As travel restrictions are listed across the country and the globe, people are getting excited about traveling again – but as any seasoned globetrotter knows, a successful vacation takes skill, and the right gear, to execute.
In particular, if you’re going to be getting on a plane, you’re going to need to choose a carry-on bag that offers maximum function while stowing conveniently, and that can be hard to come by.
These bag styles are crowd favorites and, when packed strategically, will allow you to carry everything you need with ease.
Know What You’re Allowed
Because airlines are continuously reducing the amount of overhead baggage space relative to seating capacity, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re allowed to bring on board.
This will vary depending on the airline, but typically you are permitted a small carry-on suitcase, as well as a personal item, though you can’t be sure that they won’t make you gate check your carry-on if space is limited. Any essentials, then, should go into your personal bag, so choose that one carefully.
In addition to finding out what types of bags and how many you’re permitted to bring on board, you’ll also want to carefully plan what you pack more generally. This means paring back the excess – how many pairs of shoes do you really need? – and choosing what to wear on the plane strategically to save room in your suitcase.
Since planes tend to be cold, packing experts typically recommend wearing your bulkiest items on the flight or layering a few lighter garments that you want to bring. The more intentionally you navigate this process, the fewer bags you’ll need overall, and that’s good news when every little bit of extra weight can cost you money.
Your Carry-On: Suitcase Or No Suitcase?
When choosing what to bring onto the plane, the main question you’ll want to consider is whether or not you want to travel with a traditional suitcase or scale your carry-on items down so that you can move through the airport more easily. This will depend on a number of factors, such as how long your trip is and whether you’ll be checking other bags, but you also have the option to switch out a cumbersome rolling suitcase for a smaller, easier to handle weekender.
Traditional carry-on luggage comes in both soft- and hard-sided options, as well as in traditional roller styles versus multidirectional spinner-style wheels. Many find that the spinner-style wheels are much easier for navigating the airport and sidewalks since the wheels don’t get stuck on edges as easily, causing the suitcase to topple sideways. The difference between hard-sided and soft-sided cases, however, is largely one of personal preference.
The most common alternatives to a conventional suitcase are a weekender-style duffle bag or a hiking backpack, though the latter isn’t always suitable for carrying onto a plane, since they can be quite large. If you don’t need to carry too much, however, a weekender is a good way to keep your hands free and they often fit under the seat, making it less likely you’ll have to check it when space is at a premium.
Picking A Personal Item
Though most people cram the majority of their possessions into a carry-on and then bring their usual “daily carry” in a personal item, when traveling it’s important to be strategic about every detail. That includes choosing a personal item that you can use for more than just travel purposes, but which will do double-duty as part of your travel wardrobe. So, what are your best options?
As with anything else, what type of personal item makes the most sense for your trip will depend on your destination and personal style, but one option you might consider is a fashionable, but versatile leather backpack like those available from PortlandLeatherGoods. Unlike a more traditional school bag-style backpack, this kind of bag pairs well with more stylish outfits, but is still large enough for common travel essentials like a laptop or tablet, toiletries, wallet, and umbrella. Plus, choosing this bag style eliminates the need to pack an additional daily bag; you can just transfer items between bags back at your hotel and use your backpack while out on the town sightseeing.
Of course, while a stylish leather backpack will eliminate the need for another daily use item, meaning one less thing you’ll need to pack, if you’re going on a more outdoorsy trip, then you may be better off with a travel-specific daypack.
Large and designed for efficient packing, these bags are ideal for people who want to minimize how many items they travel with and squeeze as much as they can into a small amount of space. They also tend to be waterproof and may include locks or other safety features, as they’re often made for backpackers staying in hostels or other semi-public places.
Packing Pro Tips
Whatever bags you decide best suit your travel style and destination, there are a few factors you should take into consideration when packing for a trip. That includes ensuring everything is labeled with your contact information, following TSA guidelines for liquids, and photographing what you pack. This last step may seem strange, but experts recommend doing so because it will help you make an insurance or lost item claim if something happens to your luggage while you’re traveling.
Another thing you should remember when packing is that you’ll likely make some purchases during your trip, and it’s unlikely that you’ll get rid of anything, except maybe an empty toiletry bottle or two.
With that in mind, you should make sure that you leave room for souvenirs or other purchases. Otherwise, you may find yourself fumbling with plastic bags at the airport or even buying a new bag to transport it all.
Getting back to travel will be a long-awaited joy (and a boon to many areas’ economies), but don’t let an unsuccessful packing job get in the way of you enjoying your trip. Pick your bag carefully, keep a careful eye on what goes into luggage, and enjoy!
After so much delay, adventure awaits you just around the corner.