If you want to be trendy at the airport, pink and gray are the luggage colors of the year, according to the Travel Goods Association, which tracks trends in travel gear.
The pinks seen at this spring’s International Travel Goods Show in Phoenix were every shade from moody mauve to happy Pepto-Bismol. But “gray may be vying to become the new black — in many ways it hides scuffs and dirt better than black, matches everything, and seems to be dominating more and more of the luggage color wheel,” the association’s Garrett Lai reports. Everything from dark battleship gray to light silver is in style.
What else is new with luggage colors?
— Metallic finishes, either simulated with foil, or for high-end luggage, actual aluminum.
— More pebble-texture and matte-finish hard shell cases rather than the shiny look.
— Luggage depicting images and artwork from King Tut to zebras, like Travelpro’s National Geographic line.
Luggage is also lighter than ever, practically floating away. Many 20-inch carry-ons now weigh as little as 5 pounds, and full-size luggage can weigh as little as 7 pounds. That’s about half the weight of suitcases just a few years ago.
The most amazing, yet somehow culturally inevitable trend is truly personalized luggage. One style, the Selfie Club Collection by Travelers Club, has picture frame spaces where you can insert and change out photos and graphics on the suitcase’s exterior.
Geez. Many travelers don’t even like to put their phone numbers on their luggage tags.
So much for anonymous travel.
A similar product is the My Fly Bag. Just upload a photo of your favorite selfie-absorbed image, and it’s on the suitcase you buy ($149.99). I tried the order process using a photo of my cat, Teddy, and I was fully prepared to condemn this suitcase as a sad indicator of our narcissistic culture, except it turns out the suitcase preview is absolutely adorable, and I’m thinking of buying it.
Personally, I’ve taken the same nubby green fabric American Tourister carry-on and a quiet blue Samsonite full-size suitcase all over the world.
They are not pink, but they also are not ordinary black.
Even so, I still have trouble identifying the bags when they pop up on a crowded airport conveyor belt. Yes, I put red ribbons on the handles to help me identify them. Still, they pass like candies on a fast assembly line: red, green, black, blue, plaid, dots, shiny, taped, dull, scuffed, big, small, fat, stuffed and spare.
I’ve always managed to spot them, finally.
But if I don’t get better at identifying my own suitcases, I may have to get one of those selfie bags embossed with a picture of my giant head, or better yet, Teddy.