Style Travel

Wardrobe Staple: Luggage

We’ve been packing up and making some space in our little home for the upcoming baby, and as a result I’ve had to downsize/move to my parent’s garage some of my luggage collection. I have a scary obsession with travel bags and luggage, especially carry on trolleys and totes – I absolutely hate checking baggage and am always convinced that the perfect carry on pieces will solve all of my problems. Plus, when you travel a lot, you spend so much time with your luggage dragging it everywhere – so you do get particular.

Globe Trotter Luggage

To that end, I thought I would share some of my top travel/luggage selections, for various occasions. Without further ado, here are my recommendations for:

1. Sheer beauty + getting compliments: Globe-Trotter. I love my little Globe-Trotter carry on, and it’s probably my most used travel bag. It never fails to get compliments. I will say that I find its wheels a little less sturdy than Tumi/Rimowa, and the latches and straps means that you can’t just easily unzip the case. But usually, it’s worth it – though I won’t take use this bag if I want to go completely incognito and fly under the radar, or if I know I’ll be going through airports notorious for making you open your bag multiple times (Frankfurt!!).

You can find my exact trolley here, whereas I would love to get this black on black version for Mr. Feather (or myself) one day!


2. Practical business travel (and blending into the crowd): Tumi Alpha 2 International carry on. I have an older version of this, and it’s what I use whenever I want a super easy to maneuver piece and don’t want to stand out in any way. In fact, the luggage sometimes works a little too well – anyone who has stood in line to board on one of the popular business routes (for me, it’s SFO-LHR, SFO-CDG and the like) can easily find themselves in a sea of black Tumi roll aboards. I always use at least a colorful luggage tag so I can easily tell mine apart. For those looking for cool luggage tags, this Smythson set (seen above) is one of my favorite gifts for wanderlusts – I also love these from J.Crew, cute and clever at the same time (and at a much friendlier price point).

3. A combination of both style and use: Almost the entire Rimowa line, but in particular the Rimowa Salsa Air Ultralight. I only only own Rimowa in the checked baggage size, so don’t use it as often as my others. But man, is it light! The con is that it gets dented quite easily – which is why I largely recommend Rimowa for the carry on size only.

The Salsa not only looks super stylish, it’s also easy to open and comes in all kinds of cool colors. Even if other travelers have the Salsa (since Rimowa is quite popular), the chances are less likely that you’ll match completely due to all the color variety.

4. A superlight duffel: In my opinion a great duffel bag should be part of every luggage collection. Sometimes all you need is a light duffel, and plus if you ever plan on traveling to Africa or anywhere else that requires a small plane, you’ll find that a duffel helps immensely with the weight requirement. One of my favorites that I have had for years is the classic LeSportsac Weekender – and I still recommend it. This duffel can be machine washed, has a ton of handy zip compartments, comes with a matching zip pouch, and has a ton of color combinations and patterns. My favorite right now is the cool Liberty collaboration one – I can never say no to Liberty prints, and I love the orange lining too! Under $150.

Another duffel which I like just based on looks, is this neoprene one from Zella – I think it looks super sleek and I love the black on black tone. The neoprene is a cool material you don’t see a lot in duffels either. If I were in the market for one, I’d be trying out this one. And it’s under $80.

5. An easy laptop tote: I feel like I’m repeating myself by now. It’s very hard to beat the Longchamp Neo tote in terms of style, ease of use, price and durability. Get a sleeve for your laptop, and the Neo will fit it and all your other goodies for the plane.

What are your favorite luggage pieces for travel? What would you recommend….and what would you skip?

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  • Tanya
    May 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Hi Kat! Great post! Can you recommend a good cosmetics/toiletry case for women? and men?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the Louis Vuitton Neverfull as a travel tote? I know this style is very popular but do you think it’s worth the investment?

    • Katherine
      May 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I’ll think about the toiletries case and get back to you 🙂 I like the NF and there’s a reason it’s so popular…I do think it’s a bit overexposed though. If I were to get it I might try something different than the traditional plain monogram like an Epi,e tc.

  • tata
    May 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

    next time in Japan, stop by a department store and take a look at their luggage department. Japan has amaaaazing suitcases!!! So light, so durable and the quality is superb!

    • Katherine
      May 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Good idea! I remember seeing all the amazing luggage displays (including Globe Trotter) in Japan!

  • Nancy
    May 12, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Love all the options you listed here. Do you use packing cubes? How do you pack for your trips? Would enjoy hearing your tips.

    • Katherine
      May 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I do use packing cubes from Ebags….I can share some tips in a future post (hopefully!).

  • Sara
    May 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I wouldn’t go anywhere without my normal hiking backpack! Very functional with lots of space. x

  • Jane
    May 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Nice selection of luggage. I like the Tumi and Le Sportsac. They’re so durable, and I couldn’t resist getting another LeSportsac bag just for the print even though my old one is still holding up strong.

    • Katherine
      May 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Me too…I love Le Sportsac and can’t resist the prints, but honestly their items are so durable like you say, they never wear out!

  • TC
    May 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    You get dinged in FRA too? I sail through most airport security, but for some reason I always get extra scrutiny at Frankfurt.

    I swear by the Rimowa Salsa Air (Ultralight) carry-on. I don’t own any large suitcases anymore.

    • Katherine
      May 12, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Yup! Frankfurt always gets me….ALWAYS! The worst is when I have long layovers and leave whatever terminal to go shopping in the good ones (forget what they are)…you have to go in and out of security and most of the time I give up, not worth getting patted down so many times.

  • Kelly @ Alterations Needed
    May 12, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Mmmm…Globe-Trotter…. *Drool* I’m still sad I missed out on the Sophie Hulme x Globe-Trotter from 2012.

  • Vivian
    May 13, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I love Globe Trotter!!! Once I remember there’s a J crew lemon yellow version x Globetrotter. Didn’t remember how did I miss that and now I’m totally in deep regrets.

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      I remember that too! Console yourself that it’d probably get dirty easily!

  • DK
    May 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

    When you use the Rimowa, do you lock the zippers all the time? I remember hearing airports don’t like people locking their bags for security reasons. I am worried they will break the lock/zipper area if they want to check the bag. Just wanted to see if you had this concern. Thanks.

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      I don’t because it I usually check it, and for the exact security reasons you mention. What I have done when going through “shadier” airports where it’s recommended, is pay to have it shrink wrapped so it’s harder to break into…it was something like $8 to wrap the case, and plus it protected it from dents.

  • CT
    May 13, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hi Katherine

    I’m one of your secret admirers. Can you please give us some tips (may be a blog post) on how to write a successful lifestyle blogs, what IT related service you use, how you choose the areas to focus on etc.?

    Thanks and congrats to the new addition to your family!

  • Amy
    May 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I love my LV GM-size NF as a carry-on! You’re right, there is a reason these bags are so popular. Not a huge fan of Epi, myself, and find Monogram to be classic. I tend to tie a pretty LV bandeau on to mine to make it a bit “different”. 🙂

    • Tanya
      May 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Hi Amy, thanks for your comment! I’ve always liked the look of the neverfull (damier ebene), but am always hesitant to purchase because it’s so common!

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      That’s a good idea! I love seeing how people personalize their bags. I also love the Goyard St Louis but have heard many stories about cracks, etc. Seems like the NF wear like iron.

  • Kimberly
    May 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    So relieved I’m not the only person on a never-ending quest for the perfect luggage. I have the Tumi Super Leger carry-on but even that quickly becomes overweight when I’m carrying a laptop and camera with lenses. The solution was IT luggage; it may be non-nondescript but the 21″ bag weighs 3.5 lbs. Still considering a Rimowa so your review was appreciated. Le Sportsac is a such great idea for a duffel!

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Try out a Rimowa in store. I like the Salsa Ultralight, some of the other models are a bit heavier than you might think.

  • Belen
    May 13, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Love this post because I am always searching for better luggage too.
    I’m still on a quest to find a backpack replacement. I love the features of my Samsonite Xenon 2, but it is pretty beat up and gigantic on me. I feel like a snail carrying her home on her back.
    If anybody has any suggestions for a less bulky, more feminine backpack with the fast-scan-not-taking-laptop-out feature (I can never go back after this one), I am all ears.

    For suitcases, I love the Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds. I have both the carry-on and large in charcoal gray. They look good, they’re incredibly light and inexpensive (although I can see they’ve gone up a good 30% since I got them on Amazon). I travel quite a bit and they continue to look good.

    I’ve been eyeing a few prints on the LeSportSac website and I’ll probably purchase a weekender soon because of your recommendations!

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      I would go to a store to try on the Le Sportsac and make sure you like the size since they have a few. Great question about the backpack….I love my Everlane one but it doesn’t have the laptop feature that I can totally understand being an necessity. Will keep an eye out.

  • Sana
    May 13, 2015 at 9:44 pm


    Thank you for the great recommendations. I just bought a lesportsac for a July vacation.

    How do you carry your passports and other travel documents when you travel? Do you put them in your carryon or do you carry an extra handbag for them, I travel with my kids so I always feel rushed during security check ins and immigration. Any recommendations for carrying the documents so that they are easy to take out and are safe?

    • Katherine
      May 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      I’ve been asked this a few times so will try to write a post soon. Document management is actually a big pain for me when we travel…I don’t have a perfect system but I do have one that I use. Thanks for the reminder on the post Sana!