Quick Travel Tip: Take bags that close!!

On our recent trip to Cancun, I decided to switch up my personal item. Instead of using my usual work purse on the plane and packing my vacation purse and beach bag, I chose to use the beach bag and fun purse during the actual travel. Makes sense, right? I’m bringing less stuff, which is always the goal, right? Uh, yeah, unless neither of those bags actually close. That’s right, I brought two bags into the airport that didn’t zip, snap, or close in any fashion. (Pictured: my adorable oilcloth beach bag–great for the pool, bad for the plane!)

Before I talk about the issues, let me defend my thinking. Besides the lighter packing, having an easy access bag is very convenient on a plane. Normally you have to lean over (which you may or may not be able to do in a cramped airplane), mess with zippers, and fight with your stuff before you finally find that one item you need. With an open bag, you just eyeball your belongings, stick your hand in, and grab the thing you need. However, I’ve decided that the problems that arise are just not worth the convenience.

How often did this create a problem? Well, first, while going through security, a couple of small things fell out of my purse into the bin. No big deal, I just grabbed the bin and moved out of the way like normal. Then on the plane, I (or Home Warrior) had to constantly monitor the bags to make sure they were reasonably upright so nothing fell out, especially during takeoff and landing (because no one wants their stuff sliding down the plane…..). Then once we arrived in Mexico and were waiting in the customs line, again, we had to constantly monitor the bags to make sure they didn’t fall over. And then going through the final customs line (where they scan all of your luggage), a few small things fell out of my purse again. And this time there wasn’t a bin. Oops. At this point I was worried Home Warrior would never travel with me again! Sorry, Honey!! (And other people in line……)

So the moral of the story is: make sure your bags close in some way before using them for travel. Zipping is the most secure, but snapping is better than nothing. And if your bag has multiple zippers, for example a large compartment and then a smaller side pocket, make sure both are zipped before sending it through the X-ray machines. Not only is this ideal for keeping your items contained during transit, but it’s also more security against thieves.

So next time we travel for vacation, whether it’s flying or in the car, I will make sure my bags close. Or Home Warrior may decide not to come with me…..

Readers, have you ever made a silly travel mistake on vacation?

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  1. Thanks for the tip as its so easy to lose things while travelling. On one trip i found items that had fallen out of my neighbours bag all over the floor. Button and zip everything up….you would not be happy losing a wallet, camera or passport

  2. I had the same situation with a bag that I loved taking as a beach bag. I hated to take it though since it had no clasp so I got magnetic clasps in the craft section at Walmart and now it’s the perfect bag! Quick fix for less than $3.

  3. I could never understand people bringing open-topped bags on planes. Also – the people who bring paper shopping bags on planes. Really? It’s just not that hard to find a large zip tote – try Container Store, Target, ebags, the travel store in the airport even!

  4. I actually passed on a really cute beach bag because it only snapped closed.

    There is a solution though – Many “big box” stores sell zip top storage bags that are 2-3 gallons. So put things in the zip top bags and then put them in the beach bag. It makes it easier to find things, and a plastic bag that big can’t slip out.

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