It can happen when you least expect it or you can discover it when you’re retrieving it from the baggage carousel, but no matter how it happens, a broken suitcase has the potential to severely impact your travel experience. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can get through your trip and back home. Here are some ways to address common problems, as well as some Travelpro® product features specially designed to help avoid on-the-road luggage disasters.
If your telescoping handle sticks, apply a small amount of lubricant to literally grease the skids. See if you can track down some WD-40; if that’s not available, a little soap can help. If the handle is slightly bent, you may try manipulating it back into proper position. If it’s clearly broken, at least you have the other handles to carry the bag. An add-a-bag attachment strap, such as Travelpro® offers on many of its rolling products, would allow you to hook your broken bag onto another until you can address the issue.
If your wheels aren’t rolling smoothly, chances are there’s something stuck in them that’s inhibiting their movement. Wipe them with a damp cloth and look for anything that might be stuck in the wheel housing. If the wheels are wobbly, causing the bag not to pull straight behind you, the screws could be loose. Tighten them up – if you don’t have a screwdriver handy, call down to the front desk and ask for one. Travelpro designs its wheel systems with the frequent traveler in mind, subjecting their products to miles of rigorous testing. Our patented MagnaTrac™ Spinner wheels are self-aligning and have a specially designed housings to protect them from damage on baggage ramps and as they’re pulled over curbs and through terminals.
Even with his vivid imagination, Leonardo Da Vinci, recognized for inventing the world’s first robot, could never have envisioned this application for his creation. Or that it would be used in coordination with another of his inventions, the flying machine.
Yet here we are, as Geneva Airport has been trying the world’s first fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot to assist travelers with their luggage. Working in collaboration with Swiss telecommunications company SITA and BlueBotics, a robotics company specializing in Autonomous Navigation Technology (ANT), the company has named their robot “Leo,” after the famed Italian inventor and artist.
Leo can check in luggage, print baggage tags, and transport the luggage to its designated baggage handling area using information gathered by scanning passengers’ boarding passes. After the bags are loaded into the robot’s compartment, Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time to the travelers. No one other than a baggage handler can reopen the compartment once it departs for its designated destination.
Massimo Gentile, head of IT at the airport, sees great potential for use of robots in the future. He told FutureTravelExperience.com, “The use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable.”
Dave Bakker, president of the European division of SITA, agreed. “Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is a major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future,” he told FutureTravelExperience.com
While some kinks remain to be worked out, such as scalability of the entire system, the capacity, both in size and weight that the robot can carry, and how it navigates in snowy conditions, this trial at Geneva’s airport makes it clear that ANT robotic assistance is here to stay.
What do you think? Would you trust a luggage-carrying robot with your bag? Or would you prefer to check your bag yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.
Photo credit: SITA (Used with permission)
While the popularity of soft-sided luggage has boomed in recent years, many travelers prefer a hard-sided bag for its perceived durability and compression resistance. Travelpro provides several hard-sided options, but I want to talk about the three types generally available in the marketplace. We can think of them as good, better, and best.
GOOD: Polypropylene. This material is popular because of its price. It’s durable and flexible to some degree and is offered in a wide variety of colors. It is usually manufactured in solid colors with a matte finish and smooth texture.
BETTER: This next one is a mouthful: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a hard-sided material that is thermalformed to add strength to the structure of the luggage. It is very durable and is the most popular and most affordable option offered by many companies. ABS bags can have a variety of looks, including textured patterns, embedded prints, and images, due to manufacturing processes that incorporate ABS and polycarbonate.
Ever wonder what all those pockets and packing spaces have been designed for in your suitcase? While frequent travelers have developed a system for making the most of these spaces, those who don’t hit the road as often may struggle finding “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
Let’s start with the exterior pockets. Travelpro Rollaboards typically have two exterior pockets on the lid of the suitcase. The large one allows the traveler to store a light jacket if you’re traveling to or from the cold, and you’ll only need your jacket for one leg of the trip. It also provides handy access to a sweater, a book, a newspaper or magazine, or a tablet. Storing electronics in this pocket is not recommended for checked baggage, as it affords the least amount of protection from possible damage.
The smaller exterior pocket is designed to provide storage for handheld electronics, power cords, and a boarding pass. This is especially helpful if you are traveling light and don’t have a separate purse or bag for such items.
Some people wax rhapsodic about the joys of checking their suitcase and only traveling through the airport with a small personal bag or briefcase. While we’re not always big fans of letting someone else take our suitcase, we can see some of the benefits of checking your bag before your flight.
1. You can take everything you want and have options for clothes and souvenirs. If you’re taking an extra long trip, and you don’t want to wear the same pants five times, the big suitcase makes sense. It also leaves you plenty of room to pack souvenirs on the way home.
2. Once you check your bag, you’re FREE! No more wrestling your bag in the bathroom, or worrying somebody will shout “Abandoned bag! Abandoned bag!” when you step away to throw something in the trash can.
One of the things you may not consider when planning a trip is which piece of luggage to use. Either you’re going to wait and see how much you have to take, and plan accordingly. Or you’re thinking about buying your first piece of luggage, and aren’t sure which one to get.
Today, we’re going to present the pros and cons of the carry-on and the pros and cons of the larger suitcase.
The biggest pro for the carry-on centers around savings: saving money, saving time. If you’ve priced luggage, you’ll know that carry-ons are cheaper than check-in size suitcases. They also save you money because you don’t have to pay the checked bag fee suitcase users incur when they check their bag.
Maybe you’ve never thought of this, until right this very second (you’re welcome): what happens to all the microbes, germs, and general dirt that we get on our clothes while we travel?
Especially when you put your dirty clothes into your suitcase for your return trip?
Do the germs evaporate? Remain on your clothes? Or do they somehow get transferred to the interior lining of your bag, leaving your clean clothes susceptible to germs, bugs, and cooties when you pack for your next trip?
We asked our service department for tips and suggestions about how to maintain or return your bag’s interior to the cleanest state possible.In travel, as in life, forewarned is forearmed. Choosing a bag that has been designed to help you manage soiled or wet items is the best plan. In many of our lines, we have taken the extra step to include either a wet pocket that is waterproof or apply an H2O Guard to the fabric of the entire interior lining that helps prevent stains or smells that come with possible spills or wet garment garment storage.
If your bag doesn’t have this built-in protection, use plastic bags, such as those provided at hotels for laundry service or from home, to separate your wet, dirty, or simply worn clothes from those that are still clean. Most bags have a mesh compartment in the interior lid or a zippered pocket on the exterior that can be used to store these if a plastic bag is not available. It won’t keep the cooties out, but it will separate things a bit.
If you find a spill or stain or smell in your bag’s lining, you can clean it by mixing equal parts of denatured alcohol (also called industrial alcohol), and water to form a solution. Use a damp towel or sponge to apply this, and thoroughly wipe out the interior. Do not soak the lining, but try repeated applications if the situation persists. Leave the bag open so the solution can dry completely.
If you want to deal with a spill or stain while you’re still traveling, disinfectant wipes or baby wipes can be used to mitigate the worst until you can fully attend to it.
Do you have any other suggestions? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.
Luggage is a very personal purchase, as personal as buying your own clothes or even a new car. Not only does what you buy need to meet specific travel needs, it’s an expression of personal taste and the statement you want to make to your fellow travelers.Let’s consider buying the luggage set versus the individual piece. If you purchase a set, all the pieces in that set are designed to the same specifications. Travelpro has 11 different lines because we’ve studied the many different factors that determine each traveler’s purchase. Each collection is manufactured to meet the specific rigors of that particular travel experience. Material, hardware, and framework are all chosen carefully in order to design the best pieces for each type of traveler.
The business traveler, for example, may need a briefcase and a carry-on Rollaboard in order to avoid time spent waiting at the baggage carousels. The leisure traveler may do most of his traveling by car, or may want varying sizes of luggage for different members of the family. The weekend blitz trip versus the over-the-river-and-through-the-woods extended stay for the holidays is also part of the decision of set versus individual pieces. The adventure traveler may want flexible luggage that doesn’t add weight to an outdoor backpacking trip.
Purchasing several essential pieces at the same time from the same collection will ensure that you have the same look. It will also ensure that you are looking for only one color or style of luggage when multiple pieces are used during a trip. It is also important to realize that pieces in a collection all meet the same specifications and will perform similarly.
If a single piece already sits in your closet and you’re looking to add another, determine first which way you travel the most. Purchase the piece or pieces that will best meet your needs. If what you own is part of a set, consider those pieces first, particularly if you’re pleased with the performance and functionality of your current luggage. If you own a stand alone piece, realize that there probably will be only a few times when you use both of them at the same time. If you are adding a piece to create a set that will be used together, determine whether color matching or construction is important to you. Eclectic is just as chic as a matching set.
When considering adding to your travel collection, whether you choose an individual piece or a set, each piece will serve you best if you’ve really thought through its function. What’s the one piece you want to add to your collection, or what’s your favorite piece? Let us hear from you in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
In our last blog post, we talked about hotel hacks you can use while you’re on the road. With a little ingenuity and a few of the complimentary items most hotels offer, you can have a semi-civilized existence if you need food, a shave, to shine your shoes, or to even remove unwanted odors.
Another travel hacks video from Dave Hax tells us how to pack and travel with just a few simple items to make packing easier and our time on a plane or train more comfortable. Here are a few things we learned.
- If your shoes get dirty while you’re sightseeing, use the hotel shower cap to cover the soles. If you suffer from SFS (smelly feet syndrome), help yourself (please!) to the teabags in the hotel room and use them as shoe deodorizers.
- Don’t want to bring your laptop protector but need something to protect your computer inside your suitcase? Fold your hoodie around it and you’re good to go! Your hoodie can also be used as a makeshift pillow. Provided you’re not already using it as your laptop protector.
- If you’ve never learned how the Marines fold their clothes to make the most use of their duffel space, read our post on making a skivvy roll. It’s genius, and it helps you count pairs of underwear, socks, and t-shirts easily.
- If you don’t want to watch the in-flight movie, and don’t want a crick in your neck from hunching over your phone, pack a sandwich bag in your carry-on. Place the phone inside the bag and use the tray table clip to hold the bag at viewing level. Then, poke a small hole in the bag for your headphones. If you don’t have a bag, you can fold your sunglasses and use them as a stand.
- If you have a hard time remembering your room number, take a photo with your phone when you arrive.
- If your phone battery is running low and you don’t have a lot of time to charge it, put the phone in “flight mode” and it will charge faster.
- For all you McGyver fans out there, a clean, empty lip balm tube can be used to hide rolled-up bills when you’re going out.
With these tips, your next trip can be cleaner, more efficient, more enjoyable, and adequately charged. What other hacks do you use when you travel? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page.