Don’t worry, I’m not about go all TMI* on you. I’m talking about the “Personal Item” carry-on bag allowance.
Whether you check bags when you travel or fly carry-on only, your Personal Item can make a big difference in your travel comfort. When we first began traveling I squandered my Personal Item on just my handbag, but eventually wised up. A Personal Item bag can hold everything you need for in-flight comfort, and perhaps even a change of clothes for when you reach your destination. (If you’ve ever been seated behind a Rocket Launch Full Recliner who sends your tea flying off your tray table and onto the upper half of your body, you know how nice it is to have something dry and clean to wear when it’s time to de-plane.)
I’m not suggesting you flout airline carry-on restrictions or become one of those annoying overhead bin hogs. Your Personal Item is supposed to fit under the seat in front of you, so that’s the size of bag I’m going to focus on.
Up until recently, I used a large Longchamp Le Pliage tote as my PI. While it was lightweight and mostly large enough for my handbag, laptop or iPad, chargers, an extra sweater, pashmina, magazines, a snack, extra clothes and toiletries, the single open compartment often meant that the contents were a jumbled mess pretty quickly. And it tended to shift in transit through airports when set on top of my wheelie bag. I’ve come to appreciate a bag specifically designed for travel with compartments and a mechanism to secure it to other luggage.
Though I haven’t traveled with this Lipault “Weekender” bag yet, I’m really impressed with the design and have high hopes for its functionality. First there’s this feature:
the back of the bag has an opening that slips over the handle of the rolling bag, then zips to hold it securely in place. On the other side there’s an outside compartment with a padded sleeve for a laptop or iPad. And a smaller section to keep travel documents handy for check-in and security. The main compartment is plenty roomy and the soft structure of the bag means it can be squished to fit under the seat. As we get closer to departure, I’ll show you how I pack both my wheeled and Personal Item carry-on bags.
Earlier on I was asked about non-wheeled travel bags for men. While the Lipault bags, even in a plain brown or black might read as too feminine for some guys, there are a lot of other lightweight options for cabin bags, wheeled or otherwise.
The Briggs & Riley cabin duffel above is good looking, lightweight, functional and carries Briggs & Riley’s lifetime guarantee. This bag also has the slip-over-the-handle feature. I’ve included more options below.
If you are traveling carry-on only, your handbag goes inside your Personal Item bag. (Of course, if you can always stash it there even if you’ve checked your bag(s) and then you only have one item to deal with, your choice.) I like the idea of a cross-body shoulder strap too, in case you need to navigate stairs or other situations that require carrying luggage.
*Too Much Information
Do you have a favorite tote or bag for travel? What items to you bring on board with you for in-flight comfort?
MORE PERSONAL ITEM OPTIONS:
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