A bellboy from the Japanese soap series “Hotel” once said he could tell the character of a person by his suitcase. After travelling for more 30 years, I could more or less make out the characters of people based on the style, size and appearance of their suitcase.

Packing Suitcase: An Extraordinary Expertise

Every travel regardless of length and season, Mr. & Mrs. Loo brought their faithful luggage, a 20-inch brown classic suitcase that they had since 32 years ago from their US college days. From the outlook, this bag has done a great many travels with them. In fact, I also have a strong connection with my luggage bag and would not simply dump it for another new one.

A bellboy from the Japanese soap series “Hotel” once said he could tell the character of a person by his suitcase. After travelling for more 30 years, I could more or less make out the characters of people based on the style, size and appearance of their suitcase. While some of them own just an ordinary suitcase, they care for it. There are also others who couldn’t care less with a worn suitcase. Upon our return from the Baltic-Balkan trip months ago, I noticed 16 out of the 20 guests carried suitcases of various models from the same brand RIMOWA. This German brand gains popularity among travellers in recent years supposedly for its elegance, reliability, durability and status symbol.

When the bellboy sees branded suitcases he felt the necessity of careful handling as they must be some distinguished guests. However, he is also able to tell which are authentic. Well, such is the reality of our society, impression does matter.

Regardless of the brands, as long as we have poor attitude in the baggage handlers at the airport, even expensive suitcases are damaged just as what happened to my aluminium suitcase decorated with dents and scratches. On top of that, it is a cause for worry when your baggage doesn’t turn up at the end of the belt. Lost bags are very often those of expensive brands. A RM5,000 suitcase with its contents that probably costs RM5,000 could only fetch a compensation of RM800 from travel insurance claims.

There is this wealthy couple who travelled only with cabin sized bags for their 7 days Hokkaido winter tour because of the bad experience of lost luggage. On the other hand, another couple hauled 3 suitcases weighing 25kg each to their 15 days Europe summer tour. I couldn’t resist finding out what’s inside. Apparently, there were 5 pairs of shoes, 5 kg of cosmetics, and so on. As a matter of fact, brand and appearance is secondary to the contents in the suitcase. Packing it right sounds simple but it is a skill.

I had this opportunity to travel with a Taiwanese group for 19 days. They seem quite professional in luggage packing where each of them has one checked-in luggage of 18-20kg and a hand-luggage of less than 5kg. When I asked around, I found that most people do not need 30% of what they packed in their suitcase. For example, even though it is obviously autumn, they still bring 3 to 5 sets of winter clothes besides the numerous chargers and large bottles of cosmetics. Obviously, packing skill has a lot to do with common sense. It doesn’t mean that we have to make full use of the airline’s baggage quota and load with things that we don’t need.

As a matter of fact, changing hotel every day is a common practice in travels. Come to think of it, when it is just one night stay we don’t really need to take so much stuff out of our suitcase. However, some people would pour out everything including whatever souvenirs acquired. Wouldn’t they be busy and tired? Lifting a 20kg suitcase is actually not easy and could hurt the back bone. What happens to the bus driver who has to carry them day in day out, wouldn’t he has a back pain too.

Be reminded: the insurance compensation certainly won’t offset the loss of your property. Upon our return to the mainland of Argentina after visiting the Antarctic, a lady lost her suitcase. While the suitcase wasn’t a big deal, her photo memory card and the Antartic certificate were the most painful loss to her.

As we all love to travel, we have also to treat our luggage bags or our “travel partners” well. Brand is merely a personal preference. The most important is practicality and the size 20-24 inch is most appropriate. The key-point is to be well organised and Travel Light.

P/S: Written on the journey in Northern Xinjiang; 11day10night, changed hotel daily, moving luggage in/out, filled with sentiments.


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李桑 作者

在旅游业纵横驰骋1万1000多个日子, 探秘南北极境, 足印遍布7大洲132国! 由衷信仰,“出走”; 身体力行,“走出”。