Inside My Suitcase: Samantha Patil, Founder of Well Traveled
Our content has been independently selected and contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using the links, we may receive a commission. When Samantha Patil decided to launch Well Traveled, a members-only social platform for travelers, she had modern explorers like herself in mind. "I could never find trustworthy recommendations or reviews from travelers I could relate to," she said. "I then realized that many of the largest travel sites today were built more than 20 years ago and haven’t changed much since… yet how we travel, what we prioritize when we travel, and even where we travel has changed so dramatically, especially in the past year." Well Traveled allows members to share firsthand recommendations on hotels, activities, and restaurants, and offers personalized booking services that come with fun VIP perks. "We're modernizing the way people discover, plan, and book travel by tapping into the power of community and human connection," Patil said. Among this exclusive community of "a new generation of travelers, foodies, and adventure-seekers," you'll find the dreamiest destinations, hotels, and, of course, packing lists. That's why we tapped the trend-setting Well Traveled CEO and co-founder for her packing tips, from product picks to whether or not you should check a bag. What are some of the most popular destinations among Well Traveled members? Mexico has been very popular recently. I think for many U.S. travelers, it feels familiar but still feels like an escape. Our West Coast members have been heading to Cabo (with The Cape and Nobu as favorite hotels to book), and our East Coasters have been heading to Tulum or Playa del Carmen (in fact, Rosewood Mayakoba is one of our most popular Mexico properties). In recent weeks, we're seeing U.S. travelers start to plan ahead for Europe trips, with Italy being the most popular by far. Popular domestic locations include Palm Springs, Napa, Santa Barbara, and New York. Do you have any trips planned at the moment? We are planning a trip to Hawaii with a few close friends to enjoy some surf and sunshine, followed by Cabo for a wedding. Do you have a go-to travel bag? I love my Away carry-on bag. It’s just so well-designed and I love that it’s super light. My alternate bag is a Tumi hard case carry-on. I will say I’ve had my eye on the Beis bags though — they look really well-made and super cute. Are you an overpacker or a minimalist? I’d like to think I’m a minimalist because I only ever bring a carry-on bag (no matter what!) but you’d be surprised what I can fit into one of those. Safe to say, I’m an overpacker. What can I say? I like to have options. Checked bag or carry-on only? Carry-on, always! Backpack or duffel? I’m not really a fan of either (I’m an Away bag gal) but I do love the Cuyana backpacks. What is the first thing you always pack? This might sound silly, but I always pack my “Five Minute Journal." I’ve been doing it every morning and night for almost two years now, and I bring it with me on all my trips. Name three things you can’t live without having in your carry-on. A snuggly scarf for the airplane, my airplane snacks, and my eye mask — key on overnight flights. Tell us about your travel shoe lineup. I always include a pair of running shoes; I love staying active on vacation. I almost always wear my Rothy’s slip-on shoes on the plane, but sometimes I’ll change things up with a different athletic shoe. Then I’ll typically bring a pair of day-to-night sandals and a pair of comfy-ish heels. Any beauty or skincare item you always bring when you travel? I really love my Caudalie Beauty Elixir Face Mist and Peter Thomas Roth under eye gels… I have been known to wear these on the plane, no shame! Best packing tip you’ve learned in your travels? Pack things you can layer, and always pack a swimsuit! You never know when you might need it. Samantha Patil, Founder of Well Traveled, on Her Packing Essentials Rothy’s Sneaker in Sand These shoes are SO comfortable and perfect for walking around a new city or wearing on the plane! Madewell Jean Jacket I love an oversized jean jacket, it’s a great piece to bring with you because it’s not super heavy but will keep you warm if you’re out in the evenings and things cool down. Caudalie Beauty Elixer This spritz is a game-changer on long flights. It helps keep my skin feeling moisturized. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches These things are amazing and help so much with puffy, tired eyes. The Confidence Co Digestive Enzymes These are absolute miracle pills! I have a sensitive stomach and it’s not always easy to control what you’re eating while traveling — plus, it’s fun to indulge when exploring new places. These pills help keep my tummy happy when I’m trying new foods. A must-have for anyone who loves a good foodie scene but also struggles with food sensitivities.