If there’s one thing I wish I had with me in Myanmar, aside from a personal wifi hotspot, it’s my Lo & Sons Catalina weekender bag. It would have fit so nicely folded up in my large suitcase, but I thought I would just be taking weekend trips and would be able to fit everything in my backpack. Little did I know, instead, I’d be taking a full fifteen-day trip in the middle of my time in Myanmar. I didn’t want to bring my full suitcase on this portion of the trip, because I’d be traveling on small planes, shared taxis, and a small ferry, so I loaded up my backpack and my Longchamp and hit the road. I ended up buying so many souvenirs and snacks and perhaps not packing as well as I did on my first try that it evolved into me carrying three bags around with me, which was kind of annoying.
My two weeks were awesome, as I spent time in Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake, the top three tourist destinations of Myanmar, but it would have been a lot easier logistically with my Lo & Sons bag. If I’d had my Lo & Sons bag, I would have been able to bring more than two pairs of $3 pants, since both of mine of course split – one while playing soccer with a kid in a store built on stilts in the middle of Inle Lake and the other while crashing on my motorbike in Bagan. I wouldn’t have had to get my hotels to do my laundry. I would have been able to fit my full bottle of shampoo and not lost my two-week supply early on in the trip when the contents of the ziplock bag I’d brought spilled down the sink – I was forced to buy a small bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo as it was the only item in the store I could read the label on. I would have been able to fit my baseball hat and not had to ration out my small supply of sunscreen – I wouldn’t have become as sunburnt during my full-day boat and bike rides. I could’ve bought even more souvenirs – yes, I did buy a horse puppet because I want a local family business to succeed. I would have even had more legroom in my shared taxi from Bagan to Inle Lake as I would have felt confident in the sturdiness of my Lo & Sons Catalina bag to let it sit at the top of the van instead of keeping my bags at my feet during my eight-hour ride.
How do I know that this bag would have changed my trip for the better? Because I tried out my Lo & Sons Catalina bag on several trips this spring and I loved it every time. I picked out the “Midnight Ash” color because it looked sleek and I knew it would get less dirty, but this bag could also be taken care of easily in the washing machine (air dry).
The first trial was on my birthday, which was the wedding weekend of dear friends in Philadelphia. I packed my black-tie floor-length dress for the wedding, options for the next-day breakfast and hanging out, and tons of makeup, jewelry, and shoes. The separate pocket at the bottom of the bag was perfect for my numerous clutch options (since I am unable to make important fashion decisions for myself) as well as my steamer and special undergarments for the dresses I’d brought. It was a comfortable bag to throw over my shoulder, hop on the Amtrak, and cab to the Ritz for some free champagne before getting ready for one of the best nights I’ve had all year. I didn’t need a separate purse which I would normally travel with, and I loved having the freedom of just one bag, behind my seat on the train. My only thought of “this could be better” was when I had to roll up my beautiful AFAR magazine and store it in the outside pocket – but a book would have fit perfectly.
I then brought the bag home to the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day Weekend. I never know exactly what I’m going to get into when I’m home, so I always bring lots of options – bathing suits, cover-ups, things to wear in case it’s cold on the beach or around the bonfire, yoga and running clothes, and outfits I can wear to the two bars in town, if people I like are miraculously around. This time I put my laptop in the separate pocket, cushioned by my swimsuits, cover-ups, and beach bag. Since my beachwear will never not reek of sunscreen, I don’t like keeping them with my other clothes.
The ultimate test was when I brought my bag to the Dominican Republic for my Fathom trip in June. The separate pocket here was used again for swimsuits, cover-ups, sunscreen, as well as sneakers and a few hats. I don’t usually unpack while on a trip, but it was necessary in our small cruise room and my bag folded up so small in a corner in the closet area that my sister didn’t even know it was there. I had more than enough options for the full week of travel and didn’t have a single problem checking the bag for my flights to and from Miami.
I’m absolutely bringing my Catalina bag to the Southwest in a few weeks and to India with me next month. I might even snuggle up with it after I get enough puppy time in after my five weeks away from home. I’ve missed it dearly.
Want to learn about the Lo & Sons OG Bag? Check out this link for a friend’s review.