I always travel with a floppy, ribboned straw hat. It serves several functions including – shelter from the sun, cuteness as an accessory and occasionally, camouflage during flights.

I’m traveling gypsy style right now with a large rolling duffle, a box, a cat in a carrier and medium-sized bag/purse. I checked the duffle and the box, leaving me with room for one personal item and one carry on. Frank in his travel bag is my carry-on. My purse has all critical items in it when on the plane such as my laptop and camera.

My purse doesn’t close, though and since Frank gets shoved underneath the seat in front of me while on the plane, this leaves me with nowhere to put my purse. I don’t want to put it in the over head bins because my fear is that all my stuff including sensitive electronic equipment would fall out.

Enter big floppy straw hat.

I put Frank under the seat and slipped my purse behind my legs, which you are not allowed to do, according to some FAA regulation. So, I just put my big hat in my lap and let it dangle a bit across my legs and voila! The flight attendant doesn’t see the contraband stowed behind my legs.