Posted by: Waheeda Harris | January 29, 2015

The Local Girl – the evolution of luggage

luggage - which bag is yours? I recently added a new accessory to my travel stash – a new carry-on suitcase. Although its rarely checked and most-often in my care, my last suitcase only managed to last 18 months.

I remember when luggage seemed to last a long time – like my vintage travel trunk. Can you imagine travelling with a suitcase that could contain clothing for a month? or longer? My trunk is a solid mass of brass and leather – and not easily moved without help.

As a child, my Mum had matching luggage – a set of three yellow hardcases that included a toiletry case with a mirror – an elegant oval shaped bag that was to me the epitome of being a lady. I always wanted to carry the bag, examine its contents and hoped that I would inherit the bag one day.

Ironic to me that although the style has gone out favour for travel, that toiletry case is often a coveted item to discover in a vintage shop and used by many as storage at home. How many times have you seen a Pinterest pin on what to do with vintage suitcases?

And hardcases have returned – thanks to new lightweight materials and those who fear theft, they’re now a regular for travellers again. But the majority of us still go with soft-sided luggage, that we can stuff as much as possible with our items, into overhead compartments and car trunks.

Oh those fabulous yellow suitcases – none of them had wheels. I remember the first wheeled suitcase we had, with two tiny wheels that didn’t seem stable at all and with a handle that was better served as decoration than actually helping to move the suitcase quickly.

Fast forward to the 21st century where I always stare at those who don’t have luggage with wheels – why would you want to carry it? When I spot old luggage, I marvel that it exists and hope the traveller will be able to survive the experience without the speed-inducing four wheels of contemporary suitcases.

So now I have returned to hard-sided luggage, with its polycarbonite exterior that is impervious to weather and prying eyes. And yet I still dream of a trunk that would need two grown men to carry or that little yellow case, just for my liquids and gels.




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