I leave in a little over five days for Europe. The past few months, I have been doing research (and by research I mean going on Pinterest) and poking around on a lot of blogs. These blogs have a ton of fantastic information, not only about how to pack and what basics to bring but tips about little gadgets and such that will make travel easier. So many of those blogs and websites say something to the effect of, "I absolutely love this bag. I use it for all my carry-ons. It's a God send." Usually this is provided with a link to check out the bag and buy it for yourself. Now, the last thing I need is more stuff, but if the bag's cute, there's no harm in looking at it. Yeah, big mistake. Most of the time, the bag in question is over $100, in some cases over $300. That's more than my entire luggage set! It kills me. If you can afford a $300 carryon bag, a $75 passport case, $80 foldable ballet flats and so on and so forth, more power to you. Traveling is expensive enough as is. You can still have all (or most) of those fancy gadgets and other helpful organization and travel accessories without spending $300 or more on a simple bag
My carry-on bag was a steal. I got this adorable Thirty-One tote for $25 after I spent $35 getting a gift for a friend of mine. It's important to note that the bag is usually $80 (for you math buffs, that's about 70% off). The bag is huge, it fits everything I'll need during my flight to Europe (keep your eyes peeled for a post about what specifically I put in my carry-on).
In terms of travel gadgets and what not, I did invest in a few items that cost a little more than what I would like to admit. Think about it this way: is this an item you will only use while traveling, or will you use it other times as well? My logic with buying a $30 foldable duffel bag is that I'll use it for weekend trips, especially ones for school (my school goes camping once a year with the sixth graders, and I don't want to lug a nice suitcase out in the middle of the woods). Plus, I learned the hard way to bring an empty suitcase when traveling. When I was in London, I bought WAY too many souvenirs and had to pay a fortune for another suitcase to bring my stuff home in. It's a cute suitcase but not the best quality, and because it's plastered with sites to see in London and what not, it cost a small fortune. I'd rather have an extra bag with me and not use it than wander around the city the day before leaving to come home in search of a bag. So not worth it.