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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Travel Light and in Style

Every time I go to an airport, I’m surprised by how few people have unique carry-on bags and even suitcases they check. Maybe they don’t want to stand out and like to read the tag on every bag that passes on the conveyor belt to make sure the one they are picking us is actually theirs. It could be that they just don’t care what their bag looks like as long as it holds clothes and rolls well. You don’t have to be a boring traveler, though. Let your carry-on say something about you and your personal style.
Chances are, if you are hoping to save money on your trips, you are trying your darnedest to fit everything you can into a carry-on bag (and your purse). That means that you won’t be checking that bag and you’ll be dragging it everywhere you go – at least until you get to your hotel. Do you want to tote around some boring black bag that looks like everyone else’s and gets lost in a crowd? Sure, black goes with everything, but it’s much easier to spot a bag that is colorful and nobody will mistake your bag for theirs in the overhead compartment of the plane.
Look for a bag that fits your needs and then find a color or pattern that fits your personality. There are going to be a million more bags that come in black than any other color, but that makes it a challenge and also will give you that much more satisfaction when you finally find “your bag”. I look for sturdy wheels, a long handle (since my husband may be pulling the bag at any point), a top and side handle for easy handling and separate compartments. I’m not one to be happy with a bag that is basically a box with wheels. I like pockets and separators and the ability to expand it if necessary. Make sure the bag you choose has a warranty of some kind and is built to last. There’s nothing worse than having luggage that falls apart when you are in the middle of your trip.
Saving on travel is great, but your carry-on is not where you want to skimp on cost if you don’t have to. Find the bag, then find the deal on it. I say, if you end up paying $300 for a great bag that you love and is sturdy enough to last you for years, it’s worth it in the long run. A round-trip for your checked luggage can cost you an average of $50. Take six trips and your carry-on bag has paid for itself in fees you didn’t pay, because you could take it on the plane with you. It’s not often you will find a bag that retails for hundreds of dollars and not find it on sale somewhere, so make sure you shop around. Amazon often has great discounts on bags, but you can also browse the sales at eBags and other luggage outlets online. Don’t be afraid to check out eBay as well. Many times you will find a gently used bag or a brand new one for much less than other places online.
Being the bag-lover I am, I have a selection of carry-on bags that I rotate when I travel. Some bags are good for one kind of trip and others for a different kind of trip. If you travel a lot, you may want to acquire a few. Each can reflect your personal style in a separate ways and work for weekend trips, longer trips or family trips. Maybe you’re taking a getaway with the girls where you will only need a few outfits and your beauty bag. It may be much smaller than a carry-on you take on a long vacation with your family. Don’t forget to check to be sure whichever bag you choose fits within the airlines’ carry-on size limits, too. A great carry-on will make you proud to haul it around airports and hotel lobbies and get you even more excited for travel than you already were. And once you get the right bag, you can start working on your vacation wardrobe!
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