Luggage can say a lot about a person. Sure, you can buy a generic suitcase that anyone could walk around with, but a lot of people express themselves with their bags. Is a suitcase intended for a family vacation, or is it all about getting down to business? You might be a world traveler with a suitcase covered with stickers from all the places you’ve visited. Or, you might have a bag themed around your favorite sports team or band.
Using luggage with a personal touch can make traveling a little more fun. It also helps make bags stand out at the luggage claim, and you might even strike up an interesting conversation with someone at the airport with whom you share a common interest.
Catherine Ryan, of Cedar Rock Investment Advisors, in Massachusetts, says she has a bag that tells everyone, “This girl travels light.”
“I use a kid-sized rolling cabin bag from a discount chain,” she says. “It’s light, comes in fun colors, and can always fit overhead. It also keeps me from over-packing.”
But it’s not for everyone. She recently offered to lend it to a friend who was going away for a weekend.
“She said she could not use it because it was too small,” Ryan says. “I laughed and said, ‘I’ve gone overseas for a week with that bag.’”
Dan Nainan is a comedian whose work has him traveling a lot, enough to be an elite flyer with Delta with a Diamond Medallion with million-miler status. It’s pretty cool, and he’s earned it, but it doesn’t impress everyone.
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“I have luggage tags which indicate my Diamond status which I have on the outside of my bag,” he says. “I got into an argument with a fellow passenger who said that it was ostentatious and obnoxious to have the tag on my bag. It almost came to blows.”
Danny Bamboat, a travel developer with his own startup, Building Adventure Minds Travels (www.bamtravels.com), says he always travels with his backpack—an Osprey Farpoint 70.
“It’s a great size, big enough to carry everything I need, but small enough to take as a carry-on,” Bamboat says. “I’ve fit gifts, sweaters, blankets, hammocks, equipment, and more in it. It comes with a day-pack that you can detach that I find so useful.”
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One day, while in a tuk-tuk in Cambodia late one night, his day-pack was stolen.
“Two guys on a motorbike drove up and swiped it,” he says. “It happened so quickly. My passport, business laptop, hard-drive, and a bit of cash were in it. That bag had been with me up in the Himalayas, exploring jungles, visiting Komodo dragons, at the beach…It was weird how attached you can get to a material object.”
When he went back home to Canada, he tried to order a replacement, but could only get a red one (his original is gray).
“I ordered it and now I travel with a two-toned backpack,” he says. “It always reminds me of the experiences, good and bad, that you encounter when you travel. I have my company patch on it as well and anyone who knows me, knows how much I love that piece of luggage. I’ve lived out of it for months at a time and it’s basically carried my life on my back—comfortably.”
Sheridan Becker is a world traveler, blogger, and claims to be the “most-traveled mom.”
She describes herself as a “self-confessed” luggage lover, and she even gives each of her suitcases a first name.
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“Sometimes I will buy a piece of luggage to match the type of travel journey that I will go on,” she says. “Luggage and good, practical pieces are essential for any form of travel. Trust me, my back depends on comfortable travel suitcase.”
Channon Dade is a travel host and actress, with her own website, www.channondade.com. She has traveled the world during her nearly 17 years working for airlines.
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“I have traveled to countless destinations, five continents, 32 countries (and still counting) and my luggage is my prize possession everywhere I go,” she says.
She owns a pink-and-brown snazzy Tommy Hilfiger bag, which she says is very feminine. She protects it with a black luggage cover, which proudly sports an emblem of her alma mater, Stanford University.
One reason for the emblem is to keep her “pretty luggage” safe when she checks it, which she has to do often because she flies stand-by a lot, and by the time she gets on, there’s no bin space.
“The second reason is due to the fact it makes for a great conversation starter piece while traveling,” she says. “The third reason I use it, and the most important reason, is due to the fact that Stanford has enabled me through my connections and education, to help create more conscious travelers by creatively sharing my travel life lessons. So, I like to represent them every chance I get.”
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