The art of carry-on bags

Published on 20th January, 2010 in Author Blog by Lindsay Clandfield

There are two types of regular travellers: those who try to live out of one bag and those who have given up trying. I’m still in the former camp. I have to travel a lot for work and I’m constantly frightened of losing my bags in transit and ending up in Uzbekistan or somewhere like that with only the clothes on my back for a week. So I try to pack as lightly as possible, and travel with only ONE bag, which I can take on a plane with me.

I found out a little while ago there is a debate in the world of carry-on luggage that boils down to one essential question: wheels or no-wheels? By this I mean wheels on the bottom of the bag. Wheels make it much easier to drag around with you, but the folk at (a great site for the frequent traveller) argue otherwise. They say it adds more weight, is not so practical outside of an airport and additionally gives you less packing room. For those of you (like me) who can get obsessed about this kind of thing, check out this page

My trusty Air Boss carry-on bag

My trusty Air Boss carry-on bag

I travel with a bag from the people at Red Oxx (no, they aren’t paying me to say this either) It’s sturdy. I’ve used it for a ten day trip. No wheels, and no regrets.


  • How do you deal with the liquid security? The idea of travelling with one carry on bag is appealing (at least for short trips), but these days that means problems with toothpaste, shampoo, etc which makes it more of a challenge. And increasingly hotels, I’m finding are dealing with the global downturn (no relation to the book) by stopping supplying shampoo etc )

    Andy H on 20 January, 2010
  • You’re right about that. I carry the little containers of shampoo, shaving cream etc. It does mean though that they need to be replaced more often, and it seems so wasteful of plastic and so forth.
    Thanks for dropping by, and wow it’s nice to talk about something other than ELT today!

    Lindsay Clandfield on 20 January, 2010
  • I am most interested in techniques to survive a flight with a suitcase. Our flat is a thesaurus of failures with broken bags, bags with a slip, turned out wheels, (borrowed) trendy suitcases with missing wheels, broken safety locks etc. Is there a valid and safe method which I could rely on and which I could advise to my children? I wonder.

    Mihaly Benedek on 20 January, 2010
  • Thanks Mihaly for your quote. It makes me think of another reason I don’t go for bags with wheels – the wheels break (maybe I’ve just had cheap bags!) At the airport I usually can find a cart to push my bag around if I don’t feel like carrying it. Check out that One Bag site for better advice than I can give here!

    Lindsay Clandfield on 20 January, 2010
  • Lindsay, thank you for the thought. However, I can easily imagine that there is a special task force of two with heavy hammers standing at the end of the conveyor belt, and all they have to do is hitting every third/fourth wheels. Anyway, I will study the One Bag site carefully.

    Mihaly Benedek on 21 January, 2010
  • I also go for the one bag strategy, but find they can get pretty heavy if you’ve got clothes, a laptop, a camera, a few books, etc. (not to mention the weight of the wheels of course). I guess I could go for one without wheels and use a trolley more often, but that brings us to escalators …

    Mike Hogan on 24 January, 2010
  • I like the idea of a one bag travel solution, BUT I’m not sure it is for everyone. I agree that it may work better for trips to 3rd world countries where the roads are worse and there is a lot more travel by bus. However, in the big cities that I frequent, a roller is much easier.

    Find a trolley that is small enough for carry on, and a computer bag/briefcase that will slide over the handle and you are good to go. There is no penalty in terms of usability, and it is much easier on your back.

    Daniel Ho on 1 February, 2010
  • I’ve recently got a wheeled backpack which is big enough for clothes for a short trip. The wheels make it perfect for pulling along through the airport but if I need to use public transport I can pop it on my back and keep my hands free.

    Weight is an issue of course, but the upside is much less time in airports and no risk of lost lugagge.

    DavidM on 27 September, 2010