Suitcases Tips

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What do famous people carry in their luggage?

Suitcases of the Stars

Famous people carry the same things in their suitcases as the rest of us -- a little money, a change of clothes, maybe some medication:

  • In 2004, Princess Martha Louise of Denmark and her husband, author Ari Behn, went on their honeymoon with a suitcase full of cash to avoid being tracked by tabloid reporters.
  • Hotel heiress Paris Hilton is known for traveling with a mountain of mismatched luggage. Some savvy luggage maker should create an 11-piece luggage set just for her.
  • For decades, celebrities have been busted with illegal drugs in their luggage, yet it still keeps happening. Most recently, singer Jimmy Buffett's luggage was found to contain more than 100 tabs of the club drug Ecstasy, while Sylvester Stallone was charged with importing illegal muscle-building steroids into Australia.

What changes might we expect in the world of travel?

Suitcases of the Future

A century ago, a woman who owned 20 outfits and 10 pairs of shoes was wealthy indeed. Today, she's probably standing in front of her closet saying, "I have nothing to wear!"

One fact of today's economy is that clothing and many other manufactured products are very cheap, comparatively speaking, and are widely available, even in Third World countries. This, combined with pressure from airlines to minimize fuel use and carry less luggage, means we may soon be carrying relatively little luggage on each trip.

Another item in the future traveler's bag may be one or more radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, which can help automate and speed up the process of getting travelers and their suitcases to the right destination at the same time.

Finally, security systems may identify passengers by their biometrics -- for instance, scanning a thumbprint.

Can I restore an old piece of luggage?

Vintage Suitcases

In the early part of the 20th century, people spent a lot on luggage, and expected it to last them a lifetime. A lot of that luggage is still with us, and with a little care, that luggage can become a valuable part of an antiques collection or theatrical prop box.

If you run across an old suitcase in an attic or at a yard sale, chances are it will need cleaning. Except for leather, most luggage can be cleaned with a soft cloth, dampened and treated with mild soap. Air-dry it -- outside if weather permits -- to dispel any odors. For leather, use a cream leather cleaner (available at most shoe stores) and then follow up with a leather conditioner to restore natural oils.

Vintage luggage is fun to look at, but makes an impractical choice for modern travel. For one thing, it is usually so heavy that it is impractical to use it, given today's airline weight restrictions. Also, vintage luggage was not designed to fit under today's airline seats or in overhead bins. Finally, it doesn't include the convenient features like wheels and telescoping handles that make it so much more convenient to take your belongings along. Besides, you've got a piece of history there -- particularly if it's a family piece. Why subject it to the uncertain treatment of TSA inspectors and airline baggage handlers?

Instead, save a restored vintage luggage piece for show, for occasional car trips, or for a funky accent as part of your home decor.

What are some fun styles of suitcases?

Suitcases for Fun

For some people, luggage mean serious business, but for most of us they spell one thing: vacation! You've been looking forward to this trip all year -- so why bring a boring bag?

Going to Hawaii? Choose a bag decorated with dots in tropical colors. Off to Florida? Why not a hard-sided suitcase in brilliant green? Headed to the Serengeti? Take a leopard-print tote and get a chance to compare it to the real live leopards!

What kinds of suitcases do men prefer?

Suitcases for Men

Leather suitcases offer a particularly masculine look, and many men prefer to carry their bags over their shoulders instead of using wheeled suitcases. As long as your spine can take it, that's fine.

Beyond leather, many men favor an athletic look to their luggage, preferring duffel bags to traditional suitcases. When they can be persuaded away from traditional black, many men also favor bright colors, associated with sports.

What is an appropriate suitcase for a woman?

Suitcases for Women

For some women, style is everything, and whether it's a pink suitcase with jeweled luggage tags or a shimmering gold backpack suitcase for the plane, only you can choose the style that's right for you.

Some women who travel frequently on business, however, have found that men's stores offer better choices for rugged, sensible, business-friendly suitcases. If you take several work-related trips a year, it may be worth sacrificing feminine style for the kind of quality that transcends gender.

Can luggage kill you?

Death By Suitcase

Luggage, of course, is not usually malevolent on its own, and these days TSA screeners remove anything remotely deadly (including hand lotion, but never mind that). However, there are cases where suitcases have been implicated in unfortunate deaths.

The pop singer Aaliyah, flying from the Bahamas to Miami in 2001, died along with eight others when the plane crashed about 200 feet from the runway. Investigators said the pilot had been asked to leave some luggage behind, and blamed the weight of the plane for the crash.

In 1940, radio star Tom Mix also died thanks to a suitcase that bounced onto his head while he was driving his beloved roadster. Investigators said Mix had ignored warnings about a bridge that was out due to road work. The Arizona gully where he died was named after him, and the suitcase can be seen at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma.

Why Samsonite suitcases?

Samsonite Suitcases

Samsonite has traveled with the weary traveler for years. The well-known luggage company prides itself on fitting form and fashion into luggage that fits every traveler's need.

Their hardside jumbo suiter offers a retractable pull strap, four rolling wheels for easy maneuvering, removable tri-fold suiter (great for professional suits and fancy clothing), and an interior divider panel and cross-straps to hold your stuff in place. An ideal Commuter Tote to accompany it fits laptops and files and makeup. The Transport Tote is perfect to carry on board and the Ultravalet Garment Bag makes transporting suits easy.

Samsonite suitcases are marketed to fit the length of your trip: one to two days, two to four days, one week, or more than one week.

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Tammi Reynolds