Steven Alan, the man responsible for the proliferation of plaid shirts throughout New York and, increasingly, around the country, recently took a break from his day job. He went to Australia, in fact, to soak up Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. It was the Perfect Vacation—one that you can take, too—with an itinerary crafted by Tourism Australia in collaboration with Virgin Airlines. And from it, he designed the Perfect Bag—a leather and waxed cotton carryon with rope detailing (and, yes, some signature plaid cotton lining the exterior pockets) inspired by his experience Down Under.
Open it up and you’ll find an interior of bright orange-red nylon—a water-resistant blend often used in sailcloth, which Alan discovered at a sail-making shop en route to Queensland. The color comes from his experience scuba diving around Lizard Island. “I saw amazingly bright coral,” he says. “And the boat cushions were this bright orange-red, as was my diving instructor’s coat. I thought, that’s good. Having a really bright interior is useful if you’re looking for something.”
Other travel-friendly touches: a separate bottom compartment for shoes and dirty laundry; a padded laptop sleeve with a designated side zipper for quick removal at airport security; and convertible straps that allow you to carry the bag on your back.
Oh yeah, and the first thing we noticed? Just like Australia, this bag is big—really big. Amazingly though, it still fits in V Australia’s overhead bins. “It could be the only bag you take on this trip,” says Alan. “I wanted to have everything all in one, but the first thing I did was check the carryon dimensions.”
$777 (just like the V Australia aircraft)
Christine Ajudua is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.