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  • Monica Forte


You do not think about the beat your travel luggage and gear takes when you and your family take vacations , heck the last thing anyone thinks about is the luggage. However, just when you least expect it , things happen: a crack in the hard cases, a wheel casing comes off, a worn out strap rips, a zipper becomes stuck or rips along the seam exposing some of your wears... It happens.

This is because of the rush at the airports , going through terminals , having the TSA inspect bags , the airline carrier handlers throw luggage on carts being stored in cargo bins if bags are checked. Carry-Ons and Personal items take the brunt of the beatings as well - bags being stuffed in overhead storage compartments and/or stuffed underseats and the type of luggage you have. It’s always good to inspect all your luggage when you safely arrive at your destination, however that’s not always the case when the excitement of your vacation begins and overtakes the day.

BUYING LUGGAGE A good quality manufacturer such as American Tourister and Samsonite has been around for years. If you want a long lasting and durable piece of luggage , think of this as an investment for the long haul- sure places like Target, Walmart and even Amazon have luggage for sale- however many pieces of luggage they sell are not of durable or good quality. Department Stores such as JC Penney, Macy’s , Boscov’s sell brands that have been around for years and the quality of the luggage has been through testing by the manufacturers’ for durability, dependability and everyday stresses the luggage will endure. Consumer Reports provides Product Reviews that are unbiased ratings and reviews for 9000+ products and services from Consumer Reports, plus trusted advice and in-depth reporting on what matters most that can give you ratings on luggage.

SOFT OR HARD LUGGAGE That all depends on the travel you will be doing and for how long. Softer suitcases can absorb water and are more susceptible to stains, but they can be cleaned too. If you're traveling through rain or snow, for example, a hard-shell bag will provide better protection for what's inside. A hard-shell bag can be easier to maneuver across gravel or cobblestones too. Hard-sided luggage also stacks easily, which makes it ideal for cruise ships where bags are stacked up before departure. If you’ll be taking electronics, high-end items such as Ipads, Laptops, Camera, something of value or anything you do not want damage then a hard shell bag will be your best investment. And it will hold up to the outside elements of weather. Typically soft luggage/duffle bags/backpacks are made of waterproof material that will stand up in the weather.

LIGHT PACKER OR A STUFFER This is a tricky question because it’s relative, but here’s the point: a hard-shell suitcase doesn’t give like a soft one does. If you tend to overpack, a hard-sided bag could either rein in your tendencies or frustrate you. If you’re a light packer, a softer suitcase is the way to go. That way you can pack tight or expand the outer shell according to your trip.

ARE YOU A SHOPPER WHEN AWAY Let’s face it when it comes to traveling who doesn’t like to shop-especially when going to theme parks such as Disney, Universal or Legoland. I personally love collecting Ear Hats. So if you and your family are shoppers you may want to consider rather than lugging , stuffing it or checking it on the plane many stores have shipping that it's very affordable to ship items home. However if you feel that you need to pack it yourself a hard-shell bag may be difficult as it's not expandable. A soft luggage bag will give way only if the bag is not already stuffed. You may want to share a bag with a family member if there bag has room or buy a backpack to bring your items home.

HOW MANY BAGS CAN I BRING ON THE PLANE Depending on the air carrier you may need to pay for each bag and the air carrier will have a strict policy as to what can be stored and what might need to be checked. You can find this out ahead of time when selecting flights. Not all flights are cheap especially when it comes to Spirit, Jet Blue, Frontier or Allegiant as they have eye catching prices upfront only to dismay guests when these carriers then charge per seat and per bag. Southwest is one of the very few that allows their passengers one price per passenger where each guest gets 2 FREE checked bags , 1 carry on and 1 personal item in the price of the flight per person.

WHAT SIZE BAG(S) ARE A CARRY ON That depends on the flight carrier as there’s no one universal standard measurement. Please check your flight carriers website when pre-selecting flights. Typically, on Southwest Flights the measurements for all Carry-Ons is no bigger than 24” (L) + 16” (W) + 10” (H) if the luggage size exceeds this measurement then the bag will have to be checked. All Carry-Ons will be stored in the Overhead Bins. All Personal Items such as a purse , backpacks, shoulder bags will be stored under the seat in front of you. Please check again with the carrier of your flight for the policies and/or restrictions when making flight plans.

FINAL WORDS So before the traveling bug hits ya , inspect all luggage yours and your families for any unforeseen problems while at home before traveling. Think about whether a hard shell of soft luggage will be needed and then depending on the destination what to pack. Once you have that all figured out now its time to give us here at Making Magical Vacations Travel a call at 717-847-7654 or email us.

2023 Copyright Making Magical Vacations Travel 717-847-7654 or

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