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Guide to Selecting Travel Luggage

Visiting different cities and countries around the world is one of the most enjoyable things to do for a lot of people. However, as wonderful as it is, traveling can also be stressful at times, particularly when it comes to planning and packing everything that you need to bring. In light of this, packing, taking a flight, or hitting the road may all be made simpler and less stressful with the correct kind of luggage.

Back in the 19th century, people used to travel on steamships and stagecoaches while carrying sturdy but heavy steamer trunks. When commercial flights became popular, people began carrying suitcases. The practicality of wheeled luggage was introduced in the 20th century, but not everyone was keen on it. Then, another practical innovation was introduced, which was the lightweight luggage in 2000, which was made of polycarbonate.

When you go to stores or browse online for travel luggage, you might be surprised by the wide variety of options to choose from today. This makes picking the right one that will work best for you a bit challenging. To help you out, in this article, we are giving you a guide to selecting travel luggage, including the different types and the important things you need to consider in order to get the best one.

Things to Consider When Buying travel luggage

different travel luggage in a store

Good travel luggage is one that can last years or even decades. That is why it is essential to choose one that will serve you well, whether you are going out of the country or just visiting your favorite city. The luggage you need to choose is one that can improve your travel experience, handle everything you need to bring, and be sturdy enough to ensure that it will protect your belongings.

The type of luggage you need to choose depends on the way you travel. While there are endless colors and styles of luggage to choose from, it is also important to consider certain practicalities before you spend your hard-earned money. Below are some of the important things you need to consider when buying travel luggage:

Weight

Keep in mind that airlines have a specific weight limit for checked-in luggage. Therefore, it is essential to check if the luggage is not too heavy. This can help you avoid paying for excess baggage fees, which are famously overpriced. The lighter the luggage you choose when it is empty, the more items you can pack. In addition to that, it will also be easier to lift and maneuver. Some of the best suitcases out there can weigh as light as 3.1kg when empty. You also have to note that some airlines have weight restrictions when it comes to hand luggage. With this, you might want to choose a lightweight cabin case instead to avoid any hassles.[1]

Size

In addition to the weight of the travel luggage, you also need to consider its size. If you’re looking for a larger case, think about where you’ll keep it when it’s not in use and how the extra weight will affect your travel. For example, if you are planning to go to the airport by car, see how easily the luggage will fit in the trunk. You should also see how easy it will be to carry through crowds. If you are choosing a cabin-size or smaller luggage, it is also best to check any size restrictions first before you travel.[1]

Security

When traveling, you also need to keep all of your belongings secured. Therefore, buying luggage with a lock is important. A padlock is essential wherever you go. However, finding one that has a Transport Security Administration (TSA) function is recommended for travelers, especially to the United States. These locks have the red TSA logo and have a universal master key. Only the TSA has a copy of the key, which allows American airline security to open your luggage and examine its contents without causing damage.[1]

Handles

It is practical to choose luggage that has handles on the top and side as they can make towing and lifting the suitcase on and off the check-in scales, luggage rack, and baggage carousels easier. Also, a lot of top handles are telescoping and can be extended into various potions for more comfortable use. They are also retractable and can be pushed down when not needed.[1]

Wheels

There are many suitcases that come with four wheels, and they are sometimes called spinners. This means that they do not have to be titled before towing. It can also be wheeled alongside the user. There are also suitcases that have two wheels that tend to have slightly bigger wheels and are easier to pull up and over. However, between the two options, spinners are more versatile.[1]

Storage

Many hard-shell and soft-sided suitcases have internal pockets, such as small integrated pockets and larger pouched compartments that can fit laptops to removable laundry bags and a section for clothes that can help prevent them from creasing. Most soft-sided luggage also has external pockets where you can keep easy-access items.[1] It is great if you can find luggage with lots of storage options to handle all of your items well.

Expandability

If you always have a lot of things with you when you travel, it is great if you can find luggage that features an expandable panel. This can be unzipped to reveal an additional 10% extra packing space.[1] This is very helpful, especially if you have enjoyed shopping for souvenirs and last-minute gifts, to ensure that they will still fit in your luggage.

Price

Travel luggage can be expensive. However, if you are a frequent traveler, your suitcase will be like your portable wardrobe. Therefore, you need to find luggage that will last. For travel luggage, the price generally reflects the quality. One of the things that may help you find the best quality for money is by reading reviews from other buyers. Search around for luggage with the best reviews from experienced travelers and pick one that will suit the style of your travel.[2] Also, most of the time, more expensive luggage comes with a warranty of some kind. But of course, you also need to choose one that will fit your budget.

The Different Types of Travel Luggage

As we’ve mentioned earlier, when you luggage stores or browse for products online, you will be bombarded with a lot of options. It’s because travel luggage can come in a variety of brands, styles, sizes, and colors. If you are not sure what type of luggage to get for your next travel, we are here to help you. To be able to pick the right one, it is better to learn about the different options available in the market. This way, you will be able to weigh their pros and cons, as well as put into consideration your needs and preferences. Below are the different types of travel luggage that you can choose from.

Hard-Side Luggage

Hard-side luggage feature waterproof shells and they are mostly made of durable and long-lasting materials. The best thing about hard-side luggage is that it can protect all of the items inside it from water and damage. This type of luggage can come in various materials, but all of them have a hard shell to protect your belongings. It allows items to be placed on both sides of the suitcase, and it closes like a clamshell.[3]

If you want hard-side luggage but are looking for a lightweight one, opt for polycarbonate hard-side luggage. It can take a lot of stress as it is flexible and resilient to damage. It also does not scratch easily. If you need a more affordable one, you can choose a polycarbonate composite material, which is less expensive than luggage made of pure polycarbonate. However, it may crack and scratch more easily.[3] In addition to polycarbonate, there is also hard-side luggage made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, popularly known as ABS. It is a solid plastic that is not as strong as polycarbonate but can be a great option if you are on a budget.

Below are some examples of hard-side luggage to help you choose:

  • Samsonite Omni PC Hard-side Luggage: This is a 20-inch hard-side luggage that features spinner wheels. It meets most carry-on size restrictions for domestic travel. It is made of micro-diamond polycarbonate, which is scratch-resistant. It also has side-mounted TSA locks that can deter theft. It has a book-opening case with a mesh divider and cross-straps in the main compartment to keep your belongings safe and organized.
  • Swiss Gear Hard-side Luggage: This is a durable hard-side luggage that is made of ABS/PC construction. It has a co-molded lift handle with soft rubber hand grips. It also comes with four 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels with a premium push-button steel locking telescopic handle for easy maneuverability. 
  • Amazon Basics Hard-side Luggage: This is a hard-side spinner luggage that is perfect for work travel and weekend getaways. It can also be used as an international carry-on. It features four double-spinner wheels to ensure smooth-rolling mobility in any direction. It also has a sturdy telescoping handle for comfortable maneuvering. The interior is fully-lined with polyester and also comes with an interior divider. It is also expandable for up to 15% more packing space when needed.

Soft-Side Luggage

Soft-side luggage is made of soft material, and it is flexible. These are the most common type of luggage that you will usually see in stores. Many people like them as it is easier to squeeze into smaller spaces. This type of luggage is also lighter than hard-side luggage. They are also great shock absorbers. However, keep in mind that not all soft-side materials are waterproof. Therefore, it is essential to know the quality of the fabric used in making the luggage.

Most soft-side luggage also has exterior pockets for easy access to important items. These travel luggage can be made of nylon or polyester. The most durable are those made of ballistic nylon, which has a finish that can resist abrasions. The most lightweight, on the other hand, are those made of polyester, and they are also resilient.[3] Below are some examples of soft-side travel luggage to help you pick:

  • Swiss Gear Sion Soft-side Roller Luggage: This soft-side luggage can get you through a crowded airport easily as it has 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels and a retractable locking push and pull handle. It also features front pockets with a built-in ID tag. It is secure and durable, and it maximizes packing efficiency with a removable wet bag, large mesh lid pocket, and packing pocket that holds small items and accessories.
  • Samsonite Aspire DLX Soft-side Luggage: This soft-side luggage features a .65-inch extra packing capacity. It is made of 100% polyester. It has a zippered side-wall mesh pocket and a large, zippered mesh packing pocket for more organized packing. It also features a comfortable memory foam padded top and side carry handles for convenience.
  • Travelpro Maxlite Soft-side Luggage: This is an ultra-lightweight luggage that meets carry-on size restrictions for most domestic airlines. It features four-wheel spinners that rotate 360 degrees for a smooth roll. It also expands up to 2 inches to maximize its packing capacity.

Carry On Luggage

This type of luggage is often carried onto a plane. This means that they have to meet specific size requirements because it needs to fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. Most of the time, the size requirements for carry-on luggage are 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. In order for customers to be able to take this type of luggage on airplanes, the majority of manufacturers adhere to these size restrictions.

Carry-on luggage may come in the form of a backpack, a small rolling suitcase, and duffel bags. The most typical ones are heavy-duty, large, and capable of rolling over most obstacles. They also have a larger compartment to store items, as well as external pockets for smaller items. This luggage is mostly used by travelers who do not want to check bags so that they can move through the airport faster.[3] Below are a few examples of carry-on luggage to help you choose:

  • Samsonite Mobile Solution Luggage: This carry-on luggage is made of nylon fabric with vinyl trim and water-resistant coating. It is big enough to fit most laptops and tablets. It has enough exterior pockets for essential items and a spacious main compartment for all of your other items. It can also fit over most upright luggage handles for easy mobility.
  • Carry-On Backpack Flight Approved Travel Luggage: This is an extra-large travel backpack with an expandable feature that offers more packing capacity. It comes with four extra packing cubes for sweaters, jackets, and pants. It is luggage backpack designed for travel, and it is comfortable to carry even for long hours. 
  • Rockland Vision Carry-On Luggage: This is a lightweight suitcase that is made of durable polycarbonate material. It features multi-directional spinner wheels for smooth rolling when you travel. It also has a sturdy ergonomic aluminum telescoping handle. It has an interior mesh zip pocket and an elasticated pocket to keep your belongings organized.

Rolling Spinner Luggage

Travelers often use luggage that has wheels, as they are much easier to move around. Whether the luggage is a hard-side or soft-side, they both can have wheels. As we’ve mentioned earlier, luggage that has four wheels is also referred to as a spinner. They are the most common and loved type of luggage among travelers. It’s because their wheels rotate 360 degrees, making them smooth to move and turn in any direction. They can turn corners easily, providing users better mobility and many options.[3

However, the only downside of rolling spinner luggage is that their wheels stick out from the suitcase, making them easy to be broken off the bag. Therefore, extra care is needed, especially when rolling them over rough surfaces. There is also some spinner luggage in which wheels can be locked in place, so they do not spin. Below are some examples of rolling spinner luggage to help you pick:

  • Delsey Paris Chatelet Luggage with Spinner Wheels: This is a lightweight travel suitcase made of a 100% polycarbonate shell. It has dual-density double-spinner wheels that ensure a stable base with multi-directional rolling. It also has a TSA-approved combination lock for security. It is sophisticated travel luggage that will provide you with style and comfort.
  • Steve Madden Designer Luggage Collection: This is a light but expandable luggage that features a 4-spinner wheels system that allows smooth movement over any rough terrain. Its interior is fully lined and has various interior and exterior pockets and compartments to keep your belongings organized when you travel. 
  • Amazon Basics Oxford Expandable Spinner Luggage: This is a rolling luggage that features four spinner wheels. It is perfect for air travel, road trips, and business trips. It is a spacious type of luggage that has multiple zipper pockets for better packing and organization.

Duffel Bags

A lot of travelers also benefit from owning a duffel bag. These are a type of luggage that has multiple compartments to carry all the important items when traveling. There are duffel bags that have wheels and shoulder straps. There are also some that have back straps, allowing travelers to carry them on their backs.

Before, duffel bags are mainly used by those who go to the gym to carry around sweaty gym clothes. But over the years, the purpose of duffel bags has changed. Today, they’ve become more modern and have features like retractable handles and wheels. A smaller or medium-sized duffel bag, however, can fit in the overhead compartment of an airliner or under the seat. Below are some examples of duffel bags to help you choose:

  • Canway Travel Duffel Bag: This is a large and foldable duffel bag that is perfect for a weekend getaway. It is made of polyester fabric that is waterproof and tear-resistant. It has a side shoe pocket and lots of pockets. The straps of this duffel bag are also versatile and adjustable to alleviate the weight when being carried.
  • Rockland Rolling Duffel Bag: This is a fashionable rolling duffel bag that comes in different fun prints. It has extra-large wheels for easy mobility. It also features heavy-duty zippers and a large u-shaped opening. It has four front pockets for additional storage.
  • Amazon Basics Ripstop Wheeled Duffel: This is a simple duffel bag with wheels. It is a great bag to carry when traveling over the weekend. It has two compartments that can be combined into one for more flexible packing.

Travel Totes

For those who are looking for a more fashionable way to carry their items when traveling, the travel tote is a great choice. They are relatively lightweight and can add extra space for necessities like makeup, technology, and some clothing. Any tote can be used for traveling, but it is better to choose those that have comfortable shoulder straps or wheels. This way, you can carry a few clothing items and other essential things that you may need. Like duffel bags, travel totes are great for weekend trips, and they can provide easy access to items that are needed on a regular basis.[3] Below are some examples of travel totes to help you pick:

  • Nylon Travel Tote Bag: This travel tote bag is made of polyester and nylon. It has mid-capacity and is perfect for women who are traveling over the weekend. It is high-quality and made of water-resistant materials. It has five interior pockets to keep your things organized. It also has a trolley sleeve and slip pocket, enabling you to put it on wheeled luggage.
  • Lily Bloom Wheeled Cabin Tote: This tote bag is wheeled and is made for travel. It is small and lightweight and can fit under the seat of most airlines. It can be easily dragged along anywhere as it features two wheels. It also has a stylish design that can embody your exceptional taste and style when traveling.
  • NPBAG Weekender Carry-On Tote Bag: This tote bag has a large capacity and is expandable, making it great for traveling. It features luggage sleeve so you can slide it over the handle of trolley luggage. It is made of twill polyester that is durable and water-resistant.  

Conclusion

Owning reliable luggage is indeed essential for people who love to travel. They can be bought just about anywhere. There are lots of retail stores that sell luggage, and there are also many reputable online retailers that offer a varied line of suitcases. But no matter where you choose to buy, it is always important to take into consideration your preferences and the quality of the luggage you are buying. Make sure that it can handle your belongings well when you travel and that it is easy and comfortable to use and carry around. We hope this post helped you learn more about selecting travel luggage.

References

[1] Salvoni, F., & Goldsztajn, I. (2022, June 29). Our expert guide to finding the perfect luggage. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/product-reviews/a656796/how-to-choose-the-right-luggage-for-your-trip/ 

[2] Travel Fashion Girl, A. (2022, July 26). Suitcase 101: How to choose the right travel luggage. Travel Fashion Girl. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage/#Features

[3] Trek Baron, E. (2022, February 10). 7 different types of luggage. Trek Baron. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://trekbaron.com/types-of-luggage/ 

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