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Travel Hack: Convertible Carry-Ons

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Convertible carry-ons have saved us more than we can count when it comes to time and money. On our last extended tour of Europe, we purchased the High Sierra A.T. Gear Ultimate Access 21″ Carry-On Wheeled Backpack with Removable Day Pack in Black. They were amazing!

The Pros:

  • We NEVER had to pay a carry-on fee. Almost every form of travel allows you 2 carry-ons. This is literally two carry-ons in one!
  • You are able to roll or carry one or two pieces of luggage at your discretion. If you are boarding a flight, bus or train, unzip the backpack and carry it while you roll the other half. If you have quite a bit of walking to do and don’t want anything on your back, re-attach the backpack and roll the entire set. If it’s raining or there is rougher pavement, wear the entire piece as a backpack. It works on so many practical levels.
  • Meets every airlines carry-on requirements. We literally haven’t had one issue with an airline. Both pieces are small enough to bring on every time, yet large enough to pack all of our essentials.
  • Even with both pieces attached, easy to carry duffel style. We encountered may buildings without elevators in Europe and, before we downsized, we had a larger piece of luggage with us. It was absolutely grueling. So much so, we ditched that piece of luggage all together. Life (and stairs) became much easier afterwards with using the side handle.

The Cons:

  • It’s not the best for supporting added weight. There were times we would add something like a grocery bag or other carry-on to the handles with bungee straps. You probably shouldn’t do this with most luggage, but this luggage in particular simply will not support more weight on top for very long.
  • The wheels aren’t made for cobblestone roads. This was not a huge issue until we got to Rome. Then it became a headache. On smooth pavement, you’re fine; if you encounter rough terrain, you’re better off using the full piece as a backpack.

Overall, we’re so happy we stumbled into the world of convertible luggage. On our next leg, we’re going try another piece of convertible carry-on, although we will most likely stick with High Sierra. Shop for other kinds of convertible luggage here.



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