“When traveling by plane … it is vital to be able to combine the different elements of your wardrobe in various ways, thus creating the illusion of many different outfits in a minimum amount of luggage.”
- Genevienve Antoine Dariaux
In 1972, my Grandmother took me on a six-week trip to Europe. It was my first time away from Toronto. I had no idea what awaited me. We went on tours to the standard sites (Big Ben, Tower of London, the Changing of the Guards, British Museum, Portobello Road…), which prior to that time I had never heard of.
I knew at that moment that like strawberry mousse, travel would be forever a part of my life. I had been bitten by the travel bug.
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.”
- Michael Palin
Through my 11 year old eyes, London was rippling with excitement, history, music and wonderful fashions. The energy was palpable. Don McLean’s “Vincent” was top of the charts.
The only piece of luggage I took with me on this trip was a khaki green WWII duffle bag purchased at the army surplus store specifically for my first voyage. Over the years, this bag served me and many others well. I think it was finally laid to rest about a decade ago, on something like its hundredth trip, when one of my off-spring took it tree-planting. While heavy and awkward to carry around, it really was built to last.
The bag contained six weeks of clothes: one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, six tops, a dress, underwear and a swimsuit, and one pair of Oxfords which my Grandmother supplemented with sandals on our journey. Stylish travel blogging… 11 year-old style.
Since then, I have spent about 20 per cent of my life traveling. I am always on the quest for my next adventure. There are 100 Reasons to Travel, but I think for me, the biggest thrill is that every new place I go, I wear a new aspect of myself that I have never encountered and that helps me grow. I come back more comfortable in my skin.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
- Anais Nin
There are many tips on traveling well. The key to easy travel, particularly if you are moving around, is having minimal, lightweight, identifiable (not thief-friendly anonymous black), and durable luggage.
There are a number of different types of luggage you can choose from and the right choice is a function of where you are going, what you plan to do, how long will you be gone for, your size and strength, your taste and budget…
Large travel luggage can be largely classified into the following categories:
- Duffle/Kit/Gym/Gear Bag
- Wheeled Duffle Bag
- Rolling/Wheeled Suitcase
- Wheeled Backpacks
- Carpet Bag
When I was a younger and fitter me, I preferred knapsacks. At this point in my life, I prefer rolling/wheeled suitcases.
Over the years I have settled on two packing formulas:
1) Non-Grocery Travel – where I pack one carry-on bag (I generally follow Rick Steves formula); and,
2) Grocery Travel – where I pack one carry-on bag and check a large essentially empty bag that I can fill with foreign groceries and liquors (I am a serious foodie). The same formula would work if you wanted to shop for other non-food items.
Some Useful Site on How to Pack:
Travel the World with One Piece of Carry-on Luggage:
How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently – Top Travel & Life Hacks:
Army Packing Hack: How to Pack Luggage Like a Pro:
Army Packing Hack: How to Ranger Roll Your ACU Pants – Folding Uniform for Basic Training:
Army Packing Hack: How to Army Fold a T-Shirt, Basic Training Style – The Best Ranger Roll Tutorial:
How to Pack Like A Pro:
A Few Luggage Reviews
- Best Consumer Reviews Best Luggage
- Best luggage reviewed: 8 suitcases tested to destruction
- Best Lightweight Spinner Luggage 2014
- Fodors Approved: Best Checked Luggage for 2014
Sites that both Review and Sell Luggage
Tip: once you have decided on what you want, e-hunt for the best price. If you order on-line, check out the company on the Better Business Bureau before purchasing.
One day, if I am ever a Grandma, I will take each of my Grandchildren on a grande voyage.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
- Jack Kerouac