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 or slow travel, below are the luggage and accessories that keep me streamlined and ready for just about anything.
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 lived a more typical life (still owned a home/auto) and was a vacation traveler, I‘d roll the small Lojel Cubo as a carry-on.
But since I no longer own a home/auto (I travel perpetually), I’m rolling the medium Lojel Cubo. This (my tiny home on wheels) works great for me because:
I prefer to stay in one place for at least a month (transporting my things just one day a month)
I don’t always know where I’m going next, so I want space to pack eco toiletries (to avoid single-use travel toiletries, and because it can be hard to find vegan and gluten-free toiletries on the road).
I also want space to pack a few items that create a cozy home on the road (like my tiny travel kitchen)
I want to be able to pack things like outdoor gear, so I’m ready for activities
the medium Lojel Cubo can carry everything I need, so I no longer have to carry a backpack, too (a backpack is a necessity when I roll a carry-on)
essentially, I love to be as realistic and sustainable as possible and this bag allows me some creature comforts to help me avoid burnout from long-term restrictions
for train travel, in places like Sweden, I’m comfortable placing this bag in the luggage area near the door of a train, yet I still like 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). So, while standing on all four wheels, 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 over or out. I also appreciate how hard suitcases better survive stacking, weather, and can double as a chair.
BONUS: When my bag arrived, it had absolutely no chemical smell.
When I need to carry a lockable bag on my body, 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, I can even slip it down over my 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 my fingertips while in transit
and if I’m wearing my roomy plane jacket (aka my “plane blanket”), I might even get away with keeping it on my front side, undetected under this jacket, for short flights
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 a wallet (using a locking carabiner), 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)
in places like Sweden (where we receive an antique door key for our lodging), we also attach our lodging key to the keyring (so we can’t lose it)
This bag is slender, but I can still max it out on transportation days and load it with my…
camera (camera body + 2 lenses + 2 batteries)
footies (to walk through TSA, when that still happens)
some lemon balm tea
small containers, holding:
larger container, holding:
Safety TIP: In case someone mugs us, we also 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 (in opposite directions).
I finally found a large classy tote that’s truly durable, plus can pack flat until it’s needed (the Baggu Travel Cloud Bag). And it’s often needed. Here’s why I bit the bullet and paid for its higher quality:
the material and color are beautiful (can be dressed up or down)
it’s made of a great (thicker) material that it’s the only tote strong enough to not fall apart on me (as so many others have)
it 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)…
after landing, I can pull my items out of this bag and fold this bag into its own pouch for a washing and later use as a…
ANOTHER Underseat Bag Option:
I also love to use a nice paper boutique shopping bag (like we receive when making clothing purchases) to protect my items under the seat. Doubling that bag makes it sturdier. It also helps me to more easily go through security, as it can hold my personal item and any clothing I need to remove. After clearing security, the bag can hold my food upright, too. I like having this open bag at my feet, as I can easily see/reach anything I might need in transit.
These are the smallest/thinnest Zipper Sacks I’ve been able to find. Without adding bulk to my bag, they allow me to…
organize the insides of my bags/cubes
sort items by use (by color, to know what’s where)
toss each Zipper Sack anywhere I need it, like into my…
I currently use six of these cubes, which I stack in my suitcase like “drawers.” 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 this medium size perfect to manage (they don’t get floppy) if loosely packed, which is my ideal, to prevent wrinkling. Here’s what I pack in my 6 cubes:
I bought this packing cube to initially hold my winter gear at the very bottom of my rolling bag. It fits across the entire width of my suitcase, with enough room left over to allow bulky items to be packed inside of it.
However, I also love using it in my tote on transport days to hold my “Planket” (plane coat and blanket in one), before and after I wear it. I love that it keeps everything organized, plus acts like a dirty laundry cube for that plane jacket after the flight.
Why I pack winter gear: If I were a vacation traveler (if I had a house to go home to), I’d just pack for the current weather. However, I’m traveling in all seasons, with a ski instructor and outdoors man, and I’m perpetually cold. So I require warmer gear in the winter months (and since I have feet that are hard to fit, my winter boots stay with me until they’re completely worn out).
These shoe covers keep my luggage and its contents clean (by keeping my shoes covered). These are…
easily doubled up for complete coverage (after inserting one shoe, if there is an exposed end, like you see in this photo, I cover that exposed end with a second cover), so I carry two sets (four individual) shoe covers
stretchy (easier to use/takes up less space than stiff shoe covers)
easily washable (I only toss them in with the darkest of darks, though, as when I washed these, the dark color ran)
I keep two of these small luggage cables inside the door of my suitcase for those times when I might want to lock my luggage onto something solid (or lock something onto my luggage). Like when I’m…
on a train
in a hotel
in a restaurant
I know most never lock anything while on a train/in a hotel, but after traveling extensively (producing events, back in the day), I’ve dealt with theft rings, so I 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.
I like to add a little security to my bag (even though my bag has only once been delayed/temporarily elsewhere). 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
serial ID #
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 (it’s 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 awards than any similar product
TIP: 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).
For perpetual or slow travel, where we settle into lodging on the road for quite a while, we can sometimes be surprised with bedding that is not up to par, or by furniture that seems to have missed a deep cleaning.
In addition, when we stay in the pristine clean lodgings we love so much, it’s nice to protect nice sofas from our spills.
So we carry two flat, queen-sized, stone-washed, linen sheets (to keep us cool in the summer, and to look pretty, no matter what they go on), plus pillowcases (tip: we place the cases over the cases already on the pillows).
If we don’t need to use the sheets for the bed, we toss these over a sofa or chair, so we can settle in and snuggle on something clean and cleanable.
Plus they look cute, provide a peaceful backdrop (also for photography), and create our very own sense of home that we get to take with us,wherever we go. We are so grateful for this.
Perpetual or slow travel also means that we get to do our own laundry on the road. Sometimes it’s in a shared laundry, sometimes it’s in our own washer, and sometimes we are lucky and also have our very own dryer.
Since dryers are not a given overseas (and when they are, they often can only damp dry), we have a stretchy indoor laundry line that we bring to hang dry our light items (undies, socks, etc.). However, it’s often hard to find something to hook it onto, so we need more assistance than that.
So I bought 12 stainless clothespins at a little housewares store in France, and they look almost exactly like these. They allow us to hang dry our larger, heavier items (sheets, outerwear, etc.) out the window, four stories up.
They are grippy little clothespins that hold clothes tightly on a slick clothes wire, in windy or damp weather, without rusting. Ours are of high quality and if they drop or need a cleaning, they’ve washed up great in a dishwasher.
BONUS: We also use a few of our clips to keep food bags clipped closed (nuts, seeds, grains, etc.), which has been a huge help in tiny kitchens. I really love these multi-purpose helpers on the road.