Knowing what and how to pack is HUGE when traveling. Overpacking can cause headaches for several reasons, so don’t forget the golden rule: less is more. But don’t spend too much time stressing over which pair of pants you want to bring or whether or not you need a full-sized tube of toothpaste! Anything you need can be found and bought while abroad.
If the most extensive trip you’ve been on is a plane ride to another city for an extended weekend, you might not have encountered the backpack versus wheelie luggage debate. Which one you choose depends on the type of trip you’re taking or perhaps a hybrid version of both is the way to go for you. For example, a cruise and a backpacking trip require very different kinds of luggage. Other factors to consider include whether you want hard or soft case luggage, fixed or spinner wheels, under seat options, and how much weight you’re okay with carrying during your trip. In all cases, I would not recommend a duffel bag that has no wheels. Your back will thank me on that one!
Also note, it pays to do your homework before you purchase. While many will claim to be carry-on-compliant your carrier may have a different set of rules. For example, the three biggest US domestic airlines state carry-on has to be 22 inches high x 14 inches wide x 9 inches deep. In general: 14″-17″ is regarded as personal/under seat, 18″-21″ is international carry on, and 22″ to 23″ domestic carry on but of course it depends on each carrier and it seems like the rules are always changing so they can charge more fees.
The following are brands I would recommend, categorized by type of luggage (not necessarily in any order):
- Luggage Brands: In addition to the above, other popular hard luggage brands include: Travelpro, Samsonite, Delsey, Victorinox, Swiss Gear, American Tourister, Eagle Creek, Tumi and now even Yeti. Also, check out many great discounted luggage websites like Luggagepros.com, LuggageFactory.com, Ebags.com, or L.L. Bean or even major department store sites like WalMart, Macy’s or Target
- Rolling & Wheeled: REI, North Face, Patagonia Yeti, or check out some high-end brands like Hartmann, Rimowa, Away, or Briggs & Riley
- Backpacks and Backpacker Style: REI, North Face, Patagonia, Gregory, Arc’teryx, Kelty, Osprey, Cotopaxi, Eagle Creek
- Carry-Ons: Rugged, sporty options include REI, North Face, Patagonia or for more elegant or traditional travel check out Luggagepros.com, LuggageFactory.com, Ebags.com