Luggage

Overview

Planes, trains, automobiles, boats, motorbikes and more. There are many ways to get from here to there. You may be traveling on vacation, on business, or going to a family reunion ... regardless, you’re on the move. And more often than not you’ll be packing much more than a toothbrush. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or an excited newbie, traveling light or seemingly transporting your entire wardrobe, there’s a luggage option for you.

The Basics

The Basics

Make sure your luggage works with your chosen mode of transportation. Travel by air and you’ll need to know what you can carry-on, what you need to check and whether or not you may be charged for oversized luggage. Train compartments also provide some size restrictions and if you’re traveling by car, make sure you have a big trunk or cargo area if packing for the whole family.


Most standard, inexpensive luggage will do for an occasional trip. If business keeps you perpetually on the road, or if you’re always traveling for fun (lucky you), you should invest in more durable baggage. You don’t want a handle to come off or a strap to break at an inopportune time. Or any time for that matter.


Think about how long you’ll be on your trip. Long-term stay? Invest in a luggage set or full collection. Just going for the weekend? A carry-on, duffle bag or backpack may do. No matter what, think about mobility and how a given bag may make your travel easier.


Consider your destination as well and how many transfers and modes of transportation you may encounter. A sturdier hardside suitcase may protect valuables if your luggage is going to be banged around from airplane to ship holds. Or you may purchase a lighter softside suitcase made out of stronger fabric. Unfortunately, people handling your brand new luggage may not be as proud of it as you are.


Finally, what’s influencing your purchase? Do you need to start from scratch or are you upgrading? If you’re loyal to a brand or want to show off your good taste, feel free to spend. It all depends on your budget. And if you’re shopping for luggage to be given as a present let’s say for a wedding or graduation be selective. You want to buy something nice but not audacious. Unless, of course, the person you’re buying for is over-the-top.


Softside bags

Softside bags (fabric, leather or vinyl)

These are lighter and easier to stuff into cramped compartments The best bet may be buying soft-sided luggage that that is made of reinforced vinyl or other durable fabric and still has some protective metal or plastic pieces (sometimes called skid plates).


Carry-on bags

These bags can hold quite a bit, are portable, and can be brought aboard a plane if they meet your airline’s size limitations. These pieces tend to be relatively compact and/or collapsible to fit in overhead compartments or underneath seats. A standard size for a carry-on is 22x 14x 9 Get around more easily with wheeled options, particularly spinner uprights, which have 4 wheels. These bags help you navigate more easily through airports and onto airplanes.


Garment bags

If you have a suit or dress that you want to keep relatively wrinkle-free, invest in a garment bag. Good ones are water resistant and hard to tear. Keep your clothing on hangers and avoid a lot of ironing. Some garment bags even come with wheels for easier transport.


Uprights

You get the best of both worlds with this luggage. You can pack your suitcase, pop up an attached handle and be on your wheeled way, without the added strain to your shoulders or back. This can be ideal for people with back issues or anyone who has to walk quite a bit with luggage in tow. You want your luggage to make your travel experience as easy as possible, so you should consider the 4-wheel spinner option. They’ll help you get around airports and onto airplanes easily.


Luggage sets

If you’re looking to purchase several pieces of luggage at once (maybe you have a long-term trip planned), check out luggage sets. Five piece sets typically come with two suitcases, a suitcase/carry-on, and two smaller totes. You can also purchase a three-piece set and get a suitcase, carry-on and tote.


Luggage collections

If you’re looking for value and need luggage with more bells and whistles, you should consider buying individual luggage pieces from a collection. These items generally have more features and functionality than luggage sets. Further, you can buy one piece and usually pick a matching piece up at a later date.


Other Types of Luggage

Other Types of Luggage

Duffle bags

The right pick for active types, duffle bags can be pretty simple drawstring softside bags, but they can also sport wheels and webbing for straps. Perfect for the gym or a quick trip.


Totes

A large bag that can hold medication, valuables and more that you can carry on to a plane. They come in various shapes and sizes, and can be equipped with straps or wheels.


Backpacks

More popular than ever, backpacks are strapped on and off you go. They’re now available in countless styles and with just as many zippers and extra pockets. Take them on any trip and take some of the strain that comes with one-strap bags off your back.


Messenger bags

Bike messengers seem to have the right idea. These bags hold a lot, they’re slung over the body, not the shoulder, and they help you show off your style. Urban hipsters seem to have jumped on the messenger bag phenomenon a little while ago, but now you’ll see kids and empty nesters slinging this bag from here to there without a bike in sight.


Briefcases and attaches

Nylon, fabric, leather, flapover, wheeled, hard-side So many choices. You certainly aren’t limited to an old-school leather case. Briefcases have several pockets/dividers. Attaches are smaller and typically have just one compartment.


Packing

No matter what type of luggage you choose, you’ll eventually be faced with an open bag or case on top of your bed. Start with a checklist and try to make the most of the space available while winning the war against wrinkles.

Try to make do with the essentials: underwear, socks, pants, shirts, sweaters or swimsuits (depending on your destination) and shoes that can be paired easily with all of the above. Of course, if you expect to be in more formal settings, pack dress clothes in your garment bag and appropriate shoes. Another tip: pack your clothes inside your dry cleaning bag to further minimize wrinkles. Finally, don’t forget prescription medications and toiletries, your mobile phone, ID, credit cards and important contact info. If you’re traveling to another country, you’ll need a valid passport.

If you’re traveling with your child and he or she is an infant or toddler make sure to bring formula, diapers etc. and pack them in easy-to-reach carry-on bags. For kids that are slightly older, make travel more fun by letting them pack a favorite blanket or toy. Have it handy as something familiar for the child to play with during delays or long trips. When traveling alone, try to travel light if possible, you’ll be the one lugging all the bags around!


Airline Travel

Airline Travel

Government regulations prohibit carry-on of potentially dangerous items. Also, you can only carry small amounts of liquid or gel on board (this includes everything from beverages to beauty products).


Here’s a basic 3-1-1 rule: 3 ounce or smaller containers for toiletries, pack it in a 1-quart sized zip-top bag and only 1 of these bags is allowed per passenger. When it comes to size restrictions, each airline has similar rules but check ahead of time to see what the exact size limitation is for each airline. Usually your bag can’t be larger than 22 inches. When it comes to carry-on, you can typically take one personal bag (laptop bag or purse) and one larger carry-on bag. You’ll need a clear bag to store your liquids when going through a security checkpoint.


Maintenance

Maintenance

Keep your luggage clean, dry and stored in a safe place and you can hold on to it for years. If you travel a lot, you can also buy over-the-counter cleaners that can hide the scratches and dents and provide a protective layer. Leather cleaners are great if you have top-grain luggage.


Store your luggage pieces in a cool, dry place. And if you’re particularly careful, you can cover them with plastic bags. Basements, crawl spaces and other areas that may contain a lot of humidity are off-limits. Your luggage will end up smelling musty.


Accessories

Accessories

Luggage extras can make your travel experience much better. Whether we’re talking comfort, efficiency, organization or security, you can get what you want and what you need.


Luggage tags

You’ll always want to have your contact info on your bag. 1. Because you want to distinguish your suitcase from others. 2. In case it gets lost, it can be returned to you. Stand out by purchasing a decorative luggage tag (for example, one with a distinctive print or one that is brightly colored).


Locks

Protect your valuables while your baggage is in luggage holds or in transit with locks. Your luggage may already come with small locks, but you may feel more secure by investing in a sturdier lock. In particular, locks approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may help you go through security checkpoints with less difficulty.


Toiletry / cosmetic bags

Keep your toothpaste, hair and skin products safe and further protected with these compact bags. Clear ones are needed for carry-on at security checkpoints.


Passport covers

What could be more valuable than this official ID? Keep it protected with a leather or plastic cover.


Travel clocks

Take a mini-alarm clock on the road with you and never miss an appointment.


Travel pillows, neck pillows and blankets

While travel can be exciting, it can be draining too. Be comfortable, even in cramped quarters, with a pillow specifically designed to support your neck while you sleep in a seated position. There are many easily transportable pillows and blankets that can help you rest easy.


Shoe bags

Keep your clothing and shoes separate with these handy bags.


Headphones

The drone of engines, clatter of train tracks or the chatter of passengers may make travel less than a blissful experience. A quality set of headphones will help you take it easy while enjoying the tunes of your choice.


Chargers and converters

While you’re mobile, make sure that your mobile phone, MP3 player and other electronic devices stay charged. Bring appropriate chargers universal ones are now available. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure to bring a converter. Your electronic device that is made to run on AC electricity in the US won’t work in many countries without this converter.