Do you enjoy traveling?
I'm lucky enough to travel a lot with my family and for business.
I often spend time on planes and trains…
Which means bringing bags…
Packing and unpacking.
Well – everyone hates that part of traveling.
But we can minimize the hassle of it.
By finding the best bag to suit your needs.
Here are 10 luggage-buying tips to guide you in doing that.
Note: You might have to spend more – but it's worth the time saved and added convenience in all your future trips.
This post is brought to you by Genius Pack.
It's fun to go on trips…but never fun to pack or carry stuff around.
But this company's luggage – combining quality & convenience while traveling – make those things much less troublesome.
I love using their products since they always save time, physical & mental energy.
Their newest offerings:
- Built with lightweight material, easy-rotating wheels & laundry compression technology
- Multiple designated compartments (so you don't need to decide what goes where)
- Designed with convenient pouches (including a butterfly compartment for your laptop when going through airport security)
- Has an integrated mobile charger so you can recharge your smartphone anytime
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Tip #1: Buy The Right Size
Let's face it. There's nothing fun about paying extra fees for check-in luggage when your bag doesn't meet the required dimensions.
Or when you're forced to check in some delicate tech equipment…and have to pad them up with clothes to keep them safe.
That's why buying the right luggage size is crucial. If you do your homework, it can make flying much more of a breeze each time.
Follow these steps:
1. Find out the airline's baggage regulations (especially for carry-on bags). For the major airlines, you can refer to this chart on TSA Baggage Guidelines for 2017.
2. Measure your carry-on/check-in bag and check that it meets the proper dimensions.
3. Weigh your carry-on/check-in bag and check that it meets the proper weight.
Whether it's a business trip for a couple of days or a month-long vacation, always make the size and weight details a priority task – even before you start packing. It'll save you good money. It'll spare you from some stressful moments at the security gate too!
#2: Make Sure It's Lightweight
One of the best tricks to buying the right luggage is simple: the less weight the bag itself has, the better.
We can all agree that a heavier bag is less fun to travel with. It already reduces the amount of stuff you can pack. And heavier means more physically taxing – for you, the airport staff, the driver picking you up, and the bellboy in your hotel.
A lightweight and sturdy bag is always preferable. That's why I'm a big fan of the new Genius Pack Aerial Hardside Carry On Spinner.
Genius Pack takes “aerial” quite seriously so its Carry On weighs only 6.2 pounds. The check-in version is also relatively light at 7.8 pounds. Both give you plenty of weight to fill up.
And what's great about the Spinner is it's super convenient – beyond issues of weight/size. It has:
- A permanently embedded checklist of must-bring items (in case you may forget)
- A laundry compartment that's properly secluded
- Compression straps which help keep all contents secure
- Top and side handles that make it easy to hold/lift the bag
- Reinforced impact-resistant corners
- A stain/scratch-resistant material
#3: Check The Internal Capacity
Internal capacity isn't the same as dimensions. It's the storage space your bag actually has. And you want any “wasted” space inside to be as little as possible. You should find out:
Does the main cavity let you use all corners and edges to your advantage? Do the pouches take up a good amount of room?
Refer also to this checklist for short trips to avoid overpacking – which tends to be the culprit more often than the lack of internal capacity.
.#4: Look For Useful Pouches
Besides spaciousness, another big factor is the layout inside the bag (particularly with easy-access pouches).
You might keep it simple putting all clean clothes in one section and used clothes in the other. You might settle with compression straps securing items in one place. But the little things would be much easier to deal with if your carry-on has:
- A water bottle pouch on the outside – keep in mind that some airports have free water drinking/refilling stations available
- A padded electronics pouch – it should be made of knife-proof fabric and two zipper pulls (so your devices can be padlocked when they're not being used)
- A clear document window – perfect for keeping your travel papers, business contacts, etc.
- A removable laundry bag – as in a fully-zippered interior pouch which you can detach after your trip
#5: Check For Good Materials
When it comes to traveling – you also have to choose the right material for your luggage. It doesn't matter whether you want a soft-side or hard-side bag.
The beauty of soft-side luggage is flexibility. It can fit into tighter spaces. It can expand to take in more items than you initially packed. And that means saving money by not buying an extra bag for the items you bought overseas.
You can try leather for something soft-sided. But understand what makes a quality leather bag first. And while leather tends to look better over time, it also faces the risk of marks or damages.
That won't be an issue for bags made of nylon or synthetics (with tough stitching). Those are the ones that can withstand abuse better. And they're also cheaper in general.
But if your concern is protection…hard-side is your best bet. The exterior should be a polycarbonate material that's lightweight. It will act as a hard “shell” for your delicate items (like the carry camera equipment I travel with). That's exactly what GP's Aerial Hardside Carry On Spinner offers.
#6: Go With Quality Handles
You can't always avoid overpacking…but you can make sure the handles of your luggage support lots of weight (especially for carry-ons).
The best handles would have double stitching plus metal rivets for reinforcement. You can trust them to be totally durable. They won't come off despite a heavy load or being pulled on firmly.
#7: Go With Heavy Duty Zippers
Imagine this world without zippers. They're among the inventions that have really become our unsung heroes. So they should be taken seriously.
Size matters regarding luggage zippers. The larger they are, the stronger they're meant to be and less likely to break off. And they should be made from steel in order to move seamlessly every time you open and close the bag.
#8: Choose The Right Wheels
These days – most travel bag designs incorporate 2 wheels, 4 wheels or 8 wheels. So you'll want to pick the design carefully.
- Choose 2 wheels if you're more comfortable pulling your bag around than pushing it in an upright position. It's the better option if you'll have to drag your bag along a bad sidewalk or cracked/uneven surfaces.
- Choose 4 or 8 wheels if you'd rather keep your bag upright while pushing it around (like a grocery cart). It'll be less strenuous to do as long as it's on flat surfaces like airport floors.
To make life even easier, consider buying a bag with wheel mounts – and full 360-degree rotational ability. This feature means effortless maneuverability (as in you'll experience much less stopping, starting or wrist-torquing while you transport the luggage). You'll find it on Genius Pack products.
#9: Inspect The Telescopic Handle
Pay more attention to this one if you're a tall guy. Your bag should have a telescopic handle which can stretch all the way up to your waist level. Any lower than that and you’ll be bending your back just to push or pull it. And that can cause a nasty backache later on.
Secondly, check that the handle is made from steel and test how smoothly it goes up and down. Because it can really suck if your bag has a handle that ends up jamming halfway through before you check it in at the airport.
#10: Get Bags That Can Work Together As A Set
The concept here is teamwork. Wouldn't all those periods before and after flights (or even train rides) be way more relaxing if your bags complement each other? Genius Pack knows the value of this. Their Aerial Hardside Carry On Spinner has a trolley slit which you can use to attach a backpack.
And if you get their Recharging Leather Messenger (which conveniently integrates a smartphone charger into a slim bag) you can fit it inside a normal-sized backpack. The Genius Pack Commuter Backpack also has compartment pockets to store the Messenger and your laptop.
Click here to discover the 25 best ways to stay organized when you're on the road.