LUGGAGE and accessories:

My luggage carries everything I own. Below are the luggage and accessories that keep me streamlined and ready for just about anything.  I can’t begin to express the freedom these bring. XO

Packable Travel Tote (+ Protective Underseat Bag)

I’m so grateful for this large tote that packs flat until it’s needed. And it’s often needed. It’s helpful for budget flights, since airplane floors can be funky. Meaning, I can toss my personal item and travel food (or any items I want to keep clean) into this bag, creating one bag, and stuff it under the seat. After arriving, I can fold this bag into its own pouch for later use as a laundry bag, grocery bag, and beach tote. It’s made of thick nylon with no plastic lining (no lining to later break apart), launders great, and has been worth its price (as so many other travel totes have fallen apart on me).

TIP: Another option I love is to carry my underseat items in a nice paper boutique shopping bag (the kind of bag we receive when making a clothing purchase). Doubling them up can be even better. It helps me more easily go through security, as it can hold my personal item and any clothing I need to remove while going through TSA. After clearing TSA, the bag can hold my food upright, too. I find it easy to rummage through an open bag in flight, as I can easily see everything (inside it), as it sits down at my toes.

Anti-Theft Crossbody Travel (+Phone) Wallet

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

I really appreciate that this wallet can be placed:

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

  • over clothing (it can also carry quite a lot, on those days)

  • inside my lockable crossbody (when I need to wear that)

This wallet can hold:

  • large cell phone

  • passport

  • checkbook (so rarely used, I’m not sure I still need this)

  • driver’s license

  • NEXUS card

  • ATM card

  • 3 more cards (credit)

  • tickets/paperwork

  • pen

  • handi-wipes, makeup, etc.

Dear PacSafe: When you update this design, pretty please…

  • allow the front pocket to unzip another inch

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

  • offer pretty colors on the inside (like coral =)

  • offer more refined/neutral colors on the outside (gray/taupe)

Anti-theft Crossbody Lockable Crossbody

I had no idea how valuable this lockable crossbody would be until I actually placed it on my body.  In addition to having all the RFID and anti-slash features, it can lock (there’s a loop for a tiny padlock near the zippers, plus on the strap). It fits close to the body and can flip around to rest on my front or back (without removing it). This allows me to relax no matter where it’s positioned (I don’t have to keep an eye out for pickpockets). Critically, this crossbody has also been allowed where backpacks often are not (shops, museums, etc.).  And after boarding transportation, one can even slip it down over their shoulder so it rests against the belly (like a fanny pack), and drape a jacket over it, to keep everything at one’s fingertips while in transit.  This has been, hands down, one of the best tools for the road. In fact, it's slender, but I can still max it out on transportation days and load it with:

For Baby/Cleaning Wipes: I’ve found Field Day Baby Wipes (at natural food/co-op stores) to be one of the most affordable and cleanest wipes around. They don’t leave noticeable residue on my hands, which is quite incredible. On transport days, I actually pour one bottle of liquid coconut hand sanitizer into a packet of these baby wipes (so I don’t have to carry that liquid bottle). I then use those wipes as “sanitizing cleaning wipes” on the road (for my hands, and surfaces), as I’m hoping this is healthier than using “cleaning solutions.”

Trtl Travel Pillow

I wanted 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 put it on before loading and don’t bother taking it off until we arrive (it frees my hands to grab my bag/s). I love that it can also wrap around any handle on any bag 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 it had no chemical smell when it arrived.

Lojel Cubo Spinner Suitcase

I adore this tamper-proof roller bag (and I love Lojel’s ethical/non-toxic manufacturing commitment). I find this Cubo style beautifully stout with what feels like a lower center of gravity. Right now I’m using this medium size bag because…

  • I no longer have a home, so I carry my life (four seasons) with me

  • as much as I would love this bag in its carry-on size, I would then have to always carry a backpack (I want to be free of a backpack)

  • as soon as I land at an airport, I can take off my personal item (which contains all of my valuables/electronics in transit) and place it inside this rolling lojel (leaving my entire body free to relax)

The best part:  while this bag stands upright on all four wheels, its “front door” opens like a front door (this bag never splits in half).  This allows packing cubes to be stacked flat, and remain flat inside, like drawers, utilizing the full depth of the bag. Thus, this suitcase can act like an old-fashioned clothing wardrobe one need never unpack. This is so helpful in airports, train stations and tiny rooms, when one wants to reach in to grab essential items without anything else falling out.

I also appreciate how hard suitcases better survive stacking, weather, and can double as a chair. BONUS: it had no chemical smell when it arrived.

In places like Sweden, I’m comfortable placing this medium bag in the luggage storage area near the door of a train. Yet, I’d still…

  • 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

REI Expandable Packing Cube

I recently fell in love with these expandable packing cubes (their paprika color is a bit warmer/richer in person, and they offer more colors). Similar to a compression cube, they can be filled while expanded then zipped down into their smaller size. I find their medium size very manageable (not too floppy) when not packed extremely tight, which I prefer, to prevent wrinkling. I have six of these cubes so I can stack them in my suitcase like “drawers,” where they nestle together stable and secure, which prevents anything from falling out. This is what’s packed in my 6 cubes:

Small, Thin, Zipper Sacks

These are the smallest thinnest Zipper Sacks I’ve been able to find. They allow me to organize bath products by use, without adding unnecessary bulk to my bag. They even come in different colors, so I can remember which Zipper Sack is holding what items. I can then toss each little Zipper Sack anywhere I need it, at any given time—into a purse, personal item, carry-on, checked bag. For instance, my Zipper Sacks hold the following right now:

Organizing Wristlet Bags

I bought these slightly padded wristlets when they were near 50% off and love that they can be carried on their own or tossed into another bag. I try to choose organizers made of thin material, so they don’t add bulk to packing, but these padded wristlets have provided protection. For instance, I use the large wristlet to hold power cords (to protect other items from their sharp ends) and the small wristlet holds my water purifier and spork (protecting the purifier and protecting other items from spork prongs).

Shoe Covers

These shoe covers keep my luggage and its contents clean.  Lightweight and stretchy, they are so much easier to use (and take up less space) than stiff shoe covers.  I double them up for full coverage (after inserting shoe/s, if there is an exposed end, I fully cover that exposed end with a second shoe cover).  When it's time for a cleaning, they’re tossed in the wash with darks. FYI: the first time I washed these their dark color ran, a lot, so I’m careful to toss these into the wash with only the darkest darks.

Travel Clothes Line (+ Bungee)

I've loved this clothesline for years.  Because even when I machine wash my clothes, there are items I prefer to hang dry.  Also, to keep the door of my suitcase open, I loop this through a door loop and around the telescoping handle of my suitcase, allowing it to double as a bungee. Happiness.

Organic Zippered Pillow Barrier (+ Laundry Bag)

Ever since I once encountered badly stained pillows (and cases too thin to act as a safe barrier), I’ve been carrying this thick, organic, king-size pillow barrier. Its king size helps ensure just about any dubious bed pillow can fit inside and be zip sealed away. Or, if missing a pillow, one can stuff clothing inside this to act as a pillow. In addition, this cover can also double as a zippered laundry bag.

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

venture: to go somewhere that is unknown...