There comes a time in every Mainer’s winter when going — somewhere, anywhere, not Alaska — becomes more attractive than staying.

Now is that time.

A Swiss Gear luggage lock from T.J. Maxx. For securing your credit cards, cash and that commemorative tiki mug you got from the luau — you know, all your valuables. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

It’s absurdly cold. It’s nor’easter snowy. Most everywhere else (we’re looking at you, Florida) sounds really good right now.

In fact, Bag Lady recently returned from a trip to a sunshiny place where she could wear shorts outside and not die from hypothermia. It was glorious.

Shopping Siren is heading south soon. It’s been so long since she’s seen 60-degree weather that she’s not sure she remembers what one wears. A lighter puffer jacket?

But jetting off requires more than a suitcase and a smile. There are accessories! And, oh, we are so about the accessories.

• Swiss Gear luggage lock, T.J. Maxx, $4.50 on clearance

Teeny combination padlock to secure your valuables in your suitcase. Package says it’s TSA accepted, which means inspectors can pop it open to take a peek inside your luggage and the lock’s red pin will spring up to let you know. We aren’t sure how the good people at the TSA are able to open a combination lock, but we assume magic.

Note: We had multiple stores on our shopping list this week. Multiple! But T.J. Maxx sucked us in with its mess of travel clearance items and wouldn’t let us go. So, sorry, Dollar Tree and Bed, Bath and Beyond. We just couldn’t walk away from a $6 folding water bottle. Behold:

• Cloudz folding water bottle, $6 on clearance

Shopping Siren had looked at collapsible water bottles online several weeks ago, but she was so daunted by the price tag ($20 and up) that she bought a regular old water bottle for her trip. If only she had waited! This silicone bottle holds 20 ounces of water but collapses to something the size of a sippy cup for space-saving storage. It’s dishwasher safe, BPA-free and, according to the package, “break proof.” They clearly haven’t met us yet.

• Cloudz folding backpack, $9.99

Speaking of folding … this lightweight, full-size travel backpack folds up tight into its own little pouch. Toss it in your luggage and you’ve got an extra bag for all those souvenirs you’re planning to bring back. By the way, you have to come back. Sorry.

• Go Travel universal adapter and USB charger, $8 on clearance

Because you’ll still want your hair dryer in sunny Botswana.

• Cloudz compression socks, $5.99-$6.99

Knee-high black nylons with a full foot or without. Not the sexiest thing ever, but sexier than a blood clot at 30,000 feet, so there’s that. On the packaging, instead of “sexier than a blood clot at 30,000 feet!,” they’ve gone with “the #1 airport brand.” Your loss, Cloudz.

• Mia Toro butterflies luggage, $56 on clearance

Super lightweight, hard-sided and easy to spot coming off the belt at baggage claim … unless everyone on your flight also has butterfly luggage, at which point, congratulations! You’ve landed a starring role in a zany ABC sitcom. You’ll be playing Maryann from Maine.

• Eccolo luggage tag gift set, $6 on clearance

Includes at least one faux-leather teal luggage tag emblazoned with “Adventure Awaits” and at least one navy blue luggage tag emblazoned with “Ready Set Go.” Also included: what looked like a pink-covered travel journal. It was hard to tell without opening the package. Wonderful bon voyage gift for the winter traveler in your life. And if you’re that winter traveler? We won’t tell.

• Imoshion makeup bag, $6.99

Lipstick red, shiny material, wide open space inside. It’s the perfect way to pack all your makeup in one spot and then not use any of it. Hey, vacation.

• High Sierra memory foam travel pillow, $10.99

Super soft with a removable cover for laundering later. Bag Lady’s never flown with a travel pillow, but you know what, she’s worth $10.99 in decadence, so, next time.

• Isaac Mizrahi 11-piece hot pink travel bottle kit, $4.50 on clearance

For when you only need a little bit of shampoo, a little hairspray, a little conditioner, a little, um, eight other things that fit in tubes, tubs and spray bottles.

Best find: Totesport or Nautica collapsible umbrellas, $4 on clearance

Because sometimes it rains in Paris, France, New York City and Hawaii (three of the top 10 vacation spots, according to the Travel Channel.) Drop one of these tiny black umbrellas in your bag and clouds be darned.

Think twice: Luv Betsey plush-sided weekender duffel, $20 on clearance

Yes, this Betsey Johnson travel bag is a steal off retail (regularly $128!) and yes, its pink and blue/purple plush sided exterior (think Sully from “Monsters Inc.”) is crazy soft, but that’s also the hitch — how long is it going to stay pretty and soft after inflicting actual travel on it?  But, hey, try it and find out. It’s another reason to jet.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who like the snow until it’s over their heads) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]


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