Picking the Right Travel Bag

PHOTO: Overhead bins in Airplane.

Want to save money on Spirit Airlines' inexhaustible parade of fees? Fly naked - since Spirit charges for any and every bag. Tip: When flying nude, always avoid hot drinks in case of turbulence.

Fortunately, most airlines don't charge for carry-ons so leaving the giant Samsonite at home can save you $50. Yes, there are right bags and wrong bags.

Right Bag: Carry-ons Save Money, Time

Carry-ons are right because they save money and time. There's no better bliss than walking off a plane and going directly to the airport exit with no annoying 30-minute wait at the baggage carousel (that's 30 minutes if you're lucky).

There are a lot of other important things you should know about bags, too; like style - and color.

For more travel news and insights view Rick's blog at farecompare.com

I'm no fashionista, but since as I usually manage to match my socks, I guess I'm qualified to talk about the 'look' of luggage, and this is more important than you think.

Wrong Bag: Favorite Color of Thieves

Guess what the favorite color of bag thieves is? Basic black. Bob Arno, author of "Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams While Traveling" pointed out a few years back that when cops busted a Phoenix couple for baggage theft from Sky Harbor airport, almost every one of the roughly 1,000 stolen bags found at their home was black

Stealing black bags is a snap, says Arno: "If the thief is caught red-handed by the bag's owner, he only has to say 'Sorry, it looks just like mine.' And he's out of there. Scot-free."

When going through security, always keep your eye on your carry-on. When picking up a checked-bag, be alert and don't forget to make it more eye-catching (and identifiable) by personalizing it with a splash of color. Multi-hued ribbons are getting kind of tired so try a big bright ID tag or wrap the handles in vivid duct tape; the "Duck" brand offers a rainbow of shades including a startling neon green.

Shopping for a new bag? While black is most durable for dirt and wear, the color experts at Pantone say the hottest shade of the year is tangerine. Maybe not for everyone, though, as I notice the "orange collection" of the pricy Lipault luggage line is currently on clearance.

Right Bag: Size Matters

One of the most important things to keep in mind when suitcase shopping is size and weight, and this matters for all bags.

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