It’s that time again: time for a trip to France!

And that means time for a post or two about clothes, luggage, accessories and other travel updates. This week I want to explore the issue of a travel bag: not the carry-on suitcase variety, but the hand carried under-the-seat tote.

There is, at the heart of all this, the debate about checking vs. carry-on. I have ALWAYS been one to check a bag…not a huge bag, but a 28″ that was large enough to a) allow me some choice in outfits while travelling and b) allow me to buy over there and pack it all.

And let’s not even get into the debate of hard cover vs. soft! I’ve tried both.

This year I decided to DO the carry-on!
Now, I have a question to ask all of you who do carry-on: can you actually lift that @45 lb. suitcase up top??? Yes? Really? I admire you. Or, is your husband/friend/stranger always available?

I DO have my husband available and he is most definitely of the carry-on side, so is delighted that I am trying this. We shall see!

Moving right along…with the carry on concept comes the necessity of a good sized tote to go under the seat in front of me. This is where it got interesting.

I wrote about my previous choice in these bags HERE .  But this year I decided to go more mainstream and invest in a “real” bag. And, more important than anything (or so I thought) was a bag that had a strap to slide over a suitcase handle thus creating a sort of one unit roll along.

My first, and most highly recommended, brands were:

1.Lo and Sons

OG Small Tote 2016-08-28 at 1.04.04 PM

This is the O.G. bag. It’s the smaller of the two versions and comes in seven color combinations.



This brand really caught my eye. Very stylish and contemporary with many great styles to choose from. I ordered the O.G. in Army green.

Well, it DID fit nicely over the suitcase handle. No problem.

I wanted to like it! I really wanted to like it. Despite the price (very high) it seemed to have everything I wanted and needed. But, guess what? In the end it just was not right. It was bulky, at least for my size and height. The main zipper didn’t open very wide which I found quite difficult. And it really didn’t hold all that much.

2. Next up was the Lipault Original Weekend Bag.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 1.09.31 PM

This is the Plume 19″ Weekend Bag, in Chocolate.

This came highly recommended by Susan at UneFemme whose judgement I totally trust.. It’s big. Too big for me. Yes, it’s roomy and yes, the zipper opens fully and yes, there are numerous pockets both inside and out. Handles are comfortable.It fits nicely over the suitcase handle. But it felt awkward and just enormous. If it were not resting on the suitcase I doubt I could carry it comfortably.


Here it is, over my suitcase at home. Sorry about the blur! But it looks enormous,no?

What’s a girl to do?

I am thinking of a backpack! Yes, me, the original NOT-A-BACKBACK-KIND OF GIRL is now rethinking this issue. I will keep you posted. I’m just beginning my search: don’t want anything too big, too bulky, too masculine. But then again, this is what it (or any bag) has to hold:


What do we have here? Upper left, clockwise: Some makeup, neck pad, Bose ear phones, laptop, tech/cords,books,toothbrush,meds,slippers & socks,sweater,pashmina, and flats.

And, of course, on the way home there will be some purchases I am sure.

Here is an article published recently in the NYTimes,
“How To Pack a Carry-On Bag to Avoid Checking a Bag,”
with ideas on what you might need and how to pack your carry-on bag.

And this recent article from Washingtonian Magazine, “15 Stylish Gym Bags,” has some new ideas.

I’ll leave it there for today. I’m busy: going shopping on line looking for a backpack. If you have any ideas, I would appreciate them! And do let us know what you carry.

Final Signature