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I have always considered myself quite skilled in the art of packing. I gave up checking bags a long time ago, and now always choose a carry-on bag whether the trip is two days or two weeks. One of the things I’ve learned about packing for a week-long (or longer) trip with one carry-on, though, is that the key to making it all work is actually just mastering the art of the personal item. We all know by now that each airline allows one free personal item (usually a bag or backpack) in addition to a carry-on bag.
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For years I’ve used different bags, backpacks, and purses, trying to find one that holds everything I need and feels as comfortable resting on the top of the rolling case as it does on my shoulder. I found many options that worked well, but it wasn’t until I got it Luka sports bag by Calpak as a gift I realized how much my personal item game could improve.
From a functional standpoint, the best aspects of this quilted bag are its various compartments. There are so many (nine to be exact, but who’s counting?) that sometimes I actually forget about some of them. The bag itself has multiple zippered pouches for chargers or headphones – all within easy reach for on-the-go access. There’s a side compartment for a reusable water bottle so you always have a way to hydrate when you’re on the go. There’s even a built-in shoe storage compartment (the best part in my opinion) at the bottom of the bag. In terms of design, the straps are long enough to sit comfortably and securely on your shoulder, and there’s a removable, longer strap that’s also useful. Aside from all the organizational aspects though, the bag is also big enough to stash a cross body bag right before you get on the plane – the easiest way to get around the one personal item rule in my experience.
Plus, it’s specially designed to travel well, with a sleeve on the back to slide over the handle of your carry-on and dimensions that allow it to fit perfectly under an airplane seat. I have even removed my shoulder bag and put it on top or next to the bag while it is under the seat and still there was room for convenient storage of everything there. The bottom line is that the bag is not just a sports bag that works as the perfect personal item for airplane travel. It was made for travel and as soon as you use it you can tell. Boarding a plane can be a stressful experience and there are enough things to worry about (turbulence, sitting next to a complete stranger, delays, etc.) without having to worry about whether your personal item will fit conveniently on the trail or under your seat. This bag eliminates everything of those stressors for me – even if there weren’t any convenient organizational compartments, that alone would make it worth it to me.
But, hey, if you don’t believe me, there’s someone else who happens to be a big fan of the bag: Oprah, who previously put the bag on one of her Lists of favorite things for the holiday season. But while Oprah’s endorsement and love of the Luka bag is probably reason enough to convince you to buy it, it’s too why every color of the bag keeps selling out over and over again – a common reaction to something being named one of Oprah’s favorite things.
Luckily for us all, though, there’s a waiting list to be notified of just when the bag is back in stock, meaning a restock will happen soon and your 2023 travels will be that much better.
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