Thinking about a new carry on

I have been doing some research on a new carry on bag.  Big Mistake!!! It has created new questions rather than answered them.  I am a strict believer in travelling light so we seldom check our bags or carry more than one bag.  (The exception is when I go to Brazil and buy so many shoes that I need an extra suitcase to carry them home.)

These are some of the questions I came up with:

-What size should I get?  Most US airlines allow up to a 22″ bag but international airlines vary so much in size that you never know until you get to the airport.  Plus some airlines make you check in your bag if it weighs more than a certain amount.  So buying something because I think it will work, might not always work.  If you have questions about sizes, here’s a handy chart.

-What features are necessary?  I was shocked to see how much some bags cost.  In the past I have been very lucky with some really cheap bags.  My daughter’s bag was one of those “fashion” bags and it has lasted years.  My husband’s as well.  Plus if we are forced to check the bags I don’t feel too bad when they get trashed or dirty.  But they have held up pretty well.  I love my Kathy Van Zeeland suitcase but I don’t think they make it anymore and the paisley floral simply won’t go too well with my husband.  So I started looking in earnest to see if I can find something affordable, durable and with a convenient size.  I am pondering on the Eagle Creek bags.  I love that they have an unconditional lifetime warranty, their sizes seem to be practical and they way they are built seem to be logical.  Plus there are some cool features like a bungee cord to carry your coat and a removable mesh holder to hold your pillow.  The only problem is that they are a bit pricey.

Another line of bags that have intrigued me is called Bago Travel bags.  They only have duffle bags and I am not sure if the sizes are good for carry ons but I am intrigued about how light weight and that they fold so compact.

Finally one big consideration is the weight.  Some suitcases weight 7 or 8 lbs empty.  I don’t want to be carrying around extra weight.

-Where to buy it from?  While the internet makes it easier to shop around, I also don’t always trust every vendor.  Sometimes you might have to pay more to get some good customer service.  In addition, I feel that so many times I am comparing apples to oranges.  Similar bags but not exact, gifts, extra charges, etc…

-Do I need any extra accessories?  I have never used packing cubes before but after seeing a suitcase packed with the Eagle Creek system, I was converted.  I couldn’t believe how much fits in the suitcase and how organized it was.  I ordered Eagle Creek’s Pack-it Specker sets.  I chose this particular style because they are so light weight and the material is supposed to be very durable.  I can’t wait to try the envelope and experiment with it.  This adds to my questions, will the packing system work well with my suitcases?  How many do I need?

I will continue the search because my want to buy a new suitcase doesn’t outweigh my need to get a good deal.

Talking about good deals I got my Specker starter set from REI in the color flame.  It’s a bright orange but it was only $27.93 while the other colors cost almost twice that much.  I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the customer service I received from REI.  They sent me an incorrect item first and then I was so touched by how they handled the situation.  They asked me that if I couldn’t use the item, to please donate it to some charity so that someone could get some good out of it.  Amazing to hear that a corporation has a heart.  Because I was so impressed with them, I ordered a second set.  I got a good deal and am going to be a loyal customer from now on.

What suitcase do you love?