Bags for the Traveling Man
“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” - Henry David Thoreau
Bachelors are renowned for their independence and complete freedom as they go about their lives without ties (well, other than those of the stylish variety). So it’s of no surprise that individual men are among the most frequent travelers, traversing all corners of the world and emerging from their exploits with endless stories of their ventures.
These men will tell you that travel is the ultimate experience, a way to engage with a world that can’t be known until you’re thrown into the centre of it, jostled by crowds of locals calling out in dialects that are distinctly different from anything you’ve heard.
But they’ll also tell you of the mistakes they made while they traveled. The San Sebastián festival that caused all of the hotels and hostels in Puerto Rico to be booked, making them spend an entire night in a park. The oversight that in Barcelona, people don’t speak Spanish but Catalan, and the accompanying difficulty with navigating the city. The accidental packing of shorts that end above the knee that barred them from Cambodian temples, forcing them to wear long pants in extreme heat and humidity.
Among these mistakes and stories, there’s a pearl of wisdom to be found: there’s nothing you can do to control all aspects of a trip, but anything that you do have the power to control, you ought to. And the primary tool of travel that is up to your selection is your luggage bag.
A travel bag should accomplish the following:
It should be durable. No matter if it’s the best airport in the world, no system can guarantee the gentle handling of all luggage. Often, there’s a mad rush to transport bags from bag check to the plane’s underbelly, and from the plane’s underbelly back to the customers once the destination is reached. The last thing you want is your bag tearing and your possessions being lost across the tarmac, so invest in a quality bag that’s hardy and ready to take the inevitable beating that airports will dole out.
It should be lightweight. Unless your bag is on wheels (which can be a real hindrance when it comes to navigating areas without pavement or with excessive stairs), a lightweight bag is a must. With so many strict weight restrictions on luggage, don’t waste any spare weight on your travel bag. Make it all count. Your shoulders will thank you later, too, as you trek through Venice for hours searching for the correct hotel.
It should be unique. There are plenty of horror stories circling around about people whose suitcases are accidentally taken by others who own the same exact bag. Don’t risk losing your luggage, and don’t accept blending in with the masses, either. A fashionable bag is not only easier to recognize at baggage claim, but will set you apart as an experienced traveler who was willing to invest in his trade.
It shouldn’t be too flashy. While it’s the look of an experienced traveler that you should strive for, keep in mind that this shouldn’t extend to anything too fancy. Avoid bags that suggest excessive wealth, as this will make you an easy target for pick pockets or locals looking to make an extra amount on any bargaining encounters.
There are plenty of travel bags and accessories that meet the above standards and suit the traveling man. So when you’re ready for travel, don’t hesitate. It’s a bachelor’s way to meander and nothing, especially not an inferior bag, should hold you back.