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carry-on bagI hate checking bags when I fly. I just do. I hate having to worry about whether my baggage will be lost or broken into, checked luggage fees are the pits, and I’m utterly impatient when waiting to spot my suitcase as it comes down the conveyor belt.

Needless to say, I’m sort of obsessed with space-saving packing techniques. I stuff underthings and socks into my shoes, roll each piece of clothing as tightly as possible and arrange everything just so. By the time my bag is zipped up, the insides closely resemble an untouched Jenga tower; I pride myself in this. In fact, some would say I brag about it. That said, I recently discovered that my packing proficiency could be enhanced by the right bag.

A few years ago, I purchased a tote dubbed “The Miracle Bag,” thinking it would be perfect for heading to the beach or taking a road trip. And it is. But on a recent weeklong trip to Belize, I realized it’s ideal for longer treks as well. The bag is constructed of a sturdy eco-friendly plastic-like material that is super-simple to clean, and it boasts a large main compartment, a small interior zippered pocket and six deep outside pockets. It zips across the top, and has handles and a long arm strap.

On this particular trip, I managed to pack the main compartment with three swimsuits, several dresses, four pairs of shorts, four tops, two skirts, a pair of skinny jeans, two pairs of flip-flops, a pair of sandals, underclothes and my quart-size bag of toiletries. Better yet, I didn’t have to use an overhead compartment once onboard, as my carry-on fit snugly under the seat in front of me. I worried a little about whether our checked bag would get lost — but I would survive just fine with what I had in my “Miracle Bag,” even if it was for the entire week.

Oh, and on our return trip, I even succeeded in squeezing in a few souvenirs! Now, I urge you onward … in search of your very own stress-busting satchel. If you have your own miracle bag, tell us about it!

— written by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson

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6 Responses to “It’s in the Bag”

  1. Pemberton says:

    Excellent bag. And the leopard print makes it a stylish accessory as well!

    My trick is to put a full-size pillow in the front compartment of my carry-on rolling suitcase. The suitcase won’t fit in the overhead bins with the pillow inside, but I just pop the pillow out, place it in my seat and I’m ready for a comfortable flight.

  2. TravelBird says:

    Seriously impressive packing – and definitely something to boast about.

    I’ve started taking a spare tote with me when I travel, ready for the return trip and any souvenirs I pick up while away. Like a paper shopping bag, it seems to be invisible to check-in staff and flight attendants.

  3. Vicki says:

    When I DO have to check a piece of luggage, I have used colored tape to make a huge initial on both sides. It is EASY to spot, thus alleviating one of the irritants.

  4. Matt Leonard says:

    That sounds like a great bag. My packing generally is reduced as I’m much more willing to wear it again and again while away. Sorry to say, but it’s true. I may be a stinky vacationer.

  5. Wow! You are a master at packing. I wouldn’t believe that you could have fit that much stuff in that carry on that size. I may need to look into one of those miracle bags! I abhor checking luggage for a lot of the same reasons you listed.

    Thanks for sharing :D


  6. Norma says:

    If I read that correctly, you still relied on a checked bag, apparently shared with someone else which in my mind means you didn’t make the trip with one carry on only.

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