Downsizing- Luggage I can live with
When the snow starts to fly in Aspen. The one thing that gets me through our long winters is to have an unused plane ticket in the drawer. To be able to count the days before I return to Italy, gives me hope in the midst of a white out in March. Hope comes in the form of promises of sunshine, red wine, fashion, and history all rolled into, An Italian Escape.
I normally spend every May/June in Italy. When it is high season, I like to be there, in Italy, where it is happening. This year I will be personally escorting two groups of about fifty travelers, from the top to the toe of Italia. With only one day of "downtime" between these tours, every item of what goes in the suitcase becomes an item to be reviewed and reviewed again for weight, style and travel worthiness. My plan is to try to accomplish this in a carry on. Yes I said carry on bag.
I began in the 80s; with Classic Hartman khaki and leather set which was shared with my husband. We took many a trip with that luggage, a few times to Hawaii, European Grand Tour once or twice. Finally divorce sent the luggage into he closet of my ex-beloved and as with everything else I had to fend for myself and find a new look that represented my new “singleness”. I adored that luggage, it represented good times, and later bad, when I moved out, I had to use cardboard boxes.
To express my newfound divorcee status, I went for IT. A Louis Vuitton, Epi leather Saddle color hand carry bag. It is gorgeous. And I am afraid to use it. But alas, It is only suitable for car travel. It has seen some travel, but by the time it is full, it is to heavy to carry. So it stays in the top of the closet. I was convinced I needed wheels.
The quest for luggage to call my own, began in 2002, when I came upon a sale in a small Columbus Avenue boutique NYC which was selling at 50% off Italian Luggage make by , Piero Guidi. I had to own all three pieces, even the train case, though I only use it for storage now. The train case is a piece of art. The luggage was a chocolate brown with coveted brass hardware. I think it went to Italy at least eight times, until I finally learned to down size. The wheels were not suitable for hauling heavy luggage across the cobble streets in Florence and that was the end of Piero.
The hunt for Italian luggage was on. And finally after a successful tour with exaggerated tips, I purchased a Brics suitcase in tan suede with saddle leather details. A stylish roller bag, smaller than the Piero but it still needed to be send as baggage since it was not small enough for carry on status. Feeling better about being able to maneuver around Italy, it only took one over packed bag, a non portable, portable laptop (about 8lbs) and an out of service elevator and 35 steps up from the train track to learn, I must go smaller. I went through two Brics bags and thought, I need to spend less on luggage.
By now I was convinced, that my elbows were going to be pulled from their sockets from hauling bags around Italy. I needed a carryon bag, and a lighter weight portable computer to survive. TJ Max had the answer. For Fifty dollars, I found a DVF, brown, weatherproofed vinyl, no pockets, and decent wheels. Another 14 trips back and forth to Italy, and the bag wore out, but I do feel I got my money’s worth.
After looking high and low, I have finally found, and invested in a two piece nylon set by Tumi. Light weight, good wheels, great color ( not black), and fits together. I adore it. Took me three years of shopping to find it. I go through luggage. When travel is your business, one tends to use luggage up. Luggage is my vice.
I am now determined to travel for a month using this two piece carry one set. The hand bag is the office, the roller bag, is the closet and off I will go. I have a Mac Air, am downsized and happy about it. I can move though airports, onto trains, into and out of numerous hotels on site visits. It is the perfect size. When I look at others struggling with their entire closets in the suitcase for a two week trip, I just smile. ☺
“Baule-“ they call it in Italy, Americans travel with “baule” ….Trunks.
And if you like what you’ve been reading, like us onConde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists List, where I’ve appeared for the last four years straight.