Lifestyle Travel

Top five travel bag tips

The Eagle
Written by The Eagle

This article first appeared in the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of World Gaming magazine.

WGM’s The Eagle navigates you through the myriad of options available to the jet-setting high roller when looking for the perfect travel bag.

The range of bags on offer to the discerning traveler looking to get away for a weekend of casino gaming has grown enormously in recent years. Gone are the days where you are forced to lug around an ungainly suitcase or cultivate the teenager with a schoolbag look. Now it’s possible to travel with a practical bag yet still look sophisticated.

Luggage and leather goods specialists like Louis Vuitton, Tumi, Bally and Hermès all offer an excellent choice of luggage options, as do designers such as Ferrari, Porsche, Dunhill and Zegna. There are a host of quality brands with offerings to keep your belongings safe, pressed and dry, whilst maintaining your stylish image. Be it a duffle bag, overnighter, backpack, hold all, weekender, newsboy or tote the most important thing is to select a bag with functionality.

With the average stay in Macau being a mere 1.5 days most people pack just enough for one or two changes of clothes, the trusty laptop or iPad, and maybe even a suit bag. Here are my five top tips on features to consider when selecting the perfect travel bag:

Consider expandability: Too often that one-day trip ends up in an extra night’s stay. Whether this is a result of playing your winning streak or just plain oversleeping, you often find yourself buying an extra set of clothes just to get home in a respectable state. This is when having a bag unconstrained by the designer’s eye becomes important. While some fashionable bags may look tight and elegant they often develop a permanent bulge the moment that extra shirt is jammed in. Such bags should be avoided. If you know you’re the sort to pack an extra pair of swimming trucks and a blazer “just in case” then ensure you choose something spacious to begin with.

Consider comfort: How is the bag carried? With the size of airports and the distances between check-in and your room ever increasing, even carrying a 10kg bag can be a burden if the bag doesn’t handle well. Features to look for are comfortable handles, optional straps that don’t dig into your back or shoulders and bags with wheels and an extendable handle. Remember the trade-off between functionality and weight. If your bag weighs 3kg before your items are packed, the helicopter ride to Macau or your budget airline flight starts costing a lot more when you get hit with excess baggage charges for everything over 7kg.

Consider durability: Whilst some of the latest bags look amazing when new, you should consider how they may look after a few months of use. Being left to luggage porters and taxi drivers who don’t differentiate between fine calf leather and cardboard boxes, your stylish tote can soon end up making you look like a person who should be carrying your items in a red and white jute bag. Try to avoid bags that are particularly shiny or are odd shapes in case they get squeezed into that spare greasy spot in the luggage compartment of the taxi.

Consider ease of access: It is often handy to have some easy access pockets for things like water bottles, travel documents, the second mobile phone, an iPad and chargers. You don’t want to be always opening the main compartment for simple things. Most bags have different external pocket options, so select the one most functional for your travel habits.

Consider interior pockets: A must for the regular casino aficionado. Internal zipup pockets ensure your winnings are that much harder to access by any “light-fingered” individual who may come across your bags. I have had money taken out of my carry-on luggage when at the last moment, the bag gets moved from above my head to “down the back of the bus”. Inside pockets give that extra level of security and are a small but useful deterrent against those seeking to lighten you of your bankroll or winnings.

With the many options available selecting a travel bag can be confusing but fun. Choosing wisely will result in a long term bond with the bag, and a familiarity that allows your travel to be even more stress free – just throw your things in and off you go!

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