LUGGAGE and accessories:

My luggage has to carry everything I own, plus keep me organized while traveling. I know this isn't always easy. So in case it’s helpful to see how one packs for perpetual travel, below are the luggage and accessories that keep me streamlined and ready for just about anything. XO

Lojel Cubo Spinner Suitcase

I adore Lojel’s ethical/non-toxic manufacturing commitment and their tamper-proof roller bag called the Cubo. I find the Lojel Cubo beautifully balanced, spaciously designed, with a stable, lower center of gravity.

If I only traveled a few weeks each year, or to the same areas over and over, I ‘d roll the small (20.9 x 14 x 9.8/11 in) Lojel Cubo with me as a carry-on (though airlines do, at times, check carry-ons).

However, because I travel perpetually (I no longer own a home/auto) and I don’t always know where I’m going next, I roll the medium (25.6 x 17.7 x 11.8/13 in) Lojel Cubo with me. This allows me to no longer carry a travel backpack (harder to roll a carry-on with a backpack on top), plus it allows me to keep a little eco home wherever I go. I can have…

I also ideally stay in one location for at least a month, so…

  • I typically have one transportation day/month

  • I don’t roll this bag beside me everyday

  • for train travel, in places like Sweden, I’m comfortable placing this bag in the luggage area near the door of a train, but I think it’s wise to…

    • travel during off-peak hours (fewer people/bags)

    • reserve a seat nearby (so it’s always in my line of sight)

    • arrive early to nab that luggage spot

SPECIAL NOTE:  When this bag stands upright on all four wheels, its front door opens like a front door (this bag doesn’t open like a clamshell).  This allows packing cubes to be stacked flat, and remain flat and stable inside, like drawers. Thus, this suitcase can work like an old-fashioned clothing wardrobe one need never unpack. This is super helpful in airports, train stations and tiny rooms, when one has little space to work with. I can reach inside, get what I need, without anything falling out. I also appreciate how hard suitcases better survive stacking, weather, and can double as a chair.

BONUS: Mine had no chemical smell.

Anti-theft Lockable Crossbody (My Personal Item)

This has been, hands down, one of the best tools for the road, especially for high pickpocket areas (major cities/tourist attractions). In addition to having all the RFID and anti-slash features:

  • the zippers and straps can both lock (so someone can’t unzip it, nor unclip it off me)

  • critically, it has been allowed where backpacks often are not (in museums, shops, etc.)

  • it fits close to the body and can flip around, from front to back, so I can carry it on my front or back (without removing it, so there’s no need to take it off/forget it somewhere)

  • after boarding transportation/sitting, one can even slip it down over their shoulder so it rests against the belly (like a fanny pack, still looped around the body), and drape a jacket over it, to keep everything at one’s fingertips while in transit

  • it allows me to relax no matter where I am, because it’s always looped around my body and locked (I don’t have to keep an eye out for pickpockets)

  • on the inside, there’s a key ring where I can attach my wallet (using a locking carabiner and wallet strap), so I can still pull the wallet out to use it, but never accidentally leave it somewhere…plus this prevents a thief from stealing the wallet (should I forget to lock the zippers)

It's slender, but I can still max this out on transportation days and load it with my:

Anti-Theft Crossbody | “Phone Wallet Purse

After looking for a convenient way to consistently keep my phone and wallet all in one place, yet always available on-the-go, this does the trick. It’s made of anti-slash and RFID material, it zips open/closed, and the zippers fasten, to help prevent pickpockets.

I appreciate that this phone wallet can be placed:

  • under a jacket (I’d carry less in it, on those days)

  • over any clothing (I’d can carry more, on those days)

  • inside my personal item (when I need to wear that)

This phone wallet can hold:

  • large cell phone

  • passport

  • checkbook

  • driver’s license

  • NEXUS card

  • ATM card

  • 3 more cards (credit)

  • tickets

  • pen

  • some handi-wipes

  • some makeup

Dear Pacsafe: I love your products!

When you update this Pacsafe Daysafe Anti-Theft Tech Crossbody Bag, can you...

  • allow the front pocket to unzip another inch?

  • allow the main compartment to open flat (attach the latching strap down at the same level as the non-latching strap)?

  • offer pretty and bright interior colors (like coral)?

  • offer more neutral/refined exterior colors (like gray/taupe)?

Thank you so much for considering this. XO!

Safety TIP:

In case someone mugs us, we keep an old thin wallet in our bag so that we have something to give them. It contains:

  • expired driver’s license

  • old credit cards that were mailed to us by strange companies (the cards were never requested by us and they were never activated)

  • loose bills and coins from various foreign countries (with little or no value)

While we hope to never have to use this, and we have no idea if it will prevent further theft, we like that it gives us something to hand over (toss at them) and hopefully send us all running.

Packable Travel Tote (+ Protective Underseat Bag)

I finally found a large tote that’s truly durable, plus can pack flat until it’s needed. And it’s often needed. Here’s why I bit the bullet and paid for its higher quality:

  • it’s made of such great (thicker) material that it’s the only tote strong enough to not fall apart on me (as so many others have)

  • it also has no plastic interior lining (to later break/peel apart)

  • it’s something I feel comfy tossing into a front loader to clean

  • it’s especially helpful for budget flights (airplane floors can be funky, so I can toss the following items into it, creating one bag, then stuff it under the seat)…

    • personal item

    • travel food

    • any items (layers of clothing) I want to keep clean

  • after landing, I can pull my items out of this bag and fold this bag into its own pouch for later use as a…

    • laundry bag

    • grocery bag

    • beach tote

ANOTHER UNDERSEAT FLIGHT OPTION: I also love to use a nice paper boutique shopping bag (like we receive when making clothing purchases) to carry my items under the seat. Doubling that bag up can be even better. It also helps me easily go through security, as it can hold my personal item and any items I need to remove while going through TSA. After clearing TSA, the bag can hold my food better upright, too. I find it helps to have an open bag at my feet, as I can easily see and reach everything inside it.

Winter Gear Packing Cube

I’ve added this packing cube to the very bottom of my bag, so I can keep the following gear tightly stashed in my luggage:

  • winter boots

  • warm technical layers

  • outdoor gear

If I were a vacation traveler (if I had a home to go home to), I’d just layer everyday clothing for winter travel. However, traveling with a ski instructor and extreme outdoorsman, mixed with my perpetually cold body, requires that I have much warmer technical gear in the winter months. And with hard to fit feet, my boots stay with me until they’re worn out. This cube also fills in an otherwise rarely used space in the bottom of my bag, creating a perfect platform for my other cubes to sit on (as my bag stands on its wheels).

REI Expandable Packing Cubes

I have six of these cubes that I stack in my suitcase like “drawers,” where they nestle two wide and three high, stable and secure, which prevents them from falling out. Similar to compression cubes, these expandable cubes can be filled while expanded then zipped down into their smaller size. I find their medium size perfect to manage (not floppy) when loosely packed, which I prefer to prevent wrinkling. Here’s what’s packed in my 6 cubes:

Small Thin Zipper Sacks

These are the smallest/thinnest Zipper Sacks I’ve been able to find. Without adding bulk to my bag, they allow me to…

  • sort items by use (into different colored bags, to know what is where)

  • toss each Zipper Sack anywhere I need them, like into my…

    • luggage

    • personal item

    • phone wallet

Shoe Covers

These shoe covers keep my luggage and its contents clean (by keeping my shoes covered).  These are…

  • lightweight

  • stretchy (easier to use/takes up less space than stiff shoe covers)

  • double up for full coverage (after inserting one shoe, if there is an exposed end, I cover that exposed end with a second shoe cover)

  • easily washable (I toss them in with the darkest darks, as the first time I washed these, their dark color ran)

Luggage Cable

I keep two of these small luggage cables inside the door of my suitcase for those times I might want to lock my luggage onto something solid. Like when I’m…

  • on a train

  • in a hotel

I know most never lock anything while on a train/hotel, but after traveling extensively (producing events), I’ve had to deal with well-run theft rings, so I like to lock up when it seems wise, so I can relax. This cable adds a small speed bump to the theft process, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

ReboundTAG Smart Luggage Tag

I like to add a little security to my bag (even though I’ve only once, years ago, had my bag delayed and it was returned to me within 24-48 hours). So I have the ReboundTAG for the following reasons:

  • to have an extra support team to call if…

    • I can’t get the airline’s luggage counter on the phone

    • the airline’s luggage counter is closed

  • it works in all airports, worldwide, using multiple airline technologies

    • RFID

    • NFC

    • serial ID #

    • QR code

  • anyone can scan my tag with a smartphone and I’m notified with an exact location of my bag (via the GPS coordinates of the phone used)

  • my personal info is not stored on the tag (is never given out during the search process, unless authorized/needed to get the bag returned)

  • it doesn’t use any type of battery (so airlines can’t reject it)

  • it’s received more travel industry rewards than any similar product

TIP: On the exterior of my luggage, I place this tag where I think it will least interfere with luggage handlers’ needs. Since I have a rolling bag and I know how much luggage handlers love to use those wheels (thus will likely use the top handle), I place this tag on my exterior side handle (as out of their way as possible).

Privacy Luggage Tag

I also add an old fashioned hand-written tag to my bag. I chose this luggage tag for the following reasons:

  • if it gets wet…

    • the luggage tag is not ruined

    • my information on the tag remains legible

  • its round corners help prevent…

    • damage to hands

    • damage to luggage

  • it hides my personal info

    • it only shows my name in the visible slot (first initial, last name)

    • in the hidden section, I only list my cell # and email address (plus a note to call/email me for my current location, as it changes)

  • this tag is small enough that I can also place one…

    • inside my bag (should the exterior tag ever come off)

    • inside my personal item

    • inside my phone wallet

  • it minimizes the use of plastic

  • it’s easily cleanable

  • these tags come in pretty colors (!)

TIP: On the exterior of my luggage, I place this tag where I think it will least interfere with luggage handlers’ needs. Since I have a rolling bag and I know how much luggage handlers love to use those wheels (thus will likely use the top handle), I place this tag on my exterior side handle (as out of their way as possible).

Heat Therapy for Long Flights

While flying, I tend to freeze and my back can feel pain, even if I take exercise breaks. These heat therapy pads help both of those issues. So I adhere these heat therapy pads right before long flights (in final bathroom break at the airport). I find this size to be the most versatile to use (as the larger back heat pads tend to easily move out of place, and the neck heat pads do not always stay under my collar). These can fit on…

  • my upper back (where I tend to hold tension)

  • my lower back (where I tend to feel pain)

TIP: I think these would also be amazing for that time of the month, when out and about, on the most painful/crampy day.

Trtl Travel Pillow

I bought this travel pillow (which fits like a neck scarf) because it appeared warmer and more compact than other travel pillows. And it is. It just took me three flights to figure out exactly where to position it for the best sleep. And that’s okay. I love that it can also wrap around any bag handle or slip into a bag pocket. It’s also great in autos, buses, and trains. BONUS: it’s easy to wash, quick to dry, and had no chemical smell.

om: a mantra...used in contemplation...

venture: to go somewhere that is unknown...