Brighten Up Your Travels With Snazzy Luggage

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Traveling can be a joyless numbers game. Proceed to gate B-38. Suitcase surcharge: $15. We've reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. Knee room: zero.

At the baggage claim, we wait shoulder-to-shoulder (to occasional elbow) for a big black thing with wheels. That one. No, that one. We look at everybody else's big black thing and wonder: "Why do they need all that stuff?"

What we could use is luggage that goes without question, luggage that doesn't make us wish we'd stayed home.

Comes now British baggage guru Domo, which doesn't make you choose between durability and style. Domo's new line is made of tough polycarbonate covered in whimsical designs. Bon Voyage in Friendship Heights (5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW) carries the 24-inch hard cases in bright colors with contrasting polka dots ($119).

And enough with the rolling black carry-on. What about a roller duffel in a personal-statement hue instead? The Sporty Girl duffel from Betseyville by Betsey Johnson sells for $64 (TJ Maxx, 5252 Wisconsin Ave. NW). You can tuck your gems into it, wrapped in an Austin House lambskin jewelry roll ($34.99), available at Bloomingdale's.

Then there's your hard-working laptop, which deserves better than a canvas sack. It deserves leather.

Jack Georges's Milano Collection vertical wheeler comes in bold red and green and soft pastels ($320, Bon Voyage). At TJ Maxx, we found a smaller Jack Georges violet top-zip leather briefcase for $80. World Market has a red-and-white cloth computer case ($19.99) that will keep your laptop from being scuffed inside a larger bag.

So a break-out piece of luggage will help make every voyage bon. It might even encourage us to look more kindly on our fellow travelers. Without them, who'd know how different we are?

-- Ariel Alexovich

© 2008 The Washington Post Company