If you haven’t fought back tears standing barefoot among strangers, been berated for breaking a rule of which you were unaware, or stood in a cramped aisle as someone tried to cram one last thing into an overhead bin, then you haven’t traveled by air lately.
But there’s good news. Today’s luggage options can ease the stresses of holiday travel, from security checkpoints to lugging heavy bags.
Without fail, I forget to put my contact lens solution in a plastic bag for security inspection. This happens so often that I know now that in Ireland you can buy a little plastic bag; in Copenhagen, one will be provided, and in the U.S., you just better hope you get an understanding TSA agent. Those with the Dakine Prima 5L soft-sided toiletry kit ($30), however, never have to worry at checkpoints, because it contains a removable clear vinyl bag.
Since so many airlines charge to check bags, it’s important to have a nice carry-on for a weekend getaway or short holiday travels. Dakine’s carry-on roller ($125), available in five stylish designs, has an exterior pocket, retractable handle and replaceable polyurethane wheels.
If you’re worried about the weight of your luggage, Osprey offers new Ozone lightweight carry-ons, one of the lightest pieces of fully featured rolling luggage on the market, in three sizes, from 18 to 28 inches ($199-$299). The retractable handle has an ergonomically designed grip.
Osprey’s Contrail series, with packs available in 22-inch ($299) and 28-inch ($339) sizes, also has a Handle-It feature so that accessories such as the Contrail courier ($119) and Contrail tote ($99) can be easily attached to the handle for transport. The packs also come with a removable laundry bag that fits into a back panel compartment and a removable FlightLocker organizer ($49 when sold separately) to keep clothes neat and organized.
One of my fondest childhood memories is when my grandparents would return from a trip with an extra souvenir bag with wares from their travels. As they unpacked it, they would recount their adventures and tell the story behind each item. The Eagle Creek Packable Duffel ($30) folds into a compact disc that can easily fit in a suitcase pouch or carry-on to take for vacation souvenirs or for holiday bounty, if you’re feeling optimistic about your gift prospects this year.
To keep your suitcase organized, Eagle Creek offers the translucent Specter Cube ($18) and Half Cube ($14). While the durable, stain and water-resistant cubes are ideal for camping, the ultralight design — each cube weighs only an ounce — is also handy when packing and organizing clothes into a carry-on. Pack-It Compression Sacs ($10-$26) remove excess air from bulky garments, and can save up to 80 percent of packing volume. It’s perfect if you’re spending the holidays in cold climes and need to bring along another coat.
If it’s familial emotional baggage that is your biggest concern this holiday season, then check out the “Less Drama, More Joy” story in this issue to help you avoid four common holiday pitfalls.
Last year, during the holidays, Delta carolers handed out candy canes and free drink tickets to ease travel stress. What would help ease your holiday travel woes?
Photo credit: Courtesy Dakine