The last few years of careering around the globe have transformed me from the world’s worst packer into a lean, mean travel machine. Well, OK, a slim enough, friendly enough woman powered by chocolate, a list and a desk full of post-it notes.
It’s taken time, not to mention sub-acromial bursitis, to find the right bags for the professional travel lifestyle and to finally realise that it’s worth getting the right kit in order to avoid wrecking either your body or your business prospects.
Essential Travel Bags of the Hand Variety
When it comes to handbags, I’ve whittled them down to:
1) A protective bag that contains my laptop, camera gear and lenses and that still manages to slide beneath an airline seat so that they’ll never make me send it to the hold (Lowepro.)
2) An out and about camera bag with padding, easy access and a strap that prevents me from garrotting myself in the neck every time I lean forwards (Vanguard) and…
3) This bag from Julie Slater, which manages to bridge the gap between the ultra-practical Vanguard bag above and bringing the unemployed student look into a business meeting. (Update – It seems Julie has morphed the Mono Hoops satchel into a baby bag. It does look as though you can get the same structure with a different design, though. Take a look here.)
The sad fact is that most people will judge you according to what you look like and of all the battles there are to fight in the world, I’ve decided to let this one go.
The Julie Slater & Son Satchel
This Mono Hoops Satchel from Julie Slater and Son does a wonderful job of combining chic and stylish with actually getting the job done.
Here’s why it works so well:
1) The main compartment can fit a laptop computer – or an iPad.
2) The back pocket is slip in, slip out for maps, conference programmes, brochures etc.
3) There’s an inner zipped compartment for keys, hotel fobs and anything else I know I’m not going to need all day but I don’t want to lose.
4) There’s another zipped compartment that’s easier to access for things like my phone, which I will need to use (a lot!) but that I’d rather keep protected from light fingers on the underground.
5) There’s the usual space for pens, wallets, business cards and so on.
6) The bag has a separate compartment at the side for a travel-sized umbrella! Absolute genius, especially when you’re travelling to the UK. Soaking wet umbrella? No need to get your paperwork and electronics wet, simply slip it into the side pocket.
7) The adjustable strap has a padded leather shoulder protector. Now, ostensibly, this is supposed to allow you to fit the bag to your height but it also opens up a few other travel options…like attaching it to the vertical handle of a wheelie suitcase, for example. Then you can use it to hold your coat in place while you race along to the far-flung transfer desk without arriving looking like the brother of a beetroot…So simple, so good…
8) It’s crushable and waterproof yet it still looks smart. So, when I need to use the Lowepro for flying, the Slater bag can squeeze into the suitcase and into the hold without emerging at the other end looking like it’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.
If only I could say the same about myself…
So there you have it. The first glimpse into the travel gear that helps make my world go around – as I go around the world.
What handy travel packing tips do you have? I may need to use them…
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary satchel for review purposes. As ever, I was free to say what I thought about it.