Travel

Priority Baggage: Is that Rimowa worth it?

Searching for the right luggage doesn’t have to be a laborious task. Whichever brand you choose, it's all about figuring out your travel personality.
IMAGE Paramount Pictures
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After years of borrowing your parents’ luggage, you’ve finally decided to invest in your own. Congratulations! Now what?

It is well worth the time and effort to search for the perfect valise. You don’t just walk into a store and take the first cheap suitcase you see thinking that it will last you a lifetime. Even if you picked the first expensive suitcase a salesperson offers you, it still wouldn’t last a lifetime. Remember: whatever bag you get will be tossed around in the airport anyway. The key is knowing what your needs are. Do you prefer a hard or soft case? A two-wheeler or four-spinner? Do you carefully fold or are you a drawer stuffer? These are just some of the things to consider other than price points. 

When I travel, I usually have a wide range of suitcases to choose from depending on what I’m packing: a hard case Rimowa, a soft case, and an extra duffle bag tucked into one of the other suitcases just in case I need a third piece of luggage. I don’t have a particular favorite but the Rimowa wins over the soft case by a small margin. The four wheels have a nice slide to them and they easily shift to any direction I want without getting stuck. It is also great for fragile or odd-shaped items that need some form of extra protection. Even when I put a carry-on on top, I can just as effortlessly roll the luggage along without worrying about whether or not it’s going to topple over. The brand's polycarbonate shell is lightweight and waterproof. Trust me, there is nothing worse than lugging around a wet suitcase—especially if you’re wandering around the narrow streets of quaint little cities in Europe.

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The problem with hard cases is that the wheels are factored into the dimensions. This means that you actually have less space for packing your things. Some people call it a waste but it really depends on the kind of packer you are. I pack in cubes so when I open my suitcase, it looks like a Tetris puzzle. Another hazard to having a four-wheeler is that one of the wheels can easily break off so there is technically more to worry about since the wheels jut out and are not tucked into the suitcase. It also has a tendency to stray when you leave the bag on its own which makes it easier for gypsies to run off with your luggage.

My two-wheeler soft case makes for a good extra suitcase. Soft cases have a little more give and stretch a bit which are suitable to light, bulky objects. They are more flexible so they can fit into tighter spaces. It is technically more durable since hard cases do have a tendency to crack due to their rigidness. If you like having pockets, then the soft case may be the way to go if you don’t pack in cubes but want your clothes and toiletries segregated into little compartments. The only problem I have with the soft case is it’s lack of maneuverability and its absence of water resistance. It has a tendency to topple over if the weight isn’t distributed properly. Stains also have the magical ability to show up more often on a soft case, if you’re a stickler for pristine luggage.

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A good suitcase is worth a thousand travel plans. Take your time and choose wisely. Once you’ve figured it out, you are well on your way to being a worldly jetsetter!

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Dara Villonco
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