Some people need $400+ suitcases to travel. I had a $204 Tumi suitcase I purchased from a Ross Store in Monterey ten years ago. The handle broke last May and I dumped that suitcase after our summer trip to Copenhagen and London.
My Tumi bag is the yellow one on the right. That bag actually cost me $4 out-of-pocket in 2005, since I received a $200 damaged baggage claim from American Airlines when they dented a hard side Samsonite I had purchased in 1992 as a business travel expense reimbursement.
I am the Travel Bag Guy
The middle bag next to the yellow Tumi in the photo above is a Jansport bag I purchased for $35 at the same Ross Store in Monterey in February 2013. I still use that bag as my airplane primary carry on bag. I place a backpack inside the roller bag. The Jansport has backstraps and when I want to carry two bags on the plane, I put the Jansport roller bag on my back and carry another roller bag as my main cabin piece. I have not been stopped yet, although the TSA agent gave my bag the once over when I was heading out of SFO for my current trip. She let me go through security with both bags. usually I check one bag to avoid hassles, but close to half the time I get away with two carry-on bags and no checked bag.
I paid 50% more for my current primary checked luggage bag than I paid for the Tumi bag in 2005. I replaced my Tumi with a $6 roller bag from Goodwill I purchased in August.
Jansport roller bag/backpack on right and my $6 Goodwill roller bag I purchased in August on the left in the streets of Copenhagen today. Inside the Jansport bag is a backpack I purchased from the same Monterey Ross store for $25 on the day I bought the Jansport bag in February 2013.
The no-label backpack (left) and I have logged hundreds of hiking miles with the bag on my back. I keep my computer and camera in the backpack and place it inside the Jansport roller bag when I am traveling on planes. That way I can wheel my stuff around airports and when I reach my destination. Then, after I have settled into a hotel, I have a backpack to carry essentials like my camera, food, water, and rain clothing when I hike around towns and the countryside.
Nesting Bags like a Vagabond
But those are not my only bags. When I don’t want a backpack and I want to carry my Nikon, then I have another smaller Tumi bag.
This Tumi bag is my second oldest bag from 2003 and my mainstay piece for travel. It was purchased for free from a $50 coupon given to me by Starwood Preferred Guest for hotel stays in 2003. I bought it online at the Tumi site through a clearance sale. That bag has also logged hundreds of walking miles.
The bag is perfect for holding my Nikon DSLR, an extra lens, notebook, umbrella, waterbottle and more cloth bags for when I go shopping while out walking. When making all-day extended walks the backpack is easier on my shoulders.
Sometimes I don’t want to carry my Nikon camera, but I still have crap to carry like a small umbrella, passport, a phone, wife’s wallet. For those cases I have my smallest and oldest bag from Eagle Creek. I don’t even remember how much I paid for the Eagle Creek bag. I have had it since 1998.
On my current trip I keep my plug adaptor good for UK and Europe and Australia and my iPhone cord in the Eagle Creek bag so I can find them quickly.
Walking to Hotels
On my three trips to Europe this past month I have probably rolled my two pieces of luggage along city streets for 20 miles or more. That is not even counting all the miles through airports. They are roller bags for a reason.
The first photo in this post from the streets of Copenhagen is one I snapped today because Copenhagen is a tough city to wheel luggage around. They like their cobblestones on city streets.
And then there are all the other essentials
- cough drops (this trip necessity)
- portable bidet/plastic water bottle (normally I carry a hard plastic bottle for environmental waste reduction reasons, but I have a new found appreciation for a soft plastic squirt bottle after improvising in France last week.
Here are a few more essential items:
- Bottle opener (need to add corkscrew to my list)
- whistle (I hike alone frequently and whistle is good emergency/safety tool if you need help.)
- one or two small Tupperware/sealed containers for food leftovers. (Not shown in photos since I did not bring one this trip to Europe, but I find them very useful to store food).
- More bags to carry in my bags.
More bags I carried to Europe with descriptions from left to right. Cloth bag from Schull, Ireland 1998 trip. Blue bag is waterproof bag for camera when hiking in rain (2014). British Columbia liquor store bag has long shoulder straps and designed with side pockets for wine bottles (or beer) 1999. STR bag was convention freebie, lightweight and strong recycled PET bag. Folds smaller than cloth bags when I want to shove a bag in my pants pocket capable of carrying several beers and/or heavy food items.
- Small flashlight. Great tool when I need light, whether outside at night walking in the dark or to locate something dropped under the hotel room bed or under the seat on a dark airplane. All three were situations I experienced in the past month of travel.
- Portable umbrella.
- small binoculars (primarily for viewing wildlife when hiking outdoors).
Those are essential for my travel bags.
What do you need when you travel?