Disclaimer, prepare yourselves for a rant about something that most normal people don’t give a second thought. Typically rollaboards, or luggage, in general, don’t really evoke strong emotion from people. I, however, am not a typical person. Enter the rollaboard. The bastard luggage of air travel. The bane of my existence. The Vader to my Skywalker. Some would call this piece of luggage “revolutionary“, to which I lament. Alright, there’s a chance I’m a little dramatic, but in this article, I present my argument, which is totally grounded in empirical evidence:
- Have you ever seen someone cool with a rollaboard? No, no, you haven’t. Now I don’t claim to be a bastion of sartorial knowledge. But c’mon, these things look ridiculous.
- Rollaboards feel too “I’ve racked up way too many nights at Holiday Inn.” I hate business travel. Nay, I loathe business travel. There are definitely some deep-rooted issues that probably need therapy, but that is a story for another time.
- They get in the way of literally everyone and everything. On the escalator, preventing me from walking up and/or down. When people are dashing across the terminal because they’re about to miss a flight quite possibly after drinking too much at an airport lounge.
- They fuck up all overhead space. You know damn well most of those things aren’t carry-on compliant. Half the time, people don’t even need a majority of the crap they packed, so packing a big ass rollaboard is just obnoxious to everyone else who would like legroom. Plus, the wheels are just annoying.
- Children wielding rollaboards. The horror. A real public health hazard. Why on earth do parents give small children these weapons? I can’t be the only person who’s had some out-of-control child wheel that shit sideways right into their leg, right? I’m on the taller side of genetics, meaning children are generally out of my line of sight most of the time, so maybe this is me problem. I digress.
- Cobblestone. You’ve seen people trying to roll these things down cobblestone. You’ve heard the “clunk clunk” of the wheels on cobblestone. Hell, maybe you’ve been that one person who’s felt like an idiot trying to roll your bag on cobblestone. It’s no fun. A friend of mine actually bought a backpack after that horrific experience.
- You look like a tourist. Maybe you don’t care, but it does let people profile you immediately. Plus, your general “sense of space” in crowded streets going to/from your hotel isn’t great.
So what to do about it? Well, if I had it my way, I’d ban them. But that seems unlikely. In the meantime, all I can do is teach people how to pack in a minimalist manner. To get started, check out my packing list I take on pretty much every trip.
- Duffel bag. Yes, duffels can vary in their comfort and utility. You can usually pack these things out pretty well, but they can get miserably uncomfortable and cumbersome. And there is no way to carry them that doesn’t objectively suck. But damn can they look classy…
- Use a backpack. We should all agree that this is the best option. There are definite cons of backpacks, for sure (read, back sweat). But overall, these are the most flexible and convenient. Two free hands while you’re weaving through small cobblestone streets.
It’ll take some practice to pick the right backpack, and it’ll probably cost more money than you’d expect. But be patient, the journey is worth it. There is a great site, matterful.co, that reviews and ranks a bunch of bags. The guy who runs the site is pretty entertaining for sure, so it’s an excellent place to start. But please, please make the world a better place and ditch your rollaboard. I rest my case.