Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rootless rehearsal: Luggage

For my month in Playa,
I took this wheeled carry-on

I didn't have to pack a lot of clothes because:
  • Warm climate, so no need for heavy clothing
  • Constant climate, so no need for multiple-weather clothing
  • Convenient and inexpensive laundering service, so could take few clothes and have them washed frequently

and this backpack.
The backpack carried my laptop, some books, my purse, camera, and various cords and chargers for electronics.

They were perfect for my needs.  

Within six weeks, I will leave for a two-month trip. I'll take the same backpack and carry-on.

Or if I leave my laptop at home, I will take this shoulder bag instead of the backpack. It's about 15"x12"x7". The shoulder strap is very long, but adjustable. The strap is also very wide, thick, and sturdy: A handle-slasher would have to invest some time to cut through it. You can see an ample zipped pocket on the side. A zipper opens the top. Inside, there is one zippered pocket. The bag is roomy enough for all the things one needs during a typical day. There's even room for a change of clothes. Over the shoulder bandolier-style, it gives me complete control of it and its contents. The best thing is how accessible the contents are to me.

I bought the bag years ago at a thrift store, and have used it many times for travel or going to outdoor festivals and concerts.

The decision driver is not so much the contents of the luggage, but what bags do I feel I can manage on my own?

After all, when you're on your own, you're on your own. Going to the bathroom, waiting in line, getting something to eat, embarking and disembarking transportation. I can manage a backpack (or shoulder bag) and a wheeled carry-on.

Note about a wheeled carry-on versus backpack luggage:

As recently as a year ago, I was definitely in the backpack-duffle camp in regard to using same for my primary piece of luggage. It was portable, and I could (obviously) carry it on my back, leaving my hands free. Here's that bag, which has a lot of great features:

But after several trips recently via train and plane, the reality was that the backpack-duffle proved bulky, awkward, and tiring. Every time I lugged it off and on, it required twisting my back. When I had it on, I had to be conscious while embarking or otherwise moving about in a small space, of that large growth on my back. I envied my co-travelers who moved briskly through airports or down the street with their obedient wheeled carry-ons behind them while I lumbered a little more slowly with the weight of my pack on my back.

And if one stays in the same lodging for any length of time, there is no benefit of one luggage style over another when all it's doing is sitting in a bedroom.

Having said all of the above, this duffle is, hands down, what I'd take on a road trip. 

Traveling light

Check out for a wealth of info about traveling light.

No comments: