If you’re heading to the airport this week to start your holiday you might want to think twice before shoving your swimsuit and sunscreen into a holdall that’s seen better days. Research released by Virgin Atlantic reveals that the luggage we carry and what we pack says a lot about the type of traveller we are, and also the type of person we are in general.
The study shows that one in five of us can’t remember the last time we bought new luggage, while more than half would only upgrade their suitcase if it was worn-out or broken.
At the other end of the scale are the luggage kings and queens, these are the one in ten people who admit to buying luggage to trump their Travel companions. Young people are also influenced by the designer cases they see on the arms of celebs with a quarter of 16-24 year olds admitting they would buy new luggage to copy a celebrity.
Joe Thompson, General Manager of Airport Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Virgin Atlantic carries over six million bags around the world each year and we have seen a lot of changes since our first flight in 1984. Gone is the standard suitcase and luggage is now seen as a fashion statement with many passengers checking in a variety of designs including leather holdalls, leopard print cases and designer trunks."
But what does your luggage say about you? Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with leading behavioural expert Judi James to put your suitcase under the microscope.
1. Designer Trunks - Celeb owners: Karl Lagerfeld, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian
Designer trunks are on the rise with Virgin Atlantic seeing more and more passengers following in celebrity footsteps.
Judi says: “This luggage defines the ultimate PM traveller (as in: ‘Pretentious? Moi?’), a competitive perfectionist with delusions of old-style First Class grandeur who loves to flaunt his/her success, but in what they see as a tasteful and non-tacky way.
"For these passengers, luggage defines their achievements and their status in life and they believe all economy class passengers should stand aside in respect as they sweep through the airport in true A-list style. This is the Greta Garbo of holiday makers, someone who is outwardly saying ‘I want to be alone’ although with all the matching designer gear and huge, blackout designer shades what they’re really saying is ‘Look at me! Aren’t I rich and famous?”
"This traveller likes their creature comforts too much to be remotely adventurous so yomping and roughing it are firmly off the menu. Their love of pampering means the journey might be more important than the destination so their holiday will start the minute they put on the eye mask and recline their seat to the sound of champagne corks gently popping as the complimentary Champers and canapés get served."
2. The Crazy Coloured Set - Celeb owners: Kerry Katona, Sam Faiers, Chantelle Houghton
Leopard print, zebra stripes and fluorescent coloured cases are easily spotted on the conveyor belt but what sort of person chooses this type of luggage?
Judi says: "Attention-seeking and slightly scatty, this is the noisy, dramatic traveller who will hold up the queue while they hunt for their passport or dash off to get duty free just as boarding has been announced. They’re the zany friend you take on holiday only to wish you could tip them off the pier on day two of your break, although by the end of the first week you’ve probably given up fighting it and bought the same sombrero and fluorescent bikini and started to join in the fun.”
"This person is flirty and funny and although they have delusions of being a high-maintenance diva (They’ll pack more pairs of killer heels than flip-flops) they’re surprisingly resilient when it comes to an adventure holiday rather than a luxury break. They’re up for any new adventure, whether it’s chatting up the waiter in Cyprus or bungee-jumping in middle of somewhere remote. Their easy-going nature means they’ll often fit in with the crowd in terms of destination. If there’s a noisy hen night in the offing it doesn’t matter if it’s in Malibu or Manchester."
3. The Holdall - Celeb owners: Angelina Jolie, Matt Cardle, Prince Harry, Daniel Craig
Packing light is something that not many people can do but what type of passengers can fit their holiday essentials into a holdall?
Judi says: "This is the Secret Squirrel of travellers, the one who manages to pack everything they need into one piece of hand luggage, finding space for things the rest of us forget like adaptor plugs and baby wipes, and yet still having room for a different bikini for every day of the holiday. Frighteningly practical and terrifyingly confident this optimist will tend to be the most seasoned traveller of the lot because for them it’s all about low drama planning rather than last-minute panics.
"Control is important for this person and even if they travel with a brood of kids they’ll somehow manage to look like Mary Poppins on one of her calmer days. When they’re holidaying with the kids they’ll be happy to stick to conventional beach spots that can accommodate a bucket and spade, but on their own or with a partner they can be relatively fearless, especially if their exploration or adventure is done for the sake of charity or good cause.
"They will rarely make a fuss and they’ll mix in with almost any surroundings although they might get restless on a more indulgent holiday and yearn for something more physically active, stretching in terms of self-enlightenment or straightforwardly educational. An African safari would go down well for this person, especially as they could probably manage to pack a collapsible camp bed and a mosquito net into one normal-size holdall."
4. The Corporate case - Celeb owners: Mark Wright, Cheryl Cole, Sharon Osbourne, Frankie Sanford, Wayne Rooney, Harry Styles
Stylish and understated, the corporate case is definitely the most popular choice for the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passenger but what does this choice of case really say about the individual?
Judi says: “There’s a whiff of the double-bluff about this traveller, as though they’ve done the designer thing once but then shunned it for something more practical, low-key and ‘real’ in terms of their working class roots. For them the sign of real power and status is a horror of all things pretentious or snobby. They know they’ve made it so there’s no need to be flashy, especially during the financial crisis when it might seem crass to flaunt your wealth.
"There’s a very practical side to this rather focused and determined person, too, meaning a time-managed flight that includes working on the laptop or catching up on some well-earned power-napping rather than putting on the headphones and chilling in front of a movie. Impatience is a problem for them so delays en route can cause outbreaks of panic and even anger.
"The corporate look of their luggage suggests heavyweight work meetings rather than a beach holiday, which in turn implies they like to mix business with pleasure. This suggests their destinations tend to be capital city-based or somewhere where they can park the family on a sandy beach while they rush off to make deals for the next TV series or the next season.
"This is a long-haul traveller but their love of keeping busy means they’re more likely to be heading for the west or east coast of the US rather than the foothills of the Andes. If they do intend to soak up the sun rather than soaking up a business proposal they’ll be likely to be heading for somewhere smart in places like Dubai or Thailand."
5. The Rucksack - Celeb owners: Justin Bieber, Chris Brown
Choosing practicality over style says a lot about your personality according to Judi.
Judi says: “Still living in the glory days of their gap year and Glastonbury experiences, this traveller is unashamedly the eternal teen, loving to imagine that they can lead the freewheeling, commitment-free lifestyle forever. They hate being pinned down or pressured into any form or responsibility and they like to think they can go anywhere the wind decides to blow them. They cherish their good causes but they can also have a tendency to be tactless or unfeeling at times, usually with the excuse that ‘I was just being honest’ or ‘I was just being myself’.
"On a good day they’ll be true explorer, a stout-hearted adventurer who will make the best of any situation but when things do go wrong they have a tendency to blame the rest of the world rather than taking any responsibility themselves.
"Like most eternal teens this person will like to think they’ll go off exploring the farthest reaches of the globe but being a big kid at heart means they’ll be more likely to pick a package holiday to Phuket and pretend they’re holidaying off-piste, or take the trail to the nearest well-managed rock festival somewhere in Europe."
What does your luggage say about you? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM