This is a question I’m constantly asked by my clients, and I’ve personally tested numerous iterations. What has come to be my absolute favorite is the cabin sized Rimowa with the external pocket (which they call a sleeve). Although I’ve been using one of the larger Rimowa cases for travel for quite a while now, I resisted the cabin size, as you couldn’t easily open it during the flight. BUT, when I saw the version with the external pocket, I was sold. (Plus, I loved how it perfectly matched my larger suitcase – very chic!)
In the interior of the case, I pack my essentials – jewelry, medications, a change of clothes, etc. Then I can use the handy exterior pockets for my laptop and reading material, which I certainly need access to during a flight.
When I saw the Rimowa carry-on with the external pocket, I was sold!
And what about snacks? I usually stash those items in my purse. This may beg the question – what purse do you travel with? My go-to is the Givenchy Pandora. Not only is it very roomy, but it also has two compartments that zip completely closed, and it can be worn as a cross body or over the shoulder. I feel chic enough to shop in high end stores around the world, yet it’s also not so “precious” that I won’t go traipsing around Scottish castles with it. I also have the Mini Pepe Pandora, which I use as my “going out” bag. It’s small, but it fits a surprising amount. In addition, it easily squishes down for packing.
Another tip: Bring an extra tote bag for your return flight for purchases you make! (You are typically allowed two pieces of carry-on luggage and your purse when flying business or first class.) I learned this lesson on an extended trip in Europe. I “just happened” to make many purchases, and in order to get my VAT tax back at the airport, you have to have all the merchandise with you, not in your checked luggage. The day before departure, I made a mad dash to Harrods and picked up a very large Balenciaga tote bag. I liked that it was open at the top, as I could have a couple rolled pieces of art sticking out that would have been otherwise crushed in my suitcase. Now, I carry this tote along with me on my trips, and I’ve used it every single time. It also comes in very handy during the trips for excursions to the beach, local markets, etc.
When cruising through the airport, my tote easily rests on top of my Rimowa case (mine has a different pocket configuration than the most recent model) with the tote’s handle draped over the extended suitcase handle, so I can hold on to both at the same time. And with my Givenchy bag either worn crossbody or tucked into my tote, I’ve got nothing slowing me down. I’m all set for the lounge and a pre-flight cocktail!
Another tip: Bring an extra tote bag for your return flight for purchases you make!