Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Perfect Carry-On

To start off, disclaimer: There is no perfect carry-on.

In a few weeks, I will whisk myself away on the vacation I've been waiting a year for. A 10 day trip over to Europe, to experience 4 amazing cities in 3 amazing countries.
What I hadn't thought about much, prior to my trip, was luggage.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a planner by nature and a researcher by choice, but I figured that it wouldn't be too difficult to find something that worked for me, within my price range, and that fit the overall criteria for airline restrictions.
Well, to my surprise, it was A LOT more difficult than it seemed.

To find something that met my specific requirements along with everything else was going to be a very hard decision.
The thing about going on an excursion, for me, is to make it as easy as possible. So step number one was to only stick to carry-on bags. Easy enough, I could find a decent carry-on, plus use a backpack filled with other necessities and be fine.
What I found out though, is that I'm paranoid about dimension restrictions. Most airlines will allow (at the very most) a 22x14x9  and 45 linear inch carry-on limit. That shouldn't seem hard... when I first started looking up luggage for this purpose, a lot popped up with those exact dimensions... but hold on.
A lot of them also go under the false pretense of "expandable" luggage, which means if you pack it just a little too full, move it out a little too much, and the airline decides they want to try your luggage out in the check box and it doesn't fit... You're screwed!

So here I am, looking for a bag, preferably of the 20 inch size, or even less if I could handle it and to my dismay, nothing seemed to come up from that search.
Either one side would be too long, or too wide and throw the dimensions all off or it was WAY out of my price range (why is smaller luggage more expensive sometimes?).

So I trekked on with my search. SwissGear caught my eye for a lot of my luggage needs and the prices were fine but come to find out that their dimensions that they stated did not include the wheels of the bag... which could ultimately be your downfall, if again you got chosen to test your bags out.
Paranoia set in once again and I kept searching.

Well, maybe I don't want a rolling bag at all! So duffel bags came to mind. If only they had rolling duffel bags, right? BAM.
Thankfully, I did happen upon some rolling duffel bags that suited my needs.
The first was this from London Fog
London Fog Chatham 19 inch Club Bag

I loved the look of this bag and it seemed like it would be a great contender. This was not the one I picked though, as the 10 inch side was not quite working for me.

I set my sights on this one and ultimately bought this from Samsonite (which also has other great bags, but a little pricey)
Samsonite Savor Wheeled Tote Bag

The dimensions worked for me, the size worked great for the packing cubes I ordered (these ones) and I think I could deal with the bag check, even if it was a little off.
This is what I wanted and for the price, it was pretty good. If I end up not liking it when I get it, I will update this with other ones I find.

Now, if price had truly been no problem, I would have gone with this from Tom Bihn
Aeronaut 30 Bag (or the 45)

In the coming weeks I will be posting about how I'm going to pack and fit everything I need for a 10 day trip to Europe in just carry-ons.


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