Choosing the right Bags & Backpacks for travel

As with so many things in life, it's usually a good idea to get the best quality you can afford. Airline travel in particular can be tough on luggage and you won't save money if you have to buy new bags for each trip. Even worse would be if the bag doesn'


As with so many things in life, it's usually a good idea to get the best quality you can afford. Airline travel in particular can be tough on luggage and you won't save money if you have to buy new bags for each trip. Even worse would be if the bag doesn't survive the trip.

 
Infrequent travelers or those who use a number of different bags and carry them on-board can manage with less sturdy fabrics and thus less expensive bags.
 
Travelers who check the same bags frequently need sturdy luggage to withstand the rigors of the road. The more you travel, the more you require durable luggage.
 
A suitcase with wheels will help make your trip through an airport, bus terminal or train station easier. Even with wheels, a good rule-of-thumb is to only take bags that you can lift by yourself - into a cab, up a flight of stairs, etc.
 
A duffel bag could be the best solution if you're joining an organized group or don't expect to have to carry your own luggage. These soft zipped bags are strong and light, can fit into awkward spaces and are easily carried by porters or pack animals.
 
Choose material that won't rip and then remove or stow any shoulder straps, pull handles, or other loose elements that could get caught on a conveyor belt.
Leather looks good and is sturdy but it's also heavy.
 
For sheer toughness, the traditional hard cases do best although they will be heavier than the most popular style currently which is a soft-sided case built on a sturdy frame.
 
While a hard-sided shell has the advantage of being resistant to stains and can - if well packed - protect fragile items the corners can crack or dent when they receive severe blows.
 
Less expensive bags might be made of 600 denier Polyester. More expensive, and sturdier bags, might be made of 1000 denier Cordura or a ballistic nylon. These fabrics provide far better wear quality.
 
Denier (sometimes represented as ""d"") is a measure of the fineness of a fabric. The higher the denier the stronger the fabric. Look for a minimum of 600-1800 denier polyester toward the least expensive end and 500-1000 denier Cordura or 1800 to 2500 denier ballistic nylon at the more expensive end.
 
Cordura resists abrasion, puncture and general wear extremely well. Ballistic nylon performs as well or better and is smoother and attracts less dust and lint.
 
Choosing carry-on luggage Airlines have varying standards for carry-on luggage, particularly between regular and commuter flights and airlines operating in other countries.
 
Verify with your carrier - not the travel agent, who may not have current information - to ensure that you have what is required.
 
If your ticket is purchased directly from an airline, the inside flap of the ticket folder often shows the carry-on baggage restrictions. You may also be able to find this information on-line at the carrier's web site.
 
Some, but not all, airlines allow a second bag which could be a briefcase or laptop style computer bag, a tote bag, soft carry-on or cosmetic bag.
 
A commuter airline, by contrast, may have very restrictive requirements - possibly allowing only a single relatively small bag or briefcase.
 
A wheeled backpack can be a great solution for a carry on bag. Wheels give you the option of pulling the backpack when changing planes, but wearing it when you need to pull or carry other things.

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