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The 50 Best Travel Essentials - Luggage

Wherever you’re off to on holiday, it always pays to be prepared. Jamie Merrill has a trailblazer’s guide to the summer’s top gear

Also in this article:

The 50 Best Travel Essentials - Gadgets

The 50 Best Travel Essentials - Security & Health

The 50 Best Travel Essentials - Clothing

The 50 Best Travel Essentials - Extras

Quechua Forclaz 25 Air

As checked-in luggage fees drive up holiday costs, hand-luggageonly travel looks more appealing and no longer just for the impatient businessman travelling light. “This backpack is perfect for those of us that love to travel light andwant to avoid carousel chaos because it is just within the limits of most airlines’ cabin-baggage allowances,” explains Simon Calder. “It makes your life so much easier and unless you’re planning a trip to the Arctic you can fit in everything you’ll need.”

Where: Quechua (www.decathlon.co.uk)

How much: £29.95

Fat Face Milan Rucksack

This functional rucksack is tough enough for any adventure you might have in mind and comes complete with enough gadgets and pockets to keep you occupied (Where:ver you end up. Strictly speaking, a holiday day bag doesn’t need to boast laptop storage and an MP3 player port, but they are great fun for the gadget-loving traveller. The fluorescent tips for night safety are a more practical addition.

Where: Fat Face (0870 6000 090; www.fatface.com)

How much: £50

Balanzza Digital Luggage Scales

For those of you that end up paying excess baggage charges every time you fly, this set of scales could save you a small fortune. Just hand your luggage off the strong strap to get a reading in kg or lb. Then the tough part is deciding which items to leave at home.

Where: Balanzza (01234 744787; www.balanzza.co.uk)

Carlton Dash Holdall

In rich red or more businesslike black or blue, this simple but enduring design from one of theworld’s most trusted luggage designers requires little introduction. With a capacity of 53 litres it isn’t right for the family of five, but its stylish design makes it perfect for the smart business or solo traveller. It is also available with an invaluable trolley system to help you reach those far-flung airport gates.

Where: Carlton (01707 871630; www.carltontravelgoods.com)

How much:£35

Jansport Wheeled Superbreak

Ideal for the trendy backpacker trying their luck at an upgrade, this bag is halfway between a rucksack and a suitcase. It comes complete with wheels and a pull-out handle forwhen your shoulders can’t take the strain of all your holiday purchases anymore. Afront water-bottle pocket will certainly come in handy for more tropical climes.

Where:Looks Luggage (www.looksluggage.co.uk)

How much: £59.99

Cath Kidston New Rose Bloom Wheeled Suitcase

One thing is for sure, with this vibrant suitcase you won’t pick up the wrong bag on the carousel. Spacious and sturdy, this wheeled suitcase is ideal as a summer holiday bag. It features one external and four internal pockets and straps to hold your clothes and holiday souvenirs safely in place.

Where: Cath Kidston (08450 262 440; www.cathkidston.co.uk)

How much: £125

Antler New Bond Street

Aimed at the discerning traveller, the New Bond Street range sports a classic design with a retro twist. Perfect for holidays, as well as business travel, its hard case and protected corner buffers make it durable, while nifty expandable compartments mean you can increase its capacity by up to 20 per cent. Not the cheapest suitcase on the market but it comes with the bonus of Antler’s sevenyear guarantee.

Where: Antler Luggage (0161-762 5000; www.antler-luggage.com)

How much: £189

Overboard Dry Bag

If you’re leisurely cruising Britain’s canals this summer, you can now stop your possessions being knocked over the side and sinking into murky waters. With this dry bag they would float to the surface and be dry as a bone. “Though these capacious waterproof bags are a great idea for anyone off on a boating holiday, they’re also a good plan for anyone worried about their luggage getting damp in transit, be it from runway puddles or other people’s leaking shampoo bottles,” says Rebecca.

Where: Firebox (www.firebox.com)

How much: £19.95

Personalised Luggage Straps

“Backpacks don’t have to be boring with these personalised luggage straps,” enthuses Tom. “They are great fun and will save you time. If you have a standard black suitcase with one of these you’ll spot it instantly. It’s fantastic to see your bag roll off the carousel with your name on it at the start of your trip. You know the queuing is over and the enjoyment can begin. They also make an ideal gift for the frequent traveller.”

Where: Logostraps (www.logostraps.co.uk)

How much: £8.95

Large Samsonite Aeris Trolley Case

This generously sized suitcase is made from an extremely light polypropylene case for strength so can hold a staggeringly large number of items in its 118-litre capacity interior. It features a sleek height-adjustable telescopic handle, and comes with combination lock for added security. Inside, there is a laundry/shoe bag and a packing frame, invaluable for shirts and jackets.

Where: John Lewis (08456 049 049; www.johnlewis.com)

How much: £139

Duct Tape

It might not be luggage but duct tape is a vital bit of kit according to Tom. “Many travellers, including myself, completely swear by this stuff. It can be used for so many quick repairs. For example, there are some cities in the world (Where: thieves will slash your bag with a knife to get at your valuables. If that happens a bit of duct tape will close the bag very quickly. It will also fix any rips or tears and can quickly seal things if you want to make anything waterproof.”

Where: Staples (0844 546 7777; www.staples.co.uk)

How much: £4.99

Luggage Trolley

“This lightweight, folding luggage trolley is great if you have a heavy holdall to drag across an airport or tube network,” says Rebecca. Constructed from aluminium and complete with a telescopic handle it folds out in seconds and can carry up to 35kg. Travelling musicians swear by it to transport their equipment.

Where: Cox the Saddler (01494 775577; www.saddler.co.uk)

How much: £17.78

Ultra Bike Bag

If you want your bike to be mobile but don’t want to look like a fool with a fold-up, you’ll need a bag to pack it in – it’s a must on flights and a boon on trains. This generously padded pack, which also fits in most cars (with the seats down), will protect your frame, while the two included wheelbags, which pack in either side, mean there’s no scratching. Just be prepared to get funny looks – it’s still a hefty bag.

Where: Ultra Sport Europe (01332 813 150; www.ultrasporteu.com)

How much: £100

Kipling Challenger Backpack

The Belgian label Kipling has never been shy with colours and fabrics and this sleek satin bag is no exception. Part of the trendy G*rilla Girlz, this funky bag is “perfect for carrying your camera, mobile phones, make-up and travel documents around townas you visit the sites”, say Rebecca Armstrong. Small but perfectly formed, it has multiple compartments for your keys and mobile and comes with the trademark mood-changing Kipling monkey clip.

Where: Kipling (www.kipling.com)

How much: £54