Travel Bag, Getting Ready (Part 1)

It’s not just a hospital bag, but it is about being prepared for any catastrophe that could unexpectedly come your way and force you to leave your home fast. Last year, the house behind ours had a huge electrical fire. It happened in seconds and because of COPD, I had to leave my home immediately. It's times like this that I was preparing for.

Add some color

The bag itself should be colorful and unique for a few reasons. Having a fun color makes being away and potentially on your own a little more fun. A unique color also makes it easier to spot among all the other black cases. Pick a color or design pattern that suits your personality. Don’t overlook the kids section. This could be a time to give into your inner child, as Pooh Bear, Mini Mouse, or Superman could be great company.

Check the wheels

All suitcases now come with wheels, but all wheels are not created equally. Some have 2 wheels and others have 4 wheels. For our purpose, more is not better because having 4 wheels makes it harder to manage the luggage on streets with curbs and it also means the case can roll away easier. A four-wheeled one would be great for an airport but not for a hospital trip.

Pick a good 2 wheeler and check that the wheels turn smoothly and easily without snagging or bobbing. Check the durability and thickness of wheels. Will your case need to get through snow? If that could be an issue, make sure there is some distance between the case and the wheels. Otherwise, everything in the bottom of your case could become wet.

Try out your suitcase in the store and remember that you may be dragging it with you when you are under the weather or in uncertain weather conditions.


Handles are another place to check for durability. Make sure yours is comfortable, sturdy, and easily accessible to grab. Cheap handles could render the bag useless. More durable bags will allow the handle to go inside the bag completely when not in use.

Decide between a soft-sided and a hard-sided bag. Soft-sided bags are more forgiving and allow for extra items to be squeezed in, but a hard-sided bag is stiffer with little flexibility. Soft-sided bags tend to have more pockets and compartments and take advantage of the outside of the bag.

Zippers and pockets

Check that all zippers and closures work and that you are able to open and close them with ease. The pockets are no good if you can’t access them. There should also be a few hidden pockets for your most discrete travel items.

Be sure it's manageable

We need to think of how this bag will be used, who will be using it, and what its purpose is. The most durable is an aluminum bag, but its weight could be prohibitive. Mine is soft-sided because it's lightweight and would be easier to handle. Sizes of suitcases will vary but make sure yours is manageable and not too big.

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