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Picking the Correct Luggage

Updated on June 8, 2008

Picking the Correct Luggage

At one time if you wanted a suitcase you just walk into a local department store and got one. Except for some minor differences they were all basically the same. Not anymore! Now, you have a number of variables to consider in selecting the correct piece of luggage for a trip. To pick the wrong luggage for the task could cost money.

Here are some of the variables you must consider when purchasing luggage.

1. Will I be traveling by air, sea, or by common carrier, (such as a bus or train) or by car?

2. Will I be traveling domestically or overseas?

3. Will I be traveling more or less than 4 times a year?

If you are traveling even once a year by air, you need some type of luggage made of ballistic nylon material. Why? Ballistic Nylon is the toughest material available for luggage, even stronger than most hard side luggage. It's knife resistant, baggage handler resistant and in most cases repeals water. You will also discover that the higher to grade of ballistic Nylon, the better will be the wheel system, the handle system and the frame system of the luggage. (These factors are important if the luggage is to last over the years.) In talking with a salesperson, and you mention the fact you want luggage that's made with ballistic nylon material and they look at you with a strange look, it probably means they don't know what ballistic nylon material is, and that is your cue not to buy the luggage in that store. You also need to ask about the weight of a piece of luggage since there are weight restrictions made by the airlines. It would be wise to ask them what material is used for the frame system of the luggage. (For example: it might be aluminum, Styrofoam or even stiff cardboard.

For your common carrier travels, you can get a piece of luggage made of a mixture of fibers, for example: nylon and micro-fiber. Why? It's not going through the process of being thrown around by baggage handlers, or dropped from heights, like from a conveyer belt. Also, it may not be handled as much, like it may be if you have to transfer from plane to plane in order to reach a destination.

If a person is traveling by car, they can purchase luggage made from polyester material. Why? Most likely, one person will only handle your luggage, and that's to put it in the car, and remove it maybe once or twice when traveling and since it won't be handled as much it will last longer. Remember though, that the wheel system, the handle system and the frame system will not be of the same quality that is contained in ballistic nylon. It will not last as long as ballistic nylon, even if taken care of and not used more than two or three times a year.

Locks can now be used on luggage taken on an airline IF they are TSA locks. Looking on the front of the lock can identify a TSA lock; there a person will find a symbol. If that is not found, and it's is a combination lock, usually at the bottom of the lock will be a place where a key can be inserted or on the side. Only the TSA officials at the airport inspection station have the key that fits, and can unlock the luggage if necessary to inspect the luggage. If the TSA official has unlocked the luggage, they will put a piece of paper in the luggage stating they have opened it. (If the person who knows the combination is present, they will be allow to unlock the luggage.) The owner of the luggage does not receive a key. The initials TSA stands for, Transportation Security Administration.

Here are the weight limits on the luggage, effective this date, 1/24/08. For any carry on luggage, a person is allowed 40 lbs. It may be less than this if a person is transferring to a plane in Europe. A checked piece of luggage has a weight limit of 50 lbs. A person can have luggage that weighs more if it's a checked piece but there will be a charge for this. The weight limits above apply both to domestic and foreign travel. Sometimes the weight limit on luggage will vary from airline to airline, so it's always best to check with the airline, but also ask about the airline you may be transferring too. A person is allowed one carry-on bag and a personal bag, (such as a purse or brief case.)


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