Are you needing a new suitcase or cabin bag but don't know where to begin?
I'm Megan Singleton and I've been a travel writer and blogger for the past 17 years at www.bloggeratlarge.com, and believe me, I've seen my fair share of ripped and damaged bags, of dragging heavy suitcases with two wheels or four - or no wheels at all! I've picked up my belongings strewn along the luggage carousel and watched as my bag has slid down steps at a London train station without me, opening while the lock remains closed. Hmmm....
So I've put together this post of the things that I look for when I'm choosing new luggage to help you work out which type of suitcase will suit you best:
Choosing a suitcase
1 I like 4 wheels. You can always tip it over and drag it on 2 when that’s easier, like on carpet in hotel hallways, but most of the time 4 wheels is just so much easier. You can also throw a jacket or neck pillow through the handle and add no extra weight as the bag supports all the weight itself. It always amazes me how the wheels are not the things that get damaged either, so don’t fear the wheel if you haven’t had them before, they must test them under extreme brutality!
2 I like hard luggage or a combination of hard/soft. We currently rotate three 4-wheeled bags between us, my husband and I, and my oldie but goody has a fabric centre with a hard outer shell just along the edges. It means it’s more flexible to force shut (ahem when need be), although it also has an extender zip out.
3 I like to have the ability to zip open an extension if I over shop! An extension is a must actually and helps with that final pack before you head home.
4 I also like a bag that unzips into two halves and lies flat. The downside is that it takes up more room when it’s open and it also doesn’t fit very well on a luggage rack that some hotels provide. But it means I can be very neat and ordered in my packing with shoes and gym gear on one side, plus a jacket and things I won’t wear daily (like the gym gear!) and everything else on the other. Or if I’m travelling in different climates, I put my warmer clothes on one side and summer on the other so everything is easy to find.
5 I don’t have a preference when it comes to combination or padlock, just as long as it is an authorised TSA lock so customs can inspect it if need be without breaking the lock. Note: my loose lip glosses thrown in at the last minute caused my luggage to be inspected on two trips through the US (before I realised what had been moved)! The annoying thing is that TSA “forgot” to put my lock back on. All care, no responsibility they claimed when I Tweeted them about it. Hurrumph!
What I look for in a Cabin bag
I like a small wheelie bag and currently use one with 2 wheels so I can drag my luggage beside me in one hand each. I also make sure there is a zip pocket on the outside for my laptop for easy access without having to unzip the whole bag.
Ideally I'd like water bottle mesh on the outside too. Inside an extra pocket or two is handy for smaller items like reading glasses, headsets, slippers (yes I always take slippers on a long haul flight!)