Choosing the right carry-on for you.

Choosing the right travel bag is different for every traveler.  Some people are natural over packers and will try to carry everything in their carry-on. Others might be traveling with simply a carry-on, even if they are traveling for a week.  I encourage all travelers to choose the bag they choose based on their needs and circumstances. However, here are five things you might want to consider when making your choice.

One of my primary considerations is how the bag closes.  Does it zip-up, or is it a carry-all with no closure?  If you’ve ever traveled and had your items all scattered either on takeoff or landing, then this will be a priority for you as well.  If things get scattered under your seat, you never know where they will end up, maybe a few rows behind you or maybe in front of you.  If things get scattered in the overhead bin, then chances are you are not tall enough to see into it to make sure you have all your items.

The size of your bag is essential.  From airline to class of travel, what is allowed as carry-on differs on different flights.  Besides, you want to make sure it can carry your essential items but not be too big to make it not fit in the overhead bin or too restrictive to your feet if placed under the seat in front of you.

Just like your choice of luggage, the weight of your carry-on is a critical consideration.  I would suggest a lightweight bag that can fit all your carry-on needs. It would be best to consider that you will carry this bag on your shoulder or attached to your roll-aboard for some distance.  If you have to take a heavy bag, it can undoubtedly lead to more back pain than usual for confined aircraft seating.

While it might look fashionable to carry designer luggage, know that you will be using shared space.  If another passenger spills something in the overhead bin, it will get over your bag.  Should a passenger get violently sick close to you, those bodily fluids can spill to your carry-on stowed on the floor.  Not to mention that you have no idea if someone hasn’t already been sick in the area.  Know that not everyone will treasure your bag as you do and travel accordingly.

An often-overlooked area in choosing carry-on bags is the organization it may offer.  Bucket bags by design hold everything as they are named.  It can be challenging to find items in your bag if you have no idea where in your bag they are.  A bag with different compartments makes it easier to find your passport or boarding pass, or toiletries if you keep them in separate areas.

Do you have a go-to inflight bag?  Having been a flight attendant for many years, I am conditioned to have my bag organized and ready at all times. How about you? I’d like to know.

ChoosingTheRightCarryOnForYou

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Donna Hunter PhD

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