Planning to travel? Then the best luggage is definitely going to be an inevitable part of your planning and preparation process. If you’ve ever flown then you can vividly get the picture running up in your mind with regard to the hassles and tussles involved.
From the thorough security checks, you have to go through to the quite long distances you have to endure walking to your gate, heavy luggage can be a real headache especially with a non-rolling suitcase.
This, therefore, means that you have to get it right from the type of suitcase you choose; to the amount of luggage you travel with.
Selecting the Best Luggage Sets
While most carry-ons and suitcases may have numerous similar features (like handles, zippers, and wheels), not all of them are the same, hence the need to be extra careful when making your purchase.
Perhaps the two most important features to look out for in a suitcase are durability and wheel-ability.
1 – Durability
Vital features such as the zipper, handle, and wheels speak volumes when it comes to luggage durability.
So, after you’ve identified your desired suitcase model and color, head straight to the zipper as it’s generally considered as a proxy (by savvy buyers) with regard to the bag’s overall quality. Vet it properly.
Types of zippers
There are two types—coil and chain zipper.
Chain zippers are the strongest considering that they feature twin sets of metal interlocking teeth, therefore, making them hard to break into. This is contrary to coil zippers that utilize two parallel polyester coils; a material that can be easily pulled apart using the simplest of tools like a ballpoint pen.
You may want to try out the popular YKK zipper brand, however, be sure to find a way to solidly verify the reviews, especially if you’re relying on online reviews.
Check the handle
Pull it up as you check for smooth movement. There shouldn’t be any rattling in the process of pulling and ensure complete retraction of the handle from inside of the bag—as this signifies minimal chances of damage.
Little to zero rattling is also a great way to judge a bag’s durability.
Wheel the suitcase
You can do the testing with your hands or simply wheel on the ground to ensure they’re firmly attached. Ensure that the wheels are securely attached with screws and not rivets as it helps enhance their strength even in the event of rough handling.
Compared to the four-wheeled suitcases, two-wheeled ones tend to be stronger and more durable owing to their recessed wheels and ability to roll backward and forward.
2 – Luggage with wheels
Almost all suitcases come with wheels nowadays, which makes it a lot easier to move around with luggage.
But perhaps the biggest challenge is deciding whether to settle for a two-wheeled or a four-wheeled bag.
With a four-wheeled (also known as spinner luggage):
- You can easily maneuver as it spins 360 degrees.
- You can easily walk around with the luggage in any direction—front, back, or even sideways.
- It’s easy to navigate in small spaces including airplane aisles.
However, the biggest disadvantage of four-wheeled luggage is that it can easily roll away on an inclined area.
Working on a tight budget and prefer a two-wheeled (also known as rolling) luggage? Then here is what you should know:
Pros and cons of rolling luggage
- Better on rough terrain
The fixed wheels make it easy to literally pull the suitcase over brick paths, cracks, or even rocks without snapping off.
- Are highly durable
Rolling luggage comes designed with two wheels—which only allow for forward and back movements thus reducing the wear and tear of the bag.
In addition to their large size and sturdiness, the wheels also come fixed and cut into the luggage to help prevent easy break-offs.
- Easier to pack
Rollers open on top; making the packing and unpacking process even easier. In fact, they offer more internal storage space than a four-wheeler.
Rollers stay put in one place where you’ve parked them, unlike the spinners which tend to run away from you especially in sloppy areas. It saves the energy of chasing after it.
- What you see is the real size
It’s easy. Rollers have their wheels attached to the frame, meaning that you won’t have to worry about the extra dimensions, which is a concern with spinners.
The two wheels on the roller luggage imply a lot of pressure on your wrist and joints while pulling it behind you. This can be a big problem particularly if you’re traveling with more than one roller luggage.
- Difficult to maneuver
Roller luggage wheels are often fixed in a manner that allows movement in only one direction (that is, forward and backward), which can make it really hard to move around or make it through a crowded airport.
Now that you have your suitcase selected; what next? You need to pack…
Best Luggage Packing Tips
Create a packing list
Yes. A packing list.
It may sound weird but it’s the best way to ensure you pack everything necessary for your trip so that you don’t end up with unnecessary inconveniences of having to spend in buying the same item.
Planning a quick getaway to Orlando or Las Vegas? You don’t need to bring as many bags. But if you’re jetting off for a week-long exotic adventure, it’s another story. You’ll need to pack accordingly–and this list can keep you on track.
Begin your packing process early enough (days or weeks before your departure date) to enable you to create a complete list, and just in case you need something extra for the trip, then you’re able to get in on time.
Get to know the baggage fee policy of your airline
You don’t want to pack too much to end up burdened by the often costly airline baggage fees, and so, only carry what’s necessary. Traveling light also helps you stay organized and free from the stress of having to move around with heavy bags.
In fact, checking your airline’s baggage fees should be the first thing you do before coming up with a packing list or even securing your flight ticket. Why?
The various airlines come with different baggage budgets and so it would be better to know what budget to plan for right from the start. Head straight to the airline’s website and read all the details pertaining to its baggage policy.
Consider rolling your clothes as opposed to folding
This helps create more packing space while also ensuring that your clothes don’t get the deep wrinkles often as a result of fold creases.
Perhaps you may want to try the tissue paper magic—where you put sheets of tissue paper in between your folded shirts (that’s in case you decide to fold your clothes) to help minimize friction and in turn reduce wrinkles.
Planning a month-long trip? Then some packing aids would do the trick of helping you stay more organized and fit all the needed clothing and items into your bag. You can try out packing cubes and packing envelopes—to have your items take up minimal suitcase space.
Get dual-purpose garments if possible
Such garments are not only easy to pack but also save you a great deal when it comes to baggage fees.
They include jackets that double as a travel pillow, pants that double as shorts, foldable shoes, and a jacket with numerous pockets to double as a carry-on bag.
Pack all your essentials and valuables in your carry-on bag
Things like identification documents, passport, credit cards, money, electronics, and other valuables should be in your carry-on bag and not the checked luggage. If possible, have your wallet and passport on yourself. This kind of cushions you from unfortunate events like theft or loss.
Also, remember to throw in at least one outfit change for peace of mind—that you may not desperately wait in the baggage claim area in the event that you lose your luggage or it gets accidentally switched by someone else.
With all the possible unfortunate travel incidences, it’s always safe to have a copy of your flight itinerary in the checked bag to make it easier to locate your luggage in the event that you lose it.
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The Takeaway on Selecting the Best Luggage for You!
Looking forward to a vacation or trip? Here is a wrap up of the essential airline luggage tips to help make your trip easier and fun.
Acquaint yourself with the luggage rules
With international flights, you may need to know what’s allowed in the checked luggage (the number of bags, the weight, and even the size) and, of course, the items prohibited in the carry-on luggage; just to ensure no hick-ups on your journey.
Learn about any prohibited items before you pack
This becomes a lot easier when you have all the details leading to your trip, so that, you just counter-check with the no-fly items’ list. While some items are totally prohibited (like flammable items and fireworks), others are permitted (with some exceptions) but restricted to the checked baggage. Examples include knives and cutting instruments, frozen carbon dioxide (also known as frozen ice), and power tools.
Put your essential items in the carry-on luggage
Essential items include your wallet, electronics, passport and travel documents, medication and medication devices, jewelry, and expensive watches, plus any other such items. Not forgetting the difficult-to-replace items such as eyeglasses, keys, and mails.
Also, be sure to add in some source of entertainment (maybe a book) to keep yourself busy throughout the journey.
Note: Avoid packing your valuables in the checked baggage just to be safe in the event that you lose your luggage.
Get TSA approved luggage locks
You wouldn’t want your luggage locks ripped off in the inspection process, so use TSA-approved locks—which can be easily opened by the airline officials using a master key.
Keep your checked baggage stubs
This applies to both economy and business class flights. It helps trace or proves that the luggage is yours in case of a mix-up or lose.
However, putting your itinerary copy, contact or identification information in each of your bags is the easiest and most effective way to trace your lost baggage in the event that you lose it.
Ensure your luggage is marked
This helps prevent luggage mix-up cases that usually arise with look-alike bags. Consider using an ID tag or a uniquely colored ribbon or bag to help with easy identification.
Now, no matter where you wish to travel, you are all set to go. Have safe and happy travels!