Most affordable wheeled luggage uses a handle with two extenders that lock into one spot when pulled out. This allows the maker to use very lightweight material for the handle, but it is somewhat inflexible and hard on the shoulder and wrist to pull one of these over a long stretch of airport corridor.
More upscale roller luggage comes with a single-arm handle, which can be locked in more than one position (thus allowing people shorter and taller than average to pull the bag comfortably). An excellent innovation is the rotating handle, which can be tilted into a comfortable position for easier pulling.
Rather than buy a whole new bag, you may want to look at a product called the Travel Tow, which fastens onto the end of a two-arm handle but then twists, allowing you to pull the luggage at a more ergonomic angle.
Wheeled tote luggage straddles the line between suitcase and briefcase, occasionally straying over toward large-purse territory. What does that mean? You can pack a wheeled tote with your laptop and files for a "mobile office," or with your gym clothes and water bottle for that midday workout, or with enough clothes for a weekend getaway.
Popular in urban environments, you'll frequently see commuters using them, and they come in a wide range of styles (you can even get a leopard-print one!). They're also popular among airline crews, who need to carry a change of clothes, but don't have room for anything but the basics.
Frequent travelers say a rolling suitcase is essential. Even when you're in good shape and full of energy, a bag can become a burden on a rushed journey between airport terminals. (Always, it seems, the one you want is at the exact opposite end from the one where you landed. But that's another story.)
If you're traveling with children, rolling luggage makes even more sense. Older kids can manage a heavy load with ease, and even little ones like having child-size rolling suitcases to pilot.
Look for a sturdy rolling travel bag with durable wheels and a comfortable, easy-to-manage handle. Extras might include an easy-access pocket for travel documents, internal tie-down straps and industrial-grade zippers
Airline-approved soft-sided pet carriers are water-resistant and well-padded on at least two sides. The padding will most likely be nylon and should have mesh ventilation.
If you plan to keep your pet carry-on with you in the cabin, it needs to fit under the seat in front of you. Check the airline's website or call to be sure. If your pet will be traveling in the cargo hold, try not to schedule your trip in very hot or very cold temperatures.
Hard-sided dog and cat carriers are built to be leak-proof and escape-proof. Check the door to the pet travel carrier to be sure it closes properly. Most airline approved pet carriers will have releasable cable ties, which should be attached to all four corners of the kennel door.
Above all else, you want the cat or dog to have the ability to stand in place, as well as turn around and have enough ventilation.
Soft-sided carriers are more flexible, but generally not suited for larger pets. Again, be sure your dog or cat has enough room to stand up and turn around inside.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|