Save Money And (Maybe) Time With The Right Luggage, Packed Efficiently

I am one of the lucky ones: a traveler who has never experienced the inconvenience of lost or damaged luggage. I like knowing that but have never dared talk about it out loud, for fear of jinxing the luck or angering the luggage gods. Instead, when others tell their tale of woe concerning luggage mishaps or go on about inadequate reimbursement from airlines, I politely nod in sympathy. Still, I know that luck does not hold out forever. Wanting to go out on top, combined with a need for speed and a love for saving money, I tried a different approach on a trip to Amsterdam recently; I checked nothing and carried on all of my luggage.

“Back in the day, checking your bag on a trip only cost you 20 minutes of your time after a flight. Now you’re lucky if it only costs you $20,” says Adam Dachis from Lifehacker, a website with tips, tricks and downloads for getting things done.

My thoughts exactly – but as more air travelers try to beat the system by carrying on more, less space is available, making packing efficiently a must. Picking the right bag, rolling clothes and taking only what we actually need make for a good start. But getting your head in the game can score some of the best results.”Problems occur when you start thinking of everything you pack as “single use” items,” says Dachis in “How to Fit Two Weeks Worth of Luggage Under the Airplane Seat in Front of You,” urging us to realize that most clothing can easily be worn more than once, some many times.

Dachis recommends a flexible duffel-style bag that gives up little space to padding, protection or aesthetics. Been there, done that, not for me. Spending a lot of time in airports I had seen businessmen with stackable luggage. A medium sized bag that fits overhead and a smaller one that fits under the seat. These were the road warriors I needed to pay attention to. Many had rollerboard-style luggage with four wheels too. I liked that idea as well. These were my personal luggage idols. They had crossed the finish line with a huge luggage win.

In my case, the search was long and tedious to find the right luggage. After years of searching, trying and eventually adding failed bags to a spare bedroom we call “the luggage room,” I may have found a good fit.

TravelPro’s 21-inch Spinner Suiter combined from their Crew collection can easily go in overhead storage and holds plenty of clothes for a week. What Travelpro calls a “business brief,” from the same collection, has extra room for more clothing too and fits easily under an airline seat. On my trip to Amsterdam, home for a day then off to Venice, I don’t want to unpack and pack again. This looks to be the right tool for the job – for me. Everyone has different needs.

“You can’t have a perfect packing system,” admits Dachis, placing his greatest emphasis on efficiency. “Good preparation makes for better travel.”

I couldn’t agree more. The down side? I still have to wait for those I travel with to collect their checked luggage. So much for saving time.

Looking for more reasons to change your thinking about the luggage game? Watch this video:

[Photo credit – Canadian Pacific]

Handling your cruise luggage, there are options

For many cruise passengers, carrying around luggage can be a real drag, especially if they are flying in to the port of embarkation. Claiming, transporting and getting it on the ship can be a big job with multiple checked bags. After sailing, passengers with late outbound flights often rent a day room at a hotel, mainly for some place to put their luggage while they kill time. Now, several different options are available to make all of that much easier.

A new service, Bags To Go, offers a solution for a reasonable fee when sailing from Port Everglades in Florida. Arriving at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport (FLL) Bags To Go offers a Claim and Delivery service that picks up passenger luggage and delivers it to the ship for, get this: $6 per bag. Pretty reasonable.

Passengers driving to the port using Park ‘N Fly can drop off bags at the parking center and have them delivered directly to the ship too, also for $6 per bag.

Got some time before your flight departs? You can also store bags securely at the airport before check-in. Again, just $6 per bag does it. The service is offered in Fort Lauderdale now but will be rolling out to Miami soon.

That seems like a great price, especially considering what you might tip a porter at the pier, usually a dollar or two a bag. But you have to get there with your luggage first and odds are you may have paid an excess baggage fee to an airline.Another service,, offers door-to-door service, picking up luggage at your home, delivering it to the cruise line, then bringing it back home to you after the cruise. It’s more expensive with an average size bag pricing out at about $99, so do the math. But if convenience is a top priority, this is a good, reliable way to go. One more company that does this,, also a great way to avoid airline fees, works in a similar way.

Interestingly, these services often use FedEx, UPS or some other carrier to handle it all for them. Check with carriers directly too for another option to explore.

Crystal, Princess, Cunard, and Regent Seven Seas, among others, also sponsor similar programs called “Luggage Valet” with domestic rates starting about $90 per bag and $250 for international handling.

Luggage freaks: If you are into luggage in a big way and worry about it being mishandled, there is another service available too. can help ease your mind. Their “Baggage Protection Service” wraps your luggage in plastic after you certify there is nothing restricted inside and sends you and it on your way through normal check-in procedures. If all goes well, your luggage arrives in pristine condition on the ship.

This would pretty much be the ultimate way to fool friends into believing your knock-off designer luggage is the real thing. Who would shrink wrap anything but the best?

Flickr photo by sun dazed

The Traveler's Caddy

Looks like Cool Hunting has a sneak peek on a new chic piece of gear to take on your
travels once it hits the market. The so-called "Caddy" is half mobile suitcase and half
walker you could say. Built to serve as a mobility-aid, the cool, lime green and sleek design down to the wheels make
the item worth wanting by anyone. Created by Wood&Wood Design, the possible new
wave of luggage is still in its prototype phase while the company seeks a development partner. Head to Cool Hunting for
additional photos on the Caddy.