4.02.2012


Can we talk about luggage?

It is time to own up to the fact that I am no longer a free wheeling backpacker. And next month when I board a plane with a baby (by myself!) I will be checking luggage for both of us, and that includes a damn car seat. Does this mean I need to put on my big girl panties and..... buy a suitcase with wheels?

I don't even know where to start. Newsflash:  my budget is not huge. Do you have any suggestions? Where to shop? What brands to look at? What to look for and what to avoid?

vintage backpacker cover, thanks to miss moss.

24 comments:

  1. I will confess this awful thing on the internet. I have been using the same carry-on suitcase w/ wheels for the past 8 years. My mom got it at Harris Teeter with her VIC card. It has a bandana tied around the handle to indicate that it is mine in the event that I actually have to check it through.

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  2. Try Marshall's first if you're going for practicality. They have brand names with really cheap prices. I've gotten a rolling carry on made my Columbia for $50 and a big rolling duffle made my Timberland for less than $100.

    goodluck!

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  3. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Ross and TJ Maxx! Hint: pick out a few and try them out around the store. How easy is it to pull the handle up with one hand? When you're carrying the baby will you be able to pull the suitcase around a corner or is the base heavy on top of cheap rickety wheels? You'll be able to feel the difference right away.

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  4. Yep - totally agree with Haley and Anonymous. I splurged on my last suitcase and bought directly from Samsonite because I had a discount and needed something bigger. However, I've always gone to Marshall's or TJ Maxx and gotten good deals. I traveled every week for work and used the same $80 suitcase for over a decade. They have a good selection. Definitely try them around the store and make sure the handle goes up and down easily and that the wheels roll smoothly.

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  5. Olivia11:01 AM

    Whatever you do, get one with wheels that rotate to roll when you're pulling the suitcase behind you and when you're walking it beside you. They are so much easier to handle.

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  6. Yes to all of the above. I bought a great rolling suitcase for $69.99 at Marshalls (try Sisley and Ricardo brands) - it fits all of my things and all the kids clothing (I have two) PLUS diapers for an entire week. Every time I check the bag the weight is just at 49 lbs and is super easy to maneuver even with a baby in a sling and a toddler in a stoller...you can then stack the car seats on top of the suitcase (have the infant seat handle open and place it around the suitcase handle with seat straddling the front of the suitcase)..I know that it all sounds crazy but it works. Oh, and don't even bother bringing the car seat base - the basket will safely strap into the car at your destination. Good luck!

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  7. YES to all of the above. I've had great luck at Ross and TJ Maxx. But the suitcase I use the most was part of a set my mom bought at Costco. If you find one and you're not sure about the quality of a certain model, download the Amazon app. It has a barcode scanner so if the original tags are on it, you can scan it and see how it's rated. Best tool ever.

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  8. I bought mine at Marshalls and it has been a great case. My sister is always borrowing it. It's a small one, but if you need an extra or you would like to borrow one as a test, just let me know. I have two.

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  9. Anonymous7:33 PM

    muji has some good looking ones, not as cheap as mentioned above, and perhaps not the rustic aesthetic I associate you with just from reading your blog ;), but simple & clean.

    http://www.muji.us/store/bags/suitcases.html

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  11. I don't know if you have Kohl's in your city, but I got a super cute, super decent deal on pretty purple suitcase there. It makes me happy every time I grab it from the closet, the overhead, and the luggage carousel.

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  12. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Or the other option is the luggage cart (one @ muji too), then you could carry any kind of bag(s) which might actually be more convenient

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  13. We invested in Titan luggage a few years ago, and I have been really happy. They have a 5 year warranty and just replaced my bag after the last one cracked (which was probably the airline's/my fault as I packed it half full). I would think the key is having 4 wheels, I think they are called 360 bags. I don't have a baby, but I lug a crap-ton of photo equipment back and forth between Germany and the US and those 4 little wheels really help.

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  14. I actually found my two favorite pieces of luggage at Costco of all places - a nice roomy duffle and a smaller rolling suitcase, which are both really durable and high quality. They've both been all over Europe, Australia and back. I can also vouch for Marshalls and Ross finds. You might want to check out One Kings Lane, too. I saw they were having a sale on Samsonite ending in a day or two.

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  15. I've been hearing bits here and there about a company called Lug Less (http://www.lugless.com/) .. an option to ship your luggage (often times at a cheaper cost than checking) to your destination. sounds like it could be legit.

    x

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  16. ...might make it easier traveling with the babe. good luck on finding luggage! (not sarcastic!)

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  17. Been reading through since a few days, and loving every page of it ❤
    2 advices for travelling with baby (I've done it really often): if you can, check in the car seat, I found it really useless to have on board. It should be checked in free of charge. Invest in a good BAG on wheels: it's an investment that will last very long and carry a lot, so opt for a NorthFace bag. Am sure there are some great online outlets in the US.
    And finally, the life saver when travelling with a baby: a baby carrier!!! I am crazy about my Ergobaby because it's the best physiological carrying for baby, and me, and I am still using it today with a 18 months old on my back, and count on using it much longer. At the airport, baby naps in the carrier. After take off, baby needs to nap, hop, in the carrier, stand up 5 minutes, move a bit, and baby will just sleep in no time :)
    Good luck with everything!

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  18. Briggs and Riley! Lifetime guarantee. Got mine at Nordstrom Rack.

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  19. I third or fourth going to TJMaxx and Marshall's if your budget is under $100. I used an orange Ricardo (I think?) thing for seven years -- it went everywhere, China, Paris, Italy -- until it came out of a Delta cargo hold covered in some sort of pink sticky goo, and then I went to the REI in Denver and bought this: http://www.rei.com/product/795112/rei-inside-passage-wheeled-luggage-22

    And it is fabulous. A little heavy, but not one single scratch four years later. Lots of interior pockets, expands, doesn't tip over. And if you buy it before the 15th, you can get 20 percent off with a membership coupon. Worth it.

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  20. Best Roller Luggage ever -- Gravis and Burton Roller Bags.

    Patagonia Rollers are good too, for the bigger models. They are not impervious, but they are sturdier than most. They used to have a policy at Patagonia where if the bag got damaged in any way for years and years after purchase, they would exchange your beat up bag for a new one at no cost. I don't think they are doing that anymore, but I would look into it.

    I have a Burton Carry-On Roller that I have had for 12 years and it's in great shape. They use rollerblade wheels that are quiet and durable. They have tons of pockets in all the right places and they hold up to 12 years of irresponsible global nomadism. It's been on helicopters, thrown out of sea planes....It's like a family member at this point....

    (I feel very strongly about good luggage.....sorry)

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  21. I bought one with wheels at Target, which has last for years. But don't worry about traveling alone with a baby. When I flew alone with my son during his baby/toddler years, people came out of the woodwork to help me at the airport--getting on and off the plane, stowing my carry on and so on. I didn't even have to ask. It was such an amazing feeling to automatically get so much support.

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  22. How did the travel go? I am staring at the 2 Eastpac rucksacks and duffel bag in front of me (in preparation for our first flight with the baby to Sicily tomorrow...which gives me a little of the sweats) and wondering if we ought to suck it up and buy Proper Luggage. But, but... I'm not convinced they're that much easier?

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  23. Also, more usefully: Which.co.uk (the consumer testing group) did a family luggage test and Antler brand was the best buy and had a couple in th top 5 - antler.co.uk - the styles were the New Size Zero in Medium and the Duolite. Not super cheap, but half the price of Samsonite. Perhaps a brand worthy look.

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