Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Travel Essentials

Good travel gear can make a big difference between a difficult journey and a pleasant one.  I have four tried-and-true favorites that go on every trip with me:
  1. American Tourister Atmosphera luggage;
  2. Lands’ End driving moccasins;
  3. A Michael Kors trench coat; and
  4. A black pashmina.
I bought my Atmosphera at Walmart; proof that smart doesn’t have to be expensive.  Atmosphera is, by far, the best luggage I’ve ever owned.  The smallest bag, pictured here, is a tiny wonder. 

It measures just 14.0 x 8.5 x 15.0, which is smaller than a standard carry-on, but it's roomy enough for everything I need for a casual five day trip.  Because of the size and shape, this tote slides perfectly under an airplane seat, a real bonus when the overhead bins are full. The bag itself weighs practically nothing. 
You can buy this luggage by the piece, which allows you to pick and choose the pieces that suit your needs.  I started with the tote and the largest bag but bought the standard size carry-on bag after using the rolling tote a couple of times.  The tote and the carry-on are all I need even for a long trip.   Prices, range from $39 to $69, depending on the size of the bag. 
These bags are available in rose and black. I bought mine in black and then realized that most people carry black bags.   To set mine apart on the luggage carousel, I put bright pink duct tape across the bottom of each bag.   Since it is on the bottom, the tape doesn’t ruin the appearance of my bags as they roll along but it makes it easier to pick mine out in a sea of similar bags at the airport.  I also put bright pink luggage tags for the handles.   
Lands’ End driving moccasins are another essential item for me.  My black suede mocs have carried me over countless miles through the streets of New York, London and Rome.  I find them more comfortable and a bit more stylish than sneakers.   They are also lighter than sneakers and take up less space in my suitcase.  I use them as slippers, too, because they are so soft and comfortable.  The style that I bought a couple of years ago is no longer available but they still offer a similar version at
The latest addition to my travel essentials is a Michael Kors trench coat that I ordered from Macys, on $99.   It is wonderfully comfortable and durable.  

The liner does not zip out but the coat is so lightweight that you wouldn’t want to remove it anyway. The hood provides good coverage when the rains come.  The pockets don’t zip as the store website says they do but they are big and deep.  You can stash your gloves in the pockets without worrying that they will fall out and be lost. 
Alone, this trench is good for slightly cool temps. Top it with a wool pashmina and you will stay warm even if the temperature drops several degrees.
My fourth travel essential is a nice wool pashmina. They roll up small enough to stash in a purse, so my pashminas always go with me. I’ve bought some while traveling but mostly order them from Amazon.  They come in a wide range of colors and prices.   I have at least a dozen, but my favorite is a plain black one.   Pashminas keep me warm during cold flights, add an elegant to touch to casual outfits and have even covered up an unfortunate coffee stain on white blouse.   A pashmina can also be used a head scarf or lap robe. There are as many uses for pashminas as there are pashminas.
None of these essentials was expensive but each one has proved to be truly priceless no matter where I have traveled.

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