Yesterday, my new Filofax Bromley Travel Wallet arrived in the mail. Even though I wasn’t planning to write a review of it, I thought this might be helpful to someone out on the internets somewhere. Especially since it’s 70% off right now on the FilofaxUSA site. I’m not sure if it’s being discontinued, but there were still some available when I last checked.
So, a bit of background… One of the reasons I switched to a Filofax binder was to make my purse lighter. My purses aren’t very big. But my shoulders and back have been aching more than usual these days. It was time to lose some weight! And every ounce lost (even in a purse) counts, right?
I’ve seen YouTube videos of folks who use their Filofax planners as wallets. I thought about it, but didn’t think I could make that work. Then I saw the Bromley was on sale, got a peek through this blog post by Janet Carr, and decided this was a good way to use some Christmas money.
The wallet arrived today, in a lovely black Filofax box. My Holborn didn’t come in a box like this, but I guess some (older?) items still do.
Walk-Through of the Bromley Travel Wallet
I first thought the Bromley would be about the size of a letter envelope. But I guess travel wallets are usually bigger. I’m actually still getting used to the size.
It’s a black tri-fold wallet, with a snap closure. The leather is smooth, fine-grained, and pleasant to touch. There are lots of pockets, which I labeled in the photos below.
There are 8 slots for credit cards (A), with a slightly deeper one (B) right behind them. Opposite this bank of card slots are a pen loop and four layers of pockets. The first layer has two gusseted pockets (C) with snap closures, which would probably work well for coins. Instead of coins, I have insurance and bank cards that I don’t use often. The snap closure secures and keeps them out of sight.
Behind the coin pockets is a full-length pocket (D), which is great for paper currency. Behind that are two pockets of different sizes. The one on top is credit card-sized (E), and the other (F) is about two-thirds the length of the wallet. Behind these is another full-length pocket (G) that’s also gusseted.
When you flip open the bank of cards on the right panel, you’ll find two full-length pockets behind them (H). The center panel has a flap (I) with two snap closures (see inset), spaced at just the right distance to hold a few sheets of personal-sized paper inserts. Behind it is another full-length pocket (J). I can see all these pockets being useful when one is traveling and using more than one currency. Itineraries, tickets, and maps would fit into the various slots in this roomy wallet.
On the outside are three pockets of varying depths (see photo on the right). These would make perfect storage spots for boarding passes, tickets, itineraries, etc. that need to be accessed quickly. For daily use, these pockets are useful for shopping lists,and so on.
The Planner Satellite
As I mentioned earlier, my reason for buying the Bromley was ultimately to have a lighter purse. I originally thought it was light enough to replace the wallet I’ve been using. But when I weighed them, the Bromley was actually heavier!
So, there were a few minutes when I was tempted to return it. But I realized that, instead of replacing my wallet, I could put together a system that would allow me to combine my wallet and my planner (or at least part of it).
I already know that the planner-as-wallet setup wouldn’t work for me. But how about a wallet-as-planner workaround? Or, more specifically, a wallet as a planner satellite?
When I’m out and about, I often use my planner’s dashboard to jot down things I have to do, ideas about projects, quotes from my kids, etc. This saves me time from having to flip through my planner to the “right” page. So the dashboard catches all of these things on the fly.
With the Bromley, I really like the idea of being able to have planner pages in my wallet. Those pages would work very well as a dashboard! I could write things down, and process them later, as I do the dashboard in my planner. Then, I could leave my planner at home, especially when I’m only running errands.
I know the thought of leaving the planner behind will make some of you hyperventilate. It did make me pause a bit.
Could I do it? Could I go about my day without my planner? Right now, I think so. Barring days when I have meetings and whatnot, I could probably function well with just a dashboard with me.
I thought I’d give it a try, anyway.
So I moved my stuff into the wallet. But I bumped against an issue with the pen loop.
The Pen Loop – and the Hack!
As you can see in the first photo above, the pen loop in the Bromley travel wallet is on the left, opposite the clasp closure. I found that, with a pen installed in the loop, the wallet wouldn’t close. I even tried it with the slimmest pen I own – a Frixion Ball slim (0.38mm).
The closure loop is simply too short to go around the pen. That pen loop is absolutely useless, unless I’m willing to let the wallet stay open all the time:
This was when I really wanted to just ship the wallet back for a refund.
But then, hooray, I figured out a hack to fix the problem. Did you notice it in the photos above?
Here it is:
That’s a Leuchtturm pen loop attached to the inside of the long pocket on the left panel. I tried out several places (without adhering it, of course). This is the best one that would give me easy access to a pen, and still let me close the wallet.
So, there it is. My semi-hacked Bromley travel wallet with a planner satellite. I still have to see how well it will function as an everyday wallet, especially as a partial substitute for my planner.
The size makes it less portable than my other wallet. But it may work well as a wallet+planner satellite. Then again, I might find that I do need to have my planner with me all the time. We’ll see. I’ll probably post an update later.
For now, this setup is letting me have a catch-all, as well as give my shoulders and back a bit of a rest from lugging around a heavy purse.
Do you think this kind of setup would work for you?