Spring Luggage Cleaning

It’s that time of year when many of us are thinking of tackling spring cleaning around our house.  As you are cleaning your closets, attics and garages, don’t forget that your luggage needs some special cleaning as well. In fact, it is recommended to clean your luggage after every use. From cars, airports, airplanes, hotel rooms and more, your luggage is put in many different environments where it could have been exposed to germs and more. A recent spot on the Today Show featured Budget Travel Editor Nina Willdorf and she featured her tips on keeping your luggage clean.

Here are a few tips shared on the show on little things to do after a trip to your luggage:

1) The Once-Over: Purchase some Lysol wipes and and wipe down your bag including the wheels and handles. Make sure to spot test your luggage first with a wipe to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

2) Wine spills: Ever had a wine bottle or some other liquid spill over your luggage? First make sure to use a hand vacuum to clean up any glass that may be in the suitcase. Use newspaper to absorb the liquid. Leave the rolled up paper in your closed bag for 2 – 3 days. Wine Away is a great tool for dissolving red wine stains. Febreze Auto is also great for removing odors. Avoid mishaps like this by purchasing the Vinnibag which keeps your fragile items safe and secure.

3) Bed Bugs: Think your bag may have been exposed to bed bugs? Immediately, dump everything washable into your laundry on a hot wash and dry cycle. Wipe and spray down your bag with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol which will kill any bugs on contact. Vacuum all the crevices in your bag. If all else fails, you can use a product like Nuvan Prostrips. Simply place your luggage in a garbage bag with one of the strips  and the strip releases a gas that kills the bugs. Make sure to put your case in a plastic bag for storage afterwards.

4) Grease stains: Grease stains may occur after having your luggage go through a baggage carousel. Hard case and nylon cases, you should be able to clean but leather and canvas bags will require professional treatment.

5) Shampoo explosions: Use a spray bottle with water and spray it on the saturated area. Use a wet/dry vac to suck the moisture out. Try not to get your case too wet. This will only drive the soaps deeper into the fabrics. Try to avoid this hassle by putting your liquid items in ziploc bags or toiletry bags.

Other great products to invest in for cleaning your luggage:
a) Aluminum luggage: use a mild cleanser and gently go over the entire bag. Rinse and dry of with clean towels.
b) Ballistic Nylon luggage: Use gentle soap and water to wipe away stains.
c) Hardware: Using oil on hinges, handles or locks will cause more harm than good. To maintain the luster of the hardware, best to polish them lightly with a good quality steel wool and “re-seal” them with a clear nail polish or by using lacquer.
d) Hardside luggage: Use a gentle soap and warm water and rinse well. Cleaning erasers, mild abrasives and toothpaste can work well to remove scuffs and scratches. Use any good silicone-base automobile or furniture polish to preserve the luster of the covering. Do not use a combination cleaner-polish.

Before cleaning any luggage, make sure to read the instructions provided by the luggage brand. Certain solutions may not be suitable in particular brands of luggage. Always spot test an area of a piece of luggage before cleaning all of it. Always make sure to use mild soaps and wipes when cleaning. Harsh chemicals can destroy the beauty of your bag.

When storing your luggage, make sure you allow it to air out regularly. This will help prevent mildew from forming as a result of humidity. Extreme temperatures can also age your luggage as well.

How do you keep your luggage fresh and clean? We would love to hear your tips. Happy Spring Luggage cleaning!


Does your Luggage Reflect your Personality?

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but what about by the luggage that you carry. We found this article on VisualNews.com that designates different personalities with the bag that you carry. Do you agree? Which description best describes you. Click on the image for a larger view.


Resurgence in Using Travel Agents

Do you suffer from “Decision Fatigue”? It is said that the average person visits 21 sites online during nine sessions while preparing for a trip which leads many to decision fatigue. There are a lot of great tools to use online for booking your next vacation but many are finding that going to a trusted travel agent is saving them time, money and enhancing their travel experience. Although for short trips or trips to places you have visited before, you will find that booking your travel arrangements online will work. It is for those places that you have never visited and extended stay trips where a travel agent may come in handy.

Why use a Travel Agent?
Often they know more than you do about a specific location. They are better connected to hotels, restaurants and more than you are. They often can get you perks that you couldn’t online and can usually find you better rates. They also know the lingo of the travel industry and are familiar with the trends of when pricing will go up or down and availability.  If something happens on your trip, you can rely on your travel agent as a safety net or resource to get out of a jam.

Not all travel agents are the same. Make sure to do your research before booking with an agent. Your must trusted source is your friends and family. If they have a great travel agent, ask them more about that person. You may want to see that your agent is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) which means they have worked five years full time in the industry. Also check with the Better Business Bureau. Over 7000 complaints were filed last year. You want an agent that has good reviews through the BBB. Another great resource is Virtuoso. They list some of the best travel agents in the industry from over 350 agencies.

Other tips to follow when booking with an agent:

1) Get all your vacation details in writing so you have backup.
2) Verify your reservations.
3) Pay with a credit card and not cash.
4) Be alert for any travel scams out there.
5) Ask your agent questions about a place you have already visited or feel is overrated to see if your opinions are similar.
6) If the agent doesn’t ask a lot of questions, they are probably not the best fit. The agent should be asking as much as they can to find you what will make you the happiest on your trip.

Do you prefer to do all the vacation research and booking on your own or do you rely on a travel agent to help you? What do you feel is important for travel agents to consider or do when helping out a client? We would love to hear your responses.


Spring Travel Has Sprung

Hard to believe that it’s March 1st! With the start of March, many of us are thinking of Spring travel. In fact, we were inspired to make some Spring Travel windows in our stores this month.

With gas prices rising, many of us are looking for the best deals out there this spring season before price hikes occur this summer on airline fares, hotel rates and more.

Travel Ticker put together a list of hot spots for spring were you can find reasonable rates at hotels.

Here are their picks:

1) New Orleans: Don’t miss out on Jazz Fest in April and May. The average hotel rate during this time is $87.

2) Miami: Hurricane season starts in June and peak travel time in Miami is December – March. it makes sense to book during Miami’s shoulder season in April and May. You can save anywhere between $25 – $80 during this time frame.

3) Tahoe: Find prices as low as $69 a night during March and April.

4) China: Great weather and find fewer crowds in Beijing and Shanghai in March and April.

5) Ecuador: The peak summer rates occur in May so you can beat those prices by going in March or April. Galapagos Islands anyone?

 

 

Looking for new hotels to try out this spring break season? Travel & Leisure gave their picks for top hotels:

Country Destination: The Pig, Brockenhurst, England: Perfect for adventurous foodies.

Beach Locale: St Regis Bal Harbor Resort, Miami Beach: Includes twenty-five beachside cabanas and personal butler service.

City Bound: Sofitel, Bangkok: Has rooms inspired by the 5 Chinese Elements

Rain Forest Ambitions: Mashipi Lodge, Ecuador: Aerial Gondolas that take guests through a cloud forest

Island Seclusion: Anantara Bali, Uluwater Resort, Bali, Indonesia: Spend some alone time on sprawling suite terraces that have over sized whirlpools on them.

These are just a few suggestions. Where will you be heading for your spring travel this year?


Reality Show Inspired Vacations

Amazing Race kicks off their 20th season this weekend. A show based on traveling around the world is definitely one that sparks our interest. Have you been inspired to go on a vacation somewhere after watching a reality show. Travel industry experts are giving proof that reality shows that many think are silly and outrageous are having an influence on the travel industry.

Travel + Leisure magazine recently wrote an article that talked about how a recent episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey that took place in the Dominican Republic resulted in a 300 percent increase in web traffic for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. The hotel is now sold out for New Year’s.

This trend of reality inspiring travel has been happening for a while. The popular MTV Real World has been influencing young travelers since 1992. The CBS reality show, Survivor has influenced tourism in Malaysia, South Africa, Tahiti, New Zealand and New Guinea. The Travel Channel’s show No Reservations, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, Keeping up with the Kardashians and the Real Housewives series are a few more shows creating buzz for various locations around the world. Travel agents are taking notice of the locations featured on reality television.

Want to take your employees on an Amazing Race or Survivor Adventure? Check out Anderson Vacations. Experience Amazing Race in the Rockies where you will find Roadblocks, Detours, and Pitstops. Or Anderson Vacations can help you design your own adventure.

Has television influenced a recent trip you made or a future trip? At least you will  not have to worry about getting a rose, starving on a island or rushing through an airport like the participants of some of these reality shows.


For the Love of Travel

As we celebrate Valentines this month, we think of our love of travel. What inspired you to want to travel the world? Was it an amazing experience when you were a child or maybe an adventure you took when you were in college? During our fast paced times, we may lose that true inspiration as to why we love to travel.

Featured below is a link to a film from Tripfilms where they asked a variety of travel writers why they love to travel. Let us know where your first love of travel began and why you still love to travel. Post a comment here or on our Facebook page by the end of the day on the 13th and we will pick a winner on Valentine’s Day.  We will pick one random post to win a $100 gift certificate to Colorado Bag’n Baggage for your next adventure.

For the Love of Travel – travelers talk – Tripfilms.


What is RFID?

What is RFID? It’s talked about in the news and products are being made to block RFIDs. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. Radio waves are used to identify people or objects. You can find them in your computer, passport, credit cards, uniforms, product packaging and more. A convenience for many businesses to use for identification and analytic s but for the individual important information can be stolen.

RFID readers can be bought for under $150 and can be easily used to steal information from your phones, credit cards, passports and more. Depending on the frequency, a thief can be anywhere from 1 to 15 feet from you and scan your information. How can you protect yourself from having this information stolen? Two substances can block RFID signals: water and metal. Since we can’t put our items in water, metal is the obvious choice to use. You could wrap your items in aluminum foil or put duct tape all over your wallet but for most of us we don’t want to unwrap our belongings. Many products are being made that have linings to protect your cards, id’s and anything else from being scanned. Colorado Bag’n Baggage stores have a variety of RFID blocking products from Travelon, Lewis N. Clark and Pacsafe.

How do you know if your credit cards or passport can be scanned? All US passports issued after October 2006 can be scanned. You will see the wave logo on your credit cards or may see the phrase Pay pass. Anything that you can wave in front of something to identify yourself or pay for something has RFID.
Here’s a great video that shows how your information can easily be scanned.

As we move to more and more technology that relies on RFID, it is important that you protect yourself. How do you keep your information secure when you travel?