I'm traveling to Italy in April and am pretty sure I will be buying Rick Steves rolling carry-on. It's currently on sale with free shipping. My question is this: on a daily basis, do you recommend carrying a cross body bag for Credit cards, money, phone, etc as well as a a backpack for jacket, maps, umbrella if needed? It seems like a lot to carry and I don't want to feel loaded down. What to do?
I only carry a cross body bag. It will hold 1 liter of water, my phone, my working wallet, a light sweater, and a packable rain coat. I tear apart my guidebooks or have them stored on my phone.
A lot of this is dependent on the type of stuff you carry. My rain coat weighs 15 oz and rolls up small. My sweater is fine gauge and fairly light. I don't carry an umbrella (redundant with raincoat). My wallet is fairly small and light.
In short, if you carry heavier bulky items you'll need a day pack. If you carry light weight items you can get away with just a cross body bag.
I'm confident that I carry a lot more stuff around with me than most travelers do, and I manage with what I'd consider a standard-size cross-body bag that--luckily for me--has an open pocket on each end. My water bottle goes in one of those pockets; my sunglasses or (if rain is predicted) my umbrella, in the other. I couldn't possibly use a backpack, because I swap between sunglasses and regular glasses every time I enter a building, and as a summer traveler I need ready access to my water.
It seems like a lot of museums won't let you enter without checking your backpack so it's easier for me to carry a cross body bag. I bring a foldable tote bag in my purse and use that if I pick up souvenirs or some food at a market, or if I want to have an extra jacket available.
I also use a cross body bag, and I too switch out eye glasses regularly. I stick with medium sized bags to hold what I need for the flight, and then what I need for the day: DSLR, mini-tripod, wallet, and odds/ends. I do not carry a sweater or a jacket in it. I either wear sweater/jacket or if I need to take it off, I use a light, recycle bag that I keep in my cross body as well. I actually think my next trip I'll be using RS iPad veloce bag expanded. I don't like carrying things around all day so I keep my bag to medium size, sometimes a purse-type and sometimes a guide bag. I find backpacks annoying as you have to take it off anytime you need something, plus some museums won't let you use a backpack. That's my system. My guidebook sections fit as well.
I go with the cross-body bag too. My last trip I carried in it a wallet, sweater, umbrella, water, e-reader, reading glasses, sun glasses, maps and various other items. With the current clamp down on back-packs in Italy there were several places that I could take the cross-body bag but backpacks would have to be checked. I had a Pacsafe that had the little side pockets (used for water and umbrella).
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I totally agree with not wanting to carry a lot around all day. I was in fact just looking at the Veloce iPad bag which I think could work nicely. However, there is no side mesh pocket for a water bottle. That said, I guess it could go inside if I don't carry the iPad around. We will be staying at Airbnb apartments so I imagine things like the iPad would be safe left there for the day?
Some water bottles have carabiner clips so you could clip them on to the outside of the bag. They would bang around though.
Or you could just buy water as needed.
Will you be carrying only your stuff or will a travel partner share the bag? When I travel solo, I prefer a cross body bag. However, my husband and I were in northern Italy in September, and we shared one lightweight convertible backpack. I also had a small RFID cross body wallet which I frequently put in the bottom of the backpack to be totally hands free. We were only required to check the backpack once--ALL backpacks, totes, and large cross body bags had to be checked to see the frescoes by Giotto in Padova. I simply took out the cross body wallet and enjoyed to tour. This worked very well for us and I always felt like our valuables were secure. Enjoy Italy!
I have no hesitancy in leaving my tablet in any hotel room. I do lock it inside my suitcase. No way I'm carrying that heavy thing around with me unless I have a specific reason to--such as no working Wi-Fi at my hotel. I take nothing with me of such value that I'd be nervous about leaving it in my hotel room.
I carry a purse - crossbody, not tiny, but not a big daybag. Right now it's a cheap purse from Target and I clipped on a nicer strap off my huge camera bag - better padding. It fits under the plane seat as a personal item with plenty of room to spare.
If you are used to a purse at home that is the easiest. I carry my camera, one credit card, daily cash, phone or kindle with guidebook, and a baggie of random stuff like bandaids, Advil, chapstick, etc. Umbrella if rain is likely and I have one.
My husband has a messenger bag for his camera and our water bottles. Being a man, his clothes have decent pockets so he can keep his money and phone on him. Front pocket only - back is easier for pickpockets.
I can't imagine not having some sort of small bag. I could go smaller than I do - my camera is big - but I need a place for money, phone, and small things that make touring easier.
I am fine leaving stuff out of sight in the hotel or airbnb. I use the safe, others prefer to hide their items in a suitcase or something. Either way I feel there is a point where worry goes too far and I draw the line at worrying about things in my locked hotel room. Anything can happen anywhere but at a certain point it becomes overkill in my opinion.
With all the security checks slowing things down, I decided to use the pockets of a SCOTTeVEST (with removable sleeves), and I'm not going back to lugging bags or backpacks ever again. I survived without a water bottle--this is Europe where water is available in cafes and not the Sahara--, my phone held all the guidebook info and maps, and after that all I needed was a small change purse, a couple credit cards, sunglasses, point & shoot camera, passport, tickets, and a tiny nylon bag to whip out in case I made a lot of purchases or to put everything in if I decide to leave the SCOTTeVEST at the coat check. The only time I had to add a light Baggalini was when I added an umbrella. For all my purse-carrying sister out there, and we do all tend to carry too much--this was really liberating!
I've had very good luck using the Travelon classic east/west hobo as an optional day bag. It has pockets on either end to hold umbrella or water bottle, and plenty of room inside for a rain jacket, tablet, tightly rolled change of clothes, etc. I don't like to carry anything too big anymore so I pair the hobo with my Travelon signature slim pouch which I carry every day.
I have the 20" carryon and use it for 90-day trips, holds up fine.
I also have a microfibre cross-body Mandarina Duck small messenger bag, several compartments (not all zippered), which I fill up with a water bottle, iPad mini, smartphone, a map, small notebook, tickets or vouchers, mints or cough drops, pack of tissue, coin purse, and neck wallet that is attached to the bottom inside lining of the bag and hooked into the strap closure as well. Empty, it weighs about six ounces; packed for the day, less than four pounds. Not a lot of weight but I wish I could pare it down even more.
When I go out and around town where I live, I don't wear a cross-body bag or a backpack. Why would I do that in Europe? Do you see the Europeans going everywhere with backpacks?
The only concession I make to being in Europe is carrying my valuables in a money belt (neck wallet, actually). It's not that I think there is a high chance of being pick-pocketed (particularly in Germany), but the consequences. If someone lifts my wallet in my home area, I can go home, get my records, call my banks, get more money, etc. But in Europe, that's a lot more complicated. I would have to find a phone, make cross-Atlantic phone calls, maybe deal with the time difference, and wait for replacement cards before I could get money. I don't want to deal with those problems, so I am extra safe with certain items.
And, BTW, I do the same thing (neck wallet) in this country when I am traveling far from home. The chances of being picked might not be as high, but the consequences could be nearly as severe.
I do like the Travelon East West bag you mentioned. I don't want to carry bulky things, mainly a light jacket or sweater if needed. I am not a woman who carries the "kitchen sink" with her at home, so I can't image I would do that while on vacation. I'm over the Girl Scout Be prepared motto because my kids are grown! So, the toss up seems to be between the RS Velace I pad bag or Travelon East West bag. Yes, I will be carrying my own things. You all are so helpful!
I use this cross-body bag. I can carry a water bottle and umbrella in the outside front/back pockets. I fit a rolled up rain jacket, wallet, other small stuff in the main compartment and a small kindle or phone in the outside pocket next to my body.
My beloved Baggallini is similar but has an extra zippered pocket on one long side. It's probably a style no longer in production.
One thing I've found is important to me is having an open compartment where I can stick non-valuable items I want to access frequently, like maps (I love paper!), guide book excerpts, etc. In a pinch I'll use such an open pouch for the glasses I'm not currently wearing. I learned the hard way that it's not a good plan to be constantly unzipping the secure part of a purse where your wallet resides to switch glasses.
I like a small backpack about 15 liter volume and 16 - 17 inches in length. The Merrell rouge for example. I use a small luggage lock on it. I carry my most important stuff like credit cards, money, passport in a neck pouch under my shirt. I hate under clothing neck pouches - but I hate being pickpocketed even more.
I wear a cross body messenger bag every day of the year, as do many Europeans, though others wear back packs. When you don't drive a car and only ride public transportation or ride a bike, you need your possessions with you.
My opinion on back packs is that you have to take them off and put them back on every single time you want something out of it. Have walked around with friends who had to do this and it drove me nuts! Whether it was the camera or their water or their guide book, they must have taken that back pack off 100 times. With a messenger bag/satchel, you don't have to do that. Plus the bag sits in your lap in restaurants.
Have been hit in the head by so many back-packs while sitting on the train that I have begun to hate them. I don't meant hiking back-packs, just the ones people use to go to school, work, or as tourists.
What Ms. Jo said.