Once out of your twenties, it’s time to let go of the backpack and buy grown up luggage. Unless you really are hosteling around Europe or climbing in the Himalayas, backpacks are like wearing neon signs saying ‘tourista, tourista! which certainly will not garner you respect from the staff at a full service hotel when you show up sporting the stuff. Don’t think it makes a difference? Trust me it does and it might even affect what room you are given or a chance at an upgrade. Besides, backpacks are just out and out unattractive for a sophisticated traveler, even one on a budget!
When ready to purchase luggage, one of the biggest mistakes a traveler can make is to buy something cheap and poorly made. I’ve done it myself and paid the price by spending one of my precious days on the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos trying to track down and replace luggage, baggage handlers had destroyed. After that, I never scrimped again!
For years my go to line was Bric’s Life Collection.
I own a 30’, 26’, the Pilot case (for all of my camera and computer gear) and another bag which has morphed into the Train Case. Bric’s is extremely well made albeit not inexpensive. But isn’t that the entire theme here, don’t buy cheap luggage? You don’t need it all now. Buy for this trip and fill in additional pieces as you go. The Life line has been around for years and although the designs have been tweaked, the mainstay colors and fabrics have stayed the same. You can also search local discount luggage stores where you can often find last years models in full sets or pieces, at a cut price.
Though I may never part with my Bric’s, before a recent trip I realized I needed to have even lighter weight luggage. While planning a five country, plane, train and walking trip through Europe, I went on the hunt for sturdy, fashionable, nylon luggage and fell in love with the Briggs & Reily BRX line. For those on the go, the 22’ carry-on is a must have.
While considered carry-on for US and European flights, keep in mind, overhead compartments on European inter-continental flights tend to be a tich smaller, which can make it a minor art form trying to stow overhead. I chose to check my bag so I could cruise around the terminal unencumbered. The 22’ for train travel, just as perfect. Easy to board with and once inside the compartment, it wasn’t hard to find someone willing to stow it for me during the ride. My only lament is that they don’t make a bag similar to Bric’s Pilot Case for all my gear. But I keep checking back!
Lastly, what did I do with my camera gear? Well, I’ll tell you. In my next blog I’ll give you tips on how to carry your camera gear without being a target and looking too much like a tourist. Although the last part’s a little unavoidable when you have your camera glued to your face most of the time. But at least you’ll do it fashionably!
Dream, Travel, Explore
Note: Sadly, since publication the BRX line from Briggs + Riley has been discontinued. You may still grab pieces from their site at a discounted rate.
*First Published March 2015