How Tough Is Your Luggage?

The first six months of 2006 were rough on checked luggage, with reports of lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered bags up 37% over the first half of 2003. And that was before emergency carry-on restrictions were imposed this summer, further taxing strained airline baggage systems. Overpacked bags and overcrowded holds can wreak havoc on the best-made suitcases, but if you choose your luggage carefully before you take off, you can avoid a lot of aggravation when you land.

ROUGH AND TUMBLE

For soft-sided bags, opt for materials like ballistic or Cordura nylons, which stand up to slashing and tearing better than...

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