In June, I went to Portugal and Turkey. We decided to fly Turkish airlines because it was way cheaper than any other airline. Actually, I never would have gone on this trip had I not found that affordable airfare, so thank you, Turkish Airlines for making this vacation happen! But considering our very short layover in Istanbul on the way to Lisbon (and yes I do know that Istanbul is not on the way from New York to Lisbon…gotta save money, people!!), and the fact that I was unfamiliar with Turkish Airlines outside of the terrible reviews they receive online, I was a bit nervous about our baggage making it along with us (more on my experience with the airline later). I packed everything I could into a domestic-sized carry-on wheelie, but alas, it was rejected when I tried to check in at JFK. After a brief catty exchange with the attendant (sorry, attendant), we boarded, and our bags were promptly lost.
Luckily we got everything back on our second day in Lisbon, but after being there for two days without all of my clothes, makeup, toiletries, and other personal effects, I realized two things: 1. I do not need as much stuff as I thought while I travel and 2. The stuff that you actually need should be carried with you, and chances are it can fit easily into a tote bag. The tote bag I brought on my trip, which cost me a whopping $2.95 at H&M three years ago, was an absolute lifesaver on this trip. Lightweight, collapsible, and cheap enough that I didn’t mind getting sand/food/street dirt all over it, it was the perfect daily carryall when I wanted to tote around my DSLR and everything else that I “need” on a daily basis. I’ll detail all of those necessities in a later post, but for now, here’s a roundup of vacation-worthy tote bags of all styles, shapes, and sizes.