The Personal Item
Most airlines allow people to carry on one small suitcase and one smaller bag often referred to as a “personal item.” Depending on the airline and aircraft, that can mean anything from a small purse to a briefcase to a weekend-size duffel, as long as it fits underneath the seat in front of you. You should always check your airline’s luggage requirements and limitations before packing, as they can vary widely.
Most of the time when we travel, the sizing allowed for my personal item is relatively generous, so that’s what I’m covering here. For many years I traveled with this one from Lipault. It held quite a bit, and wasn’t too heavy. But I found it bulky to wear or carry for any distance. And because of the soft construction, I had to pack it very carefully so that it would balance and be stable atop my rolling bag. (There is a flap that slides over the telescoping handle, but it can slide around if unbalanced.)
I kept seeing videos and recommendations for the O.G. bag from Lo and Sons, and purchased one last year. I’ve since taken it on several trips, and highly recommend it.
- It’s surprisingly lightweight.
- Comfortable to carry, either with the shoulder straps or with the longer cross-body strap.
- Holds everything I need to keep handy, even for a long flight.
- The compartments and pockets keep me organized and reduce the need to dig to find small items.
- Holds my 13″ laptop.
- It sits securely on top of my rolling bag.
- Fits easily under the seat with room to spare.
- It’s a good-looking piece, and the nylon seems to be very durable.
- Slightly smaller capacity than a duffel.
- It’s not an inexpensive bag, but I haven’t seen anything else (even at a higher price) that I like nearly as much.
Several colors are offered; mine’s the navy.
I’m still keeping an eye on the weather for my trip to Paris in a couple of weeks. At least some rain is likely, so I’ll probably pack water-resistant outerwear (and a folding umbrella!). Rather than bring a heavy coat, I’ll choose something lightweight and packable, and layer up underneath for warmth if needed. This packable raincoat is stylish, and available in Misses and Petites, in several colors.
Here’s a nice-looking option in Plus. (Other colors available.)
This is a cute one, and under $100.
A classic trench style with a detachable hood.
What do you use as your “personal item?”