Buying luggage is fine and well, but to really know how to choose a suitable travel companion it helps to be informed. Hence, we asked our own travel-disaster expert Kate Canary to share some of her hard-earned globe-trotting lessons. Here’s her story. Don’t leave home without reading it.
The following is based entirely on true events.
Exploring the great unknown is one of life’s greatest joys—and though its prices are skyrocketing and its perks are dwindling, travel remains a beloved pastime. For most people.
For me, it’s a nightmare. After years of elusive luggage, small eternities spent on the tarmac (don’t worry, the toilet was out-of-order), cryptic references to mechanical problems, and an employee strike at the Turks and Caicos airport (while I was still in Newark), I’ve learned to get my kicks elsewhere—like binge-watching The Discovery Channel from the safe, stationary comfort of my couch. But I digress.
Still, there’s nothing quite like setting foot on new soil. If you must make the foray into uncharted territory, visit the Fab Travel Shop first. Second only to a pair of ruby slippers, these picks will prepare you for any bumps in your journey.
Travel Trauma #1: The Plight of the Stolen Suitcase
We’ve all been there. Finally at your destination, you gleefully bounce to the baggage claim only to discover that a fellow passenger has already made off with your trusty black Samsonite. I’ve been left empty-handed from San Juan to Heathrow.
Don’t spend the next three days wearing someone else’s swimsuit; avoid the issue with Hideo Wakamatsku’s Gravity Trolley. Its candy-apple exterior will surely stand out on the luggage carousel—and just in case, a set of 360-degree swivel wheels will grab the attention of the unwitting thief before he can even hail a cab.
Travel Trauma #2: Cloudy with a Chance of Misery
I was pretty psyched to do my summer gallivanting with the Herschel Woodland Weekender Bag in hand. On my first attempt, I got stuck in a downpour en route to Grand Central, grimy city backsplash and all. Each muddy splotch seemed to mock me from my bag’s precious canvas exterior. Wait—did I say canvas? Sure enough, a little soap, water, and elbow grease got my trusty tote looking good as new.
(And the zippered shoe compartment underneath was just the place to stash my soggy flip-flops.)
Rain followed me to South Beach, too—and stayed for a week. After drowning my sorrows in two-for-one 24-ounce margaritas (that’s a real thing, guys), I deigned to over-spend on a flimsy souvenir shop umbrella. The Blunt Mini Umbrella would have fit easily in my carry-on—and its lightweight, blunt-tipped design is ideal for cavorting around the streets of the Magic City.
Travel Trauma #3: The Airport All-Nighter
Winter, 2006. My flight from Chicago to New York was well underway. But on a quick pit stop in Buffalo (red flag), I learned that we would be returning to Chicago due to weather back East. I essentially took a high-altitude detour to the glamorous accommodations of O’Hare’s Gate G12, awkward back-prodding armrests and all. The Ostrich Pillow would have helped me catch some shut-eye, while drowning out the fluorescent lighting and sound of my snoring gate-mates.
And had I tossed Pamela Barksy’s Mascara Pouch in my carry-on, I would have been able to freshen up in the morning—and keep my priorities in check.
Travel Trauma #4: Interminable Terminal Time
Delays, delays, delays—without reason or apology—are the most relatable of travel woes. (My longest was 9 hours in Geneva.) I recommend bonding with fellow flyers over some sweet beats. The Beats Pill is a lightweight, portable speaker that wirelessly syncs with your device so you can share the musical wealth. Crank up the volume, dig into some greasy fare, and collectively vow to never fly “Incriminating Airline X” again. You’ll be boarding in no time.
Now that you’re stocked, go forth and travel. Bring on the expired passports, the airline agony, the broken-down rental cars, and the unpredictable elements. Because whether or not I like to admit it, journeying out of your comfort zone is worth it—every time.
Almost every time.