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Essential Shoe and Suitcase Tips for the Smart Traveller

8 mins. read

Published in the Sunday Gujarat Samachar on 23 June, 2024

A big hello and it feels good to be back writing after a brief break. My wife, Heta, and I, welcomed a lovely little girl into our family at the end of April, and the last few weeks have just been about creating new travel bucket-lists for the three of us. And since we are also meeting here after a full month, there is a chance that you have ticked off more states of India and countries from around the world off your bucket-list. So what is your travel score now?

  • How many countries have you been to?
  • How many states of India have you been to?

A lot of you may be wondering, why I keep asking this question again and again. I think a lot has got to do with the fact that I love looking forward to things. Everyday, we see so many nice travel photos on Social Media that it is quite easy that we often tell ourselves that ‘yes, this year I want to travel to more places’. But more often than not, these plans disappear into thin air and nothing comes of them. Rather, when you have your travel score right in front of you, you are able to then start specifically planning what you want to do next. For instance, my next top three destinations are:

  • India: Pangong Lake & Nubra Valley in Leh, Ancient Ruins of Hampi, Statue of Unity in Gujarat
  • World: Adventure activities in New Zealand, Autumn Colours in Japan, Christmas Markets in Europe

I would love to hear about your travel list, so write to me at neil@veenaworld.com Today, I want to talk about how to make each and every trip of ours, a success. See, I strongly believe that travelling opens up a world of experiences, sights, and cultures that enrich our lives and broaden our perspectives. However, the success of any trip often hinges on the details, particularly the travel essentials we choose to bring along.

Among these, two items stand out for me: our shoes and our suitcase. Selecting the right shoes for a trip is more than just a matter of style—it's about comfort and functionality. And my aim today is that by the end of this discussion, you are equipped with practical tips to choose wisely and to travel better.

Selecting the Right Shoes for Travel

A common excitement for many travellers (including me of course) is the purchase of new gear for their upcoming adventures, particularly when it comes to footwear. It's tempting to buy shiny new shoes that match perfectly with your planned outfits, but this could be a misstep. New shoes, while stylish, are not yet moulded to the form of your feet and can lead to unexpected discomfort. This breaking-in period is crucial, as shoes that have not been properly worn in can cause shoe-bite, blisters, sore spots, and general discomfort, which can significantly affect our travel experience.

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of new shoes, it's advisable to stick with your tried and true pairs. Well-worn shoes have already been broken in and are less likely to cause pain, allowing you to walk longer distances and explore more comfortably. If you find that you do need new shoes for your trip, make sure to purchase them well in advance. Wear them regularly in the weeks leading up to your departure to ensure they are adequately broken in. This preparation allows the shoes to adjust to your feet's unique shape and helps avoid the pitfalls of brand new footwear.

If you're concerned about the comfort of your current shoes but don't have time to break in a new pair, consider using insoles or inserts. These can enhance the comfort of your existing shoes by providing extra cushioning and support, making them more suitable for extended walking or standing.

Regardless of the type of shoes you choose, taking good care of your feet while travelling is crucial. Opt for moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and reduce the risk of blisters. Also, make sure to take regular breaks to rest and stretch your feet, especially during long days of sightseeing. Simple foot care practices, such as keeping your feet clean and dry, can prevent many common foot problems associated with travel.

Choosing the Right Suitcase

Selecting the right suitcase is as crucial as choosing comfortable shoes. The type of suitcase you choose can impact your mobility, ease of travel, and overall experience. Below, we explore the two most common types of suitcases: two-wheel (rollers) and four-wheel (spinners), each with distinct advantages and potential drawbacks.

Two-Wheel Suitcases (Rollers)

Benefits:

  • Durability: Two-wheel suitcases often feature recessed wheels, which are less exposed and therefore less prone to damage. This makes them more durable, particularly during rough handling at airports.
  • Terrain Adaptability: With larger wheels, rollers are better suited for rough surfaces such as cobblestone streets or uneven paths. This design helps in smoother pulling with less effort.
  • Stability: These suitcases are designed to be pulled behind you, providing more stability as they are less likely to tip over when in motion.

Drawbacks:

  • Standing Capability: Rollers may not stand upright when left unattended, which can be inconvenient in some settings like bus or train stations.
  • Limited Mobility: Since they need to be tilted and pulled, manoeuvring them in crowded or tight spaces can be more challenging compared to spinners.

Four-Wheel Suitcases (Spinners)

Benefits:

  • Ease of Movement: Spinners are equipped with four multi-directional wheels that allow 360-degree movement. This feature makes them exceptionally easy to maneuver in crowded places such as airports and hotels.
  • Versatility: They can be pushed, pulled, rolled beside you, or spun around, offering ease of movement from all angles.

Drawbacks:

  • Wheel Vulnerability: The wheels on spinners are often externally mounted and can be more susceptible to damage. This is particularly a concern when checking in the suitcase.
  • Stability Issues: While they offer excellent mobility on flat surfaces, their stability can be compromised on inclines, as they might roll away if not properly secured.

How do you decide which suitcase to go for? While doing this, several factors need to be considered:

  • Travel Surface: If your travels often take you over uneven or rough surfaces, a two-wheel suitcase might be more appropriate. Its larger wheels can handle such conditions better.
  • Convenience: For those who prioritize ease of maneuverability, especially in crowded or tight spaces, a four-wheel spinner offers significant advantages.
  • Frequency of Travel: Frequent travellers, particularly those who check their luggage, may prefer the durability of two-wheel suitcases to withstand rough handling.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal travel style and needs. Some travellers value the control and stability of rollers, while others prefer the effortless manoeuvrability of spinners. Choosing the right suitcase, much like selecting the right shoes, can greatly influence your travel comfort and convenience.

By planning ahead and considering the insights shared today, you can avoid common travel pitfalls and enhance your overall journey. Have you discovered a particular brand of shoes that withstands the rigours of travel? Do you swear by a suitcase that has never let you down? Share your stories and tips with me at neil@veenaworld.com. Your contributions not only enrich our community but also help fellow travellers make informed choices.

Until next time, keep celebrating life.

June 22, 2024

Author

Neil Patil
Neil Patil

Founder & Director, Veena World

More Blogs by Neil Patil

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