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What size luggage do you use when you travel?

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violet02

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So I was looking at luggage yesterday and thinking about the last time a friend and I went to Paris and how we each had the largest piece of luggage with us. My friend must have had a 30inch plus suitcase I was probably a 28inch or so. They were huge! His was a monster!

Suffice to say none of the parisian taxicabs would take us from the train station to our hotel so we wound up lugging these things on the metro and through the city streets. We were lucky they had wheels!

So for local vegas weekend type travel I'd take the mid-size/you can take it on the airplane sized bag. But for longer trips like back east to visit family I take the bigger case with room in it to bring stuff back.

My DH and I are going to Europe for our honeymoon at the end of May to June. We'll be in Paris, Athens, Mykonos and Santorini for three weeks. Both of us will probably want to bring a wide variety of clothing although I'm sure we can pick and choose a bit since it's a long trip and we'll be moving around quite a bit. The concern I have is 1) will we have enough space in our luggage for our stuff, plus any shopping we may do... coupled with problem 2) I do NOT want to get ditched by cabs again in Paris for having too large of luggage and 3) I don't want to lug giant luggage around from town to town and 4) What if we lose our luggage, that's a lot of stuff to carry around for a long trip that may get lost.

I've traveled quite a bit and been in situations where I've had stuff robbed from luggage (not a huge concern for this trip), lost luggage, lost friends luggage, delayed luggage, etc etc.

Anways what do you usually use in terms of luggage when you travel and for what kinds of trips?
 

violet02

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Let me add that I'm considering investing in a set of new sized suitcases for my DH and I so we're not opting for monster sized luggage.

ETA: And what brands do you reccommend? I'd like to not spend $$$ on each piece of luggage, so reasonably priced brands. Thanks!
 

musey

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Date: 2/17/2009 2:45:53 PM
Author:violet02
Anways what do you usually use in terms of luggage when you travel and for what kinds of trips?
We've gotten really good at this lately... for our 3-week honeymoon, we had one 28-inch suitcase (yes, between the two of us - ONE!) and a small carry-on (hand-held duffel kinda thing) and picked hotels that had laundry facilities so that we could pack only 5 days worth of clothing.

We went to Oregon a couple of weeks ago for the weekend, and packed one carry-on rolling bag for the two of us.

We are good packers.

Anyway, I looked into new suitcases for us (we didn't end up getting any, but we did a lot of looking) and just basically looked for the best balance of light vs. sturdy.

I used:
Consumer Research Luggage Reviews
and
Luggage Online Ratings & Reviews

TJ Maxx often has great luggage brands, I'd check there to see if they have something that you're considering!
 

rainwood

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After having one of my suitcases lost for 3 days when we went to Australia that had ALL of my clothes, my husband and I vowed never to take a suitcase that had to be checked again. And we haven''t. We use 18" bags for domestic travel, a 21" for international travel plus a legal size carry-on for each of us. We''ve gone to Paris for 2 weeks, the UK for 4 weeks and Italy for 5 weeks without ever checking luggage. To do that, you have to coordinate your wardrobe around a few colors, make sure everything goes with something else, and drastically limit the numbers of shoes you take. Wear your biggest pair of shoes on the plane/train as well as your heaviest coat. Also invest in the travel size of everything. As for items to bring home, we either think small or ship them home from our destination.

Traveling light means you never lose your luggage, you aren''t limited in modes of transportation like cabs, and you don''t have to lug big pieces of luggage up stairs, in tiny elevators, or down cobblestone streets. Traveling light also means no one takes more luggage than they can handle by themselves, including hoisting it in the overhead bin, lugging it upstairs, moving through an airline or rail terminal. Once we adjusted to it, traveling light made travel so much easier and more fun. The focus is on the experience, not the stuff you bring. And you learn how to do laundry in different countries, which is its own sort of adventure.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I take a BIG one. Since we have to pay for luggage now I combine DD''s stuff and mine. It was JUST under 50 lbs my last trip. I buy mine at TJ Maxx as well. Awesome deals!
 

Elmorton

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When I studied abroad, I thought my mom was NUTS when she insisted that I only take a shoulder bag and a carry-on sized bag with wheels (28 in?). Inside, she rolled 3 weeks worth of clothes (I will say it took me awhile to figure out how to re-roll everything), and I picked outfits that color-coordinated (ie, only black no brown so I didn''t need multiple belts, shoes, handbags, etc). There was also room for another large zip-up bag (if you''re familiar with the military, it was a helmet bag) and that''s what I filled with the stuff I bought.

Mom was a freaking genius. I ended up having to wheel that thing all over the place, and I was SO glad to not have a huge bag with me on those cobbled streets. DH and I are slooowly planning our european getaway, and carry-on luggage only was the first thing we agreed upon. It makes life so much easier.

While sometimes I get a little lax with packing (for our honeymoon, we very carelessly filled up two huuuuge suitcases - never doing that again), I usually shoot for mom''s packing style. No full sizes for toiletries, color coordinate outfits, pack minimally and include an extra bag for take home stuff.

One thing that DH and I sometimes do is pack half and half - just in case one bag gets lost, there are clothes for both of us in each bag.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Violet, the combination that's worked best for us on the 2-3 week European trips is: (1) fiance and I each bring a wheeled 22 inch "carry-on size" luggage, fully compacted when we depart, and (2) I stuff a "compactable" (and empty) duffel bag inside my bag to be filled up with goodies picked up along the way. That way, no bag is ever too big for taxis/waterplanes/overhead compartments, we have a 0% chance of losing a bag at the disastrous start of a trip, and no bag ever comes close to incurring an annoying overweight charge.

Of course, it requires a different packing philosophy that might not suit all people. I'm one of those people who have been known to require a fleet of porters when at certain destinations (single resort destination), but I love to city-hop while in Europe and being completely self-sufficient there really appeals to my aesthetic. It's hard to do in cold weather, but I've found it easy to do during the warmer months in Europe. Besides, you never know when you're going to encounter a cobblestone street or a sharp incline, in which toting a couple of well-designed little bags would be significantly easier than dragging Suitcasezilla up a stone staircase.

BTW, your trip sounds so exciting! I love the combo you've decided for yourself. Will you be headed to the beaches of Greece before the chic environs of Paris? Have you ever been to either destination, and which segment are you looking forward to the most?


f-d-l
 

fieryred33143

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I use whatever size it is that fits in the overhead (I think 20).

Being stuck in a foreign country without your luggage and having to find clothes, underwear, and toiletries is not fun.

If I''m on vacation, then I take a big bag (around 30) so that I can bring stuff home with me.
 

teapot

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As other posters stated, I try to pack carry-on. I also pack duffel bags in the suitcase for incidentals that I pick up along the way. I used to bring a foldable suitcase, but it was cumbersome to carry. Then I carry a backpack and a lightweight-softsided purse that I can cram into the backpack. Important things to look for in luggage:

1. good wheels - I had a wheel fall off during a trip, believe me, it was not fun.
2. good/sturdy zippers - you have to be able to close it
3. lightweight - the lighter your luggage, the more stuff you could carry without the overweight fees
4. allows you to organize your things easily so if you need to open it, things don''t fall out
5. extension handle extends to a comfortable height
6. luggage you can easily daisy chain other luggage to
7. handles on luggage are well placed so you can carry them up stairs (if needed) and/or take them out of taxi cabs easily - like having handles on the top, side, and bottom

I love the Eagle Creek bags the container store and REI carry this brand for sure.

I also like the M-series luggage from Staples and Victornix brands

Sampsonite luggage is hit or miss with me. I have some items I love, and other items I hate. You just have to search.

I also recommend luggage straps, tsa combinations locks, and a snowboard lock/bicycle lock. Luggage straps help you identify your luggage and you use them as tie downs. TSA combination locks can all have the same combination so you don''t have to worry about losing the key and the TSA can inspect your luggage without cutting the lock. The snowboard/bicycle lock is good for instance when you are on the train and keep your belongings next to you. The snowboard lock is lighter and smaller than the bicycle lock.
 

Matata

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We are strictly carry-on and use a soft case that converts to a backpack -- never have to worry about lost luggage. It measures 9" x 21" x 14. We also buy clothes from places like Travelsmith that don''t wrinkle and can be washed in your room and dry overnight.

bg-xr_03.jpg
 

purrfectpear

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21" carryon, period. I travel all over for weeks at a time, and if it doesn''t fit in that, it doesn''t need to go. Heck, I moved across the country for a year in 2008 with just some clothes in the back of the Scion, a flatscreen tv, and my dog. I travel light
 

TravelingGal

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I agree with the others. Carry on, carry on, carry on. You can be smart and do pieces that mix and match. One can actually survive with one pair of shoes (although I recommend two if there''s a lot of walking involved to give your feet a break.)

I didn''t used to buy nice carry on luggage because since it never went through the baggage handlers, it stayed in good condition for a long time. That is, until the handle broke, then what a pain! So buy good luggage because it is a serious pain to deal with broken suitcases on the go. I still have my cheap Olympia TJMaxx special because my friend who works in a plastics company fixed the handle and reinforced everything, but that is the only reason (plus it has this handy water bottle holder on the side of bag which is far less handy now that you can''t take in water past security).

Oh, and if we''re telling traveling light bragging stories, I packed for a 4 month long backpacking trip around Europe with all my clothes for the trip in two, 2-gallon ziploc bags. Admittedly, I stunk on most days, but it didn''t keep TGuy from falling for me.
 

musey

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TGal, I have little doubt that you could put ANYONE''S traveling-light brag story to SHAME! You are the master!

Here I was thinking that one checked bag for two people on a 3-week honeymoon was impressive
silly musey.
 

diamondseeker2006

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There''s no way I could pack in a 21" bag for three weeks...not even for one week. I have done it for a 3 day trip before, though! I use 24-26" because that is as big as I can manage by myself. And I have packed a duffle to bring back stuff in.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 2/17/2009 5:59:52 PM
Author: musey
TGal, I have little doubt that you could put ANYONE''S traveling-light brag story to SHAME! You are the master!

Here I was thinking that one checked bag for two people on a 3-week honeymoon was impressive
silly musey.
You were smart...if you packed like me, you both would have stunk so bad, you wouldn''t have "consummated" your marriage.


And that IS impressive, btw.

I felt like a complete lame-o for our recent trip to Oz. You should have seen the crap we brought because of Amelia. We traveled very light, all things considered, but it was way too much by my standards.

Oh, and TGuy''s backpack in Europe was ridiculous. Some of the things he was carrying actually made me think he was slightly mentally unbalanced.
 

FrekeChild

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Well now I want to know what was in TGuy''s bag...

I''m a huge packer. I have these enormous Wilson bags that I drag on trips. And they are always half full with shoes. But of course that doesn''t surprise anyone...
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 2/18/2009 12:58:25 AM
Author: FrekeChild
Well now I want to know what was in TGuy''s bag...
Ha, well here you go Freke. Apologies for the threadjack.

This was written during my time in Europe. TGuy and I had traveled together for about 2 weeks before we met up for the next round, so by this point, I had spent a grand total of about 16 days with him, give or take. It was also shortly after we declared war on Iraq in 2003 (hence the war reference he makes).

---

TGuy is terrible on travel days. He gets very grumpy and won’t talk. Part of the reason is that he has to put on his backpack, which is a 90 liter pack fully stuffed. It probably weighs about 50 or 60 pounds. My backpack stands packed at about 55-60 liters, and weighs 25-30 pounds.

I packed mine in about 15 minutes, and watched TGuy pack his. He was very anal about everything. He unrolled a tent, and started to repack it.


“You have been carrying around that tent for how many months and haven’t used it?”


“I got it in January. I was supposed to go to Turkey, remember? But I can’t since someone’s country decided to go start a war. I have to get tent pegs for it anyway.”


“You’re carrying around a tent with no tent pegs?” I smirked.


“I was going to get them somewhere.”


He also had a portable cooker with no alcohol (in fact, we had made it mission to find 100% alcohol in Bled with no luck). I was starting to be fascinated with what this man was carrying. In the new few minutes, he presented to me…


- one plastic hanger. For that hanging emergency!
- A clothes line. To hang that hanger on, I suppose.
- 14 clothespins. In case that one hanger wasn’t enough.
- A plastic plate. To eat food that he cooked with his cooker. Oh yeah, he hadn’t used the cooker yet.
- A stinky chamois (used as his towel on travel days) that he kept in a musty plastic bag. He really should have washed it and hung it on his clothesline.
- 3 film canisters of mustard. Because you can never have enough. It was in a large square Tupperware filled with all kinds of other foods and spices from all over the world.
- More toiletries than a woman, which included baby powder, three kinds of deodorant, and bath wash so he could smell nice. Which is more than I can say for that freaking chamois.
- A scalp massager. No comment on that.
- A solid metal link chain weighing about two pounds and a padlock so he could lock up his pack to bedposts and such. God forbid anyone steal it with the hanger, the plate, the clotheslines, the pins, etc!

I was traveling with a crazy person.


By the end of this, I was in hysterics. I showed him my own light cable lock, weighing no more than a few ounces. “No wonder you’re grumpy when you have to put that thing on,” I managed to squeak out between giggles, “You’re carrying a chain you can kill people with!”


Oops…I shouldn’t give the man ideas.


“I hope the ferry doesn’t sink with you wearing that pack! You’ll sink faster than a lead balloon!” I quipped.


I teased him mercilessly. He didn’t seem amused at first, but gradually joined in on the fun and became progressively more self deprecating. We joked about all the ways he could kill himself with all the crap he was carrying. Strangle himself on the clothesline. Suffocate himself with the chamois. But hey, when they found his body, at least he would smell good.

 

FrekeChild

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OMG TGal!!!!!!

That is hilarious!!!! Was that from a travel journal you were keeping? What I wouldn''t give to get to read the whole thing!!! (Well minus any private parts...)
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 2/18/2009 3:23:11 AM
Author: FrekeChild
OMG TGal!!!!!!

That is hilarious!!!! Was that from a travel journal you were keeping? What I wouldn''t give to get to read the whole thing!!! (Well minus any private parts...)
I traveled and wrote to an audience back home. Back before blogging was hot...now it''s totally the thing to do.

So yeah, it''s a book...about 150 pages long all said in done (plus another 50 or so pages if I add in previous solo travels to Australia and Ireland), all of it written at the time of the events unfolding - no hindsight. Now when I read it, it''s freaky...writing so much about the man who would become my husband with absolutely no thought given at the time that he could possibly be anything but a fling.

I was just thinking tonight how much lighter backpackers could have traveled just 6 years ago when I did this trip. People were carrying around portable CD players and spindle of their favorite music. Imagine what an iPod would have done for them. And now, we have the Kindle/ebook readers. Most of my bag weight was books (guidebooks and leisure reading). Just those two technology items alone would have taken 10 pounds off an average backpacker''s bag.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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TGal that is so cute!

And hilarious! Too funny what he was carry


To answer the OP, when I travel for a long time (so vacations at home, 3 months in Tokyo, etc.) I pack a gigantic suitcase. The kind that's at least 30" and expands. And trust me, you would not believe the crap I can get into that suitcase - I've paid overweight charges so many times (although now I can figure out if it's going to be over the weight limit just by picking it up!). I also carry a computer bag, in which goes my laptop, power cords, books, etc. Sometimes I'll also take a separate purse as a carry-on, which will have my valuables, wallet, another book, and snacks. And make-up. And emergency ibuprofen and headache meds. And my phone.

For shorter trips (week-long vacations) I've always shared a smaller (medium-sized) suitcase with BF, plus a purse for me.

For our two-week New Zealand trip coming up, I think we'll be taking one of my BIG suitcases to share, plus a duffel bag with extra clothes and such in case something happens to our suitcase, plus my purse (no computers, etc.). We'll be renting a car so space is an issue so no more than that one big suitcase (I can't believe the cabbies wouldn't take you and the suitcases!
). I've never had that happen although sometimes I'll have TWO gigantic over-stuffed suitcases and it's a challenge to get them both into the trunk



EDIT: A few years ago, I was going to Boston for college orientation. The airlines (there were two) lost my suitcase, with EVERYTHING (except make-up- whew! and valuables). No clothes, no nothing
But that was back when I was going to debate meets every weekend and I kept a list of things to pack each time - I used that list and added to it so when they lost my suitcase, I had an itemized spreadsheet of everything that was in there, PLUS value (I'm a dork). But good news! They reimbursed me and I got about $1000 out of it! So note to self: organization is good for you, bad for airlines who screw up with your luggage
 

Deelight

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T-Gal that is hilarious.

I admit I don''t travel light, I pack like 5 shirts and 3 bottoms and like 3 pairs of shoes for a night away - my excuse I have IBS and bloat so I can never tell what will look okay from day to day.

When FI and I went 7wk RTW recently we had two massive suitcases and two backpacks, mine was light on the way over but I shopped while traveling. On the way back we had two massive suitcases, 2 backpacks, an big overnight duffle bag and we carried plastic bags in hands - FYI if you fly RTW with star alliance their weight limits change from carrier to carrier we got caught really bad on swiss air their weight limits suck and they charge exorbitant prices (50 euros a kilo we were 650 Euros over) if you do go over but you can get around it with creative packing hence the plastic bags
.
 

strmrdr

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Samsonite Oyster 29" Cartwheel Suitcase

Will likely get a smaller and lighter one if I travel more.
It and a small backpack are enough for 3 weeks.
I have had it for 15 years.
 

strmrdr

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pic

Biggest downside it that its 13 pounds by itself unloaded.
It has weighed 75 pounds coming back from vacation luckily they didn''t weight it LOL

20015894801.jpg
 

violet02

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First off great story T-Gal!!! Loved it!

Secondly thanks everyone for all of the replies, this thread has been a huge help!

Honestly my first inclination was for my DH and I to each carry a large suitcase... then upon reading some of the replies to maybe carry one big suitcase. Upon further reading of the posts I''m thinking our best bet is to each carry one carry on sized piece of luggage with a folded up duffel bag just in case of extra items (I did this in New Orleans, ONCE, only once).

The truth is I carry a lot of ''product''. From hairspray to foundation to lotion to shampoos to you name it! I have a LOT of it! I realize now though that I should probably just suck it up and learn to put things in tiny bottles. I normally would say who cares and pack a large bag but we have an agressive itinerary and I''m nervous at the thought we''ll get hosed on our luggage.

Here''s our current itinerary (since fleur-de-lis asked!
):

From San Francisco we fly to Paris then..
3 days in Paris
3 days in Athens
3 days in Mykonos
7 days in Santorni (back to Paris via Athens)
3 days in Paris...
then back home to SF again!

So as you can see we have like 5 or 6 opportunities to lose our luggage if we check it. Other than the ferry we take from Mykonos to Santorini we''ll be on airplanes. I just need to learn to pack smarter.

There''s a packing class the adult ed center in my town I should sign up for it. I''ve traveled all over the world and have yet to learn how to really park efficiently!
 

AprilBaby

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We went to Italy for 3 weeks on 21" suitcases and a backpack. All carry on, all had wheels to pull around to the airports and trains. Just made sure everything color coordinated inside. 2 pairs pants, 2 capris, 6 shirts...all mixed and matched. One pair shoes on, 1 pair shoes packed. Since we moved every 3 days and had no elevators, things went great!
 

bebe

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Packing light can be done. It requires a lot of thought and planning. I typically pack everything I want and then some.
If I travel in the states, I keep it to one garmet bag I check and 1 carry-on for essentials.

Hubby, myself and 2 teenagers spent 3 weeks in France, getting around on trains and a rented car.

Each of us had a small wheeled carry-on. I had one extra carry-on, large purse sort of thing. The kids each had a small
back pack. Worked great.
 

tlh

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Date: 2/17/2009 3:29:12 PM
Author: Tacori E-ring
I take a BIG one. Since we have to pay for luggage now I combine DD''s stuff and mine. It was JUST under 50 lbs my last trip. I buy mine at TJ Maxx as well. Awesome deals!
Funny, I take the smallest ones! I am usually only gone 2-3 days though, but I like to take the smallest one I can, and I''ve been known to sometimes just ship things to my destination... I''m a goof though!
 

Sparkalicious

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I am THE worst. Admittedly better than when I was younger but bad all the same.
Long trip - 29" suitcase & carry on
Weekend or a few days - 26" suitcase

If I could do it, I would do the carry-on thing because it really is leaps and bounds better than having to stuff huge suitcases on the plane and wait for them in baggage claim. Especially if you are going from place to place, if you can make carry-on cases work for you - that is the way to go. I can''t imagine anything worse than an airline losing your luggage while you are traveling and since you will have no fixed location, you will have no way for them to deliver. I went to Jamaica this past December and US Airways lost my luggage. It took them 4 days to find it. I learned that I could live for 4 days without makeup and that next time ... I will be packing more in my carry on - everything, if possible.
 

Elmorton

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Violet, please let us know what you learn in the class! The only two hints I know I mentioned in my post - coordinate clothing and roll, roll, roll. When I went to Italy, my mom had condensed everything I own into little rolls the size of folded tube socks. It was crazy. I''d love to be more efficient as a packer, too.
 

Clairitek

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I haven''t read all of the responses so I''m sorry if this has already been said!

My father travels internationally once every 8 weeks or so and goes to China 2-3 times a year and he NEVER checks a bag. He has a great collection of rolling carry on sized luggage for his trips. I have adopted his mentality as well and avoid checking if I can.

Seeing as you''re going on such a long trip I would suggest getting one too-big-to-check bag (not the hugest thing, something thats managable for you to move around) to check and then each have your own rolling carry on + personal item (purse, laptop bag, whatever fits under the seat in front of you).

When it comes to packing I find it helps to pack 1-2 days before you go and then re-visit what you''re bringing a few hours before you head off to the airport. I always end up overpacking and then taking stuff out.
 
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