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Travelling is stressful enough without tweaking your back, hurting your shoulder, or otherwise injuring yourself.

The lighter the weight of your luggage the better. Pick it up before buying to check how heavy it is. Besides the usual places to shop for luggage, check outdoor stores such as REI. Outdoor stores often have lighter weight options available.

Spinner luggage is better than the rollerboard style. Spinner luggage doesn’t require you to have to tip it and pull it behind you. You can simply walk with it rolling by your side with your hand on the top of the handle. If you have to walk up a ramp, you can pull spinner luggage behind you just like a rollerboard.

A telescoping handle is important so that the handle is the right height for your hand. If you are tall, a suitcase handle extender may need to be used. These are available at travel stores.

Buy the smallest size luggage you can reasonably pack your things in. Carefully plan exactly what you will need for your trip and only bring the essentials. If your bag is small enough, like the example in the first picture, you can place your bag under the airplane seat in front of you, therefore avoiding having to lift it into an overhead bin or off of a baggage claim belt.

Pay attention to good lifting technique when you lift your luggage onto the airport security belt, into the overhead bin, or off the baggage claim belt. Remember to bend with your knees, not your back. Good lifting techniques are covered in our previous post on that subject.

When lifting carry on luggage into the overhead bin, first lift it onto the top of a seat. From there, put one hand on top of it and push it into the overhead bin with the other hand. Repeat this process in reverse when removing the luggage. It is difficult to do in a narrow airplane aisle, but try to minimize twisting your torso while lifting.

Pay attention to the weight of backpacks and shoulder bags. If the weight is more than 20% of your body weight, it is not safe to carry. You can check the weight of a bag on a bathroom scale.

Backpack shoulder straps should be padded and be carried on both shoulders. Bags with one shoulder strap are not the best option because of the strain they cause on one side of the body. If you find yourself in a situation where you must carry a bag with one shoulder strap, carry it in front of you with both arms holding it or switch the bag from side to side periodically so one side of your body does not have to handle the weight for a prolonged period of time.


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