Every season is travel season. So whether you are flying to meet relatives, taking a family road trip, going on vacation or even jet setting to work, you will need to have some kind of bag to carry your stuff. The important questions to consider are how often you travel and by what means? Considering these two factors will help you locate the best luggage to suit your needs, and the rest is just a matter of personal taste and cost.
Luggage construction is important to consider when buying a suitcase. Check out these suggestions:
** Only get luggage that has taped '''inner seams''' and zippers to reduce fraying.
** The '''exterior seams''' should be piped for reinforcement.
** If possible, the seams should be '''lock-stitched''' to ensure optimal strength.
* '''Denier''': This qualifies the strength of the fabric weave. Aim for 400 or above, or try out a leather bag. However, keep in mind that while leather looks very stylish and professional, it also requires upkeep to maintain the richness of its texture and to avoid scratching or excessive drying.
* The '''frame''' should be made of either fiberglass (lightweight), aluminum or, if necessary, heavy-duty plastic, which is lightweight but less sturdy.
* '''Handles''' should not stick out.
* '''Straps''' should be detachable and adjustable.
* Recessed, wide-track '''wheels''' are best to offer stability and balance, plus they are less likely to break.
* Go for big '''zippers''': they are more durable, less likely to fall apart and easier to use.
* Compartments are essential for keeping organized and are especially helpful to the business and frequent traveler.
Are you a frequent traveler? If you take one or two trips a year, you will probably prefer to focus more on the long-term durability of your luggage. You want a decent piece or set that is not too pricey and can adapt to your future needs, so you want something that is sturdy, possibly even a set that comes with a lifetime guarantee. You may also be interested in expandable luggage, which is the most versatile type.
If you travel often, either several times a year or even several times a week, then you will need something with maximum durability. Plus, for commuters, you will want luggage that is well organized and easy to access, with specific gadget compartments and pockets. Also, remember to get something lightweight. These models will usually cost more, but they are worth the added quality.
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Domestic Carry-On Policies
With so many restrictions on the airlines today, you don't want to be caught with the wrong size bag. To make matters worse, each airline has its own policy on size and weight. All airlines allow at least one carry-on while the majority allow passengers to bring along one personal item to be stowed under the seat. The chart below should help you avoid problems at check in. Please note that the dimensions are in linear inches. Calculate this number by adding the height, length and width of your suitcase in inches. To get a 50" linear measurement, your bag will measure 24" x 10" x 16". Please check with your airline directly before you fly. Often this information is updated faster than can be updated here. *Note - Spirit Airlines allows you to take 1 personal item free of charge and charges you for your carry-on. Please check their website for prices.
Over the past few years, there have been some serious changes to airline policies. Here are some standard policies, but '''always''' check your airline for specific policies.
* For carry-on luggage, remember the 3:1:1 rule for liquids/aerosols. You can have a three ounce (or less) bottle in one quart-size clear, plastic zip-bag and one baggie per person. This only applies to carry-on luggage!
* All adults (over 18) must present valid I.D. to pass through airport checkpoints and board their flight.
* Check the TSA website to learn about prohibited items. Just about anything that can be used as a weapon must be checked with your luggage.
* Most foods and gifts are safe to bring on the plane, but again, check the TSA website. '''Don't''' wrap any presents that you are taking onboard the plane.
* Any medication (unless you have a disability) or baby formula/breast milk must follow the 3:1:1 rule.
* Luggage Carts and Stands
* Tags: Bags look alike. Unless you've got some distinguishing feature on your case, then be sure to have a tag on it. Also, it is an important identifying factor in case the airline company loses your luggage which, I'm sorry to say, happens frequently. Many people will tie a ribbon on their luggage to distinguish it from others.
* Travel Accessories
** Cosmetics Cases
** Toiletry Kits
** Travel/Passport Wallets
* Laptop Bags: Keep your technology safe and secure. Wheeled and backpack laptop bag options are available.
* Briefcases: A must-have for the business professional. Good for storing important documents, paperwork, a laptop and the like.
* Garment Bags: 40 and 60 inch models (holding two to four dresses or suits) are meant to keep your hanging clothes neat and pressed. There are also wheeled garment bags.
* Backpacks: For the Great Outdoors, overnight trips, trekking to school and back, or multiple location backpacking trips (Eurorailing, for example).
* Pet Carriers: Fluffy needs to travel safely too. Give your pet its own space with a soft- or hard-sided carrier.
*Dopp Kits: For storing toiletries.