Skipping checked baggage, and the fees that come with it can be seriously stressful when you’re left juggling all of your belongings through multiple airport connections, bus stops and hotel stairwells. Digging for your cell phone’s backup battery in a bottomless bag filled with everything from clothing to project files while trying to stay on schedule can leaving you feeling like frugal travel is for the birds. Remembering to pack all of the necessary supplies is only part of the picture. You also need to be able to function efficiently by finding what you need fast. Choosing luggage with the proper support features will help you put your best budget foot forward. (See also: Extreme Packing Measures)
Computer cases and smaller travel bags with snug straps along one side slide easily down the telescoping handles of rolling carry-on bags, making for a much smoother dash between airport terminals when transfer time is tight. Shoulder totes with attachable cross-body straps allow easier hands-free problem solving at ticket counters, food court stands and overhead baggage bins.
Flat, interior pockets certainly provide organizational support for travelers, but the exterior ones make the lives of road warriors exponentially easier. Expandable pockets in particular allow you to compartmentalize frequently-accessed necessities such as travel food and snacks, medications, cosmetics and even oddly-shaped device chargers. This can transform a normal travel day of fishing critical supplies out of the middle of your suitcase from frustrating to functional.
A little extra protection can go a long way towards securing computer data and camera lenses, a common concern for those who make their living in the field of travel photography and content development. However, too much extra weight built into a basic piece of luggage can drastically reduce the number items you are able to pack. Simply put, it’s important to choose your padding with precision. Transferrable camera inserts, thin foam laptop sleeves and padded shoulder support are my personal must-haves, while insulated curling iron protectors get left by the wayside due to weight and space concerns. The same holds true for padded makeup bags. Choosing something thinner allows more room for the important things you need to look your best while traveling, like that extra shade of nail polish.
Photo Credit: Kate