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Crossbody bag instead of wheeled bag or backpack experiment

I’m just back from 4 nights in NYC. It was a museum jaunt for me, there was a small Van Gogh exhibit at the Met I wanted to see. I haven’t been to NYC in 2 years and the exhibit gave me the excuse. It was a great time for me, I love the energy of the place and I walked a lot taking it in. I also had terrific weather. The fact that it was crazy hot here at home was nice too.

Anyway I have a 4lb 3oz 20” wheel bag but I thought I would see what it would be like to hand carry my bag instead. I have 12x13x6 LLBean nylon tote bag that only weighs 12oz. With my clothes my bag weighed 8 lbs. Of course my crossbody travel purse ended up weighing 4 lbs thanks to my iPad but I just can’t do without it.

I have a crossbody strap on the tote bag so that’s how I carried it. I could have put it under the seat on the flight if needed but there was room in the overhead. I took the bus from La Guardia into the subway connection, then only needed one line, no extra connection, to get to the hotel. I didn’t have a very long walk to the hotel either.

But I’m not sure if I would do it again. It wasn’t too heavy but it was somewhat awkward doing stairs in my trip into the hotel and then back to the airport. But then picking up a suitcase on stairs isn’t great either and it would weigh an extra 3 lbs. Maybe a small backpack would have been the winner.

Posted by
14254 posts

Always fun to hear about packing experiments!! 8 lbs is great! And laughing at the weight of your cross body bag...that is where everything gets stashed, isn't it?

Hope the Van Gogh exhibition was worth it!

Posted by
154 posts

I’ve done long weekend (3-4 days) in my Kipling Backpack or Kipling Sasha tote. The tote is great when traveling by car, but not when I have to carry it some distance (it has a trolley strap so also fine if I’m using my 22” Travelpro roller, because it sits easily on top of it). In that case, I use the Kipling backpack and wear a small crossbody purse.

Good for you for trying something different!

Posted by
1912 posts

I used to work sometimes with a bicycle messenger service in San Francisco. A lot of regular cyclists would ride around town with messenger style bags, one strap crossbody. It was a sort of cool trend.

The messenger service guys though not so much except at work. We had the crossbody messenger bags because they fit large documents well without smashing them. But a regular backpack is a far better way to carry normal stuff.

Large crossbody bags are inherently awkward, I think you're right. A small backpack is better call.

Posted by
494 posts

I’m always a take public transportation instead of a taxi traveler. So unless you step into a vehicle at the airport you have to contend with being somewhat unbalanced unless you do have a backpack. But then there’s the issue of sitting in a bus or subway with this thing on your back. I tended to shift my bags to the front as I felt more in control of not bashing into anyone inadvertently. I will say though even jaded New Yorkers were very apt to offer me a seat when I was so encumbered 😁. I think being 73 and having white hair helped!

The Van Gogh exhibit was very good and also an exhibit in the Met of Juan de Pareja was great. Plus any trip where you can see 8 Vermeers is wonderful. All the NYC Vermeers that were in Amsterdam are back home.

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92 posts

Lyndash, I have been considering a similar trip - I had to cancel my March trip to Europe and thought a weekend at the Met might ease the disappointment. I plan on taking my Osprey Proxima 30 — a comfortable 30 liter backpack that I expect will hold what I need and be maneuverable enough on the plane and to the hotel.

How was NY? I was last there in 2019 and usually stay in midtown and happily walk up to the Met. Did it feel “normal” in terms of safety and getting around, and available of restaurants and services?

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14254 posts

"All the NYC Vermeers that were in Amsterdam are back home."

They were beautifully hung in Amsterdam, lol!! I'm glad you enjoyed them and the Van Goghs!

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494 posts

Kristin, I know exactly what you mean, a jaunt to NYC can definitely ease the disappointment. I stayed at the Belvedere Hotel on 48th street for the first time. Normally I stay at the Pod 51 hotel on East 51st street. But this time I found a slightly cheaper rate at the Belvedere and thought I’d try something new. The room was wonderful, large and very comfortable. Pod hotel rooms are very small in contrast. But I’m a very no frills girl so it ok by me. As long as I feel safe and things are reasonably clean I’m good. The Belvedere was in the Times Square/theater district and it was very crowded on the streets. Room was quiet however. Anyway I prefer a little less commotion so I’ll be going back to the Pod next trip I think.

I felt very safe even though I took the subway at least twice a day. 2 years ago there were fewer people on the subway and the streets but it was still Covid time and masking was definitely enforced. Now the city was jumping with lots of tourists and New Yorkers out and about. I heard every language on the streets, lots of foreign visitors with kids in tow. Walking through Central Park on Father’s Day was amazing, picnicking groups and sunbathers everywhere. But the Frick, MoMA and the Met weren’t overly crowded at all. The temps were perfect so that helped as well.

The only restaurant of note I went to was the Union Square Cafe and it was easy to get a reservation and the meal was great. Grabbed Pizza slices here and there and ate at the museums too. Enjoy yourself if you go.

Posted by
4595 posts

I have taken duffel bags or similar ass carry on luggage and hate it. But it usually weighs more than 8 pounds. It hurts my shoulder and back and a pain to carry between connections or while waiting for a flight. It is also my complaint with a convertible backpack. You carry it contained like a suitcase with back straps covered, but using the should strap is a killer.
Instead, for short jaunts I have 2 inexpensive backpacks that open like a suitcase. One 20 inches, one smaller to fit under the seat on Canadian airlines (smaller than US domestic requirements). Zips can be locked and I can still carry my crossbody purse. Love them.