How To Pack An Organized Travel Handbag ~ Tips for how to decide what items to include and how to pack your handbag so it is very organized for traveling!
During the past four years I have been fortunate to be able to travel to Australia a couple of times to visit my oldest daughter. She is living in this gorgeous country attending medical school. This is her last year of studies so we are super proud and excited for her. She has worked so hard to achieve this goal.
I have been in Australia for the past three weeks and will be leaving at the end of next week after a month long stay. It will be a long journey from door-to-door.
Traveling to new locations is a lot of fun but it takes a lot of planning and organizing to make sure you have packed everything needed for the trip. An important item to pack and organize is your travel handbag. This is your purse that you will use to carry needed items while traveling and once you get to your destination. You do not want to under pack and not have available what you need while in transit and you do not want to over pack and have to lug around a heavy handbag filled with unnecessary items.
I have a system for deciding what to take and a fabulous idea for how to pack an organized travel handbag. It is packed conveniently with items that will help make my journey whether short or long a lot more convenient and comfortable.
Let’s take a look at…
How To Pack An Organized Travel Handbag
Finding the Perfect Travel Handbag
I really lucked out when I found this Ralph Lauren handbag on sale at Winners (same company as TJ Maxx). It truly had everything I was looking for in a travel handbag! The fabric is a water resistant canvas type of cloth with leather straps perfect for carrying over my shoulder. I am really happy with the zipper closure so the items in my travel handbag are secure. It is a perfect size and shape with just a few pockets on the inside and one on the outside to hold my smart phone.
I love the orange colour of this bag! It was a perfect match with the navy, white, black and khaki coordinated pieces I packed to wear.
Here I am in the Japanese Garden at the Brisbane Botanical Garden, Brisbane Australia.
Mind Mapping What To Pack In A Travel Handbag
To help me decide what to pack in my travel handbag I make a mind map. I love mind mapping to help me organize my thoughts and information. I explain how I use mind maps in A Brilliant Idea For Recording A Grocery List and How To Plan A Party.
In the middle of a blank white sheet of paper I record what I am organizing. In this case it was my travel handbag. Then I think about the different categories of items that need to be packed. I came up with four categories:
- Must Haves
These are the items you absolutely must have on the trip. If you do not have them you will not be going anywhere, not be able to do anything or your health will be compromised. The items in this category are:
- Wallet – The contents should only be what you will be using on the trip as in driver’s license, bank cards, credit cards and health insurance cards. If where you are going does not have a Costco card, it is best to leave that at home. I also like to have about $20.00 cash for each country that I will be going through when traveling from home to the final destination. When I flew from Canada to Australia I had a transfer in Los Angeles. I had Canadian, US and Australian currency with me to be able to make small purchases if need be while at the different airports.
I intentionally bought a wallet that had a vibrant pattern on it so it would be easy to locate in my travel handbag.
- Travel Wallet – This is to hold in one place your travel papers including your passport, itinerary information, travel insurance and any necessary visas. It is also a great place to keep a retractable pen and the completed customs card that you have to fill out on the plane before you give it to the customs officer upon arrival.
My daughter bought her gorgeous pink travel wallet at kikki.k Stationary & Crafts (not sponsored) in Australia. I bought my basic blue travel wallet at the thrift store.
- Medication – Any prescribed medication in its original container dispensed from the pharmacy needs to be kept in the travel handbag.
- Corrective Lenses – This includes prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and reading glasses. As you can see I have all three including contact lenses that I wear most of the time.
These are the items needed to stay in touch and find out information as you are traveling.
- Smart Phone – To be used for phone calls, figuring out where you are and where you want to go and information about where you are.
- SIM Card or Travel Phone Plan – When I arrived I bought my new SIM Card and enough data for the time I am staying in Australia. Another option is to buy a travel phone plan through your service provider before you leave with enough data for the time that you are away.
- SIM Eject Tool – This is handy to have so you can easily open the little tray on the side of your phone to insert or remove the SIM cards.
- Device Charger – This is handy to keep in your travel bag because many airports have areas with plug-ins where you can charge your devices.
- Electrical Outlet Adapter For Each Country Traveling – My daughter learned the hard way to have your travel adapters with you when traveling. Last year she missed her flight from Sydney to Vancouver because her first flight was from Brisbane to Sydney was quite late due to mechanical problems. Fortunately she was booked on the next flight leaving the following day and put up in a hotel for the night. Unfortunately she left her travel adapter at home in Australia thinking she did not need it and was not able to charge her devices.
These are the items that will keep you busy and occupied while traveling. The reason I make sure I have my own form of entertainment organized is because there have been times where the flight entertainment system was not working. I have also ended up with the one monitor or speaker on the plane that did not work.
- Novel – I like to pack a novel that is light and easy to read.
- iPhone/Mini iPad – I also make sure my phone and mini iPad are downloaded with a full music playlist, some movies and/or TV series. For my recent trip to Australia I watched half of the first season of ‘Once Upon A Time’ and plan to watch the second half on the way back. You can also make sure your game apps are updated to play on the flight.
- Ear Buds/Headset – It is nice to have your own ear buds even though you can usually buy a set from the flight attendant. I like to wear my headset because it also works as a sound silencer drowning out the plane noises.
These are the items to pack that just make the travel time a little more comfortable.
- Water Bottle – I like to carry my own sturdy water bottle with a secure lid. I fill it up after I have passed through security at the water fountain. I don’t know about you but I find bottled water is pretty pricey at the airport kiosks.
- Packaged Snack(s) – I hate to get hungry when traveling and even though there is food to purchase or included on the fight it is nice to have a backup.
- Gum or Mints – These two are handy to have because they serve two purposes. They keep my breath and taste buds feeling and smelling a little fresher. They are handy to have to chew on or suck on if my ears happen to get that plugged feeling when flying.
- Ear Plugs and Eye Mask – I don’t pack these on shorter flights but they are essential to help me sleep on long flights.
- Small Package of Tissues – Great for keeping the nose clean and comfy.
- Paper Napkins – I like to pack a few of my own just in case there is a spill that needs to be wiped up.
- Sanitizer Wipes or Hand Sanitizer Bottle – I really like keeping little packages of sanitizer wipes in my travel handbag because they are very light weight and do not take up a lot of room.
- Tennis Ball – I only pack a tennis ball on long flights. I use it to keep my feet moving while sitting for a long time. I learned this great tip from my massage therapist.
- Zippered Pouch – This is a small bag to hold and contain the smaller items like the earplugs, eye mask and device charger just to control clutter in your travel handbag.
- Neck Pouch – If I am travelling with a lot of cash I wear a travel neck pouch around my neck that I safety pin to my bra strap.
- Scarf – I bought this gorgeous orange scarf to coordinate and add a lot of style to my travel handbag. It also looks great with all of my travel outfits and adds a bit of warmth since flights can get pretty chilly.
So those are the items I like to pack in my travel handbag. Now I have a system I learned from my daughter for how I place them in the purse. Let me explain first…
Traveling to and exploring new destinations is fun and exciting but it can be a lot of work with lots of things to think about. There are so many steps including checking in, immigration, security, boarding and customs when you arrive when flying internationally. That is why I like to have everything organized and easily accessible in my travel handbag.
I want to be able to see everything immediately when I unzip the zipper.
You will notice that almost everything is standing up so they are immediately visible. I do not have to go hunting for a specific item because I can see and know where it is located in my purse. That little organizing trick helps to make the travel experience smoother and a lot less stressful.
You may have noticed that there are some items that I did not include in my travel handbag. These are other items I like to pack to help make my travel time more comfortable and that I don’t want to pack in my suitcase. I will be sharing more information in my next post Essential Long Flight Carry On Items.
One more thing… I use the same mind mapping system for how to pack an organized travel handbag when I am traveling by car, bus or boat. It really helps me plan and be organized for whatever trip I am taking.
What do you look for in a travel handbag? How do you decide and what items do you pack in a travel handbag?