But if truth be told, I quietly loathe this baggage evolution. If I had a dollar (or a euro, or a pound) for every time a luggage-pulling wayfarer weaved in front of me, thus tripping up my stride with their spinning luggage, I could afford an upgrade to business class. Instead, after recovering from my near flop to the floor, I’d grip the strap of my trusty carry-on-sized JanSport backpack a little tighter and continue to my gate.
RELATED: How to travel like a travel writer
That JanSport backpack has crisscrossed continents and oceans so many times with me in the last decade and a half, it should have its own frequent flyer account. My insistence to continue using it makes me feel like a traveling anachronism or, at best, a counter-culture traveler, as does eschewing other ubiquitous airport sights: Neck pillows, Starbucks cups, and Daniel Patterson novels.
When I’d meet up with friends on the other side of the world, they’d take one look at the bag hanging over my left shoulder and say, ‘That’s all you brought for this two-week trip?
Of course, traveling with only a carry-on-sized backpack means I have to make a few trade-offs. If I’m gone for longer than a week—and I usually am—I have to regularly wash one of my three outfits in the hotel sink; I can only bring one, maybe two, pairs of shoes (including the pair I’m wearing); and certain things like vitamins, liquids over 3.4 ounces, and bulky coats remain at home.
But my backpack provides enough space to sustain me. In addition to a few changes of clothes, I have enough room for my MacBook Air and cord, a few choice toiletries, a notepad, a book, and even a small wireless Bluetooth speaker. The outside flaps and pockets allow me easy and quick access to my passport, flight tickets, and chewing gum. What more could I want?
But then a few months ago, a good friend gifted me a piece of high-tech roller luggage. This carry-on (or roll-on) suitcase was made of a lightweight aluminum shell and featured a built-in phone charger.