Whether you’re visiting Washington D.C. as a tourist, or depending on Metrorail to get to and from work, the odds are good that you’ll be needing to carry a few things. Without a car and the luxury of a backseat catch-all for umbrellas, maps, and a change of shoes, it’s important to pick the Metro-appropriate bag to suit your needs.
The Metro is a busy place; according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), there are over 750,000 passenger trips per weekday. Space is limited, particularly during rush hour, and seats may be in short supply. Fortunately, with this guide you can evaluate your carry-on options for style, practicality, and ability to conserve space on a crowded metrocar.
The clutch – This snappy accessory ranks highly in both aesthetics and practicality. It fits the bare necessities (like a credit card, ID, SmarTrip, cell phone, and lipstick) but doesn’t take up valuable space in the metrocar or weigh very much. Just make sure you don’t leave it behind when disembarking!
The purse – Based on WMATA’s estimate that 53 per cent of Metro riders are women, it’s safe to say this bag is a popular one. For tourists, it holds everything from the camera to the guide book, and for commuters, it’s a home-office. In selecting your Metro travel companion, opt for a structured purse with easily-accessible pockets for your SmarTrip and plenty of space in the larger compartment for other necessities–heels, lunchbag, notebook, etc. Set it on your lap if you snag a seat, and hold it out of the way of other passengers when standing.
The briefcase – Gentlemen, you are certainly entitled to bring this on board; it speaks to your professionalism and compliments that suit oh-so-well. For the sake of other riders, tuck it between your feet when standing or place it on your lap when seated.
The backpack – This is a tough one. While it’s great for students and tourists (who are understandably more concerned with practicality than style), it can make the ride difficult for passengers standing behind you. No one likes a zipper in the face, and a sudden change in direction may result in facial rugburns. Handle with care.
The messenger bag – With it’s low-hanging placement and high storage capacity, the messenger bag is an excellent option for the Metro. It goes especially well with retro eyewear and disheveled hair for that “accidental hipster” vibe. It will get heavy hanging from one shoulder, however, which is something to keep in kind when planning.
The fannypack – This infamous mode of object transportation may receive high marks in the practicality department (hands free and well-placed for a woman’s center of gravity), but when it comes to style, it seriously channels “kangaroo.” The verdict is just, well…no.
The suitcase – With Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport conveniently located on the blue line, there’s no escaping the suitcase(s). If you’re traveling, don’t feel bad about your roll-aboard; your fellow riders are thankful to have public transportation access to the airport too. Do be mindful of where you place it to maximize metrocar space and, if it all possible, let it be a nice color.