Long trips, short trips – we love them both! I get such a charge out of every element of trip planning: brainstorming ideas for our next getaway, researching accommodation, reading up on local eats and things to do, the wistful weeks of anticipation after booking. Just about everything except for packing.
If you’re just zipping out of town for a few days, choosing what to pack shouldn’t be too daunting. You want to have all the essentials to hand but at the same time not be weighed down with too much wardrobe. I also like to make sure there’s a little room left over in case I spot something irresistible!
Once I realized what a travel junkie I am, I decided to invest in some lightweight yet durable and practical luggage. So I put on my super sleuth hat and delved full tilt into the world of overhead-compartment-suitable rolling suitcases, garment bags, and other carry ons.
While there’s a certain relief to checking your bags and strolling through the airport luggage-free, on a short trip you really want to make the most of your time on the ground. Waiting around at baggage claim can be a major exercise of patience when you’re itching to get yourself into a taxi and start your adventure. Not to mention that some airlines actually have the gall to charge you for checking luggage. I’d rather spend my money on a romantic night out, wouldn’t you?
Cabin baggage guidelines issued by the by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are as follows:
- Maximum length: 22 inches (56 cm)
- Maximum width: 18 inches (45 cm)
- Maximum depth: 10 inches (25 cm)
This includes all straps, side compartments, wheels, and so forth. However, airlines are not obliged to follow these guidelines (many are more restrictive) and IATA’s attempt to standardize a much smaller carry-on suitcase with an “IATA Cabin OK” logo a few years ago caused something of an uproar so the initiative was quickly scrapped.
There are two variations of the carry on wheeled suitcase: those with two wheels incorporated into the bottom corner of the case and those with four swivelling wheels attached to the bottom, allowing it to turn in any direction. The advantage of the two-wheeled case is that the wheels are less likely to break off during the journey, although if you don’t think you’ll ever need to check the suitcase, this isn’t likely to be a problem.
Because the wheels are partly tucked into the case, you get a little more space out of the suitcase. I admit I like the four-wheelers. Because the wheels each turn independently, the suitcase is easier to handle and has more stability. I also like that you can walk beside it when holding it in a vertical position.
A garment bag is ideal if you’ll be going out for a fancy dinner or taking in a show where you might wear a suit or cocktail dress. The suit goes on a hanger which attaches inside the bag and inside pockets hold ties and accessories. Plus there’s usually enough room for a few basic toiletries. Once all your clothes are hung, you simply zip it up, fold it over, and you’re good to go.
Most airlines allow these as carry-on luggage and some even provide a closet near the door where you can hang the bag during the flight. Garment bags are great for clothes that would otherwise wrinkle easily and they’re also lightweight and easy to carry.
Montblanc makes a particularly elegant example with multiple interior pockets, but there are options to suit all budgets if you don’t see yourself using a garment bag often. A minor disadvantage to some garment bags is that there isn’t a lot of space for things that aren’t clothes. So bulky toiletry kits are best left at home.
DUFFLE BAGS AND BACKPACKS
If your trip promises to be a more adventurous one where you’ll be hiking or don’t expect smooth walking surfaces for wheeled suitcases, a duffel bag or backpack is probably the best choice. A backpack is easier on the arms if you’ll be travelling a distance by foot. But if you’re driving to a cabin in the woods, a duffel bag works just fine. Some people also prefer duffel bags to suitcases on airplane journeys for their lightweight and compact size.
Luggage prices can vary greatly. What I’ve found is that the more reliable brands do tend to outlast anything you might find at a discount store, so in terms of frequency of replacement, they tend to even out in price over time. Whatever you decide, I hope your luggage sees you through many exciting weekend adventures! Bon voyage!