CHOOSING MY TRAVEL LUGGAGE

This is a photo of Janice Waugh.  I have been an avid reader of Janice’s blog SoloTraverler  for as long as I have been considering my RTW trip.  I like her blog, especially since we have matching hair color and she seems to be a down-to-earth person when talking about long-term travel.

Janice is a big proponent of traveling light – she even offers her packing list of what to put in those front and back-backpacks.  But I just couldn’t see myself loaded down like this.  So I went searching on the millions of other travel blogs for what these writers/travelers use for luggage on their RTW trips.  
Weight was the #1 factor when choosing their luggage.  The lighter the better, and that means not only the weight of the luggage, but the weight of the stuff you are going to stuff into that luggage.  
I took into consideration all the pros and cons of a backpack verses a suitcase.  I  noticed that the majority of long-term travelers who blog are just a wee bit younger (20-30 years) than me, with strong backs and legs.   They all seem to prefer backpacks.  Very LARGE backpacks.  
Another  consideration I needed to keep in mind, was that foreign airlines have different size requirements for their carry-ons than US airlines do.  US airlines use 22″ for a standard carry-on.  But I will be flying Ryan Air and Easy Jet to get around Europe. These cost-savings airlines have horribly strict luggage weight and measurement standards. (Think Spirit Airlines)  If you don’t meet their standards, you can easily pay more to bring your luggage on your flight than you do for your flight!  A very LARGE backpack can incur a very large fee.  Their standard carry-on is 19″.  
I knew I wanted luggage that I would never have to check – that would never be further away from me than in the overhead bin of the aircraft.  It would have to be lightweight, even when packed, for me to easily put it up and pull it out of said overhead bins, and meet the measurement requirements for ALL foreign airlines I might be flying.  
FYI, luggage shopping is not nearly as much fun as shopping for clothes – but there are sure a whole lot of choices out there nowadays!  I had narrowed my search down to  either a 19″ Eagle Creek or a 19″ Briggs & Riley wheeled carry-on.  Both have life-time warranties, so even if the airlines were to destroy the bag or it got chewed by an orangutan in the jungle, they will repair or replace it at no charge.   But in the end, Briggs & Riley won for two very important reasons.  
First, it’s outstanding design element.  It’s the only suitcase company that puts it’s pull-out handle-bars on the outsidof it’s bags, not in the inside.  
Think about that for a minute.  If you open any other suitcase with wheels and a pull-out handle, those bars for the handle run right down the middle of your bag, on the inside, where they are covered nicely with the cloth lining, but take up a lot of space (2 1/2 – 3″ each) and make packing difficult –  because the bottom of your bag is has two ‘ribs’ you have to pack around.   
The second reason I chose this perfectly wonderful little suitcase is – it was FREE! I was in SoCa in late September doing a little luggage shopping while babysitting my granddaughter and my oldest happened to be with me one day in their local REI-type store.  I showed him the B&R bag I liked and he got a big grin on his face and said “don’t buy it here, just come on back to the house!”  When we got back he ran upstairs and came back down with exactly the bag I was looking at – AND a matching backpack!! 
 In his line of work he gets lots of logo ‘freebies.’   He had just gotten these from one of his customers in northern Washington state.   I certainly don’t care one bit that each piece has the customer’s logo colorfully embroidered on them.  As a matter of fact I liked the idea that with the logo they would stand-out in a crowd of luggage.  
Here are some photos of my 19″ carry-on.  I realize that European cobblestone streets and hiking up stairs aren’t great for wheeled-suitcases (which is why so many travelers use backpacks).  But this one is so lightweight, with both top and side handles, as well as it’s pull-out bar, that I should be able to maneuver most any situation.
And here’s a couple of photos of my B&R backpack.  It’s very comfortable to wear, has lots pockets and places for everything you might need. With both of these well-constructed and light-weight pieces,  I will have plenty of room to pack my clothes, toiletries, gadgets and all other necessities that  I will need for my RTW trip.  In case you are interested, both my suitcase and backpack are gray.  They won’t show dirt and with their colorful logos, they will be easily identifiable.
So what’s next – WHAT TO PACK – Which mean planning an itineray!
Until then remember – 
                    “Life is either a daring adventure – or nothing!”  Helen Keller

12 Replies to “CHOOSING MY TRAVEL LUGGAGE”

  1. Hi Re, Just a note to let you know that I will also be spending Christmas alone, and yes, I get a bit teary at times, but it is really OK. I will celebrate my 66th birthday on the 26th, and I think my son and his family will be coming for that, if he does not have to work. So, I will be thinking of you and sending warm wishes to another 66 year old spending Christmas alone……Anna

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  2. I will be thinking of you, ReAnn…life throws us just enough curve balls so that we can't allow ourselves to get TOO comfortable…as you said, Enjoy your families…but also, enjoy where you are right now, for the one thing we can count on, is change…

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  3. ReAnn, First of all, Merry Christmas. I am so sorry that you are spending Christmas alone. I've done that numerous times as my daughter that lives nearby works as a CNA at a hospital, there are no holidays. My other daughter lives in another state. Over the years I have learned to enjoy the time alone. It is a good day to indulge yourself in whatever pleases you. When I first had to adjust to Christmas alone I decided if Bob Hope's family could do it all those years as he entertained the troops that I could do it too! Even though we sometimes cannot be together on Christmas we still celebrate. This year it will be Christmas. I will think of you with the hope that you are enjoying the day. It does sound like you have many good options.Donna M

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  4. A little late here, but I just want to give you a smile 🙂 and a hug {{{ReAnn}}}. And another, while I'm at it. 🙂 I spent Christmas alone this year as well – mostly by choice, I admit. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between what other people expect for/from you and what you want for yourself…I agree with Margy – enjoy family, but practice enjoying, or being just fine with, where you are right now…wherever that may be.And it's OK to be sad. BTW, that top pic of the tree is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!

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  5. I am always late to the party, but wanted to say thanks again for watching the cats and that I wish I had realized earlier that you were on your own for Christmas. You are always welcome to ride along with us to SoIll (pun 100% intentional). Let's have lunch soon. Sarahxo

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  6. Thanks! This was very helpful … I'm going to revamp my travel accessories … not sure if this combination will handle my computer, iPad and camera but I'm going to try! Does your son have another one in hiding?

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