What Does Your Luggage Say About You?

By: Maxine Sheppard

August 17, 2012

If you’re heading to the airport this week to start your summer holiday, you might want to think twice before shoving your swimsuit and sunscreen into a holdall that’s seen better days.

Virgin Atlantic have released research today which 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 (55%) 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.


Suitcase psychology

But what does your luggage say about you? We’ve teamed up with leading behavioural expert Judi James to put your suitcase under the microscope.


  • Designer trunks – Celeb owners: Karl Lagerfeld, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian
Designer trunks are on the rise Designer trunks are on the rise


Designer trunks are on the rise with Virgin Atlantic seeing more and more passengers following in celebrity footsteps. Judi James comments: “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?”


  • The Crazy Coloured set  Celeb owners: Kerry Katona, Sam Faiers, Chantelle Houghton
The crazy coloured set The crazy coloured set


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.”


  • The Holdall – Celeb owners: Angelina Jolie, Matt Cardle, Prince Harry, Daniel Craig
The Holdall The Holdall


Packing light is something that not many people can do but what type of passengers can fit their holiday essentials into a holdall?Judi comments: “This is the Mary Poppins of travellers, the one who manages to pack everything they need into one piece of luggage, finding space for things the rest of us forget like adaptor plugs and baby wipes, and yet still has 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.”


  • The Corporate case – Celeb owners: Mark Wright, Cheryl Cole, Sharon Osbourne, Frankie Sanford, Wayne Rooney, Harry Styles
The corporate case The corporate case


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’s take: “These passengers know they’ve made it so there’s no need to be flashy, especially during the financial crisis when they believe it might seem crass to flaunt their 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.”


  • The Rucksack – Celeb owners: Justin Bieber, Chris Brown
The rucksack The rucksack


Choosing practicality over style says a lot about your personality according to behavioural expert Judi James. Judi says: “Still living in the glory days of their gap year, 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’.

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Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

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