Away, Away, I Go…

Today I’m leaving for the Bahamas. Of course, I’m thrilled that I’ll soon be lying on the beach, tanning in 80-degree weather with a delicious, fruity frozen beverage in hand. (Considering I haven’t been to the beach since September, this vacation is clearly in order.) But as someone who loves to travel, flying away to a beautiful island in the middle of February means more to me than just the chance to indulge in sizzling, bikini-wearing temperatures. You see, I love everything (except flying — I despise flying) about traveling: from the anticipation leading up to the date of departure, to the excitement of arriving at a new (hopefully exotic) destination, to the pure bliss of just being away from everything… to the packing and preparation. Yes, I’m probably among the very small percentage of people who actually enjoy packing. I even become slightly giddy when I purchase those miniature bottles of shampoo and pack them tightly into little travel cases. And planning what I’ll wear/shopping for things that I’ll need? That’s like a little slice of heaven. So it only makes sense that my joy of packing be complete with the perfect accent: stylish luggage.

Since I’m only going away for four days, a large weekend duffle is the ideal size — this way I limit myself to a certain amount of space so I won’t over pack, but still have enough room for all of the necessities. And the only thing better than walking through that crowded zoo of an airport with a huge confident grin on your face (because you know you’re going somewhere marvelous), is looking hot doing it. Thus, in addition to your comfortable-but-chic travel ensemble, it’s obvious that you must have a fashionable bag to go with it — you’ll look so put together!

So if you have a weekend get-away planned (or if not, for vacation ideas check out the feature story in our January issue, you’ll definitely want to invest in one of these great weekender bags — this way you can feel great about going away and look great, too!

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Extra Large Travel Bag in Lotus, $202

This weekender, by French designer Hervé Chapelier, is made of heavy durable nylon. These bags fold up very nicely, so once you get to your hotel room and unload your belongings, you won’t have to worry about it taking up any extra space. They’re easy to wash — just wipe with a soapy sponge — and come in a slew of vibrant colors. So if you’re the type of gal who carries a black or brown handbag in the fall/winter, and a white bag in the spring/summer, this is definitely the piece you should go for in a great, lively hue. You can purchase these bags on their Web site and at Valley stores like:

Helen’s Handbags
200 South Main St., New City

Max & Gino’s
7911 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury

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Transatlantic Leather Cabin Bag, $648

If you’re going for a more sophisticated look, this Coach cabin bag is probably the one for you. This style is very classic and the leather exterior just screams timeless fashion. I think the shoulder-strap option is a great feature — if you end up having to carry the bag yourself, trust me, you’re going to be glad you have it. Not so crazy about the serious all-black color scheme? It’s also available in camel. (You’re on vacation; why not lighten up a bit, right?)

You can purchase these bags on their Web site and at Valley stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and:

Crossgates Mall
1 Crossgates Mall Rd., Albany
Westchester Mall
125 Westchester Ave., White Plains

Woodbury Common Factory Store
498 Red Apple Ct., Suite 303, Central Valley

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Large Weekender in Roadtrip, $98

I think the fun colorful print on this LeSportsac duffel is adorable. But if you’re looking for a more subtle design, fear not: it’s available in 17(!) other equally fabulous prints. This is the large size — if you need more or less space, you can also purchase it in medium and extra large. And while we’re on the subject of LeSportsac, I should probably mention that you can pre-order the new Stella McCartney limited-edition Spring/Summer 2008 line — which includes a travel collection, backpacks, totes, handbags, and a kid’s range (including the Bunny Rucksack which is SO cute — you must check it out). In other LeSportsac news, the label recently launched its first-ever men’s line, which consists of everything from messenger bags, to briefcases, to duffels. So, if your travel partner is male, you (or he) may want to consider this one:

LeSportsac Stack Duffle in Evergreen, $108

You can purchase these bags on their Web site and at Valley stores like Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, and:

Woodbury Common Factory Store
498 Red Apple Ct., Suite 690, Central Valley

Le Pliage, $145

If you’ve ever been to France, the sight of this Longchamp bag will probably generate flashbacks of elegant Parisian women bustling down the Champs. Some of my fondest memories of roaming through Europe were with this (actual) bag. This duffel is very practical — you can clean it with a damp cloth; it has both a zipper and a snap closure; and it folds down very small. It’s available in 12 colors that are renewed each season (so don’t expect to find this one at the stores, as I bought it last year). If you go to their Web site, you can even design your own version of the bag — choosing everything from the size, color, length of the handles, zipper material, and whether or not you want to have it personalized with embossing or embroidery.

You can purchase these bags on their Web site and at Valley stores like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and:

Petticoat Lane
1 King St., Chappaqua

Tri-City Luggage
1645 Central Ave., Albany

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
498 Red Apple Ct., Suite 345, Central Valley

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