Are you a matchy-matchy couple or a mega-bag family? Charlotte Hogarth-Jones decodes what your luggage says about you
It’s a matter of honour to the carry-on aficionado never to be seen at the airport carousel. Packing with precision, every trip demands a well-honed capsule wardrobe, a handy multi-adaptor, neat travel bottles of toiletries and nothing more. Papers are shunned in favour of digital boarding passes, and impulse duty-free purchases are a big no-no. With every new flight, the carry-on lover sees an opportunity to better their PB, gliding through security with ease in record time (their new four-wheeled carry-on has shaved a few seconds off their time). The most efficient and well-organised of travellers, they are a joy to travel with – that is, unless they become faced with their ultimate fear: being forced to place their pride and joy in The Hold.
Carries: Mulberry, Longchamp, Eddie Harrop, Dunhill
Some families like to keep it simple with one enormous bag. Despite strict luggage quotas per family member (“you know we’ll be sharing shampoo, Alice – take that out”), ruthlessly policed by Dad during the Big Pack the night before, the mega-bag always takes at least three people to heave onto the check-in scales. Once the weigh-in occurs, the official enquiry begins – who put that extra pair of shoes in there? Is a fleece really necessary for Mallorca? – but there’s no denying the loyalty of each member to the pack. After all, whole group luggage is a risky strategy – lose one suitcase, lose them all.
Carries: Eastpak, Samsonite, The North Face, Kipling
Nothing says “we’re together” like his-and-hers suitcases, the luggage of choice for couples who want to show marital solidarity, but don’t fancy mixing up their smalls. Whether they’re still carrying around the set they took on honeymoon all those years ago, or a brand spanking new pair (“we bought each other the same for Christmas! Can you imagine!”), they believe that the couple that travels together, stays together. Teamwork is the name of the game with these travellers, and you’ll most likely find one of them gesticulating wildly by the luggage carousel (“that one’s ours, Giles. Grab it quick!”) while the other struggles manfully with an overladen trolley.
Carries: Louis Vuitton (with monogrammed initials), Globe-Trotter, Smythson
The deadliest travellers at the airport, stylish jet-setting kids see luggage not only as a means of transporting items from A to B, but also as a form of entertainment – some flashier models even fold out to become a bed. It’s surprising how much speed these owners can gather scooting a Trunki across a freshly polished terminal floor. Less surprising, perhaps, is the fact that small plastic boxes on wheels tend not to take corners well. Owing to this, ride-on owners will only ever be found in two states of emotion – pure joy or utter defeat, crumpled on the floor by Pret.
Carries: Trunki, JetKids
Adventure runs in the luxury backpacker’s blood, and whether it’s trekking in the Himalayas (unlikely) or visiting the mother-in-law in Spain (more probable), they travel prepared for any eventuality. An abundance of pockets means they never have to choose between their handy Leatherman, extra-strength DEET spray or a two-litre “portable” Platypus hydration system – although it’s a rare event that all three make it through security. Avoid standing behind them on the airport shuttle at all costs – the luxury backpacker often suffers from a distressing lack of spatial awareness.
Carries: Burberry, MCM, Sandqvist
Trunk owners are a very particular type of traveller. Happy to take on the extra inconvenience of baggage without wheels in exchange for bringing glamour back to Gatwick, they rarely adhere to weight restrictions – or care when they exceed them. Travelling with a trunk is their cross to bear, and they yearn to return to the golden age of travel. Their dream holidays come in the form of exotic, luxurious train journeys, round-the-world cruises in beautiful sailing boats, and grand tours taking in the cultural gems of Rome, Florence and Venice. Nostalgic and idealistic, they are the least practical passengers at the airport – they do, however, have the very best stories.
Carried for them: Goyard, Mark Cross, Charlotte Olympia