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.
Spinner Suitcase | Lojel Cubo
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 just traveled for weeks at a time, I‘d roll the small Lojel Cubo as my 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 tend to stay in one place for about a month (I typically transport my things just one or two days a month)
I don’t always know where I’m going next, so I want space to pack my favorite eco toiletries (to avoid single-use travel toiletries)
I also want space to pack a few items that create a cozy home on the road (like my tiny travel kitchen)
I like to be able to pack some outdoor gear, so I’m prepared for activities
the medium Lojel Cubo can carry everything I need, so I no longer have to carry a backpack, too (a backpack was a necessity when I rolled a carry-on)
I love to be as realistic and sustainable as possible (this bag allows me some creature comforts and helps 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 my “phone wallet purse” (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 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)
biodegradable zip locking bag, holding TSA 311 necessities:
biodegradable zip locking bag, holding my eco wipes
I make my eco wipes by buying a package of the Field Day brand wipes (the most affordable and cleanest wipes I’ve found that don’t leave sticky residue or lint behind)
I pour a bottle of eco liquid hand sanitizer into a packet of these wipes, which the wipes immediately soak up (thus, I don’t have to carry/claim that liquid bottle)
I then re-package these wipes into the biodegradable zip locking bags, placing some into my personal item (and the rest into my checked bag)
I can use these wipes as “sanitizing cleaning wipes” for my hands and for hard surfaces while traveling
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 (in opposite directions).
I finally found a large classy 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:
the material and color are beautiful (can be dressed up or down)
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 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 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 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.
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:
warm technical layers
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 extreme outdoorsman, plus I’m perpetually cold. So I require much warmer technical gear in the winter months. And since I have feet that are hard to fit, my boots stay with me until they’re worn out. This cube fills a rarely used area of my bag (below the door threshold), creating a platform for my other cubes to sit on.
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 I pack in my 6 cubes:
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…
These shoe covers keep my luggage and its contents clean (by keeping my shoes covered). These are…
stretchy (easier to use/takes up less space than stiff shoe covers)
easily doubled up for full coverage (after inserting one shoe, if there is an exposed end, I cover that exposed end with a second cover)
easily washable (I only toss them in with the darkest of darks, though, as the first time I washed these, the dark color ran quite a bit…FYI)
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. Like when I’m…
on a train
in a hotel
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 well-run 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).