Fifteen sleeps to go…and I’m at that frustrating point in travel wardrobe planning where we’re still too far out to get any realistic weather forecasts, yet close enough in that I need to review pieces I might want to include to be sure they’re clean and still in good repair. I’ll rely on lightweight layers as always, but want to get the right mix between cooler and warmer items. By next week I should have a better sense of it, and will share some of my core pieces.
In the meantime, let’s talk luggage. For the last five years, I’ve traveled with only carry-on luggage, and have been quite happy with my choice. This year is going to be an anomaly; due to a project of sorts I’ve signed up for while we’re in Paris, I’ll need to bring extra clothing and shoes I normally would not travel with. I’ll still put together a 12-piece travel wardrobe that will serve for the rest of the trip apart from this project, but with the additional outfits, there’s just no way around bringing a larger, checked bag.
For carry-on travel, I’ve been very pleased with my Briggs & Riley “Transcend” Wide Body Spinner. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, fits in overhead bins*, and the interior has amazing capacity for a bag its size. I’m a convert to spinner bags, which save strain on my shoulders and back, though the wheels do add some weight.
Le monsieur (who does not travel carry-on, and questions my sanity for willingly doing so) has used a Briggs & Riley “Torq” medium spinner for the last few trips, and has also been pleased with his choice. I considered one of those, then saw the newer “Sympatico” line (shown above) which is almost 2 pounds lighter for the same size bag. I was also considering the medium-sized version of the Transcend, which is expandable. I wish it were available in colors besides black and red, though. For checked luggage I’m trying to avoid a black bag which blends in with a sea of others on the baggage carousel, and the red color is just too jarring.
Yes, there are less pricey bags on the market, but we’d read glowing recommendations for Briggs & Riley from frequent travelers, and were impressed with the company’s lifetime guarantee on their products. I’ve had less well-made luggage fall apart on me en route, so quality and durability are prime considerations. I’ve done a lot of side-by-side comparing of weights, features, and capacities of many different brands of luggage, and keep coming back to this one for the quality and features.
- For a very lightweight carry-on, I’ve used and liked the Lipault Paris 22″ spinner. I’m not sure whether this model has been discontinued, but notice that the colors available are more limited (pink, purple, brown) than they were a few years ago. You can stuff a LOT in this little bag and still lift it up and fit into the overhead bin. I moved away from this style only because it sometimes tended to tip over when packed full, and the soft structure made it harder to rest another bag on top. Still, it’s a great little carry-on.
- I’ve read many good reviews for the Delsey Helium line, though I haven’t seen an option in the 27″ size I’m looking for.
- I’m a big fan of using packing cubes, especially for multi-destination travel. They both organize and compress clothing, and make unpacking and re-packing a breeze. I use the packing envelopes for items that need to be folded, like men’s buttoned shirts. (Le monsieur’s shirts and trousers arrive wrinkle-free, even after 15-hour flights.)
Do you check bags or carry on? Do you prefer hard- or soft-sided luggage?
*please double-check your airline’s carry-on size requirements; some are more stringent than others.