Travel In Style: Let's Get Personal - une femme d'un certain âge

Travel In Style: Let’s Get Personal

Lipault weekender

My new Personal Item bag: Lipault 19″ Weekender

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:

Lipault bag

Fastens securely to rolling bag.

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.

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 8.08.23 PM

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?



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  1. Susan
    April 2, 2014 / 3:47 am

    Here is the personal item bag I carry on for travel. I bought (in black)it last September right before a trip to London.
    For me, this bag is perfect. I has lots of well sized zippered compartments, will hold my laptop and/or Ipad, a change of clothes, a charger, and most anything else I might need. Like your bag, it has a special slot to slide over my rolling luggage. In fact, it matches my rolling luggage exactly. While it might seem pricey, it is rugged, useful and I think it has already paid for itself in terms of making my travel much easier. I recommend this Tumi bag without reservation.

  2. Patricia
    April 2, 2014 / 3:57 am

    Very nice bag, and the color is luscious. I, too, use a Longchamp’s Pliage bag: mine is one of the few with a shoulder strap and it can expand and expand. I also like that it can be mauled into whatever shape is left under the seat in front of me or in the overhead bin. But you are so right about its flaws. I seem to have to stop every 20 feet in the terminal and reorient it on top of my roller bag. I keep thinking there must be a way to fasten it in place but I haven’t done more than think about it. And items inside do tend to end up in a jumble. I mainly use it as an extra bag for my return trip when I’m not that concerned about wrinkled clothing.

  3. April 2, 2014 / 4:38 am

    Lovely bag, and the fabric is perfect for all the handling it will get. You’re such a polished traveler, Une Femme!

  4. April 2, 2014 / 5:01 am

    I am still trying to get the right bags for multi-destination and multi-activity travel. The right combination can make life a lot easier. Anticipating the weather is another challenge to packing. I might try to find the Lipault in Paris and reconfigure before I travel to Scotland.

  5. April 2, 2014 / 5:26 am

    I’ve been traveling with two Baggallini bags. One is a small cross-body bag that I use as a purse at my destination. The other is a large tote that can hold the smaller bag (and a lot more) in transit, with an outer pocket for travel documents and enroute necessities. It also has that feature where it can go over the handle of your roll-aboard case. I buy Baggallini on and at a local travel store.

  6. April 2, 2014 / 5:34 am

    I use an M0851 bag that’s not currently available — it has numerous outside pockets, both zipped and un-zipped and the interior is nicely organized as well. I stow a different-coloured M0851 pouch inside with my passport and boarding passes, etc., and a different-coloured one holds my iPad mini and cellphone. (These smaller pouches double as clutches when we’re out for dinner and I don’t want to carry a larger purse). I may or may not plop the whole arrangement into my Pliage, depending on whether or not I have room for the Pliage in my carry-on or not — It’s handy to bring along in case of shopping . . .

  7. April 2, 2014 / 7:03 am

    I use the older version of the Lipault bag and like you used to use a Longchamp tote but switched for the same reasons. As a personal item I love the Lipault, problem is airlines are getting more stringent about carry on – on Virgin Atlantic for instance, you are allowed 1 carry on and a handbag – that is it – no laptop case in addition to single carry on, etc., etc. Thus, you either ditch the “personal item” or check a bag :-(…

  8. April 2, 2014 / 7:03 am

    I love the color and look of this carry on. The handle is such a great idea. Sometimes my cabin bag, while small, can be very heavy.

  9. Dana
    April 2, 2014 / 7:13 am

    I just bought that Lipault bag in black to replace my old Hayden Harnett Ibiza Flight Tote that had become a black hole. I’m excited about the Lipault and have already started packing it for my trip to Florence in 2 weeks. I’m bringing my Longchamp folded up in my suitcase to use as my purse when I get there!

  10. April 2, 2014 / 8:51 am

    I like that bag a lot and would consider trying it. I don’t have a favorite at the moment, although I’ve been consolidating and thinking about new possibilities. I’ve been on a few flights with extremely stringent carry-on requirements so I suspect it will a process of evolution for me. I will be interested to hear your report from your trip.

  11. Judy
    April 2, 2014 / 9:21 am

    I bought a 19″ Lipault weekender last summer, but it was the boxier Plume style. This looks cuter! Also, I used my weekender as my carry-on bag (yep, I did check my larger Lipault AND a Sportsac!) and took along my regular medium Longchamp purse. I didn’t think the Lipault weekender was small enough to count as your Personal Item. Maybe this style is smaller or better meets the dimensions requirements?

    • Patricia
      April 2, 2014 / 9:51 am

      I think it depends on the airline. It is a bit large for an American Airlines (total dimensions can only be 36″ and this is 40″), but Delta is vague about size (a diaper bag size is ok).

  12. April 2, 2014 / 10:57 am

    Lipaut est un bon choix. La couleur est super…J’adore. Je voyage en Lipaut / noir/violet ou fushia
    🙂 Bon voyage Femme.

  13. Dalit Fresco
    April 2, 2014 / 12:59 pm

    I have been traveling to Israel twice a year in recent years – that’s a 15-hour flight… and also to Australia a few times recently, and have finally found the best solution: A small carry-on (I do send 1 medium suitcase) – and NO handbag! – this wheeled one has lots of room, super light, and will hold my wallet and passport. I usually also have my own food as I hate to wait for the meals on the planes. It’s small enough to fit under, or next to my seat, on the floor. It’s cute, and it wheels – I have tried all the possible handbags only to get really tired as they always get heavier than intended…
    Bon voyage!

  14. sybes1
    April 2, 2014 / 2:29 pm

    Very interesting!! I was using a Tumi tote–liking the black, put everything in….sturdy enough to withstand a bunch of stuff. But I also have a Briggs and Riley carry on that’s an under-the-seat-in-front type. Briggs and Riley is fabulous–so sturdy and the lifetime guarantee…..
    but now i’m conflicted!! I like the idea of NOT carrying something over my arm or shoulder (Tumi) because I’m getting old.
    These are good option to ponder–thank you again!

  15. Cara
    April 2, 2014 / 4:12 pm

    Thank you for the men’s luggage suggestions! I have been working on being a more polished traveler and need to help my husband get up to speed ( ;
    By the way, I use Sea to Summit nylon packing cubes for my carry on tote and my rolling bag. For my Longchamp tote, I pack a spare outfit in one “cube”, a pashmina, a snack, and my iPad in another small one (easy to grab and have on my lap on the plane). Everything stays neatly organized and doesn’t wrinkle, even in my le Pliage. I don’t have to worry about clothes spilling out when I get something out of my tote.

  16. Susan
    April 2, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    I have a question about choosing purple. I tend to stick to classic colors like black as I would be concerned that I would tire of purple. Am I the only person who thinks this way? Am I WAY too practical?

    • Judy
      April 2, 2014 / 8:02 pm

      You know, I wonder about that too. Of all colors of luggage, I am partial to purple, and red. I did buy a piece of Lipault luggage in red (and it did show wear). After that, I bought two pieces in black, and I have to say that I am happy with them, boring as black may be.

    • (Not That) Joan
      April 2, 2014 / 11:25 pm

      I chose purple (Lipault) because it is much easier for me to pick out my stuff amid a sea of black and grey.

  17. Janet
    April 3, 2014 / 8:19 am

    I bought the same Lipault weekender bag (in chocolate) last summer. CanNOT believe how useful and practical it is. I’ve packed everything for 10-12 days – including jeans, shoes, toiletries, accessories – in just this one bag. Well organized. Easy to find my stuff in. Stylish too! Almost don’t need my 19″ roll-aboard now.

  18. Pat
    April 3, 2014 / 7:02 pm

    I purchased the Lipault weekender, in purple, and it is perfect,, the color is not bright, the product is extremely light (don’t overload) and east to carry, stash under the seat still leaving you ample leg and foot space, easy access pockets without constantly digging around for something.
    love, love it

  19. Dee
    December 20, 2014 / 9:19 pm

    Did you ever do another post as promised of the this bag packed? I have the 22inch 4 wheeled spinner and am thinking about getting this one or the Plume for trip to London, but it is five weeks and I may have to check a bag. I still need a larger personal item for medications, laptop (I can fit the laptop in the 22inch main pocket, but if it fits in the weekender, I might put it there), toiletries, makeup, camera, etc. I take a nylon fold-up smaller purse since I don’t walk around with my laptop in London and Cornwall. I will be staying in a hotel and a self-catering. I have a disability, so whatever makes things easier helps.

  20. Dee
    December 20, 2014 / 11:17 pm

    P.S. I forgot to ask, if this is not loaded down, and one just wants to take a walk of a mile or twonwith computer and a few other essentials to coffee shop or whatever, is it too large for that. I would get the purple as well, as my roller luggage is in that color-it’s lovely, though I haven’t used it yet.

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