The good, the bag and the ugly
Whether you’re travelling overnight or for several weeks, the right luggage choices can save you stress and inconvenience. You may prefer to travel light, limiting your baggage to carry-on items only, or you may push the luggage limits to the very last kilogram, or even over. Exceeding these limits can be costly and lugging excessive baggage through crowded cities and train stations can be tiring and risky. Here are some luggage tips to help you decide what’s best for you.
Invest in a good ‘carry-on’ bag
You tend to get what you pay for quality-wise and good carry-on luggage is worth every penny. Hard-sided carry-on luggage bags have become very popular for added security. Many bags now have wheels and extendable handles for ease of use, with ‘clam-shell’ openings, and some offer internal compartment splits. Many also have soft outside pockets with zip entry for easy storage of travel documents.
‘Gadget bags’ - handy at the airport
Gadget and laptop users love overnight utility backpacks. These bags let you pass through security without removing your laptop. You can simply unzip the backpack, lay the laptop flat and let it pass through the x-ray machine. Often these bags also have separate liquid pouches and even headphone music ports. There is also usually room for a change of clothes and other travel essentials, so they can be the ideal overnight bag to supplement your work briefcase.
Active traveller’s all-in-one pack
Multi-purpose lightweight backpacks are all about giving you options. They’re versatile, expandable and can be used both as a backpack and as carry-on luggage. Specifically designed with travelling in mind, you can zip away the straps and fit the bag into overhead storage bins or under the seat. Multiple pockets and sections keep gear and clothing separate. It’s easy to exceed the carry-on weight limits with this type of pack however, so it pays to get it weighed before you check in.
Modern suitcase luggage
There is a vast array of options in this category. Light-weight hard shell cases allow your precious belongings to have a better chance of surviving the rigours of travel unscathed. Hard shell cases can be more difficult to carry and man-handle, so look for a case with wheels and a sturdy extendable handle. Remember plain generic looking bags attract less attention – luxurious looking luggage can attract thieves. So maybe a few scrapes and bumps on older luggage is not such a bad thing.
Money belts are great. These are small, zippered fabric pouches with a strap that fastens around your waist and sits under your top or the waist of your pants. Many seasoned travellers never travel without one - it’s where you can put anything you really, really don’t want to lose, like your passport.
Now you have your luggage, don’t lose it!
Remember to always take a look behind you and check before leaving a taxi, train, plane or bus. At hotels, try to develop an unpacking routine, and run through a mental checklist when you pack up again: money belt, passport, phone, electronics, charging cables, toiletries etc. Before leaving a hotel, have a quick search for anything left behind - and check the wall sockets.
With new luggage materials and designs it’s easy to find a solution that perfectly suits your needs - but the real key is to take only what you really need.
Remember to get your travel insurance early, (as soon as you buy your tickets is best) and above all, have a great time away on holiday!
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