Getting the most expensive bag of the lot doesn’t make a light traveler out of you. Below is a list of the best eight travel tips for choosing the right carry-on.
Tip #1 Find out your airline’s weight limit for carry-ons
Once you step into the luggage section of any department store, sales people will crowd you and probably convince you to buy a bag that’s bigger than what you need. Remember that most of the expensive packs in this section are for camping. You’re purchasing a bag for a weekend getaway whenever you take the plane. Most airlines only allow up to 15kg for carry-ons. Buy a bag that’s just small enough for this weight limit.
Tip #2 Always go for quality
Look at the hems and stitches of your carry on. If you can find a water-proof carry-on bag with double or even triple stitching, choose that one. You’ll need something tough which you can use every time you travel. You’re trying to establish that habit of traveling light. You won’t be able to stick to the habit if you think you have the option to keep on changing bags. Sturdy one bags are always the way to go.
Tip # 3 Consider Transportability
Carry-ons are convenient because you don’t have to wait around for the roller machine to deliver your bag to you, if it’s still there. A lot of bags are lost during check in because they’ve been loaded to the wrong plane if they were loaded at all. Some airlines have developed a notorious reputation for losing luggage all the time, so you would want to carry your own bag.
Since you’re taking the bag with you, expect to carry it from the airport’s doorway to the plane’s seat, and down the plane again. Look for packs with comfortable shoulder pads because you will need protection. 15 kg is not an easy load to carry. If you can find a bag with wheels but can be carried as a backpack or a shoulder bag as well, choose that one.
Bags with wheels are convenient because they don’t strain your back, but you’d want another option, say, if you’re transferring from the plane to the bus to the boat. On the other hand, backpacks without wheels are handy during camping trips, but they’re also inappropriate for business trips. Convertibles give you the best of both worlds.
Tip #4 Look at the shape of your bag
Consider all your necessities and how they’d fit inside your bag. If you pick something too narrow, then you might have trouble packing your clothes unless they can all be rolled. Business women who like to pack a new outfit for each day, complete with its own set of underwear and stockings to match, should remember that hand luggage is the perfect place for all the smaller items. Fashion conscious travelers like this, should always remember to leave enough room in their hand luggage for brought items at the city of their business. This way they should avoid excess weight costs from their main luggage being over limit. This is not a problem if most of your travels are for leisure and you’re taking cotton shirts and pants. For business travelers, a wider luggage which allows you to fix your pressed shirts in place should be the better choice.
Each traveler has his own packing needs so there’s no distinct rule about the shape of one’s “one bag”.
Tip # 5 Avoid Curves
Curvy bags may look more aesthetically pleasing, but they actually limit the volume of your luggage. Just look at your home’s closet. They’re always made with edges, right? The same rule goes for your one bag. If you’re going to be away for more than two nights, curved backpacks which make it close to impossible for you to pack anything on top would be highly inconvenient.
Instead, you should choose boxier looking bags instead. You’ll find that it’s also easier to pack your things when the bag shape is more regular.
Tip # 6 Know what Fabric to Look for
Aside from the number of stitches they used at the seams, you should also look for bags that have the right fabric. It’s not recommended for you to choose bags with hard shells because they’re too heavy. You’d want as many things in that allowed 15kg. Since you’ll be close to your carry-on the whole flight, you don’t need hard-shell protection for your things.
What you do need is a sturdy but lightweight fabric which is easy enough to carry but strong enough not to break under all that weight. Look for bags that are made from industrial nylon. There are two popular variants: the Condura nylon and the ballistic. The difference between the two is only cosmetic so you can choose either one, and you’ll be fine.
Tip # 7 Choose the Chain Zipper over the Coil Zipper
Choose zipper bags over bags that hook up to lock. Better yet, choose bags with chain zippers because the coil zippers tend to break more easily. The last thing you want is for 15kg of your personal belongings bursting in the middle of the airport lounge. If you keep a laptop in that carry-on, that makes for a disastrous trip.
Test the zipper of your bag once you’ve picked something you think is sturdy enough. Make sure that the teeth of your zippers aren’t faulty, and that they’re not prone to misalignments. While you’re packing, make sure that you don’t overdo the packing. Even the sturdiest zippers will break under pressure if you try to slip in too many of your things.
Tip # 8 Look at the Warranty
This is where the price of your bag will come in. Most expensive bags have lifetime service warranties. If you’re a frequent traveler, and you think you can invest on a good brand with a long service warranty, go ahead and spend the extra bucks on it. If you don’t travel much, though, and you’re only going to use that bag for a maximum of thrice a year, then a two year service warranty should suffice.
Just make sure that your bag looks sturdy enough even if you’re purchasing it with a shorter service warranties. Some packs are extremely cheap, but usually, they don’t come with any kind of warranty at all. You would do well to avoid those bags because they might not last for more than two months.
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