As I was thinking through trying to get everything packed into a single carry-on and a single personal item, I realized I had a problem. While my husband has a perfectly fine piece of carry-on luggage that fits in the overhead compartments of Southwest Airlines (the airline I will likely be flying), I did not have a suitable “personal” item.
To me, for this trip, a suitable personal item would be a bag that would work as a large purse in a professional situation. Nothing too cute, and large enough to hold all the items I would want to be able to access on the plane, but not so large it screams “tote bag”. I could see putting a smaller purse inside of it (because I generally carry purses that are just big enough for my phone, keys, and wallet), but wanted something I could carry around a large notepad, pens, water bottle, etc. etc. to and around the convention. It had to be comfortable to carry , and not be a total black hole of tote bag-ness.
I actually have a GS branded briefcase, which fits my laptop, and looks very professional (in a Girl Scout kind of way), and would have fulfilled most of my requirements – except it does not pass as a “purse” to me. It is DEFINITELY a briefcase. And since I am not bringing my laptop (too big, not needed, and too scary to lose), then I don’t have to have it that wide. Also, it doesn’t have one of those zip pockets in the back which allows it to slide over the handle of a wheeled carry-on, which means I would have to have it on my back/shoulders at all times in the airport. Not a good thing.
Of course, I could have made the perfect bag. I actually love sewing my own purses and tote bags, and rarely carry a purse that I didn’t make. But my time has been precious the last few months, and coming up with a design, and then making a mockup to make sure it works the way I think it will, and then making the final version – that takes a lot of time and money. And frankly, I couldn’t come up with the perfect design.
After a bit of research, though, in what would be the perfect “personal item”, I stumbled upon the Town Tote, by Baggalini. Hmmmm, big tote bag, but not TOO big; nice colors; organizational tweaks that make sense; lightweight; straps are big enough for plus sized arms – this looks like a great design! Ah, to heck with making my own, I’ll just buy this one. But it is no longer widely available. Instead, Baggalini put out the Village Tote this year – an updated model with an iPad pocket in the front. And I will be bringing my iPad, so this might very well come in handy – although I will miss the front organizer pocket of the Town Tote, I think.
And now, my new Village Tote is on it’s way to me. I decided to take advantage of eBags 25% off Baggalini sale, and got it. We’ll see how it works out next time!