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Hide Away Tote for carry on personal bag

I am thinking about purchasing the Hide Away Tote bag (to hold souvenirs and other things purchased in Europe) to use when we return from our Best of Europe 21 day trip next year (packing lightly before leaving). I researched the forum for any discussions about the bag but all the comments were from 2008. Has anyone used the bag as a personal bag in addition to their carry on bag since then? Did you have any issues with the size? I could check in my carry on bag if having two that size was a problem but would prefer to have everything with me. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
809 posts

I just flew to California last Thursday onUnited. I used
my 8yr old RS wheeled carryon and the hideaway tote as my personal item with no problem. I was worried about the new size rules - or maybe they are just newly enforced - but we checked them in the sizer boxes and they were fine. Note that they were not stuffed full. The suitcase was pretty full inside but I put very little in the exterior pockets which made a big difference in the bag's girth.

Posted by
6812 posts

Carole, we don't have one but have looked at it. You are asking if you can use it as your personal item in addition to a carryon. It is 22" x 8" x 16" which is bigger than any personal item size limit I have seen. What is the limit of the airline on which you are flying? Seems like many people get away with exceeding posted limits, but its your gamble.

Posted by
177 posts

Stan that is my concern also because I did see the size of the bag but under the description is says can be used as a carry on for souvenirs. I may just look for something a little smaller so I do not have to worry about the size. Kathleen thank you for comment.

Posted by
220 posts

I have the Hide Away tote and will be using it for my carry on -- although the dimensions of the whole bag are bigger than the carry on limit, 3 RS packing cubes only fill it up halfway so it will fit in the sizer. And since it's squishy it will fit into the overhead more easily than a rolling bag.

I'm checking a nearly empty rolling bag (hair products in +3 oz sizes extra, an extra pair of shoes, picnic blanket; stuff that will be nice to have but not a tradgedy to lose or have delayed) since that bag will be more convenient for actually carry the clothes. I can pop the Hideaway bag into my rolling bag when I pick it up at FCO and roll away

Posted by
9929 posts

You could also consider checking your regular carry on when you are on the way home so you would just have the tote. To me it doesn't matter as much on the way back home if your luggage goes astray. Mine is always filled with dirty clothes anyway so it just puts off the amount of laundry I have to do, lol!

If you opt for a different bag, I have had success with the LeSportSac Medium Tote as a carry on and as a bus bag. I have put my purse in it along with a sweater, umbrella, snacks and used as a personal item on the plane (Delta) but the disadvantage of this is that the straps are not long enough for cross body so it's just over the shoulder which can get tiring if you have to carry it a long way. I also used it on 2 tours as the day bag I took on the bus with me with jacket, guidebook, snacks, water, kindle, etc. I just left it in the seat when we got out and took what I needed for that particular stop. You might start cruising TJ Maxx as they sometimes have LeSportSac items. That's where I got mine. It would not have been my first choice of pattern, but it is bright and I will not forget it anywhere and it was about 1/2 price. I leave on the 21 day trip soon and this trip I am packing this tote bag on the way over then will use as my carry on coming back home.

As far as souvenirs, I suggest you consider scarves for the women you plan to buy for. The San Lorenzo Market in Florence has a huge number of stalls with scarves and they are inexpensive and easy to pack. Buy a few extra for yourself or you will be sorry.

Posted by
6812 posts

Carole, I like to bring back a lot of souvenirs, so I end up checking a duffle bag on the way back, full of dirty clothes and replaceables. Then use my one carryon for valuables and souvenirs. I will pack an empty light duffle in my carryon, or buy a cheap one over there.

You could do that rather than look for another bag.

Posted by
295 posts

Hi Carole: I work in the store for Rick Steves'. I have this bag and just used it in July and have used it for years. I carry the 20 inch wheel bag and pack the hide away tote in my wheel bag. I also bring a Civita. Then when I start to pick up items or souvenirs I get the bag out and start loading it. It holds a lot and has more space than you need. But I love that it has a zipper so everything is safe and can't fall out. I typically carry it back on the plane and its not full so the size has never been an issue. One time I checked it and it made it back safely. I loaded it with my dirty clothes and then used my 20 inch bag for my souvenirs. Another great thing about this bag is that if you are on tour with us you can store it under the bus and it will be safe. That way you don't need to keep lugging your souvenirs to every hotel stop.

Posted by
11462 posts

If you're willing to spend a little more, I'd suggest looking into Eagle Creek's 2-in-1 line. The bag not only folds up into its own compartment, but depending on the design you choose, it expands from one type of bag to another.

I have both the backpack/duffel and the tote/backpack. Both are well made, durable and amazingly designed.

Eagle Creek also has a new Packable Daypack that will conform to many airlines "personal item" size:

Patagonia has also come out with their own Packable Tote/Backpack:

I don't have this bag but I do have their Packable Travel Courier and it's well made. (Although I personally prefer the Eagle Creek products.) Patagoniia has also stopped giving dimension information and only gives volume so I can't say how well it conforms to "personal item" sizing.