This Week's Links

Christine Columbus

Guidance on
Carryon Baggage


Luggage Outlet

Harrison Luggage

World Traveler

Aviation Luggage

Luggage For Less


Pack A
Second Bag:


Eagle Creek


Traveler’s Checklist


Columbus Carries Her Own Bagsno - it's not a hairpiece, just a bad haircut            back to TTN home page
by Joe Harkins - Jul 22, 98

    "Christopher Columbus may have discovered the New World, but it was Christine who packed his bags." That claim on the home page of the Christine Columbus online luggage store might not sit too well with Mr. Columbus’ wife Dona Felipa, but this web site justifies the Great Admiral’s dalliance. After scrolling and clicking my way through a hundred or so web sites in preparation for this week’s Travel The Net column, this one was a relief.

    In addition to offering a clean interface, thoughtful organization and handsome, fast-loading graphics, the site’s focus and logical navigation are superb. Annette Zientek created the Christine Columbus catalog after she found herself running for a train in a foreign station and vowing " . . . Never again to be satisfied with cumbersome, masculine, heavy, hard-to-carry travel gear!"

    Her product line fulfills that breathless promise but isn’t just for women. The gender-neutral looks, handling and rugged construction of the featured Tutto Rolling Carry-On have earned it a top rating by both a national consumer magazine and the National Arthritis Foundation. The Christine Columbus’ web site also has a women’s forum for sharing travel tips.

    For air travelers, selecting luggage and learning to pack efficiently have taken on new importance, thanks to Federal Aviation Authority’s Guidance on Carryon Baggage. The July 22, 1998 document mandates airlines to reduce the number, size and types of items you may carry onto a flight. Under the new guidelines, each airline may set its own standards as long as they are at least as strict as the FAA’s. Before you head to the airport, check your carrier’s latest rules. TravelPage has links to the web site of virtually every airline on the net.

    Already, some airlines define a shopping bag or a lap top as an "item of baggage" meaning that if you have both in hand at boarding, you might be required to check your overnight bag or attaché case as excess baggage. To avoid that expense, you may want to consider new luggage that consolidates sundry items into one efficient package.

    Online discounters are doing to suitcases what did to books. One leader is California Luggage Outlet with discounts of 50% and 60% on discontinued items from major brands such as Lark and Delsey.

    Harrison Luggage offers some of the best advice you’ll find on how to buy luggage plus respectable discounts on famous brands. However, although they promise to beat any competitor’s price, their site doesn’t allow online ordering. Instead, Harrison offers a toll-free number while implying that emailing credit card information is unsafe. This is despite the fact there has yet to be a single reported case of a consumer having credit card information intercepted and stolen while ordering over the Internet.

    At World Traveler the graphics designer has run amok, burdening entry pages with self-aggrandizing teaser phrases. These then lead to a page containing 30 graphic buttons of luggage brand names that require tedious download time. There’s also a useless spinning compass and a blinking slogan. After suffering all that, you discover at least one of those buttons leads you two additional pages deeper where you learn that particular brand is not stocked. Finally, a report published in one national magazine alleged that the list prices on this site are overstated to make the discounts look good.

   I wish an experienced web page designer would take Cencal Aviation Luggage under wing and show the manufacturer how these excellent Made-In-USA products could be displayed better and sold faster online. Still, if you want first class product quality and professional aviator design, this is the factory-direct place to go.

    There’s another site with online ordering at low prices that could use help from a professional designer. The wavy green background on every page at Luggage For Less might make even the Great Admiral seasick.     -30-

(note: The material that appears below may or may not have been published in your local newspaper depending on the  available space in this week's edition.)

Pack A Second Bag:

Lani Tashima-Miller, an expert on packing, calls herself The Bag Lady. Her site is the best online source for info on the subject of luggage and packing. It's updated frequently with the latest news on airline rules, new products, etc.

Eagle Creek
More than just an online catalog that promotes an extensive line of adventure gear, the Travel Savvy pages are full of info useful to the Holiday Inn and Hilton Hotel crowd as well as those who'll spend tonight in a bag attached to the side of a shear cliff.

Who wants boring bags when you can have fine Italian elegance? The web site says, "Direct from Italy" but the shipping address is Buffalo Grove, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

Traveler’s Checklist
Ten practical tips for enjoying any trip. They are offered courtesy of Traveler's Emporium, a retail store and online catalog. The last item on the list is the most important item to take along no matter where you are going.

The name is the Australian Aborigine term for a journey of spiritual cleansing. It's a shame the site doesn't offer online ordering of its extensive catalog of personal travel gear. Walkabout, based in Utah, also offers excellent tours and adventure info, plus contacts with others of the same mind. 

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