The Top 10 Travel Gifts for the Adventurer

Love to travel or know someone that does? We have done the work for you and put together a list of our top 10 most popular travel gifts; items that will be used and appreciated on every trip. Keep this list handy for Holiday, birthday, graduation and bridal shower/wedding gifts! Irv’s Luggage is so much more than luggage…we outfit the whole traveler.

  1. Anti-theft backpacks – we sell so many now, that you have your choice of features and style, but, most importantly, you can travel with complete confidence that your stuff is secure. My favorite is the PacSafe Citysafe Backpack with Lock-Down Technology: features locking zippers, locking cables & turn locks to prevent bag theft, RFID pockets, slash guard fabrics and slash guard straps reinforced with steel cable. NO ONE is getting into your bag or running away with it for that matter. It’s crazy to travel without one.
  2. Adventure vacay coming your way? You’ll be happy to have the Waterproof Secura Lock Backpack from Lewis N. Clark. Protects against water, dirt, sand and snow. Your electronics, books and extra gear will stay CLEAN and DRY, guaranteed. Plus, there is an anti-theft lock on this bag that allows you to secure it to any stationary object to discourage an unscrupulous thief.
  3. Travelon’s Packable Backpack – this is the perfect item for every traveler. This backpack folds up small, so you can slip it in your carry-on bag. When you get where you’re going and need that extra bag for hiking or shopping, unfold it, fill it and throw it on your back. It’s super lightweight, has a padded back, padded straps and water bottle pockets. It’s a LOT of backpack in a compact package.
  4. Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes – there are so many reasons to travel with these, but I’ll list a few of the best reasons here: 1. They keep your stuff organized, 2. Maximizes the space in your luggage. If you’re traveling in a carry-on, they will save you, 3. Keeps your stuff clean – you’ll never unpack them. Just put the cubes into the drawers of your lodging and you’re done. No worrying about who or what was in those drawers before you.
  5. Embroidered Travel Jewelry Pouch – this is not only a practical gift, but it’s beautiful as well. Available in 6 different luxurious fabrics, it’s the perfect gift at the perfect price, coming in under $25.
  6. ‘Tude Tags Luggage Tags – these neon color tags have attitude, with sayings like “Hands Off”, “Wrong One” and “Not Yours”, you can keep everyone else’s hands OFF your bags!
  7. Travelon’s Cooling Gel Neck Pillow – hands down, the most comfortable neck pillow you will ever use. The cooling gel transfers heat away from neck and shoulders while the memory foam provides incredible comfort and support to head, neck and shoulders. You will rest comfortably.
  8. The “IT” bag of the season is the Ulisse B/Y 21” Carry On from Bric’s – with its uber cool style, durable yet super lightweight polypropylene shell, USB port to charge your phone, 8 spinner wheels for smooth gliding, and expandable zipper, you can GET AWAY with this smart, sexy bag at an unbelievable price. Comes in 6 incredible colors, but the Mango is HOT.
  9. The Flat-Out Toiletry Kit is the perfect travel companion for your bottles, make-up and other toiletries. Its flatter design means it’s going to fit into your bag better than other, bulkier kits, while still having plenty of space for everything. Other pluses for this kit are the waterproof lining, lightweight washable fabric and hook for hanging in the bathroom giving you easy access when you’re traveling.
  10. Travel Sacs/Pouches – I can’t stress enough how handy these are EVERY TIME I travel! I have a set of 5 different sized pouches and use them for every miscellaneous thing that is sitting on the floor while I pack, with no home. My extra cords, meds I like to have with me, first aid supplies, extra contact lens case, sewing kit, anti-bacterial wipes and more.

Stop into our new location at 1322 S. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills, IL and see our 3500 sq. ft. showroom filled with luggage, business backpacks, anti-theft bags, duffels and travel accessories! We have travel experts on hand to guide you to the best purchases for your travel/business needs.

Plus, we do luggage repair! We are the authorized repair center for United Airlines and ALL major luggage manufacturers, so stop in with your broken bag and we’ll fix it for you!

Safe travels from Irv’s Luggage!

 

Keep Calm and Carry Your Bag On

Tired of paying hefty fees for checking your bag? With airlines charging anywhere from $20-$50 for your first checked bag, many travelers have made the switch to a carry-on bag, even for longer trips. Plus you can head out of the airport as soon as you disembark the plane, rather than trudging down to baggage claim to wait for your luggage.

Irv’s Luggage has been giving expert advice to travelers for over 72 years. Read on:

  • While 4 wheel spinner cases are popular and convenient, 2 wheel cases give you more interior packing space. With a 4 wheel spinner, in order for the case to meet the overall allowable carry on dimensions, the case has to be smaller to allow for the 4 wheels. Takeaway: buy a 2 wheel carry on, gain more interior packing space and save BIG on baggage fees AND time.
  • Softside vs. Hardside? Softside every time, for added space and flexibility in packing plus the convenience of having outside pockets. Most softside cases we sell have USB ports for charging your phone – you don’t need a hardside case for that!
  • Packing cubes and packing folders have revolutionized the way we pack.
    • Save a substantial amount of space by organizing your items and packing everything in a packing cube or folder.
    • Packing folders are perfect for larger items like pants, or folded shirts. The wings fold in for maximum compression.
    • Buy cubes with compression zippers that further compress your clothes saving additional space in your case.
    • Using Ziploc bags in your luggage? Invest in packing cubes made of durable material and quality zippers because they will last forever, they stack better in your luggage, your clothes will be less creased and they’re easier to access.
  • Bringing really bulky items, like sweaters and jackets? Check out Compression Bags – different than compression packing cubes.
    • Compression Bags are made of durable plastic. You load your bag, seal the top (usually these have Ziploc tops), and then roll the bag squeezing out all the air. Using your body weight and rolling the bag on the floor will give you the best results.
  • Bring interchangeable wardrobe items that give you multiple outfits.
    • Choose basic pieces that work together and reduce the overall quantity of what you bring while still having options to change up your outfits.
    • Wear your bulkiest shoes or boots on the plane and pack the smaller pair in your carry on.
  • Invest in a compact toiletry kit with multiple pockets for keeping things organized.
    • Use TSA compliant bottles or buy travel sized toiletry items.

So many carry ons to choose from – how do you choose?? I’m going to break it down and give you my top 3 favorite bags.

  1. Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry On: at 22”, this carry on is the largest size you can take on the plane, giving you the most amount of space. The features and overall design of this bag are second to none; hanging section and a flat roomy interior. This is our best selling carry on, hands down.
  2. Travelpro Crew VersaPack Max Carryon: This New collection from Travelpro is expandable, has garment bag features so you can hang items if you choose, and offers various zip in organizers to make this versatile bag perfectly suited to the way you travel.
  3. Eagle Creek Expanse Hauler Convertible Carry On: This amazingly versatile carry on is perfect for the traveler that is moving around a lot and needs to have a roomy, lightweight bag along for the ride. This carry on converts easily to a backpack, with padded backpacks straps. Tuck the backpacks straps in and use the padded shoulder strap. Grab handles all around the bag make it easy to grab & go. Insanely great pockets everywhere.

With hundreds of travel accessories to help make your trip easier, more comfortable and more efficient, Irv’s Luggage is your 1 stop travel shop.

5 Expert Luggage & Travel Tips to Make Every Trip Your Best Trip

Most of us travel at one time or another, either for business or pleasure, but is it really a pleasure? Trudging through the airport with a clunky suitcase that’s over the weight limit is no one’s idea of fun. Are you going to remove items from your luggage at the ticket counter or pay the overweight baggage fee?

Or how about this scenario: you’ve planned ahead and packed in a carry on, planning to bring your case on the plane and be on your way while your fellow passengers are still waiting by the baggage carousel. While they’re watching the endless stream of bags rolling out, you’re in an Uber halfway home. That’s the plan, but then you’re told that your carry on bag is too large or too heavy to go on board, and now YOU’RE standing by the baggage carousel waiting. You get the idea.

This is where Irv’s Luggage comes in; we are going to save you from the pitfalls of travel that take the pleasure out of your trip.

Read on for the top 5 travel tips from our expert staff.

  1. International Carry On: Economy travel has brought with it a change in the allowable carry on size for domestic travel. A 22” case may now be too large for some domestic flights (check your airlines website for their specific carry on dimensions.) Pro tip: buy an International carry on bag that’s 18-20” in size and you’ll have no issues bringing your bag on board. Briggs & Riley makes a 4 wheel International Carry On or a 2 wheel version. What’s the difference you ask? The 4 wheel model makes rolling the bag alongside you easy-peasy. However, you sacrifice interior space; the 4 wheel case is 1.5”shorter with around 200 cubic inches  If you need to pack more, then perhaps a 2 wheel case is the better choice for you.
  2. Luggage scale: Get one TODAY! Do not be that person in front of the check-in counter at the airport with your suitcase open while you frantically assess what looks like 5 lbs that you can remove so your case makes the weight restriction. For the $10-$20 a luggage scale will cost you, save on overweight baggage fees, and most importantly, look like the expert traveler you can be. Weigh your bag at home and sail through check-in at the airport. Travelon makes 2 models that we love, the Stop & Lock 75 lb Scale and the MuV Digital scale.
  3. Packing cubes: If you don’t have them, you MUST get them. You will never travel without them again, I guarantee it. You can buy them in different sizes, with the most common size being 12” x 14” x 2” (some expand to a depth of 5”). You can color code them for your family; 1 person has blue cubes, another has red and another has black. Color coding makes packing in 1 suitcase a great option; everyone knows which cubes belong to them, and you can save on checked baggage fees by sharing a suitcase. If sharing your luggage isn’t for you, you will still reap huge benefits by using packing cubes. Here goes:
      1. You will save TONS of room in your luggage when your items are contained in cubes. They stack neatly and efficiently in your suitcase, thus maximizing your packing space.
      2. You will have less unpacking to do upon arrival at your destination. Just move your cubes into drawers and you’re done!
      3. The cubes maintain a sanitary barrier between your personal items and the drawers and shelves of your accommodations.
      4. If you’re moving a lot from place to place, you can easily stay organized with your cubes. Without packing cubes, your suitcase will be a mess within a day – guaranteed.
      5. You will be the envy of any traveling companion NOT using packing cubes!
      6. Some of our favorites: Set of 3 Lightweight Packing Organizers and Electrolight Expandable Packing Cube 2 Pack.
  1. RFID protection: SO easy to do and can save you endless aggravation when you’re traveling. Millions of credit cards, debit cards, and passports issued since 2006 are embedded with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that contains personal information. The technology was designed to let us bypass scanning our cards. However, electronic identity thieves have undermined the security of RFID products by devising scanners that read your personal information without you even realizing it. Blocking56MHz frequencies, the standard for most credit cards and passports, items with RFID-Blocking protection have allowed individuals to safeguard themselves from electronic pick pocketing and identity theft. Take a look at these RFID Credit Card Sleeves.
  2. Anti-theft Bags: These bags can be used every day as well as for travel, when you are a target for thieves. There are a wide variety of styles available, including cross body bags, totes, hobos and backpacks. We sell some awesome brands too; Baggallini, PacSafe and Travelon are the best in this category. The Baggallini Anti-theft Large Hobo and the Baggallini Go Bagg are fan faves in the travel  handbag category. The PacSafe CitySafe Anti-theft Backpack wins top honors in the backpack category for its chic, roomy and practical design. Anti-theft bags have several important features that will send a potential thief on their way.
  3. Slash/cut resistant fabricsthat will not allow a knife to penetrate your bag and get to your wallet.
  4. Anti-slash shoulder strapshave stainless steel cable running through to prevent someone from slashing the strap and running off with your bag.
  5. RFID safe pocketsto protect your credit cards and passport from being scanned by identity thieves.
  6. Lock down technology: zippers and straps thatprevent someone from accessing your bag without your knowledge.

Most importantly, take full advantage of 72 years’ experience in the luggage and travel industry! Our service is exceptional and personalized; we will help you choose the best bag for your type of travel. We have a wealth of information to help every traveler stay safe, organized and save money on extra fees. We hope you’ll stop in and see how we can help you prepare for your next trip.

Luggage Repair

When you buy from Irv’s, we’ll take care of you down the road if your bag ever needs a little love. We have the largest luggage repair center in the Midwest and haven’t met a bag we can’t fix (okay, maybe a few, but VERY few). We service airline claims (ie. United, American) as well as manufacturer warranties (Briggs & Riley, Travelpro, Samsonite). We also refurbish leather bags, so if you have a beloved leather duffel or briefcase, we can bring it back to life!

 

One person’s African Safari adventure tale

Renee Silverman, vice president of marketing at Irv’s Luggage, recently took a trip to Africa. She is joining us today to discuss her trip and share some things she learned during her trip.

  1. So, Renee you were recently in Africa. What countries did you go to and how did you pick your destinations?

My daughter was volunteering as a nurse in Uganda, so that determined the start point IMG_1457of our trip. From there, it was easy to get to neighboring Tanzania, which was where we would spend the majority of our time in Africa. We hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on safari in the Serengeti. From there we went to Rwanda, just to the west of Tanzania, to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. With so much time spent traveling to these destinations, on board comfort was imperative. I couldn’t have made it without a neck pillow, which conveniently attached to my backpack and made the journey much more comfortable.

  1. What was the favorite part of your trip?

All of it! If I had to choose 1 thing, I would say seeing the mountain gorillas up close and personal was my favorite.

  1. Working at a luggage store, you get to pick what bags you wanted to take. How did you decide what luggage to use?

Knowing ahead of time that we would be flying on small inter-country flights as well as large overseas carriers, helped me decide which bags would accommodate a variety of flights with different baggage requirements. The smaller planes we would be flying had stricter baggage sizes and weights due to the size of the planes, so we planned on packing to accommodate the strictest requirements. This meant traveling with a smaller checked bag than I might ordinarily have taken. Since the smaller planes would only allow a maximum weight of 40 lbs, that was what we used as our overall weight guideline for packing for the trip. I chose to bring a lightweight High Sierra drop bottom duffel that would allow me to separate my items, but which had a lot of packing space. In general, a duffel bag is a great option over a large suitcase when traveling far and needing to pack a lot. In addition, I knew that I would need a backpack for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb as well as the jungle climb to see the gorillas, so my carry on personal bag was a Granite Gear hiking backpack that I could use for those treks.

  1. What was your packing strategy and did you learn anything about packing during your trip?

I used a lot of packing cubes and compression bags in my luggage that I would highly recommend to every traveler. The packing cubes not only save on space in your luggage, but they help keep your belongings organized and make it easy to move when you are traveling from place to place. Everything I packed went into a packing cube. The compression bags are important if you need to pack bulky items that take up space. In our case, we had to pack lightweight down jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. After the climb, we would not need those items, so they were packed back into the compression bags and took up very little space in our luggage.

  1. Did you bring any souvenirs home from your trip?

MZQJ4638Yes! We purposely brought large duffels and packed light so that we had room for extras. It’s so important to plan ahead for buying souvenirs or the trip home could be a nightmare. Another great idea is to bring along an extra foldable tote or duffel to bring your souvenirs home in.

  1. What was the favorite item or items you took with you?

The backpack was the best and most important item we brought. Being hands free in airports and when boarding planes is a huge benefit. That said, be sure that your important documents are secured in the interior of your backpack and not easily accessible from the outside for security reasons. Invest in an RFID passport case to protect your passport and credit cards while traveling.

  1. If you go back to Africa again what item or items would you take with you? Did you take anything with you that you didn’t need?

We really didn’t end up bringing anything superfluous. We needed and used everything we brought. Researching your destinations beforehand really helps when it comes to packing correctly for a long trip. Many websites offer packing lists for specific destinations that can serve as guidelines for what to pack.

  1. Do you have any warm memories of the people you met during your trip? Can you tell us a little about that?

We have incredible memories of people that we met in every country! We made a pointIMG_2059 of talking to local people as often as we could so that we could really understand the cultures better. When traveling, local people expect tourists to ask a lot of questions, which we did. There was nothing we felt we couldn’t ask, and we learned more through these conversations than any amount of reading could provide.

  1. What type of outfits did you take with you and what would you take now knowing what you know?

It is important when traveling abroad, to research not only the weather of a particular destination, but the cultural norms of the countries you are visiting. We strive to dress in a way that is respectful to the cultures as well as comfortable for us. Layering options are key; we always had long sleeved layers we could add or take away. Also, plan for rain depending on where you are going. Rain slickers roll up small and take up little space in your luggage, but could save you if you encounter wet, rainy conditions.

  1. What memories did you take home from you?

So many memories; from the children in Uganda to Mt. Kilimanjaro to lions feeding on wildebeest in the wild and gorillas playing in the jungle! I highly recommend bringing a journal to record your daily activities, or setting up a WordPress blog before you go. We think we could never forget such memorable experiences, but the details inevitably fade with time. Recording the details in the moment is time well spent when taking a special trip.

  1. Renee, do you have any trips planned for the future and/or where would you like to go?

Yes! Our next destination is the Emerald Isle – Ireland! We plan to rent a car and spend 7 days driving through Ireland on a trip that we create. We hope to see the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, kiss the Blarney Stone, see the bustle of Dublin and the extraordinary countryside of Connemara.

Thank you so much Renee Silverman for joining us. No matter where you are going Irv’s Luggage will be there for you with all your travel needs.

 

New Airline Weight Limits

Just when travelers were getting used to dealing with 50 pound weight limits on their luggage, some airlines have , once again, changed the rules.. In the United States, Spirit and Allegiant Airlines now have a limit of 40 pounds on bags that are checked-in. Overseas, many airlines, such as Ryanair, have a 44 pound limit on their checked bags. Dealing with these limits can be a hassle, but new lighter-weight luggage makes it manageable. Here are a few suggestions of super lightweight luggage.

Roncato Venice 2.0 28″ Expandable ML Spinner

Many of the best brands for lightweight luggage are from Europe, and the Italianroncato venice company Roncato has been specializing in making some of the lightest strongest cases since the 1940’s. This line was recently updated with duo-caster wheels for additional stability as well as a more streamlined look. The best news is that they still kept this case at only 6.1 pounds.

Antler Titus DLX Hybrid Large Expandable Spinner

Titus+DLX+Hybrid+Large+Expandable+Spinner+-+BlackThe Antler Titus has been a huge seller for this British based company, and it has finally arrived in the states. The best feature of this case is that the 32’’ case weighs only 5.7 pounds. This is a great option for people who need to pack items that are bulky. What makes this case unique is the hybrid design that combines the benefits of a hard and soft case. Antler uses polypropylene for the top of bottom of the case for extra durability. This suitcase even has a built-in TSA lock.

TravelPro Maxlite 4 26″ Expandable Rollaboard

American based Travelpro has been making the Maxlite line for several years and theyMaxlite+4+26++Expandable+Rollaboard continue to be one of our top sellers. What makes this case unique is the rollerboard design which uses larger sturdier wheels then most spinner bags. This makes this case perfect for use on uneven terrain, such as cobblestone streets. This suitcase is a great value for the infrequent travelers.

High Sierra Winslow 28″ Wheeled Drop Bottom Duffel

For those who prefer wheeled duffels, there is High Sierra’s Winslow line of duffels. At 7.7 pounds, this is one of the lightest duffels on the market. Duffels are great for value travelers because when not in use they can fold up and be stored in small areas.. Those who like to divide up their packing will also appreciate the drop bottom design. At $107.99, this is the least expensive of all the products we have looked at so far.Winslow+28++Wheeled+Drop+Bottom+Duffel

These are just a few examples of lightweight luggage that Irv’s Luggage carries. As airlines continue to play the weight game, manufacturers are always adjusting their product options. Check out our lightweight luggage section of our website or stop by one of our stores, and we can always help you find the right case that you can use for any trip.

 

Waist packs: A classic that never went away

Waist packs were a travel item long before they were considered a fashion accessory and though the popularity of this item, often call “Fannie packs,” had been on the decline, they have made a comeback and are more popular than ever. For those buying one for the first time, here are some suggestions.
Safe and Secure
Anti-+Theft+Waist+Pack+-+BlackOne of the best parts of a waist pack is knowing the item is on you at all times. Some brands even feature special safety elements. For example, Travelon’s Anti- Theft Waist Pack has features such as lockable zippers and a cut-proof belt. Other companies, such as Eagle Creek, have a waist pack that features RFID protection.
Sleek and Thin
Large waist packs can hold a lot but can be bulky when traveling to warmer destinations. Top+Zip+Waist+Pack+LimeFortunately, many of the new packs are slimmer and can still hold everything you need without weighing you down. Spibelt makes a waist pack that is super-thin, yet stretches to hold a phone, keys, and any other small personal items. Travelon also has a sleek top-zip pack that weighs mere ounces and has room for all your beach items.
Classic is Cool
Triple+Zip+Bagg+Charcoal+++FuschiaSometimes the best items are the classics, and leather waist packs are still some of the best looking ones around.. Companies like Piel and Winn have been making waist packs since the beginning and they have kept their classic looks, but have added modern compartments and sizing options so you can find the perfect one. You could even add a free monogram to complete the look.
These are just a few styles of waist packs available on the market. Some brands such as Kipling and Baggallini, even have convertible waist packs that can be worn over the shoulder. Just don’t let anyone tell you that waist packs are passé, because they are functional and stylish.

Celebrate The New Year With New Travel Goals

2018 is here and the New Year means new beginnings. This can include making travel resolutions for this year. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Traveling only with a carry-on this year. Nothing is better than taking a quick trip Tourist+Cabin+Spinner+-+Petrol+Blueto your favorite warm-weather destination or a ski weekend, but with check-in fees and time wasted at the baggage carousel short trips can be a hassle. Packing light might seem hard at first but with practice, you will be surprised how little you need. One of our most popular carry-on is the Briggs & Riley U122CX It features a compression feature which allows you to fill it to the max. Check out this video here to see how much this case can fit.

 

  1. When traveling with only a carry-on, make sure that you follow TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for GoToob+2+Oz+-+3+Pack+Clear+Green+Blueliquids. This limits you to 3 items of 3.4 oz or less. If you like to use your own products when traveling consider purchasing refillable bottle sets, such as Humangear’s GoToob. Switching from liquid soap to bar soap also will help avoid this dreaded rule.

 

  1. Another great resolution is to organize your items before you even pack. One great Pack-It+Garment+Folder+Mediumtip is to use packing cubes. Eagle Creek is the original maker of packing cubes and they offer more sizes and styles than any other company. For example, the half-cube is great for socks and underwear and the full-cube is great for t-shirts. There are also garment folders for shirts and pants. Using them will make packing and unpacking a breeze.

 

  1. Last but not least…. go somewhere new this year! Here is a link to a great article on the top budget destinations for 2018 https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2017/11/20/the-27-best-budget-travel-destinations-for-2018/#12b4a5b45086. Make this the year of going to new and exciting places and let Irv’s Luggage be your travel companion.