How to Choose Luggage for your Trip
Choosing the right luggage can help prevent any possible inconveniences and hassles. No need to squeeze your massive bag into the overhead compartment or pay extra fees because the bag is heavier than it should be. The right piece of luggage will make your trip easier and stress free. I’ll give you some tips that will assist you choose the perfect luggage for your next adventure!
Carry-On A carry-on can be any bag in various shapes and sizes that can be carried onto a plane and are small enough to fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. Anything larger than that should be checked
Rolling Suitcase The wheels and the retractable handle of the rolling suitcase help you roll the bag without carrying its weight. It is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to strain their arms carrying a heavy bag. In addition you can pack a lot of things but it can be a hassle when it comes to carrying it up stairs or over rough surfaces.
Duffel Bag It is a wearable type of bag that often features a shoulder strap and top carry handles for easy mobility. While a traditional small or medium duffel bag can fit into an overhead bin with ease, it may strain your arm or shoulder if you have to carry it for a long time or distance. However, it is ideal for travelers who carry sports equipment.
Wheeled Duffel Bag This type is an improved type of traditional duffel bags since it has the same design as them plus an additional main compartment and, of course, wheels. It is ideal for travelers who wish to carry gear of varying shapes and sizes with them but may have a little trouble fitting into an overhead compartment. In addition, like the other rolling luggage, rolling them may be difficult through rough terrain or stairs.
Backpack Backpacks come in a variety of sizes, with and without frames. You don’t need to use your hands to carry the luggage and the weight is distributed on both shoulders. It is perfect for anyone planning to camp, hike or do other outdoor activities or for those who don’t want to strain their arms carrying a heavy bag. However, it may affect your posture if you have a lot of items in it.
Wheeled Backpack This type of backpack includes wheels which allow you to have a break from carrying your items on your back and instead roll them in wheeled luggage. The only disadvantage is that wheeled backpacks tend to be heavy, not only because of the items, but also because of the added weight of the wheels and the extending handle.
Travel Laptop Case This type of bag is like a rolling suitcase but it is made specifically for laptops. Except for the compartment to store a laptop charger, it may also include compartments for other small essentials. The only disadvantage is the fact that it is not large enough to fit clothing and, as all rolling bags, it is difficult to carry it up and down stairs.
Travel Tote Ideal for travelers who want to pack only the essentials like cosmetics, electronics or some clothes. This fashionable and easy to carry type of bag should not be your only bag since its space does not allow bringing enough clothes for your trip.
Messenger Bag More secure than travel totes, messenger bags can be worn easily on one shoulder with a long strap. They can fit only a small amount of items, the most essential that you need to always carry wherever you go. However, putting many items in the bag may make it heavy for your shoulder.
Factors to consider
Here are some factors that you need to take into consideration before choosing the right luggage for your next trip:
Size. Carry-on bags on airplanes should fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. The same applies for the carry-on bags on the buses. For most airlines, the size of the carry-on cannot exceed 45 inches (length plus width plus height) and the checked bag should not be larger than 62 inches (length plus width plus height). However, this depends on the size of the aircraft; if, for example, the aircraft is small you might not be able to take your hand luggage on the plane. Also, if the overhead compartments are full or if your bag is overpacked and cannot be squeezed, they will probably put your bag with the other checked luggage. In order to avoid such situations, it is advisable to get informed about the maximum carry-on dimensions online or by calling the airline.
Softness or hardness. The softer the luggage, the lighter it is. Hard-sided luggage tends to weigh more, making it difficult to be carried. Despite the fact that it will protect your luggage better than a soft luggage would do, there might be a chance that you won’t be able to put it into an overhead bin. You should also take into consideration the climate of your final destination. For example, if you deplane on a place with high humidity, your clothes in the soft-sided luggage might get dump. Experienced travelers own two types of luggage, one soft and one hard, which they choose depending on the conditions at their destination.
Material. You should pay attention to the type of fabric and denier of the luggage you choose to buy. Denier is a measurement used to determine the fiber thickness of individual threads or filaments used in the creation of textiles and fabrics. Look for something strong with a denier of 400 or higher and avoid polyester fabrics due to their lack in resilience.
Wheels. Wheels make your luggage heavier but they certainly make it much easier to haul around.
Color. Choosing a bag with a bright color will make it easier for you to spot it quickly on the luggage carousel.
Stitching. The stitching is a way to determine the quality of the luggage. The more stitches there are in an inch the better the construction of the bag may be.
How can I tell if my bag is made well?
Check the bag’s durability. Durable and strong bags do not flex too much. It’s very unlikely that they will crack or break if you roll them over rough surfaces like cobblestones, stones or broken pavement. If at first glance the bag looks like it will collapse, then you should better avoid it.
Is the bag comfortable? Comfort is subjective. It differs from one person to another and from one trip to another. If you’re tall, you’ll need longer extendable handles whereas if you’re small, make sure that bags won’t drag on the ground when held at a comfortable height. In addition, if your trip includes camping or hiking, it is obvious that a wheeled suitcase would be inappropriate.
What about the handles? Make sure that the handles are strong enough. Do not hesitate trying to carry the bag before purchasing it.
Examine the zippers. Poorly-made zippers break and are expensive to replace. Quality luggage often includes zippers that are able to self-repair. Make sure that the zippers set even and are relatively easy to zip closed and open. If the bag also has locks and clamps, examine if they can snap open easily.
Does the bag have a lock? Quality bags often have key locks attached to their zipper pulls. Well-constructed hard cases typically feature built-in, combination, or key-lock systems.
Price. Price often reflects the quality of the bag. The high price of a bag can be justified by how long you will use it, how often, its style and quality.
Tip: When choosing luggage it is advisable to browse online to check what other people are saying about the product.
Packing tips to pack smarter
Roll the clothes. Rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. They’re also less prone to getting wrinkles from fold creases.
Make a list. Create a list with all the things you need to pack in your bags. It is a safe way to ensure that you will not forget to bring something important.
Pack garments for dual purpose. For instance, packing a jacket that turns into a travel pillow are worth their weight.
Never pack essential items in your checked bag. Your passport, identification, money, credit cards, electronics and other valuables should be brought onto the plane or bus with you.
Use compression bags. These bags are rolled to force out extra air rather than requiring a vacuum cleaner like the vacuum bags. They can really save space in your bag and they are waterproof, saving you from any unpleasant situations.
Do the laundry on the road. No need to pack 30 pairs of underwear and socks if you can wash them on the road. If the hotel laundry is pricey, you can always wash the clothes in the sink. This way, your luggage will be incredibly light.
Bring your own vials. Do not bring a full-sized shampoo bottle or tube of toothpaste on your trip. Get your own refillable vials and fill them. In general, bring mini things; for example a mini makeup brush, mini skin care etc.
For more information on how to pack smart, read our article here.
How can I prevent my luggage from getting lost?
Buy a sturdy and colorful bag tag. If you have a plastic or leather tag makes it harder for your bag to get lost. Just make sure that the contact information written on it are accurate.
Store a copy of your itinerary. If your bag goes missing and someone finds it, make sure that there is also a name tag and a copy of your itinerary inside the bag.
Take a picture. In the unlikely event of losing your bag, it will be easier to track it down if you can show a picture of it to an airline or train employee.
Keep a list. Keep a list of the things you packed in the bag so that you know what has gone missing.
What to do in case your luggage is lost
File a claim. It is very important that you report your lost luggage to the airport’s baggage claim office as soon as you realize that your bag has gone missing. Many airlines mandate that you file your claim within a certain time period in order to receive reimbursement for any purchases you need to make due to this loss.
Request reimbursement. Ask for a stipend to buy toiletries and clothing while they look for your belongings. Most airlines will provide for the basic necessities you purchase while you wait. Keep a list of the items you purchase, your receipts, your baggage claim stubs and your ticket receipt.
Request a refund on your baggage fee. You paid an expensive amount for your baggage to accompany you on your flight, and it actually didn’t. You deserve a refund from the airline, so make sure you request it.
And be patient. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to find lost luggage. Sometimes only two days. What you have to do is be patient and make sure that you do not pack anything valuable in your checked bag beforehand.
The Bottom Line
Selecting the right suitcase might be the easy part but knowing your rights when your baggage is lost isn’t. Make sure that you have some knowledge of your luggage options, how to protect it, as well as your rights when they go missing. After all, you shouldn’t let your bags ruin your trip but they should make it better.
Edited by Eleni Gkovedarou
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