After spending hours drooling over a full Louis Vuitton set (pure Emily Gilmore), before our first trip to London, I got back to reality and went to the nearest discount store and bought the most attractive, matching, hard-sided roller set I could find (a carry-on and a large roller to be checked). Not only was repeatedly wheeling two bulky rollers through various start-and-stop customs lines a horrendous experience, but with fairly heavy use (several international trips per year, in addition to work travel)...they quickly fell apart. In fact, one actually cracked and met its demise on its second voyage.
After copious research (including staring at people in the airport and weirdly asking them if they liked their luggage), I decided on a few characteristics that I required for my next luggage set purchase: moderately priced, soft-sided, lift-top zip enclosure, and, most importantly, must find a solution to the double roller problem. My rationale :
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To survive the trip (and make your life easier), you should look for luggage that is:
The best luggage should:
Finding a luggage set:
Ok, so I have my criteria. Finding it was hard. First - hard-sided luggage is all the rage at the moment (one assumption being that your possessions are protected if the bag gets wet, which is true, unless it's cracked - see Rome airport comment above). Second - I absolutely refuse to sit in an airport lounge or roll into a nice hotel with hideous luggage. Third - even with ribbons on black luggage, people still get the bags mixed up and take the wrong ones at baggage claim. If possible, I wanted to avoid a black bag.
For me, the perfect combination was from London Fog (I actually bought them on Amazon - how awesome is that?). It’s cute, it’s tweedy, it zips, it’s reasonably priced, and it can lie on the floor with the flap open against the wall. Additionally, there’s a gorgeous cabin bag that solves that “double roller” problem - it has a pouch on the back that fits perfectly onto the matching rolling bag.
So, I ended up with three new pieces of luggage: the largest bag (to be checked - it's the largest size allowed on many airlines without additional charges, so keep an eye on that), the middle sized bag that can be carried on (which I will use for domestic trips where I'm not checking a bag), and the cabin bag, which I can use as my carry-on, along with my purse, for international trips.
Luggage woes solved! Keep traveling! For more on packing for a trip to Europe, check out this post: Packing for a 10-day European Vacation.
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