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Let’s say you invested in a shiny new suitcase.
You did your research and put your money into worth.
The excitement of taking it on the road builds up.
You book your destination and the day is here.
There you go putting your new suitcase on the conveyer belt at check-in.
Waving it goodbye as you board the plane.
Hours later on the other side of the world, you rush to claim your baggage.
There, merely unrecognizable suitcase awaits. It looks like yours but like it went through war and back.
Messy, dirty, scratched or torn. Breakages are also frequent.
But you did everything right.
Chose a high quality, sturdy suitcase from a prominent brand. Didn’t overpack.
If you’ve ever seen airport baggage handling, you know.
Everyone can look through a few scratches.
But when you are a recurrent traveler it becomes frustrating.
Buying new suitcases is an investment we don’t make often.
That’s why we tend to keep them in good shape for the longest time possible.
Nowadays airports face hundreds of thousands of travelers per day.
With so much traffic, luggage gets mishandled, damaged, and in cases lost.
How to survive a damaged suitcase?
A new untouched suitcase speaks volumes about you. It can mean that you are a newbie traveler. This makes you an easy target for thieves.
The luggage industry uses high resistance materials. Hard plastic, aluminum, and high resistance textile can survive a lot.
But air travel can be rough. Both for you and your luggage.
Baggage-handling personnel works at maximum speed.
While loading and unloading baggage mishandlings happen. A torn zipper, a scratched bottom or a broken handle are a frequent view.
Some travelers even go the distance and purchase a fragile sticker.
Does this guarantee gentler handling of your suitcase? I’m afraid not.
So how do I protect my suitcase?
There are ways to spare yourself the stress and damage. Protecting your suitcase starts with the purchase.
A plastic suitcase is prone to scratching and breaking.
A textile one is prone to tears, absorbs water and dirt.
A carry-on needs minimal cover since it’s handled only by you.
A checked-in suitcase needs the utmost protection.
Considering the flaws of your suitcase choose the best method of protection.
Most airports provide cling wrap stations. Wrapping your suitcase in plastic wrap guarantees maximum protection.
No scratching or dirt will reach your belongings.
Having in mind the airport prices this is an expensive treat for frequent travelers.
Not to mention the pain of unwrapping all those layers.
You go looking for scissors instead of accommodating yourself.
But there is so much more. The single-use of tons of plastic is awful.
Another, more sustainable way of protection is required.
Is there an environment-friendly protector?
Airport mishandlings challenge the luggage industry. From materials to the design they work on responding to the demand.
That is how they came up with the luggage covers.
Multiple-use covers are offered since the late 2000s. Currently, there are two types of covers on the market.
PVC vs Spandex
The first covers presented are made of clear PVC, with zippers and Velcro tape. They’re a pocket type, simple to put on and take off of your suitcase.
They are designed with cutouts for the top and side handle and allow free wheel movement.
Once the cover is on you can still access your suitcase just by unzipping the top zipper.
These covers are scratchproof, protect from dust and rain.
The PVC is an abrasion-resistant material that gives you years of use.
It’s not heavy so it doesn’t add weight to your luggage.
PVC pocket type of covers don’t fit like a glove.
Dirt and water can still access your suitcase. Side zippers and Velcro are also not a durable fastener.
While this model offers basic protection there is much left to be desired.
The design is far from sophisticated. It gets the job done but it’s plain and boring.
So the luggage industry came up with the spandex cover.
Think of it as a bodysuit for your suitcase! A textile wrap that you slip over your suitcase. Different from the PVC protector, this one is made to fit tight like a sleeve.
It offers cutouts for easy handling and zipper for fastening at the bottom.
The spandex protects from scratching, dirt and tears.
Some are even made of wetsuit material.
The downside is once you put the protector on, you can’t open your suitcase.
You need to fully remove the sleeve to reach something inside your luggage.
Spandex covers have distinguishing designs and colors.
Some brands can print out a sleeve with your photo on it! It helps to spot your luggage in the sea of gray and black suitcases.
Predominantly used for plastic cases, spandex covers are not immune to damage. They tear easier than the PVC and don’t keep your suitcase dry.
With spandex covers, you don’t have to sacrifice your style. The covers range from sophisticated to cartoonish and make your suitcase easy to identify.
Airport security and customs
No matter what kind of cover you choose, it will get removed by transport security. If your baggage needs to get checked of course.
Your carry on is safe in your hands, but your checked-in luggage is in danger.
The cling wrap is the worst-case scenario. There is no way to wrap it up once it’s cut open. So your money is thrown out of the window.
The PVC cover is easy to unzip and reach the suitcase contents.
The spandex cover can suffer significant damage. These sleeves are harder to remove, and airport security is not that gentle.
If your suitcase falls in the wrong hands, your cover can be cut or severely damaged.
Do you need a suitcase cover?
In the era of everyone worrying about looks, suitcase covers can be a deal-breaker. Brands even create packs of stickers for their suitcases.
The real question is do you want aesthetics or functionality?
If you’re tired of scratched suitcases you need to consider buying a cover.
For frequent travelers, a spandex cover is a better choice.
It’s easy to store and you can wash it in your laundry machine.
Bear in mind that it has a shorter life span than the PVC. On the other hand, it’s more practical and aesthetically pleasing.
One of the main perks of luggage covers is their uniqueness.
Think of the nightmare that is losing your luggage.
Describing your suitcase as black, grey, green doesn’t help much. But showing a photo of your vibrant suitcase cover can help you.
PVC covers are a good idea for people you travel occasionally.
They are good for storing suitcases too. Textile suitcases are known for accommodating dust. Instead of bothering to clean them, get them a PVC cover.
Do suitcase covers work?
Did you ever get a window seat above the luggage loading part of the plane?
Every traveler’s nightmare. You see a river of suitcases thrown in and out.
This leads us to the answer- suitcase covers work, but only externally.
The main reason we look for an indestructible suitcase it’s because of our belongings.
Nobody wants their souvenirs or electronics damaged.
Valuable work documents or memories are often carried with us.
The thought of their loss or damage is nerve-wracking. A broken bottle of perfume car ruin half of your clothes.
That’s why we splurge on every accessory needed to protect our suitcase.
Covers help with external damage, so you will keep your suitcase looking brand new for more than a few trips.
But it doesn’t help with internal damage.
Suitcase scratches are an inevitable part of traveling, but breakages are more important.
So if you want to accessorize your suitcase and make it unique, covers are a great choice.
But wait, fun suitcase covers attract attention. Not only the good kind.
Travelers have complained of their suitcases arriving at the baggage claim without covers. Unfortunately, in this case, there is nothing you can do.
Suitcase covers range from as little as 10 dollars, so don’t splurge, because you might never see it again.
In the end, you have the right to claim financial compensation if your luggage is severely damaged.
But be aware that the amount of compensation is fixed.
So no matter how precious your belongings or your suitcase are, you get the fixed rate.
Low-cost airlines have the policy to refund your suitcases’ full price, only if you bring a receipt of purchase.
Getting insurance that covers luggage damage is a smarter choice for frequent travelers. Considering your frequency of traveling before buying covers.
Or if you want them as a fun accessory, go for it.
Covers are a way to spark some life into your old boring suitcases.
Remember, suitcases are made for travel and some bumps are nothing to stress about.
Instead, make sure to get your suitcase on the road as much as possible.
Enjoy new destinations without the fear of scratches!