Frequent Flyer Part 2: Luggage

Packing and luggage are possibly the most important decisions you need to make when traveling. To get you started, you should answer the following questions:

  • What do you need to take with you? (make an exact list)
  • How much luggage do you plan to bring? (list the exact items)
  • What type of luggage to you have or plan to purchase? (list sizes)

My advice is always pack as light as you possibly can. For example, you should take into consideration:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Importance

In order to put these considerations in perspective, you should answer the following questions:

  • Can all the items you need to take with you fit into the luggage you have scoped out?
  • How much does all of your luggage weigh?

Now that you have this data, here are the recommendations I would make:
1.) Do not check luggage unless absolutely necessary
In my case, absolutely necessary is typically travel greater than 5 days unless laundry is available. While this may seem impossible, I assure you it can be done and is worth the investment. The reason for this is because you always run the risk that the luggage gets lost and it typically adds over two hours of time to your travel. Over time, you will learn what you really need and can likely make carry-on work for trips over five days (I currently can go two full weeks).
2.) In addition to your roller board, bring a decent size backpack or purse
This is important so you can keep everything you care about in an easily accessible location. (In many cases, your smaller carry-on item must go under the seat in front of you.) In addition, on some crowded flights, you may be required to gate check your roller board and you do not want to be digging through it to collect items you care about.
3.) Your roller board should be very flexible
What I mean by this is you will likely want one that has front pockets to carry small items (I like to put my liquids here for easy access going through security checkpoints), can expand in size should you need a little extra room, be able to stand up by itself when fully loaded (this includes front pockets), and has good, possibly rotatable wheels. If you have non-flexible luggage, you will soon understand why.
4.) If you already have luggage, start with it. It is easier and cheaper to use what you already have. Once you understand your exact requirements, you can invest in better equipment should you need it.

© 2011, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

One comment on “Frequent Flyer Part 2: Luggage

Great points. I’d also add, buy the best luggage you can afford that meets the other criteria. High dollar luggage makers will often replace their luggage if any part of it should fail. I’ve talked to many Tumi owners who’ve either gotten new straps for laptop bags & even full replacements when the zipper failed.

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