As a female traveler, I have a lot of stuff I need to take with me on my travels. As a female travel blogger, I have a lot more things that I need to bring with me and finding the perfect tote bag to carry it all has been a significant struggle over the years. I had a beautiful blue Sydney Shopper from Fossil for at least 5 years. It fit everything I needed and then some, the only problem was it didn’t zip closed, which wasn’t an issue at first but the more I started traveling, the bigger an issue it was for me, and it had those super thin straps that did not support the weight of what I was carrying on my shoulder.
As I type this, I’m sitting on a Hawaiian Airlines plane on my way to paradise thinking about the many tote bags I’ve purchased and either taken back or sold on Poshmark because they just didn’t work for one reason or another. You’re probably wondering why I don’t just bring a purse and a tote bag with me to solve my problems, the answer to that question is simple. I don’t like hauling around multiple bags, I want everything to fit in one tote bag and because I pack my fantastic Jo Totes camera purse in my checked luggage. Is that weird? As I type I’m starting to think it’s funny but, I’m a little weird, and that’s okay.
As I was packing for this trip to paradise I quickly realized a week before the trip that my current Fossil tote was just not big enough, I needed it to be at least 5 inches taller and wider to get everything in. I quickly jumped on Pinterest and searched “best women’s large tote bags” and what I got was not very helpful or very expensive, so I jumped online and searched Fossil, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and like 5 more stores. Then I found it the perfect Michael Kors tote bag on sale at Macy’s (thank you Black Friday sales) I broke out the tape measure and it was almost too good to be true! Just when I thought this tote couldn’t get any more perfect, I saw it was nylon, not leather and it has a trolley strap on the back! I quickly picked a color and checked-out before it was too late. Okay, so that last part is a bit dramatic, but at the time that’s what I was feeling.
After that long-winded intro into my tote bag struggles, you’re probably wondering what on Earth I could possibly not live without on my 5 hour and 30-minute flight to paradise. So without further ado, this is what is in my perfect Michael Kors tote bag.
1. My Canon EOS M3 / Lowepro camera case
I never pack my camera in my checked luggage, I’m always afraid my luggage will get lost, and I’ll never see my beloved camera again. In this compact Lowepro camera case I can fit the body of my camera, camera strap, the stock lens, and my battery, so I have everything I need ready to go.
2. Marc Jacobs cosmetic bag
This one should be a given for any female, travel blogger or not. I’m amazed at how much I can fit in this tiny cosmetic bag. I’ve got the usual-hair ties, a few band-aids, chapstick, a sunglass kit (glass cleaner and wiping towel), a travel size bottle of Excedrin, eye drops, some mints, a thin pack of Kleenex and a few more items. The best part about this cosmetic bag is I got it on sale from Nordstrom Rack.
3. Lug travel blanket
I get cold easily, so this travel blanket was one of the best gifts I’ve gotten. It folds up nice and compact and is long enough to cover my legs on the plane. If I don’t want to use it as a blanket, I can keep it in the travel pouch and use it as a pillow.
4. A splitter
When I travel with my sister, I usually bring my splitter so we can both watch the same movie on the plane. It’s a cheap travel accessory that is a must for me to have.
5. Marc by Marc Jacobs ID case
It looks like a tiny passport case, but it actually holds my drivers license for easy access at the airport. If I’m going to a tropical destination, I usually throw my room key, drivers license, and some cash in it and throw it in my beach bag, so I don’t need to bring my entire wallet to the beach.
6. iPhone charger
This one again should be a given. I only bring the cable since it has a USB port on the end and toss the wall plugin in my checked luggage for later.
7. Coach Wallet
This baby has been everywhere with me! I primarily use this wallet for travel because it is thin and doesn’t take up valuable space but also holds everything I need.
8. My Beats Solo 3
Headphones are another thing I’ve struggled with over the years. I can’t use the type that sits inside your ear, they always end up hurting my ear (that sounds weird, sorry if it doesn’t make sense) and it’s been a struggle finding a comfortable pair that goes over your ears until I tried the Beats on. These are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used! I love that they fold up nice and compact and fit in their own little case.
9. Skinny Dipped Almonds
I found Skinny Dipped while I was at Target a few months ago and I’ve been buying them ever since. I’ve tried the dark chocolate peanut butter, dark chocolate cocoa, and my favorite, the dark chocolate espresso almonds. I love this brand because they don’t cover the almonds in a thick layer of chocolate, I can still taste the delicious almond underneath the dark chocolate espresso goodness.
10. My MacBook Air
Again, this should be a given. I watch movies on my MacBook, play card games, and work on picture editing and blog posts ( like this one) on the plane and if I have a long layover in the airport. Like most bloggers, my MacBook is my life! I’m not taking any chances in it getting lost.
11. My iPhone 7 Plus
It is not pictured because I was using it to take all of the pictures in this post but it also goes with me in my tote bag and pretty much everywhere I go because well, I’m a millennial (eye roll) and that is the society we live in now.
So there you have it! Everything I take with me in my tote bag. What are your must-have items when you travel? If you’re a female traveler, do you also struggle to find the “perfect” tote bag? Let me know in the comments below!