Luggage Buying Guide
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There is so much luggage available that it can be downright overwhelming to look for and then buy luggage, especially if you do not have much experience with different types and features of luggage. When you rely on a luggage buying guide, you will find that it is a lot easier to make your final decision and that you will feel more prepared to choose the right luggage for you.
With so many different brands of luggage available as well as many different types, failing to do your research may result in you having to rebuy luggage in the future, which is a waste of time and money. You can avoid this by using this guide to plan your purchase.
Prepare For Your Trip With Our Luggage Buying Guide
Questions First-Time Luggage Buyers Should Ask Themselves
- How Will You Use it? How you are going to use your luggage will play a huge role in what kind of baggage you ultimately decide to buy. If you are going to be flying with your luggage, then it’s essential that you make sure that it will fit within airline rules and specifications or you may not be able to bring it with you on a plane. If you are going to be driving with your luggage, then you will want stackable bags that will comfortably fit in the trunk without tacking up much room. For cruising, look for firm luggage that is flat and will protect all of your items inside even if it ends up on the bottom of a pile.
- What Size Do You Need? The size of the luggage you buy is partly dependent on the length of the trip that you are going to take. Longer trips will necessitate larger pieces of luggage so you can comfortably fit in all of your clothing and toiletries. Also, think about how you like to pack. If you prefer to bring a pair of shoes for each day of travel, then you will need a much larger piece of luggage than if you are ok wearing the same shoes every day.
- How Will You Store it? Luggage doesn’t get used very often, and it’s essential that you have a plan for storing it when you are at home. Soft bags are easiest to store and can be squeezed into space in your closet or under your bed while hard suitcases are very difficult to store. If you don’t have dedicated storage space in your home for your new luggage, then you will be happier with collapsible duffels or bags that won’t take up as much room.
- Can You Lift it? It’s amazing how heavy packed luggage can get, and you don’t want to have to rely on other people to lift your luggage for you. If you can’t carry the bags that you are considering, then you need to choose something smaller.
Our Top 3 Overall Luggage Picks
Types of Luggage
With so many different types of luggage available for sale, you can easily find one that will work for you and your trip.
Instead of having to haul around a suitcase by the handle, you can quickly pull all of your items along behind you when you buy luggage that rolls. This feature makes it very easy to move quickly through an airport so that you don’t miss your flight and they generally come in some sizes.
While you may be tempted to get the largest one possible, remember how heavy a bag can be. Rolling lugage generally come with many compartments to make it easy to organize your items.
This type is lightweight luggage that is relatively easy to lift with one or two hands and carry with you while traveling. As long as it is not over the size or weight limit set by the airline, you will be able to bring it with you on the plane easily. Newer versions come with wheels, making them even more accessible to bring with you while traveling.
If you are bringing with you many clothes on hangers, garment bags will keep your freshly-pressed items from becoming too wrinkled while traveling.
If you want to remain mobile while traveling and need to be able to bring your item with you, then a pack is your best option. It’s easy to carry everything with you when you have a backpack, and most are small enough to be able to fit into an overhead compartment on an airplane.
These are soft-sided bags that are roomy and can easily be stuffed with clothing, boots, and toiletries. They are more difficult to carry through an airport, but because they don’t have rigid sides, they are easier to pack with bulky or large items.
Top Luggage Manufacturers
While there are some manufacturers that make luggage, there are some companies that have been around for a while. They have proven themselves to be leaders in the luggage world and work hard to provide quality pieces of luggage that will last for a very long time.
If you don’t know a lot about luggage and want to buy from someone that you can trust, then look for luggage from Travelpro, Swissgear, Briggs & Riley, Victorinox, American Tourister, and Samsonite. These companies have all been in business for a while and know how to build luggage that will last.
Factors to Consider When Buying Luggage
Before buying any luggage, there are a few factors that you will want to consider so you can be sure that you are getting a piece of luggage that will work well for you for years to come.
- Size Matters: Before you get caught up in the appearance of fun features of luggage, you want to make sure that the size will work for you. Be honest about how much you like to bring with you on a trip as well as how you will be traveling so you can be sure that you aren’t buying luggage that is too small or too big for your needs.
- Quality of the Wheels: While wheeled luggage can make your life a lot easier, especially when you are in a rush to make it to your flight, if the wheels aren’t high in quality, then you will end up frustrated. Make sure that they are firmly attached and that they will swivel and move in the right direction when you walk with the luggage.
- The Handle: the chances are good that even if you have wheeled luggage, you will be carrying it at some point or another. A handle that is uncomfortable to hold, too small for your hand, or doesn’t feel firmly attached to the luggage will only cause you problems in the future. If it’s a retractable handle, then make sure that it operates smoothly so you won’t be stuck trying to make it work while on vacation.
- Interior Capacity: Even if the luggage looks big and roomy, you want to make sure that there is enough space on the inside for all of your items. It’s best to open up the luggage you are considering buying and take a look at the inside area. Remember that square corners provide more room and wheels and handles will decrease the amount of usable space that your luggage has.
Features to Look for in Luggage
Some features will make your luggage even more useful and make it easier for you to use it. While not all luggage will offer all of these features, if you decide what is important to you, then you will be able to narrow down available luggage choices and make your final decision.
Not all luggage is water-resistant, but there are few things more disheartening than realizing that your bag has been outside in a storm while you were in the plane. If you are worried about your items getting wet or are going to be traveling to a location in the rainy season, then this feature may be necessary to you.
Make sure that the zippers are waterproof as well or the water will be able to enter your luggage through them.
Ideal for people who do much traveling and rely on their wheeled suitcases, some companies make it possible to quickly and easily replace the wheels on their luggage when they wear out. This feature is a great feature to look for since wheels usually wear out faster than the rest of the luggage does, and this is a great way to extend the life of the bags.
Trying to dig through your luggage as you go through TSA checks can be very difficult and will hold up the line behind you. When your luggage has front compartments, then you will know exactly where your passport and boarding pass is and won’t have to worry about holding them in your hand during your check.
Also, you can quickly pull out any liquids that you have or your laptop without trying to find them where they have fallen to the bottom of your luggage.
Broken zippers are more than frustrating; they can put a damper on your whole trip if they break while you are traveling and your bag is stuffed. Extra durable zippers are available on some types of luggage and will ensure that you don’t run into this problem. Also, make sure that the zipper pull itself is large enough for you to grasp and hang on to easily.
It’s much easier to pack and keep items separated when you have compartments in your luggage. Some bags even have padded places for you to store your laptop or tablet, so you do not have to worry about carrying another bag.
If you want to keep your luggage safe but don’t want to deal with TSA breaking your locks, then you will want ones that are TSA-approved. They will be able to quickly open the locks with their key without damaging your luggage, and since the locks are integrated into the bags, they won’t ever go missing or snag your clothing while on vacation.
While this isn’t a feature of the actual luggage, some companies will offer guarantees on their items, which will give you peace of mind about the suitcase that you buy. Make sure that you understand the warranty and what it does and does not cover; some will only cover manufacturers’ defects while others are much more inclusive and helpful.
Putting it All Together
It’s very overwhelming to buy luggage without a plan, which is why you want to think about your needs and how you will be using your bags before you go shopping. Before you go shopping for luggage, you have to come up with a budget of how much money you are willing to spend, or it is very easy to overspend and regret your purchase accidentally.
Consider how long your trip will be, what you will bring, and how big you need your luggage to be. If you have a favorite luggage brand, then you can narrow down your search by only looking for options made by them; otherwise, begin by considering the size and type of luggage.
Decide if you want a duffel bag, a rolling suitcase, backpack, or other luggage option and begin looking for alternatives. Once you know what kind of luggage you are in the market for, you can make a list of the most important features that you want your bags to have.
While it is unlikely that you will be able to find luggage with all of the features available, if you decide what is important to you, then you will be able to narrow down your list of possible luggage choices further.
Finally, think about whether or not you can carry the bag if you feel that you will need a warranty, and whether the choice you have found fits your budget. With the help of this luggage buying guide, you can be sure to find the perfect luggage for you, no matter your trip.
If you are ready to start your search, then you can start your search by checking out our Editor’s Choice list of the best luggage sets or check out our luggage reviews below.