March 28th, 2016

5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Travel Bag

5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Travel Bag

A good travel bag will last a long time, but all good things must come to an end. Find out which warning signs signal that it’s time to replace your travel bag.

A good travel bag will last for years, and through thousands of miles of adventures. There comes a point, however, when even the best bag reaches the end of its lifespan. Do you know the signs that it is time for you to give your luggage the old heave-ho and trade up for something new? Read on to learn the five key red flags that signal that it’s time for a new bag.

1. It’s not stowable.

Today, travel is all about the carry-on experience. With more and more airlines charging exorbitant fees to check bags, it makes an increasing amount of sense to stow your bag in a plane's overhead compartment. You can’t do that with an old-school, bulky, rectangular suitcase. Today’s travel bags are large enough to hold all of your essential items inside but also small enough to fit inside a plane's overhead compartment. If you embrace minimalist travel, you will not only be a trendy traveler, but you will also save money and spare your body (since you won't have to lug around a big, heavy suitcase. 

2. It’s falling apart on the outside.

Do the wheels on your travel bag wobble to and fro? Does the retractable handle stay stuck in one position? Are the seams straining? If your bag looks like it has seen better days, it might be time to retire it. While you can pay to have many types of luggage damage repaired, it’s not always cost-effective or possible. The last thing you want is your bag completely falling apart on you while you're on the road! If you have any doubts about whether your bag is still in travel-ready condition, take it for a spin on a bumpy sidewalk.

3. It’s falling apart on the inside.

You see that zipper on the inner liner of your suitcase or travel bag? It’s not just there to hold underwear. It’s actually there so that people who handle luggage repair can examine the frame of your bag without destroying the lining. Even if the zipper is inside out, with a little careful manipulation you can open up the lining and take a peek yourself. Is the plastic cracked or bubbled—or, worse yet, in pieces? Is the metal warped or rusted? Use your common sense and good judgment to evaluate your bag’s bone structure. If it looks sketchy, it is probably time for a new bag. 

4. It doesn’t fit your (or your party’s) needs.

The same bag won’t always meet your changing needs over your lifetime. What if you’ve added a spouse and/or kids over the years? You might find that your bag is too small. Or maybe you used to be a more casual, once-a-year traveler, and now you're on a six-month round-the-world trip. Or perhaps you have gone from carrying everything but the kitchen sink with you to taking a more minimalist approach to packing? Any one of these situations can call for a new travel bag.

5. It’s ugly, or you don’t like it anymore. 

This is, of course, the most shallow reason to replace your luggage—but that doesn’t make it invalid. While function should always win out over sexiness when it comes to your travel bag, there are such things as great-looking bags that still do an excellent job carrying your stuff. If you have had the same, battered suitcase for years and are starting to feel self-conscious about bringing it on the road with you, it might be worth it to upgrade. 

Your turn, travelers! How old is your travel bag? When was the last time you upgraded? How did you know it was time to throw in the towel on your old luggage? Sound off in the comments, below!

Related Links:

by Shannon ODonnell

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She is an acclaimed travel speaker and works with universities and businesses all over the U.S. to talk about supporting developing countries.

Sign Up Today

Sign up and you'll also receive helpful packing and travel tips, vacation ideas, up to date info on the latest product innovations and special offers.