I love to go shopping for luggage. But since it usually lasts for many years, you need to think twice before buying any. My friend challenged me to write a blog in 15 minutes, well this is what I came up with:
1. Hard or Soft-Sided Luggage
You will find there is soft-sided and hard-sided luggage. I use to buy soft-sided, especially the ones that expanded but now I go with hard sided. The items inside the bag seem to be protected better from breakage, and in my experience, the luggage appears to be more rugged. One other tip here is to make sure it is lightweight and don’t go super big.
Update Nov 26, 2018: From a survey we did our Twitter feed, Soft vs. Hard sided luggage – the soft-sided luggage won 60% to 40%. One of the reasons was that people like to be able to “smoosh” their soft-sided luggage in airplane overhead compartments.
2. Two Wheels or Four
Walking through airports, I prefer four wheels. They glide better and can maneuver around people easier. Look for luggage that says it has “four spinner wheels.”
In general, two wheels let you pull a heavy suitcase along behind as you weave through crowds, and four-wheeled spinner luggage can be rolled alongside you, making it easier to control.
3. Don’t Buy Black
Oh my goodness, I have been saying this for ten years, don’t buy black luggage. You don’t want to look like everyone else, and it is fun to do something more wild, even if it is just a gorgeous shade of blue. I can always pick out my luggage the second it shows up on the luggage carousel. Of course, still check the tags on the bags to be sure. Adding colored luggage tags can help too.
4. Luggage Scale
This little item has saved us lots of money, because we can weigh our bags at any time, anywhere. We know what our bags weigh so we do not go over the airline’s baggage allowance rules.
Sometimes we needed to shift an item from one bag to the other to make them all meet specifications. This little item can save you a bundle by not arriving at the airport with overweight luggage and incurring those expensive overweight bag fees.
5. Luggage Strap
One of the most significant problems with luggage is the zipper giving out, breaking apart. We started using luggage straps last year. By using one correctly, there will be almost no stress on the zipper. Plus if something bazaar happens and the zipper does break; hopefully, your clothes and all those souvenirs you bought will not end up all over the place. This not a scientific statement, but I would think that your luggage overall will last longer, which is a good thing.
6. Replacement Luggage or Just One More
We were in England for six months last year, and by the time month four rolled around our luggage fell apart. We needed something new but something that wouldn’t break the bank. We found a beautiful set on Amazon and had it shipped to the place we were staying in England. It worked out perfectly; we got new luggage at a great price. I have not tried this in other countries, but I am sure it would work in many countries.
Or take a look at the airline you are flying extra bag fee. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy an extra bag than to ship things home or pay overweight fees.
7. Watch Out for Airline Baggage Allowances
The baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. We flew three different airlines last year, and each one was slightly different. One allowed more for carry-on and less in the checked and Vice versa. Here again, we were able to put to use our luggage scale so we could make the appropriate adjustments easily – making things easier when traveling is always a good thing. Oh, and check the allowances a day or two before you leave as they do change!
8. Pack Early
If you are flying a long distance or going to be gone a long time be sure to pack early! AND put everything in, including your personal items. You don’t want to be walking out the door and realize your bag is overweight! It is better to pack two or three times then to wait until the last minute.
9. Learn to Pack Light
Like the old saying “measure twice, cut once,” be sure to think about everything you are taking and do you really, really need it. It is okay to wear the same clothes over and over again. If you roll your clothes, they will take up less space, and I found my clothes look less wrinkled. Insiders tip, wear your heaviest shoes, like boots. Boots weigh a lot and take up precious space in your luggage.
So those were my quick 15-minute writing experiment about luggage. Hope it is helpful, enjoy your journey!