STYLE Savvy: STYLE on the Go


I have a lot of bags — suitcases, duffel bags, tote bags — you name it, I probably have it. I’m rarely more aware of this than I am in the summer when I’m traveling. Container aficionado that I am, I’m very selective about which bags I take with me, and which bag serves which purpose.

Bigger isn’t always better. What’s going in the bag and how far you have to carry it are major considerations when deciding between one big bag and two (or more) smaller ones. When I’m traveling on my own, I opt for several smaller bags that are easier to manage, even if that means I have to make more trips.

To pocket or not to pocket? One of my favorite bags has pockets that surround the outside. Great for car travel, this bag allows me to keep necessities close at hand. It’s not so great for a day in New York City, though — those pockets that keep everything accessible to me keep them accessible to passersby as well. Choose your bag with both your transportation and your destination in mind.

Strappy situation. The more you’re going to load into your bag, the more important the straps become. I have several bags that can hold a lot, but whose straps aren’t wide enough to distribute the weight well; when I carry them, the straps dig into my shoulder. The straps are sturdy enough that they’re not likely to snap, but they’re less than ideal for transporting the bag more than a short distance. If you’re going to load up a bag, make sure the straps are up to the task and that they won’t dig into your hands or shoulders when you carry them from Point A to Point B.

train station.all packedDon’t be fooled by the original purpose. I have a bag that is perfect for storing electronics and their various cords. Its original purpose? A cosmetic bag. I don’t think I’ve had that many cosmetics in my entire life, and repurposing it created a travel storage solution that provides both portability and accessibility.

Whether the container has a home in your home or is temporary travel storage, matching the container to the task, your tastes and styles helps keep you organized, no matter where you’re going.

What’s your travel STYLE?

Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


  1. Lisa I love this article!! It’s funny, I’m a “bagaholic” but have two main carry on bags that have become my go to ones. When we moved, in my decluttering I got rid of many, many bags. But travel organization remains one of my most important challenges. Thanks for sharing your advice!

  2. Lisa, I know what you mean! I’ve weeded out my bags, consigned some, donated quite a few to the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project…and the remaining ones seem to multiply in the drawer! (Being a Thirty-One consultant does NOT help!!)

    With a couple of exceptions, I’ve pretty much sworn off tote bags in favor of bags that allow me to separate things within the bag so I can see what I have. (Can you tell I’m “I need to see it?”) One trick that helped a lot was staying packed when it came to toiletries and medicines/first aid — though my perpetually packed accessory bags take up more room than they would if I stored them empty (and flat), I save time each time I travel by simply picking them up and putting them in my suitcase, and, as long as I replenish when I get home, I have stuff like bandaids and pain reliever (and all the other, “Mom, do you have….” stuff) for every trip.

    Thanks for commenting — I’m glad you found a useful takeaway!

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