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  • Lisa Jevens

Gear Wise: Travel Bags & Luggage

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all luggage. The savvy traveler can find a bag that fits their travel style and the items they take along — whether carried or checked. Travel bags have also gone high-tech, with all kinds of security features and special pockets designed to protect electronic gadgets and credit cards. That means buying a new bag can buy you peace of mind as well.

1. Anti-theft tote bag The Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Cross-Body Bucket Bag is a medium sized fabric shoulder bag with a safe place for everything. Favorite features include expandable side pouches for a water bottle and umbrella. The inside is big enough to stash a jacket and plenty of travel gear. Specialized compartments hold your phone, credit cards and cash, so you can leave your wallet at home. Travelon is known for its security features. The sides have an internal mesh that makes them slash proof, and the shoulder strap is too. There is even a clip on the strap so you can securely attach the bag to a table leg or chair. RFID (radio-frequency identification) blocking technology prevents “skimmers” from stealing your credit card data from afar. The Classic Cross-Body Bucket Bag comes in many colors, some with contrasting colored linings. It retails for $65 at, but it can be found on for less.

2. Under-seat rolling bag If you’re looking for a convenient rolling bag designed specifically to fit under an airline seat and make your items accessible to you while in flight, the Maxlite 5 Rolling Underseat Carry-On Bag by Travlepro is it. The company claims it is like “traveling with a personal assistant.” It has specially designed pockets including a padded laptop/tablet sleeve and a removable compartment for cosmetics. There is easy access to the external pockets, and enough open space inside for a change of clothes and shoes. The bag can sit atop a larger rolling bag, or wheel by itself. The bag comes in five colors and retails for $120 at

3. Laptop backpack The Brooklyn Commuter by Kenneth Cole is a classier-than-a-backpack laptop bag made to allow your valuables to travel safely and in style. In addition to holding a 15-inch laptop, this slimmed-down backpack has a place for everything else. There are compartments for beverages, sunglasses, a tablet, valuables and more. The padded adjustable shoulder straps make carrying the bag comfortable. Or, drop it over the handle of your wheeled luggage for hands-free travel. When you get to the airport, this bag may save you some time. It was designed with a checkpoint-friendly EZ-Scan feature, which means your laptop does not need to be removed to go through the security scanner. And the RFID technology protects credit cards in the front organizer compartment from “skimmers”. Priced at $240, it was listed recently on for $60.

4. Wheeled garment bag If you’re tired of lugging a heavy garment bag on your shoulder, the Chatillon Spinner Trolley Garment Bag by Delsey will glide alongside you instead. The hidden handle pops up for one-handed easy rolling. This garment bag is made with durability in mind, with water-repellent Dura Tec fabric, reinforced corners and scratch resistant fabric between the four wheels. This is a more sturdy option for protecting your formalwear than a soft fabric garment bag. The garment bag opens like a book, with a tri-fold design inside. A universal clamping system secures your hangers. There are five interior pockets for smaller pieces of clothing like belts and ties. Even though this is a rolling bag, it still has two hooks for hanging over a door or closet rod like a traditional garment bag. There are two exterior pockets, with plenty of places for umbrellas, shoes, toiletries and chargers. The garment bag retails for $199 at

Originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section on June 14, 2018.

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