The Best Suitcase for International Travel (says who?)The most important thing for travelling overseas is that your suitcase is as light-weight as possible. You’re allowed to bring up to 50 pounds (which really isn’t that much), there’s a hefty fee for going over and if your suitcase weighs 20 pounds that’s 10 pounds you could have used for presents or better yet a new pair of shoes!
Now, if you want to bring stuff back you will either want to fly lighter or bring things that you are going to dispose of there (toiletries, magazines and the like are always good things to bring with the idea of leaving behind). I like clothes that I like but are on their last legs (especially if you’re going somewhere warm, damp or with salt water – fabrics pretty much disintegrate in these circumstances.) I generally bring 4 or 5 bikinis when I go to ‘the tropics’). So basically, if you want room, try and bring stuff you can toss or wouldn’t mind giving away. If you’re going somewhere cold same deal – try to bring stuff you can toss in a pinch. Unless you are loaded it is a baaaaaaaaaad idea to pack a suitcase full of your favourite clothes – what if it gets lost, or worse you’re like me and leave things everywhere? (Okay, you might not be like that ordinarily but remember, you’re travelling. You may be rushed, distracted, drunk and as a subsequence forget something – it happens.)
I’ve also found that generally, especially somewhere warm – you pack 4 or 5 of each item (skirt, shorts, dress …) and you either end up living in one dress for the whole time you’re there or buying something at the local Bodega as soon as you arrive and living in it all week. Hell, if you’re planning on buying loads, may want to just lightly line your suitcase and leave plenty of room to fill it.
Now when you’re leaving – don’t be in a rush. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t pull a me and dump all your toiletries into your carry-on. They threw almost everything in the garbage! I was soooooooooooo upset. It was a very expensive mistake. (Had I reviewed the international protocols for carry-on, etc. I could have bought a clue.) I like to have a photocopy handy of pertinent information, maps around where I’m staying, etc. to refer to. Remember, you may not have internet access, access to a printer and so forth and it’s so much cheaper than buying a map. However, if you want one for a souvenir, I totally get that too.
Now where were we, oh yeah, the suitcase!
This article was very informative about what to look for in such a suitcase.
This article was somewhat helpful but keep in mind it was written in 2008, when you’re looking for information about products, be sure to consider when the article was written – a four-year-old article on luggage is probably only going to be mildly relevant in this situation.
Went to Bentley Luggage, usually one of my preferred bag and luggage places, that site was not very helpful.
There is a big push on hardshell luggage at the moment and I must admit that aesthetically it does look better and, as well, it’s easier to clean after the fact, however they tend to crack easily and cost a bundle.
Okay finally found what I was looking for basically. The best bang for my buck was Heys Luggage, but $600! Yeeeesh, okay gonna keep looking.
A lot of times, I find the best bang for my buck in Toronto is Kijiji. Usually when I seek out a product, first I find out what it is that I want, once I’ve narrowed it down I usually inevitably end up finding someone on Kijiji who will distribute it for far less than the original price. For instance, my last coffee table, I first saw it listed for $175, I ended up getting it for $60, including delivery. (I have had two horrible experiences with Craig’s list and I will in no way endorse or use them. I find that most people cross-list in any event and I also hate the fact that they pictures don’t show up as thumbnails. You have click on each individual ad to see a picture.
Definition for the day: Thumbnail
I found this really convoluted, see for yourself!
Definition from Wikipedia: Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of pictures, used to help in recognizing and organizing them, serving the same role for images as a normal text index does for words. In the age of digital images, visual search engines and image-organizing programs normally use thumbnails, as do most modern operating systems or desktop environments, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, KDE (Linux) and GNOME (Linux).
Girlie’s definition: As their name insinuates, small, thumbnail size pictures beside something (usually an advertisement for a product) that gives you an idea of what you are looking at before you have to open up said advertisement or whatever.
(Oh yeah, like with everything on the web, don’t forget that Wikipedia is written by people for other people and a lot of time the definition, idea or “fact” is not substantiated. Wikipedia is a good resource but remember if you are seeking facts, try and glean as much information from as many resources as you can and then cross-reference them. If one steadfast point recurs over and over it’s more likely to be a “fact” you can bank on.)
Newb tip: If you are searching around the net and you come across a page you like, bookmark it right away (if you don’t know about bookmarks or other things to do with your search engine, spend some time hovering over the pictures – or clicking on the arrows beside them, this is a great way to learn about any new computer program you are trying to learn). Nothing worse than finding something you think is awesome and because of early Alzheimer’s being unable to find the site again for two hours, or not at all. You can minimize windows but often this gets really cumbersome, and or your computer freezes or whatever and once again, poof, the link is gone. (I also write all of this stuff to remind myself. I have to leave a post-it for myself for where I left my glasses when I go to the bathroom … which I can’t read because I don’t have my glasses …)
Back to the matter at hand, okay so you’re an awesome Canuck and you’re getting ready to go travelling:
For all official information you can go to catsa.gc.ca/.
But really, it doesn’t matter where you are for international carry-on it’s best to contact your air carrier for details. There are standard acceptable dimensions and most suitcase stores worth their salt have a measuring stand where you can insert your carry-on and see if it cuts the mustard or some way of calculating this. Your suitcase proper is less relevant, doesn’t matter size or shape, just weight usually.
Specific Dimensions were given by Air Canada
Carry-on Bag Limitations
Carry-on bags must be small enough to fit easily into an overhead bin or beneath the seat, because luggage isn’t allowed on laps or in the aisles. Most airlines allow bags up to 45 linear inches in size, or measuring 9-by-14-by-22 inches. The airline ticket counter usually has a measuring station so you can check that your bag is small enough and check it if necessary, although additional fees might apply for checked luggage.
I found this article by Jenny Harrington on traveltips.usatoday.com very helpful:
“Personal Item Limitations
Personal items include purses, laptop bags or tote bags. Some airlines do not count diaper bags toward your carry-on or personal item limitation, because it’s considered a necessary item for the infant. Personal items must still fit into the carry-on restrictions for international flights, because the items still require stowing beneath a seat or in a bin during takeoff and landing. Medically necessary equipment, such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs, typically doesn’t count toward your carry-on or personal item limitations. Coats, umbrellas, camera bags and small purchases from the airport also aren’t usually considered part of the personal item limitations.
In some instances, your carry-on baggage weight can impact the amount of checked luggage you can take on international flights. For example, United Airlines imposes a 44-pound limit for economy class passengers and a 66-pound limit on business class passengers for both carry-on and checked bags when traveling to Asia and the Middle East. Call the airline before travel to verify there are no special restrictions for carry-on luggage when traveling to your specific international destination.”
However, I couldn’t find a date on said article … so I’m not sure how current it is.
With my suitcase I got so excited that I didn’t even consider the dimensions I just really liked the colour (which is soooooooooooo important), I’ll use it for years to come for other things and I can put it on my Sears card and not have to pay all at once. I love Sears. Note: Almost everyone at the airport has a fucking black suitcase, it is so much easier to get a different colour, or put stickers on yours, or put neon tape on it … or something to distinguish it from the sea of suitcases that come down the luggage carousel.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, my new awesome suitcase! (Don’t forget to silicone treat, I cannot stress this and/or scotch guarding enough!)
Silicone is a further protector but not entirely necessary unless you’re anal like me.
As to the suitcases, sometimes a big year-end sale is the winner. This time it was Sears. It really does pay to spend some time to shop around before you buy.
Note: I would also advise this when booking your trip, go through a travel agent. They’re awesome, they’ll do all the leg work for you: find you the best flight; get you any information you need, (like luggage restrictions, etc.); pick out your seat for you (only idiots sit over the engine hub) etc. If you don’t know, get a recommendation – do you need to be close to the toilet perhaps? Are you slightly claustrophobic, then you’ll want an aisle seat. And no, you don’t have to pay, they get their money from other folks, but that’s another article entirely. One day, I will have my own personal travel agent as I fly around researching articles for you guys … ah, I can’t wait!
Oh yeah and, if you use a travel agent all of the information I just put above can be gleaned from them. However, again, consider the source and do your background research 😉