Which bags to use when travelling?
You would imagine in this current age and time, that this would be a synch. ‘A four wheeler suitcase of course!’ I hear you say. The thing is that even your travel bags will depend on the style, location, purpose and duration of your travels.
I would recommend using a backpack if you foresee travelling a lot between locations and using local/ ground transportation. I.e. if you were planning on hoping on a train or a bus and travelling through at least four locations in two weeks, a backpack is the way to go. In Europe you need to watch out for cobblestone pavements. Wear proper shoes with solid grip footing. You can still achieve this looking cute in a pair of good ballet flats.
Reason being, you’re going to be on the move, a lot. You’re going to need your hands free to grab onto tickets, passport, your money to pay the ticket as well as probably a camera to take quick shots. You want to be able to quickly hoist up your luggage and run after your bus if you need to. Now try imagining running after a bus with a rollie bag, and having your rollie dragged through the puddles of Bangkok. Not.Fun.
The Duffel Bag
Maybe it’s thanks to LeSportSac, but somehow I tend to see the trend of carrying duffel bags popping up around Asia. You can find them in nice bright colors and somehow tend to always be on sale in the duty free zone.
I recommend using a duffel bag if your trip is less than a week and you can be a semi-light packer. Truth is, you can stuff five – seven dresses easy (rolled up), one extra ballet flat (no sneakers), your wires, toiletries and makeup and still make the 10kg carry-on weight limit (in Asia).
If you’re doing a trip this short, I assume you’re not travelling very far (and of course not very long) and won’t be doing multiple stops. Maximize your time on the ground by making sure this can be a carry-on bag and therefore avoid the hassle of waiting for your bags in the baggage area.
The Soft-Top Rollie Suitcase
This has become ubiquitous with travel nowadays. Run through any airport in the world and you’ll see grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncle and even little kiddies running around dragging their luggage behind them.
Feel safe in the knowledge that you can typically fall back on this as an option if you are unsure about your travels. Be mindful of course of the fact that the hard metal frame back does add weight to your carry-on weight limit, and that a four wheeler will without a doubt have less space than a two wheeler. A two wheeler typically has its wheels embedded into the bag rather than to have the bag placed pretty much on stilts (as is the case in the four).
Also, given that the metal frame already adds some weight (~1-2kg depending), be prepared for the fact that you may have to sometimes chuck it in to a check-in, especially in Europe where there are very strict weight limits. We are also starting to see the same trends in Asia.
My warning: Don’t spend a lot of money on a branded or fancy carry-on. Even if you do adhere to the weight limits, you may sometimes be flying on turboprop planes (i.e. Vientiene to Luang Prabang) in which case your suitcase will get chucked into check-in regardless.
Travel time frame: Probably only a week, especially if you are on a corporate/ pleasure trip. (At least three pairs of shoes can fit into that luggage max no?)
The Hard-Top Rollie Suitcase
I only recommend this if you are carrying seriously fragile hand carry items. The hard cover on these babies means without a doubt you will be carrying extra weight (ok, there are those that focus on the materials being lightweight). The hard cover also means that it would be very difficult for you to stuff that last-thing-you-just-had-to-buy into your luggage since it doesn’t have much give. There’s a pretty good chance if the plane is almost full with limited luggage space, the flight attendants may ID your bag to be chucked into the check-in. (Hey, it would probably look heavier and more durable than a soft-top suitcase)
Travel time frame for this would probably again be only about a week. And if you’re probably on your way to a diamond convention, or a camera convention, or a toy collector’s convention or something
Honestly? The only time you can probably do this and get away with it nowadays would be if you had your own private plane. Or are travelling business/ first class… or are cool oldies from pre-1970’s. The limited size, space and lack of tires make it difficult to lug around for a semi-long trip.
The classic feel of this is thanks in part to Louis Vuitton and their original trunk that was advertised as being to float in case a ship went down. Somehow travelling with a trunk will continue to evoke those beautiful memories of travel back in the heyday.
Though of course nowadays they have trunks with rollies too, so I guess you could revive the trend in a hip cool way.
(The gorgeous Centenary Globe Trotter suitcases)