One key feature to look for in a personal item

a blue bag with black strapsThis past week I had a quick trip to the midwest, and it was an *experience*. The work was fine, the people were GREAT, but the travel had a lot of ups and downs. I’ll write more about some of those later (once the CHARGES ON MY CREDIT CARD ARE OFFICIALLY REVERSED grrrrr) but I witnessed something and wanted to warn you all about it.

A fellow traveler was going through TSA Pre-check. She was clearly a frequent traveler who knew what she was doing, and got through security quickly. She had a gorgeous green travel purse which I admired as I walked past her. I saw her again as I was approaching my gate, but before I reached her someone bumped into her suitcase and knocked it over. It shouldn’t have been a huge deal except her beautiful bag evidently didn’t have a zipper, and a bunch of her things went flying. Files, her phone, a notepad, and even snacks went spilled across the floor. She was able to get it picked up faster than I expected, and by the time I reached her it was basically up. But if her had been zipped it wouldn’t have happened! And I could relate. Boy, could I relate.

See, for years I had a wonderful travel purse that held enormous amounts of gear, including my laptop, files, makeup, bottles of water, and all of the over various flotsam and jetsam of business travel. It had compartments, comfortable handles, and several zippered compartments. Sounds like a great purse, right?

Alas, the main part of the bag didn’t zip. This wasn’t an issue for maybe a year and a half, until, well, it was. And when it became an issue, it became a MAJOR issue. 

I was trying to board, had reached my row and put my suitcase up in the overhead bin, and was working on getting into my seat. Except my purse fell upside down. Because it didn’t have a zipper, every darn thing fell out. My wallet, medicine, pens, jewelry, little balled-up pieces of paper, tiny crumbs and little candies…. I was on my knees, in the aisle, holding up boarding, for what felt like forEVER. It was probably only minutes, but I held up boarding so long that the flight attendant came to see what the holdup was. I was so embarrassed. I just kept shoveling as much as I could into my purse as fast as I could.

You may be thinking, “I have been a loyal reader of Road Warriorette for years and I’ve never heard that story before!”

The reason for that, friends, is because it was too embarrassing. My face has never been so red, and as I type this I can feel myself blushing at the memory. 

So friends, please, make sure your travel purse or briefcase is lovely AND has a zipper. It makes your items harder to steal and can save you tons of embarrassment!

Some great examples of travel purses with zippers are:

Readers, does your travel purse or briefcase zip? If not, have you ever had a spill?


Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

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  1. Thanks for this. I can relate to it so well, even though it has not happened to me. I will note here what my travel MO is for my under-the-seat carry-on.

    I bring a tote bag with me in which my handbag fits. Depending on the size of the handbag, either all of my smaller personal items are in the purse or (most times) some are in the purse and some are in either zipped compartments in my tote or in zippered pouches. For example, pens and small electronic items (memory sticks and my Fitbit charging cable) always reside in a zippered pouch. So do my allergy drugs, analgesics, lip balm/hand salve, and such. Snacks are often in a ziplock bag. My larger electronic cables (computer and phone charging cables) are in a zippered rectangular container. The tote also holds my laptop.

    My totes do m=not have main compartment zippers. However, one of my favorite (albeit aging) travel totes has a strap across the top that snaps on the opposite side. This helps keep the laptop and handbags in the tote during TSA clearance. I typically keep the smaller pouches on the bottom of the tote under the handbag or larger items. That tote also has an internal zippered compartment. It’s a workhorse!

    Thanks for the great post. Maybe some of this will also help readers who are trying to figure out what works for them..

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