Personally, I'm fueled by three passions: Food, fashion and travel. While they each are fairly equal, depending on the opportunity I might give up my daily ration of food for an over-water bungalow in the Maldives or a Tom Ford white summer suit with the side tabs. Considering my love of the above, one of my most needed and used <b>Suit Your Life</b> accessories is luggage. Over the years I’ve used, destroyed, and tried every type of low-end to high-end piece of luggage on the market, as well as mastered the carry-on essentials to make the trip and arrival as stress-free as possible. Before you book a flight for your <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/summertravel/">summer travel</a></strong> and grab that old duffle bag from your college days or green suitcase set from the back of your parent’s closet, try these plane, train, bus, and donkey-tested luggage options and travel accessories. <em>—Gardy V. Guerrier</em>
<a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/outofoffice/">For more travel tips, destinations and best places to stay, eat and play, visit blackenterprise.com/outofoffice</a>
<ul> <li><strong>LUGGAGE: </strong></li> </ul> Pockets and wheels—that’s it. When it comes to luggage these two features will be your most valuable assets. While style is important, this is the one time where function ties for first place. Remember that short-lived love affair with steamer trunks you admired as a kid? You marveled at Prince Hakeem in <em>Coming to America</em> as his staff lugged the heavy load through the airport. We admired him as well until we encountered the extra baggage charges. The <strong><a href="http://www.rimowa.de/main/langselect" target="_blank"> Rimowa Salsa Hybrid</a></strong> ($650-750) [<em>left</em>] and <strong><a href="http://www.samsonite.com/home/index.html" target="_blank"> Samsonite Black Label Cosmolite</a></strong> ($450-600) [right] are two luggage sets that hit all our major requirements for style, quality, and usefulness. They’re well constructed, durable, lightweight, have hard cases shells, adjustable handle, lots of extra compartments, and employ the four-wheel spinner feature we as travelers have grown to know the many advantages of.
<ul> <li><strong>ROLLING DUFFLE BAG: </strong></li> </ul> As much as we love our Rimowa luggage, and we really, <em>really</em> love our Rimowa luggage, sometimes you just need a bag you can drag up the side of the mountain in Machu Picchu or throw on top of a Tap Tap in Haiti. When it’s time to "rough it," we pull out our <strong><a href="http://www.rei.com/" target="_blank">REI Wheely Beast Rolling Duffel</a></strong>, ($115-189). It’s beat up, stained, torn, and we still can't figure out what that smell was that forced us to have to air it out for a week after Belize, but it’s also strong, large, durable, and the wheels still spin after all these years. It has even won some awards from people considerably more “outdoorsy” than us. Go figure.
<ul> <li><strong>IN-EAR HEADPHONES: </strong></li> </ul> A great pair of headphones are mandatory for any getaway. Between the screaming babies, tourist*, and loudspeaker announcements, sometimes you just need to zone out to some Sade. Like us, you've probably been using a very expensive pair of ear buds, from a brand we will not name, for years. Alas, the <strong><a href="http://www.radioshack.com/home/index.jsp" target="_blank">SkullCandy 50/50</a></strong> in-ear buds with mic are just as good and will run you less than $50 (well, <em>before</em> taxes). Don't believe us? Our apprehension lasted until the second I pressed play. The low sounds, high sounds, and all the other sounds were phenomenal and the sound canceling almost made us miss our boarding. Perfect. <ul> <li><em>Note: You are not a tourist. You are an explorer.</em></li> </ul>
<ul> <li><strong>EYE DROPS: </strong></li> </ul> You’ve drawn the proverbial short straw on your red eye to Los Angeles, the person seated next to you has decided you're their long lost BFF and is updating you on <em>everything</em> you've missed. No, the headphones won’t stop them. That’s why they keep tapping you to ask if you heard what they just said. There goes that midair nap before your 8am meeting. Walking into a meeting with blood shot eyes does not say closer, it says stoner. A couple of drops of <strong>Clear Eyes</strong> ($7) maximum redness relief eye drops will have you looking bright eyed and ready to succeed. Your clients will be none the wiser that you’ve been up for the past two days.
<ul> <li><strong>CASUAL SHOES:</strong></li> </ul> Two things to remember about airport footwear, it should be comfortable and able to be removed quickly, and with ease. With that in mind, we recommend the <strong><a href="http://www.colehaan.com/colehaan/home.jsp" target="_blank">Cole Haan Air Newport Slip-on</a></strong> ($70). This partnership between Cole Haan and Nike has produced the perfect marriage between comfort and style with well-crafted leather dress uppers atop concealed NIKE AIR Technology rubber soles.
<ul> <li><strong>WHITE DRESS SHIRT:</strong></li> </ul> Always pack a white dress shirt. The beauty of it is that it fits all occasions. You can dress it up with a suit and tie for a last minute meeting or roll up your sleeves and leave it untucked over some flat front chinos for a walk on the beach with that lovely lady you met in your hotel lobby. Try <strong><a href="http://www.bananarepublic.gap.com/" target="_blank">Banana Republic's classic fit non-iron shirt</a></strong> ($80) for a great fit that doesn’t need to be ironed once you arrive. Just take it out of your luggage and go.
<ul> <li><strong>BLUE SUIT:</strong></li> </ul> A dark blue two-button suit is just as versatile as that white shirt and great when paired with each other. Wear this <strong><a href="http://shop.nordstrom.com/" target="_blank">BOSS Black 'Jam/Sharp' Trim Fit Navy stretch wool suit</a></strong> ($795) for that important meeting and later throw on just the jacket over a pair of dark denim jeans and see what the city has to offer once the sun goes down. <em><strong>Editor’s note:</strong></em> When packing your suits put them inside a drycleaners plastic bag with the hanger, then tie the bottom, keeping a bit of air left inside; this will create an air pocket that will make wrinkles less likely.
<ul> <li><strong>PASSPORT COVER:</strong></li> </ul> All passports look the same, but you’re not like everyone else. Allow your individuality to shine through with one of these <strong><a href="http://www.flight001.com/" target="_blank">F1 Retro Passport Wallets</a></strong> ($18). Not only do they add a little style to your international identification, but also there’s also extra pockets for stashing away other essentials.