Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to choose laptop bags, backpacks or a duffel for travel

Selecting the right duffel bag, backpack or laptop bag for your travel needs can be intimidating. We talked previous about how to choose luggage and suitcases. Now let's look into duffel bags, backpacks and laptop bags.

Duffel bags
Small duffel bags that fit under airplane seats can also be good on road trips. They come in lightweight or heavy varieties. Always think about seams, straps, sturdiness of the cloth itself and the overall empty weight of the bag.

Wheeled duffel bags have hit the market and have taken off.  The problem is that they are easily overstuffed. I have seen them packed with everything from rappelling equipment and first aid supplies to clothing (and a combination). It can wreak havoc on airline size requirements.

Make sure that your duffel bag fits within the requirements before heading to the airport or bus station. I personally witnessed a group be left at the bus stop because their wheeled duffel bags exceeded the allowable weight and size. 

Backpacks
Again, durability is king. Think about how you will use the backpack before making the selection. That lightweight pack may be great for holding a laptop and lightweight items in an airport or road trip. The same backpack will probably fail miserably on a hiking trail. If you are in doubt about which type you need, visiting a camping supply store for help.

Laptop bags

These are evolving so much that they may become a higher life form. Once upon a time laptop bags were heavy, obnoxiously large and heavy to handle. Now than run the spectrum from light or medium-weight backpacks to professional looking handbags or a largely overgrown camera bag.

Fliers must be able to fit a laptop bag under the airplane seat or in an overhead bin. You also need to be able to medication, cosmetics or other personal item. A large handbag may be too large for this situation by may be fine on a road trip. Sturdy laptop backpacks can be used for almost every casual occasion.

When deciding how to choose luggage, bags or packs for travel using these tips can help. I like to travel with a combination. My backpack is great for city streets or country roads. The cloth suitcases hold everything else, fit into the car, on a bus and did well on my last airport run.

What kind of luggage do you use and why? Let us know about it in the comments section.