A Peek Inside My “Personal Item”

Two weeks from now I’ll be taking off for Ireland. (If you missed that post, you’ll find it here: Luxury Travel to Ireland Without the Luxury Price.)

Ballynahinch Castle, Ireland


I purchased a Frye leather tote bag to use on this trip. When it arrived, I loved it so much, I purchased it in a second color called, Walnut. I love the contrast stitching on the “walnut” bag and the warm, rugged appearance of the “saddle” bag.

I have to confess, I’m obsessed with these bags! Honestly, every time I pick them up and look at them, a big smile breaks over my face. It’s so hard to find true quality products these days, items that are made the way things used to be made. These bags will last me a lifetime and will probably be handed down to my son and daughter-in-law one day.

If you need a beautiful, quality-made leather tote bag, you’ll find both of these available on sale here: Frye Tote and here Frye Tote.  It’s also available in three colors including yellow here: Frye Tote.

Frye Shopper Tote, Walnut and Saddle Color


I called Delta yesterday to find out if laptops are allowed in carry-on bags now for travel between the U.S. and Ireland. As is the norm these days, I got a recording saying their representatives were all busy and someone could call me back in two hours. This happened the last time I called them. I guess it’s going to be their regular way of doing business now. By the time the call was returned, I was in Home Depot shopping for something I needed to complete my big cabinet project.

I asked my question about laptops and after putting me on hold three different times for a total of around 20 minutes, the Delta employee I was talking with was still unable to give me an answer. She just kept coming back on the line every 10 minutes or so to apologize for the wait and to say that she couldn’t find the answer to my question in their system and was trying to find someone she could ask. I finally hung up after she put me on hold for the 4th time. I couldn’t hold on any longer since Home Depot would soon be closing.

All that aside, if I am eventually able to determine if I can take my laptop along, I think I’ve decided how I’m going to do it this time. Normally, I use this rolling carry-on bag that I purchased a couple of years ago. (This bag is still available here: Rolling Tote.)


It has accompanied me on every trip except the one to Kenya where we were instructed to bring only non-wheeled, soft-side luggage like duffle bags. This was necessary due to the limited luggage space on the small planes we took out to the bush and back.

Flying Out to the Bush for Safari


The luggage compartments are teeny, tiny as you can see in this photo of one of the planes we flew on during that trip. Other than that trip, I’ve always used my rolling bag so I wouldn’t have to carry my laptop through the huge Atlanta airport.


You guys convinced me in the comments on a previous post (Thank you!) that I do not want to lug a laptop through the airport on my shoulder. You’re right, that would not be any fun! But I’m itching to use one of my totes on this trip, so I think what I’m going to do is make the tote my “personal item.” Usually my personal item is my handbag.

I checked the measurements online for Delta and the tote falls within the size limit allowed as a “personal item.” So the plan right now is to put my laptop and mouse inside my rolling carry-on, along with a change of clothing and some toiletries. I always carry one change of clothes in my carry-on bag so if my suitcase decides to go on vacation somewhere else without me, I’ll at least have one other outfit I can wear.

The rolling carry-on bag will go in the overhead bin and I’ll keep the tote bag with me. It should fit easily under the seat, although if I have a bulkhead seat (which I think I do at least on one of the flights) there will be plenty of room in front of me.

So what will I place inside my personal item…the tote?

Saddle Frye Tote Bag


As you may recall from a previous post, I purchased a nifty tote organizer to go inside.

Bag Organizer, Brown

Here’s how it looked inside the bag in a previous post. In this photo, I tried it out with my laptop and iPad just to see how they fit. I actually used it this way this past weekend when I traveled out-of-state to visit family. It worked great! I love this organizer because it keeps the bag from sagging under the weight of my laptop, a common problem with most tote bags unless an organizer is used inside.

Bag Organizer Insert for Frye Campus Shopper


After I purchased the second Frye tote in the “Walnut” color, I realized the dark brown organizer I had purchased was the perfect color for it. So I moved it over into the “walnut” Frye tote bag. You’ll notice I took the center organizer section out since I like having the center open. I’m using this organizer mainly for support/structure and for the side pockets on the inside and outside of the organizer. Bag organizers also help keep your tote clean inside, protecting the interior.

Bag Organizer Shaper for Frye Campus Shopper Tote


I decided to purchase a second organizer in beige for the other tote. I know I could just move the original organizer from bag to bag, but I really like the structure and support an organizer gives a tote, so I prefer to have one inside each bag full-time. Plus, these organizers are so inexpensive compared to what most organizers cost, it makes it a no-brainer to just go ahead and buy one for each bag.

I went with the X-Large size for my Frye totes, but they come in several sizes. (This organizer is available in six colors here: Tote Bag Organizer.)

Here’s how the tan/beige one looks inside the lighter brown tote. I’ve tucked several items inside including my travel handbag, travel pillow, medicine keeper, a book and my noise canceling headphones.

What fits inside a Frye Shopper Bag


The book I’m taking along on the trip is by one of my favorite authors, Julia Reed. It’s titled: But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!: Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry. I love Julia’s sense of humor and she always has great recipes in her books. (This book is available here: But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!)


Pssst: If you enjoy Julia’s books, be sure and check out: Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long.)

Julia Reed's South


My most favorite book by her to date is One Man’s Folly. It’s wonderful and available here: One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood. I wrote a quick review of One Man’s Folly in THIS post.


The Plan

So here’s my current thinking. I’m planning on stashing my new travel handbag inside the tote (as shown below) because I want to place my passport, credit cards, etc… inside the handbag. I don’t want to carry them inside the tote and then have to transfer them over to the handbag upon arriving in Ireland. This way, I can just unzip my handbag to access my passport, credit cards, etc… as I need them. There’s still plenty of room left over in the tote if I need to fit something else inside.

Also, I’ve discovered I don’t have to actually carry the tote. I placed it atop my rolling carry-on and it fits nicely, resting right on top when tilted. So I can just grip the handles of the tote along with the handle of the carry-on, when pulling it along. The tote isn’t that heavy though, so I may just carry it over my shoulder.

What fits inside a Frye Shopper Bag


Here’s how the interior of the organizer and tote look minus the handbag. I have a water bottle stashed away in one of the side/end pockets of the bag in the photo below. The blue item in the bottom is the travel pillow I purchased for my Morocco trip. The small gray zip bag is my noise canceling headphones. Another pocket has sanitizing wipes for wiping down the tray table, seat arms, etc…  (Yes, I actually do that!)

Travel with a Frye Campus Shpoper Tote Bag


It worked so well, I’m taking it again. (It’s still available here: Travel Pillow.)


See that flat, skinny thing in the top right corner, tucked in one of the outside pockets of the organizer.

Travel with a Frye Campus Shpoper Tote Bag


That’s a new medicine/pill organizer I just purchased. I always pack any medicines, probiotics, etc… that I think I might need in my purse or carry-on, but I don’t like how bulky the typical travel pill box can be. This one folds up flat and has individual zip pockets for each day. My trip will be 10 days so I’ll need to double up on a couple of the pockets. Medicine Pill Keeper for Travel


Here’s how it looks when closed up…very slim which is what I wanted. (This pill organizer is available here: Pill organizer.)

Update: A few folks have suggested carrying the bottles that medicines come in, just in case TSA should ask to see those. I’ve never run into an issue with that but apparently when traveling internationally, some countries can be strict about that. So it’s probably a good idea to put the bottle inside your handbag or carry-on bag.Flat Pill Medicine Keeper for Travel

I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more items into the bag before I take off, but this is a start for now.

Almost Done!

I’ve made some great progress on the garage-cabinet project, still waiting on two cabinets that should arrive this Monday or Tuesday. I’m looking forward to sharing the progress with you on Monday. I expect to have this project completed by the middle-to end of next week. Yipee!


Love travel? You’ll find all my travel posts linked here: Wanderlust.

Starstruck while “Sailing with the Scotts” in Fall 2016.


Have a wonderful weekend, Dear Friends!

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  1. Susan, my brother in law is a Delta pilot flying out of Atlanta internationally….if you don’t find out about the laptop situation I might be able to find out from him (if he’s not out of the country) but I’ll be happy to ask him for you. Just email me at [email protected] if you’d like me to check with him.

    • Susan, I just messaged my BIL to ask him if he knew about this. Hopefully I’ll hear back from him.

      • Thanks, Judy! I know the rules change all the time so I’ll probably have to check again the night before I leave…or the day I leave. My biggest fear is getting to the airport and being told I can’t take it. I have no idea what I would do with it, if that happened. Maybe I could find a place inside the airport to mail it back home before taking off. I just don’t want to be in that situation.

      • Ok, it’s me again.. I just heard back from my brother in law and here’s what he said “no restrictions on laptops leaving the US. There were some restrictions from middle east countries to the US, but I think those have expired.” Hope this helps you Susan!

  2. Those Frye totes are to die for! I’m going to have to get one. I’ve been a regular overseas traveller going on 14 years now but my level organization is pathetic compared to yours. I need to shape up, you make organized travel seem so easy. You’re going to have a great time in Ireland, we went last year and loved it.

    Thanks for another great travel post!

    • I really love my two, Elena. I’ve been trying to think of a way to use them every day. lol I think they may be a bit too large to be a purse for fall, so I’ll have to use them other ways. They smell wonderful, too. I hope Frye never changes or reduces the quality of their products. I have two of their handbags and they are just as nice as their totes.
      Thanks, Elena…looking forward to the trip. I think I’m as ready as I’m gonna get. lol

  3. Julia Reed used to be on television a lot and I just loved the sound of her voice.

    I hope your laptop plan goes as expected.

  4. You’re killing me here…I almost lost it when you said…”I realized the dark brown organizer I had purchased was the perfect color for it. So I moved the dark brown…” Eeeekkk…that is SO SOMETHING I would do, too…I JUST LUV IT!!! You GO GIRL!!! franki

  5. I know what you mean about Frye bags. About six years ago I bought a Frye purse for my first trip to Europe. It worked beautifully and has been my go to bag for five or six other major trips to Europe and Asia. I use it every day, and it’s still in perfect condition.

    • That’s so good to hear, Mary! I purchased two Frye bags for the first time a couple of years ago and so far they have held up well. Buying the bags has made me want a pair of their boots! Do you own any of their boots?

  6. You frequently have the best stuff to read, try, buy, or want! I know you will have a wonderful time in Ireland!

  7. Cynthia Raines says

    The bags are awesome! I didn’t know medicine could be out of their original bottles. We were told they had to be in their original bottles. I am eager to see all of your pictures!

    • I’ve always taken it outside it’s bottle, I don’t like idea of carrying the bottle since it has has all my information on it. The only thing I ever take is my thyroid Rx, a probiotic and some over the counter meds like Advil or Imodium, just in case I get sick. Those are usually in the little individual sealed packets that say what they are. So far, I’ve never had a problem. I’m guessing if someone takes a pain killer or controlled substance regularly, they probably should take documentation or something to show it’s prescribed for them.

      • I’ve heard from a couple of friends whose meds were confiscated because they weren’t in the bottle or box with the Rx label on it. One friend traveling to England had prescription eyedrops confiscated because she left the box (with Rx label) at home and just took the little bottle of eyedrops. I’d stick the bottle the thyroid meds came in, in your bag somewhere just in case. The over the counter stuff shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Joellen Wilcox says

        Cynthia Raines is correct. For international travel you are supposed to bring the bottles that clearly show what kind of drugs you are bringing into the countries you are visiting. Because you have not been challenged does not mean it is ok. I agree that it is a pain, but drugs can be a sensitive subject when traveling.

  8. Ann pauley says

    Dear Susan,
    This Ireland trip sounds awesome!
    The price is veeery reasonable too!
    If I were not going to France in 2018,
    I’d be going there, definitely! Maybe my hubby and I can plan for later on in September.
    Do you travel with your hubby or alone on these group excursions?
    My husband has little interest in Europe,

    • No, I’m no longer married, so I really enjoy traveling in small groups or with a friend. I don’t like really large groups but in small groups, you can see sooo much and often go to places that aren’t really feasible with a large group. France sounds like a wonderful trip! I hope to make it there one day! πŸ™‚

  9. That is an adorable picture of you with one of the property brothers~
    So organized with your beautiful bag. Two weeks will be here before you know it!

    • Thanks, Kathleen! I have never taken a selfie in my life and Drew was in the gift shop on the ship offering photos with those shopping in there. I got up the nerve to ask for a photo. He took my phone from me and snapped that. I guess he realizes that we can’t take the photo because he’s like 6’4″ or something like that, so he pretty much has to take the photo to get in it. lol
      I laughed soooo hard all the way back to my cabin looking at that starstruck look on my face in the photo. It happened so quickly, all I had time to say to him was that I was a Blogger and would be sharing the photo on my blog. He seemed to like that, forgot now what he said. There were a gazillion bloggers on that trip so I’m sure he had heard that a million times. lol That look on my face is hysterical, though! πŸ™‚

      • I remember when you posted about the cruise and maybe this picture was with the post. Since then I’ve been reading your blog and getting to “know” you so your expression is appreciated more now than then! They look tall on the show but didn’t realize they were that tall.

        • lol Yeah, they are tall! I just now Googled to see how tall and Drew is 6’4″ and Jonathan is 6’5″ tall. Interesting that Jonathan is taller since they are identical twins.

  10. Jennifer Holston says

    Sorry to hear about your trouble with Delta. They should have directed you to the TSA website. Travel rules are dictated by the government not the airlines. The TSA website has a section titled “what can I bring”, under this, laptop was listed as okay for carry on and checked. They also offer this feature :”For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. We look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.” I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!

    • I didn’t even think about trying to check there. I was so sure Delta would know what travelers were allowed to bring on their planes/flights, but I guess not.
      Jennifer, how often do they update that site? I want to be able to know for sure the day of the flight, so I don’t get caught in some last minute rule change, which is exactly happened when I was in Morocco in March.
      Glad laptops are on the Okay list right now. I think they are still banned on flights from Morocco and some countries, which means if you take it to Morocco, you can’t bring it back. That’s what really matters, not if you can fly out with it, but if you can fly back with it.

      • Jennifer Holston says

        I agree update to date info is crucial in this day and age. That’s why I was impressed with TSA offering Facebook and Twitter options which could be used easily when outside the US. I have not tried either of these options. The sad part is, this inconvenience and hassle is exactly what the terrorist love to inflict. I commend you on being willing to travel!

    • Looks like they have now lifted the ban on flights out of Morocco. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-airlines-morocco-idUSKBN19X126

  11. Hi Susan – I wish I was as organized as you are for travelling! Something to definitely strive for.
    Can you please source your bumblebee pillow? I’m obsessed with it.

    • Thanks, Lori! I purchased in Ballard Designs a few years back. They had it for a couple of years but don’t know if it’s available now. If you don’t see it on their website, you may want to check eBay or Google to see if someone else has it available.

  12. Susan….found this on the Delta website for you: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/during-your-trip/carry-on.html

    Laptop on board is ok. Have a great trip.

  13. Oh that is so exciting! It has been a dream of mine to travel overseas. My husband started working at home for a Belgium based company and has to go there twice a year. I am planning on going with him next Spring. We will be checking out the old world city of Bruges. I am hoping to get to Paris for a day as well. It is a short train ride from his company. This will hopefully be the first of many trips to Europe for me. I want to see it all!

  14. Susan, your Frye bag will even get better with age. I bought the Frye campus satchel a few years ago (yep, in every color, too) and it is THE best bag I’ve ever owned! So tough, yet so luscious to use. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to get their leather conditioner and weatherproof spray – you probably already have them. They do keep the bags in like new condition. Have a wonderful trip to Ireland! I can’t wait to see your photos – my family is originally from there and it’s a trip I’d love to take someday.

    • Lori, that’s wonderful to hear! It is luscious…such a great way to describe it! I’m so happy the Frye hasn’t compromised on quality like so many companies have these day. I would gladly have paid full price for this bag, but was thrilled to catch it on sale. Love that you had to have it in other colors, too. lol I totally understand! When you find something awesome, ya gotta have more than one! πŸ™‚
      I did buy their weatherproofing dressing, this is what I purchased: http://amzn.to/2wmPyIr . I haven’t used it yet, but I need to go ahead and do that in case I get caught outside sometime with it on a rainy day. Since it’s by Frye, I thought it would be the best thing to use. It says it’s weatherproof dressing, do you think I need a weatherproof spray, too?
      Thanks! I’ll be sharing photos on Instagram a few times a day and will post more when I return.

    • Lori, do you have it in yellow, too? I’m so tempted to get the yellow for summertime. Such a pretty color!

      • Is it the weatherproof lotion? That may even be better because it will sink into the leather more than the spray. Divine, luscious, scrumptious – doesn’t just the smell of the leather send you over the moon? lol! And yes, the “banana” was the first color I bought. At first I was so careful with it because I didn’t want the handles to darken (also a GA girl…hot summers = sweaty palms), but with the spray, it seems to prevent it. There is a slight darkening but hardly noticeable. I do follow you on Instagram, so I look forward to your photos and captions!

  15. Love the Frye bags. Just wanted to let you know — I recently got back from Europe — and we had medications both in the original prescription containers and in a nice little “pill organizer” like you have . Well, the pills in the original bottles were ok — but the pills in the organizer were confiscated. Luckily they were only vitamins, but you should be aware of this occurring .

    • Wow, I’ve never had an issue before…good to know about that. Janice, what airport were you in when that happened? I have Global Entry and the Dublin airport does honor that, so I would probably be okay since I won’t have to go through the regular clearance process, but I’d still rather be prepared.

  16. Wanda Bradey says

    I received my Nicole Lee bag yesterday. It is so stinkin’ cute! I am going to The Holy Land in May and cannot wait to use it. Thanks again for sharing all of your useful tidbits for travel. I love to see your journeys.

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