I am ready to upgrade all my bags to four wheels for easier maneuvering.

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

I mentioned before that I love my new hanging toiletries bag from eBags. It lays flat but still holds a lot. I’ve also become a big fan of the small silicone tubes or pots for my lotions and shampoo/conditioner. They are easy to refill, squeeze, and lightweight and small.

As for other favorites, I am a huge fan of Anatomie travel pants. They are so lightweight, wrinkle free and stylish. You can wash them in the sink and they dry so quickly. I could probably fit a dozen pairs in my purse they roll up so small.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Create a packing list. If they are like me and pack at the last minute, they are bound to forget something. Also, try to coordinate your outfits to minimize the number of shoes you will need. This also helps in mixing and matching to re-wear some items.

What are your best travel-tips for parents with young children?

Traveling with kids has challenges but it also has huge rewards. Don’t underestimate what your children will enjoy. The best tip I have is to start small and start early. Build up to those big trips and make sure you don’t overschedule. If you leave time for downtime and play, pick family-friendly activities/guides/hotels, and involve them in the process — your chances of an amazing vacation increase.

We3Travel Tamara Gruber

What will the future bring?

Our next family trip is to London in December. We are still figuring out our plans for 2018 but it will be a mix of international and domestic travel.

Visit Tamara Gruber and her family on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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