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Dear Team, I read Mr. Elliott's page everyday. I have a question. My wife and I will be going to Ukraine this summer. What are the top 3 types of luggage we should be looking to purchase. It will be our first time out of the country. Thank you.
We really can’t answer that- we are not a product review website.
The best advice For can give you is to go to the website of the airline you are booked on and read the sizing requirements of luggage for that carrier. Then go to a site like Consumet Reports to find the best luggage. You don’t have to spend $400 for a piece of luggage to fly with- we get ours at TJ Max or Ebags.com
Two things to remember, you get what you pay for. So bargain luggage is not likely to withstand rough handling of an international trip. And International Carriers are dead serious about the WEIGHT of your checked bags AND size & weight of your carry on. Look for the sturdiest, lightweight luggage you can find.
Then go to EACH of the carriers you are flying with and carefully study the restrictions based on the fare you purchased.
Last piece of advice is to pretend you will NEVER see your checked bag again and pack 3 changes of clothes in your carryons. And make sure valuables & meds never never are put in checked luggage.
Travel Insurance!!! Don’t leave home without it, your medical insurance won’t cover you if you fall off a curb and break a leg
It is a gamble, in my opinion. I went the route of paying quite a bit for some purported fantastic luggage, and on the first trip, half of the wheels failed (multiple bags between 6 people who had all purchased new fancy luggage), and one bag ended up being ripped on trip home. Now, I have had cheaper luggage with multiple trips, overseas, etc., that has lasted for 5 years now. My best advice, go pick up pieces of luggage, look at the items, roll them around, see what you like that won't break the bank if you have to replace it more quickly than planned.
I will give my personal experience - I have a bag from Eddie Bauer that I love and have used for probably 15 years or so. It's showing some wear but nothing is broken, ripped, torn yet. I will provide a suggestion and that is don't get a black bag. If you get a colored bag, it's easier to identify.
Given the possibility of lost or damaged bags, I think the following are worth considering:
Expensive bags increase the temptation of others to engage in theft of the luggage itself and or its contents.
Paying more for increased durability makes sense, but could be problematic when attempting to recover for lost /damaged bags. Foreign airlines can be more difficult to deal with at times. There are many cases here where foreign entities are non-responsive.
Less expensive bags minimize your loss should your efforts to recover for damages of missing bags/items fail.
Should you decide on new luggage, be sure to keep your receipts as proof of purchase. Same advice for any expensive items that go into these. And take pictures of the luggage and its contents just before departing for each airport.
For at least twenty years, I have purchased luggage at a discount store like Ross, or WalMart. The cheap stuff seems to last as long as the brand-name bags. You certainly can't control what happens to the poor bags inside the system, so might as well buy something that's easy to replace. I've been lucky to never have a bag fail during a trip. Fly to Europe with no preconceived notions or expectations and "go with the flow" ... you'll have a great time.
I'll agree that my pretty basic luggage has lasted longer than some expensive "designer name" bags I've had. But my colleagues are right that you just cannot tell what will happen to a bag in transit. I've delivered a bag with a handle and four wheels to a major airline, and received a handle-less, 1-wheel bag at the destination. At least one major airline I know of has a "secret room" near baggage claim where you can choose a new bag if yours is irreparably damaged (we've experienced it).
Try to purchase a distinctive bag so you'll find it at baggage claim, pack as @JVillegirl541 suggests in post #3 above, put your ID (including cell phone #) inside and outside the bag. And my husband swears by the adjustable webbing straps that come in bright colors to wrap around the bags for easy ID at the baggage claim.
Watch the luggage size and weight limits, and enjoy your trip to Ukraine.