The importance of having the right luggage cannot be overstated when you are planning an extended trip. Whether you will be using air travel, taxi service, bus lines, train or a combination, your belongings need to be firmly secured to avoid disaster. I learned this the hard way so i’m passing my experience on so others can side step the pitfalls and have a more enjoyable trip with fewer irritations.
How being a cheapskate left me in the lurch
My husband and I spent a full day packing for our two week vacation in Europe and the Meditterranean. We would fly out of Seattle and after a few connections, end up in London, then off to Italy for a 10 day cruise of the Mediterranean. I considered buying a new set of luggage for the trip but he insisted that we could make do with what we had. Being the tightwad that I am, it was an easy agreement to make. When we arrived at the airport and checked our bags, there was an additional charge because my “carry on” was too large according to airport protocols on baggage. I was a little miffed, but had to agree and transferred a few items to his carry on which was acceptable. It didn’t occur to me to check the size and weight limits for baggage before hand. The rest of the trip to London went well with no problems. We spent a few days seeing the sights before packing our bags to the taxi and taking the train to Gatwick airport.
How I lost my underwear in Rome
The flight to the airport in Rome was uneventful. Upon arrival, we headed for the restrooms while waiting for baggage. It was hard to decipher the men’s from the women’s until it dawned on me that they were unisex bathrooms. This was quite the learning experience. My husband was laughing at my reaction. He was very comfortable with the experience and wished for the same in the states.
When our luggage finally appeared on the conveyor belt, I noticed that one of my larger bags had been opened. Whoever conducted the search had done so in a sloppy manner. It was only partially zipped with articles of clothing hanging out and caught in the zipper. Needless to say I was quite displeased, but we didn’t have time to quibble as our shuttle was due and we were on a timeline to reach the dock for boarding the ship at a port over 100 km away. The shuttle didn’t make it so we were obliged to take a taxi the distance. I wasn’t accustomed to the high speeds that taxis seem fond of in Italy so the ride over was a lot like a bad ride at the fair. The driver was pretty rough with the luggage, throwing it into the trunk with some force and recklessness. I didn’t complain outwardly and it’s a good thing he couldn’t read my mind.
Once we were settled in our cabin on the ship we inspected our luggage and the contents. Nearly all of our belongings could be accounted for, with the exception of 3 pair of new panties I had purchased for the trip. While for some, it might not seem like a big deal, to me it was a personal violation that still haunts me to this day. Russ had no issues with ransacked luggage or missing underwear because his had a secure lock that we assumed made it not worth their time to mess with. Mine on the other hand was a flimsy lock that was easily broken so access was easier. After sharing the story with the rest of the family, the prevailing joke in the clan is that there is some Roman airport official walking around in my underwear, probably male. The story resurfaces from time to time and although everyone else gets a laugh, I fail to see the humor.
Moral of the story
In retrospect, I wish I had gone with my first inclination to get a new set of luggage. I’ve learned that there are certain features which can make a big difference in your comfort and security for valuables when travelling. When looking for the most suitable luggage, here is a website to start your search. Some considerations that need to be made when choosing the right luggage for you as an individual are:
- choosing the appropriate sizes for mode of travel
- high quality materials and construction for durability
- appropriate style and features for ease in moving from one location to another
- quality locks and security features to protect valuables from theft
I had to learn about the importance of luggage quality the hard way but you can avoid these inconveniences by preparing ahead of time.