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Always Pack a Foldable Bag
No matter if you think you might do a fair bit of shopping or not when you travel, always pack a thin, lightweight duffel bag, tote or backpack in your carry-on or checked suitcase.
I actually pack a few different ones, depending where I’m going:
I always carry a bag/backpack like this in my carry-on just in case an airline decides to say my bag is too heavy or too big. It can be embarrassing having to stand there and figure out what to do but with a bag like this handy, I can quickly transfer my important things into it without holding up the whole line behind me. I also keep one handy when I’m at travel conferences (they’re starting back up in September) and if I need my laptop, I can throw it in there instead of lugging my roller bag. This lightweight, water-resistant backpack rolls up to practically nothing so it’s super easy to pack and comes in handy for multiple reasons.
It’s handy if you’re going to the beach and need some place to quickly stash wet, sandy clothes and towels.
And if I’m traveling to a shopping destination like London or Bangkok, I pack an Eagle Creek XL duffel bag that comes folded like three pairs of jeans. I also pack it when I travel with my wife and kids since you never know what we will end up having to buy at the destination.
Trust me, it’s way better to be prepared and not scrambling at an airport check-in desk when a strict agent says your bag is overweight. You’ll either have to remove some items or go to the nearest shop and buy an extra bag. It’s usually much cheaper to check two bags than to pay for an overweight bag.
If you’re like my wife and are looking for something stylish (and don’t mind the price tag!), you may prefer something like this Longchamp tote, which she always packs when she travels. It folds down flat making it extremely easy to pack and she says it’s the perfect bag for day trips or if you have extra things to bring home at the end of your trip. It’s also not just a travel bag; she uses it all the time at home for running errands.
Note: If I’m traveling alone but bought some presents for family back home, I always check my dirty clothes and pack the presents and more valuable items in my carry-on so I can bring them onto the plane myself.
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