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Old 03-20-2011, 07:51 PM   #21
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If the used luggage in yard sales doesn't work for you....

Victorinox Swiss Army luggage has worked well for us. We got them on sale from sites like sierratradingpost.com. Durable, light and not too expensive.

Learning to pack efficiently and light is more important than the right luggage. Google for videos on how to pack. You are certain to learn some tricks.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:21 PM   #22
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In the past couple of years, I have learned to pack light. Even for a multi-week trip to Europe, I only pack a 22" suitcase (small enough to carry on) and a small shoulder bag (personal item). The suitcase is usually just about half full.

My suitcase was made by Jonhston and Murphy. Lots of pockets to keep things organized.
My small shoulder bag was made by Tom Bihn. Again, lots of pockets.

Both are durable but a bit pricey.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:24 PM   #23
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+1 on the garage sale recommendation. You can get great luggage this way.
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:28 AM   #24
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Over the years the major problems I have had with luggage is the airline tearing it up.

IMO - Stick with low cost luggage.... but find something fairly durable. I look for sales and closeouts.

Checked luggage - often get torn up by the airline... Don't invest a lot.

Carry-on luggage - Since it is not checked, it is less likely to get damaged by the airline.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:04 AM   #25
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I typically buy new luggage every couple of years, usually a different size, so they end up lasting about 5-6 years each. That said, I usually take 30-40 international business trips per year. When you travel with suits, it is best to find one that helps fold them nicely and keep them folded moderately tightly while in transit. Unfortunately, my favorite model isn't made anymore, though I keep a lookout for similar models. Probably the best built model I have is a 22in Tumi that my wife bought for me for a birthday or something a few years back. I still have it, and it is in great shape. However, it was very expensive. I still have a few years of heavy travel left, so I'm considering getting a mid-size Tumi, if it holds suits well. When we go on vacation though, I never use the suiters, just a big enough suitcase to hold the clothes and DWs souvenirs.

Final word of advice: if you fly a lot, remember that weight limits. The large size suitcases will easily go over the limit even when not expanded. Whenever we have actually unzipped the expansion compartment, we have gone overweight...better to go with 2 suitcases instead of one expandable. Also, when you fly (if you buy souvenirs) it is really a good idea to have a handheld luggage scale to make sure you are within limits. I never need it on the business trips...but when we come back to Japan from Hawaii, look out!

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Old 03-21-2011, 09:55 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=kevink;1049584]
For anyplace in the developing world, or traveling lightly by public transport in Europe for that matter, forget about rolling luggage and go for a lightweight, carry-on size soft-sided backpack. QUOTE]

A few people on the thread have mentioned backpacks. I hadn't considered them before, but the idea seems - on its surface, anyway - to be eminently practical. DH and I can each manage a backpack and they could be carried on when we fly. I'm thinking primarily of next year, when we travel to Great Britain. Once we arrive there, we will be traveling throughout the isles using local transportation.

What are the negatives? The small size? Careful packing could mitigate that. On other trips via air, instead of lugging souvenirs/purchases back with us, we would mail the stuff home.

I can see the backpacks not working so well when we get older, though.

And DH is excited about the wheels.

I've been making notes on what everyone has posted, and I really do appreciate all the recommendations and advice.

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Old 03-21-2011, 10:02 AM   #27
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BTW, just an additional packing tip.

When I travel, I usually pack "old" clothes. Even if I/DW are on an escorted tour (rather than mostly individual travel, as we do quite often), I'll take my oldest clothes (e.g. never worn in over a year) along. When I change clothes and have no use for garments for the remainder of the trip, I'll just trash them. Anyway, I don't take pride in "looking good" for others. If we're on a group tour, I'll never see these people again...

Depending on where you travel, these "contributions" are looked at as a "gift" by the people who clean the rooms we have stayed in, in some less-traveled parts of the world. More importantly, it reduces weight somewhat but more importantly leaves room to bring back those "travel treasures" you have bought along the way...
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:13 AM   #28
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Great idea!

But I have special clothes that I save just for traveling.

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Old 03-21-2011, 10:27 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
I typically buy new luggage every couple of years, usually a different size, so they end up lasting about 5-6 years each. That said, I usually take 30-40 international business trips per year. When you travel with suits, it is best to find one that helps fold them nicely and keep them folded moderately tightly while in transit. Unfortunately, my favorite model isn't made anymore, though I keep a lookout for similar models. Probably the best built model I have is a 22in Tumi that my wife bought for me for a birthday or something a few years back. I still have it, and it is in great shape. However, it was very expensive. I still have a few years of heavy travel left, so I'm considering getting a mid-size Tumi, if it holds suits well. When we go on vacation though, I never use the suiters, just a big enough suitcase to hold the clothes and DWs souvenirs....R
See, this is one of the ways I would enjoy "having" to spend $300K a year --I'd buy really really good luggage like Tumi without even thinking about the cost, and it would probably pay for itself in the long run vs. the random 3 pieces for $69 set from Sears that's good for about five trips.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:38 AM   #30
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A few people on the thread have mentioned backpacks. I hadn't considered them before, but the idea seems - on its surface, anyway - to be eminently practical. DH and I can each manage a backpack and they could be carried on when we fly.
Five or six years ago I think the Kaderlis were using roller bags but have since "lightened up" to only backpacks.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:46 AM   #31
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Great idea!

But I have special clothes that I save just for traveling.

Yes, that's me in Paris (except I only have one camera).

Je viens des États-Unis d`Amérique. Je ne parle pa Francais. Es ca vous parle anglais?
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:49 AM   #32
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What would the well-traveled ER folks recommend?
Anything that doesn't need to be checked.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:52 AM   #33
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30 year road warrior, Millions of miles by air, hundreds of thousands of miles by car, a few by mass transit.

You can't eat Costco's Kirkland Brand ballistic nylon rolling luggage for design, durability, and value, IMO. Like travelover mentioned about his LLBean bags, this stuff has a lifetime guarantee, so you really are just renting it.

Consumer Reports did a luggage test a few years back (I'm too lazy to look it up) and Costco came out on top, their <$100 rollaboard virtually tied with the >$600 Tumi.

I've had two bags replaced in the last 12 years-(when I switched to Costco brand from my trusty old Eddie Bauer garmet bag and Samsonite Hardsheel suitcase.) Costco's customer service was outstanding.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #34
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I don't think the samsonites are made like they used to be. I have a large sized roller that is not holding up very well and I only travel with it maybe 4 times per year via air and car. The zipper broke and it is very beat up.

I always buy my roller bags at tjmax - they have a huge selection, I like to see them in person etc. The swiss army bags look well made but haven't tested them out myself.

Also second the size issue - given I'm usually packing for myself and the kiddos I have the big big size roller and if it is full it won't pass the weight test on a domestic flight...there are more varieties in sizes, patterns and materials these days (lighter hard shells) etc so go look around and see what will work for you but avoid the big bags to keep your packing within bounds!

good luck...
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:06 AM   #35
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Yes, that's me in Paris (except I only have one camera).

Je viens des États-Unis d`Amérique. Je ne parle pa Francais. Es ca vous parle anglais?
Non.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:33 AM   #36
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I'm usually packing for myself and the kiddos
I just love to see the really little kids at their airport with their own miniature rolling luggage; usually in bright colors with cartoon characters, etc. Sometimes it's as big as they are, but they won't let anyone help. It's fun to watch them, they are so cute at that age..
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:05 PM   #37
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It really does depend on what sort of travel you want to do. As seasoned world travelers we've learned the freedom of traveling light, and also that we can spend months traveling in Asia or Central America for what many folks spend for a couple of rushed weeks in Europe.

For anyplace in the developing world, or traveling lightly by public transport in Europe for that matter, forget about rolling luggage and go for a lightweight, carry-on size soft-sided backpack. Check out the Rick Steves online store or Eagle Creek for options. With 2-3 pairs of high-tech (Patagonia capilene or Ex Officio) underwear and socks and versatile travel clothes you can spend months on the road with a 20-30 lb. backpack (we spent 5 months in Asia a few years ago and easily kept our packs under 23 lbs. each - and wished we'd brought less). Rolling luggage is terrible on broken pavement (or no pavement) and weighs a lot before you even put anything in it.

Check out "The Practical Nomad" by Edward Hasbrouck for a lot more info on this kind of travel if you're so inclined.
A big +1 for the capilene underwear.

you can just wash it in the sink and hang it up to dry and you are all set. they dry quickly so i usually just bring two pair and a small bottle of soap for the sink washing.. i get the long sleeve t black capilene t shirts and just wear those as a shirt most of the time along w/ a fleece top if it's too cold for just a t shirt..
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:03 AM   #38
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I just love to see the really little kids at their airport with their own miniature rolling luggage; usually in bright colors with cartoon characters, etc. Sometimes it's as big as they are, but they won't let anyone help. It's fun to watch them, they are so cute at that age..
It is! I once took a trip to visit family, it was super early in the morning and DD must have been maybe 3 years old. She had her own rolling bag and was serious about it and everyone just stared at her as she walked up to the line...of course "their" bags usually have their most important items like books and stuffed animals...
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:23 AM   #39
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I have to agree on the Kirkland brand. My 21 inch roller is 8/9 years old. It has been on many business and vacation trips. It still looks new, and more importantly the wheels and handle still work like new. It is in much better shape that my wifes set that has seen far less useage.

The more we travel, the less we seem to take. I take the 21" roller on a week long business trip or on a five week European vacaton.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:16 AM   #40
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I like luggage that have "spinner wheels"...they move in any direction, more like office chair casters. I also like luggage that have 4 wheels instead of 2. It makes the luggage more stable. I had a piece of luggage once that only had two wheels and it fell over constantly when I hooked the smaller bag over the handle of my larger bag. It was a real pain in the butt. Do a search for spinner wheel luggage.
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