Choose lug­gage with form and func­tion in mind

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - TRAVEL - By Joanne Sasvari

WHEN it comes to lug­gage, keep one thing in mind: The root of the word is “lug,” as in, you ac­tu­ally have to lug that thing around. So you’d bet­ter get some­thing that you won’t want to leave on the carousel at LAX or toss off the train as you de­part from Avi­gnon. There are count­less dif­fer­ent styles, sizes, prices and lev­els of qual­ity when it comes to lug­gage.

The big­ger the bag, the more you’ll be tempted to pack and the more likely you are to in­cur out­ra­geous over­weight charges. Re­mem­ber, too, that while avi­a­tion au­thor­i­ties may ap­prove cer­tain sizes for carry-on lug­gage, the ac­tual amount of space on the air­plane it­self may be quite a bit smaller. Also, taxis over­seas tend to be much smaller than in North Amer­ica, and your 73cm spin­ner sim­ply might not fit into the trunk of that tiny Fiat. Go smaller than you think you’ll need, and chances are it’ll be just the right size. Get tough

The down­side of buy­ing cheap, light­weight bags is that they can of­ten be flimsy, poorly con­structed and un­able to with­stand the duress of mod­ern travel. Hard-sided bags tend to be more durable, but more lim­it­ing. If you pre­fer a soft-sided bag, look for a hardy ny­lon ma­te­rial, prefer­ably wa­ter­proof, with taped seams to re­in­force the zip­pers and pip­ing or welts to pro­tect the cor­ners on the out­side of the bag. Also look for fi­bre­glass frames, which are both tough and light­weight.

In ad­di­tion: Make sure the han­dle is sturdy, firmly at­tached, the right height for you, and that it feels good in your hand. Shoul­der straps for duf­fels, back­packs and gar­ment bags should be wide, padded and re­in­forced where they are at­tached to the bag. Wheels should roll smoothly, be spaced as widely apart as pos­si­ble and, ide­ally, be re­cessed into the frame of the bag so they are some­what pro­tected. Lock it up Do not even con­sider check­ing a bag with­out a lock. It’ll pro­tect your stuff from thieves, but also keep your bag from pop­ping open mid-tran­sit. And that in­cludes your carry-on — more and more, trav­ellers are ex­pected to check carry-on and lap­top bags at the gate, and you sim­ply don’t want to leave your valu­ables vul­ner­a­ble to temp­ta­tion or bad luck. Make sure your lock is TSA-ap­proved, which means if bor­der guards need to in­spect your bag’s con­tents, they can re­lock it in­stead of break­ing off the lock and leav­ing you vul­ner­a­ble to pil­fer­ing.

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