Sensible Luggage For Trying Travel Times

Now that airlines are charging passengers to check a bag and the rules for carry-ons have changed, it pays to know which bags will fit within the guidelines. We'll get some tips on that, plus advice on choosing luggage that will stand up to miles and miles of traveling. (Producer: Vikki Bert) iStockphoto

If you plan to travel this summer, new rules and fees for luggage make airline travel more complicated.

So, on The Early Show Saturday, Fodor's Senior Editor Doug Stallings spotlighted luggage that could help things easier, and offered tips included in "Fodor's 1,001 Smart Travel Tips."

Stallings noted that not all luggage is created equal: Even bags of a similar type vary tremendously from manufacturer to manufacturer, so when you're buying one, you should always look closely at a few simple things: their size (are they carry-on-able?), construction quality (which is much more important if you plan to check luggage), and, of course, cost.

Among the features to look for:

  • Heavy-duty nylon material (thinner material is more likely to leak water if it gets wet)

  • Heavy-duty zippers (zippers are the most likely thing to break on your bag); they should be metal and heavy-duty.

  • Strong Wheels (either heavy-duty plastic or metal/plastic; the latter is especially important for checked luggage, because wheels are the second-most likely thing to break on your bag)

  • Ergonomic handles (curved handles are easier on the wrist)

  • You can get a bag with a large open compartment if you want to use packing folders and cubes or if you like to bundle-wrap your clothing

    Stallings observed that expensive doesn't always mean better, but really cheap luggage is almost always less secure and sturdy.

    Carry-On limits most domestic airlines: 22" x 14" x 9"; check with airlines to be safe, before packing.

    Stallings said airlines have been discussing restoring the sizing templates on x-ray machines to enforce size requirements.

    BAGS STALLINGS SAYS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER:

    Heys Xcase


    Carry On Luggage
    Average Cost: $70 - $100
    COOL FEATURES: Durable polycarbonate case. Extremely lightweight for a hard-case (five pounds). Polycarbonate is durable (more durable than nylon, some say). Water just rolls off case, but can enter through zipper. Has sloping, ergonomic handle

    Red Oxx Skytrain

    Carry On Luggage
    Avgerage Cost: $255

    COOL FEATURES: Handmade in USA, and great construction. Superior hardware, zippers and materials. Lightweight (three-and-a-half to four pounds lbs), but full-size. No Wheels. Backpack straps can be concealed. Heavy-duty, durable nylon fabric will repel water. Extraordinarily well-made.

    Eagle Creek Centerline Hovercraft 20

    Durable enough to be checked or to carry on
    Average Cost: $185
    COOL FEATURES: Lightweight. Good wheels, for those who don't want to carry their bags. Has some special built-in packing aids. Designed especially to hold Eagle Creek packing folders and cubes. Zippers are well-made, heavy and durable. Strong handles. Fabric will repel some water.

    Travelpro "Walkabout Lite 2"

    Checked or Carry On
    $99
    COOL FEATURES: The original airline stewardess bags. Superior bag, big carry on, great cost. Superior material. Superior frame and wheels

    Samsonite "Silhouette 10" Softside Expandable Spinner 26"

    Checked luggage
    $249.00
    COOL FEATURES: Four wheels add stability and mobility. Spinner wheels make moving the filled bag much easier. Superior material -- Tricore nylon is rated as more resistant to tearing than regular ballistic nylon. Fairly light for a large bag.

    Find these bags at:

    www.Ebags.com

    Macy's Department Stores

    www.redoxx.com

    www.tombihn.com

    www.samsonite.com
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