Big Bag, Small Bag

You can tell I’ve been traveling a lot, I know. For me, successful business travel is a fight for convenience– finding ways to make any trip more comfortable. Not always easy while ditching a water bottle, taking off your shoes, holding your license in your teeth and watching the ziplock part of your 3-1-1 bag pop off.

Small cross-body and colorful tote. They work well together.

Small cross-body and colorful tote. They work well together.

One of the shortcuts is to carry a cross-body small bag that holds just your money, phone, cards, license, hand cream and a pen. It’s convenient to have your phone (e-boarding passes) and license right in front of you, in zippered pockets. I tried just putting them in open pockets, only to lose them in the X-ray machine. And losing a drivers license puts an end to the trip–you are no one without your drivers license. And “no one” moves to “body cavity check” in one easy move.

Between flights at home, I prefer to carry a bigger purse. I wear prescription sunglasses and like to carry them with me, along with lipgloss, keys, gum, business cards and a few other necessities. But when you are home for a weekend and off again the next Monday, changing purses twice is not on the schedule, laundry is.

Neither do I want to haul around the big backpack that makes plane travel comfortable. It holds a lot, but it is also bulky, because it has to hold the iPad, class essentials, a change of underwear (suitcases don’t always make the flight as you planned), basic makeup, and a journal. OK, and writing tools. Maybe a few watercolor pencils.

So I’m spanning the gap by carrying a clever tote made for me–a brilliant gift for my needs. I put the cross-body bag in it, simply to avoid re-packing it, and toss in the other items I need–water bottle, sunglass case, and. . .pencils and pens keep creeping into it.

What I notice most about travel gear is that most of it is black. Somber, serious. Suitcases tumble onto the baggage conveyer in a dark hail of duty. Occasionally there is a pink or polka-dot bag and you can see smiles around the baggage check.

This tote is perfect for cheering me up between trips. It’s a bit inconvenient, but then again, being happy is sometimes inconvenient, and the harder choice, but always worth it.

–Quinn McDonald is looking forward to a break in business travel.

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6 thoughts on “Big Bag, Small Bag

  1. I have a bright green bag that I put my last name on. I figured IF anybody ever had the same bag it would be easy to identify. I agree with the need for a small bag for ID and something a little larger for all the other stuff. I solved this problem with a large shoulder bag and a big sort of wallet. The shoulder strap is long enough to go cross wise on my body and while not especially fashionable it is convenient. Since I travel with an instrument (that has a shoulder strap and a sort of back pack strap) I like to carry on the plane with me this works well. I can fit all the stuff you mentioned and a book! It zippers closed and stows under my less than
    spacious seat.

    • It sounds like you found the perfect bag! That’s wonderful. I am a bag fanatic and haven’t found one perfect bag for everything. I keep my cash separate from my credit cards. I was mugged once, and they took my fat wallet. After that, I carry the cards and money separately, when I was pickpocketed, they got the cash, which was not fun, but much easier to lose than credit cards.

  2. Fun bag! I’m just starting to look for a cross-body bag myself. I’m heading to Changing Hands this week to check out their supply but they mostly carry Baggallini, which are almost always black. I’m all about the function and pockets in the right places so hopefully they’ll have something that works for me.

    • Watch out for bags with magnets–they will wipe out room keys, pre-paid cards like Metro cards. Some of those bags also have thin cross body straps, which can be easily cut. Mine was on sale, and I’m a leather lover.

  3. Last trip I decided to stencil some designs on my luggage since it looks like everyone else’s black luggage. When I went to pick it up the woman next to me was so excited. She had noticed that my shirt was stenciled just like my luggage and was cracking up! She said, “I can see what you like to do!” It was so funny! I love my luggage now since I added the stencils.

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