What’s In My Carry On Tote

Today I am sharing  something with you that fits perfectly in my life.  It is pretty new to me and I had no idea how much it was going to become part of my day-to-day comings and goings. From the market, to the beach, to the airport.  I am now the very happy owner of the perfect tote.


Isn’t she pretty?  …a classic.  She is called the Lifetime Leather Large Tote from Duluth Trading Co.   She is made of 100% leather that gets a rich patina as she ages. I added my own style to her by tying a summery scarf to one of her handles.


You can add your style to one, too if you enter for a chance to win 1 of 5  – $100 gift cards to Duluth Trading Co. (More info on giveaway below)

When I started blogging, I never imagined that I would become a frequent flyer and get to go on so many wonderful trips.  A few weeks ago I spent 4 days on Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida with 5 other bloggers. We had a fabulous time. I will be posting all about it next week.

Travel tote bags

Before we went, Duluth Trading Co sent each of us one of their Lifetime Leather bags of our choice to use on our trip.

With all the travel and trips that I have taken, I have learned that the measure of a good traveler is how light he or she travels.

This tote fits that measurement. I like the ease of  carry on luggage – no waiting at the airport carousels or worrying that your luggage didn’t make it. When you have your 2 allowed carry on bags with you – less hassle and worry. This and the fact that this tote is roomy and can hold quite a bit, but is not cumbersome – are only a few reasons why I wanted it.


The one feature that makes this Large Leather tote the best carry on tote I ever owned, is that it zips closed. No worrying that the contents will spill out when you place it under the seat in front of you on flights.  The end pocket on each side are perfect for easy access to my water bottle. It has fully adjustable carry straps that you can set short enough for a solid grip, or long enough to sling over your shoulder when you are rushing through the airport to make a connection.  Like I said above – the perfect tote – but also the perfect carry on tote.

  Inside-of-Duluth-Trading-Large-tote Not only does the tote zip closed, but it is roomy inside.  A zipped pocket and pouch on one side. Inside-pockets-of-my-tote-bag Another bigger zippered pouch on the other side.

On Tuesday, I am off again on another trip to Indianapolis to spend a few days at the Delta Faucet headquarters.   I am only packing my small wheeled luggage and my new leather tote.

Here is a peek at what I packed in my tote:


  • Healthy Snacks  in case the plane is delayed and I end up sitting at the airport for hours.
  • iPad to try to get my inbox under control while I am waiting at the airport.
  • iPhone  – to keep in touch. It also is the only camera I travel with. I don’t like taking my big camera on trips, it is too bulky.
  • Hand Cream – my hands always feel dry; it probably has something to do with being a DIY’er and the fact that I am always washing paint off of them. I never leave home without it. I like this hand and nail formula from Sally Hansen. It smells like oranges. YUM!
  • Thumb Ease – After sitting on an airplane for hours it feels good to rub over my legs and neck to ease the tension of sitting on an airplane for hours. I bought them a long time ago and can’t find a source for them to share with you.
  • Contacts – Since I am still a newbie at wearing contacts, I keep the case and saline solution with me so I can take them out or adjust if one starts to feel uncomfortable.
  • Tissues  – always come in handy
  • Purification essential oil and cotton balls –  A few drops of this oil blend on cotton balls smells good, but I have heard it helps when flying and breathing in the recirculated air.  I am going to try it out.  I also am going to use the clothespin to attach a few of the cotton balls on the vents of my hotel room to get rid of the stale smell in a room with no open windows.
  • Extra Battery Power for my iPhone – I charge it up before I leave on a trip and when my phone battery dies and I am not near an electrical outlet – I can use this to power up my phone again.
  • Business Cards – you never know when you will make a connection.
  • Jewelry When I travel I always carry my jewelry with me and don’t pack it in my suitcase. They are not the crown jewels, but I am rather fond of a few pieces and would be sad if they got lost or stolen.
  • Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Sheer Lipstick goes with me everywhere. It is a sheer pink called Blush. It keeps my lips from getting chapped.
  • Notepad and Pen so I can jot down any inspiring idea I see or think of. If I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it.
  • Headphones for my iPhone – I don’t use these very much, but if I am on a flight with a movie – I am glad I have them.
  • Book – (not shown) Right now I am reading Resistant by Michael Palmer


I also packed a scarf so when I start to freeze while in flight, I have something to wrap around me. It takes up a lot less room than a sweater. I recently made the switch to a glass water bottle.  No plastic taste anymore.  I fill it at a water fountain once I pass through TSA. The blow up neck pillow was given to all the attendees of the SNAP conference I went to last year in Utah. I have used it on every trip since.


I am all packed and ready to travel in ease and stress-free style.

Would you like to win a $100 gift card to get your own Lifetime Leather tote or anything you desire from Duluth Trading Co?

Looking for something perfect to give your dad for Father’s Day?

Thanks Duluth for sending me the best all-around tote I have ever owned.

To see more of their awesome products. Check out the many items Duluth Trading carries for both men and women.

This Giveaway is now over.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Duluth Trading Co sent me this bag to review.  All opinions are my own.  




  1. Pam says

    I love that bag. I will be traveling to San Diego soon and would love this great carry on. Thanks

  2. Shelley says

    Awesome bags. I love the lifetime leather tote. They all are great, but the tote is my style. I would end up using it as my ourse with my 3 eight year olds big is the name of the game.

  3. says

    I would love, want and need this bag! It looks to be the perfect size! There is a few trips planned and this would be perfect!

  4. Lisa says

    The bag is beautiful and the fact that it has a zipper makes it perfect. Bags and purses without a zipper is one of my pet peeves. I just do not feel safe without one.

  5. Beth D says

    Love the lifetime leather tote; but I prefer the Cognac color. Thanks for the opportunity to win

  6. Silvia says

    I have a trip planned in August and I actually like the leather bag you received from the company.

  7. Beth says

    Love the bag – I could use this going back and forth to work! looks like the perfect size!!

  8. maureen says

    I have been on the search for the perfect travel bag….this looks like the one! Thanks! Love your blog!

  9. gina says

    I think the name says it all LIFETIME. Women’s Lifetime Leather Tote Bag. I cannot see ever needing another bag. Its beautiful.

  10. Chris says

    That is such a beautiful bag Diane! I agree about the zip top. I have many totes that are open but when I travel I feel like something completely closed is a MUST.

  11. Taramarie says

    The one you’re rocking is AWESOME SAUCE!! Which I’d love to have as well, but I’d have to add in a pair or 2 of the men’s panties, ever since my DH saw them on TV he really wants to try them!!

  12. Patty Lucas says

    My husband and I are retired and we are taking quite a few car trips. This bag would help tremendously. Thanks for offering it.

  13. Kim says

    That bag looks great. I’ve had sturdy leather totebags/backpacks in the past, but they turned out to be very heavy to carry for long times. What’s your experience with this totebag?

  14. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    That looks like the perfect tote bag – big and beautiful! And it’s so hard to find one with a zipper!

  15. DebbieP says

    I have gotten the Duluth Catalog but never really looked closely at it. Big mistake! What a wonderful, quality tote/carry-on. I love it! I just started following your blog and am enjoying it so much….lots of good ideas for decorating, DIY , and organizing. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Susan Darabond says

    Years ago I used a Duluth Trading Co heavy canvas tool caddy as my tote…now I can upgrade to leather. Whooooooo!

  17. mary says

    I love their store, they have such well-made stuff. I’m with you – the life time tote looks like it would be the only one you’d ever need.

  18. Christy Peeples DuBois says

    They have such nice and functional bags. I really like the Lifetime Leather Large Tote especially all the pockets.

  19. Harmony says

    I love the Lifetime leather large tote! I travel for work and this would be perfect – for business and pleasure!

  20. Mitzi says

    These are great tips! Thanks. Not too long ago I was looking for a travel tote and this looks great.

  21. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Your bag is fantastic and the zipper clenches the love for me.

    I can hardly wait to hear about your vacation here in Florida. Lot’s of pics too I hope?

    And enjoy your trip to Indianapolis. I am sure you will come home with great information and new styles to show us all.

  22. debra says

    Not only is it a great looking bag but so functional!!! Would absolutely LOVE to have one!

  23. Nicole says

    We love Duluth Trading Co.! And this is a beautiful bag! Thanks for all the packing tips, too.

  24. Katie says

    I love the this bag! I am a fan of zip close purses, because handling an almost 2 year old, his diaper bag, and my purse, I’m bound to spill the bags on the floor, so zippers are my friends! :)

  25. Sharon Hoham says

    That would be perfect! I make long trips and overnight short trips to visit my SIL and knitting guru in Las Vegas and sister and a friend in Seattle. Then there’s aways the going back home fun part, too. I really need this bag!! Great idea.

  26. Bridgette says

    I love large bags and this one is a winner! The Duluth Trading tote is the perfect bag for all my belongings. It’s a beautiful tote!

  27. Debbie says

    I love the Lifetime Leather Travel Tote bag! I am constantly looking for a good all-purpose bag!

  28. says

    Love the article and the details of the bag. Planning on stealing the clothespin on the vents idea.
    Great Bag as well. Heading over to Duluth now to check out the bags

  29. Val B says

    LOVE Duluth Trading! I can always find something I “need” on their site-hehe! Traveling all over Europe this summer and bet the Lifetime Leather Travel Bag would be just perfect–

  30. Jeannie says

    I must say they have a lot of nice bags but I believe I like the large tote that you chose the best as welll!

  31. Cathleen says

    I really like the WOMEN’S SMALL CANVAS SLING BAG in persimmon…easy style, fun colors

  32. Brenda says

    I’d get the same tote! I really enjoyed looking at all the neat possibilities on the Duluth site!

  33. Cindy says

    My husband would love the leather AWOL bag! I would love the one just like yours…it sounds perfect.

  34. Christy Keyton says

    I like this lifetime leather tote. I love pockets on the outside of a tote and a zip top. I also don’t like it to be too deep so that stuff gets “lost” in the bottom. May have to buy this if I don’t win it!

  35. Margaret says

    This tote looks like just what I need – not for flights necessarily because I don’t fly much, but to carry back and forth to work. I always seem to have alot of stuff to go with me.

  36. Carole says

    I love leather totes! My son goes to college in duluth and I cannot wait to go to the newly opened store there. Thanks for the generous offer.

  37. Laura Bervig says

    Wow I’ve been looking for a carry on tote and I love this one! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  38. Dawn says

    I love the Duluth AWOL bag! It’s the perfect size for an overnight or weekend getaway. Good stuff!

  39. says

    Always on the look out for the perfect tote. I discovered Duluth at Christmas time and was amazed at how many great things they have. I saw the bag but now that you showed us how wonderful it really is I will add it to my wish list!

  40. Kathy Barte says

    This bag looks like it would be tremendously helpful for traveling as well as day to day activities. I would love to have one!

  41. Millie says

    I have 5 grandchildren and one more on the way. The tote is the perfect bag to carry pacifiers, toys, bottles, snacks, extra clothes, and more. It is also roomy enough for secret surprises for when they all behave nicely while out and about with Grammie!!

  42. Kim Kenny says

    I love the WOMEN’S OIL CLOTH DAY TOTE BAG. It would be perfect for our vacation this fall.

  43. Robin Stephens says

    What a beautiful, all-around everyday bag! Looks perfect! Thanks for the chance to win!!

  44. Michelle says

    Such a fantastic bag! I love when function meets great design. Somebody was on their “A” game when designing this one :)

  45. Jackie says

    I LOVE the Lifetime Large Tote you chose. My favorite is a tie between that and the AWOL tote. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  46. Beth says

    This bag looks classic and “classy”! I’m a sucker for an all-purpose bag/tote! I’d love to win one!

  47. Brandi says

    I would love to win one of these gift cards for Father’s Day! My husband would absolutely love the Modest Millionaire’s Messenger bag. Awesome giveaway!

  48. Sue says

    I always learn so much from you! Love the bag and now I will have to peruse the Duluth catalog to see the line of bags they offer. Would love to give my hubby the gift certificate for Father’s Day!

  49. LaNell says

    I love the large lifetime leather tote; I looked at the Duluth Trading Co.’s website and this one is my favorite. I hope I win!!

  50. Rebecca says

    Lifetime Leather Travel Tote Bag is my favorite! Love the zipper and flexibility of this wonderful bag. LOVE it! Trying to be very careful with my spending but this classic piece is a winner! What a wonderful post and thank you for recommending it!

  51. Christy says

    Oh my, how pretty! I LOVE that large leather tote – that’s probably my favorite, but I’d probably get one for my husband for Father’s Day if I won!

  52. Deby says

    I love the look of Duluth’s bag. Have thought about purchasing one several times but haven’t. I might have to just get me one!

  53. Rebecca says

    Diane, I subscribed to the comments on this post but have changed my mind. I have tried the link unsuccessfully-it’s not working to be able to manage my subscription preferences. thanks! Can you help? :)

  54. Lisa says

    Great post Diane! I have been seeing ads for this company but haven’t purchased anything from them. This bag looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  55. Susan Shaw says

    My husband is a huge fan of Duluth Trading Company. He wears the fire hose work pants to work. They have lasted a lot longer than the jeans he used to buy regularly. We also think their ads are hilarious! Thanks for offering a great giveaway.

  56. Tracy Smith says

    Love, love, love that bag! I love even more that you’re using purification essential oil! Another good blend that I would bring his thieves!

  57. Jan says

    Traveling light is the only way to go! (I take a lot of knit business separates, which don’t wrinkle and can mix and match.) That tote looks awesome and would be much nicer than the one I’m now carrying, which came from Tar-jay ;-)

  58. Candy Thayer says

    Love the tote. I can think of tons of uses for it…travel, craft night, taking kids to the park time, beach bag, and on and on.

  59. Cussot says

    Really nice looking bags – I particularly like the Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger.

  60. Peggy says

    What an amazing bag. I have been trying to find something that will hold the weight of all my stuff!

  61. Ruth Lutz says

    Loving the large leather lifetime tote… PERFECT for just about anything I can imagine doing!

  62. Kathy Weisner says

    I adore Duluth products! They are well thought out designs and really handy in the sewing or craft room as well as for workmen. This bag is especially gorgeous.

  63. Denise says

    That’s a beautiful bag and it’s perfect for carry on because it holds everything you need.

  64. marly says

    That’s a great travel list. And I’m in love with the Duluth Trading Co. tote. It’s a perfect size.

  65. Charlotte says

    I love your leather tote! It’s perfect for travel and the side pockets make it so easy to retrieve items you need more often. I wasn’t familiar with Deluth Trading Co. So glad you shared this tote!

    Charlotte T

  66. jaime says

    I have been on the lookout for a great leather tote. The Lifetime Leather Tote looks perfect!

  67. Sharon C says

    Duluth Trading Company has always been one of the most interesting places to shop. We get their printed catalog and it’s so fun to check out.

  68. Katie says

    I love the bag but I’m also intrigued by the glass water bottle. Do you have a source for it? Thanks.

    • says

      I got the glass water bottle at Target. They have a few different types. I had another one with rubber all around it, but I can’t find it. The rubber helps protect the glass and I liked it even better than the one that is in the photo.

  69. Jodi says

    This bag is stunning! It is easy to see why you feel it is perfect, and I have to second that opinion based on this wonderfully detailed blog!

  70. Janet says

    What a great giveaway! I’ve been a fan of the lifetime leather tote in the smaller size for awhile…would love one!

  71. karen says

    Fabulous bag!! Thanks for sharing the contents. I would love to know what brand of hand cream you use.

  72. says

    Been a lover of Duluth trading for awhile now…Usually on my wish list is the Portfolio – but sure do like your large tote too….(new wish list- I could just have one of each that would just about cover it).

  73. Leslie says

    I like the teva niyama flats. I need some stylish yet sensible flats for my upcoming vacation to Hawaii. Sneaker aren’t gonna cut it this year.

  74. Susie E says

    I like the fact that the handles can support the load the bag carries. Nothing worse than handles that wear out!

  75. grammygoodwill says

    Oh, my goodness. I like all of those but the one you have chosen seems like the best choice for me. The last time I traveled, I thought I had found the perfect tote. I forgot to check for a zipper until my water bottle and chapstick – right on top – rolled right out when I slid it under my seat. Thanks for the chance to win.

  76. Sally says

    I looked at all the bags and really, the lifetime large leather tote is my favorite. What a great give away. Hope I win!!

  77. Sandy S. says

    Love the bag! It has tons of room, nice pockets inside and easy access pockets on the outside. Perfect!

  78. Emily says

    Duluth Trading has great stuff. My boyfriend loves the ballroom jeans I got him for Christmas.

  79. Sandi P says

    Love the way you pack only the (real) essentials. My daughter in law gave me a shawl that I now carry everywhere, even in the summer. I live in a desert, and it’s perfect to block the summer sun in the car or even just sitting outdoors. So much more useful than a sweater.

  80. Linda says

    I just recently discovered Duluth Trading from their terrific commercials, and they have some pretty nice things on their website. I’d love to have one of those great bags!

  81. Vanessa says

    Stunning Tote!! Perfect size for travelling. Looks like you are supporting your local library by borrowing your book. Awesome! Love it. :)

  82. pam clark says

    Great bag! I found the perfect bag, which I use as my purse because I like a BIG purse, from Banana Republic. This one would be great to have too!

  83. Kim says

    I’ve never seen a leather bag styled like this one. I love that is has BOTH outer and inner pockets and ZIPS CLOSED!

  84. Robin says

    I love em all…Leather is lovely to look at and so ever lasting. I do tend to go towards larger bags so the lifetime bag you have looks fabulous!

  85. Mary S says

    I love the Women’s Lifetime Leather Tote Bag. I would use it as my purse as my current purse is almost dead.

  86. Melissa says

    I am in love with this bag!! That would be great to have for my upcoming trip to Punta Cana!

  87. Lauren B says

    Loving the fire hose and leather messenger bag! Perfect size for toting all my work stuff (notebooks, laptops, etc.) all over the place.

  88. AnneSATX says

    This looks like a fantastic bag. Sure hope I win, ’cause I’d love to get one of my own!

  89. Mary Ann says

    I’d choose the Lifetime tote…I, too, have been looking for THE perfect tote for when I fly to TX to visit my daughter and her family!

  90. Katie Johnson says

    I LOVE big bags, this looks like the perfect size and it won’t become a big black hole where it’s hard to find items NEED THIS!!

  91. Cee says

    I have a number of bags that I’m loving, such as the Women’s Oil Cloth Day Tote Bag, the Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger, and the Lifetime Leather Large Tote. So fab, all of them!

  92. says

    The lifetime leather large tote IS the bag I have been searching for since forever. Like you, I have very specific things I HAVE to have in my carry one. The water bottle pockets on the side are what totally sold me on this one.

  93. Beth says

    Such a gorgeous tote, the leather looks so yummy.
    I bet it smells wonderful too. I also carry a tote when I travel because I have to have something big enough for my book, my contacts and solution , my makeup , and other necessities that just will not fit in a purse. Would love one of those beautiful things. Thanks for the chance to win.

  94. Faye says

    This is the perfect carry-on bag. Large enough for the essentials, but not too big for stowing under the seat on the airline. Would love to win it!

  95. Kathy says

    I love your idea of traveling with essential oil! Plus, it looks like you found the perfect tote and just the right things you need to fill it!!

  96. Millie says

    That tote looks beautiful! I love the rich leather – hope I win! Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Millie says

      Love the leather tote. Any idea how heavy it is? That’s my main complaint with the tote I have now – so heavy before I put anything in it! Thanks!

  97. Sherri C says

    OOh, lots of quality things I wouldn’t mind having, but I think The Lifetime Tote would be perfect for everything! Thanks for the opportunity :)

  98. gloria says

    I really like your tote! The Lifetime Leather Large Tote just looks so perfect for traveling. Bigger than the Lifetime Leather Tote Bag and I like how it has the two different carrying handles!

  99. Sharon Eberlin says

    Love the bag you chose. I also loved your tips. I will be traveling in September. Would be a great item to take.

  100. Laural says

    I LUV anything Coach brings off the Creative table. I have lost my Father (POP) a few years back and He is always with me in so many tasks that I do because it was his kindness and patience that taught me.
    I love your site and wish you many blessings. L

  101. sarajane says

    I loved the Lifetime totes when I saw them in the Duluth catalog last year…
    I would get the exact same tote as you!

  102. Heather says

    I just got my hubby a pair of work pants from Duluth and they are amazing! He loves them. This tote is beautiful!

  103. Lily says

    Your blog is the absolute best. The bag looks terrific. I finally decided to add my name in since I visit your website all of the time.

  104. Terry says

    I love this bag not only because it would allow me to carry everything I need but it would age beautifully!

  105. Jennnifer says

    Great giveaway! Would be so excited to give a bag to my hubby who is in school for his doctorate in education!

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