A few thoughts on luggage

Aimless Walking > Traveling > A few thoughts on luggage

When you travel your luggage will be one of your most important belongings. It might seem inconsequential, but there are several things to consider before buying a luggage and before you start to pack.

Checked in or carry on luggage

One of the first question you should ask yourself is if you want to check in your luggage, or have it as a carry on. There are pro and cons of both.

Checked in

  • + You do not have to care about size and weight of your luggage as much.
  • + Generally you can pack more in your checked in luggage.
  • + You can walk around the airport without a backpack or luggage being in the way. Giving you more freedom.
  • + Easier to get through the security check without checked in luggage, all the liquid will be in the hold and are not limited to the plastic bag.
  • – Checked in luggage tend to be more expensive.
  • – It is far to easy to bring lots of stuff you do not need.
  • – There will be a longer wait at the destination to get you luggage from the baggage claim.

Carry on

  • + Carry on luggage is cheaper. Even though some airlines has started to have a fee for some carry on luggage.
  • + You always have everything with you, and you will not loose you luggage.
  • + Shorter time between when you land and you can get to your transfer, expect if you are one of those that have to check in the luggage at the gate.
  • + Limited space will make you reconsider everything you bring.
  • – Max dimensions vary between airlines, can be easy to get it wrong.
  • – You are limited in how much you can bring with you and liquids are even more limited.

As you can surmise I prefer to check in my luggage whenever I travel. So far I have used carry on luggage twice. Not that it was hard or I hated it, but for me it just feels more convenient to check in my luggage and then walk around the airport freely without any hassle. Also one of the largest cons for me are the limited amount of liquids you can bring if you have to bring it through the security check. My make up and hygiene articles tend to take up larger space than are allowed.

Backpack or suitcase with wheels

When you have decided if you want to carry on or check in the next decision are if you want a backpack or a suitcase with wheels. I’d say that if you check in always go the suitcase with wheels. Otherwise it is question of convenience for you. Some prefer backpacks, others want the back free and roll the suitcase after them. If you travel a lot, like me, you may end up with at least one backpack and two suitcases of different sizes.

The largest pro for backpack are that your hands will always be free and you can still carry your things with you. On the other hand it might be hard for your back and can be an annoyance to you and your fellow travelers if it is crowded.

Some suggestions

Backpacks

It always a good idea to think through your need before you buy a backpack. Should it be weather-resistant? How large do you need it to be? External pockets? TSA-friendly? Should it be able to double as a daypack? Maybe the color is important to you? I know it is to me, since I tend to hike a lot I prefer a colorful backpack in case I get lost or stuck and need to get rescued. Never happened yet, but always good to be prepared.

When choosing a backpack it is important to think about convenience. What if what you want at this moment in the middle of street are at the bottom of the backpack? Several exterior pockets with easy access are an great option. Openings for usb-charger and headphones are a great plus and the specific pocket for a laptop. This backpack is TSA-friendly, in case you need to check it in and are worried about your valuables.
Another option is this a little more simple backpack from Under Armour. With a highly abrasion-resistant bottom you can put it down wherever you are, and since it is water-resistant bad weather is not a problem. Probably a good option if you plan to walk around a lot in varied weather conditions. This one is also a little more discreet than the first one, if you prefer that.

Suitcases

As with backpacks there are lots of options with suitcases. And there are pros and cons with them all of course. If you go for a hardshell suitcase your belongings will be more protected, but the shell may crack and you will not be able to overpack. A soft shell will not be protect your belongings but will not crack either if you drop it or hit it with something. And it is easier to overpack. Also consider the size of the suitcases, how many wheels and handle.

A tip is to either buy a model and color the are uncommon or use stickers or other things to make it uniquely yours. It will be much easier to find on the baggage band if you do.

This model from Coolife would be good choice if you want to go for the hard shell. You can find it in many colors so you can choose your favorite. It is also available in three sizes in case you wand one that can double as carry on and one larger for those longer trips where you need more space. With this model you will also get a builtin TSA-friendly lock for safety.
This option from TravelPro are a very close match to my own choice that are no longer available, both in design and color. A soft shell, but still durable and both interior and exterior pockets. As most other quality suitcases this one is also TSA-friendly. This item is a top of the line model that also includes external usb-port, and you can never get enough of usb-ports and powerbanks!

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