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Your guide to international carry-on luggage

When traveling in North America which carry-on you need is simple; a domestic carry-on (22’’-14’’-9’’) is accepted by all the major carriers. However, things get murkier when traveling overseas. While many luggage makers sell international carry-ons there are no set carry-on sizes that each airline takes and very few rules regulating sizes overseas.

If you are flying direct overseas or using connecting flights, things nowadays are TP-4071667-01fairly simple. IATA Resolution 302 states that whoever the marketing carrier is (the company that you booked your flight from) their baggage rules must apply to all legs of your trip. So if your ticket says United, American, or any other major US carrier then your domestic carry-on will suffice. If you are booked on a major international carrier, refer to their website and follow their guidelines.

Things get murkier if you have multiple legs of your trip booked separately, especially if you will be using overseas regional jets.  Each regional airline overseas has a different standard for what qualifies for a carry-on and most have weight restrictions that really limit what you can pack in your suitcase. Please make note of any weight restrictions before packing and I recommend always having a luggage scale.

BR-TD445-47So if you are going be using regional overseas carriers you might have to rethink how you pack. My best recommendation is to consider not using a carry-on at all. For example, if you are going for several weeks and using several regional carriers, then a 25’’-26’’ suitcase plus a backpack, tote, or wheeled tote might be a perfect solution for you. You will have to check a bag either way so a smaller personal bag might be all you need to keep emergency items in.

For student’s studying overseas I really like convertible backpacks, especially ones without wheels. They can be carried either like a LGR-LG43-BLK_4backpack or a shoulder bag and have cinches that allow the bag to be adjusted to your specific needs and they usually weigh less then wheeled bags. My current favorite is the Lite-Gear Travel Pack. It can hold as much as a conventional carry-on and only weighs two pounds.

Finally, as always, less is more when it comes to packing for your overseas trip. Consider taking less then you usually pack, especially when it comes to shoes and accessories. You will be doing a lot of walking so plan on taking your most comfortable and easy to use clothing and shoes. The good news is planning for your trip in advance will help avoid nasty surprises on your trip, and that is something we all can appreciate.

 

Back to School Backpack Guide

At Irv’s Luggage we love The North Face line of backpacks; especially for students. They have to carry around books, electronics, gym clothing, lunch, school supplies and many other items so a quality backpack is a must-have item. The reason we recommend The North Face is because the quality of materials and the affordability they offer is unparalleled. However, they do offer many different lines of backpacks so selecting the right one can be difficult. Below are a few tips to help you out.

TNF-CLH3-X7SThe first step is to pick a size. Generally, The North Face divides their backpacks into two sizing categories, medium and large. In the medium category (30 liters or less) the top sellers are Jester, Pivoter, and Borealis. We recommend the Jester or Pivoter for students who only have to carry a few items with them, because those backpacks use lightweight but less durable polyester materials (see this blog for explanation of materials). The Borealis is a good choice for the student who wants a durable all nylon backpack but doesn’t need the size of the large backpacks.

The most popular large backpacks (over 30L) are the Recon, Surge, and Router. These are perfect for students who have to haul all their books and gear back and forth every day. All three packs feature all nylon construction for extra durability. One thing to consider, if the student is going to be carrying a laptop with them, is that most backpacks are designed for 16’’ or smaller. Only the Surge and Router can fit a 17’’ laptop, so check the dimensions of the laptop before you buy.

TNF-CLH1-WANOnce you have decided on the line, the last decision is color. Black is often very popular because it is very neutral and doesn’t show any dirt. If a student is just using the backpack to get back and forth to school then black might be a good choice. However, if a student has to carry the backpack all day to class then a color will help them to know which bag is theirs, because black is so common.

Because of the quality of The North Face, I recommend that you pick out one that you think will be happy with throughout high school. The backpack, chosen wisely, should be a companion during this journey in life and maybe even the next. School is hard, let’s make going back as easy as possible.

First look: New Briggs & Riley Transcend

When people find out you work for a luggage store their first question usually is, what is your favorite brand of luggage? While we love all brands here at Irv’s Luggage, there always been a soft spot for Briggs & Riley. Not only are they popular with both our employees and our customers, but they are Consumer Reports top rated luggage company. They are the only line of bags to offer such features the Simple As That warranty and an outside pull handle for easy packing. Now for 2017, they have redesigned their Transcend line of luggage.BR-TU422VX-46

So what is different in these new models? In one word; EVERYTHING. Traditionally, the Transcend series was a simple, no frills case for a casual traveler. Now this series has moved upscale. The most obvious change for this new model are new colors (rainforest, merlot, and slate) and a squared off shape. This gives their cases a more modern and luxurious look. This theme is continued inside with an upgraded tan interior that replaces the utilitarian gray color.

However, the biggest change is the redesigned expansion system. Briggs & Riley has gotten rid of the zippered expansion system and replaced it with their new VX variable expansion system. This system uses Velcro to allow the consumer to adjust the expansion to fit their items, rather than a zipper system which is either open or closed. No other luggage manufacturer has a system like this; it is truly one of a kind.br fbr ebr g

Another unique feature that Briggs & Riley offers is matching accessories. Most brands offer maybe a tote and a wheeled tote. However, Briggs has expanded their Transcend accessories to include wheeled totes, a shopping tote, toiletry kits, and new for 2017 a cabin bag and backpacks. All these accessories are available in all three colors and easily fit over the handle of all of their bags. These are must-have items when purchasing your new Briggs.br a

While the Briggs & Riley Baseline series is still the choice for the business traveler, the new Transcend series is a great choice for the frequent leisure traveler looking for a quality bag that is fashion forward. With all these new features it is one of our top sellers. Check out our website today to see all the sizes and styles or stop by one of our stores in Mt. Prospect or Northbrook, IL for a product demonstration. Once you own a Briggs & Riley you will be a loyal for life.

Spotlight on Irv’s Luggage

At Irv’s Luggage we pride ourselves on our hardworking and dedicated employees. They are passionate about helping customers with their travel and business needs. With their many years of knowledge and experience in the industry, our team helps customers have an enjoyable shopping experience and travel with confidence.

In this post we will be highlighting our Service Manager, Pete Silverman.

Time at Irv’s Luggage – 7 years

Time in the industry- 35 years

What is your favorite current travel item? “The Briggs & Riley U122CX. It is just a great BR-U122CX-4all-around bag”

Your favorite travel destination? “Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a great place for all kinds out outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, and camping. Just a great place to get back to nature.”

One piece of advice you give to travelers? “Safety is the most important thing for traveling these days. Don’t underestimate the need for items such as money belts and other RFID items and use them the whole trip.”

If you weren’t working for Irv’s Luggage what would you be doing? “I would be a pro basketball player hahaha. Seriously, I would be doing another service type job. I just really enjoy working with the public and helping them with their repair needs.”

LCI-1268-NATWhat are the most common types of luggage repairs? “The most common repairs are wheels, pull handles, and zipper pulls. The good news is that all of these problems are easily fixable.”

What should I do if my luggage is damaged by the airlines? “Immediately go to the baggage claim office right next to the conveyor belt and make a claim. Even though most airlines allow 24-48 hours to make a claim you should do it before you leave the baggage area. Be persistent and don’t take no for an answer.”

Pete is just one of many great employees working hard to assist and support customers at every step of the way, including repairs. If you have luggage that is in need of a repair, please come see Pete during Mt. Prospect’s business hours or give him a call at 847-437-4810. Our employees are here to make customers feel at home and at ease when shopping at Irv’s Luggage.

 

 

 

 

Adapters/Converters… What you need before you go

One must-have item before you travel overseas is the right adapter or converter. Most countries outside of North America are on a different electricity standard, which requires the use of an adapter/converter. Buying one can seem confusing, maybe even overwhelming at first, but with this handy guide you will be on your way with everything you need.

The first question is what country or countries are you going to. North America, most LCI-AP-EK58of the Caribbean and Central America, and Japan use our plugs so if that is your destination then most likely you don’t need anything at all. However, the rest of the world has different sized plugs and/or different voltage than the United States so you will have to look up the standard of the country you will be visiting. Most travel agents or hotels will be happy to provide you with this information, and Lewis & Clark publishes a handy guide. Be careful though, some countries have more than one standard so you might have to get several types of adapters

TRV-12712-BLKSmall electronics, such as phones, tablets, and e-readers only need adapters, as well as most camera batter chargers and shavers. Laptop computers also only need adapters, but those should be grounded. Hair appliances are a different story though. Some are duo-voltage, but many still are not. Most hotels now have hairdryers and if you usually use a hair curler or straightener maybe consider a hair style for your trip that will not require the use of one (hats always work). If you still feel the need to take one the next step is to determine both the voltage and wattage of your device. It will be on the device usually on the handle or inside. When you get your converter make sure the wattage of your device works with your converter. If you are using more than one item I recommend a high-low converter.

Once you know what you need then it is time to choose what adapter and/or LCI-AE-EK121converter you wish to purchase.  Most people will be fine with a single use adapter. They are the easiest to use and the least expensive. There are also kits available that contain adapters for all over the world or both the adapter and the converter. One other choice is a device that has all the adapters or adapter/converter in one. These tend to be the most expensive and might not work with grounded items (or even in all countries).

If you are still not sure what you need after all this then going to your local travel store (such as Irv’s Luggage) might be a good idea. They are the experts and deal with these questions all day long. I often tell people to bring what they are planning to take with them so I can see what they need and not just guessing. This is the surefire way to make sure you are not stuck with a wrong plug or even worse a burned out appliance.

 

 

Soft luggage: the definitive buying guide

 

Hard-sided luggage seems to get all the attention these days, but the reality is most of us are still buying soft luggage. There are features, such as outside pockets, hanging areas, and expansions that are hard to find in hard luggage yet common in soft luggage. Plus, for those who love to stuff their bag as full as possible, there is nothing like having a bit of flex in our bag.

DEL-40177183006The challenge for the consumer is to understand that not all soft luggage is alike. The materials used in the construction determine the durability of the case. Budget to mid-priced luggage tend to use polyester and higher-end cases tend to use nylon. Polyester is lighter but the material starts to pill then degrade over time. Nylon is heaver but much more durable and ballistic nylon is the heaviest and most durable. Some brands weave nylon and polyester together as a compromise. Therefore, if you are a frequent traveler you should narrow your selection down to nylon.

One nice thing about soft luggage is that some companies, like Travelpro and Briggs & Riley, offer both two and four wheeled options. If you are not sure about which one is right for you please check out this earlier blog. Other features to consider are if you want a suiter in your luggage. A suiter is a place where you can hang a garment rather than folding.

Once you have decided on the size, materials, and features of your desired luggage youBR-ZU121SP-5 might want to look at the warranties. Most luggage companies offer a limited warranty that will only cover defects in manufacturing. However, some companies offer warranties that cover airline damage. This will save you the hassle of trying to file a damage claim after a very long flight. Briggs & Riley is famous for offering this warranty for life on all their products. Other companies, like TravelproVictorinox, and Eagle Creek offer this warranty on some products only and/or have time limits.

One final tip is to make sure you are buying luggage from an established company whose primary business is making luggage. The internet is full of start-up companies that aren’t in a position to support their products or stand behind their warranties. Dealing with a quality luggage retailer such as Irv’s Luggage will help you avoid this situation. If you are not sure about a manufacturer, don’t be afraid to ask. Salespeople are more than happy to help:)

 

 

Hello Muddah Hello Faddah: A Summer Camp Duffel Guide

It might still be cool outside, but summer is not far away. For many kids, this means summer camp time and for parents, time to shop for a duffel. There are many choices and below is a handy guide to simplify the process.

Sleeping under the stars

The first step will be to determine what your camp’s guidelines are. For the classic overnight camps, where the kids will be transported by bus, most camps will require a large non-wheeled duffel bag. In this case the recommendation will be a 40’’or larger duffel bag. Being non-wheeled, it will still be easy to store and your child will be able to use the same bag year after year.

Game on

For specialty camps (such as sports camps), or in the situation where you will be driving TNF-CWV7-KZ3_1your child to camp directly you might want to consider purchasing a large (36’’ or larger) wheeled duffel. The advantage of using this type of duffel will be the maneuverability that having a bag with wheels will offer. Imagine having to carry a 50 LB bag hundreds of feet!!! While a wheeled duffel isn’t quite as easy to store they will usually still fit underneath a bed.

Learning is fun

Older kids nowadays often go to academic camps which are hosted on college campuses. These camps tend to be shorter in duration, but might require flying to your destination. A wheeled duffel is still a good idea for these students; however, you will have to keep in mind airline regulations which are typically 62’’ (this is determined by measuring a bag adding together length plus with plus height) and a max weight of 50 LBS. If you go over this size or weight you might be hit with significant fees by the airlines. If your child needs to take more, then it might be cheaper to ship some items ahead.

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Those who fail to plan plan to fail

Camps almost always provide a packing guide that lists what your child will need for the summer. Once you purchase your bag do a practice pack to make sure everything fits and do it well in advance. If organization is an issue, packing cubes can help. Last minute packing is no fun and finding out the bag you purchased isn’t correct can lead to unnecessary panic. I would try to have your list complete and the practice pack done at least 3-4 weeks in advance.

Final Thoughts

One final tip is summer camp isn’t the time for your son or daughter to bring out their new fashions. Old clothes will be nice and comfy and if they get ruined or misplaced they won’t be missed. At the end of the summer your kid can just throw them away rather than having to repack their items. Remember, simple packing equals more time for fun.