Bags and stuff I traveled with to Europe

Some people need $400+ suitcases to travel. I had a $204 Tumi suitcase I purchased from a Ross Store in Monterey ten years ago. The handle broke last May and I dumped that suitcase after our summer trip to Copenhagen and London.

Andaz Closet

My Tumi bag is the yellow one on the right. That bag actually cost me $4 out-of-pocket in 2005, since I received a $200 damaged baggage claim from American Airlines when they dented a hard side Samsonite I had purchased in 1992 as a business travel expense reimbursement.

I am the Travel Bag Guy

The middle bag next to the yellow Tumi in the photo above is a Jansport bag I purchased for $35 at the same Ross Store in Monterey in February 2013. I still use that bag as my airplane primary carry on bag. I place a backpack inside the roller bag. The Jansport has backstraps and when I want to carry two bags on the plane, I put the Jansport roller bag on my back and carry another roller bag as my main cabin piece. I have not been stopped yet, although the TSA agent gave my bag the once over when I was heading out of SFO for my current trip. She let me go through security with both bags. usually I check one bag to avoid hassles, but close to half the time I get away with two carry-on bags and no checked bag.

I paid 50% more for my current primary checked luggage bag than I paid for the Tumi bag in 2005. I replaced my Tumi with a $6 roller bag from Goodwill I purchased in August.

Travel bags-1

Jansport roller bag/backpack on right and my $6 Goodwill roller bag I purchased in August on the left in the streets of Copenhagen today. Inside the Jansport bag is a backpack I purchased from the same Monterey Ross store for $25 on the day I bought the Jansport bag in February 2013.

travel bags-2

The no-label backpack (left) and I have logged hundreds of hiking miles with the bag on my back. I keep my computer and camera in the backpack and place it inside the Jansport roller bag when I am traveling on planes. That way I can wheel my stuff around airports and when I reach my destination. Then, after I have settled into a hotel, I have a backpack to carry essentials like my camera, food, water, and rain clothing when I hike around towns and the countryside.

Nesting Bags like a Vagabond

But those are not my only bags. When I don’t want a backpack and I want to carry my Nikon, then I have another smaller Tumi bag.


This Tumi bag is my second oldest bag from 2003 and my mainstay piece for travel. It was purchased for free from a $50 coupon given to me by Starwood Preferred Guest for hotel stays in 2003. I bought it online at the Tumi site through a clearance sale. That bag has also logged hundreds of walking miles.

The bag is perfect for holding my Nikon DSLR, an extra lens, notebook, umbrella, waterbottle and more cloth bags for when I go shopping while out walking. When making all-day extended walks the backpack is easier on my shoulders.

Sometimes I don’t want to carry my Nikon camera, but I still have crap to carry like a small umbrella, passport, a phone, wife’s wallet. For those cases I have my smallest and oldest bag from Eagle Creek. I don’t even remember how much I paid for the Eagle Creek bag. I have had it since 1998.


On my current trip I keep my plug adaptor good for UK and Europe and Australia and my iPhone cord in the Eagle Creek bag so I can find them quickly.

Walking to Hotels

On my three trips to Europe this past month I have probably rolled my two pieces of luggage along city streets for 20 miles or more. That is not even counting all the miles through airports. They are roller bags for a reason. 

The first photo in this post from the streets of Copenhagen is one I snapped today because Copenhagen is a tough city to wheel luggage around. They like their cobblestones on city streets.

And then there are all the other essentials

Travel gear essentials-1

  • earplugs
  • eyeshades
  • earbuds
  • notebook
  • cough drops (this trip necessity)
  • portable bidet/plastic water bottle (normally I carry a hard plastic bottle for environmental waste reduction reasons, but I have a new found appreciation for a soft plastic squirt bottle after improvising in France last week.

Travel gear essentials-2

Here are a few more essential items:

  • Bottle opener (need to add corkscrew to my list)
  • Spork
  • whistle (I hike alone frequently and whistle is good emergency/safety tool if you need help.)
  • one or two small Tupperware/sealed containers for food leftovers. (Not shown in photos since I did not bring one this trip to Europe, but I find them very useful to store food).
  • More bags to carry in my bags.

Cloth bags from British Columbia liquor store and Ireland are from 1990s. Blue bag is waterproof for camera when hiking in rain. STR bag is lightweight and strong.

More bags I carried to Europe with descriptions from left to right. Cloth bag from Schull, Ireland 1998 trip. Blue bag is waterproof bag for camera when hiking in rain (2014). British Columbia liquor store bag has long shoulder straps and designed with side pockets for wine bottles (or beer) 1999. STR bag was convention freebie, lightweight and strong recycled PET bag. Folds smaller than cloth bags when I want to shove a bag in my pants pocket capable of carrying several beers and/or heavy food items.

Travel Flashlight

  • Small flashlight. Great tool when I need light, whether outside at night walking in the dark or to locate something dropped under the hotel room bed or under the seat on a dark airplane. All three were situations I experienced in the past month of travel.
  • Portable umbrella.
  • small binoculars (primarily for viewing wildlife when hiking outdoors).

Those are essential for my travel bags.

What do you need when you travel?


About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Cool and interesting information. You get good deals on lots of things (baggage) not just Hotel nights and airplane trips.

  2. I was curious, you mentioned your rain gear in your story on London. How many days do you use/need your rain gear, goretex pants, coat and boots in Monterey in a typical year?

  3. The only bag I need when traveling: Mission Workshop R6 modular backpack.

    Swallows 2 weeks’ worth of clothes + toiletries into the main compartment. Has a detachable laptop sleeve on the outside that can be converted into a messenger bag. Completely weatherproof. A waistbelt that makes it a breeze to carry all day. And best of all? It fits in the overhead compartment of any commercial jet, even a small RJ.

  4. @Walter – On average, probably less than ten days per year in Monterey require actual rain gear where I have a desire to be out in stormy weather. Usually I go out in winter rain storms to see and photograph big waves along the coast.

    Most of my rain gear was purchased years before I moved back to Monterey in 2001. The fact that I don’t need to use rain gear very often is why it is still usable with many of my pieces around 20 years old.

    Winter of 97-98 was the last really big El Nino year in California and I used rain gear probably some 90 days or so that year when I lived in Eureka, California. The rainiest El Nino year for California on record was winter 1982-83 and that was the year I lived in Arcata, California attending Humboldt State University. I typically walked over 50 miles per week and I had no clothing suitable for that kind of rain when it dumped around 75 inches of rain that record breaking season. That experience, along with living in Vermont in 1980-81, the coldest winter to that date, when I hiked regularly in wind chills of 20 to 40 below zero without proper snow gear, motivated me to always own clothing suitable for being outdoors in any storm weather conditions.

    Off-hand I can remember hiking in big rain storms when traveling in London last month, Norway last year, Utah 2013, Colorado in 2012, Oregon and Washington in 2011, Oregon in 2008.

    My rain pants are my newest purchase from a few years ago at an REI clearance sale in Denver where I think I paid $12 for ladies GoreTex rain pants. My GoreTex rain coat is also a Ladies coat I purchased in 1996 from Moonstone (Humboldt County outdoors wear company no longer in existence).

    Here is an article I found describing their products. http://www.oregonphotos.com/Moonstone1.html

    Women’s clearance sales seem to have better fitting clothes for me and better bargain prices. Thinking back, I’d say nearly all my snow and rain pants and coats in the past 30 years were women’s clothing at incredible discounts of 70% or more off retail price.

    I lived in Massachusetts and Maine from 1992-96 and those years were the snowiest on record until the past season topped those records. North Face winter clothing parkas and snow pants I had purchased in 1987 in San Francisco at a big factory clearance sale carried me through those years. All ladies gear for me.

    My Timberland goretex hiking boots are probably from the 1990s too. Men’s wide shoes. When I find a comfortable pair of shoes, I often buy two pair. I have two pairs of waterproof Rockport black shoes and two pair of Timberland goretex boots. I packed a pair of each of those shoes for the London and Norway rain trip in September.

  5. @Michael – looks like a nice $400 bag once you add up all the components.
    The two things that keep me from traveling with one carry-on bag are my camera and my desire for three pair of shoes. I want my New Balance tennis shoes, a pair of waterproof shoes and a third pair of shoes for when I want something dressier than tennis shoes and different from my rain shoes that I might have already worn all day for a 15 mile walk. And sometimes I have to pack sandals too.

    My feet are 55 years old and they benefit from changing shoes frequently.

    I could definitely use a smaller, lighter laptop, but also another camera lens, so if I went on a shopping spree, I still don’t think I would reduce the volume of my packing.

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