The $100 Go Anywhere Carry-on Bag
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Have $100?
You have all you need to buy a go anywhere carry-on bag that will carry you through a week in glossy, urban Rome, or a week going boho chic in Taos, NM.
You could spend well north of $1,000 for such a bag - Amazon shows a $2,200 Heys USA Crown edition Biocase 20" Carry-On Spinner or $1,430 for a Brics Life Pelle 21" Rolling Duffle. Lovely bags both, I assume, but count me in for luggage costing under $100.
That is plenty to buy a sturdy, serviceable bag and - better still - modest bags attract few thieving eyes at airport carousels.
That may begin to matter a lot because, lately, there have been numerous press reports - including in the New York Times - that leading carrier United is really cracking down on the folks who try to bring aboard steamer trunks and other grossly over-sized bags. If United in fact is cracking down, the other carriers will follow so you may find yourself needing a genuine carry-on very, very soon.
The other fact: for almost any trip, all the luggage you need is a lone carry-on bag. That means no more waiting around luggage carousels, no more lost bags, no more checked bag fees.
What's keeping you from joining the club?
Know that there are plenty of choices. Search the big online retailers and there are hundreds of possibilities. What to look for? Different bags come with different interior compartments, and since carry-ons are definitionally snug -- American Airlines, for instance, caps its carry-on bag size at 22" long x 14" wide x 9" tall - getting the right configuration matters.
What you especially don't want is a bag that lets you down. And cheap, poorly constructed bags do exactly that. Wheels fall off. Zippers jam. Seams split. Bargain hunt when bag shopping, but always insist on buying quality that will see you through to the end of the trip.
My personal bag of choice: a 22" TravelPro Spinner, list price $240, but available online for under $80. It has plenty of room for a week's worth of clothes for a Roman holiday, which I know for a fact, because I took it there in December. Five shirts, same count of socks, seven pairs of underpants, a couple undershirts, pants, a necktie (never worn), toiletries - and there was room for souvenirs.
For quick two or three day business trips, the TravelPro has room to spare.
But there are many other favorites.
Mark Elliott, an asset manager based in Shanghai, said his pick - "without a question" - is the L.L. Bean rolling carry-on bag which, he said, gave him a full ten years of heavy service. When the zipper broke, L.L. Bean sent him a box to return it and, rather than fix it, they simply sent him a new bag. "What more can you possibly ask of a $100 bag?" he said.