April 03, 2015

In My Bag: the perfect travel purse

As a recovering pack-a-holic, I have to say I was pretty proud of myself for keeping my luggage load fairly light for India. Since my main suitcase was a hiking backpack, I needed to be able to literally carry everything with me. I also brought a fabric tote for the plane with a change of clothes, toiletries, makeup, cell phone chargers, etc. as well as an everyday purse. 

I knew that we would be doing a lot of walking through crowded areas and climbing in and out of buses, tuk-tuks, and taxis, so I wanted a functional bag that could carry the basics. I actually bought this cross-body bag on sale last summer but never took the tags off and after it sat in my closet for a few months, I considered taking it back. Thankfully my procrastination paid off and after missing the return cut-off, this bag was mine for keeps, and the perfect solution for my travel purse.

The first test was seeing if my camera fit - voila! Safe and secure without needing to lug my bulky case around. The long strap kept the bag close to me at all times, and I could easily tuck it in front of me in line or on my lap, plus the front flap and snap closure was a good theft-deterrent measure (though I honestly never felt threatened). In addition to my camera, the large area held my travel watercolor set, notebook, and wallet. The two side pockets that held my sunglasses and hotel keys for easy access. The front pouch was great for smaller items like hand sanitizer, chapstick, gum, pens, etc. that I didn't want rolling around with my camera. The blotting cloths, nail buffer, perfume sample, and cough drops were handy in the airport, but otherwise probably unnecessary. 

My travel wallet was a great find- it fits my passport, has plenty of slots for credit cards, zips completely shut, and has a pocket on the back for a cell phone. Sadly, my iPhone 6 was slightly too tall for the strap to work, but it did fit my temporary Indian cell phone, so if you have a Nokia circa 2006 you're in luck! Side note: so texting used to take like a friggin' year, but those things seriously have the best ringtones ever. And snake is still pretty fun. 

bag: Merona, Target (similar, similar)
wallet: TheSak, DSW clearance (similar)
watercolor set: Winsor & Newton

fabric tote: from Mexico 
backpack: REI, 10 years old (similar)

Overall I was happy with my bag situation and will definitely take this purse with me on future trips. I ended up mostly carrying my camera over my shoulder because India kept asking me to take 1200 pictures of her beautiful self. But it worked out because then I could carry a water-bottle with me. Unfortunately there weren't too many opportunities for me to sit and paint, so I ended up leaving my paints and notebook behind a few of the days, but again, more room for other things. India requires flexibility and versatility of all who enter there, and one's purse should be no exception. 

Do you have a travel purse you love? What are your everyday travel essentials?

Have a happy weekend and a safe journey for those heading home for Easter! 


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