The liner may be ripping, and there’s that coffee stain that looks like a Chevy Nova on the top, but those are all cosmetic problems, right? Some of us are hesitant to update our luggage until pieces are coming off in our hand as we drag it bodily behind us down the street. Here are just a few signs that it’s time for new luggage.

1. Can you lift it?
For those of us trying to pack two weeks’ worth of clothes into a bag that we then attempt to stow in the overhead bins the weight of our luggage has become key. Luckily luggage companies are manufacturing lighter and lighter bags that are also sturdy enough to suit most needs. Try packing your bag with your normal load and see if you can comfortably lift your bag over your head.

2. Has it been under a little stress?
Check along the seams of your bag to see if anything is looking stressed or worn. Sometimes seams can be fixed- your local luggage repair center will be able to let you know- but combined with one or more other signs it may mean it’s time to retire the bag.
A few other basics go along with this as well: are the wheels spinning smoothly? Do the wheels or their casings have any cracks or chips in them? Is the handle wobbling? Take the bag for a little spin around a bumpy area of sidewalk. Then you’ll see how it’s really holding up.

3. Did you check the secret compartment?
Most suitcases these days have a zipper in the lining, sometimes hidden by having the pull to the inside. This isn’t just an incredibly obvious place to hide your valuables; it allows luggage repair people to get at the luggage frame without ripping up the lining. Check it out! It may take a little finagling to get the zipper down if it’s one of the inside-out ones, but the chance to see if the frame on your luggage is whole and sturdy is worth it.
Things to look for: cracks or bubbles in the plastic of the frame, warped or rusted metal on the handle, framing wires sticking through the lining, shards of plastic that indicate something is slowly falling to bits.

4. Will it go where you go?
Luggage that worked when you were traveling once a year to see your grandmother in Spokane is not necessarily going to hold up now that you’re commuting to Asia once a month. Additionally there really is luggage now to serve every need. Maybe you used to be traveling for two, and now you’re travelling for four- and two of them have very small hands. Compass Unite luggage from Atlantic® can be connected together with Velcro straps, so you can move two pieces of luggage, only one hand needed! This leaves your other hand free for the occasional air borne juice box or run away toddler.

Your bag might surprise you! A one-time investment in a piece of luggage can stand up for years, so it’s worth having the right one. If you decide it’s time to replace your bag stop by your local AAA Travel Store. Our luggage experts can help you pick the bag that’s just right for you.

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