Part I: PurseBop Shares Tips for Traveling Internationally with Valuable Bags and Luggage

Uncovering the Secrets of Paris Planning and Hermès Shopping

International travel is such a breeze these days… NOT! Expensive airfare and hotel rates, cancellations and delays, can all cramp your style. And we certainly don’t have solutions to those, but… some advance planning can make things easier. Especially when it comes to traveling with handbags… both the ones you bring and the ones you want to purchase abroad. Not surprisingly, it all begins before you even leave your home. 

We’ve written about this many times before with tips on what to bring (e.g. proof that you purchased your designer handbag before the trip with receipts), how to pack (e.g. valuables in carry-on luggage only), managing the VAT refund process, and so on.

Read also:
Travel Tips from Paris: Hermès Prices, VAT and Customs
My Hermès FSH Reveal and Paris Appointment System Experiences
How To Declare Your Hermès Purchases from Paris and Still Save Money

However, PurseBop’s March trip to Paris for the Hermès Fall/Winter 2023 show raised some new questions and answers for us to share with you. Specifically, she addresses (1) selecting the bags to bring and should you exclude exotic leathers; (2) maintaining realistic expectations about shopping at the Hermès mothership; and (3) bringing home the goods when your luggage is full.

Let’s go to our leader for her guidance. 


It may look easy, but for me, preparing to leave for a big international trip takes days of planning no matter how many times I have done it. Well beyond booking flights, hotels, transfers, tours, and meals, there is the eternal fashionista question of what to wear and carry. I largely have a travel “uniform” of seasonal ensembles, with a few extra pieces for special events, so the bigger dilemma is determining the handbags that make the trip. Heading to Paris for a Hermès show was a monumental excursion, offering opportunities and experiences of a lifetime. Naturally, I wanted to accessorize with bags that fit the occasion.

Moments before the gates opened for the Hermes show.

In other words, surely this was the time to take my finest bags. Or was it? Perhaps I should introduce my newest acquisitions regardless of brand. Alternatively, a Hermès-centric trip might suggest Hermès only. Yet practicality – hands free and safety – could be the bigger priority for traveling around Paris. So many conflicting considerations.


In this instance, some of my newest pieces presented unique questions for me: should and could I travel with exotic Hermès bags? Looking back on past trips abroad, I realized I’d never done this before. 

Now, however, lucky me has two ‘revealed’ recent additions. At the opening of the “new” NYC Madison Avenue boutique in December 2022, my Hermès fairy presented me with an ombre lizard Constance. It was an offer I could not refuse. Then, for Christmas 2022 Mr. PurseBop, in cahoots with my SA, gifted a Mimosa Croc mini Kelly.

Read also:
Hermès Night to Remember: Inside the Epic Madison Flagship Opening Party and Shopping Experience
Part I: Part I: A Special Hermès Holiday Reveal
Part II: Revealing My First Exotic Hermès Mini Kelly, Mimosas Anyone?

So, can I, should I, travel with these exotic companions? Of course, any excursion beyond the United States means bringing proof of purchase. It is essential to be able to prove the items were not purchased on the trip. But as of late, and from my personal experiences sometimes just this alone has not been enough. Before I delve further, let me share which exactly I packed for my epic trip to Paris. 

As tempting as it is to take your entire closet with you, it’s definitely not an option. I highly discourage you from overpacking expensive bags. 

Mimosa’s Maiden Voyage

My first decision was which bag would accompany me to the Hermès show. That was pretty quick and easy – my newest Mimosa treasure would be my companion for the event.

Hermes Mini Kelly 20 in Mimosa gator.

Presenting my invitation at the entrance.

In my seat inside the show venue.

Miss Lizzie means Business 

Now beyond the event, I knew there would be multiple meetings and visits to the Hermès re-see presentations. The ideal type bag for these events would be a Hermès cross body large enough to carry my essentials. A quick scan of my collection revealed only a couple of options. That made it an easy choice to include the ombre lizard Constance 18. It fits beautifully as a cross body.

Hermes Constance 18 Ombre Lizard

Photo taken outside Kith, Paris.

Care-free Chai 

It was also important to have a daily bag, easy to carry and worry free. The exotics I’d already chosen did not fit the bill, as they require some babying, particularly as to wet weather. For convenience and safety, a strap would be helpful. And given my many ensembles, I needed a neutral color that worked with everything. 

As it turned out, during my pre-trip shopping, I stumbled upon a Moncler raincoat perfect for the trip that created a eureka moment! My tricolor chai, Kelly was the perfect match to my new raincoat and would serve as a weather and palette friendly option (added bonus: my Mimosa matched the Moncler’s details to perfection).

Epic Hermès Anniversary Gift: When Your Hubby Conspires With Your Sales Associate


Hermes Tri color Kelly 25: Chai/Lime/Mauve Sylvestre

Hermes Tri color Kelly 25: Chai/Lime/Mauve Sylvestre with matching Kelly Pocket strap and charm.

Lanvin runway show.

Goyard in Paris 

What would I carry if running a quick errand or stepping out for a light bite or just seeing the sights? I wanted a completely stress-free but chic option that would be lightweight and understated. Ah, isn’t that what Goyard is for? So, my limited edition powder pink mini Goyard Anjou made the cut.

Another Goyard Anjou Tote, This Time in Powder Pink


The Travel Companions – Hermès R.M.S Luggage

Having now selected a variety that fulfilled my daily needs on the trip, I still needed one more – the tote or carry bag that all of my beautiful bags would nest in for travel. This determination always depends upon my choice of carry-on luggage.

For this trip, it seemed appropriate and special to take my new Hermès suitcase. And then the options for my tote became quickly evident. To stay color coordinated, my blue Goyard Saint Louis tote was the ultimate pick. However, as you can read in my Hermès luggage reveal, the Saint Louis tote was an ideal candidate for other reasons.

Read also:

Bringing Home the Hermès R.M.S Luggage: Reveal and Extensive Review 
The Goyard Tote Price Guide: USA vs Europe vs UK

Goyard GM Saint Louis tote with my Hermes R.M.S. carry on luggage.

By now you’re probably seeing the irony and hypocrisy of my advice. I started off this section advising not to carry multiple expensive bags. Yet clearly I have in no way followed my own advice. Not even a little. 

My greatest fear was traveling with three practically brand new bags that show absolutely no wear. Even if I had receipts and photos, I worried about the very high probability that my selections would be flagged upon returning to the United States. Traveling with any expensive luggage is a sure shot quick way to raise suspicions when clearing customs. And that’s before you even get to the bags’ interior. 

bags for travel hermes exotics Goyard Artois Anjou

Group shot taken at home on day of travel to document the pieces I was taking from home.

Discovering Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Form 4457

This was my chance to check out something I had recently learned about. It’s called a Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad (CBP Form 4457). 

Available at any Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) office or international airport, you essentially declare your belongings before you even begin your trip. It requires a detailed description of your item(s) with the exact serial number. In other words, you need to locate the Hermès hot stamp code from your bag or your VCA certificate number for that 10 motif Alhambra necklace. To be clear, form 4457 will not work on your solitaire diamond studs or your unmarked wedding ring. This form will only help you with serial numbered and stamped luxury goods.

I gathered as much information as I could by calling the Chicago CBP office. In theory, this sounded like the perfect situation. There’s a hitch, though. The form must be filled out and stamped by an officer immediately before travel. 

Although that’s not such an easy proposition generally, it was made more difficult by circumstances at the Chicago international terminal. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try as research for this article and to share with all of you. 

I left for the airport one hour earlier than normally would be necessary, just in case I hit any speedbumps or obstacles. Unfortunately, the Chicago international terminal has been under renovation and reconstruction for nearly a year. The CBP offices had moved to a new location within the terminal and were not presently staffed. Instead, there was a sign offering a phone number to call should you need any assistance. 

After 15 or 20 minutes of waiting,  an officer finally approached and inquired what I needed to declare before my flight. I explained in detail the purpose of my trip, the nature of the items that I was carrying, and my serious concerns. The officer validated that what I was setting out to do was, in fact, the correct approach. However, the task was not that simple, and I was missing some steps. 

hermes hot stamp

Form 4457 only works with luxury items that have an identifiable serial number.

For starters, the officer advised that form 4457 should be pre-filled with itemized descriptions and stamps/certificate numbers. Imagine my plight at the very thought of unpacking each bag and each jewelry item in search of identity markings right there in the open space of an airport. Because the terminal was under renovation, we were literally standing outside the CBP office in full view. My officer was very understanding but didn’t have all day, nor did I for that matter —to dig for serial stamps. Just imagine the sight –  this woman (me) frantically unraveling dust bags and probing deep into bags with flashlights —ughh. Interestingly, the officer was actually better at finding the hot stamps than I was. 

CBP form 4457 certificate of registration for personal effects taken abroad

We managed the bags together. She read the stamps aloud, while I filled out the form. Fortunately, I had brought along the VCA certificates and we switched roles. She quickly jotted down all she could, signed, and stamped it —and sent me on my way. But first, she asked that I take additional photos of myself wearing the solitaire earrings, my Rolex watch, and my diamond bangle. And she reminded me to photograph my Hermes carry-on luggage. 

I rephotogrphed everything the officer advised to show the location as O’hare airport and timed stamped just before travel. My 11 motif MOP and 4 motif earrings.

I wish we had had the time to chat more but it was already a rushed and tedious experience. It seemed this was not done often, nor was the system, at least in Chicago, streamlined enough to facilitate the process. Nevertheless, I was relieved to have had the completed form in hand especially since I was traveling with brand new exotics. 

I am not suggesting that use of form CBP 4457 should be protocol on every international trip you take, however it might be something you consider should you be traveling with multiples of very high value pieces.

On my way to Paris. Love how the Hermes dust bag serves as a liner to the mini Goyard Anjou tote.

Beyond that though, I wondered about keeping these bags safe? Starting with inside the hotel. Would the hotel room safe be large enough to hold the bags when not in use? Not likely and at any given time, at least one of these bags would need to be in lockdown. Fortunately, both my Hermès carry-on and Tumi suitcases have combination locks that secure valuable items during hotel stays. I made it my mission to keep all three of my Hermès bags either in the safe or locked away in my Tumi when not in use. Better safe than sorry,

Be vigilant when storing high value items in your hotel room.

If it all seems like a lot of work to travel with my Hermès handbags, well, I have to admit that it was. But, it was important to me, and really justified considerings the companions on this trip. After all, as I always say, our prized bag collections are to be used and enjoyed. No regrets here. 

My bags that are not in use always remain in the hotel safe or locked suitcases. The same applies for any high ticket shopped items during my visit. Better to be safe than sorry.

Stay tuned for Parts II (the reveal) and III of this Paris travel adventure.

Love PurseBop

Published: July 2nd, 2023
Updated: July 4th, 2023

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