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Women - favorite tote bag?

My husband and I are going on our first ever (yay!!) Best of Ireland Tour in July. I have taken lots of notes as far as packing, what to take, what to leave, etc., and there was a woman that posted about an amazing tote bag that she took on the plane, and how great it held up, what she had in it, and how she loved it. Of course, I cannot find that post. So, ladies, any advice on what tote to be used, in addition to my carry-on? I've got a good travel purse with all of the safety features, but also want a tote on the plane, and to bring back any purchases. Thanks!
Linda

Posted by
935 posts

Linda - my first travel tote was the Pacsafe 300, a crossbody tote. I loved that tote but sometimes had problems with the crossbody feature because it would slide up my shoulder onto my neck if I was wearing a raincoat or smooth clothing- very uncomfortable when walking a long distance and aggravating to have to keep adjusting it. My current favorite is a bag I used to carry daily as a purse: an xl Laurel Burch shoulder tote (The Celestial) , available at ebags.com. In fact I just bought a new one as hubby also prefers this type of bag as personal item. It zips closed on top and is lined with white plastic so you can see stuff and easily wipe out the bag. There is little organization but that doesn't matter for what I am using it for - a second bag of manageable size. It does hold more than the pacsafe. I used the bag to carry two days of clothes and travel essentials when making a weekend jaunt while in the Netherlands and it was nice just having the shoulder bag to deal with. On my old bag I added my own lobster claw and clasp to make it more secure and will probably do the same on the new bag. You can buy lobster claws cheaply at craft stores and sew/attach them yourself.
We also like the Civita day pack sold by RS.

Have a blast on your tour!

Posted by
900 posts

My airplane and bus bag is not one I would take around during the day when sightseeing. It holds too much! I use an ebags Savvy laptop bag, same one I carry back and forth to work every day. It is a fantastic bag, with lots of pockets and it's light when empty. It holds a laptop, but I do not take a laptop to Europe. I do carry DH's iPad Pro and noise cancelling headset, my magazines, kindle, guidebooks, snacks, and whatever else we need for the plane/bus.

For sightseeing, I carry a Baggalini cross body that is pretty compact but holds the necessities. I clip on one of those collapsible foldable lightweight bags for anything picked up along the way, which DH will then carry. :) The one we use came from REI and has backpack type straps.

Posted by
8198 posts

I'm in the same boat as Celeste. My bus bag is not my daily purse. I'm currently using the RS Veloce bag for my bus bag.

I have also had good luck with the LeSportSac Medium Tote - which is what I used on my RS Ireland tour. The only problem is that it cannot be used as a cross body bag so it's sort of a pain to carry over a distance. BUT it's much lighter fabric than the Veloce. I did use this bag as a weekender type bag as Nancy suggests when I was on the RS 21day Best of Europe. I used it for our 2 nights in Venice so I didn't have to manage my suitcase on the vaporettos.

https://www.lesportsac.com/Medium_Travel_Tote

I want something that can hold my rain jacket, guidebook or iPad, snacks, water and lunch on some days. I switched to the Veloce a couple of years ago as I was taking my birding binoculars and the Veloce is heavier fabric and provides more protection. I also have a better strap than the one Rick provides to make it cross body.

For my purse, I use the LeSportSac Everyday purse.

Posted by
79 posts

I took a foldable zippered 18 by 12 duffle tote which folded down to half that size which has a strap that slips over the handle of my luggage. I put it in my carry on luggage on the way to Europe. I checked my luggage on the way home and the duffle became my carry on on the way home with my new treasures. It really depends if you are checking your main luggage or not on the way to Europe. I carried on my luggage and my purse. My husband checked his luggage and carried a tote with our plane stuff. I bought it on Amazon.

Posted by
1083 posts

I love my Kipling Sherpa tote, this is my "personal" item on the plane with my actual day bag aka purse (Kipling cross body) inside of this. It has the pocket in the back that slips over your suitcase handle. I recently went to the LA Travel Show and they had a "packing in a carry on" demo and this was one of the features of a bag that was stressed to prevent theft. The two pockets on the outside are huge and carry most of what I need to access on the flight, so those go facing toward me under the seat (the bag fits perfectly under the seat). Behind those two pockets is a larger pocket that runs the length of the bag, my tablet lives in that pocket. Here is a link from Amazon where I originally purchased the bag from but not for this price, don't know why it is so much now, I think I paid $75.00. This is also a great weekend bag.

https://www.amazon.com/Kipling-SL3010-Sherpa/dp/B0090DX1KY

Posted by
1228 posts

I bought this Pacsafe tote as my bus bag for my August tour. It's large enough to hold my Travelon cross body purse, knitting, books, water bottle, sweater, pashima and just about anything else I can think of that I might want/need on the plane/bus. Plus it coordinates with RS rolling carry-on.
http://www.ebags.com/product/pacsafe/citysafe-cs400/290326?productid=10351038
Purse is http://www.ebags.com/product/travelon/anti-theft-signature-3-compartment-crossbody/276985?productid=10311804
While mine doesn't have the handle sleeve thingy, the bag handles wrap around the carry-on's handle and it's secure. I was concerned about that but another thread a while back talked about the carry-on being more stable with the weight at the wheels instead of on top.

Posted by
81 posts

I will be using this tote to also carry my Travelon bag on the plane. Then it will stay in the hotel room with the luggage when we do the sightseeing. I have a small, lightweight, foldable backpack that I will also take on the day trips for anything purchased. I will check out each of the links you provided. I do like the LeSportSac tote! Looks very promising.

Posted by
81 posts

@ Nance - I could not find the Laurel Burch, The Celestial, on ebags, so will try Amazon.

Posted by
6480 posts

I use Rick Steves' Euro Flight Bag on all my travels. It fits easily under the seat in front of me on flights, has good features such as a detachable small pouch for jewelry.

Posted by
81 posts

@ Celeste - LOVE the Savvy Tote bag and it is now on order in plum. First-time customer discount and free shipping.

Thanks so much for all of the tips! I feel ready to travel now! Well, except, how many t-shirts to pack, lol. I am actually looking forward to packing light and doing laundry in the hotel room. What is life about, except for new adventures? :-)

Posted by
3521 posts

You will need a tote big enough to put your travel purse inside it so that you can meet the 2 carry-on limit for getting on the plane. It also needs to be small enough to meet the size requirements of your airline. I had to get a new one last year because the one I planned to use was slightly too big for British Airlines.

I like totes that have a sleeve that I can slip over the handles of my roller bags. Baggallini is my brand of choice. The sleeves all have a zipper at the bottom, creating a pocket. Some have a zipper at the top, too.

These are the ones I have. They vary in size. Some are no longer available, but I tried to include links with multiple pictures to show the similarities and differences among them. Hobo Tote. Santiago Tote. Alberta Tote. Kindred Tote. I bought these on sale online or at TJ Maxx.

Posted by
5629 posts

If you're looking for a bag to carry purchases -- IKEA sells fold-up nylon bags that fit in a purse or pocket, then whip out when needed to carry groceries, souvenirs, whatever. Under $2.00.

Posted by
8198 posts

Linda, if you have a TJ Maxx near you the LeSportSac's sometimes turn up there. Sometimes odd colors/patterns, sometimes OK. I am pretty sure I bought my Tote there, but I know I ordered my purse online.

Posted by
3746 posts

Linda, glad you found one that you like.

Here's what I brought on the plane to sit at our feet with items we wanted during the flight. Then, I moved the items into our suitcase & smooshed it back into its little pocket into a ball. It was very handy to take to the grocery store, etc. in Europe. I've also used it during a trip to Hawaii to hold our beach towels & gear. The bag is made of rip-stop nylon.

https://www.fireworksgallery.net/store/24OR001%21FLIP/24-7+Bag-+Orange

Posted by
81 posts

Jean - love that rip-stop nylon bag! My small, daypack is made of the same rip-stop nylon, and folds up into a tiny little square that I put in it's own bag. I can literally just toss it in my purse. Found it on the Grommet and it's perfect for day hikes, or to purchase what we want in Ireland :-)

Posted by
437 posts

Hi,

I use two bag system as well. I use the LL Bean bag that I have adjusted using two canvas belts with loops, I had my tailor cut them off and sew the loop ends onto the bag. I then put on a strap, so that I can carry it cross body, tying the regular handles over the zipper, giving me a bit more security. I tried to find a bag this size, with a extra pocket, that you could carry cross body but could not. I like the size because I can carry a light jacket in it and anything I may want on the plane. I keep it tucked under the seat. There is a key fob, I attached one of the black pouches found in Rick's carryon bags and attached it for my passport & other items. They are about $6.
https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/91563?feat=677-GN3&page=carryall-tote-bag&csp=f

The day bag I carry, is one of two, it depends if I want to carry my IPad with me.
http://shop.eaglecreek.com/guide-trek/d/1265C25?CategoryId=329
http://shop.eaglecreek.com/guide-pro-courier-rfid/d/1489C1315?CategoryId=329

Mary

Posted by
73 posts

You may want to give whatever you get a bit of a test run before you go.

I've had a few bags on trips that were really more trouble than they were worth. I started with a Travelon, but it's heavy even without anything in it and the zipper is a smaller opening than the body of the bag which made it awkward to jimmy my tablet in and out or find what I wanted from it. Also the material tended to pull my clothes and hike up my skirts, especially as a crossbody. Wish I'd known that before I left home!

Now I use a Baggallini (Fairfax, but lots to choose from) and I'm much happier! It's big but I don't overstuff it, I just like being able to easily get things inside. I pulled the clip from my Travelon and use that to secure the zippers together when I want a little extra security (different teeth sizes so they don't all slide as one), but the bag fits nicely under my arm with the zipper tabs in front so it's not like anyone would be able to unzip it under my arm, anyway.

The Bagallini holds my SLR camera inconspicuously and has room for whatever I need to take on any given day (water bottle, umbrella, sweater, a few notes or guidebook pages, my tablet) and isn't too stuffed.

Good luck finding the perfect bag for you!

(edited to add link because I'm having way too much fun looking at all the other links and bags!)

Posted by
22 posts

For your bus bag you might consider the Kipling Erica cross body bag. I love mine.

Posted by
11 posts

I also use a two bag system. My tote is the Kipling Maxwell. It has two handles, plus the long strap. The two straps fit over my roller board (RS). I keep my hair dryer, make-up organizer, head phones etc. etc. in it. It fits under the plane seat perfectly. I use a Coach sm. cross body purse that fits in the tote in order to meet the two carry on limit. When we get to our "stay", I have a small bag that I keep my umbrella in and a water bottle as well as maps or souvenirs that I might buy; as well as my small cross body purse which I need for two pair of glasses and a coin purse that holds cash and debit and credit cards. I have used this system and Kipling tote on 9 trips to Europe. Works great!

Posted by
2707 posts

Before you look at some of the above bags, double check the size of the personal item allowed by your airline. BA is my carrier of choice and they have reduced their personal item to 16x12x6. My cameral/purse bag fit this criteria, many of my other bags did not. They also tag your item so it is clear to them your bag will fit, if there is any question. ...just a heads up as I'm sure BA is not the only carrier reducing the size of this item. If you are checking your carryon bag, then you have no issues. However, I always like to be prepared so last minute I can carryon should I wish.

Posted by
900 posts

Linda - glad you like the Savvy! My stepdaughter ended up with one after I got mine, she liked it so much. It easily holds my baggalini purse, laptop, books, umbrella, water bottle, chargers cords ... everything! And it does have the strap on the back to slide over your suitcase handle for rolling. Let us know how it works for you. The additional bonus for me was the price. Less than $35. Yay!

Posted by
8198 posts

I in NO WAY need another tote.

I've looked at every single link and thought about every single one.

This is a sickness! I need a Bags/Totes/Purses Anonymous!!

Posted by
1925 posts

You and me both, Pam. Sadly, I'm not as strong as you and one of those cute LeSportSac travel totes you recommended is on it's way to my house as I type........Looks perfect for what I need :)

Posted by
8198 posts

Hahaha Andi!!! I almost fell for the Savvy one but held myself back. I do like the LeSportsac tote. It folds flat, it's light. I have the RS Veloce packed for my trip next week but now I have too much time on my hands and am considering revising my thinking and taking the LeSportSac.

I. Do. Not. Need. Another. Bag.

Posted by
225 posts

RS Euro bag for the bus and plane (awesome!). plenty of room, better made than his backpacks, and just enough pockets to find things quickly without wondering which pocket I put that thing in! lol
My day bag is an ancient light weight ebags Travelon anti-theft cross body bag. This one has all the pockets, each one zipper with lock. I have taken it all over the world and my friends have borrowed it and taken it everywhere else!

Posted by
491 posts

Mary--I finally bought the LL Bean carryall tote and will be giving it its virgin voyage next month when I travel to London. Last year I bought a Citysafe Pacsafe CS400, which did not really have a lot of room. I will say that it provides a lot of padding if one is concerned about a laptop or tablet. One big downside is the lack of a sleeve or strap to attach it to the handle of a rolling bag.

I'm still searching for a small personal item but may just try to get by with my LL Bean Stowaway backpack. I did not realize when I booked that Aer Lingus has a very small personal item size (10" x 13" x 8"). But folks have reassured me that unless I totally overstuff it, I should be fine with the Stowaway. My cousin has taken hers as a daybag through Europe and loves it.