Tuesday, April 19, 2016

10 Items to put in your travel tote

No, I'm not talking about your carry-on bag that you'll place in the overhead bin and never be able to reach again before landing. Instead, I mean the purse/tote/laptop bag/backpack that you take on the plane as your personal item. You know, the one that you stuff under the seat in front of you and scramble around in periodically to survive the 9+ hour flight in economy. Here are the things that I plan to put in that tote on my upcoming trip to Europe this summer.

1. Small, leather crossbody bag with phone, sunglasses, wallet/passport and travel documents. (This is what I'll actually use as a purse while traveling, and I'll keep it on the very top of my personal bag so that it's handy for security and boarding.)

2. Daily medication and emergency meds kit for flight (migraine meds, heartburn meds, sleeping pills, etc.) (FYI - prescription meds should remain in their original packaging to avoid any problems in security/customs.)

3. Tablet or laptop (fully charged before takeoff - the charging ports in the seat don't always work) <I may end up putting this in my overhead bin carryon if it makes my bag too heavy. I prob won't really be using my laptop on the plane but will use it in the airport instead.>

4. Glasses and/or contact refill/drops/cleaner

5. Midori notebook + pen

6. Headphones + eye mask + travel pillow (I use my travel pillow constantly on trips - on trains, in my actual bed, etc., so it's totally worth it to take on the plane with me. I keep my headphones in a hard shell contact case holder to keep from losing them.)

7. Tiny makeup and toiletries kit combo (just enough to freshen up the next morning after breakfast but before landing)

8. Socks (my feet are almost always freezing on planes + I think it's gross to put your bare feet on the airplane carpet)

9. Pareo (a large scarf or sweater would also work - they're perfect for chilly planes or to put behind your back for some lumbar support in your seat)

10. Snacks (Your plane could be delayed on the runway or you might be hungry when the attendants aren't serving food, so it's good to be prepared. A bag of nuts or trail mix or dried fruit works well and doesn't take up much space. Some people also like to bring an empty water bottle to refill throughout their flight and during their trip. I also like to bring some chewing gum to help with the air pressure change effects on my ears.)

*I'll probably put the meds in one baggie and the makeup/toiletries kit in another baggie. I'll fill the pockets of my tote bag with the other items or will just layer items in an open tote with the heaviest items on the bottom.

I'm not sure which tote I'll be taking with me just yet. Do you have a tote that you love that isn't terribly expensive? I'd love to do the Longchamp Pliage version in the extra large size, but I'm just not willing to shell out the $300 that would cost right before my big trip. Any ideas on more economical options would be great.

Peace out, my travel peeps!


  1. I don't travel internationally but do take 40-50 round trips a year domestically. I have a large Vera Bradley tote I use as my shove under the seat carryall. I like the flat bottom and six long interior pockets. There are also one zippered and one open pocket on the outside. It's cloth but I've been using it for two years and it seems to be holding up. It was a gift but I believe you can get them on sale for less than $100. I also use it when I crop with friends away from home. Our son is doing the fall semester abroad in London. Thanks for sharing tips and details of your travels. I've been sharing them with him.

  2. Thanks for the list. I do use the Longchamps Piliage tote. Before you come home, look for one at the airport in duty free. The are more reasonable.
    I also carry hand sanitizer or a small pack of wet wipes for just in case. Can't wait to travel with you on your blog!!

  3. I save my better bags and just use a canvas tote I got at Trader Joes for $4. It's pretty large with 2 small outside pockets that are great for gum and snacks. It's washable, which is great because I don't think they ever deep clean under the airplane seats. I travel with a toddler, so I need something that holds a lot of stuff. The only think I would add is a zipper, but it works great open. I put valuables in the bottom and put the "junk" on top of it.

  4. I always find the nicest purses and totes at TJMaxx - they have good selection in every price range. Check them out online - I just did and they have a lovely OFFICINA ARTIGIANA tote for $150 - leather made in Italy. Of course, they have one that's nearly 10X that amount too. I ordered two cross-body bags from them last fall, knowing I'd only keep one, and was able to return the other at our local store.

  5. Great tips. I'm very worried about my 1st trip overseas. I'm thinking of taking Benadryl and hopefully sleeping the night away. I hope. lol

  6. Very good list. I always carry my chargers, including a fully-charged remote charger in case the charging port isn't working. I bring my iPad loaded with books to read and don't want to run out of power :) For my last flight I carried a Vera Bradley backpack. It was a good size, zips so I don't worry about anyone helping themselves to the contents and nothing falls out, and it can go through a washing machine.

  7. I love everything you’ve written! It’s all exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’m lusting after all of these!!! Great list. Definitely need some great goodies when travelling to make life easier and more comfortable.