How to Pick a Perfect and Comfortable Luggage for You
One of the first things that go through anyone's mind when packing is the choice of luggage. Nobody wants to be charged baggage fees for an over sized suitcase. Equally stressful is going through the hassle of trying to squeeze a duffle bag that just won't fit into the overhead compartment. Well, a few tips should help you choose luggage that's right for you.
Know Your Options
Most bags, from large suitcases to backpacks can be purchased with back straps, wheels and or retractable handles. If you opt for a bag with wheels, look for one that can spin 360 degrees, allowing for ease of movement and much better control.
Backpacks come in a broad range of sizes. Some will also have frames and others won't. Framed backpacks are ideal for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. Even your large suitcase can become a backpack if it comes with padded back straps.
Duffel bags have also evolved in the past few years. They're no longer a reserve for gym lovers. In fact, many modern types of duffel come with accessories such as retractable handles and wheels. While the traditional duffel can easily fit in the overhead cabin, it may strain your arms or shoulder if carried for long distances. To be on the safe side, consider one with back straps or wheels.
Choosing between a hard and soft bag will mostly depend on your style of travel. Unlike internal frame backpacks, a soft backpack will basically hang on your shoulders. While they may not be ideal for long walks, they're very comfortable for short distances, say from the hotel room to the train station. Soft backpacks are also perfect as hand-luggage as they can fit into virtually any overhead compartment, provided you don't pack heavy.
A soft backpack also offers the freedom of movement that comes with having both hands free- you can eat your hot-dog; walk more comfortably or pick a phone call with relatively much ease when you hands are free than when your hands are full.
Internal Frame Backpacks
These are by far the most comfortable types of bags to wear on your back as the frame removes the strain of excess weight from your shoulders (where it can hurt after a short while) and balances it on your hips. Some of them come with plenty of features depending on your taste and preference.
Soft Sided Rolling Bags
The main advantage rolling bags have over backpacks is the ease with which you can wheel it around. It also gives you the option to carry a smaller day bag, which you can also place on top of the rolling bag and wheel it too. These bags will often weigh more than backpacks, so it's best to consider one that's as lightweight as possible.
Bear in mind that rolling bags may be awkward to move around with in tight spaces or crowded subways. They're ideal for relatively roomy areas such as airports. When buying soft-sided rolling back, always pay attention to the quality of the fabric and try to find one that's as roomy as possible.
Hard-Sided Rolling Bags
These are the most ideal if you'll be carrying fragile material. The hard-outer surface offers an added layer of protection. Well, they may be a bit pricey, but they're also quite trendy. In fact, most people will admit that they look cool.
Some people can't resist the allure of rolling backpacks as they offer the best of both worlds- wheels and backpack straps. It’s great to have such flexibility, but the wheels will often add some weight to the bag, making it heavier when carried as a backpack. Most people will end up using it exclusively as a wheeled bag, but there's no harm in having the option to carry it around.
Unless you're willing, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a high-quality travel luggage. It boils down to paying attention to the details. It helps to shop around and know what the market has to offer. Consider the cost but not at the expense of decent quality. Simply make sure the bag is tough enough to withstand some wear and tear. Most reputable brands will give you a product guarantee. I Check for front and or side pouches, sturdy and neat stitching and padded shoulder straps for backpacks.
Choose One with the Right Specs
Bags come with various specs ranging from rip stop fabric and water-resistant coating to GPS-tracking and provisions for chargers. Some luggage options will even come with water sealed linings and specialized zippers. Packing cubes are a great feature to consider as well. They help to compress your clothes, keep everything organized and reduce the risk of spilling all your bags contents while trying to pull out your phone charger.
When it comes to size, it all depends on what you're planning to carry and the weight limitations of your means of transport. Nonetheless, the market for travel luggage has a more versatile option - adjustable bags. These types of bags can expand from a handy day bag to a weekend ready option and all the way to a globe-trotting volume according to your wishes.
No weekend, vacation or trip is the same. Start by getting a bearing on what you'll be carrying and bringing back before choosing to invest in travel luggage. Of course, you may have to invest in different bag types for varying occasions, but your travel style will mainly inform you decision. Moreover, no one bag's ideal for every traveler all the time. When weighing options, think about the factors that matter most to you. Go with a bag that ticks most of your important boxes, and make sure you can live with its drawbacks.
When shopping at a physical store, spare some time to test the bag. Walk around a bit, see if you like the feel of the fabric, confirm that the bag is strong and durable and check whether the handle is comfortable enough. If you'll be shopping online, try to order the bag at least a month before traveling, so you have ample time to send it back if it doesn't feel right to you.