(Le Marais tu manque = The Marais misses you *)
I can pack for a trip in 15 minutes flat, I've done it so many times. If I'm staying 4 days or less, I simply roll everything into a duffel or carry-on, any longer and I have to take a real suitcase. As a travel writer (I write travel columns for a few different online venues as well as here in the "world travel" section) and someone who LOVES to spend her free time exploring new lands, my luggage takes a BEATING. When I add up just how much I've spent on buying luggage over the past ten years, I get SICK.
It's time for something that I can easily pack, can be used for airplane travel or just a weekend in South Beach, and LASTS. I've been doing my research and there are a few brands that can withstand a LIFETIME of travel. My pick?
This weekend, I went out to buy myself a little Valentine's Day gift. I headed to the mall to shop (and have lunch with some friends). My first stop was to Bag 'n Baggage, mostly because I knew that they offered the largest selection of luggage. After browsing through the bags that seemed to be like what I have now (and I knew that one good toss by the flight crew and they were DONE), I made my way to "the wall." You know, "the wall" is the spot where they always put THE GOOD STUFF.
There were two lines of luggage in the category that I wanted. One was the brand that only comes in one color and has little to no personality, the other - Briggs & Riley, who offer three different lines, each of them very unique. After looking at the Baseline and Transcend lines, the saleswoman took down some of the BRX pieces. Yes, they're marketed for the adventure traveler, but really...isn't that what I am (I'm always looking for the next adventure).
1. It's classic good looks. You know how I love fashion, but there's nothing like luggage that screams, I'm a classic. No one will ever know how long I've owned it, where it's been, or where it will be going next.
2. It's lightweight. VERY lightweight (the 19" carry-on is only 7 lbs and the 25 - 9 lbs, 10% - 20% less than other bags). That means an extra pair of shoes or two (or 3), without going over the weight limit for when I DO check. Plus I can easily lift the bag into my car, up a step, etc.
3. Docking system. Each of the pieces offer a clip which allows you to almost piggy-back one bag to the other. Check out the photo of the carry-on with the duffle clipped to it.
4. Expandable. Yes, even my old luggage expanded, but an expandable duffel???? AMAZING!
5. Hide-Away tag. - The luggage tag is HIDDEN and pops up when you pull the lever. No worries about someone seeing and stealing your information.
6. It's SO well made. - the hardware (zippers and pulls) are self-repairing and ergonomic, the fabric is water-resistant, ripstop and uses a variety of different fabrics to make it durable.
7. Wheels. - I didn't buy a wheeled piece because I wanted something to sling over my shoulder, but I checked out the cool wheels that can handle ANY terrain.
8. Lifetime Guarantee - Like all of Briggs & Riley luggage. If your bag is ever broken or damaged (even if it's by an airline baggage handler) they'll repair it FREE OF CHARGE. This is probably the NUMBER ONE reason that I purchase Briggs & Riley luggage. I only have to buy it ONCE and I'll have it for the rest of my life.
I purchased the Exchange 26 Duffle. It has some incredible features, like hidden backpack straps, LOTS of pockets, a shoulder strap with comfort padding and more. The BEST feature though? The fact that I can comfortably pack EVERYTHING that I need and NEVER have to worry about the airline ruining my bags. Oh, and yes...it's rugged, but it STILL looks great with a pair of red heels.
* The Marais runs from the 3rd to 4th district (or arrondissements) in Paris. I used to live nearby, and have gone back year after year, specifically to stay in the Marais. My brother visited without me last year...
While I received compensation from Collective Bias, all opinions are strictly my own.